Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Art’

Helping the Hackers: Media should stop doing the Sony hackers’ work for them. Update: Sony, theatres fold completely. Cyberterrorists win.

December 15, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Books, Current Events, Movies No Comments →

Update: Sony Pictures cancels holiday release of The Interview after threats.

That’s great, chicken out after weeks of free front-page and viral publicity, when people now want to see The Interview.

* * * * *

While we enjoyed the confirmation that Hollywood is run by horrible people, the confidential reports of forthcoming projects, and the appreciation of Michael’s Fassbender, that information came from a crime perpetrated by a group that wants to stop the showing of a movie. They want to gag free speech.

The news organizations who used the stolen data claim that they selected only the “newsworthy” stuff–we need a new definition of what is news. They’re invoking free speech to make revelations made possible by people who are against free speech.

Never mind the reputation and income of the corporation, but sensitive personal data of its employees has been made public.

And if we only watch movies made by nice people (and read books, listen to music, look at art, eat food, live in buildings, wear clothes, use gadgets, ride cars by nice people), there would be no culture.

Read about it at the NYT.

Hmm, Haircuts for the Homeless, Helping the Hackers—today’s headlines are brought to you by the letter H.

Museums in the movies 3

December 08, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Movies No Comments →

We just realized that we never finished this series, which we started over a year ago. (Some of the links no longer work; we’ve updated them.)

Part 1
Part 2

7. The International by Tom Tykwer

Shootout at the Guggenheim New York. The movie stars Clive Owen and Naomi Watts and is about shenanigans in big finance. There’s also a big chase scene on the rooftops of–was it Istanbul, or are we confusing it with one of the Taken flicks? Anyway, good set pieces, timely plot, wish we could remember more.

8. Ghostbusters by Ivan Reitman

Photo from the Ghostbusters wikia.

Paranormal activity should emanate from museums, they’re only full of dead people’s things.

Our friend Chook has an interesting theory. According to the local superstition, you can’t go straight home from a wake because the dead person’s spirit will go with you. (How do the spirits know which person to go with? Or being dead do they now have the power to be in many places at once?) So coming from the wake, you’re supposed to drop by a restaurant to make “pagpag”. People usually go to wakes late at night, what’s still open at that time? Therefore Chook thinks all Starbucks are haunted.

9. Batman (1989) by Tim Burton

Photo from the Batman wikia.

“Gentlemen, let’s broaden our minds.” Hey, Michael Keaton might get an Oscar nomination for playing an actor who used to play a superhero in Birdman. We’re just happy to see Michael Keaton again.

10. The Wings of the Dove by Iain Softley

There’s the museum in London, then all of Venice is a museum. Pruned of his tendentious, exasperating prose, Henry James novels make wonderful movies.

11. A Room With A View by Merchant-Ivory

Photo from Slow Italy

All of Florence is a museum. There’s an excuse for the Italian economy: How to achieve progress when you live in a museum.

12. Dressed to Kill by Brian De Palma

In which the Philadelphia Museum of Art stands in for the Metropolitan Museum of New York. We love Brian De Palma, he’s the lewd Hitchcock. In this retread of Psycho, sexually frustrated mom Angie Dickinson (When we were kids she starred in a cop show called Policewoman and supposedly her legs were insured for a million bucks. Should’ve been more. We wonder how much Kim Kardashian’s ass is insured for.) goes to the museum and tries to pick up this guy, who gives her the runaround.

Dressed To Kill also has a great elevator scene, right up there with the fight scene in Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Fondation Louis Vuitton: The building is remarkable, the art not so.

November 26, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Places, Traveling No Comments →

museum front

Finally the van approached the Fondation Louis Vuitton and we could see the building with our own eyes. It is amazing. It is as if a zeppelin crash-landed on Waterworld, and the scavengers made a giant sailboat with the parts. How does it stand up? More importantly, how can the art inside compete with the exterior?

how it's held together

We were disgorged by the van into a long queue for tickets, even if it was just two and a half hours before closing time. Tickets in hand, we joined the next queue at the main entrance. Above the main door is a big, glittering LV logo that made me feel like I was entering an enormous handbag. A guard inspected our bags while a lady with a clipboard asked each visitor where she was from. There was some discussion over whether some Americans with a baby in a stroller should be admitted. The experience was not unlike being judged by the doorman before gaining entry into a trendy nightclub. lobby


Read our article at BusinessWorld.

The mystery of Vivian Maier, the nanny who was a secret photographer

November 24, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art 1 Comment →

The story of Vivian Maier, whose genius as a photographer was discovered accidentally after her death, is a cross between a Patricia Highsmith novel and an episode of Storage Wars. Her work would never have come to light if someone hadn’t bought the contents of her locker. She is supposed to have taken come to the Philippines and Southeast Asia in the 50s—we want to see the pictures from that trip.

Paris, City of Queues

November 12, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Places, Traveling 5 Comments →

You don’t need the Paris museum pass. Go to Mariage Freres at the Place de la Madeleine, buy three tins of tea instead.

Serves us right for trying to be practical while on vacation (from which we will need a vacation). We bought a Paris Museum Pass, which promises that we can make unlimited visits to the museums and that we don’t have to fall in line—we can go straight in by just flashing the pass.

louvre queue
Lines at the Louvre. Go on the first Sunday of the month, when admission is free. In the dead of winter, when there are fewer visitors. Then you can imagine that the zombie apocalypse has happened and you are trapped in the Louvre. There are worse fates.

We bought a 2-day pass for 42 euros, with the intention of cramming the 7 exhibitions we wanted to see after we got back from the Austrian sticks. True, experience tells us that we can go to just one or two museums before we get art overload and our brain shuts down, but we figured that by averting our eyes and ignoring everything but the shows we wanted to see, we could fool ourself into staying alert.

fondation queue
The Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton in the middle of nowhere, the Bois de Boulogne. Note to Ricky and Raul: We went. The building is the event, as Noel would put it. The collection: Non-event of the year, possibly the decade.

Immediately we found out that the museums we went to were, for some reason or other, not covered by the blasted pass. The Paris Museum Pass IS NOT HONORED at privately-owned museums and temporary exhibitions at public museums. It is not good for the Marchel Duchamp exhibit at the Pompidou, the Garry Winogrand show at Jeu de Paume, the newly-opened Fondation Louis Vuitton, and even the newly-reopened Picasso Museum. It is so useless for our purposes, there should be a line for hapless gits so we could flash the Paris Museum Pass and someone could say, “You can’t use that here.”

picasso queue
We queued up for an hour at the Picasso. Apparently only a certain number of people can be admitted at any given time, or else you can’t see the art for the crowds. The press of humans is useful for staying warm as it is getting very cold.

Only get the Paris Museum Pass IF it’s your first time in Paris, you’re on a package tour, you’ve never seen the permanent exhibits at the Louvre, Orsay, Pompadou and the other majors, and you need to see everything in 2, 4, or 6 CONSECUTIVE DAYS. And you have a car and driver, because getting from one place to the other using public transportation (and we love the metro, though it smells exactly like the Quiapo underpass) will eat into your time budget. And your brain won’t overload and shut down.

We should’ve used the 42 euros to buy lunch with a glass of champagne at Fauchon dammit.

The Marquis de Sade and the Borgias: now sexing up the museums of Paris

October 31, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, History, Places 5 Comments →


The Borgia exhibit at the Musee Maillol doesn’t have an English text, but everything is familiar because we’d seen the TV show The Borgias. The museum exhibition is the prestigious historical tie-in to the TV show, except that the real Borgias and their associates, as painted by artists from the Renaissance, were not as beautiful as the actors. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are mentioned in the title, but they are barely represented; however, there’s a display of costumes from the series. Tsk, tsk, how commercial. It’s almost American.


The same could be said of Sade: Attacking the Sun at the Musee d’Orsay which, judging from the crowd waiting to get in, is a blockbuster. The show is massive, and the pieces impressive on their own—the Rodins are especially awesome—but their connection to the writings of the mad Marquis are tenuous at best. (Have you tried reading Justine or 120 Days of Sodom? We recommend them for insomniacs. Take two pages every night and you will sleep like the dead. However, our friend recommends his Philosophy in the Boudoir as “charming”.)

The curators imply that every major artist from the 19th century onwards was secretly influenced by Sade. The influence must’ve been so secret, the artists weren’t aware of it. Fine, the Surrealists championed Sade, so they should be there, but anything sexual or violent in the work of Goya, Gericault, Ingres, Rodin, Picasso, Munch is presented as proof of this influence: “It’s obvious!”

What is most obvious is that museum curators, like filmmakers, appreciate the uses of shock value. If you promise the audience decadence and depravity, they will come. The innermost room of the Sade show is called The Chamber of Perversions, and the fact that the viewer can come away unshocked is perhaps the most shocking thing of all.

See their NSFW exhibition trailer.