Tea With Chris: Got a Sexy New Dance, It’s Called the Bird

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:

Chris: Lisa Hanawalt drew Prince! Or “Prince.”

This week’s announcement that the audiovisual archive of Alan Lomax is being digitized and will soon be available for streaming (only in part, but part of a vast whole) represents a heroic advance for cultural accessibility. On the same tip, less momentous but more danceable, someone uploaded an entire Shep Pettibone mastermix from 1983 onto Soundcloud.

Carl: I spent much of last weekend reading both Will Hermes’s Love Goes to Buildings on Fire and James Wolcott’s Lucking Out, two books about New York City culture in the 1970s, a permanent locus of fixation for me. I enjoyed them both, though I would have liked more authorial presence from Hermes and less from Wolcott (or perhaps just less of Pauline Kael’s presence). One of their pleasures, among all the insights and gossip, was to go digging for all the music mentioned – including this version of “Psycho Killer,” which features Arthur Russell on cello and conjures up a whole alternative-history scenario in which he joined the band and became their audio svengali instead of Brian Eno….

And here is a new video for one of Toronto’s best bands, fairly untouched by “buzz,” One Hundred Dollars:

There were many good things written this past month about Lana Del Rey (whose music I basically like, incidentally), and many horrible things (as Chris amply, righteously, smitingly documented this week), and you do not need to care, but I really liked the manner of Molly Lambert’s linking her case to Michelle Williams and Taylor Swift in this essay, as I so often admire what Molly Lambert writes – the way these three are twinned and twained and split by desire, being looked upon, expectation, the terrifying highs of loneliness.

Erin Macleod talked to me this week for a piece she did about Celine Dion conquering Jamaica, but she didn’t need to: She spotted everything on her own.

I want to post something to remember the artist Mike Kelley by, but his work, so full of tender-tough and naked-pretend feeling, makes me too happy for an occasion as glum as his early taking leave of this world. I will just hush up now.

Margaux: Several of my close friends (starting with thank you Julia Rosenberg and ending with thank you Sheila Heti) recommended a recent New Yorker article to me about how brainstorming doesn’t work. I think my friends liked it so much because the article was arguing that close proximity to collaborators and freedom with criticm proves to be much more fruitful environment for creating good, new ideas than does a nurturing and positive-only environment. I think everyone (in my slightly-unnuturing-but-wonderfully-humorous, incredibly-critical-but-enormously-helpful group of friends) was happy that the environment we have made for ourselves, by default, was getting a gold star.

It was written by Jonah Lehrer who wrote Proust was a Neuroscientist – a great read. I loved the New Yorker article too and loved especially the description of building 20. Building 20 was created quickly and cheaply to satisfy some temporary spacing needs for a department at M.I.T. An architecture firm designed the building in one afternoon. It was meant to be torn down eventually. Instead of being torn down right away, it continued to provide space for random departments in need. It became clear that it was one of the most fruitful buildings of the 20th century (or something) for surprising innovation in many different fields –  mostly because people thought nothing of tearing down walls or putting a hole through the ceiling (to accomodate a new and growing invention) or generally adjusting rooms to fit the individual needs of a person or a project or to accommodate a field a study that is ready for a major change.It was a fun article to read just as I was starting my first day as the artist in residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in a brand new wing designed very carefully by Frank Gehry. It was interesting to think about all the different ways to be rich as I was leaving (temporarily!) my neighborhood full of crappy and great make-shift studios and offices, and my critical, hilarious and helpful collaborators available for bumping into at every corner.

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