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Classic Recordings
Robert Altman Week

Monday
May122008

In Which We Count Down The Sexiest Women Of The Year

This Recording's Sexiest Women Of 2008

by Dan Samiljan

We’re not even halfway through 2008, and FHM (Forgetting Hairy Marshall?) has already put out their Top 100 Sexiest Women of 2008 list. I respect (although disagree with) their assertiveness that no other sexy women will emerge this year. However, I find their list lacking in a few areas and I'd like to offer my own, more complete list.

Since Molly won’t let me put up all 100 girls (something about bandwidth – I’m afraid I don’t know much about computers), here’s a random sampling. Congrats to all the lucky ladies!

98. Amy Adams, actress: The first of many redheads on the list. I finally saw Enchanted! Got it on Netflix and watched it with my friends Racki and Joe. I tell people that “I actually liked it” and it was “surprisingly good.” Even gave it 4 stars (which means “I really liked it”) on Netflix and other people can see that. I’m a good guy. What are you doing this weekend?

84. Jenny Wade, actress: Jenny auditioned for a TV show on ABC I worked on that I won’t name (Cavemen). We flirted a little before her first audition, and then a little more before each of her callbacks. After she auditioned for the network and didn’t get the part, I knew I had to act fast or never see her again. So I asked her out on a date. Then she told me she was married. Then Cavemen was cancelled.

71. Rashida Jones & Jenna Fischer, actresses (tie): Too close to call. Kind of unfair to pair them together, I know. And now we’re in Season 4 and our Rashida intake is very limited (though, it was great), but that kind of makes me miss her more. I can’t deny the whole Jim/Pam thing they’re doing is pretty romantic. Y’know, I met Jenna Fischer one time. She was really sweet. She said, “Oh! You’re from Boston? BJ is from Boston! C’mere, BJ!” And then BJ Novak came over. “Dan is from Boston!” He gave me that smug smile and nodded. (You know exactly what I’m talking about.) Then it was kind of awkward for a few minutes and then they left. Thanks for ruining my game, BJ Novak.

62. Jenny Lewis, singer: Redhead #2. Y’know, I never got into Rilo Kiley or that solo album she put out. I saw her one time at the Feist/Spoon show and she looked really tired. I probably should’ve put Leslie Feist on here, come to think of it. She was really great that night.

58. Liz Lemon, fictional character: Not Tina Fey. Liz Lemon. I actually find Tina Fey pretty annoying. She’s way too into herself and plays it off all coy. She’s so into herself that she made a show about how awesome and coy she is. Which brings me to Liz Lemon, who is kind of awesome. And the whole show is about her cleavage! Have you noticed? It’s hard to miss. I mean, I know it's supposed to be about the comedic mishaps of running a live TV show (read: a vehicle for Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin to be funny), but you can't fool me. I've seen it. It's about her cleavage.

50. Sarah Shahi, actress: Oh, Sarah Shahi. This might be a little awkward seeing how I may or may not work on a TV show on NBC that you star on that I won’t name (Life and I do – Season 2 coming this Fall!), but I don’t care. You’re amazing.

45. Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan, Odette Yustman, and the Cloverfield monster, the Cloverfield girls (4-way tie!): Cloverfield was disappointing, huh? I wanted to like it. I really did. But there wasn’t much to like. I couldn’t get myself to care about any character and/or backstory they tried to fit in. And I know this complaint has been made a lot already, but that monster was just lame and its size was completely inconsistent throughout the movie. He (sorry, she) should’ve been fucking huge! The thing took off the Statue of Liberty’s head! I thought it was going to be at least triple the size that it was. Mighty cute girls, though. Five-way? Would we count the little fuckers that grew out of the monster and fucking killed everyone? Can we not?

37. Marcela S., friend (more?): FHM puts obscure girls on their list, so I can too. This is a girl I knew in college. I had a crush on her forever. One night we drank some whiskey, put on Al Green and made out. Then my roommate walked in. And I haven't seen her since. Marcela, not my roommate. Actually, that's not entirely true. I saw her once months later at a party and she whispered to me that she “hadn’t forgotten.” I wonder if she’s forgotten Hairy Marshall. That’s not what I call my D, it’s a referential joke to the beginning. Forget it.

33. Jessica Rabbit, fictional character: The third redhead. I wish you were real! Actually, I take that back, considering new shit has come to light. What was it like working with Bob Zemeckis before he became a total fucking douchebag? Man, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Romancing the Stone, and yes, all three Back To The Futures are so good. R.I.P. Robert Zemeckis 1984-1990.

28. Marie Antoinette, historical figure: She looked like Kirsten Dunst and listened to Gang of Four! An ideal woman. Coincidentally, Kirsten Dunst doesn’t listen to Gang of Four and therefore did not make the list.

26. M.I.A., badass: M.I.A. would kick my ass. I wouldn’t mind.

24. Katie Dippold, comedian/writer: Sure taste is relative, but in my opinion Katie Dippold is probably the smartest, cutest, and funniest girl at the Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre’s Harold Night (Mondays). Fall in love with her as she performs in the Harold group Powerwalkers and steals the show every fucking time.

19. The Statue of Liberty, solid rock: Lady Liberty herself! Nothing sexier than being an All-American girl! The French gave us this sexy lady in 1886 as a way of saying “Here, have this.” I have a guilty pleasure for girls who are taller (or shorter) than me. But can you imagine what I could do to the Statue of Liberty? Christ. That is, if the Cloverfield monster doesn’t get to her first.

10. Ariel, the Little Mermaid, mermaid: The 4th redhead! Wish I could be part of your world! Am I right?! No but seriously, I want to be an animated Disney character living underwater singing about shit. What, you don’t? My buddy Craig makes a good argument for Evil Ariel and I can't disagree. I dunno why he doesn’t just call her Hot Ursula. But I can’t put two amphibious women on the same list! That's just absurd. (Ed. Note: Hot Ursula/Evil Ariel's name is Vanessa. - ML)

7. Paul Rudd, guy: Ok, not technically a girl, but I would still have sex with him, so he must be.

6. The Girl Driving Behind Me The Other Day, mystery woman: I was on my way to work, about to get on the 101. I checked my rear view and there you were! I almost got into an accident because I couldn’t take my eyes off of you. You caught me looking and you smiled. You were absolutely radiant in your gray or white or red car, I don’t remember. I was too busy looking at your eyes. They looked beautiful behind your sunglasses. And your hair! Your blonde or brown or red hair, I don’t remember. But I do remember being smitten at the time and thinking, “This is the type of moment you put on Craigslist’s Missed Connections.” But I never did. I should put up a Missed Missed Connection. I think it might be the real thing this time.

3. Lady from Lady and the Tramp, animated dog: Oh c’mon, I'm not saying I'd actually have sex with her! She's not even a real dog!

2. A pizza from Nicky D's in Silverlake, pizza: The only other non-human on the list besides the dog (and I would entertain an argument regarding Ariel). I think my favorite topping is green pepper, mushroom and onion, but it's a really tough call and to make an ordered list of how much I like such things just seems petty. When it comes to sexy, nothing beats fresh, hot pizza. Except…

1. Eudora Welty, author, deceased: “Eudora Welty was known as a humble and kind woman always ready to make others comfortable wherever they were.” By Josh & Josh, fourth grade, 2007. Yeah, and she had a great ass. Man, fourth graders make my job easy. Check out some other fine ladies who didn’t quite make the cut this year. Remember, there’s always 2009. I’m looking at you, Louisa May Alcott! That is, if you can keep up the sexy!

Dan Samiljan is a writer/filmmaker in LA

SEXY SONGS TO SEX TO

"This Ain't Sex" - Usher

"Trading Places" - Usher

"Pretty Please (Love Me)" - Estelle ft. Cee-Lo

"Customer (remix)" - Raheem DeVaughn ft. R. Kelly

"Streetlove" - Lloyd

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS SEXY RECORDING

Scarlett And Natalie Are Elegant Cockteases

Sasha Grey Digs Big Dicks And Jean-Luc Godard

Sampling Hollywood's Sexiest Jewish Girls

So...What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday
May072008

In Which The Photoset Is Our Primary Means of Communication Now

Must Be The Photoset

We post a lot of images here at TR, eschewing the complaints of our dial-up critics. It is our duty to share the finest images in the world with you, male and female, human and celebrity, Jewish and gentile. We bring the photos of the world to your doorstep so you can treasure them.

You don't have to be John Berger to know that everything is photographed now. The only person upset about this is Chris Martin; everyone else feeds and clothes the paparazzi that shoot them.

As a people we are becoming increasingly more photogenic, and This Recording proves this to you on a daily basis. Enjoy the best of photosets on TR:

We have been your home for the finest in Bush photosets. His trip to Africa entertained us all.

Bush in Israel was also amusing.

Jennifer Beals' favorite photosets

It's just a little crush

Eliot Spitzer's No Good Very Bad Awesome Prostitute

Some of my favorite pictures from the now defunct Hillary Clinton campaign.

2076363820_37d980209f.jpg

We also enjoy historic photosets. Molly took you into the life of Jayne Mansfield.

Audrey Hepburn: not just a legend in her own mind.

"Rock & Roll" - Spiritualized (mp3)

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin are the most beautiful couple ever.

Bruni and Sarkozy unite.

2075582511_99a91a2962.jpg

Molly showed you the loving bond between ScarJo and Natalie Portman. Very moving it was.

Iraq'd! :

Angelina Jolie

ScarJo

So much Diablo Cody photoset you may need anti-stripper medication.

Barry Obama photosets for the ages: Part One and Two

Molly Young et Sasha Grey

More pictures of Ellen Page than even I can stomach.

Pictures of Michael Cera trump the original.

Cher turned back time.

Samberg and Joanna Newsom.

George Clooney always make for a hot 'set. More hot Cloon here.

Jason Schwartzman, also a handsome dude.

Pictures of William F. Buckley that will make your day

"Lord Let It Rain On Me (acoustic)" - Spiritualized (mp3)

More pictures of Evangeline Lilly than are necessary.

Lambert is queen of the photoset. So hot right now.

History of science photo magic

Images of Woody Allen made you feel special inside.

Molly Young in the Middle East: Part One and Two. For a couple weeks, she was the finest woman in Israel. Don't forget Part Three and Part Four.

"The Power and the Glory" - Spiritualized (mp3)

All the robots you need for the rest of your natural life.

Hot photoset from the Office of Emergency Management, thanks to me.

Summer camp photosets.

Molly gave you The Society of the Spectacle. Catch up with part one and part two.

John Cage pics and Molly's broken keyboard.

Scorsese week had so many hot pictures it's hard to pick just one post.

The best Kanye West photos you will ever see.

Georgia's classic dating while drunk photoset

Let's not forget the god given McNuggetini

The best pics of John Ashbery

Danish killed Tumblr, celebrated b-day

"I Didn't Mean to Hurt You (instrumental)" - Spiritualized (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Gilmore Girls fanfic.

The boys of 1997.

A stranger with your doorkey explains that I am just visiting.

cassie.jpg

Friday
May022008

In Which It Happens Every Time We Touch

This Recording Will Date You Wantonly And Then Dump You Without Cause

Our epic series on dating continues today, but before you engage Dan's Subway Crush, revisit the highlights:

Georgia Hardstark on drinking and dating

Molly Lambert's spring crushes take to the streets

Devendra and Natalie's stormy but oh-so-real relationship as told to Alex Carnevale

Tess Lynch on the pink rhombus of the girl crush

Molly Young versus Sasha Grey

Tyler Coates is through with men

Molly Lambert brought her considerable science background to the fore

Will Hubbard on the meaning of missed connections

It's Just A Little Crush Every Time We Touch

by Dan Murray

It was a happy day and it was my stop on the 6 Train. The doors opened. She lifted and pulled her shoulder length brown hair into a loose ponytail.


She was probably a foot taller than Audrey Hepburn, yet the nape of her neck was comparable. I only saw neck.



She walked heavier in nurses’ clogs and wool socks worn calf-high over her black tights. I followed her down the platform at 59th street losing her only as she bound down the steps to the NRW train. She was no exception — all women walk faster than me. I guessed which staircase she sprang down, left or right. Luckily my slow gait led me in the right direction and I soon followed her into the same car on the downtown N.


"We Are Nowhere And It's Now" - Bright Eyes (mp3)



I picked a seat diagonally across from her toward the middle of the train. If I had sat in the empty seat next to her maybe I would have peeped up an introduction, but probably not. Why waste those precious few stops without an awkward moment or two of eye contact?


The plan worked. I crossed my legs back and forth and with every knee jerk I threw a glance her way. She saw me. I turned down the volume in my headphones. Maybe the silence would help me concentrate on her. Maybe her concentration would help her see me. Maybe she would be attracted to me! Maybe this would be the real thing.



the author at some kind of scorpion cruelty event


I hopped off at Times Square. I said not a word, and our eyes did not lock again. When I got back to the office I immediately shared the news with my co-worker.


I just met my wife! And she looks like Catherine!” Catherine is an associate of ours.



"When Catherine was young, she looked like Patricia Arquette in Lost Highway, but with brown hair," my coworker mused unenthusiastically. Catherine and I flirt on the phone occasionally. In my fantasies, we usually do it after she drops her kids off at school. Sometimes her husband watches. He sold a few sculptures to the Whitney years ago and since the money ran out she has supported him. That’s why he watches me fuck his wife.


I turned to my computer. Will would appreciate the news. This was in my inbox:


Subject line: This has dan written all over it (and will too)

Email body: www.subwaycrush.com


I immediately responded without clicking on the link.


dudes. for real i just fell in love with my wife on the subway. i swear on everything holy and on the pope's visit to new york. she is was and will be what my wife looks like. i am just so blown away right now. I LOVED THIS WOMAN> 5'10 brunette pale soft skin puppy eyes she was correcting art clsss homework. i am speechless. i am not dead inside. hoooray for spring and subway crushes i will see her again. should i post it on here????


Then I clicked on the link. Lo and behold the first post on Subway Crush on April 16, 2008 read:


Blue Barbour Coat, Weary Green Eyes


Saw you slump into a corner on the L-train at Union Square. Couldn't stop staring at those penetrating green eyes! I bet everyone says you look like Clark Kent in those glasses. Be my Superman?

Blue Barbour Coat, Tired Green Eyes. That’s Me! I thought. I wear a blue Barbour coat. I have green eyes. And often I am told that I look tired! Had I made a connection with Audrey’s Nape? Had she beat me to the Internet punch and posted her requited love for me? I was baffled.



I fired off the following e-mail:

HEY DICKHEADS.
now i can't post my real subway crush 'cause she's going to see that stupid ass post one of you guys wrote and think i'm so major loser when in fact i'm a minor loser. so fuck all you. i really felt undead inside for the first time in a while and i just fell in love with a subway girl for the first time in about a month and now you've ruined it.

i'm glad you get your kicks making fun of my measly attempts to fall magically in love. thanks thanks real friends.

I checked the site again.

Huge Pussy on the L Train


Wednesday April 16, 2008 at 12:09 pm


Loved your Williamsburg prep look, but you seemed like a huge vag who can't take a joke!!! Are you from Rhode Island or something?


So close.



the author's forger roommate


* * *


It was another sad day. I had only masturbated twice in two weeks. This is a sure sign—my aunt often tells me—of real impending depression. If only for a fleeting moment of relief, the cure of a couple pints of Guinness would surely do me no wrong.



I left in rough shape. I bummed around a bit. I crashed an opening. Alone I waited forty minutes in line. I smoked my last bummed Merritt. I had to pee. When they finally let me in I waited twenty minutes for my one free beer and waited another twenty for the bathroom. I left. I ambled slowly around the neighborhood. Down Elizabeth, east on Prince, up Mott, across Houston, back down Elizabeth, east on Prince, down Mulberry…



My mother rang me twice. I emailed my aunt earlier in the day with a few self-indulgent, melancholy notes. She probably mentioned it to my mother, hence the double call.


She badgered me and badgered me like a good mother does. Half-drunk on beer and half-high on sugar, I broke down like a hungry baby halfway to his mammy’s tit. I cried like I cried in college when I watched Father of the Bride 2 on many hungover Saturday mornings.


As I whimpered on and on, I glanced up. Across the street there she was, clog hopping into a local bar. I held back the real tears.


By chance Will was cruising down the Bowery in a cab. We met and bought some gum and chugged a bottle of water. I threw in some eye drops, sacked it up and went into the bar in search of Audrey. After a shit ton of beer and Pepsi and pizza and water my bladder was about to explode. I waited in line another five minutes. I gave Willie a twenty spot for beers and took a gloriously long pee. I flushed.



When I left the bathroom Audrey was a step in front of me. As she walked by, again, I only saw her neck. I was in whispering distance but she walked to the door and left. Will and I waited over another round. She never came back.


I awoke to this on Friday morning: e-mail from Mom.


Good Morning Danny!

Maybe you can sneak out of the office to see the Pope mobile...go on line to check the time when he will be driving down Madison Ave.

Try to get a good night sleep tonight....get up early tomorrow and get some fresh air....look into a 5pm Mass tomorrow night....going to Mass will help you through this storm you are going through....be patient.

NYC looks so pretty on the Today show!

I love you!

Ma
xxxooo

My mom always knows when I am sad. Sadly, she rarely knows when I am happy.


I think Audrey saw me this time.


Dan Murray is a contributor to This Recording. You can view his previous work here and here.



"Love Tried to Welcome Me" - Madonna (mp3)


"Happy Ending" - Mika (mp3)


"Serotonin" - Simple Kid (mp3)


PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING


Neko Case in Poetry.


We wish new artists were not producing music.


Conversations Danish and I should not have had.


Thursday
May012008

In Which We Are So Through With Men

Looking For The Nice Guy

By Tyler Coates

I consider myself to be a Feminist in the sense that I've always thought, "Yeah, ladies are just as good as dudes, right? I mean, why not?" I never was one to shout about it, though, mostly because I've never been a very politically correct person. It's pretty hard to be politically correct and hilarious. I'd much rather be funny than someone who pretends to respect everyone.

But seriously, folks: womyn really got it rough these days! And not just in the political, economic, and social departments. Fuck the glass ceiling; I'm talking about how the guys that try to date girls are dumb shits.

Now I feel like I can write about this because, even though I'm not a girl, I do date guys, and right now I am severely anti-men. Sure, that's mostly gay guys, but generally, I don't like men very much. Also, I've been reading Jezebel a lot lately, and all of that feministing has really started to affect me. This Recording favorite Julie Klausner recently published an essay in the NYT's Modern Love column. I spent all day thinking about it because I've been there, lady.

Julie describes a brief, unsatisfying fling with "an indie rock dreamboat," which began in the most modern way: emails and text messaging. If you're a gay man living in a city, you've most likely gone through this routine, and I found Julie's descriptions of her first impressions pretty damn accurate:

"He already annoyed me, and we hadn’t even met. I would soon learn a lesson men have known for years: that it’s possible to be attracted to somebody you don’t like."

Julie and Smiley Muffin

I wasn't really aware of that until recently. I'm admittedly new to the gay thing, having spent most of my post-adolescent awkward stage (which, um, just ended about two years ago when I was somewhere between 22 and 23) thinking I liked girls. When I had crushes on girls, I fell hard, spending months pining after them with, obviously, very little success.

"Why D'ya Do It" - Marianne Faithfull (mp3)

I didn't think I'd ever want to date a guy until I found myself in my first relationship. It turned out to be a disaster, but part of me kept that relationship going because I liked the challenge of having to make an effort to get what I wanted. I wanted this guy to like me. And I realized later that when I entered into those courtship rituals with other guys, I was more interested in the ones who didn't like me than those who put a lot of effort into the pursuit.

Back when I was going after girls, I considered myself to be a Nice Guy. You know the type: the nice guy is the dude who is your friend, who is a little too shy to make a move, whom you would never call "a player". Look at Coop from Wet Hot American Summer, for example: Michael Showalter's character is the quintessential nice guy pit against Paul Rudd's bad boy.

The nice guy is the cute, skinny, nerdy guy who listens to The Decemberists instead of Dave Matthews Band, who would rather watch Amelie and cuddle than drink and beer and watch "the game." Of course, the nice guy is full of shit, and this is coming from someone who thought he was that guy.

Sure, I'm no philistine, but that doesn't mean I didn't break my fair share of hearts. Did I end brief, month-long relationships by not calling someone back? A few times, actually. Yeah, I feel bad about it now, and try not to be such a jackass and consider the thoughts of others occasionally. I wasn't doing it before on purpose, or out of some sociopathic game I was playing. No, I was just a dipshit who didn't know how to treat the guys I was courting.

From Leigh Dragoon's Nice Guys 101 Series

"C'mon Billy" - PJ Harvey (mp3)

There's a great quote that is floating around some of the Tumblr blogs I follow, from an interview with author Amanda Marcotte:

"The Nice Guy syndrome arises from men who are really conflicted about women’s equality. They get angry real fast when, after being 'nice,' they don’t get rewarded, or they are rejected. Guys are oblivious to the fact of their entrenched privilege, the very notion that women are there as available eye candy for them. It is unnerving and uncool."

It's almost as if sometimes men think they should be rewarded with sex simply because they didn't actively (or at least aggressively) pursue it.

But that idea is completely the opposite of what one looks for in the nice guy. The nice guys shouldn't be calculating and manipulative of your feelings just to get you into bed! That's the bad boy, the one you're not supposed to like. So why is it when someone like Julie Klausner falls for the unassuming, sensitive musician, she gets spurned just as if he was that bad boy in disguise? That's because nice guys are the bad boys in disguise.

"Dickhead" - Kate Nash (mp3)

Now, I'm not saying all guys suck; I'm sure there are a few out there that are genuine and respectful of whomever they pursue. But if you're with someone who calls himself "nice," nip that shit in the bud. And if you're uncertain, here are some helpful tips to see if your potential mate is an actual dickhead nice guy:

1. Does he think he's awkward? If he describes himself as awkward, there's a problem. (To quote Edith Wharton: "[T]he inner vanity is generally in proportion to the outer self-depreciation.") We're misusing that word most of the time anyway. If everyone's awkward, then no one's awkward, okay? (That's the closest I'll ever come to Ayn Rand Objectivist thought.)

2. Is he a currently attractive former geek? That's a red flag. He's probably not looking to settle down, even if he plays you Sufjan on his guitar and dedicates his Muxtape to you. He's most likely looking for help discovering his newfound hotness.

3. Does he perform improv and have a huuuuge crush on Tina Fey? Look out! You might think those loose-fitting khakis paired with Nike sneakers are endearing and the prospect of having a guy watch Mean Girls with you sounds like a dream come true now, but it's only because he thinks she's a hottie on 30 Rock. Would he have dated her in college?

4. Does he still listen to The Shins? All I'm going to say is that the dude from The Shins roughed up his America's Next Top Model girlfriend. I didn't even see that one coming.

5. Does he have a blog? YIKES.

"Indie Boys (Don't Deserve It)" - Queens of Noize (mp3)

Be wary, ladies, of the seemingly sweet, inexperienced guy who declares his emotions, because beneath that nice guy exterior is a guy who just doesn't know how to be around - or, hell, even respect - women (or other men, for that matter). Klausner wrote about this on her year-end blog post, where she included "Emo guys who have crushes on Pam from The Office" in her list of enemies from 2007. She said:

"I get it, fellas. She's not intimidating, like one of those women who wears make-up and styles her hair, and has a good job that she enjoys, and confidence, and a...what do you call it...an adult woman's sexuality. There's nothing scary there, because there's no mystery: she's just like you! Mousy and shy. And one day your fantasy will come true. You'll meet a nerdy, cute girl just like that (like you), and NOBODY BUT YOU WILL KNOW SHE'S PRETTY! Shhh! It's a secret! And she'll melt when she sees your record collection, and she'll swoon when you play her the song you wrote, and she'll never want to go out to a party where you'll be forced to talk to people of social status, or comb your hair, or buy grown-up shoes, or demonstrate a hearty handshake, or make eye contact, or basically act like a man."

"Free Money" - Patti Smith (mp3)

So what's the moral here? Does a guy have to spout out misogynistic bullshit about women to reveal some kind of deeper evil? Absolutely not! Take this speech from my favorite movie, Broadcast News, for example:

"What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No, I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing. He will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance... Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he'll get all the great women."

Tyler Coates is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in Chicago, has a blog, and is a really nice guy.

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Liz Phair Eats Nice Guys for Breakfast

Places You Can Take Those Guys for a Cheap Date

Molly Casts the Leads in the Todd Haynes-ish Emily Gould Biopic

This Recording Is The Song That Will Change Your Life

Tuesday
Apr292008

In Which Sasha Grey Is A New Kind Of Porn Star

"Sex is natural! Sex is fun!" - George Michael

My Desires Are Boring

by Molly Young

When I think of porn stars, I picture them as the sum total of their accessories: fake boobs, fake hair, fake nails, fake tan. Sasha Grey has none of these things, and when she dons the mask of porn-y makeup, the effect is that you try to picture her without it. Here is why she is fascinating:

1) She is freakishly young
2) She is lovely to look at
3) She does filthy things with zest
4) She is smart (maybe)

We'll start with #1. Sasha was born in Sacramento, CA, and you can hear the Sacramento in her syrupy stoner-voice. She moved to LA at age eighteen intending to make it big in The Industry, which she did. She is famous for asking porn actor Rocco Siffredi to punch her in the stomach during her first scene. He refused, but the anecdote forged a sort of myth-making reverence that surrounds Sasha and gives her the crossover appeal to do photoshoots in Vice and appear in a Smashing Pumpkins music video.

#2: Her loveliness. Sasha is pretty in a bird-like way, with the frame of someone who fidgets a lot. She has brown eyes and root-beer colored hair. Her MySpace profile describes someone who is part ditzy teenager, (likes makeup and Tetris, plays the "gutiar") part bougie New Yorker (Carl Jung, War and Peace, Antonioni), and part dubious feminist (Anais Nin, the self-actualized porn star schtick). There's also something of the hero's quest to her self-presentation:

"I am Sasha Grey," she writes. "There is no other. This is only a brief dossier because I'm not dead and don't feel that a complete biography is yet warranted." She sounds like the beginning of Charles Dickens's David Copperfield.

#3 is filthy things, ie Grey's willingness to engage with holes and fluids in unconventional ways. Details elided here. Arguably the most fascinating aspect of Grey, since you might expect her to leverage her beauty and settle for a nice paycheck doing vanilla films. But no.

#4: She is smart (maybe). Part of Grey's fame relates to her interest in arty films and books. She was home-schooled, and you can perceive the charmingly untutored and eager tastes of an autodidact in her listed interests. Because she has a modicum of self-awareness, Sasha makes good material for theorizing. Is she a frontierswoman? A genius? An opportunist with no scruples? And what about all the gnarly particulars of her field: the physical demands and venereal diseases and fluids and loveless fucking?

Her stage-name was nearly Anna Karina in homage to Godard

I want to think that Sasha Grey is smart. But smart people are typically funny, and porn is humorless by definition. Mostly, it gobsmacks me to think that a girl like me of the same state, watching the same movies, wearing the same size pants would choose to apply herself to an unforgiving vocation in exchange for a seedy fame and a medium-sized amount of money.

Because I somewhat resemble Grey, she fails the basic porn star test: I can't objectify her. This makes the experience of watching her a fraught one. I'm simultaneously disgusted and titillated; identifying with her and dissociating at the same time. Mostly, though, I'm bored. The riddle about Grey is that she's a great performer in an industry that sets a low bar for greatness. Lauding her is like pointing to a particular issue of Readers Digest and claiming it as the best one ever.

This year she won the AVN Award for Female Performer of the Year, which is the porn equivalent of an Oscar. Having reached the top of her profession, I am hoping she will cash out and go do something else. It would be nice to see her exit grandly, like sister nymphet Traci Lords, with a maximized sense of empowerment and a minimal cargo of cynicism. And we'd get to find out whether Grey is interesting because she's in porn or despite it.

Molly Young is the senior contributor to This Recording.

From Some Creepy Guy's Interview With Sasha Grey:

What were you like growing up?

A child becoming an adolescent becoming an adult …I WAS growing up and …slowly becoming an irreverent little sex tart.

How did you find your way into porn?

First I was bored by what I saw and second I felt I could change that…I researched the subject by reading interviews, watching lots of smut …contemplated what kind of porn I wanted to do wrote a mission statement and basically set out to find a quality no bullshit agent to represent me.

Who are your favorite performers to work with and why?

It's Belladonna… everything about her is sensual. She is an inspiration to me and an electric energy that this universe is lucky to have.

You have quite the reputation as an intellectual porn girl. Is that how you would describe yourself?

Like…what? Like really I'm just like being myself like, seriously. Um I'm not going to describe myself as a mindless fuckdoll idiot bimbo. So yes I'm an intellectual I like to learn about the world we live in and the artistic expressions that surround us .

What is it like being a smart girl on a porn set? Is there anyone you can talk to?

I try to prepare my mind and body before a scene and conserve my energy and wit, I try and find my zen state before a scene…I mean I'm not rude I'll be personable but you have to understand we are like sexual athletes and although it feels fucking great you still have a camera on you…you are still trying to make some half way distant pornography for the consumer.

Who is your favorite philosopher and why?

At the moment Jean-Paul Sartre. I really shouldn't have to explain that if you're into philosophy at all. Also Osho.

Are you the smartest girl in porn?

That's a ridiculous question. I have no idea. What, do I look like a walking IQ test?

Who is the dumbest person you've met in the business?

The person who thinks they are going to be rich and famous like a rock star, hates anal and girls but does it on camera for the right price, stays up for days all methed up spending all their money on shitty drugs and stupid clothes, ends up penniless and a walking porn cliché. You know who I'm talking about, half of the folks in the San Fernando valley. To me that's sounds pretty dumb.

You were the star in Teravision's Broken, what did you think of that project?

I enjoyed it a lot it's closer to the stuff I want to do under my own direction. It's thematic without being lame and it's artsy without losing your erection.

For those who haven't seen you, give us the physical run down.

There are thousands of pictures of me on the web just google my name instead of a lame description you can have a vibrant image of my visage staring back at you from your lcd screen, trust me it's better that way.

We've seen you handle some big dicks. How does someone as petite as you handle that?

You just dig it or you don't. I dig it.

How long do you plan to be in the biz and where would you like to take your career?

Oh don't worry I'll be around for awhile if I can help it. I plan on directing soon and continuing to perform of course, diversifying my different business interests.

What turns you on?

Mental dexterity, sexual ambivalence, Chris & Cosey, Merzbow, Godard, Herzog, Harmony Korine, black metal, real tits, honesty.

What turn you off?

War, our government, that there's not yet a cure for HIV/AIDS, Chelsea Football Club, ignorance.

How long between your first sexual experience and your first porn experience?

About two years.

How was it different?

It was on camera and it was an orgy with some of the top names in porn.

Are there things you do on screen that you don't like off screen?

Nope. My feeling on this is if you don't like it then don't do it. You really don't make enough money to writhe in pain and risk hurting yourself mentally for some unsympathetic porn company making a shit load more money off of you.

Which celebrity should make the next big sex tape?

George W. Bush

Would you want to be in it with her/him?

Hell yeah I'd sport a strap on and fuck 'em in the ass just like he's done to us the past eight years.

Is there anything I forgot to ask that you really want to talk about?

Yes I have music/art project called atelecine, for my part in it I sometimes sing, play guitar, keyboards and tape loops that's right I said tape loops bitches. I like to get naked while I record. It's an experimental death dub orgasm kind of project and I also wanted to say support independent films go to an art house and watch something that confuses you and hopefully gets you to talk about afterwards even if you think it sucked.

How about if you pick a question you have never been asked and thrill us?

Nobodies ever asked me if I support condom only porn. The answer is YES until the health care system in this industry gets a whole lot better, I think folks in the biz need to wake up it's not just about HIV/AIDS. Also, educate yourselves young porn girls and guys.

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Hook-Ups And Gnumbers

Masturbating On Radiators

I Want U Inside Me

This Recording Is Like Totez Legal Now? OMFG! Sweet!