Saturday, February 09, 2013
Perennial Anodyne Inc. favorite Glacier Media, the largest holding in my real-world portfolio, gets the thumbs-up from the G&M:

"The idea of buying a small illiquid stock in the face of such a huge collapse and prolonged period of weakness might be unfathomable to some. But the value seems right."

The G&M analysis is good, but fails to differentiate between paid-circulation newspapers, which are in critical, if not terminal decline, and free community newspapers, which are a totally distinct business model. The G&M's analysis also understates Glacier's current profitability.  Glacier recently purchased a pile of community newspapers from CanWest, which had run them, as with every media property in the CanWest empire, into the ground by cutting content to the bone and neglecting necessary capex in favor of funneling every spare dollar off to Canwest HQ.  Glacier's management, capable of longer-term and more rational thinking than Canwest's, has chosen to spend a few years building the papers back up, in order to enhance their value over the medium- to long term.  What is remarkable is that Glacier has been able to do so while instituting and increasing a sustainable dividend which currently yields 4.6%.

Glacier is the best-looking value stock I've recently run across, and my money, in this case, is firmly where my mouth is.
Waste My Time, Please

PHONE CALL:  Hi, do you carry books at your bookstore?
Friday, February 08, 2013

Rephotography -- from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Rephotography has also been a useful visual method for researchers in sociology and communication to understand social change. Three main approaches are common -- photographs of places, participants, or activities, functions, or processes -- with scholars examining elements of continuity. This method is advantageous to studying social change due to the capacity of cameras to record scenes with greater completeness and speed, to document detailed complexities at a single time, and to capture images in an unobtrusive manner. Repeating photographs offer 'subtle cues about the changing character of social life.'"
"Material reenactments of the way the work of art history is always doubled in and structured by language, and of the ways the art itself resists."

Here's our man in the lunch line at the vegetarian burrito place around the corner.

GIRL IN LINE: ...then he moved to New York City.  He works for a hedge fund.

OTHER GIRL:  What's that?

GIL [hedging]:  They, uh -- finance companies.

OG:  Huh.

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Carol Lynn's teeth

Neil Wedman, Newspaper #1, pencil and ink wash on paper, 2011

The Newspapers are pretty great on their own, but are also accompanied by what look to me to be charcoal-on-wove-paper drawings of flying saucers, Seurat by way of Amazing Stories.
Thursday, February 07, 2013

"You can easily visit this spot on your own in Streetview and walk up and down the street and do 360s and take in the view in all directions. It makes you wonder if Frank were shooting The Americans today, would he even bother documenting Butte? Would a list of Google Streetview coordinates serve the same purpose?

[. . . .]

You can look up the [. . .] address in Streetview but all you'll find is raw information. The photo won't tell a story. It won't stand on its own. Without a lot of curation and editing Streetview is just Streetview. Another day, another town in the life of a nontraveling nonphotographer."

After visiting Corporate Thrift Store (rear) this afternoon in search of a new pair of used pants I left my car in their parking lot, crossed to the produce store (center) for an apple, then, munching contentedly in the bright late winter light, continued on around the corner and up the block to revisit this site.

Both trees are now gone, a new sidewalk and curb in their place.  I'm glad I photographed them when I did.  This picture is still one of my favorites.

(Image: Christopher Brayshaw, After Men Waiting, 2006, 2007)

"In the 1960s and 1970s, the artist Ed Ruscha created a series of small photo-conceptual [sic] artist’s books, among them Twentysix Gas Stations, Various Small Fires, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, Thirtyfour Parking Lots, Real Estate Opportunities, and A Few Palm Trees. Featuring mundane subjects photographed prosaically, with idiosyncratically deadpan titles, these 'small books' were sought after, collected, and loved by Ruscha’s fans and fellow artists.

Over the past thirty years, close to 100 other small books that appropriated or paid homage to Ruscha’s have appeared throughout the world. This book collects ninety-one of these projects, showcasing the cover and sample layouts from each along with a description of the work. It also includes selections from Ruscha’s books and an appendix listing all known Ruscha book tributes. These small books revisit, imitate, honor, and parody Ruscha in form, content, and title. Some rephotograph his subjects: Thirtyfour Parking Lots, Forty Years Later. Some offer a humorous variation: Various Unbaked Cookies (which concludes, as did Ruscha’s Various Small Fires, with a glass of milk), Twentynine Palms (twenty-nine photographs of palm-readers’ signs). Some say something different: None of the Buildings on Sunset Strip. Some reach for a connection with Ruscha himself: 17 Parked Cars in Various Parking Lots Along Pacific Coast Highway Between My House and Ed Ruscha’s.

With his books, Ruscha expanded the artist’s field of permissible subjects, approaches, and methods. With Various Small Books, various artists pay tribute to Ed Ruscha and extend the legacy of his books."

"Paying tribute" isn't often an aesthetically successful methodology, but the word "legacy" strikes a chord with me.  I want to own this book, though I don't think that most of the works in it will or have been made out of motives similar to mine.

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Alec Soth, Frank's View, from the sequence Broken Manual.
The man with the drawn face sprawled on the courtesy seats with 24 Hours open on his lap is telling no one in particular about his drug conviction(s).

-It's a crooked world.  A fucking crooked world.  Twenty-four years in the penitentiary it took me to figure that out.

-Twenty-four years.  My life.
A cleaning vehicle drew a line across my camera's lens
Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Metropolitan (75), 2013

Monday, February 04, 2013
Michael Turner, dropping science:

"Do we miss books sections?

What I miss most about books sections is what I also miss about being a teenager and walking into Duthie Books at Robson and Hornby -- the circular staircase that led downstairs to its Poetry section, where handmade (and often well-made) books lay on a table surrounded by those made in factories, their spines out. Seems every Saturday there was something new in this section, or something to look at again, like Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology (1915) or Diane Wakoski's The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems (1968), books I had to look at twice before buying.

But then the day came when the section stopped changing, replenishing itself with new books. Sure there were books that had not been there the week before, but they only looked like different versions of books that had been there the week before that, and I did not feel the need to look at them again. Of course by then I was getting that kick at Granville Book Company, who could support their varied Poetry section through the sale of computer books, until those books became available online, not as books but as information, a situation that led them, like Duthie's, to close."

The next exhibition is probably going to be called Trouble in Paradise.  Two big "location pictures," Pearblossom and Haddonfield, one in color and one in black and white, plus some smaller colored architectural photographs made on Beverly Boulevard and Foothill Boulevard, plus some very small foliage studies in both color and black and white made at the margins of the city.

Reading, in preparation: Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: the Architecture of Four Ecologies, and David Hockney, A Retrospective (LACMA, 1988).

Thanks to Helpsy, w/ love.

(Image: David Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967)

(Update for all those wiseasses who thought "Beverly Boulevard" was a lay-up: the Beverly Boulevard picture is not a "location picture" and not of a former theatre and current synagogue.  It's of a nondescript north-facing mixed-use commercial and residential building on the corner of Beverly and New Hampshire which I first saw in 2008 or 2009 and have been trying to photograph ever since)

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