July 27, 2005

And now . . . this - Jul. 27/05

Stupid poetic justice

Vardan Kushnir, notorious for sending spam to each and every citizen of Russia who appeared to have an e-mail, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.

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I think my italics pretty much speak for themselves.

Tasty beverage treat - only £42,000

An artist's latest work - a bottle of melted Antarctic ice - may have been stolen and drunk by a thirsty thief.

Artist Wayne Hill filled a two-litre clear plastic bottle with melted ice to highlight global warming.

But the artwork, valued at £42,500, went missing while on display at a literary festival, reports the Scotsman.

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The headline read: "Thief 'drinks' work of art." The headline should have read: "Thief drinks work of 'art.'"

And speaking of bad art

THIS year's edition of one of Europe's top summer arts events has been described as a pretentious catastrophe after angry audiences booed or walked out of a series of performances.

Critics attending the three-week Avignon theatre festival in southern France said it had plumbed new depths of intellectual obscurity and warned that a contempt for the mainstream public was placing the future of a national institution in jeopardy.

"What purgatory!" said the news magazine Le Point on its culture pages. "Loyal spectators are sad, disorientated and haggard." A commentator for the communist newspaper L'Humanite said this year's offerings were marked by "a triumphant sense of masturbatory autism". . . .

On Tuesday there were shouts of abuse during a show - part dance, part installation - by choreographer Christian Rizzo. Either the well was deep - a reference from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland - was accompanied by a cacophony of electronic noise that the audience found unbearable.

A two-part work titled A lovely blonde child and I apologise, in which actors draped dolls of young girls in lascivious postures over coffins, also drew boos of derision and was accused of being an incitement to pedophilia. . . .

Much of the audience walked out of After/Before, described as a piece of "theatre-dance-music-video" by director Pascal Rambert. The first 40 minutes are taken up by a film of interviewees answering the question, "If there were a huge catastrophe, a new flood, what would you bring with you from this world to the next?"

In the second half, 21 actors reproduce word for word the quotes from the film and then, having stripped off, perform them a third time in song and dance. "What have you got against us?" a spectator was heard to shout as he walked out in exasperation.

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You know the avant-garde has hit rock bottom when even the frogs find it pretentious.