J and I screened “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” last night, and both thoroughly enjoyed it. A very sweet film–not exactly against type for Michael Cera. It does reinforce social conventions relating to monogamy that I have a problem with (i.e. why couldn’t Scott be with both Knives Chau and Ramona Flowers?), but that’s a minor quibble–I don’t want to be too ideological about it.
What was most notable was a charming amateurishness; it felt like kids pretending to be superheroes, popstars, etc. This was particularly present in Brie Larson’s portrayal of “Envy” Adams, who had a certain make-believe atmosphere about her performance, despite the fact that she is, in fact, a professional musician! Edgar Wright’s other films, “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead”, have a similar feeling of playacting, magical realism, and ironic distance while maintaining a loving connection to genre conventions. And joy.
One of the things that takes getting used to, in terms of interacting with Korean people, is their tendency to offer thanks or apologies for things that they are involved with in only the most abstract of collective ways. Two examples spring instantly to mind. The first is the reaction by ROK government officials to the Virginia Tech shootings. The second is the reaction of my Korean language teacher to any praise of things Korean. Do you like doenjang? She will express her thanks, despite the fact that you are not praising her doenjang, and she does not even know how to make it. Do you find the countryside in Gangwondo particularly beautiful? She will be grateful. And on and on. This is not isolated to this particular person, although it may be isolated to Koreans with limited interactions with non-Koreans, or to Koreans with a particularly strong sense of identification with the national/ethnic collective. I have met many Koreans who do not do this, so it is hardly a universal phenomenon, but it is striking when it occurs. I have decided that I shall from now on take credit (which, of course, is not what they are doing, I’m just being a dick) for the mass-produced automobile.
Some enterprising big horn sheep burglar slipped into a luxury car dealership and nicked Guy Fieri’s bright yellow Lamborghini!
A hero has been born, straight from the fanny of Athena herself! A new virgin birth! New Jesus has a yellow Lambo!
I think it was Tommy Cruise, and the Lambo is currently halfway to the Galactic Confederacy in the cargo hold of a DC-8, on it’s way to be Xenu‘s brand new whip.
It’s a little know fact that boldface script was invented to simulate the effect of blackface in minstrel shows!
Tremendous footage of a Vampire Weekend acoustic party-type performance in France from early last year. They even busted out some passable Français, ably assisted by a pedagogically inclined crowd. Fine work, gents!
Vampire weekend is sans doubt my favorite band currently active, and the first band I’ve truly loved whose members are younger than I am. Bit of an odd sensation, that, feels like growing older, but not necessarily in a bad way. They’ve caught a tech of flak for supposedly “appropriating” the music of other countries and regions, an assertion countered not only in their own statements and interviews but by other critics as well. Certainly it is a laughable accusation, one ignorant not only of the cross-pollination that is the genesis of all great music, but arrogant and imperialistic, implying that somehow afropop, reggaeton, etc. require the protection of a phalanx of hyper-sensitive self-appointed shock troops. They can take care of themselves quite well without you.
Plus they’re pretty natty dressers, all dolled up prep-wise in collars and sweaters. Boys after my own heart…Ezra, if those pinkies are corduroy then you’ve tied me. If not, point to this side. Pop music is, of course, just as much about image as music, and to see a rock band proudly sporting what Kanye…
…and Andre 3000….
…have worn so well affirms what I’ve come to realize, that pink is a boy’s best friend. The fact is, preppy style no longer belongs to any one group of people, it is simply one element to choose from in crafting an image through consumption. Bricolage is the way many of us do things (and every one of us who would read a blog like this), be it in music or in fashion, and to think that the boys in VW are simply prepsters fresh off the Vineyard is naïve in the extreme. Preppy style may have “started” somewhere, but it has moved through both time and space to become something new, referents shifting constantly. When VW wear pink they are not only part of an Ivy League tradition, they are part of hip hop, Japanese, and Korean fashion culture, among others I’m sure.
Here is a short I made a while back from a PLA studio ID that preceded a Cultural Revolution-era film. All political and aesthetic interpretations are yours to futz with as you will. [Image from this album.]