Video of the Day


Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

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

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.

« In Which His Personal Brand Is Neo-Plimpton »

Sara Ludlow Is The Hottest Girl In School By, Like, A Lot



dir. Joel Schumacher

98 minutes

The word for the number twelve comes from the Old English word for the two that are left behind when you take away the ten at the base. Twelve is a composite, even sublime. Surely Nick McDonell had some of this etymologic mishmash in mind when he published his first book at eighteen.

Yet McDonell, now twenty-six, is something purer than the milieu he lays bare in his prose. Scratch all that: I'm trying to talk around the fact that McDonell is an absurdly handsome guy. It's not his fault that his whole chiseled blond vibe is all Spader, and so at odds with the seaminess and prurience that sullies that unfurrowable brow. His personal brand — neo-Plimpton? — sometimes seems like a cosmic joke, an accident of birth or at least one of timing.

Even Our Lady of the Locust Valley Lockjaw, Lisa Birnbach, can't quite find a corner of the pantheon for the McDonells of her world anymore in the rarefied constellations over which she moons in True Prep, the 2010 edition of the Official Preppy Handbook.

One day we became curious or bored and wanted to branch out, and before you knew it, we were all mixed up. (...)

And now one of our nieces, MacKenzie, is a researcher at the C.D.C. in Atlanta and is engaged to marry the loveliest man... Rajeem, a pediatrician who went to Duke. And Kelly is at Smith, and you know what that means. And our son Cal is married to Rachel, and her father the cantor married them in a lovely ceremony. Katie, our daughter, is a decorative artist living in Philadelphia with Otis, who is a professor of African-American studies at Swarthmore. And then there's Bailey, our handsome little nephew. Somehow, all he wants to do is ski, meet girls, and drink beer.

Well, there's one out of five.

That seems to make the McDonells of her world, and his, some kind of sixth man. How... droll.

In book form, McDonell's chosen one is White Mike, thin and pale like smoke. As intoned by Kiefer Sutherland, stentorian keeper of the lovingly warmed-over sterno flame that is the film adaptation of Twelve, the novel's first sentence comes across as instant camp classic, all ennui and pithy, childish self-regard. This line, in all earnest, is genius! Why screenwriter Jordan Melamed chose to bury the lede three or four more sentences in is almost as baffling as the whole notion of Chace Crawford, gaze still unrelenting and opaque after Crawford has spent five years of his live-action life in local prep schools, give or take a postgraduate year. Crawford qua starry-eyed WASP naif has perhaps become as impossible in 21st century New York as Nick McDonell himself.

But bygones! Both McDonell and Crawford are, by all accounts, really sweet and nice guys! And the theatre in which I saw Twelve, a United Artists outpost on East 64th Street and 2nd Avenue, was one of two Manhattan theatres screening the film this weekend. It was deserted except for me, the Dominican manager selling the bottled water I got in lieu of some popcorn, two street toughs, a few pert blondes, and some Silent Generation silver ferret in a summer suit out with the missus for the afternoon. They all seemed manner-born to the kind of meanspirited scene-setting that is all too easy to throw around about a Joel Schumacher opus like this one. The mix of maroons in the dear seats was not that far removed from the face of True Prep itself, and we were all kind of enthralled, I think, by the close-ups of Crawford's face.

Like McDonell, Chace is a beautiful, impossible distraction: No working actor seems to have employed his particular suspension of intensity and vacuity so effectively since Keanu. So Crawford plays our awareness of him as ur-brah to the hilt, his permanent five o'clock shadow obscuring an otherwise eerie resemblance to Mare Winningham, doe-eyed, cornbread soul of Joel Schumacher's earlier thinkpiece St. Elmo's Fire.

Did you know that Crawford told EW earlier this summer that he is reading The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon's coming-of-age novel? I choose to believe this selection is not coincidence: Technicolor Health, the 2009 album by Harlem Shakes, who once shared "whitest band in New York" status with Vampire Weekend, also took its title from Chabon's book. No matter that the Shakes' former bassist is named Jose, or that the a reviewer for the Yale Herald once wrote the following of frontman Lexy Benaim, who I seem to remember played basketball uptown while he attended the Dalton School around the same time McDonell was finishing up at Riverdale:

He is a sleek, SoHo version of James Dean with a better tan and more ambiguous ethnicity. In the words of Sonic the Hedgehog, he’s “cooler than the other side of your pillow” (Note to self: Quoting ’90s Sega video game characters does not give you authority.)

"Harlem Shake? Nah, I'm in Harlem shaking awake/Shakin' to bake, shakin' the Jakes/Kill you, shoot the funeral up and Harlem Shake at your wake"

An earlier, prep schoolier incarnation of Harlem Shakes — then known, I seem to recall, as The Harlem Shakes, as was the style at the time was playing downtown clubs around the time Atlantic Books published the first edition of Twelve. Almost ten years have passed since, and we have now made it through The Rapture to another new New Wave of vaguely cokey dance bands. If these earlier bands were Official Preppy Handbook, Boy Crisis and Passhy Pit are def this newer thing, True Prep, cf. the Boy Crisis single, "Dressed to Digress," which plays as we are first introduced to the week's hedonism @Whatevs_Culkin's townhouse:

I've been to Prague, I've been to Iraq

In search of booty and I never came back.

Where you from? You must be Japanese-Jamaican

'cause your panties are making me hot, and I'm not fakin'

A member of Boy Crisis and the possible author of that quatrain, Victor Vazquez, would later observe in his better-known capacity as Kool AD of Das Racist that "shorty said I look like Devendra Banhart, shorty said I look like that dude from Japan's art... you know, that dude who did the Kanye album cover? Shorty said I look like Egyptian Lover."

Naturally, the YouTube video for "Shorty Said" credits Gordon Voidwell (ne Will Johnson), a self-described scholarship kid from the Bronx who graduated from NYU after Fieldston.

By comparison, the fictionalized shorties in Twelve seem kind of unconvincing. Why give True Prep face time to Zoe Kravitz's True Prep entourage when we can linger on WASPy "Jessica," splayed under a canopy to escape her own Wesleyan application and her harridan of a mama (Ellen Barkin, obvs). Jessica (Emily Meade) seems to like to talk to the animals whilst strung out on Twelve — and is it really unintentional that one of the teddy bears with whom she raps on her trip has a difficult to place ethnic accent?

Point being: Who are the non-Chace types of Twelve to try to compete? There's this one guy in a polo shirt and blazer, the straight-edge track star, who's written kind of like Mack from Daria and looks kind of like the Yale Law grad who passes the bar many times in the original Official Preppy Handbook. How can I pay any mind to his backstory when there's Fiddy meandering around, plus cameos from Dukie and Clay Davis, all played off against Chace and breakout NYC Prep microcelebrity PC Peterson coming on too strong in many senses of that idiom? (Are there many senses of that idiom?)

"A real therapist would've corrected PC's grammar" my sister, on NYC Prep

"Thank God this movie is finally over," the one older woman in the audience exhorted at the end, and we went out into the afternoon, me and the Upper East Siders, them back to home nearby and me downtown to try to catch Maluca at some Mad Decent block party way downtown. Or maybe that was just me wishing they were Upper East Siders. It's easier to see them through that lens; it's more sobering. So for the haters, I reckon Twelve's about an eight or a nine, maybe nine-and-a-half in four beers' time.

Maureen Miller is a contributor to This Recording. This is her first appearance in these pages. She is a writer living in New York and the founding editor of RapGenius.com.

digg delicious reddit stumble facebook twitter subscribe

"Ivy League Circus" - Gordon Voidwell (mp3)

"White Friends" - Gordon Voidwell (mp3)

"Paradise's Parody" - Gordon Voidwell (mp3)

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (3)

A messenger bag is one of the exact most outstanding masterpieces of Hermes. It is considered as sought after considered as a Hermes handbag. This is a bag which is loved by career women along with men. At the exact same time, it is also an remarkable fashion accessory. Why?
replica hermes handbags|

September 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjiy

this old picture make me recall something,,,the passed time ,and the person
moncler doudoune
Pas Cher Moncler
moncler Men
Moncler Homme

October 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterone
Wearing <a href="http://www.jerseysonline.org/"><strong>NFL jerseys</strong></a> is quite popular. It is a way for you to meet new people, too. All across the country, complete strangers give a smile, a head nod, raise their glasses and honk as they see others who are wearing their very own favorite teams jersey.You can look into the specific <a href="http://www.cheapjerseysline.com/"><strong>cheap nfl Jerseys</strong></a> Children end goal online inside your simplicity and also discover wheresoever so when your budget making round the united states.Recently, with the development of football, there NFL <a href="http://www.cheapjerseysline.com/"><strong>cheap jerseys</strong></a> become more and more popular. Therefore, all kinds of different NFL jerseys are filled in the market. It is very hard for us to select our ideal jerseys. To select NFL jerseys quickly and precisely, I think the following suggestions are very useful.Comprehensive Cheap <a href="http://www.cheapjerseysline.com/"><strong>NFL Jerseys wholesale</strong></a> employ a enormous selection with style, in excess of truly, you can find a variety of jersey piece used by NBA groups. But the best well-known, include the duplicates from the actually well-known NBA winners.There are a lot of websites where you can buy a MLB <a href="http://www.cheapjerseysline.com/"><strong>wholesale Jerseys</strong></a> online, On the Field, Sports Memorabilia and Amazon. But before you decide to purchase a MLB <a href="http://www.jerseysonline.org/"><strong>wholesale Jerseys</strong></a> online or at a store, there are a few things you should know. Wholesale MLB jerseys don’t come in Small, Medium, Large and Extra-Large sizes, but rather numbered sizes like 42, 44, 46, and so on. There is the only brand that makes authentic cheap MLB Jerseys.There is no increased methods to show your adore inside the path of favored NFL celebration than donning NFL <a href="http://www.jerseysonline.org/"><strong>cheap jerseys</strong></a> within your body.To get the perfect size youth nfl jerseys, style and color is very essential therefore the designer jeans give the perfect look with a better feel which is worth the money.
August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNfl jerseys

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.