Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

An endless selection of at best moderately enjoyable texts for school and work. So nothing I think anyone else needs to check out.

 

Watching…

The Americans. Guys, this show is good. Compelling acting and interesting plot lines.

 

Listening…

Basically the entire Barra MacNeils catalog. But especially The Question which massively informed my musical tastes growing up. I have particular love for “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” and “She the Ocean”.

The Ballad of Lucy Jordan (how quintessentially mid-90s is this video?)

She the Ocean

Read This

Required Reading. This New Yorker piece made me laugh. Out loud. This is a rarer occurrence than I would really like it to be, but, alas, life has left me grouchy and angry and scowl-y, so for writing to elicit anything more than a subdued chortle from me is impressive. But this piece did that. Perhaps it’s because I love people watching. Perhaps it’s because making up amusing stories about people in public delights me. Perhaps it is because it is so well written that I can picture it like a tv episode in my head. Perhaps it’s something else. But regardless, You should read “A Breakup Ceremony in Mccarran Park” by Shea Strauss and enjoy a nice mid-week laugh.

Dearly Beloved,

We are gathered here today, in McCarren Park, to inadvertently witness the dramatic breakup of these two people whom we have never previously encountered. If anyone has any empathy at all, please now avert your eyes and hurry past.

At this time, the couple would like to share a few words that they have always wanted to say and soon will never be able to take back.

AARON: 
In the past two and a half years, you’ve become my best friend, my lover, my confidante, and, on this very special day— in front of all of these reluctant witnesses—you now become a future stranger.

As I stand here today, I can’t help but think back to the beginning, when we were both so much more attractive and horny. You gave me a new outlook on alcohol and an excuse to not exercise.

Six months ago today, I popped the question, “Is this even working anymore?” And it was then that I knew that I wanted eventually to forget your middle name. I suddenly understood that I wanted to celebrate your losses and to tell our mutual friends of my successes in the hopes that they would share them with you.

I dedicate the rest of my life to my career, and I look forward to growing bitter separately from you.

JAMIE:
 Wow, I can’t believe this day is finally here. Thank you for being the man who will make my future dates look better. Here are my promises to you:

I promise to delete all evidence of you from my social-media accounts. Yes, even the photos you aren’t in but that you took or were there when they were taken.

I promise to transform you into a Disney villain in my mind. But not a good one, like Gaston or Jafar. Think “Prince of Egypt” old dad pharaoh.

I promise always to put you first, when listing my exes in alphabetical order.

I promise to swipe left if you ever come up on Tinder, but only after taking a screen-cap to show my friends at brunch, where we’ll criticize your photo choices.

I promise never to forget that passing comment you made about my upper-arm flab. I will hold that memory against you forever and use it to make mutual friends take my side in the breakup.

Last, I promise never fully to learn any lessons from this relationship and to continue to fail future partners in similar ways. Most important, though, I will eventually have much more fulfilling sexual experiences, with people much more attractive than you.

[…KEEP READING…]

Read This

Required Reading. Actually, today it is required watching. I have been speed reading a seemingly endless stack of books for school and work, so more reading seems unfathomable. I also had a very weird day; you know, the kind of day where nothing notable really happens but by the end of it you are exhausted and emotionally spent. So I’m feeling a bit raw for words right now. When I’m feeling raw though, I love to watch dance videos. This video of Sergei Polunin dancing to Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” is not new, but I never grow tired of watching it.

Sergei Polunin, “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle from David LaChapelle Studio on Vimeo.

Read This

Required Reading. I first read this story almost four years ago, but I still go back to it with some frequency. Josephine Rowe’s stories feel both raw and guarded at the same time, and perhaps that is how I feel about love and life. Perhaps that is why I love them so much. She also has a gift for putting the reader in a situation, in a place, in a specific moment with her characters, and yet these stories never feel so specific that they couldn’t be about you or your sister or your best friend. Perhaps that is why I love them so much, the spectre of relatability looms large and yet never manages to terrify me with a mirror image of myself. And with that cryptic introduction, I give you Josephine Rowe’s “Love”.

He is teaching her how to break bottles against the side of the house. A whiskey bottle works best, he tells her. She thinks this is very lucky, because that is what they have the most of – he has spent the last few weeks emptying them. So whiskey bottles are what they are using. Now, he says. Like this. Crack. So that you get something like a shiv, not just a fistful of glass and stitches. Like this, he says. Crack. And she feels a great swell of pride in her sparrowy chest – he gets it perfect, every time. Now you, he says, and he hands her the next bottle. Because a father can’t always be there, he says, and she nods and tries to look solemn, to make him believe she understands. The bottle does not break on the first try. She swings harder on the second try and gets it, but it is a bad break. Her father does not say this, but she knows. Too close to the neck. Shards of glass from other afternoons shine dully in the dry earth at their feet. He hands her another bottle and the second break is better, the glass jutting out like the snaggled teeth of some prehistoric fish.

She tries to imagine when she will need this – how things will ever get so bad. Her idea of evil is a slinking, unknowable thing, formless and weightless and impossible to hurt. She takes another bottle and tries to give the evil a shape, eyes and lips and things, all squinty and sneering – a composite of all the villains and monsters she has seen in films and picture books. And although she finds the result is less terrifying than something incorporeal, she does not know how she will ever be brave enough – will she ever be able to do that to somebody, evil or otherwise?

[…KEEP READING…]

Moving Portraits

Victoria Will takes amazing portraits. This year at Sundance, she teamed up with Esquire to create mesmerizing moving portraits of celebrities, including John Krasinski, Nick Jonas, Ewan McGregor, Riley Keough, Brooklyn Decker, Jenny Slate, Chad Michael Murray, and Bryce Dallas Howard. And that’s just naming a few. I desperately want to know how they were created! You can check out all of the images here, and I strongly recommend that you do!