I had something else to say. I don't remember what it was. I don't even remember the mood. But self-care is good. The long haul is going to be so long, but we have to stay in it.
I had something else to say. I don't remember what it was. I don't even remember the mood. But self-care is good. The long haul is going to be so long, but we have to stay in it.
I don't know how to write music but I want to know. Of course, neo-Nazis are currently threatening DC-area punk venues about the time I'd most want to go.
I don't know what I want to say or how.
I want to make things again though. Starting is the hard part.
I think we need Kathleen Hanna back (fun fact, she's back). But at least we have Amanda Palmer and Grimes and Janelle Monae and lots of people I don't know because I am undereducated.
This is not the lightest music, but you probably know that because "Bigger on the Inside." But I guess it's more trauma and sexism/racism stuff and less fascism stuff because that's where I came out of The Punk Singer.
Bikini Kill, "Feels Blind"
Amanda Palmer, "Bigger on the Inside"
Janelle Monae, "Many Moons"
I'll figure something out 'cause I'm not good at being depressed and if leaving the country helps me, you can shame me if you want but I will put on my mask before assisting others. I don't know if it will help, but it's not like I haven't wanted to move somewhere for ages.
For now, I want to apply for jobs in Canada but also figure out how to be creative again in a way that at least helps me.
I don't know about the artsy people you know, but mine are all concerned with how to do things that matter more, whether that's the word they use or not. How to get through to people who don't already agree with you, how to make sure your work isn't part of the problem, how to give opportunities to those who lack them without appropriating or misrepresenting their stories (some of this may be theatre-specific, but I think the concepts are more general).
(I think the first one is the hardest; art can be an effective tool for empathy, but audiences get awfully insular. We do get a lot of old people seeing theatre made by young people, but it's hard to get outside the regular theatre people. And that can be true in other fields, too. Although in my sf/f/h short fiction days, as limited as the audience could be, I think it has a lot more political and ideological diversity than theatre.)
What I'm thinking right now is that while preaching to the choir isn't particularly productive, there is value in creating things that might contribute to the self-care of people already in your community or on your side. And it's also hard to predict what that might be. Probably when Aimee Mann wrote "Red Vines," she didn't know it was going to become symbolic of one 20-something's self-care. On the surface, it doesn't particularly seem like a song that Says Something Important, necessarily. And representation to wide audiences with diverse perspectives is the most helpful empathy-wise, but it's also super-valuable for the people for whom it's not even empathy to see that representation. So maybe preaching to the choir is an overly dismissive way of looking at it. Maybe it's not self-indulgent to sometimes want to create an artistic support group.
Or THE ALIENS. Or Pokemon Snap. Like, if I could just devote my life to THE ALIENS, Firefly, and Pokemon Snap, that sounds like the best life ever. And, like, Spider & Web. Obviously this list could become extremely long. And I roll my eyes when people talk about probable-queerbaiting Youtubers saving their lives or whatever. Maybe I'm saying that mattering is overrated, or just that it doesn't make any sense.
I don't know. I'm not sure I've ever been one to write about Issues in some kind of Important way. And I've never really minded that before. But the world now isn't what it was then, and now writing a self-indulgent play about self-indulgence seems extra self-indulgent and maybe only justifiable if I were to actually quit my job and work for some saving-the-world type of group (yes, I know I work to make higher education more accessible to nontraditional students, thanks Mom!). So should I write the SLJ one if only because it would have lead roles that necessitate casting women of color? Should I come up with an idea that Matters more than the ones I have? Should I stop trying to get back into the headspace where I was going to start writing again and accept that the kind of fighting that also means not taking much time to avoid the despairs of reality is actually what I should be doing for the next 4 years or more (this necessitates believing in my ability to make a difference, so...)?
(Jonatha Brooke, "It Matters Now")
I know, this is totally self-indulgent in itself. But I think that's often part of the process.
Amontiock, "Hufflepuff Puff Pass" (let's be real, if I were at Hogwarts, I'd be a loser Hufflepuff and not living this life.)
Beyonce, "All Night"
Jenny Owen Youngs, "Pirates" (is it a real thing that music is better once the artist starts a Buffy rewatch podcast?) (I think she was better yesterday though?)
okay but Jenny Owen Youngs, "Welcome to the Hellmouth" (spoilers for the first ep. of Buffy, but really, you've seen it.)
I feel like somehow the most emblematic Steven Universe songs are "Giant Woman" and "Stronger Than You." Although in some ways maybe "It's Over, Isn't It" is the best? This is a rabbit hole, of course.
If you want an accurate Zan listening experience, repeat "All Night" a couple more times.
I'm clearly writing cover letters right now.
This is a marathon, not a sprint. I can't sustain myself on fear, tension, political phone calls, and the empty fluff of instant gratification that feel immediately appealing after a day of the first three. I can reconsider things in my life, I can fight, but I shouldn't abandon completely the things I was going to do to be ridiculous and have fun. I miss that world, but I think I need to reclaim bits of it for as long as I can.
People are gonna write counterfactuals about this. I just try not to spend too long thinking about them.
(Insert comment about not letting the terrorists win.)
(I still hope the Handmaid's Tale TV adaptation is great, but I'm afraid it will be seriously painful to watch.)
Edit- The BBC is already on those counterfactuals. Although of course only the future will tell us how far the paths diverge.
"The second special will involve the team looking back 'at the year that never was, imagining what life would be like had Remain won, Trump lost and a host of other events that just might have happened'."
Oh, 2016. If only what happened in 2016 could just stay in 2016.
Inspired by, and in some cases blatantly stolen from, Elena Gleason's Spotify playlist: https://play.spotify.com/user/
And maybe that's the only reason there's anything new here. But you cope your way and I'll cope mine. This is a mess of what I'm feeling (in no real order), minus the nausea (which is a lot better than yesterday, and I slept through the night!).
Belize being the best from Angels in America pt. 2
David Bowie, "I'm Afraid of Americans"
Girlyman, "Amaze Me"
Rufus Wainwright, "Going To A Town"
The Temptations, "Ball of Confusion"
Grimes, "Kill v. Maim"
Antje Duvekot, "Milk and Trash"
Fall Out Boy, "The Kids Aren't Alright" okay you're reading livejournal stop judging me I am not going to apologize blah blah cheekbones & accents blah. but also sometimes you just feel like an emo kid.
Tracy Chapman, "Talkin' Bout A Revolution" (too bad the tables are turning the wrong way before the right)
Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On"
FKA Twigs, "Elastic Heart" (cover but I think it's cool)
The Black Eyed Peas, "Where Is The Love?"
Paul Simon, "American Tune"
Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come"
"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt theme" (plus)
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "I Won't Back Down" (even if I do move to Canada at some point)
(And, duh, Aimee Mann, "Red Vines." Always "Red Vines.") (Fun fact, Aimee Mann liked my tweet once when I tweeted 'thank @aimeemann for Red Vines.')
I am not yet to this optimistic a point, but Laura Nyro, "Save the Country"
Edit- I'm still adding. FYI.
Youtube playlist. Which omits the emo/British cheekbones because, professionalism?
Kate Klim, "I Choose Me"
The Muppets, "Me Party"
Grimes, "Flesh Without Blood"
The Dandy Warhols, "We Used To Be Friends"
Destiny's Child, "Survivor"
Girlyman, "Storms Were Mine"
This isn't quite what I want it to be, but it's the best I'm finding without a cheesy soundtrack. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
(I chose not to do a "Halloween" playlist this year, and I am fine with that decision, but I checked last year and I did the afterlife specifically, which means I haven't had a Halloween playlist with this on it. So, there it is. And then the irony occurs to me that "Michael in the Bathroom" is at a Halloween party in the musical. But that's not where I am now. And from my new experience playing a zombie-fighting first-person shooter ala "Two-Player Game," I may be a good friend, but when they make an attack, I don't have your back. I am probably dying across the room.) (tl;dr how great is Be More Chill? So great.)
(They try to say "patriarchy" only once per episode, but you know.)
(I used to read a blog that snarked at Buffy fashion episode by episode, but this is better. And they started a Fashion Watch segment. It just gets better.)
(I have the misfortune to be caught up now.)
I know on some level that if I am enjoying the entertainment and/or art being produced, the authenticity of the creator shouldn't really matter. (This is a separate issue from the creation/creator divide in situations like, say, Orson Scott Card, or Alex Day. Here I'm talking about the concern that the creator's public persona is strategic, a brand, and not close to their human self, despite being presented as authentic. It's also a separate situation than alterego kinds of things, e.g. Ziggy Stardust or Miranda Sings.) I watch Drag Race, and I know it is reality TV and I know that people are getting the "villain edit" or the "redemption edit" or whatever, and it's not an accurate representation and that's fine. It doesn't ruin the show for me. And you could certainly argue that reality TV is presenting itself as authetic, although I think by now as a genre it knows it isn't fooling anyone.
Does it matter who people I don't know and never will know are? A lot of creators just make their thing and sell you (whether for actual money or not) their thing, and that's that, and you don't really have to know anything about them, and if you do, it's a separate issue. And I think the more that's the case, the less concern I have for authenticity. To a casual consumer of art, both Amanda Palmer and Grimes (the two I've Tweeted about buying into thus far) fall into this category. I could easily consume and enjoy their work without knowing or caring about who they are, so if I were to come to the conclusion that they're entirely inauthentic, it might not have too much effect. Except that, as I decided on my commute this morning, there's a level of vulnerability that it's fairly douchey to make up. Like, a sort of emotional appropriation? It wouldn't be cool to find out that "Machete" or "Bigger On The Inside" were strategically manufactured without a basis in real loss and emotion (e.g. if AFP's friend Anthony of "Machete" was made up. I'm not cynical enough to believe that). Grimes, I'm not sure there's anything like that. If she was lying about writing and producing her own music, or that she didn't actually like the geeky influences she draws on, or that the awkwardness is fake, it would be a bummer, but not more.
The other side of the coin is Youtubers. Not Youtube in general, but Youtubers who are primarily commodifying their personalities. It's basically reality TV, on some level. There's no product except their stories and rants and whatever they feel like talking about or showing. There's an expectation that stories are probably exaggerated for dramatic effect, of course, but there's also an assumption of authenticity. Youtube celebrities aren't Angelina Jolie, they're pretending to talk directly to you, the viewer, and they're pretending that you know something about their personality and about the parts of their life they choose to mention/show. They leave in goofs and moments where people say "edit that out" to give it that genuine feel, even while simultaneously acknowleding that you'll never know what they actually did edit out. They, and their PR managers and whoever else, are giving themselves an edit, building a brand, and probably, to some degree (and some better than others), acting. But it's one thing to accept that it's all edited and that a lot of their life is omitted, and it's another thing to think that the personality (which is the majority of the product) is just trying to "give [you] what you want" under the guise of humanity. It's like The Art of Asking; people choose Youtube over TV and Youtube celebrities over "real" celebrities for the feeling of human connection.
Now, depending on the person (and their popularity), it could just be them. Presumably, most people start on Youtube on their own, and probably often by being themselves. The brand issues come later, although people can certainly be strategic early on. But a lot of people become less interesting and more #relatable as their popularity booms. Which is why I unsubscribed from Hannah Hart/My Drunk Kitchen for a long time. (Yeah, I resubscribed recently, but that's because job and because I'm being fascinated with Youtubers.) The contract with the reader (viewer) is complex and probably not that generalizable. But if, say, a brand centers on a friendship, it would be a betrayal if that friendship is really just a strategic business partnership. And a Youtuber selling a ghostwritten novel (I've never watched Zoella and don't care about her, but in general) feels like a betrayal even though we might assume that Hollywood stars' books are ghostwritten. (Part of that is just a higher feeling of trust/immediacy in the relationship, but I also feel like it's more of a betrayal for any celebrity when the book isn't about them, because if you're buying a novel because it's by anyone you care about and it's really just a random novel by a random person, you're probably gonna feel ripped off.)
Of course, I am a person who is really bad at not being myself. I'm even bad at not being honest and open with people, even when it might not be in my best interests. I was recently telling someone how I don't really try to impress people except in job interviews, but the fact is that even in a job interview, it doesn't take very long for a lot of the formality to fall away and for me to just be me, if a me who thinks a bit more before she speaks and who plays down some of the ridiculousness I would otherwise lean into. (For example, today I told my boss that she's not evil. I believe she knows what I meant.) If the distance between me-in-the-middle-of-the-night-hanging-
I think this is related: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Addendum: So... I don't know if I feel better or worse to see that these particular Youtubers' stage show... judging by the preview... is terrible. Honestly it feels like Blues Clues or something, except with teenage girls screaming every 2 seconds. So, if they're not good actors, does that mean the normal stuff is more authentic? Or does it just mean they really need the editing? (I just Googled "Is it me or is TATINOF terrible," so if you wanna watch this preview and verify that it's terrible, lemme know. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
I have another further thought, which is that if one main advantage of Youtube is the "intimacy" of someone who is talking directly to a camera, and thus feels like they're talking directly to you, performing in a huge theatre is pretty much the opposite of that. I've seen these guys without editing because I have seen their livestreams. (Remember, I need stuff to watch while I work, don't judge too harshly.) The livestreams can be disappointing, but more because of the topics and all the 'notice me senpai' bs than the acting/personality, which are fine. I think the Blues Clues/Dora the Explorer effect comes from the medium jump.
I DEFINITELY had some Art of Asking thoughts on this topic, but I don't remember. AFP definitely talks about authenticity, but if you read the book and know where I was going with this, I'd love to know. Probably you guys know my mind better than I do by now.
Andrew Jackson Jihad, “Brave As A Noun” - This is like old-school something I would have played on AiHF. And while my musical tastes have evolved over time and AiHF is a thing of the past, there’s something really appealing to me about this one. I would certainly have, on AiHF, labeled it as folk-punk.
I’m gonna look at the question of what punk is (labels being, as usual, complex and meaningless and useful and subjective etc.). As you can see, this is proving to be a bit of a talky playlist, but since it’s not on the radio, you can ignore it if you want. (To be clear, I can easily read up on the history and evolution of punk; I’m more interested in where the lines are drawn and what leads people to conclude that a song or artist is or isn’t punk.)
In the (admittedly minimal) research I’ve done, there’s a lot of debate. Including some fairly ironic punk elitism and hipsterism, which is probably unavoidable as any counterculture art gets mainstream attention. But classic punk maintains some relatively universal acceptance, so let’s start there. (Obviously, I’m not going anywhere near comprehensive, and I'm sticking to things I at least kinda like.)
The Ramones, “I Wanna Be Sedated”
The Clash, “Rock The Casbah”
I am not well-versed in punk, and I seriously welcome the insight of those who are. However, I am obsessed with “punk poet laureate” Patti Smith. Who some would argue is “proto-punk,” rather than actually punk (although she has an answer to that). Punk is pretty inextricable from the public idea of Patti Smith. What, then, is Patti Smith at her most punk? Horses is presumed to have had the most influence on punk (or just generally the most influence, I suppose). So… “Gloria”? But really, I believe her; everything she does is punk rock, whether it sounds anything like what punk theoretically sounds like or not. She’s Patti motherfucking Smith (and my inclination to say that raises the question of Amanda Fucking Palmer, which I’ll come back to.)
While we’re talking proto-: The Stooges, “Gimme Danger” (Okay, yes, it's on the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack. I know. But there's also something about it, and about the mostly-Iggy-based character in that movie, that reminds me of Jim Morrison, so.)
I got interested in this question at least partially through two songs I included in my ’90s curation for Flying V: “The The Empty” and “Dig Up Her Bones” (They can share a paragraph because you probably just listened to them the other day on Facebook). In a world of many subgenres, the former is post-riot-grrrr and the latter is horror-punk. While riot grrrl is, to my knowledge, generally defined as a feminist punk movement, labeling of “The The Empty” becomes complicated by Le Tigre’s place in “post.” Is post-punk by definition not punk? It seems odd to say anything is post- a category it belongs to. (Wikipedia also classifies Le Tigre as “electroclash,” and “Dig Up Her Bones” falls in the murkier late end of the Misfits’ catalog.) But then, is that a “punk is dead” argument, that bans anything that isn’t classic punk from being punk at all? Is punk a piece of history rather than a music genre or ongoing cultural movement?
I don’t have the knowledge or patience to write extensively on all of these. And this isn’t the Flying V Facebook, so I don’t have to.
Siouxsie & the Banshees, “Peek A Boo” - Siouxsie & the Banshees have a bit of that Misfits gothy vibe, with a bit of Patti Smith, too. They pop up in the post-punk debates, and I need to educate myself. Whether it’s punk or not, it’s awesome.
My recent education is heavily from this article on feminist punk, so, bias.
PJ Harvey, "50 Ft. Queenie"
L7, "Pretend We're Dead"
Alright, we return to Amanda Fucking Palmer, with or without The Dresden Dolls. The Dresden Dolls have often been described as Brechtian punk cabaret, and there’s certainly some of that attitude Patti Smith was talking about. My instinct is to be more comfortable calling something like “Girl Anachronism” punk than, say, “Ukulele Anthem,” but then I have to wonder — if Defiance, Ohio or Against Me! had done “Ukulele Anthem,” would I be calling it folk-punk? Or is it just folk and it just feels weird to call something Amanda Palmer straight-up folk?
So yes, back to folk-punk. A genre near and dear to my heart. And if you listened to AiHF, there’s nothing new to find here.
Ani DiFranco, “Million You Never Made”
Billy Bragg, “Accident Waiting to Happen”
Against Me!, “Baby, I’m An Anarchist”
Defiance, Ohio, “Flood Waters”
Max Stern, “19” (I was going to pick "Her Majesty's Midwestern Islands" for no particular reason, but it's not on Youtube.)
What do you think? What defines punk?
With the exception of song past-tense singing I'll be ignoring because I don't know what's it's doing in the song, "Everlong" has only one line set in the past. It's the first line, and the one that includes the title, so it matters, and it's a continuous past, a span of waiting "everlong." From there, it shifts to anxiety about the future, which it looks at as a continuous span going on from the present.*
On the other hand, "What Phase Is This" (WPIT, because I'm lazy) is dominated by verses that are entirely past, but the chorus (emphasized by repetition) lives in the present and future. WPIT perceives the future through the lens of the past, understanding life as a series of phases that end as a result of these observations. While both songs are explicitly wondering about the future, WPIT at least has some confidence in the structure of it and the inevitability of change. Anything lasting forever isn't even on the song's radar. Change isn't a source of anxiety, it's just a fact to roll with. Anything being this good again? I think WPIT figures there will be ups and downs again and again. I think it's just less of a drama queen?
But both songs talk, completely non-specifically but centrally, about "this," the present state of things, as a generically desirable state. Everlong heavily implies that "this" is a relationship; WPIT's "this" might be inferred to be a relationship as well due to society being obsessed with relationships, but really all we know is that "this" is something he wants to hold onto for a while ("how long do I get to keep it"). But Everlong still considers "forever" possible, if unlikely. And while I'm drawn to WPIT's realistic approach, there's a #relatability to clinging to those things you don't want to let go.
I might be going around in circles and it's 5 so I should go home, but I think the thing that remains to be addressed is "you've got to promise not to stop when I say when." It continues a bit of the idealism, where WPIT probably wouldn't find such a promise to be worth much of anything. But a promise is inherently future-focused and clinging to that thing. The rest, besides being vaguely safewordy, seems to continue on the "forever" track. I'm tempted to say that it acknowledges that forever could be longer than desirable, but I don't actually think that's how it functions in the song. I think it functions more as an assurance that there's no possibility of an actual desired stopping point, and forever is the goal however lofty. The former is more interesting, but context points me to the latter.
Here's the thing, though. Everlong hopes for "forever," while WPIT doesn't believe in it, but WPIT isn't cynical; in fact, it's more optimistic. It accepts and embraces the transience of each phase, and values them all — past, present, future — with a mix of nostalgia, wistfulness, and of course a sense of humor. WPIT is at peace with who he was and who he is, and he's open to who he will become. Everlong is darker and more fearful in its attachment, while WPIT is playful and a little bit detached. Not really detached, but it feels like maybe it's learned not to take itself so seriously. I don't think that's just me associating Everlong strongly with being the kid sister when it was the credits music for The Worst Movie Ever while WPIT feels very now in my life. But maybe I'm wrong and the songs are inextricable from their emotional context.
I might revisit this. Or I might decide it's not interesting. Regardless, it may never feel this real again.
*It's all about extents of time, which I guess makes sense considering it's called "Everlong." I'm having a hard time articulating the extents of time thing; I feel like it's like the notes you hold in DDR, as opposed to moments, or, in the case of WPIT, phases. Which are more distinctly blocked I guess?
Addition: Not just because it's the trailer song, but I think "Everlong" is a great summation of our show, BE AWESOME: A THEATRICAL MIXTAPE OF THE '90S. The show is about life and memory in the face of mortality, how we remember our lives and how we want our loved ones to remember us. Its relationship to the past (and the present that is almost past) is nostalgic, clinging, but also sculpting and understanding the need to let go. Maybe that's a place I am now. "Everylong" probably knows, on some level, that forever isn't a thing, just as it knows that no one's waited "everlong." But it can feel that way, and it can cling to the idea of things staying real, not being fictionalized by memory, and those feelings are valid. And maybe for our protagonist, he knows his best days (and most of his days overall) are behind him, while Everlong's skepticism at the idea that things could be as good (let alone better) again might be youthful drama. But putting that with the reality of mortality and uncertainty kind of gets at BE AWESOME, which isn't just about being terminally ill.
If that is a thing that might entertain you, here's the lj feed: http://oak-judges-you.livejournal.com/
twenty one pilots, "Stressed Out"
Maybe I should be writing LBTII. When Seamus talked about abandoning his play I really liked, he said it was what he needed to write when he wrote it. In some ways, LBTII is a play I started after leaving that phase of my life. But as I bemoan the lack of Pokemon in my neighborhood and don't even know what my car insurance costs, maybe not. Probably the biggest thing is figuring out how the play about "originality" and earnest love for media (i.e. The Book) balances with the play about not needing to be grown up right now (i.e. the movie & the reader).
PS: If it's legally a bad idea to use the title of a movie in the title of a play (I'm not entirely sure that it is, because then why is it fine for plays to have the same name as songs? I'm not the only one who does that), maybe I could just call it BEFORE TIME. I guess I won't really know how well that works until I write it.
When I get out of the car, I feel lopsided, because my right leg gets so much more attention than my left.
I listen to audiobooks on subways all the time, but when I have 3-hour drives, my iPod decides that it needs wifi to play an audiobook. Still trying to fix that.
Don't retape your mirror right before a road trip if it's actually fine.
It's probably a good thing that it no longer makes sense for me to do a solo road trip to the Berkshires. With family (and making Dad drive) will be a lot more fun.
(The concert, spontaneous "clubbing" in Philly, and tour of Jackie's life in Princeton were worth it. But not something I'm gonna want to do all that often.)