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“freakish hypervictorian ornamentation”

By Architecture and Asides

Thanks to @gtiso’s Best Blog Posts of 2010 I have been introduced to Owen Hatherley on Architecture:

Jonathan Meades has an interesting architectural theory of dictatorial longevity — that the more a regime embraces kitsch, the more it will be entrenched in power. The Nazis, with their middlebrow neoclassicism, their Kingsnorthian mountain retreats, didn’t get long — Stalin, meanwhile, died of old age, his regime gilded by gold leaf and freakish hypervictorian ornamentation.

[From sit down man, you’re a bloody tragedy: Red Gates]

I think you should check it out, too.

“I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live.”

By Asides and Humour

I know this has been going around a bit this week, but this paragraph stood out for me:

Wow. No God. If mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my new found atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. I learned of evolution -– a theory so simple that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals and us –- with imagination, free will, love, humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.

[From A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Atheist — Speakeasy — WSJ]

Texting!!

By Asides and Cinema

Overheard at the Embassy during Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

Grumpy Film Reviewer: Do you mind turning off your phone?

Annoying Patron: It isn’t on.

GFR: Yes, it is. You’re using it!

AP: The sound is off.

GFR: But I can see you using it!

AP: No, you can’t. Get a life. [Puts phone away, doesn’t come out again]

I’m sorry to say this, but some people really don’t deserve cinemas.

“... a fine British tradition of plucky, have-a-go heroes.”

By Asides and Cinema

It’s award season everywhere but I have to confess some admiration for the Irina Palm d’Or:

For critics, such films have now become a fact of life, the lumpen low-budget yang to the sprightly, ingenious yin of, say, Nick Whitfield’s Skeletons and Gareth Edwards’s forthcoming Monsters. Barber confesses to a certain admiration for the prizewinners thus far: “We’ve all heard how difficult it is to get a film made in Britain, so when you see one that seems like a terrible idea on every level, you do have a weird kind of respect for whoever got it up there on the screen. Irina-makers belong to a fine British tradition of plucky, have-a-go heroes.”

[From The Irina Palm d’Or: And the loser is … | Film | guardian.co.uk]

For what it’s worth I didn’t seem to mind Irina Palm.

“Hey now!”

By Asides and TV

The great Garry Shandling describing Rip Torn’s audition for “The Larry Sanders Show”:

Rip came in for the first time, and his agent said he wouldn’t read. Weeks later it was just him and me in a room with no one else, and I said to Rip, “Could we read half of this together?” And he said, “I don’t want to read.” I said, “That’s totally fine,” and I pushed it to the side of the table. We talked for less than another minute, and he reached over and took the page, and he starts the scene. It’s like trying to describe a good date to a friend the next day. I had to say to HBO and everybody else, “Honestly, this is the best sex I have had.”

[From Garry Shandling Recalls ‘Larry Sanders,’ — NYTimes.com]

The Larry Sanders Show” is finally getting the full DVD treatment (I am a happy owner of Season One). And, oh man, I’ve just discovered that the complete “It’s Gary Shandling’s Show” is on Region 1 DVD. Must. Have.

And on the subject of “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show”, here’s the famous theme tune:

[audio:https://funeralsandsnakes.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Its-Garry-Shandlings-Show.mp3]

And while we’re on the subject of Garry, please read this extended interview with the man at GQ. That is all.

The direction I’m going in is eventually you won’t know if it’s a joke or not,” he explains, describing his new act, which he has been quietly testing in clubs where his name never appears on the marquee. “What I want to happen is that I talk for an hour and the audience doesn’t realize it is funny until they’re driving home.”