Ray Bradbury, RIP

fahrenheit 451 605x1000 Ray Bradbury, RIP RIP ray bradbury

An excerpt from Bradbury’s finest novel, Fahrenheit 451. The author died yesterday, June 5.

“When did it all start, you ask, this job of ours, how did it come about, where, when? Well, I’d say it really got started around about a thing called the Civil War. Even though our rule-book claims it was founded earlier. The fact is we didn’t get along well until photography came into its own. Then — motion pictures in the early twentieth century. Radio. Television. Things began to have mass.”
Montag sat in bed, not moving.
“And because they had mass, they became simpler,” said Beatty. “Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths. Double, triple, quadruple population. Films and radios, magazines, books levelled down to a sort of paste pudding norm, do you follow me?”
“I think so.”
Beatty peered at the smoke pattern he had put out on the air. “Picture it. Nineteenth-century man with his horses, dogs, carts, slow motion. Then, in the twentieth century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids. Everything boils down to the gag, the snap ending.”
“Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve-line dictionary resume. I exaggerate, of course. The dictionaries were for reference. But many were those whose sole knowledge of Hamlet (you know the title certainly, Montag; it is probably only a faint rumour of a title to you, Mrs. Montag) whose sole knowledge, as I say, of Hamlet was a one-page digest in a book that claimed: ‘now at least you can read all the classics; keep up with your neighbours.’ Do you see? Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there’s your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more.”
“Speed up the film, Montag, quick. Click? Pic? Look, Eye, Now, Flick, Here, There, Swift, Pace, Up, Down, In, Out, Why, How, Who, What, Where, Eh? Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom! Digest-digests, digest-digest-digests. Politics? One column, two sentences, a headline! Then, in mid-air, all vanishes! Whirl man’s mind around about so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters, that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought!”
“School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?”
“The zipper displaces the button and a man lacks just that much time to think while dressing at dawn, a philosophical hour, and thus a melancholy hour.”
“Life becomes one big pratfall, Montag; everything bang, boff, and wow!”
“Empty the theatres save for clowns and furnish the rooms with glass walls and pretty colours running up and down the walls like confetti or blood or sherry or sauterne. You like baseball, don’t you, Montag?”
“Baseball’s a fine game.”
Beatty went on, “You like bowling, don’t you, Montag?”
“Bowling, yes.”
“And golf?”
“Golf is a fine game.”
“Basketball?”
“A fine game.”
“Billiards, pool? Football?”
“Fine games, all of them.”
“More sports for everyone, group spirit, fun, and you don’t have to think, eh? Organize and organize and superorganize super-super sports. More cartoons in books. More pictures. The mind drinks less and less. Impatience. Highways full of crowds going somewhere, somewhere, somewhere, nowhere. The gasoline refugee. Towns turn into motels, people in nomadic surges from place to place, following the moon tides, living tonight in the room where you slept this noon and I the night before.”
“Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog-lovers, the cat-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean. Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. Books, so the damned snobbish critics said, were dishwater. No wonder books stopped selling, the critics said. But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive. And the three-dimensional sex-magazines, of course. There you have it, Montag. It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals.”
“Yes, but what about the firemen, then?” asked Montag.
“Ah.” Beatty leaned forward in the faint mist of smoke from his pipe. “What more easily explained and natural? With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar. Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn’t it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won’t stomach them for a minute. And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world (you were correct in your assumption the other night) there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges, and executors. That’s you, Montag, and that’s me.”
Beatty knocked his pipe into the palm of his pink hand, studied the ashes as if they were a symbol to be diagnosed and searched for meaning.
“You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn’t that right? Haven’t you heard it all your life? I want to be happy, people say. Well, aren’t they? Don’t we keep them moving, don’t we give them fun? That’s all we live for, isn’t it? For pleasure, for titillation? And you must admit our culture provides plenty of these.”
“Yes.”
“Coloured people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator. Funerals are unhappy and pagan? Eliminate them, too. Five minutes after a person is dead he’s on his way to the Big Flue, the Incinerators serviced by helicopters all over the country. Ten minutes after death a man’s a speck of black dust. Let’s not quibble over individuals with memoriams. Forget them. Burn them all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.”
“There was a girl next door,” he said, slowly. “She’s gone now, I think, dead. I can’t even remember her face. But she was different. How — how did she happen?”
Beatty smiled. “Here or there, that’s bound to occur. Clarisse McClellan? We’ve a record on her family. We’ve watched them carefully. Heredity and environment are funny things. You can’t rid yourselves of all the odd ducks in just a few years. The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That’s why we’ve lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we’re almost snatching them from the cradle. We had some false alarms on the McClellans, when they lived in Chicago. Never found a book. Uncle had a mixed record; anti-social. The girl? She was a time bomb. The family had been feeding her subconscious, I’m sure, from what I saw of her school record. She didn’t want to know how a thing was done, but why. That can be embarrassing. You ask Why to a lot of things and you wind up very unhappy indeed, if you keep at it. The poor girl’s better off dead.”
“Luckily, queer ones like her don’t happen, often. We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early. You can’t build a house without nails and wood. If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the Government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide-rule, measure, and equate the universe, which just won’t be measured or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely. I know, I’ve tried it; to hell with it. So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your dare-devils, jet cars, motor-cycle helicopters, your sex and heroin, more of everything to do with automatic reflex. If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with the theremin, loudly. I’ll think I’m responding to the play, when it’s only a tactile reaction to vibration. But I don’t care. I just like solid entertainment.”

From The Citrus Report

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Photography by Lissy Elle

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“I am someone who likes to pretend that I don’t care what other people think of me. I like to pretend that I make my art for ME, and no one else. But there comes a point in every artist’s life that they crave recognition. Admit it. Be not ashamed. This is only human.” And in that, we sort of like Lissy Elle.

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Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 @ De Young Museum

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San Francisco in 1964 was probably a very interesting place to be. GOP conventions, the Beatles, growing city, and Arthur Tress was there to capture it. Right now at the de Young Museum in SF, there is a great exhibition on display titled Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964.

In the summer of 1964, San Francisco was ground zero for an historic culture clash as the site of the 28th Republican National Convention and the launch of the Beatles’ first North American tour. In the midst of the excitement, a young photographer new to the city was snapping pictures not of the politicians or musicians but of the people in the crowds and on the streets. Arthur Tress, an accomplished American photographer, made more than nine hundred negatives in San Francisco during the spring and summer of 1964—among his earliest documentary work. Exulting in juxtapositions of the mundane and the absurd, Tress captured the chaos of civil rights demonstrations and political rallies, the idiosyncratic moments of San Francisco’s locals, the peculiar contents of shop windows, a miscellany of odd signs and much more.

Tress developed and printed his black-and-white negatives in a communal darkroom in the city’s Castro district before departing San Francisco in the fall of 1964. The vintage prints were packed away in his sister’s house, coming to light again only in 2009. The rediscovery of this forgotten body of work inspired the photographer to revisit his early negatives, and Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 is the delightful outcome.

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Jonathan Franzen on Twitter… not on Twitter… but commenting on Twitter

Jonathan Franzen 007 Jonathan Franzen on Twitter... not on Twitter... but commenting on Twitter twitter Jonathan Franzen

Franzen on Twitter: “Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose. It’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters … It’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’… It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium. People I care about are readers … particularly serious readers and writers, these are my people. And we do not like to yak about ourselves.”

Shit, does that mean he hates TCR, too? (via)

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1973 Sierra Designs Catalog in the Oakland Museum of California Collection

Screen shot 2012 02 23 at 8.15.12 PM 1973 Sierra Designs Catalog in the Oakland Museum of California Collection sierra designs catalog 1973

A cool find. In the Oakland Museum of California collection is the 79-page, 1973 Sierra Designs catalog. As the museum notes of one of the great Bay Area outdoors brands, the catalog is “printed partially in full color and partially black and white. Many of the photographs in the catalog were taken as part of a 10-day hiking expedition up the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, which was organized by Sierra Designs. The first part of the catalog is a narrative of this expedition, with journal entries of two of the people on the expedition. Featured in the second half of the catalog are items, mostly illustrated by line drawings, which were manufactured by Sierra Designs, including sleeping bags, jackets, climbing equipment, camping accessories, footwear, tents, and backpacks.” (ocma)

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Slap in the Face: a Tribute to Sticker and Graffiti Art

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Slap in the Face: a Tribute to Sticker and Graffiti Art, heralds the rise of sticker art, which has evolved as a byproduct of street art, a movement from the 1970′s that has since become a global phenomenon.

The stickers featured are at times derogatory, humorous, refined, or crass; while some are eulogies, others are as straight forward as tagging one’s name. Specially adopted for the ease of vandalism, their fast and low impact appeal is a cost effective solution to other riskier methods of graffiti such as; spray paint, wheat-pasting, scribing, and etching. The peel-and-slap of sticker art allows the artist time to develop and detail their final product. The goal is to inform an often unwilling participant/viewer, alter the landscape, impact social consciousness and gain recognition by other street artists. To succeed is to proliferate an area of graffiti with high-quality images or text, the more stickers, the more dominance. More than a call for infamy, sticker art effectively presents a concise, transitory, democratic and accessible form of art, and addresses topics such as: ownership, social hierarchy, socioeconomic politics, and artistic boundaries. Work is often a declaration. Ultimately, the most compelling motivation behind sticker slapping may be the earnest desire to show presence, to exist, to locate oneself; to be heard in an environment in which resists it.Pablo de Pinho

Pablo: What sparked the idea for this sticker show?

Jordan Ayoub: I originally came to this galley with a completely different proposal tying a bunch of different subjects to one overlying theme and showcasing that theme in art form. That initial proposal however was too broad, so I decided to come back with an entirely new proposal and new theme. Then I came across a sticker book through Michael Kershnar called “Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art.” In that book, there was a picture of a lobby covered in dozens of hand-styles that were xeroxed and turned into wall paper for this hotel in New York. I thought that that concept was so rad, and being submersed in San Francisco’s profound graffiti culture; I felt that the concept to cover the entire gallery in stickers had to be done.

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Who are some of the featured graffiti artists?

There are probably close to a hundred different writers that I, along with the help from a few friends, curated. But some of the names you will find in the show are Vegan, Toro, Erupto, Dlae, Diet, Jade, Jaut, Bvrs, Enor, Jenks, Metro, Kode, Sector, Charm, and many many more.

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How did you get everything together for the show? Did you meet up with all the writers?

There were definitely a lot of errands to be ran back and forth communicating and meeting up with people etc. The majority of the stickers were picked up by hand from friends and friends of friends. But some, due to inaccessibility and inconvenience had to be mailed in.

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What is to be expected? Are there any cool installations?

You can expect to see a ton of stickers, that’s for sure. But there are a couple of newspaper bins that I attained that will be a part of the show along with some fine art that will be displayed on the far side of the gallery. All is sticker/graffiti related. All is rad.

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How much controversy is there for making this show? Being that the show will be held at a University, and that many people consider graffiti a crime.

Not necessarily much controversy, rather surprise. This show is quite the opposite from what is normally displayed at this gallery. That being, it will bring a new crowd and more exposure to the gallery. I hope that the gallery is ready for the demographic of people that this show will generate. It won’t be like any other show they’ve ever had, that’s for sure.

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Is this the beginning for you? Will you be hosting more events like this in the future?

I’d like to think this is the beginning; this whole process has been really fun and quite the experience. I would love to host more shows like this one. In fact, the gallery and I have already sparked conversation about me hosting another show, so keep your eyes peeled. Whether it’s with this gallery or another, I will love to do this again.

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Any shout outs and acknowledgments you would like to give out?

Yes, I would like to give a couple of shout outs to the people that played a huge role in making this possible and being so supportive. One of which, to the ‘Dungeon Master’ Vegan. Without his support, contributions, and name behind all of this, this show would definitely not have been as successful as it turned out to be. Big-ups to you, my friend. I would also like to shout out my boys Sueños, and Enor- both huge contributors and supporters of the show and in the aid of making this possible. Many thanks. And last but not least, Kershnar-das, the beginning of it all. If it weren’t for the connections you’ve hooked me up with, none of this would have even happened. Thank you for all the rad times and experiences you’ve shared with me. I’m truly grateful.

Opening Reception Friday January 27th from 5pm to 8pm
Run time from
January 19th to February 15, 2012
At The Art Gallery—SFSU
1650 Holloway Ave
San Francisco, CA

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Agostino Iacurci

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With bright, multi-layered layered characters, Agostino Iacurci is bringing something great to the neighborhoods he has painted murals in recently.  He has been making interesting illustrations for years while he studied fine art and with a background in graffiti and painting outdoors, it only makes sense to see such amazing murals from him. His whimsical characters seem to tell a story with their gestures alone and they connect through the artists attention to the local surroundings.  On paper or on a five story facade, I am definitely excited to follow Agostino’s work in the coming years. —Ronnie Wrest / The Citrus Report

Where are you from and where are you now?

I’m from Foggia, in the South of Italy, but now I’m based in Rome where I have lived for 6 years.

It must be amazing to live in a place with such a rich artistic history.  Do you find inspiration everywhere you go?

Of course. Rome is beautiful and very inspiring, but my main inspiration is every day life, so I find sources of inspiration wherever I go.

My native city, for example, is very poor in art, beauty and cultural activities, but for me it has been an huge source of inspiration.

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You have only been painting outdoors for a few years? What turned you on to this type of work?

Actually, I started painting graffiti in 1998, when I was 12 years old. I’ve done several pieces, writing letters for a long time, but at a point I realized that “style writing” was unfulfilling for me. Then I moved to Rome to study Fine Art and illustration, and there I’ve done research about my style. At the same time I started seeing lot of huge murals in several cities from all over the world by Blu, Os Gemeos, Run and few other artists. I was very impressed by this “new way of making graffiti” and it gave me again the desire of painting outdoor.

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In terms of the change in audience, and the interactions with people that live near your work,  can you describe some of the experiences you have had working outdoors?

Painting outdoors is an amazing experience. It’s very interesting and funny to collect different feedbacks about your work in real time. Especially because I have always tried to make works closely connected to the place and the location. Because of the easiness of images I draw, every type of person, from kids to adults, feel invited to express their opinions and personal readings. The main strength of making art outdoor is the chance to establish a dialogue with a vast number of persons.

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Herbert Baglione in Mexico City

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I have a lot of difficulty on painting in the streets for no reason. I end up creating thousands of barriers that prevent me from doing something just for the pleasure. But, since my last trip to Europe I have noticed the power that the streets have, and I’ve forgotten. The communication with the people in the neighborhoods is a very valuable thing.

After one month there, I’ve stayed a few days in São Paulo, breathed my daily carbon monoxide and traveled to Mexico so that I could give death a kiss.

You know that feeling when sometimes you need to be in another place to see where you came from and what made you happy? It was that kind of feeling I had in Oaxaca. I can try to describe it saying that I died and there they gave me a new opportunity to reborn.

At the party of the Dia de Los Muertos I felt all the passages of the soul. In the color and simplicity of the people’s houses I saw similarities with the Brazil I like.

I’m far from being mystical, but I feel that in many places I’m not there by chance.

Strangely, the stone streets, the wind and the lights reminded me of the places that I consider the best to paint in São Paulo. Parque São Lucas, Vila Ema, Vila Prudente, Ipiranga and Mooca (neighborhoods in São Paulo) are the places that I miss and every time I go there, my heart beats differently.

I remembered some paintings I did with Boleta and Vitché, our wanderings and endless conversations.

It’s different when you are invited to paint with another artist that you don’t have the intimacy, and your work flows so naturally that scares. So it was with Lakra.

The first thing I admire about someone, regardless of their art, is their simplicity in life in general. I identified immediately with him and this was a safe step for our work. In fact, in this kind of experience, the least important thing is the result. The process is priceless. The people who passed by, the conversations during painting, a child dressed as Spiderman seeing everything with curiosity, filming and photographing friends. All those things show that it meant something else other than what was recorded on the wall. —Herbert Baglione

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Weakness Wednesday: R.E.M. “Drive”

There was R.E.M. pre-”Losing My Religion, R.E.M. post-”Losing My Religon.” And this was the beginning of the new beginning, when one of the biggest and most influential indie-bands ever began their career as one of the biggest bands in the world. And this was the opening statement. It was 1992, and Automatic For the People was perhaps their darkest, and ultimate artistic statement.

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