Month: October 2018

Film Review: Collette

The font chosen for the title fade-in of Colette is handwriting— flowing, quilled script. It is brisk and legible and slightly swirly. I’m not a graphologist, so will add only that the most noticeable aspect of this word, in this orientation, is its back half. There are two ts, next to each other, and both their stalks are crossed with a single horizontal line that floats slightly above their tops. This handwriting belongs to the film’s protagonist, Colette (Kiera Knightly), who at this point in the film (the opening credits) is unknown to the literary world, but who will...

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Jews and Whiteness

On October 27, 2018, eleven Jewish people were killed during Shabbat services at their Pittsburgh synagogue. They were murdered by a white man wielding four firearms, including an AR-15. Before shooting, he yelled: “All Jews must die.” Hardly a day later, most of us and most of the Jews among us set out trying to understand this event. A prime task here has been to fit this horror into the narratives we’ve already woven around our current political era and climate. This includes, importantly, our current discourses about race and racism in (North) America. Are Jews the unsung victims,...

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Calvin Johnson — A Wonderful Beast

Calvin Johnson A Wonderful Beast K Records Calvin Johnson is the central component to the music scene in Olympia, WA.  Long before Seattle was the boomtown of grunge, and long after that star faded, Olympia has been home to a vibrant, diverse indie scene.  And Johnson, who began K Records away back in 1982, has been at the centre.  His band, The Beat Happening, were one of the foundational and central bands to the Pacific Northwest.  Their 1989 album, Black Candy, was an essential part of my high school soundtrack, even if most of my friends didn’t get it (Hey, I played football after all).  Johnson’s atonal, droning baritone is like the rain of the region, comfortable and warm for me. So A Wonderful Beast  The album is dominated by Johnson’s voice, one of the most singular voices in modern rock music.  The album was produced by the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, but that in and of itself isn’t all that exciting. Carney is kinda everywhere these days, but he is a pretty damn good producer.  He also played most of the instruments.  But back to Johnson’s voice; it just takes over the music, no matter way, as on the classic Beat Happening track, ‘Red Head Walking.’ A Wonderful Beast is Johnson’s first solo album in 13 years and a stunning comeback.  This is also, really, the first album Johnson has been...

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Film Review: The Sisters Brothers

This is probably too surface-level a claim with which to begin a review, but, anyway: despite its giggily title, the gold-rush-era Western The Sisters Brothers, which is based on the novel by Patrick deWitt, is not a comedy. It’s definitely not. It’s helpful to know this before seeing it, lest you become distractedly shocked by the film’s myriad representations of such viscerally unpleasant elements as: severe maiming of the skin, gruesome animal deaths, expulsions of bodily fluids, and nineteenth-century medical practices. The constant prompts for shock and repulsion are superbly engineered, emblematic of the film’s technical prowess, and all...

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Montage of Life in a Screen by James Quinn

Our fourth installment of Anti-Genre is montage poem inspired by Langston Hughes’  Montage of a Dream Deferred. James Quinn’s “Montage of Life in a Screen” reflects on–and literally enacts–our daily obsessions with social media.     Adequate Morning Fumbling Fumbling Fumbling Searching for a cell phone Fumbling Fumbling Fumbling Searing for a cell phone Fumbling Fumbling Fumbling Let me disconnect this Eyes burn from a bright screen All sound immediately cut off No more fumbling Burning eyes to the screen Scrolling Scroll through, refresh Scroll through, refresh Scroll through, refresh Scroll through, refresh SpongeBob memes bring a slight chuckle Share it...

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