:: Notes from Somewhere Bizarre ::

A Journal of Cultural Contamination by Ashley Benigno
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:: Monday, June 10, 2002 ::

On the plane to Milan the other day I read the "Third Eye" by David Knowles. The artist versus the voyeur in a Manhattan summer setting makes for a crisp novel, but I found the ending very disappointing.
:: ashleyb Monday, June 10, 2002 [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 ::
Thinking of marixxx in delicate manga settings - my love a tattoo on my arm
:: ashleyb Tuesday, June 04, 2002 [+] ::
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Watched Monsoon Wedding. Beautiful film, great acting, lovely soundtrack. Not really a comedy, like many reviews have said, unless we mean comedy in the Italian neo-realist tradition of social satire and bittersweet storylines. The film made all the more poignant by the current nuclear threat hanging over the region – when the madness of power and politics becomes more incredible than the most unbelievable fiction. Hoping only in an ending to the crisis reflecting the film’s closing shots, with the monsoon rains washing away all the bad karma and the pain…

Also from New Delhi - like the film's setting - come Arundathi Roy's comments on the crisis - Under the nuclear shadow.
:: ashleyb Tuesday, June 04, 2002 [+] ::
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:: Monday, June 03, 2002 ::
Surreal sight of the day: two motorcyclists dressed in full leathers and wearing matching black helmets, standing in line waiting for a bus.
:: ashleyb Monday, June 03, 2002 [+] ::
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Been reading a book by Luther Blissett , called "Toto' Peppino e la guerra psichica 2.0". A multiple name that came into being in the mid-nineties, Luther Blissett (LB) has been behind a series of media pranks and acts of semantic terrorism in Italy and across Europe, reaching as far the USA. Difficult however to talk about LB in any 'historical' or 'truthful' way, when his essence is made of rumours. The book in question is actually a reprint in single volume of two earlier books by Luther Blissett, and is to be taken as a “serious” tome – unlike, for example, another book by LB called net.gener@tion which has been described as a hoax perpetrated against a major Italian publishing house. And a difference certainly exists between net.generation and Toto' Peppino e la guerra psichica 2.0. The first is definitely a trashy book dedicated to the internet, while the second is much more erudite in its descriptions of cultural warfare techniques. And yet things are not so simple, with the former containing the spirit of LB and the second peppered with Borges-like fictions. Strangely, one of the books that make Toto' Peppino e la guerra psichica 2.0 – mind invaders – has also been edited in the UK by Stewart Home, who is also rumoured to be a multiple name. Moreover, LB has also claimed responsibility for a false Hakim Bey book published in Italy, while the theorist of the TAZ himself is rumoured to be Peter Lamborn Wilson. Some theories have also linked LB to Umberto Eco, in what may simply be a neoist conspiracy….

For my part I pissed off LB before his ritual suicide back in 1999, with an article I wrote for Telepolis, and which was later picked up by the Spanish widow of LB, among others.

Beyond all the hoaxes and pranks, what is certain is that anyone interested in the thoughts and experiences borne from the intersection between radical politics, critical art, media sabotage and the living history of the European avant-garde should check out the lessons and legacies of the one and many Luther Blissett.

:: ashleyb Monday, June 03, 2002 [+] ::
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Watched Zoolander on video last night. A very funny film - totally silly and never moronic. The storyline, with its male models and fashion conspiracy theories, felt like a light and frothy, sunny side up remix of Bret Easton Ellis' Glamorama .
:: ashleyb Monday, June 03, 2002 [+] ::
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