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Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
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Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
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Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Tuesday
Feb202018

In Which We Mime The Motions Of The Jungle Cat

The Words That We Know

by ETHAN PETERSON

Black Panther
dir. Ryan Coogler
Forever

If the aggressively mediocre Ryan Coogler had not at one point found Michael B. Jordan, is it too harsh to say all would have been lost? Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) is a most unusual Marvel villain in that he is not strictly speaking a villain at all. This is not a novel concept, since was Judas all that bad considering? But Killmonger is way better than Judas in almost every way.

Last week, a student at Christ the King high school in Queens wasn't allowed to wear a jersey with his birth name on it. His birth name is Malcolm Xavier Combs. Was he also named after P. Diddy? Time will tell on that one, but white administrators at Christ the King were evidently not enthused by the controversial career of the civil rights leader.

According to National Action Network crisis director the Rev. Kevin McCall, school administrators actually ranked different black leaders as appropriate or inappropriate.

While former President Barack Obama and civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received a thumbs-up, Malcolm X and the Rev. Al Sharpton both were given a thumbs down.

I guess some people have a long memory about the whole Tawana Brawley thing. But I can't blame Al for that - how was he supposed to know a fifteen year old was lying? Getting even more short shrift in this tawdry affair is Malcolm X himself, the man who was born Malcolm Little. Everyone who has read The Autobiography of Malcolm X knows that Mr. X was a very fine Mr. X, maybe the best Mr. X except for Mr. X.

Malcolm dealt with some struggles. He grew up in a pervasively racist society. There was no such thing as rap. LeBron was just semen in a man brewery. Michael B. Jordan's mother was living comfortably. Malcolm X was not. For what he endured, he should never be villified. Plus as I recall he had exactly the right amount of anti-Semitism a human being is capable of ignoring, pretending it doesn't exist.

Anyway, there is a lot of time to sit and think during Black Panther. I don't personally (and this is not a view I extend to any of you) feel that a white character created, some might say, to take commercial advantage off a militant movement of African-Americans of tremendous historical and academic importance, is something that should be supported. I heard Harrison Barnes, a small forward on the Dallas Mavericks, took an entire theater of boys to see Black Panther in Texas. That sounds like a tedious afternoon.

My heart goes out to the family of Malcolm Xavier Combs. It is great that Ryan Coogler can just make these weird African epics now but I have a lot better ideas for stories he can work on. You see, my concepts for Ryan Coogler's career involve actual African-American authors, and yet box office success is assured because of the three most important words in Ryan Coogler and my life: Michael B. Jordan. These are the words that we know.

Just in general here is a list of characters I would love to see Michael B. Jordan play. (I would like to see Chadwick Boseman work in local theater.)

- Jesus

- Hamlet

- Fortinbras

- protagonist in a remake of Big

- David Ben-Gurion

- Richard Wright

- a remake of Marshall but without Chadwick Boseman and only Michael B. Jordan

- Michael Jordan (too on the nose?)

- Lacan

- Deleuze and Guattari in the same movie

I think you get the idea. Black Panther features a fictional African nation. But there were great nations made of African individuals that you don't even have to make up!

Anyway, it is sad what they did to Killmonger, but it is also great for those of us who imagine that something besides a safe action movie could be produced from that enduring historical culture. Then again, lowering your expectations leads to unhappiness in the long term.

Malcolm X was a great American purely because of what he overcame. He was an inspiration to so many people, and he probably wasn't that bad of a guy.

Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording.

Sunday
Feb182018

In Which We Resleeve Ourselves Into Something More Familiar

Important Men

by ETHAN PETERSON

Altered Carbon
creator Laeta Kalogridis
Netflix

In this future story from novelist Richard K. Morgan, we are thrust into a world where anyone can look however they want. That James Purefoy wants to look like James Purefoy makes sense on its face, but who would want to look like Joel Kinnaman? Joel Kinnaman looks like the "before" picture in one of those old advertisements in Archie comics, the shrimp who would get beat up at the beach or a dinner party (see below). Kinnaman explains fairly early on that he is an Envoy, which is some kind of soldier. The basic point we are meant to get across about this individual is this: he has a rich and storied history, and could tell you things of which you are probably unaware.

Instead of doing so, Kinnaman's version of Takeshi Kovacs is only interesting when he is thinking about killing himself. It would have been an important moment to have a suicidal main character if I already didn't want to cut myself when I saw Matt Damon's goofy face.

It was a mistake to cast Joel Kinnaman in this role for so many reasons:

1) He admits he has never brushed his teeth.

2) His cloying overacting may have singlehandedly torpedoed House of Cards in retrospect, sparking a sexual harassment revolution.

3) The only time he ever had chemistry with a co-star was in The Killing, and that co-star was ostensibly a corpse,

4) His penis is shaped like a soda can and from some angles cannot be viewed by the human eye.

5) His transparent overtraining to look like a soldier (what a fucking Christian Bale wannabe) makes him have the practical dimensions of the star of Where's Waldo,

6) He is Asian when he dies in the show's opening scene, and when he wakes up, he's Joel Kinnaman. We lost so much just right there.

There comes a point in your life when you realize you're dating yourself. In real life, the Swedish-born Kinnaman is married to a tattoo artist. Her skin resembles a sheet of paper that's been written over too many times.

Kinnaman's main antagonist is a Latina police officer named Kristin (Martha Higareda). Kristin is pretty tiny, and the two have so many scenes together that it is very awkward to see them both in the same frame. Perhaps wisely, creator Laeta Kalogridis puts as much focus on the surrounding mise-en-scene as she can. (She even refers to it as mise-en-scene.) The future, in Morgan's imagining, is basically like now except some people can live forever if they have enough money. What they are really paying for is for a version of themselves to be hosted on satellite and beamed back into a new cortical stack should they be murdered.

This has in fact happened to Mr. Bancroft (The slovenly James Purefoy, who has the biggest mole imaginable, gross, disgusting). He wants Kovacs to solve the murder, but despite his ample resources and connections within the resleeving industry, he cannot find an Asian body for his private detective to inhabit. That this is racist is indisputable, so Altered Carbon papers over it with a bunch of roles for African-Americans in which they play second bananas or omnipotent, advisory god figures.

If you think I'm trying to discourage you from watching Altered Carbon, think again. There may in fact be a future, or even a present where someone would want to look like Joel Kinnaman - all gangly and soda-canesque. I'm pretty sure Kinnaman has ruined everything he has ever been in. I don't even remember who he was in Suicide Squad, which is probably for the best.

The worst part of his casting is that Altered Carbon would basically be John Wick if Keanu Reeves would do television. In any case, an actual actor was required for the role.

Ethan Peterson is the senior contributor to This Recording.

Thursday
Feb152018

In Which We Ask If He Moves His Mouth

I Wrote This By Hand

by LISA GETTY-FRANCIS

Monday

He is riding the 2 train and getting off four stops before mine. He has that glazed over look. Something has gone terribly wrong.

Tuesday

I think of the right book to be reading, the one that not only piques his interest, but piques his interest in me. My roommate Joann suggests a novelization of the Jim Carrey movie The Cable Guy. My mom suggests a book about training puppies written by a bunch of a monks. "He'll know, on some level, that it is about him," she says without a trace of irony.

Wednesday

Irony is the only thing never in short supply. He is reading now. Well, he is playing a game on his phone also. The object of the game, I can reveal to you all now, is to put a series of frames in sequential order.

When he becomes frustrated or unable to put them in the right order, he pulls out a book. It is a rather tawdry biography of Johnny Carson, who never trusted anyone.

Thursday

I decide on a book that will suggest a variety of nuances about myself. You don't know me, but I am like a parade: you can have brief snippets of fun, but you can also be trampled.

Friday

I notice that when he is reading, his mouth forms some but not all of the words. My roommate Joann says that he is probably learning disabled. My mom says a lot of people do that when they read, which is code for her saying she has been known to mouth a word here or there.

Saturday

I went to the Met. All the paintings seemed woefully inadequate. Why didn't they talk, or dance? Remaining still is only useful in death.

Monday

OK. I have heard his voice. It sounds like when someone who is a bit too much up his own ass says the word 'research.' He talked to a latino girl who admired his shoes (they are gorgeous, they should be in a museum). He told her that they do not feel as good as they look, and turned back to his new book: a paperback copy of Rosemary's Baby. I am ashamed to say I was a little turned on by that.

Tuesday

Some ducks climbed up on an old woman's leg in the park. She was feeding them too much. When they reached for her hand, she said she had to go.

Wednesday

My roommate invited me to the Hamptons, but I can't/don't want to go. The faces of the people there remind me too much of scars.

Thursday

He wore his workout clothes around five, which suggests that he changed into them at the office. He is quite fit, but his arrangement suggests an almost accidental theme. He took out a gym bag and changed his shoes. I would be lying if I said they looked great, but the last time I looked at a pair of feet and felt pleased was in the shower.

Friday

Look-alikes:

Me, Audrey Hepburn's mediocre sister
My mom, Katie Couric
Him, An incredibly handsome velociraptor
Joann, a female birthed from Channing Tatum's embryo

The possibility of being someone else is the rabbit dogs chase around the Aqueduct.


Monday

What a weekend. I did not see him once, and I rode the subway back and forth too much. It used to be that the very first car was always the emptiest, but people caught on, and now it is as crowded as the others. Then a train crashed in Valhalla, and it was only those in the first car who perished in the flames. It goes back and forth like that.

Tuesday

He is back! On an impulse I sat down next to him. He looked up at me and smiled! He was reading The Interestings! (What crap!) I searched for what I would say, and it did not take me very long to come up with something that I believe we can all agree is compelling on the merits: "I'm Lisa. You are? Wait, don't tell me. I don't want to know."

Wednesday

Joann made me go to the Guggenheim. It is like being inside an egg, which leads to us spending most of our time there reading the wikipedia article about eggs. We need something to distract us because the Kandinsky exhibit is so bad.

Joann thinks it is best not to overthink a first date. "A great first date sets up too many unrealistic expectations," she says. She also believes you should always drink on a first date, as a sort of litmus test to find out if he is an alcoholic. Her last boyfriend drank too much, and his skin smelled like Crown Royal Apple.

Thursday

The date is on Saturday, so I just take the bus until then. Buses are full of divorced dads with their kids and seniors wrapping their wrists in gauze. Someone had the not-so-bright idea to put fabric on the seats instead of plastic, and it is all worn down and discolored, like hair dyed too many colors. When someone (a male) first asked me to describe myself, I found I could not do it. Since then I have put some real time into knowing what to say in response to that question. This makes it seem like I know who I am.

Friday

Joann and I cleaned the apartment today. We found three twenty dollar bills in the sofa cushion and paused the mopping for a real meal. She thinks they belonged to her ex-boyfriend. "Don't date a guy who is always losing things," she said. "It's a waste of time." I almost tell her that I lost a pair of earrings she gave me last year, but I decide to wait for a better time. They are probably on the first car of a train somewhere.

Saturday

How did it go? How did it go? How did it go?

He was working in Rhode Island, he tells me. He says the explanation is going to sound weird, and I don a solemn countenance, preparing myself to say, "But that's not weird at all!" (In this restaurant, all the flames shine in candleholders shaped like golden retrievers.)

He (his name is Jeffrey) was in charge of all the lost and found in the entire state of Rhode Island. It was a job his uncle got him after he dropped out of law school, he says. I ask him what things people lost that were recovered.

"Oh anything," he says, and launches into a list that it feels like goes on for the better part of an hour. Honestly I mostly start touching him just to quiet the barrage, but also because I always wanted to.


"I saw you on the train a few weeks ago," I say.

"What made you notice me?"

"Oh, you were reading some trash."

Saturday

His apartment is more meticulously arranged than any museum. I used to like going to those places, the kinds of empty environments you could fill with your own thoughts and turn into a completely idiosyncratic experience. I think that possibility has vanished or is at least seriously diminished. (My youth!)

He applies a full layer of cocoa butter to his body before sleep.

Sunday

An arm and a leg.

Joann met someone, too. His hair is short but oddly covers his ears. She sent me a picture. I asked if he moves his mouth to form the words he is reading, and she says so far, no, but the only books in his apartment are by Jacques Pepin and Foucault.

Monday

In the last car, where you are the least likely to run into anyone you know, a chorus sings, "I Think We're Alone Now." The train breaks down at 96th.

Lisa Getty-Francis is a contributor to This Recording. This is her first appearance in these pages. She is a writer living in New York.