Filtering by Tag: MUSIC
Adore this Lizzo performance at the VMAs. The set is amazing and brilliantly reappropriates the oversized butt concept from Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”
Get a copy of my acclaimed story, “The Tumor” … “a masterpiece of short fiction.”
This afternoon, I visited the set of an adult movie. I'll have more on that in an upcoming report.
One of the standout tracks in a soundtrack of standouts is Jidenna's "Classic Man" in "Moonlight." Over at Pitchfork, Maggie Lange has a charmingly rigorous dissection of the track, how it plays a part in the movie, and the subtext it lends to a scene that's fraught with tension and desire.
"*Classic man interruptus* is also a great scene about rev panic: When you start up your car after someone gets in, and you forgot what you were listening to when it was just you. It’s like a diary open on the table. Who you are alone and who you show to other people can be different (a theme from Moonlight!), and sometimes our music can betray this. Of course, I don’t want to assume anything about whether one should or should not be private about their time with 'Classic Man,' this is just a thought about vulnerability and presentation."
I enjoyed watching "The Defiant Ones." It's a kind of mini-series on the parallel-ish careers of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and what led them to sell Beats by Dre for big bucks. It's got some interesting material on the rise and troubles of NWA and the various musical permutations of its members that came after, a fun origin story from Eminem, and a peek inside the rollercoaster ride reality that is success. At one point, as things get really troubled with rival rappers feuding, Iovine wonders: "Am I defending free speech or am I funding Hamas?" While the investigation is frequently gritty, it mostly ignores the more troubling aspects of both their privates lives and sheds little light on what fundamentally makes each man tick -- beyond that he's a hustler. The second half of the last episode is the weakest, turning into something of an ad for their shared product. But, whatever. We don't really get them, after all, but it's fun to bear witness to how they made it there.
In the last few years, I've seen several Terrence Malick movies: "The Tree of Life," "To the Wonder," "Knight of Cups." In order to enjoy them, one must be open-minded or at least in a Terrence Malick kind of mood. What are Malick's movies about? Everything and nothing. What is the plot? Good luck. How is the dialogue? Um. These movies are collagist, impressionistic, dreamscapes in which love/pain/desire/rejection/rebirth/death/ecstasy all coexist, interweave, and pulse with a curious kind of life that makes, well, the act of living seem more alive on the screen than in reality. His latest, "Song to Song," could be said to be about the Austin music scene, or a study of several men and several women whose love lives intersect, or a fucking mess. It all depends on you. Manohla Dargis has it right: Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman deliver the standout performances while Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara sometimes appear to be engaging in acting exercises. What does that mean? It's hard to say. Malick likes to linger on Mara's hip bones, pour over vignettes in which lovers' bodies intertwine in unmet longing, open wide to bear witness to grand landscapes in which the awesome beauty of the universe consumes the smallness of us attempting to find one another in it. There's a brief and tragically lovely appearance by Cate Blanchett. The homes in which these beautiful people wander are striking glass boxes that attempt to contain the fragility of their occupants. There's some hot lesbian groping. What does it all mean? I have no idea. The alternative is one more phony plot with stilted dialogue that's supposed to capture the human experience but does little more than package it into something that feels like Spam.
A really long time ago, I went to see Prince in concert. I believe he was playing the Cow Palace in Daly City. It was the eighties. So it would've been a "Purple Rain" tour, I imagine. My dad drove me and a girlfriend there and dropped us off in front. I was wearing a sort of Madonna-meets-Prince ensemble that involved white lace gloves with no fingers. Our seats were on the north side of the arena. I remember having a great time, but here's the thing: I really don't remember Prince. It's not that I didn't love him. I had a jaw dropping reaction to "Kiss" the first time I heard it -- wtf is that? -- and I listened to many of his songs on a Walkman after I went to bed, and I had his posters on my walls. You know what I remember? His opening act: motherfuckin' Sheila E. "The Glamorous Life" was my jam. I remember her pounding a surrounding of drums like fucking insanity, and I was just awestruck, because never in my life had I ever seen any woman do anything like that. Thanks for that and for everything else, Prince. You taught me how to be an original, and make a career out of what others took to be a pervert but wasn't, and a woman who can do whatever the fuck she wants in this life.
Last weekend, our second weekend of performances, I started to get better at improv. The tide turned for me when it was my turn to sing a song during Country Jam, and the endowment from the audience was FBI agent. As the other players went, I scrambled in my head to think of an idea. A song about a federal agent who goes to Colombia to acquire cocaine and screw hookers, perhaps? It started to get confusing. To make it worse, someone else stepped forward to sing a song about Female Body Inspectors. Now, I was next. I should point out, BTW, that this was during the "for adults" later show on Saturday night. This doesn't mean everything is a dick joke. It does mean every other thing is a dick joke. Well, not really. But there were some amusing jokes about Bruce Jenner, and boobs, and whores. In any case, as it was time for me to step out and sing my song -- I should add here that I cannot sing, sound terrible singing, and am a bad singer -- I was reminded of that wise old adage: go with what you know. So I sang a song about a federal agent who watches porn on the job all day, and his favorites included "Barely Legal" and something I made up on the spot called "Wet and Lovely." The lesson here, I believe, is to be yourself and be someone else at the same time. That way you can do what you love and do something very badly, and through some odd magic, it might turn out right.
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Recently, I'd noticed rich ladies putting their babies in Birkin bags and posting photos of their babies in their Birkin bags. I wrote about this breaking new phenomenon today on Kottke, where I'm guest blogging all week. When will the Birkin with a baby in it madness end?
Buy THE TUMOR: "This is one of the weirdest, smartest, most disturbing things you will read this year."