Monday, June 18, 2018

Netflix: Binge Watching Tabula Rasa

(Drivebycuriosity) - In the recent days I have been binge watching "Tabula Rasa" on Netflix. This is a psycho drama, sometimes a psycho thriller, produced in the Netherlands and streamed in Dutch, with English subtitles (imdb).

I enjoyed the subtle and slowly developing plot about a woman, who has lost her memory after an accident and is staying in a mental hospital. She is questioned by an obsessive cop on the brink of his retirement about a missing man. "Tabula Rasa" is a mystery and maybe also a crime story  (I don`t tell you more about the plot. This is a spoiler free blog). The story evolves in flash backs and dream sequences and the audience is learning the truth step by step.

Veerle Baetens & Malin-Sarah Gozin, the creators of the series, spun a sophisticated plot and focused on the psychological aspects, the mental issues of the leading character, her dreams & hallucinations.  The wonderful series reminded me of some very different movies: "One Flew over the Cuckoo`s Nest";  Hitchcock´s "Spellbound",  Kubricks`s "The Shining"; Japanese horror movies and even Chan-wook Park`s "Oldboy", but everything fits together and the creators found their own and interesting way. I enjoyed also the optical presentation, spiced with fascinating pictures, and the opening sequence is a surrealist masterpiece. The strong cast is part of the fun, especially co-creator Veerle Baetens in the leading role and Peter Van den Begin as pyromaniac hospital patient.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Contemporary Art: Mannequins & More @ Gallery Artifact New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - I like contemporary art.  Therefore I often visit art galleries in my neighborhood, New York`s Lower East Side. Gallery Artifact  (84 Orchard Street artifact) belongs to my favorite places, because the art trader has frequently changing art shows which are usually amazing.

On my recent visit I spotted work by 3 interesting artists. Above you can see some pictures of mannequins by Stefan Jellheden which look disturbing (ellhedenphoto). But the images are interesting anyway.

The erotic photos by Alice Alamanou are comforting and they are nicely composed.

I also like the collages by Manuella Muerner Marioni. As you can see in the detail shot above the artist integrated some circuits and other electronics.

Above more by Marioni.

To be continued

Friday, June 15, 2018

Street Art New York: Best Of 2018 So Far

(Drivebycuriosity) - I like street art. Being an ambitious amateur photographer I took a lot pictures from the murals, graffitis and stencils I spotted in my neighborhoods, the streets of Lower East, Soho & East Village. I show here my  favorites from this year so far, a very subjective selection as usual.

I spotted the Greek scene in Soho on Elizabeth & Prince Street and discovered the beauty above this paragraph while walking on East Houston and looking into Eldridge Street in the Lower East Side.

Above a shop wall on Broome Street.

Above a mural seen on the wall of rag & bone at the corner of Elizabeth & Houston. This fashion shop impresses with frequently changing art work of high quality.

The infamous Epstein`s on Allen Street (a dive for the raucous bridge & tunnel crowd) has been closed, but there are still amazing murals to see.

Above a Banksy mural on the famous Bowery Wall (corner of East Houston).

Another mural on East Houston, across Whole Foods.

Above some murals found on Ludlow corner Rivington.

Seen across the street.

Allen Street became a mecca of street art. Above some examples.

A surrealist image found somewhere on the Lower East Side.

Chinatown last winter.

A fascinating wall on Rivington & Bowery.

Some sexy stickers.

Above more stickers

What a nice doorman.

And a pretty face

This graffiti cooperates well with the surrounding colors.

To be continued.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Economics: Why We Need More Federal Reserve Interest Rate Hikes This Year

(Drivebycuriosity) - Yesterday the Fed hiked her interest rate by 0.25 percent points to 2% (the second hike this year) and signaled 2 more hikes for this year. I think the raise - and both announced  - are urgently needed - and not too early. The US economy is very solid - as the strong job market numbers show - and inflation is already cooking up. Inflation is driven by spiking oil prices. Today oil costs about 50% more than a year before (charts below). Hedge funds and other speculators are using (still) cheap money and are poruing it into financial futures on oil prices. The risk is growing that the oil speculation is getting out of control - like in 2007/08 as oil prices tripled - and could cause again a severe recession.

The Fed is doing the right thing by fighting against inflation relatively early. If the central bank responds too late to rising inflation rates they would have to fight harder to break the inflation mentality, meaning sharp interest rate hikes. Recessions are usually caused by the Fed who is trying to get inflation under control or sharply spiking oil price spikes.

But I don`t expect that the coming interest rates will cause another recession and will stop the rally on the stock market. I assume that the necessary further interest rate hikes will be moderate because inflation will be constraint, thanks the early response of the Fed (yesterday`s hike was the seventh in this cycle) and the technological progress - including Internet - that keeps prices at bay. And the climbing US oil production (fracking) should slow further rising oil prices. Company earnings are growing swiftly (explained here ) and should overcompensate the negative impact of climbing interest rates.

History shows that stock prices & interest rates can happily rise together: The Bank of America Merrill Lynch (finance) notices that “the 1950s was a period of higher stock prices and higher US interest rates. The US 10-year yield bottomed near 1.5% in late 1945 and the S&P 500 remained firmly within its secular bull market until yields moved to 5-6% in the mid 1960s. The S&P 500 rallied 460% over this period.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Contemporary Art: Diana Al-Hadid`s Delirious Matter @ Madison Square Park New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - New York City stands for Wall Street & Broadway, but the metropolis also is a mecca of art. On many public places you can discover interesting pieces of art. Yesterday - as I took a look into the Madison Square Park in Manhattan`s Midtown - I spotted some sculptures by Diana Al-Hadid. The artist calls her work "Delirious Matter" (madisonsquarepark).

The park & the early summer apparently inspired many New Yorkers to relax in the vicinity of the art works. Being an ambitious amateur photographer I used the occasion to take some pictures from the sculptures and the surrounding crowd.

To be continued.