Ugh, another fucking year. If this is your first day back in calendar 2014, you've probably got a bunch of "real" work to do before you can return to your regular diet of pretending to focus on whatever the hell it is that you need to get it up each day to feign interest for while secretly surfing the Internet. It's a terrible existence, but at the end there's death, so really I don't have any other tokens of comfort for you. That said, once you're settled in here's a bunch of stuff you may have missed from our [...]
The predominant strategy for parking in Los Angeles is to find the closest available space to the entrance of wherever it is you're going. This is flawed thinking, at least when parking at the ArcLight Hollywood. Drive, drive, around the back, all the way up to the top. Let everyone else waste the precious minutes of their lives searching for the 24 spaces left on P3 that are promised to them by a digital display just inside the main gate. Get to the roof and you will be rewarded with acres of empty spots, not to mention some of the best views [...]
If you are ever in the spoiled, lucky position to watch television for a living, it would be wise to avoid tabulating the length and frequency in which you spend in front of the TV, your mouth agape, crumbs speckled along the edges of your shirt collar, your head pliable as a block of left out cheese. There is no accounting of this time without courting depression. Save those feelings of regret and inadequacy (I could have been doing so much more with my time! you lie to yourself) for when your cable bill—which is still $200, still a complete a shock after all these years—arrives in your inbox. But [...]
Anti-procrastination. If there is such a thing, it’s distracting yourself in a way that makes you want to get back to work. My anti-procrastination is reading interviews with creative people. I read a lot of these in 2013 and tried to take something away from each one. Here are my favorites.
Martin Scorsese: “I’m Not A Cool And Quiet Person” – The Talks “I find when I make a movie that I never realize what is really involved. When we were shooting Raging Bull me and my producer would say, “This is crazy! How did we get here?” But if we thought that at the beginning, we [...]
I don’t habitually spend time looking at topless men. I’ll see them at the gym and sometimes, if I’m not careful, catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. But generally, this diversion doesn’t comfortably fit into my routine. This year, though, for about four months, I made an exception. For reasons known only to my analyst (LOL, kidding. I don’t have an analyst, because life isn’t a Woody Allen movie!), I turned again and again to a blurry portrait of a lithe, 70-year-old Puerto Rican Jew.
To the extent that I was obsessed by anything this year, this was it.
At approximately 2 a.m. on July 21, [...]
Enough about how technology is changing us, for now. It’s the end of the calendar year, and we’re consumed with the attendant complicated feelings of the holiday season, as well as settling accounts before the 13 changes to 14. And in that tally of the year soon to lapse, we look back. We remember. We write year-end reviews.
One opportunity that talked-to-death technology has afforded us, in ways that our parents never experienced, is the peculiar phenomenon of surreptitiously consuming Internet content while at one’s place of employment, and then being emotionally moved to the point of perhaps betraying the fact that one is not reviewing a spreadsheet [...]
In Chelyabinsk the men are tough. So tough there is a meme among Russians depicting the tough men from Chelyabinsk acting out their audacious toughness: shouldering a dead horse through a peat bog, using a chainsaw to shave, having sex with a giant scorpion. When the meteor 60-feet-wide and weighing more than the Eiffel Tower shot towards Chelyabinsk at 41,000 miles-per-hour and burst into a fireball brighter than the sun, the tough men of Chelyabinsk looked up at the sky and cursed quietly. When the fireball exploded 14 miles above Chelyabinsk it did so with a force 30 times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The subsequent shockwave [...]
Fashion is for either the very young or the very old; style is for everyone in between. I do not function participatorily in any fashion polity, which is another way of saying I live in LA. If you are a dude here, you take one of two looks: Patrick Bateman or Christopher Robin. If you abstain, grown women will come up and ask you if you smell, neither knowing nor caring that style is an outsider's game.
A lot of what passes for street style here is liminal and kind of en-route in nature, as most of it is confined [...]
The bulk of this year’s action and sci-fi films did clever violence better than in previous years but generally failed to develop minority characters. I mean the frequently derided popcorn fare such as Fast & Furious 6, as opposed to the hallowed and equally problematic Chilean Sea Bass fare of films such as Captain Phillips: The Wrath of Khat. A great deal of my fascination with the former subset stems from a desire to see smart, setting-specific violence that draws upon the elements of cinema as much as it does its surroundings. More often than not, this is something beyond the bullet and therefore historically unspecific to the white male [...]
The first time "Misty" broke into the backyard to pound and scream at the bedroom window, the police handcuffed her and said—her face pressed to the hood of the idling black and white—that she was not to return. I figured we would never see her again after that early morning in 2012. But the next night, around 1 a.m., I was in bed with my new boyfriend, "Scott," and we heard the bedroom door slowly crack open. Scott jumped up. "No! You can’t be here!" he shouted, all high-pitched.
At the end of this calendar year, our second restraining order against Misty expires. The Misty saga (this is the truncated [...]
In a taxi after the High on Fire show a few weeks ago, I accidentally listened to “Sound Opinions,” the radio skit show where Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis say platitudes about rock and roll to each other. It’s a pretty amusing parody of music criticism. In the skit I heard, they pretended that there were still fans of popular music who needed to be persuaded of the importance of the Velvet Underground, so DeRogatis offered a Lou Reed primer (which, in a sly touch, he mispronounced to rhyme with “timer”). The whole thing reminded me why, as much as I love rock and roll, sometimes I hate rock and [...]
The first truth of fan fiction is that a good chunk of it is terrible. The second, third, and fourth truths all involve sex. But the fifth truth of fan fiction is that it is often the best way to understand fans—under the kind of pressure and passion that is required for someone to write 30,000-plus words about an anthologic dramedy set in a women’s prison (for free and for a few dozen comments), a kind of reality takes shape in which it is possible to understand the better part of buzz. Like a funhouse mirror (usually a useless metaphor), fan fiction isn’t just entertaining for what it exaggerates, but [...]
It is fascinating to consider the gigantic omissions mainstream media makes in recapping the past year with delicious “Best of [insert year].” These are omissions of substance, but they are not often included in the discourse of popular culture. They are experiences about losing. Losing jobs, lovers, apartments. The losers’ agency—or lack thereof—is manifested in perhaps deciding a preference to “lose,” guesstimating the long-term result will be worth the sacrifice. Of course, other times exogenous factors create a shared reality where you—and this certainly includes me—have limited power in changing one’s conditions. These are the stories about getting broken up with, getting evicted from a home and—by far the worst [...]
Just a few days after we turned our calendars from 2012 to 2013, NBC Bay Area posted a story on its website under the bizarre headline “Fat Cat Rescue Highlights Cathood Obesity.”
The cat referred to in that headline, Midnight, weighed 14.4 pounds at the time of its rescue. The corresponding article noted that the portly pet’s “‘ample hips’ needed massaging and squeezing before she could be freed” from the space between fence posts.
Remarkably, as the year progressed things got even more ridiculous with respect to cats being trapped in stupid places. And just in case some of you may have missed one or two of [...]
On January 3, Tammy Baldwin assumed office as the first openly gay person ever elected to the US Senate. She didn’t think it was a big deal, though, and kept repeating in interviews that “I didn’t run to make history.” But the voters had spoken, and they sounded pretty excited about lesbian leaders. By September, when New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn spectacularly lost her bid for the city’s Democratic mayoral nominee, the fact that she was a lesbian seemed to be the main reason she didn’t lose by a larger margin. The man she lost to, meanwhile, is married to the author of a 1979 Essence magazine [...]
Good morning! And welcome to our 265th annual holiday extravaganza. Here's how it'll work. In the mornings we'll be "resurfacing" (LOL) some delightful things that perhaps you have or haven't seen before. Then in the late mornings and afternoon, we'll be presenting new stories that explicate the year that is even now dripping through our fingers as the future speeds towards us like a brakeless truck. So many metaphors in 2013.
From Rihanna to Geraldo to James Deen, from Russia to Gi Joe: Retaliation, from fan fiction to parking spaces, from cats to restraining orders to the terrors of European television to lesbians to SoulCycle, we'll be looking back [...]