One day you are worried about which seat you will take, the next you are worried that the girl you are sleeping with will OD before you can introduce her to your mother. Just as “Friday” is a cynical attempt at sincerity, taking an innocent young girl and turning her into a product, The Weeknd is a sincere attempt at cynicism. The Siouxsie and the Banshees and Beach House samples belie an attempt to make R&B palatable for a new audience, a sort of PBR & B if you will. That doesn’t make The Weeknd’s efforts to take bottles and bitches slow jam posturing to its logical extreme any less vital. There might not be love in this club, but The Weeknd’s apocalyptic, crawling out of a k-hole vibe takes us through the coke-smeared looking glass version of “fun fun fun fun” and back again.
What up what up what up!!!!!! Let’s talk about some weak-ass gay-ass art! I’m Ed EFFIN’ Hardy and I’m gonna be your M-F-in’ DOCENT! Which is just a silly fancy McGaylord way of saying “art yeller-at-er”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got a B.A. in ART from internet college…
VERONICA MARS “YOU THINK YOU KNOW SOMEBODY” by Dayna Lynne North / LAW AND ORDER: SVU “OUTCRY” by Patrick Harbinson
So we all know and love Amanda Seyfried. On October 26th, 2004, she had a big night. Not only was she the featured guest star on an episode of Law and Order: SVU, but she had a couple scenes from beyond the grave on the UPN (no CW yet) cult hit, Veronica Mars (see Logan Echolls’s memorial clip above). To me what makes this so interesting is the contrast. 2004 was in many ways television’s breakout year. Yes we had great stuff happening on TV (The Sopranos had finished its 5th season, The Wire was in its 3rd season, and Arrested Development was in its 2nd season), but, aside from the barely-watched Arrested Development most of the great stuff on TV was still happening on pay cable. 2004 brought us the breakout shows such as Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Veronica Mars, that really brought the golden age of television into reality. For the first time, challenging shows were being offered to network audiences, and they were being extraordinarily well-received. I bring this up, because recently I was watching an episode of Law and Order: SVU on Netflix and I thought to myself how old-fashioned this was and dated it in my mind to something like 2000-2001, until I noticed Amanda Seyfried was on it and she didn’t look much younger than her Veronica Mars days. A quick check of Wikipedia made me realize that these shows actually aired on the same evening and it kind of blew my mind.
The TV revolution was happening and only now do we know how far we have come. Nowadays (except on CBS), a pilot season is far more likely to bring us something similar to Veronica Mars than SVU (you only have to look at the cancellations of classic Law and Order and Christopher Meloni’s departure from SVU at the end of last season). While both shows are still great television, it’s so fascinating to think back to the TV landscape on that night, when Veronica Mars still seemed like nothing else on television and Law and Order (and its clones) ruled the day. The episode of Veronica Mars this clip comes from actually is a self-contained mystery that gets solved at the end (just like almost every episode of Law and Order). Unlike a simple procedural, however, “You Think You Know Somebody” is a dark twisty episode that messes with its audience before revealing its final twist having even its characters lie to us about how much they know, all the while advancing the sinister season-long mystery surrounding Lilly Kane’s (played by Amanda Seyfried) death. Meanwhile, “Outcry” is yet another episode of SVU, fun, but a little hokey and hamfisted (at one point Detective Stabler literally and figuratively has blood on his hands). Watching them back to back, you can almost see TV changing right before your eyes.
VEAL BRAINS / ANIMAL by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo
In a moving-stress related pique tonight, I decided to drown my sorrows in offal at the great LA restaurant, Animal (conveniently located around the corner from my soon to be vacated apartment). Pictured above are the delicious veal brains with vadouvan in apple sauce that were part of my meal there.
Animal is perhaps the perfect LA restaurant. It offers fine dining dishes oozing with rakish charm in a totally bare bones semi-casual environment (the service is great, but I mean the hostess was wearing formal shorts…). Somehow I doubt that when I move NYC, I can decide in a stress freak-out to run around the corner to have such a delightfully cheeky dish paired with perfect wines in such a relaxed charming setting. To cap off what was an already epic evening, as I was walking home (yes, we can walk to things here) I ran into Lindy and Grundy (subject of a later Double Feature) butchers extraordinaire who were running from their apartment (two blocks from mine, three blocks from their glorious shop) in a mad dash to make it to Animal before last call. People say we don’t have a community here, but Animal, Lindy & Grundy, Golden State, and pretty much everything about the Fairfax Village neighborhood prove them wrong. Tonight’s meal pretty much summed up everything that is glorious and everything that I will miss about LA.
Unfortunately, I probably have mad cow disease now. WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!
Every year Share Our Strength, a great organization fighting childhood hunger, throws a big fundraiser/food festival in Los Angeles with amazing local restaurants and bars providing tasty treats and drinks in a park (seriously click the picture to see who was on tap). Thanks to Domaine LA, I got to go this year and not only was it a great way to say goodbye to all of the great restaurants I am going to miss here in LA, but also it came as close to humanly possible at fulfilling my lifelong (since Top Chef came out) dream of eating at a Top Chef challenge. For those of you who are smart enough to remain in LA, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out next year.
NASHVILLE by Robert Altman / TREME by David Simon and Eric Overmeyer
Both are amazing stories of cities, music, and Americans dealing with the aftermath of disasters whether they be natural or sociopolitical. Treme is basically Nashville if you replace the cynicism with a touch of didacticism and rage and if the party never stopped. Click the audio clip above to hear John Boutté’s incredibly infectious theme song for Treme, appropriately named “The Treme Song.”
Welcome one and (probably just one) to my new tumblr. I figured I would give a brief introduction to what I aim to do here. Ever since I was in Cinema @ The Whitney in college (a film society that almost exclusively screened double features) I can’t help but see things in pairs. Essentially this is going to be a dumping ground for me to share these with others (or at least save them for myself in a semi-aesthetically pleasing manner). Yes it’s great to let things stand on their own, it’s often times more fun to put them next to something else as see how they interact. It’s not a profound or original idea by any means (just go to a museum or have wine with your dinner to see what I’m talking about) but it’s one that pays off handsomely. While the format is particularly well-suited for discussing art/film/literature/music/etc. this is a blog for double features that pop up in all aspects of life.
STARSHIP TROOPERS by Paul Verhoeven / THE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY by Suzanne Collins
Both of these have a startling handle on how the media will play a role in our future. Say what you will about Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games, but one of the more fascinating elements of the novels was the way that she (and Katniss) engaged with the cameras that were ever-present during the Games. Similarly, Verhoeven’s “news” footage throughout Starship Troopers was a wickedly funny bastardization of Why We Fight that managed to presage our increasingly hyperlinked lives. Watching them now seems like nothing more than a particularly grim YouTube binge, but remember the film only came out in 1998. While Paul Verhoeven’s vision of a fascist, blindly patriotic, and comically post-racial society attacking a civilization it doesn’t understand seems a more probable future than Suzanne Collins’s feudal post-apocalyptic nightmare Panem, they both demonstrate how our amazing/terrifying/compelling/depraved media are here to stay.