Thursday, December 02, 2004



This is one of those protect the guilty things... a pal of mine at an unnamed major North American daily newspaper emailed me a story about a friend of a friend at another paper who had been taking by telephone a story about a local (but "hoity-toity") art exhibition. This person did all right until the phrase "assume vivid astral focus" popped up. Had to be the name of some bizarre new age modern art piece, right? Well, that's what went in the paper.

But no.

Turns out that "assume vivid astral focus" was the artist's name. That required what the newspaper folks call a "setrec" — i.e., a correction to "set the record straight." The person who faced with this extra work (whose name and position, naturally, I shall not reveal — if the New York Times can quote anonymously, so can I) then commented, "If someone introduced himself to you as that, would you not just immediately start beating his ass?"

I emailed my pal at the unnamed major North American daily newspaper and said I was ready to buy a ticket and contribute to the ass-whooping.

News stories referring to Assume Vivid Astral Focus can be found here, here, and here. In addition, he apparently performed (or something) on a clearly non-FCC titled show on WFMU radio, wherever that is.

Ironically, the paper in question will need to do another setrec, because a little bit of Internet research (that is, I skimmed the above articles) reveals that the artist in question is actually named Eli Sudbrack. When you find his site, you discover he prefers assume vivid astro focus (which, in fairness, Google asked me if I really meant when I began to search, so there's another reason to drop $180 on a share of Google). Here's an interview with the artist from the New York Observer (it's the Anna Jane Grossman-bylined article at the bottom of the page). Meanwhile, if you want to see his work, click here, and prepare to be underwhelmed.

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