Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:
Carl: Thanks to my Slate Music Club chat-partner Ann Powers, this week I was introduced to the impressive Lana Turner Journal and Lana Turner Blog, where the essays about Kesha and Katy Perry (really, it’s great) or Machete sit contentedly cheek by jowl with those about Godard and Afghanistan. Like n+1 but with a better sense of humour, it just got on my “essentials” list.
Speaking of the Music Club, after I’d finally finished up my best-of-2010 lists there, I discovered the 50 best albums and, especially, the 50 best hip-hop songs lists on Passion of the Weiss, and feel a little like I missed three-quarters of the year. Download the hip-hop mix now.
I’m sure this must do the Internet rounds with some regularity, but I got my first look this week at photos of the Wat Rong Khun Buddhist temple under construction in Thailand, a structure that looks like it’s spun from confectioners’ sugar and hypnagogic fever dreams. The superhero and science-fiction illustrations in the interior kind of make me doubt its earnestness of purpose outside of luring tourists into its sweet-petalled maw and devouring them, though maybe there’s a sound Buddhist-theological explanation?
One person who might know is the spiritually inclined Hamid Drake, one of the best living percussionists in jazz-improv, and I’d feel remiss if I didn’t tell Toronto readers that he’s playing two nights here this weekend, in an Interface with local musicians from AIMToronto. Here’s the Facebook event page and here’s the regular-type web page.
Chris: Back when I was cranking out regular CD reviews for a Toronto alt-weekly, I particularly enjoyed writing a one-star capsule on Katy Perry’s debut album, which lurched between gay-playing and gay-baiting with no more grace than her bellow of a voice. Perry’s 2010 single “Firework” topped the U.S. charts in December. It’s a putative “gay anthem,” with one of those music videos that show two young men kissing for half a second before the cut back to Katy, having just missed her clenched-fist salute. Rich Juzwiak’s year-end essay for the annual Pazz & Jop survey critiques this and other examples of post-”It Gets Better” pandering: “To court us so visibly, explicitly, and successfully…is to take the connoisseurship out of gay taste, to sap the queer from queerness.” If that makes you angry rather than sad, you might prefer the kicking meted out by the good people at the Singles Jukebox. Katherine St Asaph: “Do you ever feel like a metaphor, butchered ruthlessly? A sentient plastic bag?”
This doesn’t feel like that. Bonus K-pop content!