For the past couple of months, I’ve been plotting a new project, which I’m proud to finally announce. On May 7, Alexis Madrigal, Sarah Rich, Derek Powazek, Dylan Fareed, Heather Champ, and I are going to put together a magazine—start to finish—in 48 hours. It’s going to be completely insane, and even better, it just might work.
But we can only do it with your help.
We’ve already got some amazing writers, photographers, and illustrators onboard. We’d love to have your voice as well.
“A man’s hair, like society, should be neatly parted: renters to the left, homeowners to the right.”
This is a small clip from a segment I helped produce for the BBC’s The Vote Now Show. The full thing airs (and streams live) today at 3PM pacific time (11PM GMT). Rep. Martin and his beautiful wife Jazz are an inspiration to every American.
Was George McGovern a Johnny Potato Pants, do you think?
In my estimation, Caribou’s Swim is full of stories of women leaving lovers and finding themselves, with lyrical narratives that resemble grown-up Belle & Sebastian songs. Musically, it’s about getting up and out, too, but more for the purposes of ass-shaking.
It has been a long while since I have linked to Tess Lynch, but I still give her my unequivocal support. She is a blogging powerhouse and a wise woman of the west. She can turn a takedown of a silly men’s magazine “rules” piece and turn it into something that touches my life, right now, at this moment. What talent! What insight!
“If I were a woman, I would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me, complexions that liked me, and breaths that I defied not. And I am sure, as many as have good beards, or good faces, or sweet breaths, will for my kind offer, when I make curtsy, bid me farewell.”—The last lines of As You Like It, spoken by Rosalind, the lady who dresses like a boy. These lines have probably been etched into my cerebrum since I was a tween only to haunt my romantic habits as a young adult: Yes, beards and complexions and good breath! And how!
But nothing bad really ever happened to young pretty girls who were basically good girls, did it? For us, that door always eventually opened and that roommate always returned, a little hung over or weary or in love. But just as we shaped the story we might have to tell the police or her unaware mother, she came home. As you grow older, you realize that not every girl is so lucky. And I believe luck has a lot to do with it.
“While the momentum for the first Earth Day came from the grass roots, many corporations say that it is often the business community that now leads the way in environmental innovation — and they want to get their customers interested.”—
Why am I even posting this? You know I know you know this. But how do you think it feels to write that sentence?
Let’s take this one apart:
"Came from the grass roots": The definite article is throwing me off because I’m used to seeing "grass roots" as an adjective. It’s an idiom, yes, but do we all understand it to mean "those 1970s treehugging hippies" or is it just "the people" or "not the companies" or "the sod"?
"Many corporations say" might be legally correct, because a corporation is a person and all, but do corporations really "say" things? We could be accurate assholes and write "the PR departments at many corporations write press releases that say," but again, we all know that, so I’ll submit. In any case, "argue" would be a better verb choice, or maybe "posit," if you’re me and writing an academic paper.
This sentence is a total clause catastrophe: imagine diagramming it. Look at all those “that”s and that shifty subject of “corporations” that gets lost in “the business community” but ultimately goes back to “corporations.” That wiley em-dash can do magical things to your understanding.
Nevermind the customers, so long as they’re “interested,” which is the best word to write when you don’t have any clue about what’s happening with people’s minds.
Check out that uber-specific “often,” combined with the declaration of “now,” the 40-year anniversary of how much things have changed.
There are no people, nor is there an Earth, in this sentence.
You also could win $100. But also a “super special mix cd made by me [Kathleen Hanna].” Art friends, please start working on this. In the meantime, I’ll be writing “Julie Ruin” over and over, trying to get the bubble letters even.
A couple of months ago I discovered the absolute joy of taking a bath on Sunday, washing off my restaurant weekend and sinking into my days off. I will never take another apartment with an unusable bathtub; my bath is my time alone, even though I live alone, to reflect and remember and forget. Although the water in my tub always looks a little blue before I put the suds in—I tell myself it’s a reflection of something or other, but there is no blue in my bathroom—my new ritual is already an institution.
As of now, I’ve only listened to lady singers whilst in the tub, and I smile knowingly at no one when they sing exactly how I feel.
“When Mindy shows up in a plaid kilt, knee-highs and a white shirt sure to bleed red, she isn’t only a joke about to detonate, she’s also a copy of a copy, except that the killer schoolgirl who rampaged through Mr. Fukasaku’s “Battle Royale” and then “Kill Bill” is now a prepubescent. That Ms. Moretz is a child complicates things partly because it raises the issue of agency or maybe lack thereof. And oh yeah: as it happens, it’s really unpleasant to watch as a child is even stage-punched.”—
From Manohla Dargis’s review of Kick-ass. It’s hilarious that the Hit Girl trailer got red-banded because an eleven-year-old said the C word. (And also there’s a bit of violence in there, but we all know that’s not the real reason.) It’s also off-putting: Chloë Grace Moretz sounds pretty forced when she actually says “ya cunts,” and her costume seems way too big. From the trailer, she seems like she’s on her way to owning it, but she’s not quite there.
In any case, the reason for this post is: Damn but do I love Manohla Dargis. I used to avoid her reviews, preferring instead the barbs and quirks of A.O. Scott, but in the past couple of years I’ve come around. Her reviews are layered, spot-on, and fun, and she can pull off the direct allusion to Judith Butler in a newspaper in a way that makes my fingers crumble. You all know I’m a sucker for that.
Updated with correct spelling of subject’s name. Even copy editors get the blues.
The Besnard Lakes - “And This Is What We Call Progress”
According to the playlist I threw together, nearly all of my favorite songs so far this year are over five minutes long. This is odd, as I tend to like short, dancey songs that make me bop up-and-down in my chair. Generally I get bored with longer songs, proggy guitars, extended mixes, etc., but 2010 is a year for changes. I’m getting wiser.
The Besnard Lakes are the proggiest, guitaryist, wall-of-soundiest band that I like, without question. Who knew I could dig one long song after another, but Are the Roaring Night sounds like I’m floating in the Atlantic forever, and I can’t get enough of it.
"And This Is What We Call Progress" is the song on the album that reminds me the least of progressive rock and the most of driving a convertible in sunglasses, which is something I’ve never done. There are all kinds of places I’ve never been on this record, and it’s going to soundtrack my travel stories without a doubt.
Don’t get me wrong: I love living in a city wherein I can get in my car from an amazing dinner with my girlfriends and immediately hear “Drunk Girls” on the radio, but what’s wrong about waiting to pee?
As it was represented in songs and scenes and movies, New York of the ’70s and ’80s is the New York we all know and love. It’s what we saw in documentaries and heard in songs. It’s the big bad city our parents warned us about, and it’s a city we never saw. All of us have had fantasies where we show up at CBGBs, rock out with the band, take light drugs, sleep with a stranger, and get mugged on the graffiti-filled subway platform on the way home.
But I was never there, and neither were you, I’m pretty sure. I first visited New York in 1996 and lived there for a month in 1999 and now all the memories I have of the Manhattan of the Koch era are the ones that old journalists can tell me. But what has gradually become more and more tangible to me is the New York I narrowly missed, the Manhattan of that “transition” era, the 1990s.
I’ve been recently obsessed by the films of Adrienne Shelly, as well as Parker Posey movies from the years before Chloe Sevigny was the queen of cool. Even though these are all was post-Koch and moving into the time when “everything got cleaned up,” there’s still a gritty, young feel to the New York of those movies. They’re the kind of movies wherein pretty young people run into the elderly in Manhattan, and I don’t think that happens in movies or in life anymore.
They’re the kind of movies where women are women, and they’re not glamour queens, only Party Girls. They’re weird without being pixie, shameless without gratuitous klutz, and they’re interested in a variety of men for a variety of reasons, only one of which is sex. Also, they’re in New York, traipsing around Lower Manhattan and peering around corners that I kind of remember, but don’t. Sure, I get excited when I see a place I know in I’ll Take You There or The Daytrippers, but you can tell from the vibe that they’re not the same as the places I knew, even though they are the same stores on the same streets.
I’m not saying these images were wiped away entirely by Sex and the City and Giuliani and subsequent romantic comedies— after all, I’m pretty sure mumblecore isn’t a far cry from Sudden Manhattan (I never got into mumblecore)— but I can’t recall very many movies about women in New York recently that stray from the “this city is magical!” theme. I can’t recall any movies about any cities recently that stray from “this city is magical!” theme. And dammit if I don’t think Minneapolis is fucking magical every day, but I admire the tangibility in Shelly’s work and in Posey’s characters. They go to parties where they drink from solo cups and go to dates in bars that I’d actually want to go to and have feelings that are recognizable beyond “happy” and “sad” and even border on “creepy” sometimes. It all feels like What I Saw But Didn’t Say and What I Wanted to See instead of What Was Presented to Me. Those movies feel like I know them, in vibe, even though I didn’t.
The great thing about Belle & Sebastian is that there is always a Belle & Sebastian song that could be about your life, no matter what you’re feeling. For example, I am the clumsiest server that I know, but listening to this song makes my life feel less ashambles. Yet I can’t get up from this chair right now because my leg has fallen asleep because I have no awareness of my body, most of the time.
Note: This record, too! “Piazza, New York Catcher”! Ahhhh, spring relevance.
Wednesday Morning Dance Party: Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders - “Game of Love”
Back in the Strokes era, I saw a Strokes-esque (velvet jackets, garage) band cover this song and I always think I saw the Strokes cover this song, but the Strokes never played the Warsaw on Valentine’s Day 2002.
We all have a purpose in life. Friends, let’s figure it out.
I know it would derail the academic publishing industry to have some kind of open source accessibility for a study like this, but these findings seem a bit dubious, particularly when coming from this guy. What does “networking fatigue” even mean?
And AND what do lines to buy iPads have to do with the ambiguous findings of this study?
Yes, I know I posted that one-sourced “Women invented beer” bit last week and that didn’t have any links either. Just, in general: gimme some links! We’re on the internet!
“I’ve been in a lot of towns, but this town has so many open mics and has so many stages and has so many writers – writers who aren’t necessarily just doing something trendy or trying to always be shocking. They’re just writing. And then there’s all the theater and the Fringe Festival. There are just so many things going on, and the quality of the writing and the people… You know, we have Garrison Keillor, and Prince. I think I’m mostly here to see if Garrison Keillor and Prince will create their own radio show, and I can be the house comic.”—
Mary Mack is probably my most favoritest person in the Twin Cities, and you should read this interview and spend your morning watching clips of her. I’d be doing the same thing, except I have to shop for a new wireless router.
(Also, MetroMag, I like you guys, but Keillor is spelled with 2 ls. I can help you out with copy editing, if you’d like. Not even kidding.)