Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
David Edelstein has a great article in NY Magazine on why the new rom com "No Strings Attatched" sucks so much. I found it a good example of how the cliche of women as irrational has unfortunately perservered even while we fortunately are letting go of other cliches such as the old madonna/whore breakdown.
Just One of Those Strings
by David Edelstein
In the high-concept romantic comedy No Strings Attached, the woman who wants lots of sex with zero emotional commitment isn’t portrayed as a slut, which is a nice change. She does, however, come off as a head case. Emma (Natalie Portman), a brainy medical resident, has a highly satisfying quickie with an old summer-camp acquaintance, Adam (Ashton Kutcher), and, flush with pleasure, proposes they “use each other” physically. After accepting her terms (no breakfast together, no flowers, etc.), Adam promptly tries to take their relationship to the next level, which drives Emma crazy for the good reason that … well … there is no good reason. Although the snappy script is by a woman, Elizabeth Meriwether, and the standard gender roles are reversed (the female is the brusque professional, the male the clingy sex object), the movie never makes the case for Emma’s point of view. You don’t see for an instant why a young woman in a high-pressure residency might be wise to approach a relationship warily. You don’t see—given that Adam is gorgeous, funny, kind, talented, and, to cap it off, rich—any impediment whatsoever to happily-ever-afterdom. It’s no wonder a guy behind me muttered, “What’s her problem?”
Her problem, I think, is that she’s a Frankensteinian studio construct with mismatched parts. No Strings Attached began life as Fuck Buddies (or F*&$ Buddies, or some variation thereof), and I’m guessing that in the course of its evolution anything messy or dissonant—any real drama—was discarded, along with any credible accounting for what Emma calls her “allergy” to relationships. So the movie plays as a long and rather cruel proof that the “no strings attached” doctrine can’t work and that Emma is a freak for believing otherwise. (There are pre-Code movies from the early thirties with less old-fashioned ideas about casual sex.) A different actress might have filled in some gaps, but Portman—as intelligent as she is—doesn’t have much imagination. If George Lucas gives her wooden dialogue, she’ll be wooden to the core. If Darren Aronofsky makes her his masochistic marionette, she’ll twirl and hurl on cue. As Emma, she dutifully oscillates between brittle detachment and hysterical neediness, but the why-why-whys remain unanswered.
Director Ivan Reitman, with his anvil touch, is no help: He has zero affinity for his female characters and seems to have made the movie to get in on his son Jason’s Zeitgeist-comedy action. (Is it a coincidence that Adam’s celebrity dad, played by Kevin Kline, steals his son’s girlfriend?) Apart from a surreally dizzy turn by Lake Bell as a TV producer with a crush on Adam, the trendy cast is wasted. (Greta Gerwig as Emma’s roommate is confined to sympathetic smirks.) No Strings Attached is so palpably calculated that you know if the camera had pulled back a foot from the bed in which Portman and Kutcher were pretending to have sex, you’d have seen their agents standing by beaming: proud parents, proud pimps.
by Margaret Atwood
It was taken some time ago.
At first it seems to be
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;
then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.
In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.
(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.
I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.
It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion
but if you look long enough,
you will be able to see me.)
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Carly Simon - Why
This is probably my favorite Carly Simon song. The video is kind of hilarious. I love it when she tries to eat the ice cream in a sexy way and then spills it.
Judy Mowatt- Slave Queen
I love Judy Mowatt and I think this is a great winter song cause it makes it feel like summer.
The Ronettes - Be My Baby
You really can't deny how amazing they are. Like even when you think you're over them this song will come on and you'll be belting it out in the car or dancing around the house. Also, both the Ronettes and the backup dancers are wearing really cool outfits.
Kate Bush- Babooshka
Sometimes I have a hard time posting Kate Bush videos because there are just so many good ones, each one better than the last. I think this video really shows her range of skills - amazing singer, total weirdo, epic dancer, and queen of music videos.
Sade- No Ordinary Love
Two words - Sade and Mermaids , Video by Sophie Muller who clearly is a genius.
Linda Ronstadt - You're No Good
I'm getting a kick out of the fact that she's dressed like me in college in this video. I feel like Linda Ronstadt would be fun to be friends with - I feel like that vibe may be why she managed to go multi-platinum so many times.
Nana Mouskouri - Adieu Angeline
Nana is one of the best selling artists of all time. She pioneered the Lisa Loeb look and has one of the most beautiful voices of all time. Also, though from Greece, she managed to record songs not only in Greek but also French, English, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Welsh, and Maori. This video has almost a whole minute of intro but its worth it. Check out youtube for videos of her singing with everyone from Joan Baez to Nina Hagen.
Yaz- Only You
So beautiful. Singer Alison Moyet has a wonderful voice and this song never gets old.
Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance Somebody
I'm putting this on cause I heard it in the supermarket today and remembered how amazing it is. Go ahead dance around. This video is so hilarious - so many outfits, so many colors, so many hair extensions, probably so much cocaine. If you want to know what happened to my generation you can blame it on watching videos like this when our brains were still developing.
Monday, January 17, 2011
While doing my Christmas shopping last month I found this new book Girls To The Front by Sara Marcus. I thought maybe it would be a cool Christmas present for my cousin Shannon or my sister Mae, so I bought it. Then I sat around trying to figure out which one I should give it to - my alternative hilarious and gorgeous sister who's in her first year of college, or my amazing cousin who will some day rule the world and was off at a semester at sea (somewhere in China hanging out with Desmond Tutu at the time). Who could benefit more from a book on the history of Riot Grrrls? Yea, so sorry Mae and Shannon, I ended up keeping the book and reading the whole thing cause it sucked me in and hopefully I can just lend you my now really worn out copy.
Girls To The Front is a totally thorough and inspiring history of the Riot Grrrl movement compiled by Sara Marcus, who has written for Slate, Time Out New York, and Artforum among other places. I thought I knew about riot grrrls and I think I thought I was too old to be reading this book but honestly it sucked me right in and not only informed me but was one of the most inspiring books I've read in ages. Like, honestly, reading it was the most I've ever felt like learning how to play guitar. And by the end of it I wanted to start a revolution.
One of the main plights of Riot Grrrl, a movement concentrated around bands and zines fronted by mostly teenage girls, was the issue of controlling your own image. When bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and Huggy Bear started hitting it big and the movement was getting big media attention it started to get filtered through media institutions into a movement of baby barrettes and combat boots. As someone who was from a younger generation, who only really got the media filtered version, I actually had no idea that it was a real movement - the political was personal. However, born out of the Washington D.C. and Olympia punk scenes, Riot Grrrl was actually an activist movement comprised almost entirely of young girls. They held actual meetings, especially in DC, but then eventually in cities all over the country. Girls who felt motivated would meet, usually once a week, to talk about forming bands, recording albums, printing zines, or about the issues effecting their lives like bad home situations, sexual abuse, violence, and sexism. It was a movement that had true punk anti-capitalist motives at heart and was not afraid to question its own place in punk, hence the "Girls To The Front" mantra which was about creating a safe space at punk shows for girls to mosh or sway without being kicked in the head or out of the way by punk guys. Many of the riot grrrl bands stayed true to their political beliefs by not signing to major labels - like Bikini Kill who is still to this day on the indie label Kill Rock Stars. When they eventually did feel their image being co-opted into only an image, a nationwide Riot Grrrl policy of not talking to the media was adopted. They instead formed Riot Grrrl Press to distribute their own modes of communication, primarily zines, making it much easier for girls all over to still get the unfiltered message. There are few things in our culture that are looked down upon as much as teenage girls. Without legal power over their bodies, cultural importance given to their voices, or physical strength to pose much of a threat, girls have historically and even still today been one of the most objectified and yet marginalized groups out there. By resisting commodification and refusing to be quiet or complacent Riot Grrrls threw a wrench in the system and forged a path that while still rough is at least visible for girls who are looking for other options.
One of the great things about Sara Marcus's book is that she shows so many different sides of the story. Like while, it sucked that such a strong activist group would be reduced to baby doll dresses and shaved heads by magazines and newspapers, there was a lot of good done by making the movement visible at all. I entered 9th grade in 1997 and actual Riot Grrrl was pretty much over by then, but even getting the filtered down version was helpful to girls like me. Sara Marcus talks about this in her book, citing girls who lived in small obscure towns who wouldn't have known about riot grrrl without the big media institutions. As she points out, if a 14 year old can feel like there are loud wild girls out there, kicking ass and playing instruments - and feel like part of them by putting baby barrettes in her hair - then is that really so bad. Personally, I had never known about the meetings or the activism involved in Riot Grrrl, but I think I owe a lot of my outlook on life to the fact that they immediately preceded my high school years. I think the fact that at 18 and 19 I felt like I could wear ripped up baby doll gingham dresses that half of the time showed my butt, that I felt like I could enjoy my sexuality without fearing its power or being guilted into sexual acts - I really feel like I owe that to knowing about Riot Grrrl.
Another belief of Riot Grrrl that both girls and society still need to remember is that we need to allow ourselves to make mistakes. To be in a terrible band or hold an opinion you'll change your mind on, to sleep with the wrong person, or get too loud and annoying.....the freedom to make mistakes is one that's allowed to teenage boys but can often be used to silence or negate decisions of a girl. The goal of perfection is part of what proliferates eating disorders, depression, and inequality for girls and the women they become.
One aspect of the actual history of the movement that I found interesting was that, while Riot Grrrl mainly came from a middle class, white set of girls- they were aware of the mistakes of second wave feminism and not wanting to repeat those exclusionary blunders, many of the leaders of Riot Grrrl worked to open up awareness- including girls of other races and classes. One of the inspiring things is that by the end, while still in their true angry and loud fashion, Riot Grrrl was able to genuinely integrate in diverse ways. Some of the most vocal leaders towards the end were girls of color, or who came from working class backgrounds. Overcoming the 'bisexual, but with a boyfriend' riot grrrl tendencies that frustrated many of the lesbian members, the crew of Riot Grrrl New York ended up being one of the most queer and politically active groups out there. It wasn't easy or peaceful in the beginning or ending manifestations but that was the beauty of it - that was the mode of operation of Riot Grrrl.
So props to Sara Marcus for being able to write about the group. As anyone who has ever tried to herd cats or get activists to agree on one topic or one history will know - it is not easy. Yet, I think Girls To The Front is a treasure of history for any of us - I wish I'd had it at 16 or 20, but I'm glad I have it now. Please go read it yourself, cause there are so many awesome stories that I'd never have time to share them all! Now here are some selections from the girls themselves.
Its pretty hard to resist loving Kathleen Hanna. You could try, but then she'll break you down by talking about the desire to be a rollerblade model and the burdens of "horizontal oppression" all in a one minute time frame.
Tobi Vail on Riot Grrrl
Huggy Bear on The Word
On being in a band
Emily's Sassy Lime
Kim Gordon reading Riot Grrrl Manifesto from the first Riot Grrrl zine.
Bikini Kill "Suck My Left One"
The next generation
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
To learn more about Shakedown and donate to help them finish please go here... http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1889777212/shakedown
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Anyhow, this video of the Staten Island Ferry pulling into Manhattan is headed by Anne Marsen with a few other awesome dancers. Its called Girl Walk/All Day and this is just the first 15 minutes of what is going to be an even longer video. The mix is by Girl Talk and you can download it here for free!
Portland is a place where young people go to retire!
The tattoo ink never runs dry!
You can put a bird on something and just call it art!!!
Its nice to see the Feminist Bookstore skit they've been doing for a while really hit the big time.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
got in bed, laid our bodies
delicately together, like maps laid
face to face, East to West, my
San Francisco against your New York, your
Fire Island against my Sonoma, my
New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
burning against your Kansas your Kansas
burning against my Kansas, your Eastern
Standard Time pressing into my
Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
beating against your Central Time, your
sun rising swiftly from the right my
sun rising swiftly from the left your
moon rising slowly from the left my
moon rising slowly from the right until
all four bodies of the sky
burn above us, sealing us together,
all our cities twin cities,
all our states united, one
nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Man, its been so long since there's been a girl group like this. Tight rhymes, hot styles, and cute guys in the role of back-up dancers. Now thats how its done!
This one "Pockets Never Hungry" reminds me a lot of "Pussy Control" by Prince. My favorite line from "P.Control" was "Pussy got bank in her pocket, before she got dick in her drawers", but yet it always left me being like 'dammit can't she just have both'. I like to think of "Pockets Never Hungry" as an answer in a way.
Pink Dollaz are part of the Jerkin scene. Here's a mini documentary about them from the LA Weekly.
Thinking about this jerking group is really interesting to me because so often adults, the media, etc get all up in arms about this 90's born generation and their facebook/youtube/twitter/texting etc. For some reason technology is seen as innately evil when in fact for so many kids, like the jerking crew, it can bring you together with those outside of your immediate small reality and expose you to kids nationwide who are excited about the same things as you. Jerking spread almost entirely through social media and without it many of those kids would be looking for far more dangerous sources of income and entertainment. Thanks to this both physical, vocal, and online community there are now kids excited about dancing, rapping, filming, editing, and recording, and they have a wide audience. While many people get down on kids for their obsessions with connecting through technology there is a really good chance that in ten years they will be running everything and we will all be struggling to keep up.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Broadway does "It Gets Better" and boy do they know!
"The thing that makes you different in high school makes you exceptional as an adult." is so true!
And this one is pretty hilarious, and actually really catchy. By Rebecca Drysdale.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Here it is in her words:
"I’m in the Band”, subtitled “Backstage Notes from the Chick in White Zombie” is the story of my journey from CBGBs to arenas, with the rare female perspective in a guy’s world of heavy metal. It is also the unlikely story of a girl who played the bass and won the respect of millions of male metal fans, as an equal. Our band White Zombie was an unusual punk/metal hybrid that built up slowly over 11 years, eventually selling over 7 million records, touring the world and being nominated for two Grammys. However, I was the sole female not only in the band, but also in our entire world, spanning from 1985-1996: the bands we toured with, the roadies, the managers, etc. This was not the case for female rock musicians after White Zombie, but certainly before and during our existence. To put it in perspective, at the end of our career we played in front of 80,000 people (mostly dudes) at England’s Castle Donnington Fest in 1996: I was not only the lone female musician of the day but the only one in the entire festival’s history besides Doro Pesch years earlier, who was a lead singer. The only females I would see on tour were groupies trying to get backstage. Sometimes, to my shock and amusement – they were trying to get backstage to meet me, thinking I must be a guy!
And although the title of the book is in reference to Pamela des Barres “I’m With the Band”, I did actually have to say those words (“ but I’m IN the band!”) more than once to gain access to my own stage entrance or dressing room – that is how male oriented things still were.
Also if you're interested here is a good interview with her. And her new band sounds pretty awesome.
Anyhow, her blog is a pretty amazing way to find out about what women are currently rocking in the music scene. Its really thorough and varied and also had my music snob boyfriend looking over my shoulder being like "hey what is this, this is good shit". I especially was feeling moved by her one post called "What Does It All Mean" which talks about so many things I've been thinking about lately. Like what the fuck, Moe Tucker is a teapartyer - what does this mean??? Or as Tobi says "the VU style floor tom/bass drum pounding beat is no longer the sound of the revolution to my ears." Then she goes on to mention how since"that whole preppy/African trend happened in indie rock, the question is no longer "is this band radical or complacent" in my mind, but "could this band actually be made up of right wing, racist republicans"? " And of course there is the subsequent shit where you find yourself wondering if the band you're listening to even votes and missing "the anarchists and socialists of my youth" . It reminded me of being at a party recently and trying to communicate this same feeling but for some reason just going "these kids don't even believe in anything" over and over again. So anyhow, I've found great inspiration in her blog and I'm going to be an avid devotee from now on!
Here is a selection of awesome gals rocking out that I found on her blog.
Dum Dum Girls
Rye Rye featuring M.I.A
Zaimph (Marcia Bassett)
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Unfortunately, clips from Kathleen Madigan's new stand up are not yet on the internet. So you're going to have to find a way to watch her new special Gone Madigan on tv. Its on Showtime,,, you can get it on On Demand. Just go watch it, its amazing. If you have no access to TV you can save it to your Netflix queue. I watched it a few days before Christmas with my family and for days my parents and boyfriend and I were all quoting lines from it and cracking up. Honestly, its my favorite stand up I've watched in ages.
Kathleen Madigan delivers her lines like your best drinking buddy. I've liked her for ages and she never disappoints; each new standup show is funnier and for some reason Madigan is also getting hotter as she gets older (whats your secret girl?). I wish she had her own show, or hung out at my local bar or something.
Okay so here are some old clips of her - but I really recommend watching the new special!
This one is a classic! And perfect for the holidays. I think of it every year.
Here is a newer clip. She's kinda going crazy fast to fit it all in on The Tonight Show