Recent "Synecdoche" News

Video: Interpreting "Synecdoche, New York"--passage of time, loneliness, relationships... all that fun stuff.

BCK's logs tell me that a lot of people come here looking for interpretations of Synecdoche, New York. These two videos are for you--David Chen from Slashfilm and Amy Nicholson from L.A. Weekly take a look at the film and what it all might mean. Each video goes for around 13 minutes; the first one's here, the second one's behind the cut.

It's more than a little poignant, given the loss of Hoffman.

Thanks to Thomas for the heads up!

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Read more: Video: Interpreting "Synecdoche, New York"--passage of time, loneliness, relationships... all...

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46

Philip Seymour Hoffman has been found in a Greenwich Village apartment, dead of a drug overdose at forty-six. Says the New York Times:

The death, apparently from a drug overdose, was confirmed by the police. Mr. Hoffman was found in the apartment by a friend, David Bar Katz, who became concerned after being unable to reach him.

Investigators found a syringe in his left forearm, at least two plastic envelopes with what appeared to be heroin nearby, and five empty plastic envelopes in a trash bin, a law-enforcement official said. (Source)

His family has released this statement:

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers." (Source)

Terribly, terribly sad.

Thanks to Ethan for alerting me.

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"Little Person" - a Really Unofficial Music Video

Here's an unofficial music video for "Little Person," with some really gorgeous images. Matt Bauer is the director. A couple of months ago, Matt contacted me, to ask if I had any idea how he might get in touch with the song's publisher or whoever retains the rights for festival screenings. I mentioned Kraft-Engel Management (Jon Brion's reps), Charlie's agent at WME, and Lakeshore Records (they released Synecdoche's soundtrack), but Matt had no luck. If you have any leads, maybe leave a comment on YouTube, or on here?






On an unrelated note, you might've noticed we're doing our annual donation drive thingy, to help cover BCK's running costs. If you feel like helping out, you might want to kick in a couple of bucks via the link in the right-hand sidebar. Every bit's appreciated. :)

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Seinfeld's "Parking Garage" as Ballardian nightmare

Omni Reboot's Claire L. Evans has written a really cool article, in which she examines Seinfeld's "Parking Garage" episode as a "Ballardian nightmare: the pornography of infinity, somehow contained within a New Jersey mall." Which brings to mind that giant warehouse with Schenectady inside it, eh?

Indeed, the more I reflect on The Parking Garage, the more it evokes a specifically Ballardian nightmare: this so-called pornography of infinity, contained within a New Jersey mall. Like the Unidentified Space Station [in this short story], which conceals, from the outside, its magnificent vastness, The Parking Garage becomes its own world, a replacement—literally, since they broke the apartment set down to build the mirror-garage—for the comfortable parameters of Jerry Seinfeld’s ordinary world. It seems to have its own mores; Elaine, desperately seeking a stranger to drive them around the lot and help find the car, only comes into contact with indifference and aggression. No one will help, because on some level no one here is real. (Source)

Big thanks to Garrison for the link!

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World's tiniest Mona Lisa. Eat your heart out, Adele.

Via Nature World News:

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have painted the smallest-ever image of Mona Lisa. The painting was created using an atomic force microscope and a process called ThermoChemical NanoLithography (TCNL) and is painted on a substrate that is 30 microns in width or about one-third the width of a human hair. (Source)


(Pic above is not actual size. Click on it for an enlargement of the... tiny micro version. Or something.)

Dust mites are gathering around it, going "Ooohhh" and "Aaahhh."

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Are Caden Cotard masks a thing? (Askin' for a fan.)

On BCK's Facebook page, Vanisha-Arleen Gould asks:

hypothetical question. if someone wanted to dress up as caden cotard for halloween, where/how would that person be able to get that mask? does that mask exist? (Source)

That would be super cool! I have looked around and come up empty. I suppose any Phil Hoffman mask might do the trick? But where would one find Phil in mask form?

Any help? Anyone?



On an unrelated note, you might've noticed we're doing our annual donation drive thingy, to help cover BCK's running costs. If you feel like helping out, you might want to kick in a couple of bucks via the link in the right-hand sidebar. Every bit's appreciated. :)

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31 Strange Medical Conditions (or: Charlie's idea notebook)

Here are "31 Strange Medical Conditions," courtesy of John Green (who is awesome) and the Mental Floss team (also awesome). Charlie doesn't get a mention, nor do his films, but observe this:

#19 - Walking Corpse Syndrome, a.k.a. Cotard's Delusion. Synecdoche, New York's lead character, I probably don't need to point out again, is named Caden Cotard.

#20 - Capgras Delusion. At one point in Synecdoche, when Caden visits Adele’s flat, "Capgras" is one of the names on the building's address list.

#21 - Fregoli Delusion. You know Anomalisa? Charlie's upcoming animated film, based on his own play? When he wrote the play, he originally hid under the pseudonym "Francis Fregoli". (The Coen Bros' half of Theater of the New Year couldn't be performed in L.A., due to scheduling conflicts, so Charlie wrote a second play -- "Anomalisa" -- to double bill with his "Hope Leaves the Theater.") 



John Green has a weekly show on the Mental Floss channel. It is cool. I recommend it. I'll embed another episode after the cut. Just for fun. Cos I'm cool, too.


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Read more: 31 Strange Medical Conditions (or: Charlie's idea notebook)

Meet Graham, who thinks he's dead

The New Scientist's Mindscapes column profiles Graham, who has the condition known as Cotard's Syndrome, in which a sufferer believes that he is dead or no longer exists.

"When I was in hospital I kept on telling them that the tablets weren't going to do me any good 'cause my brain was dead. I lost my sense of smell and taste. I didn't need to eat, or speak, or do anything. I ended up spending time in the graveyard because that was the closest I could get to death." (Source)

Stuff like this freaks me out a little bit. Also those reality medical shows. One day you're perfectly fine; next thing you know, you're foaming at the mouth and paralysed from the eyebrows down because you picked up a pen with a germ on it. Those make me want to sit still in an empty room and stay quiet for a very long time. But even that could cause medical problems. YOU JUST CAN'T WIN, MAN.

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Sweet "Little Person" cover, by Foxtails Brigade

I really like this cover of "Little Person," Jon Brion and Charlie's song from Synecdoche, New York. It's by Foxtails Brigade, a chamber pop band from Oakland, California, and Laura Weinbach's vocals really suit this song. Observe the video:



If you dig it, you can download the song for free on Facebook, Soundcloud and Dropbox.

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10 Case Reports of Cotard's Syndrome

Over at Mental Floss, you can read about 10 reported incidents of Cotard's Syndrome. Synecdoche, New York's Caden Cotard was named after the bizarre condition. Matt Soniak describes it like this:

Cotard’s Delusion is a mental disorder where people suffer the nihilistic delusion that they are dead or no longer exist. First reported in the 1700s, the disorder is still a largely a mystery today. The underlying cause isn’t understood; it’s been linked to bipolar disorder, depression and/or schizophrenia depending on the patient’s age.

Here's #3 on the list:

3. In 2008, New York psychiatrists reported on a 53-year-old patient, Ms. Lee, who complained that she was dead and smelled like rotting flesh. She asked her family to take her to a morgue so that she could be with other dead people. They dialed 911 instead. Ms. Lee was admitted to the psychiatric unit, where she accused paramedics of trying to burn her house down. After a month or so of a drug regimen, she was released with great improvement in her symptoms. (Source)

That's not even the weirdest one.



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In which Charlie's name is dropped in an art gallery

Thomas and Joey point me to a blog entry, in which Joey has a two-degrees-of-Kaufman experience in a gallery -- randomly bumpin' into a woman and her mother, who worked as an RN on the set of Synecdoche, New York. It's a trippy read with a unique style. It starts like so:

BENNINGTON -- Lisa and Julia were putzing around on their phones during lunch in the brew pub across the street when they stumbled upon a link for Fiddlehead at Four Corners. The cuties hit the link and loved one of the pictures -- Brian Hewitt's "Carriage Barn Gala" oil painting -- and then saw a link for the Google Street View virtual tour inside the art gallery. They took and loved the tour and decided to walk across the street to check out Fiddlehead at Four Corners in person.

At first AGD was pretty stoked to hear the cuties tell this little ditty of a tale because Fiddlehead's Street View tour went live on Google just an hour or two earlier, so he immediately thought how sweet it was that this new technology was working as intended. But the longer AGD engaged the cuties in conversation the more he wondered if they weren't in on the jig, whatever that jig might be. (Source)

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