Saturday, July 16, 2011

der neue Hauptstadt

After an extremely long hiatus, Bellus Lens has crossed the Atlantic
Ocean and der Rhine to set up shop in a lovely town called Berlin. And
though there is much to do, there is not much to sell.

So, as always Dearest Readers, please bear with us as we attempt to
cultivate the cupboards of our new space in the now. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Letters to Emma Bowlcut, DC268

Drag City recently released Bill Callahan's long-waited first literary experiment: a two-part compilation of printed letters obsessively written to, not from, a woman that the narrator sees at a party. This work, whether it wants to or not, makes a nod to writers like Italo Calvino, André Breton, and even to Aldous Huxley's concentrated mescaline trip in Brave New World, yet Letters to Emma Bowlcut misses the mark and is rendered not with an aptitude for the concept of surrealism, but instead with surrealistic descriptors in place of silent, empty spaces--filler easily discarded.

Callahan's story-telling ability in this work definitely lacks a cohesiveness or emotional complexity and does not represent his skills that are apparent on any and all of his albums produced thus far, as (Smog) or otherwise. Instead what is left behind is a story line similar to Sometimes I Wish I Were An Eagle (Drag City)--where one can almost hear gruff, melancholic crooning in reaction to several layers of emotional heart-break, but instead one is left wondering, unfortunately more importantly, if Emma Bowlcut will ever appear. Callahan is firstly and fore-mostly a great musician and this is evidenced even more by the production of this purely written work void of sound or musicianship of any kind--two pieces he can't seem to do without.

Still Letters to Emma Bowlcut is not a lost cause as Callahan does produce some short creative and capturing passages, like in Letter 15: "It's hot there isn't it. I hope you're either keeping yourself pale or tanning until completely dark" (p. 18). And though this work should definitely be read by Callahan fans, it, like many other works by musicians-cum-writers, is not lasting and leaves readers waiting for the next, better piece of writing, if there ever is one.

Drag City:
Mention on Pitchfork:

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mi mancherai, or I'll see you soon

Welcome. With the prospects of leaving and transition weighing heavily on my life in the past few months, and now that a very important person to which I had become attached is doing the same: leaving and transitioning, making the move from Chicago to NYC, I thought it might be appropriate timing for a small first posting, and the beginning of something new.

Today is Memorial Day and to ask myself again what was originally a mid-afternoon question from my roommate, "What are you doing to memorialize?", I feel struck by the desire to act nostalgically and emphasize the importance of the past; to say in a Sam Cooke style of cooing that, "I miss you, I miss you, I miss you." But, instead I want to suggest a memorializing that considers the future optimistically, one where the past is not forgotten, but built off of; where one does not say 'Goodbye', but 'I'll see you soon'.

And so in memorializing optimistically, I want to also say 'Hello' to my potential new readership and potential new friends made in the Chicago summer heat; I want to say 'I love you' to all my family members and old friends, and I want to say 'N, I'll see you soon'.