Something important to carry, and the things that weren’t on your list

Something important to carry -- by Joe Reifer

Something important to carry — by Joe Reifer

  1. Two-Lane Blacktop – Criterion Collection — can you tell this movie is one of my favorites? I got this as a holiday gift, and the restored version looks and sounds fantastic. The box comes with a copy of the Rudy Wurlitzer script, two different commentary tracks, and a bunch of extra features. Lots of great stories on the second disc: the James Taylor interview reveals that he has never seen the film, blew the crankshaft through the center of the car after someone left it in reverse and he dropped the clutch at 6500rpm, and took a day off with Warren Oates to eat mescaline and do a snake dance in the Four Corners area.
  2. The Complete Monty Python’s Flying Circus 16-Ton Megaset — I put this on my wish list after the price went down to a reasonable $57.99 — every Monty Python episode ever made plus 2 live DVDs. Definitely a collection for the desert island list. Know what I mean?
  3. Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration — you already have Troy’s latest book, right? One of the top photography books of 2008.
  4. Up River: Man-Made Sites of Interest on the Hudson from the Battery to Troy — The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) strikes again. Subtle upon first glance, but extremely powerful. If you’ve spent any time in New York this book is a must see. If you’re into urban exploration, there are locations galore. At $13 in hardback this is an essential buy.
  5. Speaking of CLUI, I picked up a copy of Richard Misrach’s book Violent Legacies for $15 when visiting their Culver City location, as well as an interesting early urban exploration book called Dead Tech: A Guide to the Archaeology of Tomorrow, which was originally released in German in 1982. I also bought a copy of a Lucy Lippard book called On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art, and Place. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, CLUI has a small but focused collection of books for sale at great prices, and the 30-minute Trans-Alaska Pipeline slideshow that’s currently on display is fascinating. CLUI is also right next door to the Museum of Jurassic Technology.
  6. While across town at the Getty Museum, I picked up a copy of the Robert Adams book Beauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional Values. I’ve read his other book Why People Photograph multiple times, which is superb. The exhibit Dialogue among Giants: Carleton Watkins and the Rise of Photography in Californias has some amazing daguerreotypes and mining photos, and runs until March 1st. The Yosemite photos were less interesting, but I found the comparison between Yosemite photos by Carlton Watkins vs. Eadweard Muybridge very intriguing. The smaller photography exhibit In Focus: The Landscape has a few strong images, including an incredible Timothy O’Sullivan image from 1867 of his portable darkroom wagon on a sand dune. And speaking of Yosemite photos, Roger Minick’s Woman with Scarf at Inspiration Point is an all-time classic.

7 thoughts on “Something important to carry, and the things that weren’t on your list”

  1. Hey Joe, thanks to your recommendations here, we saw Two Lane Blacktop and Vanishing Point and loved them. Paris, Texas is waiting for us to watch this weekend. Cheers.

  2. Hey Jamie – Glad you liked the classic road movies. Paris, Texas is heavy. It’s a trip that Harry Dean Stanton had two movies that came out in 1984: Paris, Texas, and Repo Man. He’s also plays a bit part in Two Lane Blacktop.

  3. HDS also is the first victim in Alien, from 1979, which I watched again tonight. Could we include this in the road movie list? Probably not…

  4. I forgot that HD was in that movie. I still haven’t seen Jeunet’s Alien Resurrection (which bombed, but I’m interested in any of his movies). But yeah, we’ll probably have to keep outer space mostly separate from the road movie list, with Repo Man being a crossover exception. :)

  5. Hmmm… Hadn’t thought of that interesting intersection: Repo Man as outter space road movie. But it’s a road movie than never goes anywhere, so it may be more of an early punk piece. And I had no idea that Jeunet did Resurrection. No doubt it is something worth watching, despite the bad press.

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