Category Archives: linkblogging

Tea With Chris: The Same Red Event Perpetually

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: I want to paste Tricia Lockwood’s poem “Rape Joke” into every anthology there is, with the requisite content warnings, and my gratitude.

Carl: I would like to co-sign Chris’s Tricia Lockwood link. And to further strain your sensitivities, I will add two articles about dying, and how doctors themselves would not accept the terminal “care” they are often required to give their patients: here and here. This isn’t about “culture” the way we usually mean it here, and I hope that for all of you it is untimely. But it also seems like everyone ought to know.

On a funkier note, read Ann Powers, amazing as always on Bruno Mars … and, among other things, Trayvon Martin.

Kenny Goldsmith was on Colbert! Look at Fred Nietzsche’s typewriter. Aw, poor Santa.

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Tea With Chris: A Dress of Beautiful Skeletal Crystal

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: I miss the era when developers would publish a Laurie Anderson conceptual-art video game.

Connor Willumsen stays killing the incredible-full-length-comics-released-for-free-on-Tumblr game.

*shrieking* KYARY PAMYU PAMYU

Carl: First and foremost, read this account by a freelance war correspondent in Syria. It’s an impassioned account of how and why we’re getting perilously close to losing our ability to gather important information about global situations: Most media companies are unwilling to pay what it takes, because their audiences, us, don’t seem to care.

Next, I can’t put this any better than the headline does: “Please Stop Wearing Redface to A Tribe Called Red Shows.” Oh, and please stop wearing redface anywhere else. This kind of absolutely appalling ignorant fashionable-appropriation-trivialization-racism bullshit has been going on for several years, with the would-be-chic wearing headdresses and feathers and “tribal” makeup and holding “fashion powwows” (see Ke$ha among many, many others), but I didn’t think people would actually have the gall to wear it to concerts by actual aboriginal people, obviously thinking they were paying some kind of compliment. Can we take up a collection and buy these kids a clue?

coachella03

Here, on the other hand, is something nicer about Ke$ha. I wouldn’t call this stealing, I’d call it a tribute to one of my favourite oddball bands ever. (I don’t have it on hand but she’s been photographed wearing a Residents T-shirt before.) As someone said, if even one Ke$ha fan buys a Residents album as a result, that’d be awesome.

On the appropriation/tribute/collaboration theme, there is a lot to say about Jay-Z’s dance with Marina Abromovich this week, and the developing relationship between hip-hop artists, fine-art-museum and auction culture (which I discuss a bit here) and now performance art (NB also Kanye’s collaborations with Vanessa Beecroft, among others), but time is short. Meanwhile enjoy Jerry Saltz’ s first-hand account of the Jay-Z-meets-the-art-world experience – kind of giddy, but kind of on-point too, because isn’t the central fact that (even in his recent, weaker period) someone like Jay-Z is at the very least as good and vital an artist as any of them?

A sexy-filthy Soviet alphabet.

And because I didn’t post a Tuesday Musics this week … I’m not even 100% sure what kind of music this is, but it makes me feel really good:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVc3Z-bG6Eo

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Tea With Chris: Dystopian, Or Something

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: Jordan Sargent flips some Pharrell awards-show ad-lib into a wistful lament for the shrunken public profile of black pop.

“Ten Writers Whose Success You’ll Resent This Year,” by Mallory Ortberg, was the funniest thing I read during this oddly shaped holiday week: “It was dystopian, or something? But not YA. Nobody read it. You refuse to believe anyone actually read it. It was so weird. It was unbelievably short. ‘A slim novel,’ the reviews said. ‘A slim novel of surprising’…deftness or something. Slim novels are always deft, and powerful, like Joss Whedon heroines.”

The Music Critic Pitch Generator. The number of these I might be interested in reading is kind of terrifying.

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Tea With Chris: The Era of the Ersatz

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Carl: Are the Chinese terracotta soldiers a fake? Find out from French philosophers of falsehood: “We have entered the era of the ersatz. The mercantile industrial society has imposed the universal reign of ugliness, so that no one can judge any longer between what is beautiful and ugly, and nowadays the very notion of artistic value has become meaningless. We also live in a world where temporality has been banned. The past, when it survives, can exist only in the form of an imitation, as a fake past reconstructed so as to provide a revised and diluted representation of it which is acceptable for the contemporary human-being, especially if this substitute takes on a gigantic aspect.” That guy also has one of the best book titles ever: China is a Horse and the Universe an Idea. Plus: pretty pictures.

Is the demise of DOMA mostly a minor event, a concession to a bourgeois institution? Find out from real humans whose lives were immediately enormously improved. Also find out from John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

Would you have cried at James Gandolfini’s funeral? Find out from David Chase, as well as from the eloquent personal essay by Charles Demers at Ryeberg.

What does great art look like in ugly rooms? Find out.

Chris: The Fantagraphics co-founder Kim Thompson, who died on the same day as Gandolfini, was not even a reluctant celebrity, but he influenced his own field no less, and Tom Spurgeon’s obituary explains why.

My friend Lily Benson read an awful piece about “pickup artists” and wrote a brilliant, compassionate one: “Advice that encourages such a fundamental misunderstanding of and disregard for consent turns courtship and sex into a zero-sum game, where one partner gets what they want at the expense of the other’s comfort, bodily sovereignty and happiness.”

As Tyler Coates says, that muppety gay-marriage-celebrating New Yorker cover is silly, infantilizing, and wholly too cute. I wasn’t surprised to learn that it originally came from Tumblr. 20 years ago, after the Crown Heights riots, Art Spiegelman handled a similar gig with heartfelt, irenic slyness:

BC_p18_LO1

 

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Tea With Chris: Everybody Gets Scared

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Carl: Friend of B2TW Veda Hille is posting videos for songs from her last album, Peter Panties, an adaptation of Peter Pan done in collaboration with a young man with Down’s Syndrome and a bunch of other rockin’ teenagers in Vancouver. I voted for it for the Polaris Music Prize recently, but it didn’t make the long list. This clip makes its case better than I could:

 

James Gandolfini’s death this week at 51 was the first famous-person passing in a while to knock the breath clean out of me. Aside from all the classic Sopranos scenes, I’ll remember him best like this:

 

Chris: I’ve never watched The Sopranos, so I knew James Gandolfini’s acting primarily through supporting roles in smaller films, which he once said he wanted to devote the rest of his life to. He should’ve gotten to do so many more of them. Thanks to HBO, there were several deceptively complicated brutes, but I liked when a director brought out something different, as with his appearance as the anti-war army general from Armando Iannucci’s despairing satire In the Loop: cynical, suspicious, yet possessed of a certain fatalist integrity. All this is to say that I feel kind of stupid for allowing the setting to put me off seeing Not Fade Away, which sounds like the perfect final note to his career, played decades too early.

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Tea With Chris: Actually About Turkey

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week.

Chris: I have no idea what this is a photo of, but I like looking at it.

Carl: First & foremost let me direct your attention to the doctors who are trying to fix what the Canadian government is doing to refugee claimants on health care. Day of action on Monday.

A perfect model of a making-of-the-music article by Matthew Lindsay on the Quietus: The road to Madonna’s first album.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how Turkey and Iran resemble Toronto or the U.S. in terms of the geography of worldview and its effect on political formations. Case in point, Kansas.

And then, actually about Turkey.

Can your job be done by a hologram?

Do you agree with Russell Smith that voluntary self-revelation means that you have forfeited all other need for privacy? I say no. If you don’t want the government(s) to read your email, browser history, etc, here are some options.

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Tea With Chris: Highest Ghost Rate Per Capita

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week.

Chris: This interview with the big-on-Tumblr cartoonist Simon Hanselmann is, um, wow. For once the word “revelatory” seems not only justified but understated. From his very first answer: “I turned 31 last December, four days before Christmas. I spent it in a hot tub, drinking champagne, gazing out across the ocean. I was born in Tasmania. Tasmania is a small island/sovereign state at the bottom of Australia. It is densely haunted by convicts’ ghosts — highest rate of ghosts per square kilometer in the world. I was born in Launceston, the second largest population center in Tasmania. A real shit hole. Highest crime rate per capita in Australia. I detest it.”

Carl: Fresh from kicking the ass of the Venice Biennale, Toronto’s leading clit-rawk ensemble Vag Halen is profiled alongside a host of other “all-female tribute bands” in the Guardian. (Though they missed Toronto’s other exemplar, Sheezer.) Light on analysis but perhaps the analysis is obvious enough? Vanessa Dunn expands in The Globe and Mail: “As soon as you step on stage, you’re a feminist.”

Somebody please buy the novelization rights to this: Man Builds Secret Apartment in Mall, Gets Away with It for Four Years. It could be written by Sam Lipsyte, in one mode, or Lydia Davis, in another.

This is an extraordinary story about landays, Afghanistan’s Pashtun folk poetry form, and how women are creating them in undercover protest against their own repression, whether by men in their own culture or by the American invaders. “Making love to an old man/ is like fucking a shriveled cornstalk blackened by mold.” “O darling, you’re American in my eyes./ You are guilty; I apologize.”

LRB blog has been running some good first-person reports from Turkey.

(Here’s another.)

And in a more end-of-week mood: All of us with physiques kinda like Patton Oswalt wish we could be edited to dance as well as he does here in this video for his favourite Coup song, The Magic Clap.

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Tea With Chris: Canadian Heroes

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week.

Chris: Having been a puling newborn when the momentous 1988 Supreme Court decision striking down Canada’s abortion law was achieved, I have less to say about its namesake Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who died yesterday, than Carl might. I would only urge you to read about his extraordinary 90 years: a man who withstood both the Holocaust and zealots’ cruder fires yet philandered out of needy insecurity, a man who lived, in every sense, for women.

This is my cow, Johnny Football.

“Let the mountains collapse into dust and the oceans all boil, but give me brands.”

Margaux: The beautiful and dangerous mind of Marie Calloway is coming soon. tonight! if you’re in New York.

Carl: Canada lost a bona-fide hero this week, Dr. Henry Morgentaler. I liked this appreciation for its more intimate view.

Another Canadian hero, our friend Shary Boyle, is in Venice dazzling people’s motherfuckin’ eyes out. Before she went, she had this nice conversation.

Ask for advice from Maria Bamford’s mom! (As played by Maria Bamford.)

An interview with Marker Starling, aka Toronto musician Chris Cummings (formerly Mantler): “The thing I guess that bugs me about the easy listening label, and this has to do with the dismissive attitude toward a band like the High Llamas, is that people seem to perceive it as music you don’t have to take seriously. To be taken seriously music has to have an element of ‘danger,’ and easy listening, from its name on down, embodies the opposite of danger. It’s safe. But it’s possible to be ‘safe’ and thrilling, melodic, and rhythmically compelling at the same time, and have beautiful melodies and harmonies. If you listen closely to it – take an album like Look Around by Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 – it’s some of the most thrilling music ever. And I always try to incorporate something that thrills me in my own music, to put some kind of profound beauty into it. I’m not always successful but I try.”

Josh Kun’s project Songs in the Key of L.A., which previously showed us some pretty fantastic sheet-music covers of songs about the city and/or California from bygone years, is going one further and getting current L.A. artists to perform the songs, including Julia Holter and Aloe Blacc.

A gallery of fairy-tale, Seussian places you could actually go, like bamboo forests, floral tunnels, ice caves and pink lakes. What a world.

I really like Fence Books, but I never expected to see them covered by Vice. Although it makes sense now that I think of it.

Mike McGonigal pointed out this beautiful animated story of an encounter with the music collector, artist, antiquarian and much more, Harry Smith:

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Tea With Chris: Informative Rob Ford

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week.

Chris: Not to make TWC all-Moroder all the time or anything, but this little story is the most charming moment of gear nerdiness I’ve seen in a while.

Sheila E, 1985, playing lead percussion upright and singing “The Glamorous Life” simultaneously. Then somebody drapes a fur coat on her.

Margaux: Good news for atheists brought to you by Pope Francis

Bad news for fictional female characters in television – TV executives not so comfortable with mothers who “work too hard” at their “away” jobs (NPR)

Good news from Banksy

This is a beautiful thing that happened: Balpreet Kaur & a douchebag demonstrate strength of character on the internet (Jezebel)

Informative Rob Ford video from the young Torontonians (teenagers / Globe & Mail)

Other things happening in Toronto this weekend:

Wednesday Lupypciw & FAG & Christie Pits Park bring you QUEER NOISE SOLIDARITY followed by No Pants No Problem afterparty

Prince Nifty album release party at Holy Oak

and HOMOPHILIA w/ DJs Chris Randle and Alex Ostroff at the Yukon

Carl: This interview with Lawrence Wright packs an advanced degree’s worth of non-fiction writing tips into a very short space.

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Tea With Chris: ‘Help! I Ate My Own Vagina!’

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week.

Chris: After the wan enervation of their last album, Elysium, the new Pet Shop Boys single “Axis” comes on like somebody jolting up from sleep: relentlessly propulsive, a coruscating pulse, with only the merest vocal presence from Neil Tennant himself. More singing would just complicate the sensation. “Why don’t I use the synthesizer, which is the sound of the future?”

“Because you are a woman, and you feel feelings, you must draw some giant, oversimplified conclusion. You must have blandly down-to-earth protagonists, you must have lovable mommies hugging lost kittens, you must have rainbows and sunbeams spewing out of your ass. They’re going to coach you into writing something you’re not entirely sure about, something you would never in a million fucking years read yourself (if you had free will, which it sometimes seems like you don’t), and they’re going to tell you it’s pure genius. And even though you still might see your piece or essay or snippet of prose as “literary,” they’re going to stick an incendiary headline on it (‘Help! I Ate My Own Vagina!’) and it’s going to be an internet sensation, and you’re going to feel Bad with a capital B about it.”

Carl: I was recently in the Andalusian province of Sevilla, but didn’t visit (or then know about) the town there that is apparently its own small-scale experiment in utopianism that recalls the anarchist hopes of the Spanish Civil War. Compared to the unemployment-ridden Spanish economy in general, it seems like it’s thriving, although the comments on this story throw not-unexpected doubt on the mayor’s domineering style and perhaps cronyism. Still, any such real-life testing of social potentials and economic alternatives is exciting in a world so ahistorically convinced that one model fits all.

For a hilarious illustration of said model’s deep contradictions, you could do no better than Kathleen Phillips’s character monologue as a high-school guidance counselor who sees her job as an excuse to do “sweet fuck-all.” 

The luminous writer Paul LaFarge brings a similar mixture of laughter and queasy undertones, but a lot more fucking, to these “scenes left out of Henry James’s The Ambassadors.” I thought it was really funny at first, and then it started to wear thin, and then it became unexpectedly meaningful. I haven’t read The Ambassadors, so that’s not a prerequisite, but you likely have to have swallowed your share of James one way or another. Oh dear, that last part sounded like a line from the story.

And finally something for which I’ve been lobbying for years: The Experience Music Project in Seattle has got a bunch of videos online of lectures from this year’s mini-Pop Conference. Douglas Wolk’s talk on very, very short songs is one not to miss:

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