Every week, I will post what I have been listening to, watching and reading lately (& maybe an “other”).
Last week I was sick and also in a “new job haze”–I start in a few weeks!–so this post will be extra full.
In June, I was invited to be in Positive No’s video for “Pedal Through” and last week it PREMIERED ON NPR! I rarely do things out of my comfort zone, but I trust Kenny and Tracy and knew that the shoot would be fun and the video would be rad (and it is, right??). I was completely unprepared (read: I forgot beer) to sit around all day because apparently I don’t pay attention when actors complain about being bored in their trailers. Thankfully it was a full 6 hours with friends, even without beer. Behind-the-scenes gossip: the book I was “reading” was a Geico gecko book with inspirational sayings with a cover made by Kenny. [The video is AMAZING! -K]
If you are a PT Anderson fan and have NOT listened to his interview with on WTF Marc Maron, do so NOW. Get the premium app, it is worth it. When PJ and I listened to that interview on a road trip, we were both saddened that we missed Inherent Vice in the theater–Anderson and Maron both have memorable relationships with the work of Thomas Pynchon, so it was interesting to hear them talk about the adaptation of his 1999 novel. I loved the movie, of course (maybe not as much as The Master), but when I finished it, I thought two things: man, I wish Joanna Newsom would put out a record already (it’s happening!) and season 2 of True Detective tried to be the hardboiled version of this but failed. We have talked about TD to death, I know, but the structure (second hand information used to solve a crime, a sketchy actor, and even a cult!) and the string of wacky characters in Inherent Vice leads me to believe Nick Pizzolatto was influenced by Pynchon as much as he was Raymond Chandler). [I loved this. It made me NOT hate Joaquin Phoenix. -K]
A few weekends ago, my husband was recording, which gave me motivation to watch whole movies: Song One (on Prime) and Beyond the Lights (Netflix). Song One made me think of Begin Again, which disappointed me due to its lack of interest in any female musicians besides Keira Knightly. There was so much name dropping of male songwriters–Randy Newman, Bob Dylan–that I was surprised Jenny Lewis was never mentioned, especially because Gretta’s music really reminded me of her. The music in Song One was actually written by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice AKA Jenny and Johnny, but for the male lead, played by Johnny Flynn. It was a sweet movie about family and the power and connectivity of music. No name dropping required, though they did end up at a few shows–Dan Deacon, Sharon Van Etten–that fit the storyline. [I watched this a couple of months ago (I paid for it) and I became obsessed with Johnny Flynn who stars in Scrotal Recall which is a delightful British sit-com with a terrible name (on Netflix). -K]
Beyond the Lights got more attention than Song One when it was released, as its director’s (Gina Price-Blythewood) only other project was a well-loved romantic drama from fifteen years ago (Love & Basketball), and its star, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, was recently dubbed an It Girl after her performance in Belle (I could not make it through that one). Some of the music was downright bad (her “comeback” song had the corniest lyrics), but I liked how Price-Blythewood dealt with the dark side of being a female pop star–there was sexual violence, depression, sexism, and assholes in suits. Also, I finally figured out who Machine Gun Kelly is! Whew. [I watched this over the weekend and really liked it. I wish they spent more time with her mother because Minnie Driver was trying to be nuanced but the script just wasn’t helping her out. -K]
Things I am not watching: Wahlburgers and Candidly Nicole. While I liked CN, life is just too short to watch Wahlburgers and recap it. Both have been deleted from my DVR. I feel so good about these decisions, you guys.
I’m also watching Mr. Robot, recommended to me by all my friends ever. We are two episodes in and it has already hooked me. I wish I had DVRed it from the beginning–I am SO BAD about that. Resolution for last 4 months of 2015! Another thing I’m watching on demand because I am late to everything: UnREAL. I do not watch The Bachelor, and I see a lot of holes in it regarding reality TV production (Everlasting airs WHILE it films? Hmmmmm), but there are some interesting feminist angles this show is taking and how good is Shiri Appleby? [She is amazing and thank god you are watching Mr. Robot. Episode 10 was PHENOMENAL. USA might have finally made a prestige drama. -K]
I am not a royal watcher, and if it weren’t for the jewels and the pretty clothes, I wouldn’t pay much attention. But I LOVE the Fug Girls and their distinctive voice, so The Royal We was a total treasure. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator does a fantastic job with all the British accents–you can tell who is speaking by her cadence (I was convinced Cilla was from Essex because her accent reminded me of Mel B). I think Shannon does a great job of convincing people to read the book, so take her word for it, if you are hesitant to read The Royal We.
I’m also working my way through All the Light We Cannot See (audiobook) and A Hanging at Cinder Bottom (book club selection), but I don’t have fully formed opinions about them. Maybe next week! I have a vacation coming up in a few weeks (beach/Hopscotch) and I am SO excited to tackle my (gigantic and growing) TBR pile.
Could an Old-School Tube Amp Make the Music You Love Sound Even Better? I know very little about how record players work or what makes them sound so freaking good, so this was a great primer. After the author listened to some music through a fancy amplifier setup: “This, I thought, is what music should sound like—bold, intoxicating, and alive, the audio equivalent of a crowd-drenching cannonball in a cold mountain stream on a hot summer’s day.” BONUS: beautiful pictures of old stereo equipment. SWOON.
What pop culture have you been getting into this week?