“I understand a lot of people were negative or mixed about it, but I love it. This picture, you need to digest it, you see it and you have the emotion that’s taken from being in the movie theater, then when you finish, you go, ‘What did I see? What is the problem? Why?’ But then you begin to digest the picture, and then it becomes a piece of art. [Nicolas Winding Refn] is passionate at what he does.”—Alejandro Jodorowsky on Only God Forgives
Waterhouse’s first album, Time’s All Gone, was Sun Studios nostalgia porn that not many people heard, released small, though with polish. Then some carcompanies found it and used it to sell their products. Smart. My Mom heard one song in a commercial and now she’s a big fan. That’s a secretly strong demo: iTunes-fluent moms. I like this new one less, but it’s still got that Ahmet Ertegun recorded-live production style. Those drums are mic-ed close.
“[My new novel is] called “The Laughing Monsters,” and it’s due out from Farrar, Straus & Giroux next fall, if somebody would only finish writing it. It’s set in Sierra Leone, Congo, and Uganda. I believe it falls into the category of “literary thriller.”—Denis Johnson
“One night near the holidays I stumbled across one of the final episodes of “Treme” on HBO. I’d never cottoned to the show. It always seemed like a Colonial Williamsburg version of New Orleans, a bunch of people putting on smiles and going to work to sell an agreed-upon image. I’d never lasted more than 15 minutes before, but I saw this episode through, and left unclear if “Treme” was the most patronizing, balmiest drama on television, or actually just the worst. The draining sincerity, the hamhandedness, the dim belief that music is truth — this was rough going. It looked especially sallow next to the show that followed, a rerun of “The Sopranos” in which Tony travels to Italy for the first time. James Gandolfini was great, of course, and so was Edie Falco, like a Jenga tower barely standing upright, all surface tension. By comparison, “Treme” was a coloring book, just outlines.”—TV the Old Way: Watching What’s On
“I was drunk recently in New York and went to this spot called Crif Dogs and bought two bacon-wrapped hot dogs with baked beans and sautéed onions, and started eating that, then fell asleep.”—Evian Christ
“The truth is that without this album, rap is in an entirely different place right now. And while Kanye West’s growth and experimentation has resulted in some thrilling music, this is bedrock for a generation of MCs. Deeply middle class, musically ambitious but never alienating, emotionally naked: This was not the stuff of pre-2002 hip-hop. The paradigm shift is only now really taking shape as young rappers like Drake, Kid Cudi, Wale, and Asher Roth bend and pull on West’s thorny contradictions. As singles, “Slow Jamz” and “Jesus Walks” made for the perfect dichotomy; light and dark, secular and devout, stupid and smart. But what still moves me are the beautifully told personal notes: retail details while slinging sweaters at the Gap, peeing in the bed as a snot-nosed kid, landing in the same hospital as Biggie after a devastating accident. On Dropout, Kanye wasn’t the best rapper or the best producer or even the best album-maker. But he was the most original.”—Here’s something I wrote about The College Dropout for Pitchfork’s The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s. It was ranked no. 28. Blurbs, man.
In Newman, Redford found a partner in crime; they shared the same dubious view of stardom and sense of humor. Redford claims he introduced Newman to racing by letting him drive his Porsche to the Utah set of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Years later, they both had houses in Connecticut. “All Paul talked about was cars – cars, cars,” Redford tells me with a laugh. “I told him to stop with the cars. It’s boring. I would come up to Connecticut on weekends, and one time I called a towing service. I said, ‘Look, you guys have a wrecked car? Preferably a Porsche.’ ” A couple of days later, the guys found a flattened Porsche that fell off a railcar. Redford had them wrap it up in newspaper and put a ribbon around it. He then had them drop it on Newman’s back porch.
Two weeks passed, and Redford heard nothing. One day he came home and opened the door, and in the foyer was a large wooden box. He got a crowbar and a hammer to open it. It was just a big block of metal. “He put it in a block,” says Redford. “I didn’t say anything. So I called a friend of mine, a sculptor in Westport and said, ‘If I give you some material, could you sculpt it?’ ” She said yes.
The towing guys took the block to the sculptor. About three weeks later, she finished, and – according to Redford – it was an abomination. The guys put it in Newman’s garden. “Neither one of us ever mentioned it,” says Redford. “That’s the kind of relationship we had. It was just fun.”
“If a theory is called for—and when is it not, in these woods?—to explain this phenomenon, it is that writing is work in which the balance necessary to a sane life of physical and symbolic work has been wrested right out of plumb, or proportion, and alcohol is (wrongly) believed to rebalance it. Anyone not a writer is probably sick of hearing how hard writing is, and obviously writing is not nearly as soul-destroying as coal mining or burger flipping or whatever you like. But writing is, if not uniquely hard work, then uniquely draining work. Some basic human need for a balance between thinking and acting is still kept intact even by the most tedious of other tasks. All rewarding effort involves a balance between wit and work—between the bits you do alone in your head and the bits you do in company with your hands (or voice or body or whatever). Laboring in your head, exclusively, does feel unnatural; whatever else we might have been doing, back out there on the primeval savannah, we weren’t sitting and moving the ends of our fingers minutely on a stone surface for six hours at a stretch.”—Writers and Rum
Let’s get the physical out of the way first: The thing where she’s stuffing a gyro into her mouth, bread and cheese and chicken decorating the sides of her face, is the most moment. Adele Exarchopoulos’ mouth is everything, those Bugs Bunny teeth, dazed eyes, and rounded cheeks framed by that pile of hay hair; it’s the place where all the mistakes and anxiety and hunger and lust live. I wish the sex scenes (rendered just so, weren’t they?) didn’t appear here. Not because I found them offensive, or “wrong.” But because I was anticipating them and that drew me away from the scenes shortly before and after. The extrication of immersion. This really was the flashpoint film debate object before The Wolf of Wall Street sucked all the life out of healthy conversation, but at least here there seemed to be some merit. For such a loping, impressionistic vision of a young person’s life, those scenes sure felt hydro-charged. Does that damage the experience? Not really. Not for me, Privileged White Male Inc. Exarchopoulos is amazing to watch. I wonder how badly Hollywood will ruin her.