Tag Archives: Katy Perry

Tea With Chris: Miley & Osama

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: Nitsuh Abebe ponders why Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” became an unofficial Osama-hit anthem: “Thus does the death of Bin Laden, who was sort of the evil photo negative of a pop star — a charismatic multi-millionaire who communicated mostly by releasing videos — turn into something very much like a pop song. Most Americans want to party, and most Americans wanted Bin Laden to die of something other than renal failure. Listening to this song as a festive assassination theme has a classic Bush-era ‘bring it on’ quality: We cherish a solid excuse to indulge in a little high-spirited cockiness, chauvinism, and provincialism about the things we like and do well.” Yemeni dissidents, however, seem to prefer a different Dr. Luke composition.

Arthur Russell ft. Vin Diesel.

As it turns out, I would in fact watch Guy Maddin browse a shelf of DVDs.

Comments Off on Tea With Chris: Miley & Osama

Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson

Tea With Chris: A Secular Hymn to Atoms

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: This clip has already gone viral, but that doesn’t make it any less charming. Who knew that Waka Flocka’s bitterly reflective line about saying “Fuck school” could be repurposed for kindergarten adorableness? (Okay, different songs, but still.)

The Singles Jukebox righteously tears apart Katy Perry’s “E.T.” in the process of giving it a 2.45: “Then you start singing lyrics about wanting to be with an alien, a time-tested metaphor for race even if you hadn’t clarified that he was ‘foreign.’ And then you sing about wanting to be a victim and being abducted. In other words, you’re spouting some really fucking racist bullshit, Katy Perry.”

Margaux: Toronto’s best friend Becky Johnson has launched a kickstarter campaign to raise money for her 2011 summer tour. There are rewards. The campaign closes April 27, 2011. Here is the link if you would like to know how Becky usually makes money.

Carl: Lots of tea from me to try to compensate for my lack of posting:

This beautiful and popular YouTube video, a Japanese ad for a wooden cellphone, glorifies nature not just in its cinematography but in its reversal of the abstraction of music – taking the mathematical mysticism of Bach’s praise cantata, and turning it back into one piece of matter striking another and producing a tone, over and over again. The materiality of the forest encounters the materiality of the ball rolling down the ramp and both are mediated by the materiality of vision, making it all a secular hymn to atoms. And yet there’s the underside: Seeing this enormous wooden ramp built in the middle of the woods, for an elaborate lark whose pleasure is ultimately comercially motivated, can’t help conjuring up the reality that forests are vanishing, that we’re wasting a shitload of wood all the time and emperiling the very natural beauty the ad celebrates. And it’s all for a wooden cellphone, an object that’s itself a punchline to a bad joke about technology and luxury and human (un)nature. It’s perfect, and also perfectly ridiculous.

Montreal journalist Eric Rumble has a newish site called LPWTF, where he looks into the story behind Canadian record covers. I like this entry about the above-reproduced cover of Colin Stetson’s amazing sax-barrage set New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, in particular, because all the little joints and bends in it articulate so much about the artistic process: how it often proceeds very haphazardly to the retrospectively inevitable. Stetson had one idea and the artist took it completely another way, then found out her idea had already been done, and so came up with another version, which she then realized by finding a company in China that made something she didn’t know existed… And the result was much better than anything anyone would have conceived in the absence of all the accidents. It’s a nice way to write about art, although artists aren’t always willing or able to be so transparent and helpful.

I read quite a few poems this week by Noah Eli Gordon. A few years ago he published a book called Inbox made up of emails he’d gotten, stripped of context, over a period of time. His latest book is called The Source, and it’s composed of texts he found in thousands of books in the Denver Public Library, always on page 26. The results are tender and philosophical while also, appropriately enough, a little bit stubborn and elusive-feeling. I like this conceptual-writing thing, but I wonder about its emotional limitations that way, and also whether the people who stump for it are concerned about those emotional limitations, and if not why not.

And then I become very glad that Ken Babstock has a new book of poems called Methodist Hatchet – I am glad both that it exists and that it’s called that. (Along the LPWTF lines, Bill Douglas explains how Methodist Hatchet‘s cover was designed).

Here, as part of a project by How Pedestrian of people reading poems in public places, someone named City T at the DMV in North Miami reads a poem from the book (text here) called “To Inflame the Civic Temper.” Its first line is, “Hey, Assface in the Hydroplane!” All the nouns in the poem are capitalized, a nice Victorian touch to balance out all the cursing.

And here is Ken himself reading in front of St. George subway station in October. His book launches as part of the annual Anansi Poetry Bash, Thursday, April 28, 8 p.m., upstairs at LeVack Block, 88 Ossington St., Toronto.

1 Comment

Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson

Tea With Chris: Metaphors, Butchered Ruthlessly

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!

Comments Off on Tea With Chris: Metaphors, Butchered Ruthlessly

Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson