Posted By Sandra Alland

In the midst of another rage-fest at the UK governmnent regarding ridiculous barriers set up for people with disabilities (it's time for me to "prove" I'm disabled yet again!), I have also fallen into a rage against the Belgian government and their fascist idenitiy cards and incompetency. European bureaucracy is unbearably ridiculous and ineffective, and a huge waste of money...

To combat all this anger, I will talk about some lovely art that has come my way recently...

1. Let The Right One In is, gorgeous and moving, um... horror film? It's beautifully shot, and the young actors are incredible. By far the best "coming-of-age" film I've ever seen, as well as the best vampire film. Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson is shockingly good. This is a film I want to own! (and due to pickiness and poverty I only own 4 films and some Wholphin DVDs.) See Let The Right One In at The Filmhouse in Edina.

2. Sophie Mayer's first book of poetry, Her Various Scalpels, is a juicy collection indeed. Mayer's imagery is densely beautiful, and even her poems about films feel deeply personal, drawing you in like an incantation. These are pieces I will return to often, always to find something new.

3. American translator Mark Schafer has finally published his ambitious anthology of Mexican poet and activist David Huerta's work, Before Saying Any of the Great Words. The collection is divine, featuring some very early poems by Huerta, as well as selections from his book-length poem, and a large amount of recent work. It's lushly designed, and has facing pages in Spanish and English. It's great to be able to watch an artist's progression in this way, especially one whose style has changed so much. Many thanks to Mark for dedicating himself to this translation at a time when we are seeing fewer and fewer translations...

4. Steven Smith, a local Edinburgh singer/songwriter, has released his first CD, and I dig it. Smith has a pretty but interesting voice, and isn't afraid to delve a wee bit into melodrama (slightly a la Antony and the Johnsons). He also throws in a fair amount of humour, which is always a plus for me.

5. Last, but definitely not least, Edinburgh's Shellsuit Massacre has released an EP that will knock your socks off.  This spoken word band is refreshingly political, especially about class issues  -- and funny, too. The EP comes with a wonderfully tactile booklet of poetry -- -interesting note: many pieces are made from found text. I especially dig "drug king bully" and "yi hoodies". Kudos to the designer, and to this weird and wiley duo of shit-disturbers.


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