Showing posts from September, 2008

In which I probably annoy a lot of my readers

I consider myself an environmentalist. I'm in favour of spending large sums of money to maintain untouched wildernesses and biodiversity. I'm a fiscally conservative free-marketer, but I still believe clean air, clean water, and industrial pollution should be mandated and regulated. I think the evidence shows beyond any reasonable doubt that global warming is real, and increasing, and ultimately a very bad thing. (Though I have a lot of time for Bjorn Lomborg's argument that its costs are still outweighed by the benefits of a modern industrialized society; global warming is proven bad, but its alternatives, given current tech, are not proven better.) So why does so much of the modern environmental movement leave me cold and/or seething? Commenting on my friend Rob's blog some time ago, I compared modern environmentalism to the Original Sin meme, slightly mutated. He replied, trenchantly: Slightly mutated? Surely you jest, sir; I don’t see any mutation at all. In the beg

TIFF Reviews: The Burrowers, Zack and Miri Make a Porno

So for years now I have managed to be away from Toronto while the film festival was on, and regretted this. This year I'm here, and it turns out I don't actually like film festivals: the crowds are oppressive, the tickets wildly overpriced, and you can neither buy popcorn nor bring coffee into the theatres. They do, however, offer tantalizing sneak peeks of future releases. So: if you get a chance to see JT Petty's The Burrowers , especially on the big screen, seize it. Set in the Old West's Dakota Territories, it's about a search party sent after the survivors of what seemed to be an Indian massacre ... but who, it turns out, were victims of something(s) entirely else. Taut, lyrical, riveting, gorgeous, subtly allegorical, and haunting, It's more a western with horror tropes than the converse, closer to The Searchers than The Slugs , and the scariest thing in it isn't the trackless wastes or the inhuman monsters, but man's inhumanity to man. Very highl

That Thing In The Desert

The theme this year was "American Dream". As ever, click on any photo to see a larger version. welcome to the vacant heart of the wild west I spent my first day heavily sleep deprived, because it took me five hours to traverse the twenty miles from Gerlach to the Gate. Dawn at the Gate. As ever, the Man himself was something of an attention magnet. A triptych from the 11-story steel structure Babylon (aka "The Hilton"): One of the most difficult things about any attempt to describe Black Rock City is the total and utter transformation the city undergoes at dawn and dusk; day and night are like two different cities. You really have to be there to understand, but here are a few comparable shots: Day Man and Night Man. Day tree. Night tree. The Flaming Lotus Girls' Mutopia , easily the most awesome thing on the playa this year, by day. By night. I camped with Snack Food Glory Hole, aka Best. Camp. Ever. The glory hole. We snacked hundreds of hungry mouths. SFGH