All week I have been on a Blur kick, mostly Modern Life is Rubbish, The Great Escape and Leisure. I have been spinning them both all day at work, and also while I did some work on this space, and some other writings. This week’s two most played? Blue Jeans and Country House. They are the two I keep hitting rewind and repeat on. I love the guitars, the post-Kinks sensibility, that delicious 90’s Brit Pop that I think I love more now than I did in the 90’s. Can I also say that I have a heart-shaped, teenage crush on both Damon and Graham. How can I not? They are all kinds of darling, even if they were egotistical bastards back in the 90’s, too (looking at you, Damon). It is interesting to listen to Modern Life and realize that Stephen Street produced it, the same producer who famously worked with Morrissey and The Smiths. Even more interesting is to imagine how the album may have sounded if their label had gotten their way in using Butch Vig (Nirvana, Sonic Youth) to produce. How would it have sounded under his grungey gaze?
2. Broad City
I am only two episodes in, but I am so won over. Best friends who are flawed, funny, and what Two Broke Girls should be if it was a) written well, and b) about actual girls who are broke. So many moments I literally laughed coffee up my nose while watching (see: buying pot and pizza with a Home Depot gift card, the “I’m a baby” Fred Armisen). I often feel like I’m supposed to love Girls, that everyone I know loves Girls, but I couldn’t make it through the first episode. They were annoying and privileged and unrelatable to me. Maybe I’m too old, or spent my life too broke, but this is more in my wheelhouse. You can catch the show on Comedy Central (or Hulu, like I am), and they have pre-cable episodes on their YouTube channel, too.
Episode 1 :: Making Change
I have been home sick all day and TNT has been running a Supernatural marathon. I remember when this show first came around and I scoffed at it because the promos looked like some kind of pre-fabricated, heart-throb, ghost chasers, like Scooby Doo meets Dawson’s Creek (hmmm…now I am kind of surprised I didn’t tune in).
When my husband and I first stated dating he had me sit down and watch the pilot, and I was enthralled.
The show has all the trappings of things I love, the supernatural (yeah, I know, the title makes that one obvious), constant pop culture references (even the episode titles!), sarcasm, humor, emotional and parental issues, and strong storytelling that has never faltered through all the seasons. Oh, and yes, Sam and Dean are attractive, as is their sidekick angel and king of Hell, but they are more than that – hell, they even have an episode dealing with fanfiction/slash fiction of their own characters, an intentional nod to the fandom (which, to be honest, scares me, but cheers to their passion – I’m sure my fandoms have scared others, too).
I think the episodes that weave humor into them are my favorite, though there has been a few favorites that also have had me in tears. I honestly can’t recommend this one enough.
The reworked opening theme for one of the Trickster episode
4. Movies in the Park
It is that time of year again, when all the “Movies in the Park“, or “Outdoor Movies” starting popping up all over Los Angeles. They remind me of all the times I spent at the Drive-In, especially during the Summertime, all the memories and the movies I saw, or didn’t see, because I was busy not paying attention. I saw a lot of silly comedies, horror flicks and a few random blockbusters.
Though I wish that these did have a horror night (none of them seem to), they do have quite the line-up of indie, comedy, iconic 80’s and 90’s fare, and this year quite a few “anniversary” showings. The opening night at Street Food Cinema is just one of those – the 25th anniversary of Say Anything, which I’m excited to have tickets for. I also just picked up tickets to Eat See Hear’s opening night showing of 500 Days of Summer.
These movie-events start before the sun goes down, have food trucks and random vendors, and different bands and artists that perform. Sometimes they have special guests, like the Valley Girl one I took my daughters to that had the lead Valley Girl herself, Deborah Foreman there. Some of the nights are set-up just like Drive-In’s, where they allow you to bring your car in and have you tune in to the movie through your car stereo. I wish that I could partner with someone and host a few of these myself.
5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I’m only about six chapters in, but I already adore it. The audio version is how I am consuming it, and it is well done. At first I was a little thrown off because one of the two voice talent is Rebecca Lowman, who also voiced Eleanor from Eleanor and Park (also by Rainbow Rowell), which I loved so much. When this audio book started, and I heard her voice, I actually said “hi Eleanor” out loud (yes, I talk to my audio books and podcasts in the car). The other voice talent? It is none other than Maxwell “Rex Manning” Caulfield, playing the narrator of the “fanfic” portions that lead character, Cath, writes. Cath is a diehard fangirl, a fanfic writer, and a twin. College has just begun and Cath’s twin Wren has decided it is time to “cut the cord” and “dump their shared fandom” and get her own dorm mate.
Cath suffers from anxiety disorder, feels out-of-place on campus, is overwhelmed by all the changes, and also worries about her left behind Father who seems to be bipolar (I’m only about a third of the way into the book).
Rowell writes characters with such a realistic flair, and she creates a world that feels not only feels of the time and age of the characters, but of the emotions and inner complexities of the reader. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite new authors.
I last left Cath having an “Emergency Kanye Dance Party” with her dormmate’s “maybe” boyfriend after finding out she got an F from her Creative Writing teacher for turning in a piece of fanfiction – thus bringing up the dilemma of who owns the writing when the characters were originally created by someone else. Good stuff. And, as I’ve said before, if you haven’t indulged in an audiobook lately, or ever, you are missing out.
It seems the cable-trend this Spring is adapting movies into re-interpreted television series, and I have to say, so far, I’m digging it. I wrote last time about how much I’m enjoying From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, and now I’m here to say that Fargo was pretty damn good, too. With one hell of a cast (seriously, I can hardly count how many times I said “wait…was that…” while watching the pilot), the story takes place in the town of Fargo, and within that look and feel world that the movie created, but in this we meet a different cast of characters, my favorites (so far) being Molly, the Police Chief in training (and the strongest and bravest character on the show), played by Allison Tolman, and the eerie, violent and yet hilarious, Lorne, played by Billy Bob Thornton, and actor I typically have no tolerance for (so this says a lot about the writing and his performance).
The show hits you in those deep, dark places, as the movie did, and will have you laughing at things that you know you shouldn’t laugh at. The pilot seemed like a movie in itself, and could have been, it is so flushed out and self-contained, so that fact that it isn’t makes me all the more curious and excited to see where this story, and these characters, will go.
There are far too many shows on that I enjoy lately, and this is not helping the cause, at all.
7. Heartbreaker :: Ryan Adams
Another album I can’t seem to get enough of is Ryan Adams’ 2000 album, Heartbreaker. An ever favorite of mine, it had been awhile since I’d listened to it in its entirety. The album is such a songwriting gem. Each song plays to me like a short story from an anthology collection, every character a bit bruised and broken, but still persisting, still wanting, still holding together their taped up heart. I had forgotten how much I love Shakedown on 9th Street and Call Me On Your Way Home – and just how fucking amazing are Come Pick Me Up and Oh My Sweet Carolina?
The copy of the album I have I bought when I was in England. I bought it in this big music store, and spent a good fifteen minutes talking to the girl behind the counter about how much we loved Ryan’s music, what are favorite songs were, and how incredible it was to see him live. That entire trip I kept running into Ryan’s music, in the jukeboxes, the record stores we perused, and through my headphones on the plane home.
I wish Ryan would come tour soon. It’s been far too long.
Come Pick Me Up
8. Pop Culture Affidavit Podcasts
Though I’ve known about my friend Tom’s Podcasts for awhile, it was not until this week that I finally got around to listen to them. I can’t believe it has taken THIS LONG to listen, but I’m happy I’m doing it now. If you like movies, television shows, music, 80’s and 90’s pop culture, and comics you will love these Podcasts. So far, I’ve listened to one on Say Anything, another on The Breakfast Club, one on Reality Bites, and a collaborative music one on Counting Crows album, August and Everything After. I would pick a favorite if that was even possible, but they have all been so awesome I just can’t pick!
There are many more to choose from, and I have a few already queued up for my long commute to and from work.
This is the latest episode – listen here.
9. The ’59 Sound :: The Gaslight Anthem
Another album of the week is The ’59 Sound, a past Quintessential Album featured here. This has been an “in my office” album that I traded back and forth with the two, previously mentioned, Blur albums. This is another album full of stories that delight my singer-songwriter fangirl heart. This week’s “hit rewind and replay” favorites from the album are Miles and the Cool and Here’s Looking at You, Kid.
Can Gaslight come and tour soon, too, please?
Here’s Looking at You, Kid
10. The Wolf of Wall Street “Honest” Trailer
courtesy of Charles
Starting this week, and moving forward, I am giving #10 to my husband to share his “YouTube favorite of the week”. Charles is a purveyor of YouTube, and follows a ton of comedy and parody YouTubers, as well as a lot of comic/board games/movie themed channels. Near daily he tells me about the latest and greatest find on YouTube, playing them for me via our X-Box, so much so that I decided to give him this space to share one with all of you.
This one comes from Screen Junkies, who put together hilarious parody movie trailers to current and past popular movies. The one above is for the Scorsese and DiCaprio’s recent film, The Wolf of Wall Street – and his personal favorite moment is the Matthew McConaughey moment (push play, and you’ll see).
It is pretty funny, though I can’t help but think if Leo ever does win an Oscar what will all the Cinema mockers have to joke about?
My favorite of the Honest Trailers, if you want to look/watch more, are the Twilight ones.
Screen Junkies can be found here – click subscribe if you enjoy!