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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents … Xmas Group Show

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Roman Signer Room with Christ­mas Tree (2010)
A dec­o­rated tree, which runs on an engine, cre­at­ing its own orna­ments. It then spins at high speed causing the ornaments to fly away and destroy the walls.

 

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Olaf Breuning Snow Drawing (2014)

 

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Taryn Simon A Cold Hole (2018)
A Cold Hole, the US artist’s new performance and installation will plunge museum visitors into icy water. A smooth layer of ice will be laid on the floor of a 40ft-by-22ft space and covered with ice chips by Simon and her team, to resemble the uneven surface of a natural frozen lake. A square hole, 5ft by 5ft, will be cut 9ft-deep into the floor to create a plunge pool, filled with salt water and kept at around 40ºF (4ºC). More than 14 tonnes of ice and water will be used, requiring structural reinforcements in the basement below. A Cold Hole invites members of the public—who must be capable swimmers, in good health and over 18 years old—to sign up in advance for cold plunges, held daily throughout the show’s run, at unannounced times.

 

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Charles Ray Shoe Tie (2012)

 

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Great Sky Gifts Chirpee Singing Christmas Ornament (1976)
This vintage Christmas decoration plays a repeating chirping bird sound. Want to buy this?

 

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Cameron Jamie Kranky Klaus (2003)
In the snowbound villages of central Austria on 6 December, villagers congregate in homes to await a visit by a benign St Nicholas bearing seasonal gifts. They are also waiting for the Krampus, strange mythical beasts with shaggy coats and serious attitude. As St Nicholas rewards the good, so the Krampus punish the bad. Kranky Klaus tracks a herd of Krampus as they work their way through the village mauling and menacing to the very limits of acceptable intimidation.

 

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Katie Paterson History of Darkness (2010-ongoing)
History of Darkness is an infinite slide archive; a life-long project, it will eventually contain hundreds upon thousands of images of darkness from different times/places in the history of the Universe, spanning billions of years. Each image handwritten with its distance from earth in light years, and arranged from one to infinity.

 

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The Fall We Wish You a Protein Christmas (2012)

 

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Various Santa Claus (20??)

 

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Keegan McHargue Boot (2010)

 

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Atsuko Tanaka Electric Dress (1956)
The Electric Dress is an early work of wearable art. It is made of electrical wires and hundreds of coloured neon light bulbs, painted with primary colours by enamel. The dress is actually the traditional Japanese kimono for marriage (although some people thought it looks like Christmas tree). Tanaka wore this work in exhibitions and walk through the exhibition hall. The light bulbs will be flicker according to body’s circuitry. The concept of this work is combining traditional Japanese kimono and innovative technology.

 

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Jeffrey Mandel Elves (1989)
There’s ONE elf! Not only that, but they didn’t use a kid or dwarf wearing a suit, they go and make top and bottom halves. You would think it was done that way so the elf could have all sorts of neat facial expressions, but it can barely move. Kirsten, Amy, and Brooke have this weird ceremony in the woods and bring the elf back to life. Soon Santa’s little killer is knocking off bit part actors, including a department store Santa. Hot on the heels of that death toll are the Nazis though, grandfather’s old friends know the elf was resurrected and want to help it mate with Kirsten. Nazis created the elf, and a perfect virgin will give birth to Aryans after it lays her. Mike takes over as the department store Santa and has something for Kirsten. The girls have a sleepover in the department store where Kirsten works. Mike shows up, the Nazis show up, and of course the elf shows up. After that Mike rushes around learning about the Nazis’ secret elf program to save Kirsten.

 

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Gary Hume Back of a Snowman (2002)
The 10-foot-tall, half-ton, faceless snowman stands outdoors. Hume has described the snowman as “the perfect sculpture, viewable from all sides, immaculate from all angles.”

 

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Ryoji Ikeda Spectra (2014)

 

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Alan Sailer War on Christmas (2012)
First, you may have noticed I like color, maybe a little too much. The gelatin gives me another color to play with. Second, the gelatin acts as a flexible medium to absorb energy from the pellet and transmit it to the item (in this case Christmas bulbs). The result is a pattern as the bulb breaks into little pieces.

 

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Gregory Markopoulos Christmas USA (1949)
Christmas U.S.A is not a primarily erotic film, containing no nudity or even nods to the act of gay sex. Instead, the film is a narrative about the gay psyche, surviving, enduring and eventually defeating oppression by the America so lovingly elevated in Post War America. Markopoulo’s looks upon the familial unit with revulsion and fear. Mother is haggard, kid sister is suspicious, even Father with his newspaper looks to his shirtless son in fear. The boy of our narrative wanders a Kafka-esque homestead of conservatism, kept propped up by mothers domesticity and fathers glowering presence. His mere presence, glowing shirtless like a ivory Greek statue, makes the dark rooms glow with eerie brightness, as he rests his head between his masculine arms. He cannot be contained, a ceremony occurs beneath a bridge, perhaps a known cruising spot in our humble town, a clean cut boy holds a candle stick, walking towards another boy, his arms spread like Saint Sebastian, bowing to him.

 

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Tony Tasset Snowmen (1997 – 2012)
‘I make work that tries to sort of connect with something really, really familiar. So, a snowman is a figurative sculpture that people make. I’m trying to blur the distinction between high art and low art. I think it puts the viewer on guard in a lot of ways. They’re not sure how to take this. With a snowman, I’m just trying to honor this almost folk tradition that people do. Anyway. So, in a way I make my snowman, but it has a connection with all the other snowmen that have ever been made. I’ve made a few snowmen, and the first one I made had a sad face on it. I made it right after we went into the Gulf War. To kind of try it out first, it had actually snowed in Chicago. So, I made this sad snowman [from real snow] with this sad charcoal mouth, and it was out in the front yard. That one was made out of real snow. That same day, people had snowmen all up and down the street. The next morning my snowman was knocked over, and the other snowman weren’t. I feel like making a sad face somehow was like sacrilegious or something. It somehow offended somebody on some weird level.’ — TT

 

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Ulver Christmas (2005)
We revelled in the freedom of not having to play by anyone’s rules, our own included. With the EPs and all the stuff we did before, we had rules. The Silence EPs had rules because they were all based on mishaps. That’s the whole concept of glitch music. It has to be based on sounds that aren’t intended, in a sense. We also had rules laid out for the soundtracks, naturally, so Blood Inside got a little out of control. We just went all over the whole spectrum.

 

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Kathryn Andrews Run for President (2016)

 

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John Baldessari Christmas (1986)
Acrylic on two black and white photographs. Overall: 37 x 20 1/4 in. (94 x 51.5 cm.)

 

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Isa Genzken Gay Baby (1997)

 

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The critic Claudio Malberti defined painter Luigi Beneficent style as ‘Realismo Estremo’ or ‘Extreme Realism’. Benedicenti replaces the fish and meat that used to decorate the dining rooms of the leisure class with contemporary Italian patisserie, ice cream and classy drinks.

 

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Mike Kelley Toy Santa Claus (1993)
Color Photograph 9 1.4 x 6 inches 1993 Limited Edition of 100 *Stamped ‘MK 1993’ en Verso Provenance: Ikon Ltd. Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

 

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America’s Tallest Singing Christmas Tree (2015)
High School Choir Performs as 67 Foot ‘Singing Christmas Tree’

 

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Richard Billingham Fishtank (1998, excerpt)
A high-rise council flat in the Midlands at Christmas. The father, the mother, the brother. Some animals. The father drinks a lot, the brother plays around a bit, the mother holds everything together. The older brother films them with his handycam – closely, slowly, intently, recording whatever is going on.

 

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Adam Parker Smith Pump (2011)

 

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John Armleder Untitled, 1985-2014 (2014)
Location: Neuretstrasse, at the edge of the forest behind The Alpina Gstaad

 

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Tokujin Yoshioka The Snow (2010)
The material is feather, which I believe is the lightest material of the present day. The snowscape created with the feather would be more like the memory of snow lying with people rather than the actual snow.

 

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Per-Ingvar Tomren & Magne Steinsvoll O’Hellige Jul! (2013)
Coming from a group of enthusiastic Norwegian amateurs, O’Hellige Jul takes place in a small town the days before Christmas. Norway’s horror scene is still in its infancy, which means that mainstream movies play safe and independent movies are the ones pushing the envelope. No horror movies with two, three or four million dollars budgets have tried to be innovative in Norway so far, and O’Hellige Jul therefore joins the ranks of movies that are produced on shoestring budgets but still manages to go beyond most of what’s been seen before (FYI, a Norwegian shoestring budget could be 5 or 15.000 dollars, not the 300.000 dollars Americans call low budget).


Excerpt

 

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Alan Vega No More Christmas Blues (2004)

 

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Mary Corse The Cold Room (1968/2017)
In 1967 Mary Corse first came up with the idea to build a cold room to house one of her ascetically minimal, neon-lit light boxes. She imagined giving visitors coats before they entered the chamber. She didn’t get a chance to build the piece at the time, but half a century later, a 12-foot-high, 12-foot-square white cube now stands inside Kayne Griffin Corcoran in Los Angeles, its interior cooled to 40 degrees. The light box hangs against the room’s southernmost wall. In this finally realized version, there are no coats. The chill is part of the experience. The cold room at Kayne Griffin Corcoran, part of her first solo show there, which is on view through November 11, has a heavy sliding door and an elegant look—brushstrokes are visible in white paint on the exterior. “It’s going to be very quiet,” she said, “just like a wakeup in the cold to look at the white light.”

 

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Polly Apfelbaum The Dwarves w/o Snow White (1992)
Apfelbaum paints with dyes on rectangles of crushed velvet that are then folded, showing the underlying layers of colors, and placed on cardboard boxes. The boxes function as pedestals for the painted velvet.

 

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Unknown Godzilla Christmas Tree (2011)
Photos surfaced online last year of this huge Godzilla Christmas Tree in the Aqua City Odaiba shopping mall in Japan. There aren’t really any other details about the holiday display.

 

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Paul McCarthy TRANS gum (2006)
TRANS gum is an edible image of Santa Claus individually hand silk-screened onto an eight-by-ten inch piece of chewing gum. The image is one of a special series of drawings by Paul McCarthy made specifically for the cover of TRANS> 8. By transforming the traditionally sanctified icon of a happy Santa Claus into a demented, sexual image—as seen in his video performances Tokyo Santa (1996) and Santa Chocolate Shop (1997)—Paul McCarthy examines the distressed state of the human psyche. Often staged as an act of violence and a perversion of certain behavioral patterns, his performances always combine such devices as irony, exaggeration, and the grotesque. Translated for the first time onto a pink, sugary, odoriferous, oversized stick of bubble gum.

 

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Pierre Huyghe L’Expédition Scintillante (2002)
“Like a lot of people in my generation, I’m interested in the notion of the departure point- in something that is a potential scenario rather than a plan- but that’s a process of suspension. Still, I like the format of the parable and, as I was saying, it’s really a haiku: it’s a very short way to express something, more to do with a poem than a novel.” — Pierre Huyghe

 

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bd594 Christmas Jumper (1998)
A video was posted by YouTube user bd594 from Toronto, Canada, over the weekend. Not only does the knit from Goodwill feature a festive tartan, it is adorned with a tinsel Christmas tree and is attached to a working toy train set which has also been decorated with cheap LED lights.

 

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Various Xmas Gifts (20??)

 

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Merry Xmas From 3D Porn Star Vivian Extreme

 

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Françoise Sullivan Danse dans la neige (1948)
Danse dans la neige was conceived as one of a cycle of 4 dances themed for the seasons. L’Été (now lost) was shot on 16mm film by Françoise’s mother while on holiday in July,1947. A spur of the moment invitation from Jean-Paul Riopelle in 1948 sparked the improvisational performance the next day of Danse dans la neige. Danced and directed by Sullivan, recorded on film by Riopelle and on camera by Maurice Perron, only the photographs survive.

 

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Jim Shaw Untitled (Spahn Ranch Santa Claus) (1991)

 

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Joseph Beuys 7000 Oak Trees (1982)
In 1982, for documenta 7, Beuys proposed a plan to plant 7000 oaks throughout the city of Kassel, each paired with a basalt stone. The 7000 stones were piled up on the lawn in front of the Museum Fridericianum with the idea that the pile would shrink every time a tree was planted.

 

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Cao Fei Asia One (2017)
Cao Fei’s “Asia One” takes viewers to a modern high-tech warehouse in Shanghai staffed by two workers, a smiling pale faced robot and a human. Video camera’s scan their every move whilst they oversee the automated distribution of hundreds of thousands of packages from the warehouse.


Excerpt

 

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Yrjö Edelmann Various (1962 – 2014)
Yrjö Edelmann was a Swedish painter celebrated for his Hyperrealist paintings of clumsily wrapped packages. To create his smooth trompe-l’oeil surfaces, Edelmann built up thin layers of oil paint using a traditional Renaissance glazing technique, gradually achieving the highest possible degree of dexterity and illusionism. By only depicting wrapped parcels, his oeuvre maintains a pervasive sense of tension and mystery, leading viewers to speculate what could be hidden beneath the wrapping paper.

 

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Philippe Parreno For Eleven Months of the Year its an Artwork and in December it’s Christmas (October) (2008)

 

 

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p.s. Hey. ** JM, Like a pig, nice. Enjoy shaking yourself loose from outer work’s grip and indulging the inner stuff. Thanks about the segue. I do try. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Thanks for big upping the post/Mr. Davies. And, oh yes, your piece! Everyone, To get an appropriate appreciation of yesterday’s blog star Terence Davies, read Mr. Ehrenstein’s piece on him and his work from 2009 entitled ‘Of Time and the City: Terence Davies Goes Home Again’ by simply clicking this, and, while you’re in a clicking mood, David has also done a fairly rare update on his legendary FaBlog under the moniker ‘Jesus H. Xmas’, and that’s surely worth a visit. Here. ** Sypha, Yes, the Doobie Brothers were a bit of a blight on their era’s discerning listeners to say the least. Oh, cool, well, send me the ‘Harlem Smoke’ post whenever you like. And, yes, the ‘buy’ links can be added later. Whatever date suits you, but the nearest Saturday is usual the optimal choice. ** Steve Erickson, Ah, that’s a shame. What can you do. Look forward to reading your Kusama interview, though. Everyone, Steve’s offering to you this weekend is his interview with Karyn Kusama, director of the new, buzzy film and Nicole-Kidman-goes-dark vehicle ‘Destroyer’. It’s here. Oh, yeah, I hadn’t heard a peep about CBD before, which I guess speaks to the lack of vocal 420 partakers amongst my immediate circle. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. ‘Distant Voices’ is definitely among his very best, I think. Let me know how you get on via them, yes. Oh, what a pretty photo of very prettily wrapped gifts. You’re a very fine applier, sir. ** Dominik, Hi, Dominik! I’m a little fried in the brain pan, and still just a bit hampered in the lower back, but, essentially, I’m pretty fine, thank you. Hooray!!!! You’re free! And you’re surrounded by Anita and your brother, so you get to be free but not alone, which is the best kind of freedom, obviously. We have a marathon meeting today where Gisele will give Zac and me her ultimate notes on Episodes 2 & 3, and then we will hopefully be able to put her wishes in motion within the episodes quickly, and then we will be finished, at least for a couple of weeks. But I suspect we’ll be tinkering or more with the script for many months to come, just hopefully not as a central mission. One of the good things about being a cigarette smoker these days is that needing to smoke is an always at-the-ready excuse to slip outside a party or other anxiety-producing get together whereupon you can either pretend it took a long time to smoke your cigarette or, worse case scenarios, you can just … oops … disappear. Yes, I saw there was a giant protest where you are yesterday. Our protests seem to have faded out. My definite vibe is that, if there even is a protest today, it won’t rough the place up, but we’ll see. You have very happy weekend too! Yes, it seems like Europeans celebrate Xmas on the 24th. A bunch of Americans too. My family was old school USA, so we always did the deed on the morning of the 25th. Anyway blah blah, have a really, really nice Xmas if I don’t see you before, and I hope to see you very soon! ** KeatonAli, Hey. You haven’t done DianeKeaton yet. Ah, those sneaky yet generous Iberians, that explains it. Ha ha. Swell, sexy weekend to you, bud. ** Right. I’m using the blog to help y’all usher in the Xmas spirit this weekend with a big old, Xmas themed show for y’all to wander through eyes-wise, and I hope you will. See you on Monday.

8 Comments

  1. Lovely stuff today. Some of it delicious, some of it touching. I have always found melting snowmen a heart-wrenching sight.

  2. Dennis, This day is great!

    Haha, I do the same thing in responding to emails, going step by step, so to speak. I always find myself backtracking or just saying, “Oh, okay, I just read the next paragraph…”

    Yes, CBD is a component of marijuana that, like Steve said, doesn’t get you high. The medical effects, though, seem promising, but they need to study it more. It does seem to help with things lke epilepsy, seizures, and glaucoma.

    Steve is right, too, about the marijuana. You’ll be in Times Square at night and a dude will be sitting there smoking a big fat joint with the police maybe a hundred feet away. No biggie. It’s like that in DC too. DC does allow for small amounts to be possessed, but you’re not really supposed to be standing around smoking it. People do anyway, and as far as I know, the police look the other way. I think police would much rather investigate murders and shit than pot smoking. Just a guess of mine.

    Yes, I’m fortunate to be “excepted.” They don’t use “essential” anymore because people were like, “Um, why do you employ non-essential employees?” Makes sense. In a shutdown, really, only about 13% of the government is actually shutdown. The employees on the GS scale won’t get paid during it, but they almost always get that pay retroactive. It’s bad for those who live paycheck to paycheck, but most get through it all right. (And yes, there are fed employees making $120k a year who live paycheck to paycheck, especially in the DC area, where prices are through the roof (though not as bad as NYC or London or LA).)

    Thank you, sir, and I hope you have a glorious weekend too. I really need to get on this novel. I’m champing at the bit, and I’ll be doing a lot of writing this weekend. Frankly, I’m almost finished. I’m seeing a few more chapters in the offing and then I’ll be done. I’ll go over it again and then see about getting this fucker published. I’m going all in.

  3. I forgot she was the wife from the Godfather, loved that role. Perfect contrast to Pacino. And she banged Beatty, hubba, hubba. Dont know her other movies, shes like a corporate cinema Mom with a slightly homely sense of fashion. Haha the name Diane does not go over well with me. I think of the old Gods and they and I do not get along. I long suffered the hell of being chased by dogs. Every dog is like hey Keaton we want to eat your face off. A perfect day in the bright Gulf sun. Had food at my favorite place, went and talked with Jackie K. for a while at the old bookstore. Anxious to see how his suggestions work out. Otherwise spent way too long at the mall. Saw some cute little thangs. Talked with the ocean for a while and then saw this ghastly piece of clothing that I always see at the beach when Im conversating with it. Now I’m listening to Goodbye Horses and Spin Me Round and getting on my LaKeaton D. Nile get up. Haha anywoot. Haha saw some weird Santas today too, a black one, a really evil one, some others. Not sure whats going on, haha. “Dingaling… hear them ring…” haha. Gotta run. Really cool Christmas stuff. Why is Christmas so darn evil?

  4. Didn’t the Doobie Brothers start as a jam band and then get into the yacht rock style for which they’re most remembered?

    Hell, I live across the street from a police station and I’ve seen people smoking joints on my block twice, with nothing happening. I suspect that only works if you’re white, though. Weirdly, the cops once hassled me on that block for drinking from a root beer can that they thought was actual beer.

    I took the train to my parents’ house in my Connecticut today. I’ll be here through the 27th. The trip went really smoothly, for once. The only hassle involved the bulkiness of my luggage. I plan to read – I bought Kevin Killian’s memoir collection at McNally Jackson to bring with me – and watch DVDs for the next few days. I watched the first 2 episodes of the HBO show BARRY, about a hitman who starts taking acting classes and decides he wants to become a professional actor instead. It’s interesting in that it’s basically a comedy but it takes violence seriously – the scenes involving Barry’s job are often gruesome and not played for laughs.

  5. Wanking off a microdot penis with a pair of tweezers, now that’s what the holiday season is all about. Oh and as of today Leeds United are top of the Christmas league table after a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over Aston Villa. Here’s wishing you the merriest of Christmases!

  6. Hey!

    This is a sweet compilation. The Baldessari, Kelley, and McCarthy are particularly exciting. Thanks dude.
    Double thanks for the Conjunctions crossed fingers. Buche and a haunted house, sounds fun. I’ve never actually had a buche. Have you ever had Kringle? It’s way less fancy and a lot more midwestern, but I think I’ll be having one this year. It’s like a giant marzipan donut, I gave it to everyone in my dorm once and they flipped. Which buche are you gonna eat?
    Yeah, I do the whole family get together thing. My grandma just had surgery so it’s not crazy cheery or anything. Christmas is fine though, my parents and brother and I get along well. I guess, yeah, I also don’t know anything about Jesus and don’t care about the holiday that much. I did as a kid when there was presents, but now it’s whatever. One of me friends was forced to do catholic school and knows everything about Jesus and isn’t really into Christmas or his family now. Xmas is way better when Jesus doesn’t fuck it up haha.
    So is the script sent in today? If so good luck and huge congrats!! How do you feel about it?

  7. Everything you’ve put here is only more vivid to me because for the second year in a row I’m not saturated by Christmas. I wonder what it’s like for Christian pilgrims who have a deeply emotional experience at one of the Jesus Walked Here places only to find as soon as they leave those particular spots that just about everybody is going about their regular business without any fanfare.

    Definitely sign me up for a plunge in the Cold Hole. I look forward to watching that 40’s short movie tonight. Wow the Godzilla Christmas tree makes me even more curious about Japan. Is there somewhere online, even behind a paywall, for people to watch video art like “Asia One” if they don’t have the chance to be in the right city at the right time to visit the installation?

    Here’s an add that I hope fits the theme and adds to the twisted cheer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6LmcrJq6oo

    A merry Christmas to you and a speedy lower back recovery! I’ve been having a bit of a bumpy time lately, but there’s nothing terrible to complain about. I’ve just found myself repeatedly experimenting with habits, trying to find a schedule that works (my company is extremely flexible–they pretty much don’t care when and where you work as long as you put in your hours and your work gets done), making more friends besides my boyfriend, finding rewarding stuff to do when my boyfriend is too busy to see me as much as we’d like, feeling huge variations of confidence in my Hebrew, putting silly pressure on myself to come up with and start implementing some kind of grand scheme before my rapidly approaching 30th birthday.

    Totally random: what are your thoughts on “Mr. Vain”? Despite it being stuck in my head I can soberly deem the song mediocre at best but the video strikes me as very inspired.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfWb_60lhw0

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