Thursday, July 31, 2008

not me

The Lonely Seagull is, by nature, skeptical, especially of broad, negative generalizations focused narrowly on easy--though possibly deserving--targets. So, though something deeply felt clicked in recognition and sympathy while reading an article called "Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization" by Douglas Haddow in the current issue of Adbusters, it might be best appreciated in the spirit of intriguing writing hidden in a scathing polemic. The concluding paragraph--which is a good condensation of the whole article--especially calls for this sort of critical appreciation:
We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.

The stark choice between hedonism and revolution seems like an especially strained argument. The Lost Generation (of Hemingway, et al) probably looked just as apathetic and materialistic to ambivalent observer-participants in its own time. But neither an unhealthy taste for whiskey nor an excessive affection for fixed-gear bicycles and fake eyeglasses preclude an interest in political action. The fallacious notion that one must choose between a complete devotion to a total anti-materialist revolution or suffer in an apathetic purgatory, prey to savvy marketers does a disservice to more realistic hopes for practical change. Since at least the 1930's, critics have been sounding the same alarm. The hipster might represent some of the more lamentable aspects of late capitalism but, unless it is understood as a progress toward the perfection of irony and the ubiquitous sporting of American Apparel clothing*, the hipster does not represent the "end" of Western Civilization.

*As he writes this, the author is wearing two pieces of American Apparel clothing, a fact that brings to mind Louis Althusser, who worried about the same thing in a different way:
In this preliminary remark and these concrete illustrations, I only wish to point out that you and I are always already subjects, and as such constantly practice the rituals of ideological recognition, which guarantee for us that we are indeed concrete, individual, distinguishable and (naturally) irreplaceable subjects. The writing I am currently executing and the reading you are currently performing are also in this respect rituals of ideological recognition, including the ‘obviousness’ with which the ‘truth’ or ‘error’ of my reflections may impose itself on you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jay Adams

The Lonely Seagull would like to welcome Jay Adams back home. We wish him the best as he makes his way anew in Orange County.

(pic via NYT)


(from the owls go)

(from vieilles_annonces')

(from whatatiger)

(from the library of congress)

(from vieilles_annonces')

Style. What's it all about? Always changing hither and nither, blowing in the wind, like a delicate particle from a plant; it's hard to keep up with. Am I right?

What should I wear today? Will this look cool? Will people make fun of my "cover?" These are things the Lonely Seagull is occasionally concerned (not obsessed--we're not vain!) with.

The other weekend, an older, distinguished gentleman came up to our booth at the SF Zine Fest. We knew he was distinguished because of his fine coat and scarf, and the twinkle in his eye. Like most people, he started rubbing his grubby mitts all over us (in the form of the magazine). Fortunately, his hands were not as grubby as most people's and his search, instead of saying, "I'm uncomfortable standing in front of this table, so I'm going to mangle this object," seemed to say "what is this? I want to know. I search for understanding." The kindly man turned the magazine over a few times and read some of the contents within. That was nice of him (seriously, we are always glad and surprised when people attempt to read us--we're not sure we would!) Then he said, "it's very simple." "Yes," we said. Simple is what we are going for. "It looks old-fashioned," he said, "it's timeless." "Oh (wow!), thanks!" we said. Then he rubbed his thick, sailor-like hands on the cover one more time, "it feels like sand." And with that, he walked away.

What inspires the Lonely Seagull style? The above pics are a few things we find sandy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Energy, Part 2

ESG, "Moody"

"Experimental Music Video by Emmanuelle Tricoire in New York"

after the party

The Lonely Seagull is tired.

The 2008 iteration of San Francisco Zinefest was fun, new, and--though The Lonely Seagull is not completely unaccustomed to sitting for eight-hour stretches--long. Most excitingly, the Fest provided exposure to projects that were, to TLS at least, exciting and new. TLS also met many more friendly people, all of whom seemed to be working on something interesting, but, after fifteen hours and what seemed like thousands of faces and names, only the people sitting directly in front of us for those same hours really registers strongly right now. Avian memory is short and fleeting.

Pictures, more thoughts on the Fest, and delivery of promised posts will follow shortly. But for now, rest is the order of the day(s?).

(Photo via the owls go)

Friday, July 18, 2008

ten years

As promised, here is Charlie Rose's conversation with David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. Thoughts and commentary to follow soon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


In case you were wondering how to conduct 1) Lonely Seagull contributor brainstorming sessions 2) Lonely Seagull worship meetings or 3) a good party, please refer to Peter Adair's 1967 documentary Holy Ghost People.

most important issues

Unlike The New Yorker, The Lonely Seagull will refrain from endorsing a presidential candidate this year. (More on The New Yorker later, when the video of David Remnick's appearance last night on Charlie Rose's show becomes available.) On the issue of lapel-related expressions of political sentiment, however, The Lonely Seagull would like to endorse* Peter Sis's idea for a resolution of the trouble surrounding Barack Obama's lapel decoration:

He says that “this would look different and fresh, especially during the G-8 meetings.”

Background and other contenders can be found here.

*The endorsement is offered with the understanding that this is not actually a competition, and, if it were, any expression of preference would be withheld.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

not a blanket stance

That The Lonely Seagull doesn't presently accept poetry submissions should not be taken as a sign that The Lonely Seagull doesn't appreciate the occasional poem. Take, for instance, a poem called "Pompeii" by Charles Bernstein, which was originally published in the June issue of Poetry and re-published by Harper's in their August issue. Its excellence is manifest:
The rich men, they know about suffering
That comes from natural things, the fate that
Rich men say they can't control, the swell of
The tides, the erosion of polar caps
And the eruption of a terrible
Greed among those who cease to be content
With what they lack when faced with wealth they are
Too ignorant to understand. Such wealth
Is the price of progress. The fishmonger
Sees the dread on the faces of the trout
And mackerel laid out at the market
Stall on quickly melting ice. In Pompeii
The lava flowed and buried the people
So poems such as this could be born.

Summer Energy

For motivational purposes.

Wounded Lion-Pony People (2008) directed by Brian Bress.

Intro to Skater Dater (1965)

OMD-Electricity (1979)

Humans Cannot Be This Way

From Lonely Seagull-recommended documentary Gates of Heaven, directed by Errol Morris.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bruce Conner

The Lonely Seagull was sad to hear that experimental filmmaker Bruce Conner died last week in San Francisco. Here is a movie he made with Toni Basil long before her "Mickey" fame. Apologies for it's graininess.