Andrew Hultkrans

  • Left: Matt Maiellaro, Brad Bird, Tad Friend, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Dave Willis. Right: Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
    diary September 28, 2005

    Cartoon Networking

    New York

    Where do you go to hear that TV executives are censorious cowards, that Tom Cruise is indeed gay, and that, despite their efforts to appear cuddly and approachable, the Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with? To the New Yorker Festival, of course, the annual culture grope that, with its elbow-patched tweeds, perilously perched reading glasses, and mock seriousness, heralds the arrival of capital-F Fall. Avoiding the standard literary fare, I exhumed a patchless tweed blazer from its naphthalene crypt and set out for the Festival’s margins—events peopled by the kinds of characters who in

  • Left: The Extra Action Marching Band performing at Galapagos. (Photo: Annie Sundberg) Right: “La Contessa,” the Band's Spanish galleon, at the Burning Man Festival.
    diary August 05, 2005

    Sweat and Lowdown

    Brooklyn

    The Extra Action Marching Band is a thirty-five strong troupe of Bay Area drum-and-horn hellions who play an aggro blend of Balkan brass music, New Orleans second-line funk, and primeval Moroccan trance, preceded by a raunchy flag team that marches, bumps, and grinds in corsets, hot pants, and pasties. They have graced the prestigious Guca brass band festival in Serbia, sailed the playa at Burning Man in a self-built Spanish galleon, and rocked the Hollywood Bowl with fan and colleague David Byrne. They incite near-riots wherever they go, and may be some of the best public art available in our

  • Left: Waltham. Right: An air guitar contestant named Ambrose. (Photos: Katharina Drechsler)
    diary May 26, 2005

    Hot Air

    New York

    Having witnessed the spaz bacchanal of New York’s regional Air Guitar Championship, I’d like to see a statistical graph of the relative fortunes of performance art and air guitar. My hunch is that factor analysis would reveal a strong negative correlation between the two. That is, as performance art declined into masturbatory irrelevance in the 1980s and ’90s, air guitar—a far more honest type of masturbatory irrelevance—rose like David Lee Roth in midair split. Take the politics out of performance art, after all, and you’re left with untrammeled histrionics, potential nudity, and

  • Left: Lawrence Lessig, Steven Johnson, and Jeff Tweedy. Right: The crowd.
    diary April 12, 2005

    Tweedy Set

    New York

    How to regain your writer’s pride as you’re being shunted to the back of a two-block line outside the New York Public Library? Simple. Pass by a similarly shunted rock star (David Byrne), a longtime Rolling Stone editor (David Fricke), and a downtown DJ/theorist manqué (DJ Spooky) on the way. This spottily luminescent throng was assembled to hear Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and Stanford law professor and intellectual property activist Lawrence Lessig discuss copyrights, copywrongs, and their effects on contemporary creativity. Moderated by Wired contributing editor and digital culture writer

  • Left: Still from The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. Right: Asia Argento. (Photo: Joshua Wildman)
    diary March 12, 2005

    Junk Bonds

    New York

    Among the surprises at the US premiere of Asia Argento’s film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things were the Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys passed out to the huddled hipster masses in the Anthology Film Archives’ interminable stairway line, the pre-screening absence of Argento, and the presence of Lou Reed, wearing black leather pants, natch, and a gray cotton hoodie. The film, based on J. T. LeRoy’s story cycle of the same name, kicked off the twelfth annual New York Underground Film Festival, and Lou, apparently still “underground,” was charged with reading a touching if rambling statement by

  • Left: Brooke Geahan and Kimberly D. Spell. Right: Dennis Cooper and Void Books publisher Alex Kasavin. (Photos: Alexis Scherl)
    diary January 17, 2005

    Bottoms Up

    New York

    A word about readings: Unless the author is a close friend, I avoid them like the Meatpacking district on Saturday night. The tawdry, awkward venues, the injurious scholastic chairs, the fake solemnity, the nervous laughs, the tucked-in torpor of the audience: The whole scene generally strikes me as less a promotion of the writer’s work than a cheap dramatization of the debasement of literature in contemporary America, a Spinal Tap for poets, if you will. Which is why it was quite a bit more than a “refreshing surprise” to attend a reading by LA’s post-punk Jean Genet, Dennis Cooper, at the new

  • Left: Harvey Weinstein, Quentin Tarantino, and Bob Weinstein at MoMA. Right: Still from Reservoir Dogs.
    diary December 20, 2004

    Shill Bill

    New York

    Daring to question the Weinstein brothers of Miramax seems the very definition of leading with one’s chin. Little wonder, then, that when the fearsome moguls of American independent film agreed to be interviewed at MoMA last Thursday night, they chose an interlocutor with chin to spare—the prognathous prince of pulp cinema, Quentin Tarantino. The occasion was the studio’s twenty-fifth anniversary, to be celebrated over the coming months with the screening of fifty Miramax films (including Reservoir Dogs, shown after the discussion), fifteen of which will be donated to MoMA’s film archive.

  • Adaptation

    IF THIS WERE A CHARLIE KAUFMAN SCRIPT about me writing a review of Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman’s new film Adaptation, I, Andrew Hultkrans, Artforum critic, would at this very moment be crawling the walls of my barren apartment like Gene Hackman at the end of The Conversation, mentally tracing not merely every single moment of my own life but every single moment of the entire history of the universe that, in evolutionary terms, led up to this all-nighter I’m pulling because I have to write a review of this diabolically unreviewable film called—it’s been careening around my brain for weeks

  • Andrew Hultkrans

    ANDREW HULTKRANS

    1. Radar Brothers, And the Surrounding Mountains Clearly the result of bales of dope and an aural diet of country, Brian Wilson, and Dark Side of the Moon, these songs are lighter-waving codas of casual majesty—their beginnings and middles thrown out with the bong water, apparently.

    2. The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Sure, it’s sappy, inspirational sci-fi, but if it doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, you’re probably a robot anyway.

    3. The Notwist, Neon Golden Kraftwerk’s homeland spawns a band that merges psych-folk with electronica to arrive at something one could

  • Paul Thomas Anderson

    “GEEK LOVE” WOULD BE the perfect title for Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, were it not already taken by Katherine Dunn’s 1989 carny novel. Instead, the young writer-director settled for Punch-Drunk Love to describe his “$25 million Adam Sandler art-house movie,” a conscious attempt to rein in his epic, ensemble-cast instincts and have a puckish go at the moribund romantic-comedy genre. Punch-Drunk’s high/low high jinks are immediately apparent, pairing Hollywood’s lowbrow cash cow Sandler with Lars von Trier alumna Emily Watson and mingling a nonprofessional supporting cast with the artiest

  • If It Isn't A Duncan, 2000.

    Patti Smith

    Patti Smith once said “art plus electricity equals rock ’n’ roll.” Turn down the wattage and you’ve got the art of a woman reluctant to assume the mantle of Godmother of Punk but clearly comfortable in every other cloak: poet, playwright, Bowery-fabulous beatnik, Detroit housewife, political essayist, and visual artist. In this survey, organized by John Smith of the Warhol Museum, she unveils films, videos, and drawings, some portentously called illuminated manuscripts. “The illuminated manuscripts,” she writes on one, “allow me the freedom to create . . . until ready to

  • Wilco

    IT’S A GREAT AMERICAN STORY, late-capitalist style. Scruffy heartland band (Wilco) makes its best record (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) amid internal strife and shakeouts (two members fired); submits master tapes to its record label (Reprise, a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner); receives deafening silence (two weeks without any response), followed by demands for changes (due to “lack of commercial potential”). Then, when bandleader (Jeff Tweedy) refuses to rerecord the songs, label exec (David Kahne, then acting head of Reprise) unceremoniously shows band the back door. Band leaves label with unusual