Tuesday , October 27, 2009
All-Time Top 5 (Well, 8 and a Half): Favorite Horror Movies
Ba da da, in time for Samhain, we present to you a list of some of our favorite horror films. Well, MY favorite horror films, 'cause this entry is pretty much a default Kat Attack (and basically half a movie short of a nogoodformeix). Maybe Liz and LJ don't watch horror movies? I don't know! I toyed with the idea of being all conceptual and listing every single awful romantic comedy on earth (because I'm often genuinely horrified by them) and analyzing why they suck and how counterproductive they are for the evolution of human nature. But true to my sense of classicism, I'm going straight genre here. I never understood those people who are like, "Oh, I wasn't scared at all, I saw that coming a mile away" when they see a horror film. Yeah, you do see the baddie or the twist coming a mile away, but that's the fun of it sometimes; you get to be all smartypants but still get freaked out in the best way possible. Horror is one of those genres where sheer craft can win out in creating those visceral chills and thrills -- although a few severed limbs and some serious blood spillage never hurt. My only criteria for this list was either the movie was so well-made that it transcends or forwards the genre in some interesting way -- or it scared the living daylights out of me. What films would you put on your list? (Kat)
RINGU (1998)/THE RING (2002)
The Japanese do horror like no one else, really. While so many western horror films deal with metaphors of suburbia-as-major-suckage, gender/sex anxiety (all those slutty teenagers!) and the dregs of Christianity (the totally excellent The Exorcist), the Japanese have a truly ancient tradition of animism and ghost stories (kaidan) to draw upon, not to mention their own cultural neuroses and an often riveting sense of visual surrealism, all of which mix into that lovely cultural subgenre J-Horror. Restless bloodthirsty spirits, bizarre apparitions, soul inhabitants, chills and thrills more about psychological anticipation and dread over gore and grossness - dude, BRING IT ON. Ringu (and its massively successful American remake, The Ring) is one of those films where, if you think about it too much, the plot kind of falls apart, but no one really cares because it's so richly imagined. The initial hook is one of those urban legends, a videotape full of mid-era Nine Inch Nails video imagery that seems full of bizarre film-school student nonsense (believe me, I should know) but is actually super-creepy. The twist is that a few days later you get a phone call and THEN YOU DIE. Suffice it to say that the film enters into a bizarre whole mythology centered around an implacable wraith named Sadako in the Japanese version. (She goes by Samara in the Americanized remake.) I won't say more about Sadako except she made a great Halloween costume the year the movies came out, and she's indelibly scary. The backstory and mythology of the whole Ringu series is really intense and rich and psychotic, so it's worth checking them all out just to get into it. It took me awhile to get through all of it, though, because the finale of both The Ring and Ringu had me so fucking freaked out afterwards that I couldn't be alone in a room with a television set for a week straight. Kill your television indeed!
IF YOU WATCH THIS YOU WILL DIE IN A WEEK!!! AHHH, I'M SUCH A WIMP I CAN'T WATCH THIS ALONE:
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Sunday , October 18, 2009
All-Time Top 5 Things We Loved About Whip It
1. KRISTEN WIIG IS SO GOOD
One of my favorite parts of Whip It was forgetting entirely that Kristen Wiig is Target Lady on "SNL." Instead, she played warm-hearted, sexy single mom Maggie Mayhem with the aplomb of a character actress; it was a performance entirely free of any Dorothy Hamill bowl cut expectations. Please please please someone give Kristen her own show and make it good! (Kat)
I don't know what Eve is thinking in regards to Kristen Wiig here. Ten points if you write an imaginary caption in the comments!
2. LANDON PIGG IS SO BAD
I'm kind of super-stoked that the "love story" in Whip It was kind of lame and eye-roll-inducing; in the larger context of "studio movies about teenage girls for teenage girls," its lackadaisical treatment was practically subversive. It's like the film refused to deviate from its grrrl-posi, pro-sporty central mission and was like, "Eh, I guess we HAVE to put this in here." So they got a piece of dude candy and made him run around in cool clothes. Fine with me! (Kat)
3. ANDREW IS SO THE HOTTEST WILSON BROTHER
I've long suspected this (he's Future Man!) but Whip It really drove it home. When we got out of the movie I told my little sister that Coach Razor was my new number-one dream dude and she went "Ewwwwww, what the fresh hell???" and then told me I was gross. But that's OK. She's only 18. Give her 10 years or so and she'll totally get the appeal of a bearded, unwashed, scraggly-haired almost-hesher in stonewashed cutoffs.
P.S. In this sporadically hilar vid about the making of Bottle Rocket, Andrew's bearded, unwashed, and scraggly-haired, which leads me to believe that that's his actual look, which makes me really happy. (Unless it was shot while Whip It was being filmed, but who knows?) Skip to 4:54 for proof that Andrew's about 12 times foxier than Luke, at least.
P.P.S. Juliette Lewis was hot too, and perfect. (Liz)
Dude candy, Liz-stylez.
4. ELLEN PAGE'S COMBAT BOOTS
This is so obvious, but I don't care. It's so awesome to see in celluloid an outfit you probably wore all the time when you were in high school. Self-validation! (Kat)
Ellen's all like, "You know that feeling you get? That vast emptiness within?" And Landon's thinking, "Man, I really want that Stryper t-shirt."
5. THAT MONTAGE SET TO "CAUGHT UP IN YOU" BY .38 SPECIAL
All the rollerderby scenes were mega-goosebump-giving and so geniusly soundtracked, but the "Caught Up In You" montage (in which Bliss gets her skates) squoze* my heart harder than anything else in Whip It. For a couple minutes it's simultaneously 1982 and whatever year it was when you were 17, and now I can't ever stop listening to this song, especially when drinking Diet Coke while walking through some gas station parking lot on a swampy-aired Friday night. Guys, the "little girl" she's "so caught up in" is HERSELF. That's heavy. (Liz)
*"Squoze" is a real word, invented by Steve Martin in L.A. Story.
The arm-wrestling match is probably my favorite part of this video.
Sunday , August 16, 2009
Kat & Liz On: All-Time Top 5 Madonna Moments
This post probably could've been titled "All-Time Top 5 Most Underrated Madonna Moments," since we skirted over a few of our true favorites in the name of celebrating some of the more obscure stuff. Plus we've already talked up the genius of Madonna on "Wayne's World," and of her Marie Antoinette-inspired performance of "Vogue" at the VMAs, and we're sure everybody spends all her time recalling how awesome it was when Madonna played Karen's roommate on "Will & Grace" anyway. Add the part in Desperately Seeking Susan where she climbs out of the pool in boxers and bra and then eats cheese puffs on the chaise lounge, plus all of Truth or Dare, and and that's five right there. So here's another five, in honor of Madonnasky's birthday. Happy 51st, Madonna! We love you the most.
THE DANCETERIA SCENE IN "DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN"
My friends, I'm going to share something SO SEMINAL in the personal development of the avatar known as Kat Asharya: this whole scene made me want to be Madonna, and more importantly, want to live in NYC for the entire length of my earthly existence. To my young self, it epitomized everything I could possibly want out of life: nightclubs, intrigue, black clothes and cool dance moves. Very little has changed. (Kat)
SINGING SINATRA* WITH THE BOY FROM THE CHILI PEPPERS
It's Madonna and Anthony Kiedis doing "The Lady is a Tramp" at the Hollywood Bowl for some Arsenio Hall special in 1993, wearing matching Gaultier dresses, thigh-highs, and adorable hats with kitty-cat ears - which means it was my 15-year-old self's favorite thing ever, and I taped it and watched it 87 million times a day for many months. "Neither of them can sing worth a damn!" remarked my mom, which is true. But the kitty-cat ears! And the joyous buffoonery! And the weird mid-song dig at Sharon Stone! Still makes my heart soar today. (Liz)
*It's actually a Rodgers and Hart showtune. Just so you know.
WHEN SHE WAS MARRIED TO SEAN PENN
It is far from my official policy to celebrate a woman primarily for her marriage, but this is less a celebration than a "DUDE, REMEMBER WHEN MADONNA WAS MARRIED TO SEAN PENN?" kind of moment. Because: dude, they were married! That is kind of the weirdest thing ever! Now that I'm older and a whole enchilada of wiser in the ways of the world, this exquisitely blows my mind. I don't think the full cultural import of such a proto-celebrity marriage has yet to be explored; maybe a really smart sociologist will be able to link the Penn-Ciccone marriage to some sort of change in the divorce rate. Maybe Madonna marrying and divorcing Sean Penn during my formative pre-teen years was enough to inculcate me with a lifelong aversion to romantic commitment. Maybe no guy will ever live up to the paragon of love embodied in Madonna's dedication of True Blue to "the coolest guy in the universe." Maybe Leos should never marry other Leos. It still exerts such mystery over me: do they still keep in touch? Does he miss her? I WANT TO KNOW. (Kat)
ON LETTERMAN IN 1994
This shit was such a scandal when it aired, I actually got away with writing about it for a current events essay in 11th grade Spanish class. Afterwards there was so much talk of MADONNA BACKLASH!!!!! and IS THE MATERIAL GIRL OVER????, all because the squaresville Letterman audience was so put off by Madonnna's saying "fuck" 47 or whatever times during the 20-minute segment. What babies! I mean, sure, she's kind of an asshole, saying boringly mean things about Dave's hair and giving one-word responses to most of his interview questions, but she makes up for it with all the nervous giggling and fidgeting and cracking herself up at her own jokes. And apparently Letterman's people told her to be outrageous, but I guess they weren't expecting that might include her little spiel about the merits of peeing in the shower. People can be so narrow-minded sometimes. (Liz)
ANIMATED MADONNA IN WHO'S THAT GIRL?
I thought Madonna was an especially foxy cartoon, as evidenced here in the opening credits of Who's That Girl? (An entirely underrated good-bad movie, by the way, and yes, I'm totally, absolutely biased.) (Kat)
Tags: Arsenio Hall, birthdays, black clothes, Desperately Seeking Susan, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Madonna, Marie Antoinette, New York, peeing in the shower, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sean Penn, Wayne's World, Will & Grace
Friday , August 7, 2009
All-Time Top 5 Fave Songs Discovered Via John Hughes Movies
Rest in peace, Mr. John Hughes.
I. OINGO BOINGO, "WILD SEX (IN THE WORKING CLASS)," FROM SIXTEEN CANDLES
God, there's so much killer party music in Sixteen Candles! Probably cuz it's a killer party movie, excepting all that mushy stuff with Samantha Baker, who totally misses out on all the partying because she's too busy being a big wet-blanket baby like everybody else Molly Ringwald has ever played. Give me Caroline Mulford with her hair slammed in the door any day of the week and twice on Sunday, please oh please. And if I were in Sixteen Candles, I'd so want to be Jami Gertz drunkenly shouting on the stairs while Patti Smith plays in the background. I already am her, basically.
II. NEW ORDER, "THIEVES LIKE US," FROM PRETTY IN PINK
Speaking of wet-blanket Molly Ringwald, here she is slaving away at what I've already astutely referred to as her "terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad prom dress." Another bitchy Pretty in Pink opinion o' mine: Duckie's soooooooo annoying, and if they'd gone with the original ending and had him and Andy end up together, my seven-year-old self so would've started a riot at the Elm Draughthouse Cinema (where, incidentally, you can buy pizza and beer right in the theater, or at least you could in 1986). Despite those two considerable snags, Pretty in Pink's my fave J.H. joint, and I just cried watching the trailer. Harry Dean Stanton's the best movie dad ever. James Spader makes Chuck Bass look like, I don't know, the robot's brother on Small Wonder. Andrew McCarthy? I STILL THINK WE'D MAKE A GREAT TEAM.
III. ENGLISH BEAT, "ROTATING HEADS," FROM FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF
One thing really ace about the music supervision in John Hughes movies is their knack for taking out the lyrics and making a song 87 times more perfect for the scene. The best example's "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" in Ferris Bueller's Day Off; the second-best example's "Rotating Heads" in the same film. I spent many years believing this track to be part of the Ferris score, till I heard it on WBRU one afternoon at age 13 or 14 whilst pedaling away on a decades-old stationary bike in the attic of my family's old house, my headphones attached to this monster boombox precariously balanced on a bookshelf. So that's a neat little glimpse into my early adolescence for you.
IV. THE ROLLING STONES, "MISS AMANDA JONES," FROM SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL
When I was little, I thought the Rolling Stones had written "Miss Amanda Jones" for Lea Thompson's character in Some Kind of Wonderful. (They didn't; it's on the 1967 album Between the Buttons, which was my favorite record for at least two months in 2002.) BTW, if I were named after a song title, I'd want to be Jill Hives (Guided By Voices), Suzy Lee (The White Stripes), or James Brown is Dead (L.A. Style).
V. KATE BUSH, "THIS WOMAN'S WORK," FROM SHE'S HAVING A BABY
I can't, in good conscience, jukebox "This Woman's Work" here; it's so precious and fragile, I'm scared I'd break it. So instead you should go and download the mp3 for free at Number One Millionaire, and then cry yourself a vast ocean of jewel-like tears.
As I whined in a Facebook status update this morning, everyone always forgets that John Hughes wrote the Vacation movies. (I almost added "YOU STUPID LOSERS" but then decided that wasn't very cool.) I already picked Plastic Bertrand's "Ca Plane Pour Moi" (featured in European Vacation) as one of my dream prom themes a while back, but it seems worth mentioning again. Also, I really like the part in Vacation when Clark and Ellen are singing "Jimmy Crack Corn" and then Rusty and Audrey put on their headphones to drown them out and "Blitzkrieg Bop" comes on and it sounds SO EPIC! It's in the first 30 seconds of this vid:
Tags: Andrew McCarthy, Chuck Bass, James Spader, Jami Gertz, John Hughes, Kate Bush, Molly Ringwald, New Order, partying hard, Patti Smith, prom, prom dresses, Rolling Stones, soundtracks, The Ramones
Friday , July 3, 2009
All-Time Top 5: Reasons Why I Wouldn't Mind Spending 10 Minutes Alone in a Room with Jack Berger
"I'm a Carrie."
I hate this about myself- it is tragic, humbling and embarrassing. Coming to terms with my innate "Carrie-ness" (I used to claim I was a "Carrie/Miranda hybrid," but that was total bullshit. As if I'd ever go to Harvard!) is a real benchmark in my journey toward self-acceptance. If I am in a group of four, and we are deciding who we'd be if we were Sex and the City characters (this happens frequently, because I spearhead it. I mean, what else are you gonna do after you've figured out which Beatles y'all are?), I am always the Carrie. Like Carrie Bradshaw, I am obnoxious, self-involved, small, a writer, make dumb jokes when people are trying to tell me important stories about their lives, wear wacky clothes, call people by their last names, have a major penchant for "get[ting] up on my sassy horse," and would be hella stoked on the possibility of dating Jack "Berger" Berger.
On Thursday, in a lame attempt to high-concept shit up, I decided to make my evening into a parody of "The Single Woman's Night In." I got stoned (maybe not all single women get stoned, but the cool ones do at least), changed into unwashed jammers, and rented Season Six of Sex & the City on DVD. Also, in a move paying some serious homage to the SatC ep where Miranda feels judged by the chick from her Chinese take-out place, I ordered Thai take-out from the Thai place I frequent, frequently. Surprise, surprise- the chick judged me.
Such shaming is par for the course when you're a Singleton. Whatevs- this is the life, my coupled counterparts. It's so lovely to come home after a long day of Singletonism and spend my evening hanging out with my fake boyfriend, New York City-based novelist Jack "Jack of Hearts" Berger. He's the best fake boyfriend, and here's why:
I. HE IS NEITHER JOHN BIG NOR AIDAN SHAW
Besides Smith Jerrod when he wears a ski mask and screams "SHUT THE FUCK UP" like seventeen billion times, Jack Berger is the sole SatC love interest I would even consider dating. On the whole "Big v. Aidan," tip, I'm 100% pro-Big, but mostly because Aidan Shaw sucks so unbearably hard that I really can't imagine picking him over anyone, except Hitler.
Aidan's favourite band is probably the Dave Matthews Band. He probably refers to them as "Dave." Additionally, Aidan is ugly. You know the episode where Carrie and Berger go on their first date (to see "Craig's Room" and hate it), and Carrie runs into Aidan on the street, and he turns around with his dumb baby strapped to his chest? I have never seen a man look worse in my life. Also, leave it to Aidan Shaw to name his baby the most hideous name ever: "Tate."
Big, however, also sucks. The only thing I like about Big is how him and Carrie share cigarettes after sex; that's sexy. Otherwise, Big is an overgrown baby who masks his self-loathing behind Rat Pack-inspired bravado. He's hotter than Aidan, but who isn't? Furthermore, the scene where Big shows up at Aidan's cabin upstate in his stupid Beemer or whatevs and drunked-ly sings "I'm in a New York state of mind" is so revolting that it makes Aidan seem comparatively not-that-gross.
Harry Goldenblatt is a sweetie, but not my type. Trey "Barf" MacDougal is the pukemeister of all life; Richard Wright is such a nasty skeeze, he makes Dave Davies seem like a goddamned monk. It's not really worth opening up the whole Aleksandr Petrovsky can of worms: in short, "The Russian" is a creepy creep. And don't even get me started on Steve "Mi-wwwaahh-ynda" Brady. In the words of Jack Berger himself, "He's obviously a weenie."
II. HE IS HOT
Tags: Aleksandr Petrovksy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Big v. Aidan, Carrie Bradshaw, Don Draper, Jack Berger, Mi-wwwaahh-ynda Hobbes, Normies v. Non-Normies, quotation marks, Ron Livingston, Sane v. Insane, Sanes v. Insanes, Sex and the City, Sho, Singletonism, weenies
Thursday , June 4, 2009
All-Time Top Five Reasons Why Rufus Humphrey Should Totally Off Himself
Whilst rewatching season one of Gossip Girl the other night, my 17-year-old sister pointed at Rufus Humphrey and proudly cried out "There's you, Liz!" Which is probably the most geniusly mean thing anyone's said to me in my life, but - to quote T.S. Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" - I AM NOT RUFUS HUMPHREY, NOR WAS MEANT TO BE. I too may be stuck in the grunge era, but I'm awesome at it, whereas Rufus Humphrey's a pathetic schlump who's never awesome at anything. Hence, I give you the top five reasons why Lonely Boy and Little J's "lame '90s dad" (TM Blair Waldorf) should seriously consider shuffling off this mortal coil at some point during GG S3.
1. HE'S THE EPITOME OF "AGGRO-WHINY." You know how there are some dudes who - upon not getting their way - take it on the chin, get their shit together, then boldly move on to life's next great adventure? Rufus Humphrey is not one of those dudes. In fact, Rufus Humphrey wholly embodies my least favorite dude-quality in all existence: aggro-whininess, a term I invented while sitting in the passenger's seat of my friend Lisa's Cabriolet on the way to a Cure concert in either late-August or early-September 2004. Aggro-whiny dudes are really into trying to make you feel bad for not indulging their every display of bitchery-masked-as-sensitivity; another one of their favorite pastimes is responding to sexual rejection by pouting a lot and trying to guilt-trip you. It is so unbecoming. It is so Rufus Humphrey. There's also a sound effect that goes along with it, but since I don't know how create an mp3 file, I'll just encourage you to try to imagine what "whining, but in an aggro kind of way" might sound like. Can you hear it?
2. HE SO FAVORS THE WRONG OFFSPRING. My fave GG eps are those that revolve around Jenny's budding fashion career - her internship at the atelier, the ill-fated J Humphrey Designs, the subplot with the psycho model who sets Jenny's clothes on fire. Little J's troublesome and annoying and kind of an asshole sometimes, but I dig her blonde ambition in a serious way. Dan, on the other hand, is a self-righteous and possibly talentless prat who grows less likable with each scene. I wholeheartedly blame his increasing suckiness on Rufus's constant ego-stroking and blind encouragement of his son's holier-than-thou tendencies (interrupted only by the occasional attempt at tossing his guerrilla-fashion-show-throwing, vastly more charismatic daughter into the back of a cop car). Dan started out a bit of a bruiser, not afraid to throw down when some evil rich boy fucked with his shit, but now he's dangerously verging on the aggro-whiny ways of his pop. Lonely Boy, a message to you: Once you start down that dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. It's not too late to man up, young Humphrey.
3. HE'S PROBABLY LYING ABOUT EVERY EARLY-90s ALT-ROCK BAND HE CLAIMS TO KNOW. Clue #1: On the episode when he and Lily are post-coitally reminiscing about the time Ol' Lil got sexually harrassed by the drummer of Buffalo Tom, Rufus says their name all funny and puts the emphasis on the wrong word. (It's Buffalo TOM, not BUFFALO Tom. Christ, Rufus: Even Sharon Cherski knows that.) And for the record, I resent the implication that any member of Buffalo Tom is a sex offender. Clue #2: Tanya Donelly is awesome and possessed of impeccable taste, and hence would never take Rufus Humphrey on tour with her. I know this in my heart of hearts. Clue #3: I was gonna make a joke about how the only early-90s musician we've ever actually seen in the same room as Rufus Humphrey is Lisa Loeb, and what does that tell you about Rufus Humphrey's rock career? But then I started to feel bad about poking fun at Lisa Loeb, for some reason, so never mind. Also, for the love of Pete, has there ever been a lamer fictional-band name than Lincoln Hawk? Fictional-band names are always atrocious, but that one really takes the cake.
4. THAT FUCKING TURTLENECK SWEATER. You know which one I mean. He wears it to rendezvous with Lily at Grand Central Station, or wherever, midway through S2 and it's the worst thing I've ever seen in my life. Worse even than the v-neck monstrosity he's got on in the pic above, if such a thing can somehow be possible.
5. BECAUSE GAWKER'S RUFUS-HATING GG RECAPS ARE THE SECOND-BEST THING ON THE INTERNET. Probably the saddest part about GG being over till the fall is we won't get any of Richard Lawson's recaps again for so very long. Here, my favorite anti-Rufus bit from Richard's write-up of the S2 finale: "Back at Humphington Manor, Rufus was watching old Lincoln Hawk concert bootlegs on YouTube and furtively touching himself when Lily showed up. She was carrying Haitian beer and a bag full of something. She said it was from Chuck's room, so I guess we were to assume it was marijuana. My roommate said it would be funnier if it was coke, because wouldn't it be fun and dirty if they just stayed up all night drinking warm beer and blowing lines and listening to Gin Blossoms really loud." Yes, it would be so fun and dirty. In fact, I really want someone to make that into a movie. Can someone please make that into a movie?
P.S. As punishment for writing this entry, I've had that "Everytime you walk away or run away, you take a piece of me with you" song in my head for the past hour. I shake my fist at you, Rufus!
Tags: Buffalo Tom, Gawker, Gossip Girl, grunge, humor, Leighton Meester, My So-Called Life, Rufus Humphrey, Tanya Donelly, Taylor Momsen, terrible sweaters, the aggro-whiny phenomenon, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Yoda
Saturday , May 30, 2009
All-Top Time 5: Sexual Euphemisms in Pop Music Lyrics (In No Particular Order)
1. "Baby you can drive my car"/"I wonder how your engine feels" (The Beatles, "Drive My Car"/Simon & Garfunkel, "Baby Driver")
"Drive My Car":
"Baby Driver" by Simon & Garfunkel is by far and away the most smashingly successful instance of sexual euphemization in a pop song I've encountered, but I already wrote about it, so I will instead discuss my second-favourite "song about driving that is actually a song about sex," "Drive My Car" by the Beatles.
For some inexplicable reason, I always think that "Drive My Car" is a George Harrison song (I think because it's Track One on Rubber Soul, and Track One on Revolver is "Taxman," a George song, and Rubber Soul and Revolver are similar albums, so I get confuddled); it kind of bugs me that it's not, because the idea of 1965 George Harrison sexual-euphemizing about cars is a lot cuter than the same idea transposed onto 1965 John and Paul- 1965 John and Paul seem too world-weary and wise to require euphemization; in real life, they'd probably just say the thing.
"Drive My Car" is cool because the chick in the song totally euphemizes back, so, in a way, this song could be described as a "proto-second-wave-feminist classic." Says she, "Working for peanuts is all very fine/But I can show you a better time." Paul McCartney is a Hyundai; this babe is an Alfa-Romeo. She knows it; anti-Pauliciously, so does he.
I just wonder what all this "Yes, I'm gonna be a star" business really means. If I ever write a "heavy on the sexual euphemisms" song, it's going to be about stars for real, ie. exploding novas, or maybe geometry sets. Protractors? Compasses? SLIDE RULES?? The possibilities are endless!
2. "Roll up the windows, Baby/ Talk in code" (The Fiery Furnaces, "Chris Michaels")
Oh, Friedberger! Is that how you talk dirty to a girl? That's funny. Actually, the lyrical content of the entire Fiery Furnaces' oeuvre is surprisingly rife with sexual innuendo, considering what a non-sexual band they are (id est: they are brother and sister; one of the band members is Matthew Friedberger). For instance-
1. The song title "A Candymaker's Knife in my Handbag" in itself.
2. (From "Black-Hearted Boy") "Go dangle your fish-hook out in the gutter again." (EW!!!!)
3. (From "Bow Wow") "I have to tell him his commands all in Dutch/ He likes to treat/ But he don't like to touch much"
4. (From "Oh Sweet Woods") "They drove me to an Albertson's outside of Boise/ And took me into a back room. And they said they wanted to balance my checkbook/ And they said the wanted to organize my receipts/ And itemize my expenses."
5. (From "Spaniolated") "An old man with a burlap bag said "How you doin', my daughter?"/He put me in the hole of his old rusty crawler/ And fed me three pills a day to keep me from getting taller."
6. (From "Wolf Notes") "I double stop on any open string/ Screw my G on up to B-flat." (That's really hot to me, actually. Not so innocent after all, are we, Friedberger?)
3. "I kissed you with my rabbit's foot/I made your orange peel" (Luna, "Orange Peel")
Because Dean Wareham is one of the straight-up comeliest dudes I ever done did lay the ol' peepers on (FYI: I just typoed "peepers" as "peppers," which sounds like sexual innuendo in itself, especially when you think about Edward Weston's creepy sexual peppers photographs). Therefore, any lyric Dean Wareham sings that is even the slightest bit erotic takes on near-Biblical (well, if the Bible talked about sex, I mean) sexiness proportions in my books. Dean Wareham for Laura Jane Faulds is sort of like Jenna Jameson (or Jessica Biel, or Jennifer Love Hewitt) to a frat boy. I never bothered reading Black Postcards, Dean Wareham's shitty-looking "rock and roll memoir," but apparently he talks about infidelity in it, which would probably function as erotica for me. Anyway, I don't know if you've picked up on this yet, but my point is: I want to have sex with Dean Wareham, and when he sings "I made your orange peel," it makes me feel like my skin is literally peeling off my body because I am so desperate to get it on with Dean Wareham. In conclusion, "making one's orange peel," is a fabulous sexual euphemism, especially when it relates specifically to having sex with Dean Wareham. Great job, Dean Wareham!
PS: CALL ME.
4. "Got no making left but making you do" (The Bee Gees, "The Earnest of Being George")
The only thing that could make every last note of this song sexier would be if Dean Wareham was singing it, but that's barely even true, because Dean Wareham would whiny it up, and I like the decisiveness of the vocal. This track is chock-full of euphemisms for everything: my favourite "Earnest of Being George" lyric is "You bought my love and I paid," but that's a life-euphemism, not a sex-euphemism, so who cares? "Makin' you do," is about as literal as a sexual euphemism can be, but its "Got no makin' left" accompaniment takes it into euphemism territory. What I think that sentence really means is, "I hate you, and you bore me, but you're kind of hot, so I'm not going to slack in the slack this time around," which is a sexy sentiment, especially when you imagine Barry "Sexier than Matthew Friedberger" Gibb singing it. But with my luck, it's not Barry singing those words, it's one of his baby bros, who I call The Weenie Twins, because they are twins, and weenies.
PS: RIP, Maurice Gibb.
5. "I'm thinkin' about my doorbell/When you gonna ring it?" (The White Stripes, "My Doorbell")
All this talking about sex is making me think about Brody Jenner. I am thinking about Brody Jenner because a) I wonder if he knows what a sexual euphemism is (probably not), b) I wonder if he ever uses sexual euphemisms (probably not, unless they relate to baseball, or maybe energy drinks), and c) I wonder what Brody Jenner actually says to a girl when he wants to get in her pants (probably something so disgusting that my demure wee self could not even fathom it). My point is, I like how all my sexual euphemisms of choice are kinda cute; as in, they are all spoketh by dudes who are too pure of heart and mind to say the actual nasty truths of what they actually mean (except for those nasty filthbags John Lennon & Paul McCartney). I love sweetie-pie dude-babies! They are so sweet, and hot, and cute, and I want every last one of them to drive my car, feel my engine, roll up my windows, balance my checkbook, peel my orange, make me do, and ring my doorbell.
Knowing Jack White and his taste for old-fashioned, Scarlett O'Hara-brand decorum, I think bro might actually be talking about doorbells on this one. Which is adorable! As much as the hotter, heavier aspect of dude-relationships is hot, heavy and awesome, I have to say that, in the end, I agree with Jack White. All I ever want them to do is ring my doorbell, sit in my bedroom, listen to "Arthur" by the Kinks with me, and share their "Arthur"-opinions.
And then, maybe, if they're lucky, later on we could "talk in a little code."
Tags: Arthur, Brody Jenner, Dean Wareham, dude-babies, dudes, dudes are hot, frat boys, Friedberger, Jack White, Jenna Jameson, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Pauliciousness, Scarlett O'Hara, sex, sexual euphemisms, The Brothers Gibb
Thursday , May 28, 2009
All-Time Top 5: Words I Learned From Watching the Scripps National Spelling Bee
From Left: Serena Skye Laine-Lobsinger, who is really punk rock; Neetu Chandak, who is sassy and animated; Aishwarya Pastapur, who is adorable and was wearing a cool hemp necklace; Kavya Shivashankar, who I didn't really like that much, but won, and has a cool name.
Every year, I watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee, get really into it, get pissed off that I was never in Spelling Bees as a kid, feel inferior to the finalists (who are all geniuses, and really good spellers), and then forget about it until next year.
This year, it seemed like 80% of all words included in the competition were names of French cheeses (also, there was a Welsh cheese: caerphilly). Some words, however, were not cheese names. Personally, I'm totally into words, so it was cool to find some hew good ones out. My goal for tomorrow is to casually bring them all up in conversation. That way, people will think I'm smart, unless they too watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in which case they will think that I watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee. They will be right about that.
Here are the fifty-dollar words I dug the hardest:
1. SCILICET: "Scilicet" means "Namely" or "That is to say" in Middle English. I like "scilicet" for a lot of reasons, scilicet that it seems like it will fit comfortably into my whole schtick; scilicet, being a person who overuses semi-colons and is highly dependent on phrases like "namely," "that is to say," and "scilicet" to piece together nonsensical ramblings, scilicet, genius prose.
2. LICKERISH: Lickerish either means "lecherous," "greedy," or "tempting to the appetite." I like it because it is like "licorice," or "liquorice," but cuter. I am a huge fan of raspberry Panda licorice. To me, it is lickerish (in the third way).
3. JACQUEMINOT: According to The Google, a "jacqueminot" is "a half-hardy, deep crimson rose of the remontant class; - so named after General Jacqueminot, of France," but on the Spelling Bee, they said it was the French name for the colour we would call "raspberry." I prefer the Spelling Bee's take on jacqueminot-ism to the Google's, because I love the colour "raspberry," just as I love raspberry Panda licorice, scilicet, jacqueminot Panda licorice.
4. DEIPNOSOPHIST: A deipnosophist is a person highly skilled in the art of "dinner table conversation." When I go out for dinner with people, I tend to get pretty drunk, gift the gang with meaningful Beatles anecdotes, interrupt other peoples' stories to find out the astrological signs of the people they are talking about, spill food on myself, and describe all the nogoodforme posts I wrote that week in excessive detail. If that's not deipnosophism in full effect, I don't know what is.
5. GEUSIOLEPTIC: Geusioleptic is an adjective meaning "having or characterized by pleasant flavor," just like jacqueminot Panda licorice, which is also (of course) lickerish. I wish I could eat it three meals a day, scilicet for dinner- that way I could use it to compound my deipnosophism.
Check y'all in 2010, thirteen-year-old nerds!
by Laurain All-Time Top 5
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Wednesday , May 13, 2009
All-Time Top 5: Cover Versions of Madonna Songs The truth of the matter is that Madonna songs rarely get covered successfully. I don't know whether it's because of her songs' iconicity, their semiotic complexities or just the fact that they are just a bit campy sometimes -- but it's hard for others to capture that Madonna pop magic. The thing about Madonna is that no matter how hard she tries to be all avant-something and haute-artistic, she's really a populist who is deeply weird and kind of dorky. (Sort of like Prince, another Midwestern pop genius/eccentric.) The ideal Madonna interpreter is someone who gets this strange blend of pop sheen and personal dorkitude, someone who can be both archly knowing and completely sincere. (And what is dorkitude if not the utmost sincerity?) I'm not saying that these five versions below flat-out nail this tension, but they do a good job illuminating what's so awesome about the songs as well as adding their own little twist to an interpretation. THE FLAMING LIPS: "BORDERLINE" I actually don't really care all that much about the Flaming Lips as a band. Not that I think they're bad -- on the contrary, I am always happy to hear a Flaming Lips song in a bar or wherever. It's like running into that old friend from college that you used to live down the hall from during freshman year. But this cover of "Borderline" is really awesome; it takes a deeply familiar song and completely reinvents it. At first I thought it sounded a bit like that "In the Air Tonight" song by Phil Collins but it gets all emo, explosive and trippy in the best way possible, all while taking the song on serious enough terms to foreground the emotional suckiness of being hung up to dry. Pop-awesome. BRITTA PHILLIPS AND DEAN WAREHAM: "I DESERVE IT" I actually think this is a mediocre cover in many ways. It's got lackluster instrumentation and a vocal by Dean Wareham in which he can't transcend his nasality into the sleepy charm he usually possesses. But here is where the nature of the song is strong enough to carry it through. Is the original "I Deserve It" on the level of "Express Yourself" or "Like A Prayer" or "Live to Tell"? No -- compared to those pop giants, it's a relatively modest song. But it's that rare thing, a sincere Madonna song, and this cover keeps that sincerity intact, which is charming and melancholy all at once. CICCONE YOUTH: "INTO THE GROOVE" This is an example of all the reasons that Sonic Youth irk me as a band. They're always so removed and distant and cool, and here the distance works to "deconstruct" the song as a pop product -- when the truth of the matter is that "Into the Groove" is one of Madonna's most joyous, pure songs ever. They should have done a cover of "Like A Virgin" if they wanted to take apart the commodified nature of a pop song; that song wasn't even written by Madonna, dudes. Despite this, I still grudgingly like Sonic Youth. And I grudgingly like this treatment of "Into the Groove" simply because it's kind of fun in a stoned Cali surfer kind of way that makes me want to grab my skateboard and break someone's face open. This is why I don't get stoned anymore. It makes me incredibly violent. SARA CULLER: "WHO'S THAT GIRL" Madonna's songs for the soundtrack of her ill-fated (but kind of underrated) Who's That Girl movie are often overlooked in terms of greatest hits and whatever, but actually, they were pretty awesome. ("Look of Love" is probably her most beautiful song, hands down, for reals.) I love this cover for being a little spooky-sounding, like it's a ghost underwater or something. THE RONDELLES: "LIKE A PRAYER" This just might be my most favorite cover of a Madonna song ever. Ever, ever, ever. The original is grandiose and transcendent; this one is garage-punky and visceral and like a bouncy rollercoaster. But both retain the same sentiment: you're super-hot, make out with me and you won't regret it. (Seven minutes in heaven, indeed.) Who could resist you after hearing this highwater of sexual confidence? Simple and effective, no matter how you sing it.
Wednesday , May 13, 2009
All-Time Top 5: Cover Versions of Madonna Songs
The truth of the matter is that Madonna songs rarely get covered successfully. I don't know whether it's because of her songs' iconicity, their semiotic complexities or just the fact that they are just a bit campy sometimes -- but it's hard for others to capture that Madonna pop magic. The thing about Madonna is that no matter how hard she tries to be all avant-something and haute-artistic, she's really a populist who is deeply weird and kind of dorky. (Sort of like Prince, another Midwestern pop genius/eccentric.) The ideal Madonna interpreter is someone who gets this strange blend of pop sheen and personal dorkitude, someone who can be both archly knowing and completely sincere. (And what is dorkitude if not the utmost sincerity?) I'm not saying that these five versions below flat-out nail this tension, but they do a good job illuminating what's so awesome about the songs as well as adding their own little twist to an interpretation.
THE FLAMING LIPS: "BORDERLINE"
I actually don't really care all that much about the Flaming Lips as a band. Not that I think they're bad -- on the contrary, I am always happy to hear a Flaming Lips song in a bar or wherever. It's like running into that old friend from college that you used to live down the hall from during freshman year. But this cover of "Borderline" is really awesome; it takes a deeply familiar song and completely reinvents it. At first I thought it sounded a bit like that "In the Air Tonight" song by Phil Collins but it gets all emo, explosive and trippy in the best way possible, all while taking the song on serious enough terms to foreground the emotional suckiness of being hung up to dry. Pop-awesome.
BRITTA PHILLIPS AND DEAN WAREHAM: "I DESERVE IT"
I actually think this is a mediocre cover in many ways. It's got lackluster instrumentation and a vocal by Dean Wareham in which he can't transcend his nasality into the sleepy charm he usually possesses. But here is where the nature of the song is strong enough to carry it through. Is the original "I Deserve It" on the level of "Express Yourself" or "Like A Prayer" or "Live to Tell"? No -- compared to those pop giants, it's a relatively modest song. But it's that rare thing, a sincere Madonna song, and this cover keeps that sincerity intact, which is charming and melancholy all at once.
CICCONE YOUTH: "INTO THE GROOVE"
This is an example of all the reasons that Sonic Youth irk me as a band. They're always so removed and distant and cool, and here the distance works to "deconstruct" the song as a pop product -- when the truth of the matter is that "Into the Groove" is one of Madonna's most joyous, pure songs ever. They should have done a cover of "Like A Virgin" if they wanted to take apart the commodified nature of a pop song; that song wasn't even written by Madonna, dudes. Despite this, I still grudgingly like Sonic Youth. And I grudgingly like this treatment of "Into the Groove" simply because it's kind of fun in a stoned Cali surfer kind of way that makes me want to grab my skateboard and break someone's face open. This is why I don't get stoned anymore. It makes me incredibly violent.
SARA CULLER: "WHO'S THAT GIRL"
Madonna's songs for the soundtrack of her ill-fated (but kind of underrated) Who's That Girl movie are often overlooked in terms of greatest hits and whatever, but actually, they were pretty awesome. ("Look of Love" is probably her most beautiful song, hands down, for reals.) I love this cover for being a little spooky-sounding, like it's a ghost underwater or something.
THE RONDELLES: "LIKE A PRAYER"
This just might be my most favorite cover of a Madonna song ever. Ever, ever, ever. The original is grandiose and transcendent; this one is garage-punky and visceral and like a bouncy rollercoaster. But both retain the same sentiment: you're super-hot, make out with me and you won't regret it. (Seven minutes in heaven, indeed.) Who could resist you after hearing this highwater of sexual confidence? Simple and effective, no matter how you sing it.
Tuesday , May 12, 2009
All-Time Top 5: Reasons Why "Hang On Paul" by The Nazz is my May 2009 Theme Song
ABOVE: Some pictures of The Nazz/what my left arm looks like right now; BELOW: If you don't listen to "Hang On Paul" right this exact second, you are only cheating yourself:
1. THE FOLLOWING LYRICS SPEAK TO MY SOUL:
"I'm not about to tell you what you should be doing/I tend to disappear when I smell trouble brewing"
Whoa! Todd Rundgren! Do you, like, live inside in my brain!?!?! That couplet should really be my Facebook "Favourite Quote," but I'm kinda tied down to the funniest knock-knock joke ever: "KNOCK KNOCK/WHO'S THERE/NICHOLAS/NICHOLAS WHO?/NICHOLAS GIRLS SHOULDN'T CLIMB TREES!" (Ha! Ha! Ha!)
In May of 2009, my Modus Operandi is to shut the fuck up, be the physical/literal/human embodiment of a raucous guitar solo, and stay the Helen Keller out of the dramatic kind of trouble (getting in the FUN kind of trouble, however, is, and always will be, a core tenet of my General Approach to Life). If Laura Jane: The May 2009 Edition smells nasty trouble brewin', homegirl's gonna book it. This is very different from Laura Jane: The Every Other Month Ever Edition, who sniffed out nasty trouble like a pig whose career is snuffling around for truffles.
PS: Isn't it annoying when words written by somebody else say more about who you are than words you wrote yourself? The Nazz lyric above is #2 on my All-Time Top 3 "Things Other People Wrote That Explain Who I Am" List.
[#1 is "Claudia was very good at running away," the first line of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by EL Konigsburg (except you say "Laura Jane" instead of "Claudia," unless your secret nickname for me is Claudia). #3 is the part in "Cinnamon Girl" when Neilers says "Pa, send me money now, I'm gonna make it somehow, I need another chance, you see your baby loves to dance," which really says it all re: my Father and I's exact relationship, though I've always been curious as to whether or not Neil Young means "himself" when he says "your baby," because it seems improbable that Neil Young is a person (or, "baby") who self-defines as a lover of dancing.]
2. IT PUTS SIR PAUL IN HIS PLACE
Yesterday evening, I was walking down the street with a dude Scorpio friend of mine. We had just spent the night hanging out with a Sagittarius (as you recently learned, Laura Jane Faulds of nogoodforme.com endorses the belief that Sagittarians are awesome) Said my Scorpio pal, "She [the Sagittarius] is just such a genuinely good person! I don't relate to her at all." Said I: "Me neither. I'll never be a good person like that. I just, I, I, I... I think really terrible thoughts sometimes and, like, I mean them."
Admitting this about myself was a real breakthough in my journey towards self-actualization, not unlike my recent discovery that there is absolutely nothing I can do to convince myself that buying 473 mL cans of Diet Rockstar Energy Drink is anything but a fantastic idea. Yes, it definitely bums me out that my May 2009 Theme Song is a Paul McCartney hate-fest, which it for sure is, according to the Internet. As you can imagine, this is emotionally confusing for me.
Says Young Todd Rundgren of Sir James Paul McCartney:
Tags: Canceminis, Cancer-Gemini cusps, Diet Rockstar Energy Drink, Dudes Scare Laura, EL Konigsburg, ex-boyfriends, Friedberger, knock-knock jokes, Laura loves The Kinks, Neil Young, Ray Davies, Ray Davies is a genius, Raymond Douglas Davies, rock and roll, Scorpios, Sir Paul McCartney, The Nazz, Todd Rundgren