Today’s links are predominantly an ode to our favorite ladies. Well, and some normcore. Yup, ladies and normcore. … Read More
It’s not worth talking about American horror writing — fiction that deals in the mysterious, the supernatural, and the mind-bending — without mentioning Shirley Jackson. From her 1948 short story “The Lottery” to such novels as We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House, Jackson’s writing belongs alongside that of authors like H.P. Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, and Stephen King, with an impressive body of work that deserves more frequent and spirited discussion. … Read More
I could make a list of acts I’m excited to see at SXSW this year: Mark Kozelek, Sylvan Esso, Eagulls, London Grammar, Diarrhea Planet, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Perfect Pussy, Future, Sam Smith, Against Me!, and a lot more I won’t know about until I stumble upon them, tipsily, in the middle of the afternoon.
But half the fun of going to SXSW is improvising when you can’t get into shows or don’t want to deal with lines, in the process seeing artists you normally never would. So instead of focusing on my personal to-do list at SXSW Music, I want to take a look at the topics I expect will garner online chatter this week, once music industry folks and writers alike map out their own highly personalized schedules. Some will focus on the deeply sponsored events, like Lady Gaga performing in a Doritos vending machine, or the entirety of the iTunes Festival, while others will completely eschew the sort of shows that require a badge or even an RSVP. These should cover most of our bases, though. … Read More
AUSTIN, TX: Silicon Valley, Mike Judge and Alec Berg’s new HBO comedy, opens with a rather alarmingly incongruous image: Kid Rock, on a neon-covered stage, in mid-performance. Lest we worry that we’ve accidentally switched over to NASCAR, Judge pulls back to reveal where Rock is performing: in front of a sparsely populated, totally uninterested party of tech geeks. The man throwing the party just made a mint selling his product to Google; the four men first seen standing around drinking beer (a subconscious shout-out to Judge’s King of the Hill) are on the other side of the equation, coders and programmers slaving away, desperately hoping to get rich off the next big thing. And then, almost accidentally, one of them discovers it. … Read More
It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Veronica Mars. I was intrigued by the tone of the show: an inventive mix of teen drama and murder mystery. It’s a film noir in a high school cafeteria, a thriller that breaks for final exams. It immediately draws viewers into this seedy adolescent world where there is a culture clash between the haves and the have-nots, and it doesn’t hesitate to show the way that money and influence have the power to tear friends, schools, and entire towns apart. … Read More
AUSTIN, TX: It would be safe, even an understatement, to say that Lena Dunham and the SXSW Film Festival have some history. Her first film, Creative Nonfiction, played here in 2009 (an earlier version was rejected the previous year), and that first trip to Austin — a place which, to her, “represents magic, hope, beginnings, adulthood, freedom, triumph, and tacos” — was “the greatest week of my life. I ate tacos, I drank milkshakes, I swam in Barton Springs, I drank a beer at a backyard rock show and talked to cute guys who never would have given me the time of day in New York, because everything is bigger in Texas.” … Read More
It seems rather unprecedented, I suppose, for the President of the United States to shoot a funny Internet video with an absurdist comic. Could you imagine, perhaps, Ronald Reagan joking around with Andy Kaufman? So I expect President Barack Obama’s appearance on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis will cause more than a few grumbles among those who make their living as talking heads for right-leading media outlets. But at this point, when the relationship between American politics and the entertainment media has become so symbiotic, is it a surprise at all? … Read More
In Walter Kirn’s Blood Will Out, the writer and journalist (his fiction includes Thumbsucker and Up in the Air, and he’s a familiar byline in publications from GQ to The New Republic) writes about his 15-year friendship with a man who he knew as Clark Rockefeller, a charming eccentric from the wrong side of the fabled American dynasty. Now, for people with long memories of notorious true crime cases, Rockefeller was really Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a con artist of many names and many aliases who created a whole American life out of nothing and is now serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of a Californian couple. … Read More
Some musical trends are easy to spot a mile away, but last year’s chart domination by female-driven alt-pop was more of a pleasant surprise. Lorde was the obvious epicenter, but further down the charts and in critical circles, we saw a number of other prominent players. When exciting debuts from Charli XCX and Sky Ferreira finally landed after years in the works, it felt like there was a true place for them, not just some corner of the music world. We also saw the rise of Chvrches, led by Lauren Mayberry and, a year earlier, Grimes’ stunning debut. Even longtime indie duo Tegan & Sara went full-on pop with 2013′s Heartthrob, which garnered them commercial radio play in a big way. … Read More
According to the Book of Genesis, there once lived a 600-year-young patriarch named Noah who saved the world’s animals — including humans — from a titanic flood on a boat handmade from gopher wood.
Interpreted by the 50 artists Darren Aronofsky solicited to contribute to an exhibit supplementing his film Noah, splinters of the biblical story debuted as Fountains of the Deep: Visions of Noah and the Flood at the storefront 462 West Broadway gallery on March 6 to a crowd of common and legendary faces. … Read More