I’m changing up the format of the cultural calendar a bit this semester, because I was feeling that the column was getting a bit stale (and too focused on 21+ events) last semester. So here are four random bits of life that you can all probably take part in pretty easily. Enjoy.
Father John Misty’s I Love You, MIDIbear
In the age of PONO (I’ll be using the ‘age of ...’ phrase a lot this week, it seems), corporate synergy seems to be taking a backseat to audio quality in the music listening experience. At the very least, Neil Young has tricked us into believing that audio quality should be what matters. We’ll have to see if the boomers buy into it, shelling out for that triangular monument to post-iPod minimalist mindfuckery, and also shelling out for $40 album downloads on the PONO webstore (like honestly, what the hell?). But if we know where old Neil’s cards lay, we also know where new folk troubadour on the block, Mr. Josh Tillman of Father John Misty himself, stands with his new website http://www.fatherjohnmisty.com/sap/, which offers a “Free to Hear” album stream of his new album I Love You, Honeybear. Like many early album streams (and leaks) the sound is extremely low quality; in this case, it’s actually in that audioprimitivist format MIDI, a sonic experience reminiscent of an acid trip in one of the SEGA Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog games. The website and the MIDI stream is a work of art, but seriously, the normal album has merit as well. I never cared for J. Tillman’s work in Fleet Foxes, or even his first Father John Misty album, but this record is a brilliant exercise in balancing self-aware shmaltz and even more self-aware (and frequently hilarious) cynicism. In lesser hands, it would elicit an eye roll, but he really pulls off the mix in this album, and it will be resonating for quite some time to come.
I, for one, welcome our new annotating overlords. By which I mean us, I suppose, although I haven’t completely figured out how one becomes an annotator for Genius. It might be rather easy, but I’m still too awestruck as a witness to the process to become an active cog in the exegesis machine. For those that aren’t familiar, Genius.com is the website formerly known as Rap Genius, that has long been expanding its purview to include non-hip hop genres like rock, pop, and historical tracts and speeches. But did you know that now you can type genius.com/ in front of nearly any website and see/create annotations on that webpage? It’s crazy! The new motto of the company seems to be “Annotate the World” and I’m excited to see where this goes; in the least, it will be interesting, and at most, it could revolutionize the way we relate to the consumption of media and news and, well, the world. Genius is attracting some big names, including their poaching of music writer Sasha Frere-Jones from New Yorker. Hell, Judith Butler is annotating her own works and interviews on the site. Judith Butler! All hail the new age of annotation.
The Portland International Film Festival is upon us, and it gives us such an embarrassment of riches so that if one cannot find something of interest, they probably haven’t even taken a look yet. PIFF goes on for most of the month of February, and our local Moreland Theater is showing films, so nearly anyone, from thesis-crazed seniors to freshmen newly discovering the joys and terrors of a full class load, should be able to find time to see at least one film. I’m personally excited for The Duke of Burgundy, a sexy S&M tale with an all-female cast by Berberian Sound Studio director Peter Strickland (who also promises a follow up about a male-on-male S&M relationship, for, ya know, balance and whatnot). This promises to be better than 50 Shades of Grey, not that it would be difficult to top that. The other movie I’m excited for is totally-not-sexy The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up to his devastating and amazing documentary The Act of Killing. The Look of Silence shifts attention from the perpetrators of Indonesia’s awful massacres to the victims and the families of victims. If it’s even half as good as The Act of Killing, it’ll still be one of the best documentaries in recent memory.
It’s the new food cart in our tiny Woodstock pod, and it’s pretty alright. It specializes on Mauritian cuisine and the portion sizes are large (as in I’m a big dude and finished maybe a third of my order). Their samosas are quite good. Check it out, it’s part of the community now.