Visual

In an ideal world, one would be justified in cutting Obama out of this picture. Silvio Berlusconi makes a fine “First Enemy” all on his own. Unfortunately, considering the President’s own failures, as shocking as this pairing seems, he had it coming. (More…)

Visitors to SFMOMA‘s rooftop sculpture garden may notice the infamous Waldo of Where’s Waldo? across the way, smiling from another building. Like the WALK sign, it is a man with a forward gait. Without the camera’s zoom, or prior cognizance, it’s barely noticeable. Isn’t that the existentialist lesson of Waldo? A man lost in a crowd, as seen by a vacant, omniscient entity? (More…)

Although it’s been decades since baseball was as popular as football, proponents still insist that it is America’s “national pastime.” At first glance, this may appear to represent wishful thinking. But as the fascinating new film Moneyball implies, this conclusion fails to account for the peculiar connotations of the word “pastime.” (More…)

I pedaled leisurely rather than furiously, making no quick turns, hopping over no jutting tree roots, never trying to weave in and out of the other riders. But there I was, on the Helltrack qualifying course, riding BMX with the likes of Eddie Fiola, Martin Aparijo, Kevin Hull and Everett and Beatle Rosecrans. (More…)

Berlin head hunters display their kills. Cafe window installation, Neukölln. August, 2011.

Six months ago, when Phil Dellio and Jeff Pike asked me to join a Facebook group where we would list and discuss our fifty favorite movies, I responded with a question: would this be a list of our favorites, or a list of the best? While they sympathized with my frustration to varying degrees, they didn’t feel this distinction would be a problem for them. But I was worried. (More…)

We were stopped at a rundown liquor store, only a few miles from the Mexican border, when I saw it. My son and I had been driving a lonely stretch of Arizona Highway 92, with little to see except dry grasslands stretching in all directions towards distant broken mountains on the horizon. He was thirsty. This was the only place to get a drink. And yet there, in the distance, was the tattered dome of a church rising from the desolate landscape. I pointed to the complex and told my son, “We’re going in.” (More…)

One of the world’s greatest media museums sits just across the river from my apartment. Its name is the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema.) Located inside Torino’s Mole Antonelliana, a 19th century building originally designed to be a synagogue, the place still has something of a holy purpose. Especially for an LA native, like me. (More…)

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera, currently at the Walker Center for the Arts in Minneapolis, pulls together a terrific collection of photos which interrogate the role of the camera in the disintegrating boundaries between the private and the public. This show, which originated at the Tate Modern, raises a lot of provocative questions about the relationship between propriety and photography. (More…)

During the four and a half years that I lived in London, I always found that I did my best reading on the tube. Not necessarily of my own books or periodicals (though I always had one or the other on me) but the newspapers I found other passengers reading. As an immigrant youngster, at first I imagined that the headlines I encountered represented the opinions of the British. As I grew older, and began returning to the country as a journalist, I of course learned otherwise. (More…)

Netflix recently came up with a creative way to charge its customers more: by separating their mailing and streaming content into separate rental plans that “better reflect the costs of each.” One can only imagine how well the already over-compensated marketing strategist who came up with that line was rewarded for it. His shit-eating grin must be even browner around the edges than usual. “Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.” (More…)

After eighteen years, the television couldn’t contain his image any longer. Post-elections street art, central Turin. June, 2011.