Ah, yes, the inspiration/round-up post of this week’s sparks, as I call them: things that got me thinking, feeling, thinking again and sometimes dreaming and scheming. Suggestions? What’s got your interest lately? Please let me know in comments below!
Please Let Carrie Bradshaw Go to CBGBs
I’ve written before about my odd fandom for “The Carrie Diaries,” its mix of 80s NYC nostalgia and its refashioning of Carrie Bradshaw as a wide-eyed innocent. It’s a standard issue CW/Josh Schwartz kind of show, but one thing I’m really enjoying are the references to NYC hotspots at the time: Indochine, Mudd Club, all of those mythic venues you read about in social histories of the city. Last week’s episode featured a central scene where Carrie and her good friend Mouse get into real-life storied avant-garde performance space Franklin Furnace and are confronted with feminist performance art! (Basically: a fictional porn star sits on a throne at a gallery, people put money in a jar and she flashes them her hoo-ha. Very Karen Finley-like.)
First: I think it’s just rad that feminist performance art has made it into a mainstream American TV show. I was also amused by the mild satirizing/earnest shoutout of sex-positive “reclaiming your vagina” discourse — as well as a knowing wink to the original SATC show. There’s an odd pleasure in seeing how this show on this very commercial network refracts gritty NYC downtown history — seeing what it elides, distorts and glosses over, but also what it cheers and bestows its affection upon. I’d be happy if Carrie got to CBGBs or Max’s Kansas City, but now it’s kind of my dream that the show makes it into the early 90s and there’s a shoutout to riot grrrl somewhere. Please, someone at the CW, make this happen! You can option my screenplay about 90s zine girls if you want!
I Heart These Apps
I write about technology as a day-job, but it’s taken me forever to get an iPhone, due to my own contrarian nature, my personal laziness and general rather-spend-my-money-on-other-thingsness. But now I have one, and use apps all the time. I review apps for my day job, but I don’t often get to write about them from my personal perspective of a creative lady writer and artist — nor do I get to write about them in my personal voice. But this is my blog, and I can say what I want and how I want! Which is: I’m proud to hype up some apps I’ve found particularly useful and creative-sparking. My favorites right now include WorkFlowy, which is essentially a giant list-making app. It sounds nightmarish but it is not: it’s very simple and elegant and it has made a big difference in organizing my time and things-to-do in such a way that I spend a lot less time doing these things — so I can spend more time actually making work.
Also: in the interest of streamlining digital clutter, I discovered Feedly, which ports my RSS reader to my iPhone. And for fun, Hello Kitty Mahjong wiles away minutes spend otherwise standing in lines that don’t move at various places and times. It is super cute. If you have other apps you use, iPhone brethren, please let me know — I am always interested to know what people use and how.
Monthly Mixtape: Surprisingly Energetic for a Cold January
Usually in January I hunker down with music and treat it more like a security blanket, swaddling my spirit in familiarity and comfort. Maybe it is the sense of possibility that January can have, but this particular month I actually felt myself much more open to new sounds. So here they are, some old, some new, some rediscoveries.
Here is the track listing below:
The Bird and the Bee, “Tonight You Belong to Me”
We actually stayed in and watched “The Jerk” on New Year’s Eve, and I really wanted to find the Steve Martin/Bernadette Peter’s version of this, which they sing together in the song. But this one does quite nicely. Also: I want a t-shirt that says “Bull Shit” on it.
Every New Year seems to begin with a Rihanna song.
Charli XCX, “Nuclear Seasons”
I like how 80s quasi-Goth electro-pop Charli’s voice gets here. This is a Spotify find; Spotify is perfect for artists I can’t quite commit to, but enjoy in some way, which is where Charli XCX and I stand at the moment.
Wild Belle, “Backslider”
I already hearted Wild Belle last week; this is my favorite track by them, very slinky and moody, which I’m always fond of.
Bob Dylan, “She Belongs to Me”
I did a lot of listening to Bringing It All Back Home this month. Such greatness.
Nick Cave, “We No Who U R”
Nick Cave has a new record coming out in 2013 and I can’t wait! I like the Tindersticks-y feeling of this.
Karen O, “Strange Love”
Oh, I love this sweet, tender, happy song! It’s from “Frankenweenie,” which convinced me Tim Burton makes better animated movies than anything else.
I was very open to new music this month, hence: Foxygen! Again, can’t decide if I want to commit to this band, but I am enjoying their new record muchly.
A song you get embarrassed liking but can’t seem to help yourself. Kate Hudson’s baby daddy! Ha.
Every so often I rediscover this Madonna song, and it always makes me so happy when I do.
OTHER BRIGHT STARS: Loving Frank’s podcast with fashion illustrator and blogger Danielle Meder of Final Fashion — always inspiring to hear from someone who is so smart, focused and articulate about their vocation and calling +++++ I loved Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s take on Lena Dunham’s “Girls” — there is the novelty factor of a NBA Hall of Famer taking on TV criticism, but he nails a lot of what makes the show fascinating and frustrating to many. +++++ I loved this story about a fabled recording studio in Chicago’s Humboldt Park. I once spent a good amount of my life hanging in recording studios, and it is my secret fantasy to be a record producer. They’re fascinating spaces: grungy, creative, dysfunctional, technical, full of cameraderie, hard work, a splash of decadence, and sometimes even genius. I miss them.
(Pics: Feminist performance artist Carolee Schneemann in London, from Art Monthly)