Friday, August 18, 2017

#Randomosities | The "Lazy, Hazy...CRAZY?!" Edition



Is it the middle of August already?!  

Guess it's true when they say that time flies when you're having fun.  While my summer was certainly spent greedily sleeping in (thank the lawd!) and roaming lazily around the city, it also had its share of hectic-but-eventful memories, the full extent of which I'll give its proper due in another post soon.
  
Until then, here's my usual list of random things I found fun, fascinating, and everything in between:

You Aren't Lazy -- You're Just Terrified, Jenni Berrett claims in this interesting article she wrote for her #OCDame column on Ravishly, which explores the emotions and hidden (or maybe not so hidden) anxieties behind productivity, perfectionism, and the paralysis often induced by both as a result.  The thing about working in the fast-paced world of social media is being faced with a constant stream of information -- and having to keep up with it.  

This can be tough for people who, like myself, tend to pore over every detail meticulously before a piece of work gets seen by (quite literally) the world.  While this is enough for even the most productive, well-structured person in the world to beat oneself up, sometimes it just has to be as simple as Berrett ultimately puts it: "Do the work.  Write the story.  Wash your dishes.  It will never be perfect, but that doesn't mean that it can't be good."  via Ravishly

Puffs at New World Stages.   And with that in mind, I'm glad to say that my latest review is now up on Off Off Online, this time covering a show inspired by a certain literary phenomenon about a boy wizard called Puffs!  It retells the familiar story from Year One to Year Seven -- with much hilarity.  I highly recommend the show, for fans new and old!  Puffs runs at New World Stages until January 14th.  (Tickets and info here.)   via Off Off Online

And speaking of theatre...

From Chorus Girl to Leading Lady.  ...check out this great feature in the Los Angeles Times on Emmy Raver-Lapman, who went from her first professional theatre job in Astoria Performing Arts Center's production of Children of Eden in 2010 (yay, #APACAlums!) to Broadway stardom, and beyond!  She currently plays the role of Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton's National Tour, which opens its Los Angeles run at the Pantages Theater tonight!  via Los Angeles Times

Hamilton is Known for Its Music, But What Did Alexander Hamilton Listen To?  Continuing on the Hamilton train, here's an intriguing article by the New York Times' William Robin wrote about the music missing in Lin-Manuel Miranda's opus: that of the 18th-century classical baroque the founder father and his ilk would have likely listened to.  Robin talks with music director and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire on how he and Manuel worked together to incorporate an Old World sound into the show that ushered musical theatre into a whole new world.  via The New York Times

HAIM's 'Want You Back.'  While we're on the topic of music, this song by indie band HAIM (consisting of a trio of sisters Alanna, Danielle and Este -- in all their '70s vintage-cool, Wilson-Phillips-esque glory) has been the one stuck in my head practically all summer (unlike that other song everyone's been talking about)!  Watch the video above (which equally oozes of california cool), or on YouTube here.  I'll admit, while the band has been on my radar since their debut in 2013, it's only now that I've checked them out -- so watch this space for a possible #ArtistOfTheMoment feature soon!  (In the meantime, check out Switched on Pop, a podcast in which Fordham University professor and musicologist Nate Sloan breaks down pop music, piece by chart-topping piece.  This episode on the musical architechture of HAIM's hit -- along with Charlie Puth's 'Attention' -- is just as enthralling as the song it analyzes.)  via YouTube

@Caricakez on YouTube.  Recently whilst browsing the threads on the Haruki Murakami subreddit (I'd been re-reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage), I stumbled upon a post linking to YouTuber Cari Clark's vlog on Murakami-themed cafes in Seoul, South Korea.  Needless to say, I got interested in the other videos on her channel, and pretty much went on a binge through most of them.  A native to San Diego, California, Clark moved to Seoul a few years ago -- first, as a student and intern; then later, as she started working for a local start-up there.  Her vlogs are part-travellogue (we see her not only roam the themed-cafe scene, but also to other cities and islands outside of Seoul) and part-personal diary (she talks about daily life as a foreigner abroad), peppered with lovely imagery and great indie music.

This past Monday, Cari had a New York City meetup she was planning in Koreatown's Grace Street Cafe -- which yours truly was able to attend, along with fellow fans and subscribers!  She bought us bingsu, gave each of us packets of tea from Jeju, and chatted with us about her trip to Nashville to watch the solar eclipse with her family.  (More on the meetup in my next post -- in the meantime, check out her channel and this interview she did on tbs' Koreascape [episode 1264].)  via Cari Clark/Caricakez

Sonic Memories: A Conversation with Ryuichi Sakamoto.  Now, from Korea to Japan (sort of)!  Criterion Collection's Hillary Weston sits down with the renowned Japanese film composer shortly after his recent concert at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.  They talk about his battle with cancer, his new album, and his career retrospective at Quad Cinema.  via Criterion

Criterion Collection x NYPL.  While we're at it, it was recently announced that anyone with a New York Public Library or Brooklyn Public Library card can now stream films through the library's online database, including the features in the Criterion Collection!  While streaming site Filmstruck makes its name as the official home of Criterion on the web, it requires a paid membership.  Meanwhile, the libraries' partnership with Kanopy offers a 10 (NYPL) and 6 (BPL) movies per month subscription for patrons eager to get their film geek on.  (If you don't have a card, you can get one through the SimpleE App.)  via Gothamist
   

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

#QuoteOfTheMoment: Words of Wisdom from 2017 Pulitzer Prize Recipient Hilton Als to a Young, Aspiring Artist


You're giving yourself a gift of your own imagination & creativity.  A lot of people don't have that and are threatened by it.  So let them be threatened, but do your work.
__

New Yorker Theater Critic | 2017 Pulitzer Prize Recipient
via Rookie Podcast*




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*You can listen to the entire episode here.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

#ArtistOfTheMoment: Christine & the Queens | "Tilted"



Whilst perusing the myriad Marina & the Diamonds videos on my YouTube suggestions feed (as per "uge"), I came across Christine and the Queens, another quizzically-named solo artist whom Marina mentions as having loved in various interviews.  I'd actually already heard of Christine and the Queens (which exists in the tiny, gamine form that is Héloïse Letissier) for a long while now, always at the suggestion of some friend or other; so I curiously decided to finally look her up, only to instantly fall in love with her fresh take on pop, particularly the above song, "Tilted," the mega-hit single off her self-titled US debut (with the international release titled Chaleur Humaine), released in 2015.  

Armed with a background in Theatre (which she studied as a university student in her native France) and inspired by the work of drag queen musicians she encountered upon her arrival in London (hence her stage name), it is no wonder Letissier calls her particular brand of pop, as it were, "freakpop."  This, as it turns out, is quite complementary to the walking contradiction that is Letissier: boyish but feminine, minimalist yet bursting with emotion -- all embodied in quirky choreography set against steady beats.  It is refreshing to see more artists like Letissier's Christine and the Queens still challenging the boundaries and notions of what it means to be a pop star.  Who knew something so seemingly off-kilter could sound so good?

Give the song (and her album) a listen -- I dare you to get it out of your head!

-J      

Friday, April 7, 2017

#Randomosities: The "Is It Spring Yet?" Edition

via charmaineolivia
Ah, it's been a while since I did one of these!  

After the dreary, bleak climate we've been having these past couple months or so (both weather-wise, and...er, otherwise), I've been looking for some much-needed inspiration to see me through to Spring.  For one thing, the constant prettiness and overall positivity that is Instagram has certainly helped bolster my energy -- if you've been following me here, you'll have noticed I started a separate one for my literary blog starts & stops, here.  (Give a girl a follow, will ya?)

Some other items of interest tiding me over 'til Spring kicks in:

Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Announce Residency at 59E59 Theaters.   Yesterday, after a crazy-making (for fans like myself, anyway) Facebook campaign surrounding the mystery behind the announcement, composers Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, gave away the exciting news.  The three-year residency, during which they will premiere a new musical each year, is in collaboration with the aforementioned 59E59 Theaters and Prospect Theater Company.  The first of these musicals will be a long-awaited New York production of The Mad Ones -- previously known as The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Brown (which had a successful run in 2011 at Goodspeed Musicals and starred Meghann Fahy and Melissa Benoist).  via Playbill

The Before Trilogy and the Art of Collaboration.  The great people at The Criterion Collection put together a couple of excerpts from the supplemental features on their recently-released edition of Richard Linklater's Before Trilogy, including one from Chevalier director Athina Rachel Tsangari's behind-the-scenes documentary,  After Before, wherein we see the actors rehearsing the climactic hotel scene for Before Midnight.  (You can read my #FilmStrips essay on the first two installments of the Before Trilogy here.) via The Criterion Collection

One of the World's Rarest Films Just Showed Up on YouTube.  Un Femme Coquette (a rare early work by the godfather of French New Wave himself, Jean-Luc Godard), the AV Club reports, is now available for viewing on YouTube.  Once considered the "holy grail" for many art-house fiends, a copy of Un Femme Coquette recently surfaced on various digital sources before eventually finding its way on the popular video streaming website.  Definitely giving this a watch when I'm jonesing for an avant-garde cinema kick!  via AV Club

How Playwrights are Changing The Way We Think About TV.  Speaking of collaboration, David Canfield over at Slate deconstructs the oft-complicated relationship between Playwrights and the ever-elusive creative medium that is Television, and how this has changed in the wake of its newfound Golden Age.  Shameless writer Sheila Callaghan states: "Because a lot of people were trained on writing spec scripts … it’s harder I think for somebody to deliver their own voice, when they’ve been busy replicating other voices." An interesting read, for sure -- and one I may or may not write some thoughts on in future. via Slate

Critics Should Learn the Language of Disability.  From diverse voices to diverse descriptions: Howard Sherman, director of the Arts Integrity Initiative and US columnist for The Stage, wrote recently on the various ways critics can (and should) write, in terms of disability depicted onstage.  via The Stage

The Dark, Twisted Fairy Tales Beauty and the Beast is Based On.  Like everyone else, it seems, I saw the recent live-action version of the Disney classic Beauty and The Beast, a couple of weeks ago.  As always when seeing an adaptation of a literary classic depicted on celluloid, I became curious as to what the original Fairy Tale version was like.  Here, Huffington Post compares how Disney's well-known version fares against La Belle et Le Bete, its original counterpart.  via Huffington Post

Lin-Manuel Reads from The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  And finally, something to listen to on those rainy days: an excerpt of Lin-Manuel Miranda narrating Junot Diaz's The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, upon the recently-updated release of its audiobook.  You're welcome, internet.  via Time