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Monthly Archives: March 2013

 

I’ve been a fan of Easter Island for awhile and was very pleased to find their new, beautifully shot music video for “You Don’t Have A Choice” in my inbox late last night.

It’s a finger-pointing of sorts at the discomfiture that arises in relationships, both on the surface and under. Love is not black and white, as they say; as if to flip that notion on it’s head, the video shows a couple that is exactly that, silently judged by a room full of onlookers. Soft lighting, hard looks; white light, white tablecloths, white sheets, white people, and the obvious implication that that white-washing is far from acceptable. It’s raw and personal, and definitely gives you reason to pause.

Singer Ethan Payne told Paste,

“The song raises a lot of questions about sex and intimacy in relationships in a broad sense, and maybe answers some while not answering others. We knew we wanted to somehow communicate that confusion and thought process through the video.”

Indeed. Very well done, guys.

Even better: The band is on tour soon—check Bandcamp for dates, and get excited.

james-franco-spring-breakers-movieLike most people who are into dark social commentary and hyped-up movies about fucked-up people, I saw Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers this week, the director’s latest foray into arty cinema starring drug-addled youths. I expected to hate it. The pre-premiere interviews and feature articles all focused on the same, tired points: Ex-Disney stars lose their innocence, break out of comfort zones/show they can “really act,” get naked and do drugs on screen! James Franco in cornrows! It was almost enough to make me not see it, except that, like most people, I was far too intrigued to avoid it.

But I didn’t hate it. Actually, I loved it. Despite a slow, stop-start first half hour—the dream state atmosphere Korine was going for with way too many “flashbacks” to scenes that happened minutes before was disjointed and annoying— and moments of disconnected cheesiness—no girl, no matter how “badass” or bored, would ever draw a heart over the words I ❤ Penis on a piece of paper and hold it up to her friend during a lecture—the point was, well, on point: Kids these days, just as Chloe Sevigny & Co demonstrated in 1993, are fucked up. And you don’t understand, couldn’t possibly understand, the half of it, unless you too have been in any sort of comparable experience.

Which is why everyone else, including most media outlets and critics, seems to have missed Korine’s very valid point: Because very few people older than the current twenty-something demographic who can relate to what they see on the screen. Sitting in the sizeable, completely packed theatre in Union Square, I was surrounded by two types of people: The people who laughed, and the people who did not.

The former is perfectly represented by the the group of middle-age (“culturally aware”) group of friends behind me, and the large guffawing middle-America-type woman in front of me. People over the age of thirty, attending because either A) they read about it in New York Magazine and saw Kids once and needed to be able to hold a discussion at this week’s dinner party or around the office, or B) they saw the trailer, saw sex and drugs, and figured it would be highly entertaining.

All of these people thought James Franco’s grill-wearing, ghetto white boy Alien was hilarious. True, it was very, very difficult to stifle laughter for the first 5 minutes he was on-screen—you can’t have that man say things like “drank” and “we do it dirty” in a hood Southern accent and expect us to let it slide right away. But, if you are a proper movie-goer, you suspend your disbelief to enjoy the film. Most of these people never did so. The “Look at all my stuff!” scene, where Alien jumps on a bed wielding machine guns and throwing bricks of dope and wads of cash into the air (a la a 2013 drug-dealing Jay Gatsby, as the Times noted) issued riotous laughter. He’s so silly! When Alien sits down at his white baby grand in the middle of a waterfront backyard to play Britney Spears ‘Everytime’—a song which he told New York Magazine was “a condensed pop version of what I wanted to do with the movie… really eerie, kind of glossy and airless and haunting” (so, uh, pretty important for the film)—while his three bathing-suit clad collegiate hit women dance around with shotguns and pink face masks, giggles reverberate up and down the rows. They’re so weird!

That laughter gave them away. They didn’t really get the deeper commentary: On the insurmountable materialism of people whose sole desire is to earn money for “more stuff,” and whose primary means of doing so is by stealing or selling illicit substances; On the double-speak often invoked by men like Alien who are used to getting all the nice things they can flash a wad of bills at, including girls they bail out of jail; On the bleak emptiness of life for girls like Candy and Cotty and Brit, bored and poor and futureless, looking for something to liven them up even if it involves live ammunition; On the tendency of teenagers to treat everything, including their own life, like a game.

The people who didn’t laugh—my friend and myself, the myriad groups of other twenty-somethings and teens in the audience—understood these points. Throughout most of the film, we were silently digesting, recognizing too-familiar scenarios on the screen. Afterwards, my friend and I discussed parallels over a cigarrette. She’s been to spring break in Florida, and what Korine depicted in the opening sequence was identical, if not actually tamer, than her experience. I grew up in a tourist trap beach town, familiar with underage substance abuse as well the sketchy undergrowth of people like Alien and his crew that those areas breed. We’d both seen friends and classmates succumb to drugs and guns, drop out of school to live a perpetual party that’s much more sad and hollow than it is fun. The scenes of Cotty (Korine’s wife, Rachel) trying to guzzle beer poured down her throat by a group of guys and nearly vomiting on herself in the process can be found at nearly every college party. Currently, my hometown public high school has an issue with its students dealing heroin.

No one of us laughed because Spring Brekaers is pretty spot-on satire. No, we don’t know anyone who has used their spring break to move in with a dealer and go on a murder spree. But the underlying bleakness is almost too relatable. There are, without a doubt, kids in the iPhone generation with tar-colored souls and nothing to lose. By contrast, those theatre gigglers outside of our demographic, while not without generational dark spots of their own, aren’t on the same page as these lost little girls; girls who are young enough to be their daughters.

Whether you’re a fan of Korine and his less-than-subtle social commentary or not isn’t the issue. It’s learning to digest a phenomenon you don’t understand instead of shrugging it off as a joke.

A sentence I never thought I would say, but it’s true. My trusty M.A.C., my go-to Nars, both are relegated to the bottom of the purse—the coveted outside-pocket spot has been taken over by a $8 Maybelline, in all its ruby plastic -encased glory.

I never would have purchased this, mostly because I’m a creature of habit and a subscriber to “if it ain’t broke…” and not because I don’t like Maybelline. But a swag bag at talk at FIAF came with a bright pink little tube of the brands new ColorSensation Vivids line, aptly named Vivid Rose, in the exact shade I had been planning on purchasing from M.A.C. in a few days. Luck! But would it last?

maybelline vivids color sensation

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! I applied my new shade in the AM, pre- subway to work, expecting it to be half-there by the time I finished my morning oatmeal and coffee. Checking in after both—miracles! It was still there! and not just in the center, but all over. Spoon survivor, paper-cup-residue resistor. Very impressive.

Frequent bathroom breaks revealed staying power over water bottle and straws, just as bright as ever and, even more importantly, still moist. No spoltchiness where color is weirdly condensed in flakes.

But the most impressive? I had an apple at lunch—the bite-into kind, not the pre-sliced kind—and expected my lips to be completely color-free, as apple knawing will do.

IT WAS STILL THERE, GUYS.

Have you ever eaten an apple and retained lipstick? I have not. Stains, maybe. But not a lipstick. This is very big, guys. In a whole days use of lips, I only reapplied once, to touch up the edges before happy hour. A lipstick that keeps your pucker pink (or plum, or red) after all manner of meals is worth purchasing in every color and hoarding like your life depends on it. Especially when it’s only $8.

Sorry, trusty other guys. You just got schooled.

Above colors, from left: Hot Plum, Fuschia Flash, Vibant Mandarin, On Fire.
Roughly $8 at drugstores and online.

torst greenpoint beer bar tapsA bold claim, but I stand by it. And having been to most of the better hops ‘n’ malts establishments here (plus worked in one of them for over a year), I have at least marginal credibility.

The long-awaited bar by Momofuku vet Daniel Burns and Evil Twin brewery’s Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø had a lot of hype, and so far has completely exceeded expectations. It’s most obviously laudable attribute is the unique temperature-controlled “flux capacitator” draft line. A red control panel under the bar keeps each of the 22 drafts at optimum temperatures and carbonations, ensuring the beer tastes and behaves exactly as the brewer intended. For beer geeks used to bartenders pouring foamy Michelob the same way they’d pour your Mikkeller (that is, not properly), this is a much appreciated touch.

Fancy pouring systems aside, where Tørst really shines is by filling the gaps between ubiquitous IPAs and German-style wheats that tend to proliferate, well, everywhere. Sure, you’ll find both those styles among the drafts and extensive, two-page bottle list, but you’ll also find red ryes, barrel-aged ports, American barleywines, and a blueberry weissbier by the name of Justin Blåbaer. Which means if you’re going with less adventurous friends, everyone will find something to quench their tørst (it means “thirst” in Norwegian). And, though the listed breweries are rare and normally pricey—Evil Twin, Hopfenstark, De Mollen—the drafts were all reasonably priced: no more than $11 for a 14oz, and with $5 8oz pours available for maximum sampling capacity without breaking the bank (or getting too tipsy—most of the offerings are high ABV). Best recommendation: One of the two in-house English style barleywines, the Tørst Front Room and the Back Room, that are as deliciously subtle as they are high-impact.

Even more refreshing is the light-filled, open space and crisp white marble bar—a welcome sight in the land of dark, reclaimed wood bars all with the same chalkboard signs and tchotchke decor.

$12 meat and cheese plates are available for pairings and to soak up the booze until May or so, when the full tasting restaurant, Luksus (“luxury”) opens in the back.  Until then, you’ll find me very happily nestled at the bar.

Tørst
165 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint

all photos via Gothamist

torst_samhorine-1346 torst greenpoint bartorst_samhorine-1331

we gave a party for the gods and the gods all cameIn the latest incarnation of CR Fashion Book, Dance, much improved from the slightly disjointed first issue, there is this lovely little piece of graphic art by John Giorno. Across the spread is his poem “It Doesn’t Get Better,” which is rarely transcribed but is, for once, here, because Carine is a wonderful person. I wish it was a little bigger, but layout constraints prevent image enlargement (damn you, minimalist theme!) so you’ll have to squint a little. It’s worth it.

it doesnt get better john giorno

a hauntingly beautiful speech cum eulogy by Aaron Freeman on NPR that my best friend (and superb Tumblr) Molly sent me, and which we immediately put in our notes for funerals along with the Do Not Invite list we made in high school

“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.”

— Aaron Freeman “You Want A Physicist To Speak at your Funeral” (npr)