Tag Archives: Miranda July

Tea With Chris: Cloven Poetry

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:

Margaux: Great one Jimmy Carter – I love this letter he wrote about religion and women’s rights. I love his description of “The Elders” that he is a member of. Sounds bad-ass.

Chris: Blog-friend Sholem Krishtalka has begun drawing his own tarot set, one symbolic omen at a time, which oddly reminded me of Bill Sienkiewicz’s old Friendly Dictators trading cards.

The ethical dilemma of Amazon links, not one faced by B2TW thus far, where we’ve probably raised enough money to cover one dinner at a middlingly expensive restaurant (wine not included).

“The reason why the Stuff White People Like humor genre has so many holes in it is because the vast majority of the things lampooned are not white-specific, they’re creature comforts of the middle class. But the lines between race and class are getting blurrier and blurrier by the day, and there are quite a few people of color being born into comfortable financial situations who will likely never know what it’s like to be poor. Thus, memes like White Person Bingo end up portraying a common theme in popular culture: class stereotyping poorly and tastelessly masquerading as race stereotyping.” Martin Douglas, killing it, and recalling another essay about indie rock, race, and class.

Carl: I used to dream about making a book of poems in the form of crossword puzzles, where the clues and the answers would each be a poem. I soon realized that I had nowhere near the skill set to pull this off, if it was even theoretically possible. Here’s the closest thing, though: A giant of the puzzle world has announced his mortal illness to his readers in cryptic-crossword form.

It’s great that the new season of Girls has started, but they only show once a week. To fill the empty days in between, I am watching the two independent web series (Delusional Downtown Divas and Tight Shots) that Lena Dunham made years ago, clearly teaching herself how to make TV series, rationing episodes like sips of water on a lifeboat. I also really enjoyed her conversation with Miranda July. (If you are annoyed by one or both of them, you won’t, though – it is a very Lena Dunham-and-Miranda July conversation.)

This spot on the Merv Griffin Show in 1965 is the best window into Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick’s relationship, and why everyone loved her so much. (Thanks, Mike McGonigal.)

Poetry grudge matches: Michael Robbins somewhat-lovingly trashes Dylan Thomas for lines that are “the kind of thing you’d expect unicorns to write.” However, he adds, at least he’s not as bad as e.e. cummings.

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

Tea With Chris: The Trivialities of Haters

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: While I make some fun of reunion tours and the like in my piece on the oxymoron of Gen X nostalgia in the NY Times Magazine this weekend, it’s not always a lazy, narcissistic or greedy thing for an artist or a group of artists to revisit their past work. For example, in the Summerworks theatre festival this month, Toronto-based company Small Wooden Shoe is remounting its first-ever show, called Perhaps in a Hundred Years, created six years ago. (Disclaimer: I’ve recently become a member of SWS’s board.)

They have a few reasons: First, they like it, and hardly anyone saw the show at the time, so now that they have a bigger reputation, they’d like to give it the exposure. Second, and more intriguingly, they wondered what it would be like to revisit the people they were then – to re-enact a show that was not-so-veiledly about their relationships and situations at the time, when all those relationships and situations have changed. They say it’s now “a period piece, only the period is 2005.” And third, that’s particularly funny because the show is science-fiction, ostensibly about the future. So is it then a period piece about the future, or is it the future now?

I’ve yet to see it but I’ve seen these three performers in many other contexts and they are always charming and brain-tickling, and sometimes quite a bit more. Here is a little promotional video.

It would have been hard to enjoy this interview with David Lynch very much more. It still doesn’t make me sure I want to listen to his first album of original music. But I would listen to him talk about the weather forever.

We recently celebrated Marshall McLuhan’s 100th birthday (what? you didn’t celebrate?). He would have enjoyed this story about telegraph operators texting, essentially, in 1890.

But the most beautiful and affecting thing I’ve seen this week was this gallery by photographer James Mollison (drawn from his new book), depicting “Where Children Sleep” – children from all over the world, from the spoiled-princess or chillingly unchildishly minimalist bedrooms of affluent American kids to an eight-year-old in Cambodia who lives in a dump. I could say more but it is better just to look. Look and see, see, see.

Chris: This month, New York’s Film Forum is finishing up its Essential Pre-Code series – that is, a series of hard-to-find movies released before the mid-’30s, when the Hays Code forced Hollywood to hide its racy red light beneath a bushel. Tragically, I’m not in New York, but at least I can read a critics’ guide and fantasize.

Any ’90s nostalgia on my part is kinda ersatz, but this single I found via the Singles Jukebox is doing the trick. Of course a drum solo known as the Amen break would eventually be resurrected.

Margaux: I saw and loved Werner Herzog’s 3-d feature “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”. I went to see it again the following week because I couldn’t think of what would be better to see. There was a really nice article about it by Larry Rohter in the New York Times.If you love (or are amused by) Werner Herzog, this is him at his best, if Werner Herzog drives you crazy, Werner Herzog will drive you crazy here.

Speaking of love and hate, I read a recent feature on Miranda July that discussed the intense love and intense hate directed at the artist and filmmaker. I read the article because I am looking forward to seeing July’s second feature which is not in theatres yet. The article was fair and nice, but the writer and even Miranda July herself seemed overly preoccupied about people hating July’s “preciousness” and “perceived hipster tendencies”. It’s awful to be hated by strangers but anyone who made such a pleasurable and meaningful first feature shouldn’t worry so much about the trivialities of haters – or at least the critics defending them shouldn’t try to patiently explain it away. I would have much preferred to read more about the depth in her work rather than a tepid defense of her most negatively targeted qualities. Enough of the world will find July’s movies and wait eagerly for each new feature – hopefully of which there will be many.

I’ve been listening to two songs this week. The last episode of HBO’s True Blood put my favourite Neko Case song to good use: making us feel drunken empathy for those mean old vampires who lost love, and glad for those mean old vampires who found it.

The other song on repeat is by Loudain Wainright III – his beautiful “ I Saw Your Name in the Paper”. I think he wrote the song in 1971 (maybe for Liza Minnelli?). He wrote it before he had children, but re releasing it on a 2008 album with two famous children out there in the world was a ballsy move. I love nothing more than when someone casts themselves, very subtly, as a villain in their own work – without sneaking in a wink or qualifiers to the audience. It can be more interesting to not know the creator’s intentions. It’s an honest position for a normal human and often a more useful and humorous one than singing about all the other hateful creatures out there.

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