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: Jonathan Bogart enlivens the perennial and somewhat contrived search for a “song of the summer” by listening to singles you probably won’t hear through a car stereo, including Lebanese pop, sweetly understated dancehall and Franco-Nigerian R&B.
Carl: I have spent most of my time on the web this week trying to figure out things about New Orleans, where I was visiting. Mainly I learned that in the future I should go to this amazing-sounding museum, but I missed it this time around. However, I did go to this incredible installation, an interactive set of musical shacks, which will some day be a permanent musical house. It’s closed now but when that happens you should go there. (Find out more in this fine NPR piece about it.) And when you do, the new website My Spilt Milk should be your guide, and you should read these two greatbooks by Ned Sublette about the biblically awesome-terrible-remarkable racial and colonial history that makes it a singular cultural crossroads on the North American continent. Also, have a Sazerac.
Otherwise, I have watched Hollywood goofballs parodying The Bachelor and discovered the (I think now defunct) Tumblr Animals Tweeting as Owen Pallett, e.g., two birds of paradise saying, “Whoa I thought I was being progressive with my hair choices and then I saw that Xavier de Rosnay guy has been doing it ‘for years’.” (Xavier de Rosnay is one of the guys in Justice. I looked it up. You’re welcome.)
Les Mouches was Owen Pallett‘s band before Final Fantasy, and is (sometimes and in a very different sense) his band now after Final Fantasy. The other flies in this ointment are Matt Smith (guitar, stuff) and Rob Gordon (drums, stuff). In this band Owen played guitar, mostly, not the violin or keyboards to which fans of his solo work are accustomed. Rob’s drums frequently burst into squalls of free-jazzish noise. Owen was in a deep Xiu Xiu phase. There was frequent screaming. They weren’t to everybody’s taste. I miss them.
Owen Pallett started a Tumblr devoted to Toronto show posters (2000-09), and it’s already fascinating – not only for suggesting what the local musical topography looked like a decade ago to us babies, but for its explicit rejection of nostalgia. Who wants to live in a museum?
I kind of like our lack of manners in the age of WikiLeaks, but I like this article Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks from Slavoj Žižek too. “The only surprising thing about the WikiLeaks revelations is that they contain no surprises. Didn’t we learn exactly what we expected to learn? The real disturbance was at the level of appearances; we can no longer pretend we don’t know what everyone knows we know.”
A man with a great many sins and virtues, Christopher Hitchens, died today. My closest personal connection to him was sometimes in the early 1990s being in the same room in which his Nation column was being edited, over the phone, by the fantastic and patience-of-a-saint-having JoAnn Wypijewski. So his death makes me think of her.
Also died this week: George Whitman, the 98-year-old proprietor of Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris (the successor to Sylvia Beach’s famous institution). Whitman would let writers and artists live in the (filthy) upstairs of the store if they would either work there a day a week, write a one-page autobiography, or pledge to read a book a day. The illustrator Molly Crabapple joined that tradition at 17: She made this picture today in tribute.
And on top of that, RIP to Russell Hoban, who managed in his life to write both this and this, among many other things. That’s a life.
If I were in New York this weekend I would go to this conference, “Occupy Onwards,” at the New School on Sunday.