Some interesting links 04.25.18

Here’s great interview with Philip Glass in the Atlantic.

About that time—I’m talking about the early ’70s—the part of New York called SoHo now, it was mostly buildings that housed factories that made clothing. But about this time, artists were buying spaces in that area, and my cousin and I began to help build. We were putting in heating systems and putting in kitchens and bathrooms. We learned how to do that. We would put an ad in the paper, and we’d get to your house, and we’d do it. When it was time to go back on tour, I just closed up for about three weeks and [would] come back and go to work again for two or three months sometimes.

Also, at that time, I was a composer in residence at the La MaMa theater on East Fourth Street, so I was also writing music for plays, and I had my ensemble. I was starting to become a professional composer. I had been out of Juilliard by that time. And eventually, by the time I was 41, 42, I was actually making a living playing music.

I was surprised it happened so quickly, actually. I expected to have a day job for the rest of my life.

One of the points of the interview is how you could afford to work and bit and then work on your art…in NYC. We are losing a generation of artists because people are slaving away just to pay rent.

Here’s 90 frikkin’ minutes of pop culture garbage related to Star Wars, curated by the loons at Cinefamily.

I am a big supporter of sex worker rights, so watching this whole FOSTA/SESTA legislation fiasco is infuriating. Best intentions (outlawing child sex trafficking) has instead turned into a wide-ranging punishment of adults offering sex (and not even that sometimes) for money. And it’s happened in a bipartisan way. This Reply All podcast episode is great work, as even the people who started the FOSTA/SESTA campaign didn’t know this would happen. Worth the listen.

Here’s “Grease” director Randal Kleiser breaking down the final number in the film and basically pointing out how much they completely made up on the spot. I love this kind of stuff.

1080p footage of Tokyo in 1992, the year I first visited. I remember the hazy sunshine. Two years later I would move there!

I’ve never eaten jellied (or stewed) eels, although my family’s British and I have been to the seaside many a time. This interesting Taste article shows how tradition (and grumpy owners) are killing off the business they love.

The first opened in 1844, and as photographer and historian Stuart Freedman tells me, pie and mash shops were the first de facto working-class restaurants in London. “It was aping the bourgeois idea of a restaurant,” he says. Freedman has long documented the sociology of pie and mash shops, culminating with his book The Englishman & the Eel.

These places served hot, cheap, and sustaining food: eels stewed or jellied, mincemeat pies, plain boiled mashed potatoes and “liquor.” The latter is not what you’d think, with no alcohol in sight, but an oozy boil of eel juice and parsley, thickened with flour—a pallid green sauce with briny depth. As Freedman emphasizes, these early restaurants were sparkling establishments: White tiles winked, and sawdust was sprinkled on the floor to stop patrons slipping on spat-out eel bones.

 Read the whole thing. You…might be hungry after?

Bunny Christie says Michael Clark’s performance in “I Am Curious, Orange” (The mighty, mighty Fall did the music) is one of the best things she’s ever seen:

There was a rock’n’roll excitement to the night – it felt more like a gig or a party than a show. Clark’s classical movement amid the striking set and raucous music made for an electric spectacle.

Clark’s composure was luminous. Despite the wild and frenetic scene – the band onstage, the Houses of Parliament as a backdrop, Brix Smith [a member of the band the Fall, who did the music] and guitar atop a giant hamburger – he had this sense of calm about him. He emerged with a shaved head and a low-cut top exposing his chest. He glowed in the darkness.

The Fall were either going to break through into a different part of the arts world after this or break up. As usual Mark E. Smith blew up the band (and his marriage) and started again. 

One of the most unrelenting, menacing songs The Fall did. “Anti Papal Power Pop Music” as one YouTuber calls it.

Thelma, 2017 – ★★★ (contains spoilers)

This review may contain spoilers.

“A Nordic ‘Carrie'” sounds dismissive, but “Thelma” *is* that with many more layers of complexity. Eili Harboe plays the title character, raised by fundamentalist Christians in a very secular Norway whose telekinetic powers are unleashed once she leaves home for college and falls in love with Alma (Kaya Wilkins). The sexual awakening is nicely done, even erotic, and the filmmakers get in some ambiguity by suggesting that perhaps Kaya’s attraction to Thelma isn’t exactly of her own free will.

However, the film does seem to be building up to a major set piece along the lines of the Stephen King film, and when it doesn’t (spoiler!) it feels off-kilter to me. “Thelma” does contain some striking images, cinematography, locations (what a beautiful opera house!), and Harboe puts in a great performance. The portrayal of Christianity is nuanced and not shrill. It has layers. Worth your time.

Vía Letterboxd – Ted Mills

Thelma, 2017 – ★★★ (contains spoilers)

This review may contain spoilers.

“A Nordic ‘Carrie'” sounds dismissive, but “Thelma” *is* that with many more layers of complexity. Eili Harboe plays the title character, raised by fundamentalist Christians in a very secular Norway whose telekinetic powers are unleashed once she leaves home for college and falls in love with Alma (Kaya Wilkins). The sexual awakening is nicely done, even erotic, and the filmmakers get in some ambiguity by suggesting that perhaps Kaya’s attraction to Thelma isn’t exactly of her own free will.

However, the film does seem to be building up to a major set piece along the lines of the Stephen King film, and when it doesn’t (spoiler!) it feels off-kilter to me. “Thelma” does contain some striking images, cinematography, locations (what a beautiful opera house!), and Harboe puts in a great performance. The portrayal of Christianity is nuanced and not shrill. It has layers. Worth your time.

Vía Letterboxd – Ted Mills

Some interesting links 04.20.18

Crash Symbols is one of my favorite cassette-only music labels, releasing left-field electronica and more. They just released a compilation/sampler and I’m all over it. Check out Touched by an Angle.

Here’s Weird Al Yankovic covering “What Is Life” by George Harrison

Everybody should read the stories flooding Twitter under the hashtag #LivingWhileBlack. Daily indignities.

This amazing 47 minute video essay on the four versions (so far) of Body Snatchers:

Remaking Fear: Evolution of the Body Snatchers from Peet Gelderblom on Vimeo.

 

Some Interesting Links 04.19.18

Rebecca Solnit on how the white male narrative is always privileged in media.

More Americans work in museums than work in coal, but coalminers are treated as sacred beings owed huge subsidies and the sacrifice of the climate, and museum workers—well, no one is talking about their jobs as a totem of our national identity.

This amazing collection of Russian experimental music from the 1920s can be streamed here. I’m particularly fond of the first piece by Arseny Avraamov

This Nerdwriter mini-doc on Lauren Hill connects the dots between Nina Simone and Cardi B:

Some Interesting Links 04.18.2018

Here are things I read today:

Kottke is still blogging and he’s made the point that post-Facebook, post-social media, you gotta own your own material. Recently he asked others if they were still blogging. And yes, yes they are. I particularly liked the mjtsai blog on tech

This track was used in a loop on a 2006 Joe Frank episode I was listening to:

We’re nearly finished with Season 3 of Better Call Saul. I enjoyed this convo with Michael McKean (so good!) and showrunner Peter Gould.

Exploring an abandoned Chinese fishing village by drone.

How #metoo is affecting the world of stand-up comedy. Tiny violins for guys who can’t make crap sexist jokes anymore, bwaaaaa.

 

Girls Trip, 2017 – ★★★

Girls trip

Five stars for the first half, which had the freewheeling abandon of watching four friends just enjoy each others’ company and go nuts in New Orleans. I unapologetically laughed many times out loud, esp. due to Tiffany Haddish, because, yes, she’s a rising talent for a reason.

Two stars for the second half that had to bring in conflict and problems so that we could come out of it learning “friends are important,” which was plainly obvious in the first half. “Oh what a falling off was there!” as Shakespeare said.

Broad City does this shaggy-dog friendship so well, it’s a shame these lessons aren’t learned more.

Vía Letterboxd – Ted Mills