observations on culture
musings on the cultured world.
Of course the best vocal opening of all time unquestionably belongs to Zepp’s 1970 Immigrant Song…and I would also argue that Bad Romance, Lady Gaga’s 1970 melancholic anthem, belongs in the Top Ten of that category. Play on Spotify
Did a smile break out upon my face when I spied an orange-spined hardcover on the top shelf of library stacks and realized although it shared a certain similar loving attention to jacket design aesthetic, it was not, in fact, a companion piece to David Byrne’s lovely ode to travel on two wheels, Bicycle Diaries, and was in fact a lovely ode to libraries by the wonderful Susan Orlean? Yes, a smile did break as I looked around in a moment of panic that fellow bibliophiles might trample me as they desperately stretched to rip it from my hands. That vision did not unfold as book-reading brethren and sisters apparently found other delicious works to quench their literary appetites. So yes, I own a copy. For the next two weeks. Thank you, public libraries. Especially Washougal Community Library.
Your life will undoubtedly be bouncier and better if you listen to a double-blast dance fest of Dizzy Gillespie’s Trumpet Blues and Dave Brubeck’s Rondo à la Turk today. Right now.
If you loved the 2013 chilling thriller Prisoners, you’ll mildly appreciate 2015’s The Secret in Their Eyes. Nowhere near as good, but with a notable cast led by Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and a few little twists as they try to solve a 13-year old murder case that hits close to home.
I can’t think of a show I would like to binge-watch less than HBO’s grief-fest The Leftovers. It’s the aftermath of the world surviving after two percent of the population poof! Vanished. But it’s not about that, not really, and it’s more about the process of asking questions than finding answers. Some of the best writing and performances on telly, though I’m not sure the sum is greater than its parts…and there are some parts that dig into your soul and psyche in full on Old Testament emotional brutality. But I finished it months ago and am still thinking about it. Binge? Nah. Took me a long time to finish. Best show about grief and loss I’ve seen.
Tone is so much. How do you make an action thriller where 85% of the stunts are absolutely impossible according to any universe’s laws of physics, yet still find the setup believable enough to care about what’s happening in a non-ironic way? That’s 2010’s Angelina Jolie spy flick, scripted by Kurt Wimmer, who will never top his 2002 Christian Bale sci-fi work of genius Equilibrium.
If you have ever spent a Friday evening absorbed in one of Jorges Luis Borges’ short story collections, such as 1962’s Labyrinths, I can assure you we would be at best great friends and at worst respected archenemies. Layers upon layers of meaning and plot to unravel and deliciously ponder.
Sunset’s Sunshine Hair from 2009 is sooo pretty. Like Beach House and the Byrds murmuring away together in a late night jam session at a villa on the…seashore.
There are probAbly better things to listen to on independence day thAn run the jewels, But I don’t know what those Things might be.
So what if I’ve listened to James Arthur’s Empty Space 27 times over the last week. So what. It reminds me of that one Harry Styles gem from a couple years ago. Sign of the Times. Glossy, super-produced pop sung well by a high-voiced Brit boy. Super sad, super sexy.
My brother in law says I’ve gotta see Rihanna and Childish Gambino’s 50-min Amazon film Guava Island. Bumping it up the list from its previous spot of not being on it.
If you have ever thought about writing a paper deconstructing and contrasting the social metaphors of Peter Pan versus Pan’s Labyrinth, then I can assure you we are already unmet friends.
CW’s The Flash is nowhere near the greatest superhero series. But it is one of the most fun shows I can imagine watching together as a family. Not only is it a great conversation-starter for all number of Physics questions - and I hit the Pause button frequently - but there’s some unexpected emotional heft to various relationships with some little gems of perceptiveness and nuance that is rather beautiful.
Today, I think the three best Pixar films ever are Up, Incredibles, and Toy Story 3. But tomorrow is another day. Oh, I would include WALL*E and Monsters Inc. in the top three as well.
Did I love the Netflix high school romcom ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’? The answer is yes. I didn’t love everything about it, but I loved the tiny ways of subverting expectations and portrayals of often-caricatured roles - e.g. ‘clueless dad of teenage girl.’ Also, that one guy sounds like teenage Mark Ruffalo.
If you have agonized over whether it would be worth four minutes of your day to listen to Bruce Springsteen’s There Goes My Miracle off his brand new album Western Stars, then stop agonizing and go listen. And then take another four minutes and listen again.