readingbythepool

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5 stars, for many reasons, but especially in light of #yesallwomen.
I was way too lame to even know what a riot grrl was until maybe I watched this, so this is both educational and inspiring.  Kathleen Hanna is just so fucking cool and unapologetic. This is definitely a biased documentary, but I don’t care? Also, they interview her husband, my favorite Beastie Boy Ad-Rock, and he is so in awe of her but also takes care of her and roots for her and it’s just really sweet and makes me well up a little bit.  Anyway, it’s like 80 minutes long and streaming on Netflix and what else are you doing? Go watch it.

5 stars, for many reasons, but especially in light of #yesallwomen.

I was way too lame to even know what a riot grrl was until maybe I watched this, so this is both educational and inspiring.  Kathleen Hanna is just so fucking cool and unapologetic. This is definitely a biased documentary, but I don’t care? Also, they interview her husband, my favorite Beastie Boy Ad-Rock, and he is so in awe of her but also takes care of her and roots for her and it’s just really sweet and makes me well up a little bit.  Anyway, it’s like 80 minutes long and streaming on Netflix and what else are you doing? Go watch it.

Filed under the punk singer kathleen hanna feminism

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Since I’m back to tumbling I can also talk about all the movies I’ve watched since I don’t do much else in the evenings now.

Muscle Shoals: 3.5 stars (I’ll use the Netflix scale, but allow myself half stars).  Good not great documentary about a town in Alabama that produced some of the greatest soul records of all time. The storytelling is a little scattered, but the stories themselves are worthwhile. Featuring Mick Jagger, who also appeared in 20 Feet From Stardom because the Stones stole fucking everything it turns out and this is how they are repenting. 

The Fugitive: 4.5 stars. Hey guys, this is a fucking great movie. Go watch it. It’s so good. I saw it when I was a child because my mother let me watch a lot of inappropriate shit, but had not seen it since. Perfect roles for both Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones.

First Blood: 3 stars, mostly for a young Brian Dennehy (would do) who I did not know was in this. Turns out I knew basically nothing about this movie because I equate it with the sequels.  Anyway, very preachy about Vietnam which was probably necessary at the time.  Very weird tonal shift at the end.

Somm: 3.5 stars. Exploration of a subculture I will never take part of. There is a weird Billy Zabka dude who you’re rooting for to fail because he seems like a genuinely awful person, so I guess that’s something?

Diner: 2.5 stars. Mickey Rourke’s beautiful face, Baby Kevin Bacon, and I guess this movie is really only worth watching to see these actors all so young. Otherwise, pretty episodic and not much to get invested in.

Manhunt: 2 stars. Do not believe anyone who tells you this is better than Silence of the Lambs. They are an idiot or they are fucking with you.

Step Up 2 the Streets: 5 stars, always, forever. I watched this the first night in my new place just like the first night in my place in Austin.

Filed under movie reviews muscle shoals the fugitive rambo first blood all alone

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I work in a public library now, so I get to see all the things people request for leisure reading and it has exposed me to just the sheer number of romance novels telling variations on the same story over again.
It’s basically some wealthy man: millionaire, billionaire, sheikh, or literally just “rich man” has sex with a subordinate until she falls for him.  Sometimes she is plucky. Sometimes she is a virgin. Sometimes she gets pregnant (THERE ARE SO MANY OF THESE. WHO IS INTO THIS?). But he is always in the position of power and the women in these stories are passive in these situations that are happening to them. To be fair, I’ve only read summaries, but it makes me feel weird that there are so many of the same type of story.  And people are asking for them! That’s the thing. They aren’t just hoping we buy more. I’m sure many people have written dissertations on this and I don’t know what it means. I just find it incredibly baffling. 
[sidebar: I realize this is kind of a running theme in Love Actually and I’m into that dumb movie so maybe I’m part of the problem.]

I work in a public library now, so I get to see all the things people request for leisure reading and it has exposed me to just the sheer number of romance novels telling variations on the same story over again.

It’s basically some wealthy man: millionaire, billionaire, sheikh, or literally just “rich man” has sex with a subordinate until she falls for him.  Sometimes she is plucky. Sometimes she is a virgin. Sometimes she gets pregnant (THERE ARE SO MANY OF THESE. WHO IS INTO THIS?). But he is always in the position of power and the women in these stories are passive in these situations that are happening to them. To be fair, I’ve only read summaries, but it makes me feel weird that there are so many of the same type of story.  And people are asking for them! That’s the thing. They aren’t just hoping we buy more. I’m sure many people have written dissertations on this and I don’t know what it means. I just find it incredibly baffling. 

[sidebar: I realize this is kind of a running theme in Love Actually and I’m into that dumb movie so maybe I’m part of the problem.]

932 notes

fek:

On The Rapture of Dancing Alive

(or: I Finally Watched That Future Islands Performance and I Feel Changed)

Doing work on my couch last night, I ended up on Letterman, watching the end of a pro forma interview—Nick Offerman—and then the musical performance of the night, some band Letterman was cracking jokes about before they’d even started. The Strypes. I think I remember Letterman saying something about ‘mom picking you all up’ after the show, which was funny, because look at them. He also apparently made a joke about taking them to play lazer tag after the show, which, ha.

But it reminded me that there was this Letterman performance that everyone was talking about a few weeks ago I had yet to watch, this Future Islands thing. I didn’t know exactly what it was that everyone freaked out about, I just remember there being that typical morning-after Internet peak-chatter level of talk that I’ve gotten in the habit of avoiding instinctually, because when you work in Internet, that ubiquitous, concentrated volume of talk about one thing, at least for me, strips away at the joy of it.

So, I watched it.

0:30 (as performance starts): Okay, this sounds very 2006. This all looks very 2006.

0:32: At least that lead singer is moving. Decent two-step. 

[BAD MID-AUGHTS VIBE INTERLUDE: For anyone even remotely paying attention to rock from 2005 onward, the name of the band—Future Islands—sounded gratingly familiar. There were (or still are?) The Futureheads, Islands, and a Jimmy Eat World album called Futures that I’d never listened to. Also: Future (rapper). Everything about it seemed so typical I was pretty convinced that whatever I was missing out on was some sort of schtick, like some band shooting themselves out of cannon. Which, I mean, I love the Arcade Fire, but look at them: In 2014, they’re demanding their fans dress up in costume to their shows. It’s fair skepticism, is the point.]

0:41: Okay, kind of into this post-Morrisey post-synagogue thing and there’s an expressive eyebrow, and is that the thing?

0:45: Wait what’d he just do with his legs.

0:49: Where did his head go what was that, do that ag

0:54: He’s slowing down, maybe that was just a Thing. And he’s touching his chest, is this vamping? Is that what he’s doing? Maybe he’s actually feeling i

1:00: He’s doing the leg thing again and moving his head what even is that? It’s amazing. Okay, I get it, guy has moves. 

1:04: What did he just do with his voice? Wh—Did he grind the note?

1:14: Holy shit he just dropped it to the ground. How did he do that? Where did he learn that mo

1:17: He did the thing with his voice again I swear to god I heard it he’s actually doing that right?

1:29: Oh my god his hand is in a fist and he’s looking out into the audience like the answer is there and they’re all the answer this is really something.

1:33: WHOA did not see that coming, he just punched through the air and followed through with his entire body on that note, it kind of looks like a combination golf swing/victory fist pump but he gets it, I get it, I get wanting to do that at a chorus, that is the physical iteration of that guitar crescendo. 

1:37: His hand in the air, holy shit, there are performances of Les Miz that are less theatrical than what is happ

1:43: And now he’s washing away the light with his hands and he totally grinded that note in his throat, okay, okay, I think I get this now, he’s secretly got a great voice and great moves, this is very solid.

1:52: The camera just went tight on his face and wow this guy is really, truly selling what’s happening here. 

[LARRY SANDERS INTERLUDE: If you’ve ever watched The Larry Sanders Show, you know that the musical performance is usually when Garry Shandling either gets screamed at by Rip Torn about some crazy backstage nonsense or he’s hitting on a celebrity guest. Occasionally he’ll sit there and actually watch the performance, but for the most part Larry Sanders doesn’t care much for his musical guests. I imagine, night in and night out, this is how Letterman feels about his musical guests: A lot of monotony. He’s really seen it all before. And I imagine him talking to a producer or somesuch as the guest is on. Remember, Letterman really loves acts that put their all into it, and say what you will about the Foo Fighters—and there’s plenty to—you can’t say Dave Grohl doesn’t know how to put on a performance, which is why they’re one of Letterman’s favorite acts to have on Late Show. So I imagine this is around the point Letterman looks over his producer’s shoulder, and goes: ‘Hey, wait: Who the hell are these guys?’]

2:07: Ohmygod he’s pounding his chest so hard the mic just picked it up this is amazing bordering on uncomfortable.

2:24: Yes! People do change! They gain one piece but they lose one too! You are making so much sense I am completely on board with this now, this is just, everything, church

2:27: They just went tight on the rest of the band and they’re the most innocuous looking people ever, the bassist looks like whatshername from Chelsey Lately, which I guess is sm

2:30: WAIT WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT he just grabbed at his shirt and made that noise from his throat again! That was real! And he’s curling his lip into a sneer and BAM he’s back into the moves

2:41: He just did it again I’m so not making this up

2:53: Is he crying? This is all so much but also there will never be enough of it.

2:58: BOOM and he launches into the chorus again and he’s pounding his chest and the mic is picking it up and somewhere Meatloaf just jumped out of his Lay-Z-Boy screaming at the TV like “GO MOTHERFUCKER GO GO GO”

3:14: I am sold, I completely get this, I am watching this again as soon as it’s over because why wouldn’t anyone want to feel anything this much? This is what Joseph Campbell called, when asked about the meaning of life by Bill Moyers, “the rapture of being alive,” and 

3:28: HOLYFUCKINGSHIT HE
3:29: 'SREALLY DOING THE DEATH METAL THING I 
3:30: FEEL LIKE HE JUST REACHED THROUGH THE SCREEN AND 
3:31: IS CHOKING OUT A PART OF MY SOUL 

3:34: And now he’s dancing again and staring out into the audience but dancing harder than he’s danced this entire time and maybe in his entire life, he is dancing with purpose, like he’s going to generate energy or lifeforce by doing so and don’t be over and

3:35: It’s over. It’s all over.

- - -

And this is the point where Letterman comes out and screams: “BUDDY! COME ON! How about that? I’ll take all of that you got!” And Letterman knows what you just saw because he just saw it, and he is equally enraptured himself. Any band who goes on Letterman for the next month, at least—like the one that was on last night—has been completely screwed to hell by this one.

There are so many reasons why this is great, but the three that stuck with me this morning on the way to work were:

1. If you’ve ever danced in the bathroom—and I’ll readily cop to doing so, mostly in high school, before heading out to a party or a date, usually to something as desperate and pathetic, like The Cure’s “Close To Me”—your moves probably somewhat resembled an incredibly watered-down iteration of this. These aren’t bad unkfunky whiteboy moves, either: Dude has rhythm. He’s dancing along with the bassline, and he’s actually moving his feet and hips. 

2. It’s really easy to be cynical about anything so sincere, especially since this lacks the kitsch textures of twee (see: Anderson, Wes) or polished veneer of pop. It’s confusing in the same way Meatloaf and Morrissey are confusing, in that there may be intent and awareness, there may be that allusion to death metal, but where those things normally serve to let an audience know that the artist is in on the joke, here they it’s simply disarming, the acknowledgement that they have you, they’ve got you, you’re done for and now they can do whatever they please with you, like tear at their chest and plead and cry and scare the shit out of you. 

3. Back to dancing in your bathroom: It was so much fun, and in retrospect, expressed so much, and this maybe made you (and definitely made me) recall in a very real way the energy of that stupid fun in a way you (or I) haven’t felt in a while. But more than that, it’s that this band—which has apparently been at it for 11 years now—finally got their shot. They got a spot on Letterman. And whether this is exactly what this guy does every night at his shows, or not, the bottom line is that he went with it, went for it, he did not water down a single thing about what got him to this moment. In fact, he doubled down on it. And the rest of the band played their part, too: They know how to make music, and not complicated music, and probably could’ve thrown themselves into it, too, but that would’ve betrayed what they knew they had to do. They had their one chance in life to make this kind of impact, and they did. And that’s really kind of amazing. Who won’t take all of that?

If you have not watched this performance already, watch it. It is everything. If you have, watch it again to the end.  It’s worth it to hear Letterman be excited about anything.

Filed under future islands