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Alex Carnevale
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Managing Editor
Kara VanderBijl
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Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
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Durga Chew-Bose
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Senior Editor
Brittany Julious
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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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Monday
Sep222014

In Which We All Seem To Need The Help Of Someone Else

mental illness what not

Man and Woman

by ALEX CARNEVALE

Camille Claudel was only 18 when she met the greatest sculptor who ever lived. Auguste Rodin was 24 years her elder, and it was the first time she had ever been to Paris.

As a means of attracting students, Rodin visited a group of young artists at the rue Notre Dame des Champs. At the time, he could barely make his rent, and often had to beg his contracted students to pay their bills. Under Rodin's instruction Camille excelled as both a model and an artist. He was especially attracted to her limbs; casts of hands and feet were often the first things he showed his apprentices. He began consulting his new muse about every aspect of his work. The two would go on to collaborate on a number of projects that would bear Rodin's name alone.

By 1885 Rodin was completely obsessed with his young assistant: her feminine form, her unfamiliar accent, the mere scent of her. Initially, their affair was kept quiet, as Rodin continued his 20-year relationship with a woman who he also sculpted, Rose Beuret. Several biographies of Rodin exclude Camille altogether; one calls her "la belle artiste." She still lived with her parents, and her lack of accessibility was a major part of her charm for the older man.

the only babrer irir

Rodin was a help and a hindrance in Camille's quest to finding herself as a young woman. In a questionnaire offered in a playful journal titled "An Album of Confessions to Record Thoughts, Feelings, Etc", she wrote the following:

Your favorite virtue I don't have any, they are all boring.

Your favorite qualities in a man To obey his wife

Your favorite qualities in a woman To make her husband fret

Your favorite occupation To do nothing

Your chief characteristic Caprice and inconstancy

Your idea of happiness To marry general Boulanger

Your idea of misery To be the mother of many children

Your favorite color and flower The most changing color and the flower which does not change

If not yourself, who would you be? A hackney horse in Paris

Your favorite poet One who does not write verses

Your favorite painters and composers Myself

Your favorite heroes in real life Pranzini or Truppman

Your favorite heroines in real life Louise Michel

Your favorite heroes in fiction Richard III

Your favorite heroines in fiction Lady Macbeth

Your favorite food and drink De la cuisine de Merlatti (love and fresh water)

Your favorite names Abdonide, Josephyr, Alphee, Boulang

Your pet aversion Maids, hackney drivers, and models

What characters in history do you most dislike? They are all disagreeable.

What is your present state of mind? It is too difficult to tell.

For what faults have you most tolerance? I tolerate all my faults but not at all other people's

Your favorite motto. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Camille Claudel

The first time Camille left their cozy arrangement in Paris was a vacation to the Isle of Wight with her best friend. Free of her life in Paris and her intrusive family, she was on her own for the first time. She told her friends, "I have never had so much fun in my entire life."

Left to his own devices, Rodin was lovesick and upset, and he did not find his girlfriend's letters at all reassuring. He told her, "Don't let me be hurt like this by waiting too long." Their principal disagreement was over other women - Rodin's obsession with the female gender was all consuming. His friend Octave Mirbeau once said of him that "he could do anything, even a crime, for a woman." Once at a dinner with Monet he stared so forcefully at his host's daughters that they all left the table.

as only she can

Unfortunately for Rodin, Camille decided to postpone her return to present one of her sculptures in Nottingham. She wrote him a savage letter that began, "You can believe I am not very happy here; it seems that I am so far away from you. There is always something missing tormenting me." This kind of behavior naturally only intensified Rodin's desire for her. In one of his typical lovesick letters, he wrote,

My poor head is very sick, and I can't get up any more this morning. Last night, I wandered (for hours) in our favorite places without finding you, how sweet death would be and how long is my agony. Why didn't you wait for me at the atelier? Where are you going? To what suffering have I been destined? During moments of amnesia, I suffer less, but today even the relentless pain remains. Camille my beloved in spite of everything, in spite of the madness which I feel impending and which will be your doing, if this continues. Why don't you believe me?

I abandon my Salon and sculpture. If I could go anywhere, to a country where I would forget, but there isn't any. Frankly, there are times when I believe I will forget you. But, in an instant, I feel your terrible power. Have pity, cruel girl. I can't go on, I can't spend another day without seeing you. Otherwise the atrocious madness. It is over, I don't work any more, malevolent goddess, and yet I love furiously.

My Camille be assured that I feel love for no other woman, and that my soul belongs to you.

I can't convince you and my arguments are powerless. You don't believe my suffering. I weep and you question it. I have not laughed in so long. I don't sing anymore everything is dull and indifferent to me. I am already a dead man and I don't understand the trouble I went through for things which are now indifferent to me. Let me see you every day; it will be a generous action and maybe I will get better, because you alone can save me through your kindness.

Today of course she would immediately post that on tumblr.

Mere expressions of love alone would not be enough to win Camille over. She was not involved enough to give herself over to a womanizer without some assurances. Eventually, Rodin was moved to draw up the following bizarre contract.

In the future and starting from today 12 October 1886, I will have for a student only Mademoiselle Camille Claudel and I will protect her alone through all the means I have at my disposal through my friends who will be hers especially through my influential friends.

I will accept no other students so that no other rival talent could be produced by chance, although I suppose that one rarely meets artists as naturally gifted.

At the exhibition, I will do everything I can for the placement and the newspapers.

Under no pretext will I go to Mme.... to whom I will not teach sculpture anymore. After the exhibition in May we will go to Italy and and will live there communally for at least six months of an indissouble liasion after which Mademoiselle Camille will be my wife. I will be very happy to offer a marble figurine if Mademoiselle Camille wishes to accept it within four or five months.

From now until May I will have no other woman otherwise the conditions of this contract are broken.

If my Chilean commission comes through, we will go to Chile instead of Italy.

I will take none of the models I have known.

We will have a photograph taken by Carjat in the outfit worn by Mademoiselle Camille at the Academie, day clothes and possibly evening clothes.

Mademoiselle Camille will stay in Paris until May.

Mademoiselle Camille promises to welcome me to her atelier four times a month until May.

Rodin

After the contract was signed, the momentum of the relationship shifted. Having agreed to her master's wishes, he possessed all the power. Camille deeply feared Rodin taking other women into his bed, especially the models that posed for him. Things were further complicated by the fact that Beuret, the mother of Rodin's son, found out about his concubine and began to loathe Camille. In response, he moved his mistress into an apartment near the Eiffel Tower.

The affair slowly fell apart after that. The last straw was Claudel's miscarriage; paranoid about the promises her lover had broken, the next decade found her destroying her own artwork and tearing down the presumably yellow wallpaper of her apartment. Although doctors would argue she did not belong there, at her brother's request she would spend the last thirty years of her life in an asylum five miles from Avignon.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

I JUST DDDD

"I'm A Mother" - Perfume Genius (mp3)

"Fool" - Perfume Genius (mp3)

dreams can come trrue

Friday
Sep192014

In Which Red Oaks Takes Us Back To A Certain Time And Place

Something Better

by DICK CHENEY

Red Oaks
creators Gregory Jacobs and Joe Gangemi

It was truly disturbing listening to BBC coverage of the referendum on Scottish independence. Pundits trying to pretend to be neutral resulted in more ehhhhs than when Mel Gibson made his speech to the Anti-Defamation League. (The amount of Braveheart memes that spawned from this event was also intolerable.) The British were acting like, "Hey, Scotland has something really great, why would they even think of looking elsewhere?" Scotland responded, "OK fine."

David Myers (the pimply Craig Roberts) has roughly the same situation on his hands. He is in a long term relationship with a wonderful looking blonde Karen (Gage Golightly). She is the yoga instructor at a Jewish country club in New Jersey, and he is the junior tennis pro. On the surface, things seem great:

What was life even like before AppleWatch?

There is always a very good reason that a man is more interested in a brunette than a blonde. Some of these reasons include

1) colorblindness

2) recently saw an episode of Chelsea Lately and was like, "I'm out"

3) Listened to Nina Simone's "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair" during transcendental meditation

4) common sense

5) "the grass is always greener"

6) Neil Strauss' The Game

7) Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

8) Any movie starring Reese Witherspoon's obsequious chin.

Actually, what am I saying, who would pass up a yoga instructor for a human sized mouse?

When David spots a Molly Ringwald-type watching him play tennis against the country club's president Mr. Getty (Paul Reiser), he loses his focus and concentration. Her mystery spans the eons; there is no way she would ever let him take her on the greens of the club's single golf course, so of course she must be more desirable than his current girlfriend.

someone kissing your face while mosquitoes bite your bare thighs is a most unpleasant sensation

Karen wants to move in with David after high school. She thinks they should get a cute dog together and take the little pup for walks. She will pursue her modeling career quietly, and only when David strictly approves of what she is doing. (Unfortunately Terry Richardson was still alive in the 80s, but such danger comes with the territory.) David is not as thrilled by the life Karen has set up for him.

David closely observes the relationship of his parents, portrayed by Richard Kind and Jennifer Grey with the kind of aplomb that the Anti-Defamation League should probably look into when they complete their Mel Gibson investigation. David's father has recently suffered a heart attack, but this incident has resulted in only more bickering and stress.

Jennifer Grey, we hardly knew ye

Watching Grey without her signature schnozz is still very difficult for me, whereas my wife Lynne wondered aloud, "She couldn't throw on a little make up? She's on television" while doing her Joan Rivers impression. David's parents are not in love with each other. There is no passion there: his mother may be a closeted lesbian, and his father has a predilection for Asian women, both of which are so noxious a stereotype that you might notice it if you weren't too busy observing the glory of Karen in her natural habitat:

Getting menopausal women to wear blue eyeshadow should have been the focus
of Michelle Obama's wellness initiative

Sure, Red Oaks does start to feel a bit cobbled together after awhile, but David Gordon Green excels at giving us something that is completely familiar and filling it with new surprises. It makes a dark sense that people stay in unhappy relationships while they continue to pursue new ones. Could Scotland maybe find a better God? They'd rather have England on the hook if they need them. I'll get my coat.

Where was I? New surprises. The senior pro at the club is Nash (Ennis Esmer). After David lets Paul Reiser, the club president, take a few sets off him, David's job is in jeopardy if he can't beat the older man after losing a set. He wins while the brunette watches him from the cheap seats.

life was so good before popped collars

It turns out that the lingering brunette is Paul Reiser's daughter. I think they eventually had a kid on Mad About You, didn't they? That relationship sure took its sweet time. Paul and Helen had the most amazing kitchen. It was like an enclosed room with counter space everywhere. It was super-cozy, and Helen Hunt's forehead wasn't super-massive yet. Paul Reiser really had it all. Now he just looks tired, cranky and sick of starring in pilots that don't get picked up:

"I was with a blonde woman for two decades, David. Pass."

The best part about Dirty Dancing was the class struggle, and how Patrick Swayze was trailer trash that no one wanted around their daughter. The second P. Swayze saw that schnozz, he sang the Jewel song, "You Were Meant For Me" and they danced together. (It's been awhile since I've seen Dirty Dancing.) Jennifer Grey was radiant in her role as a Jewish man's daughter,  of that much I can assure you.

Skye (Alexandra Socha) is a lot less charming. Her name isn't really funny, but her resemblance to a brunette Molly Ringwald is intense. Red Oaks will probably never make it to series, since it seems to run out of steam on its own concept about twenty minutes in to its first episode. There's something interesting here, but not enough to commit to. I'm going to go ask Lynne if she wants to pull my pants down to my ankles and scratch my mosquito bites. Talk to you later.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

If you watch Animal House today, all those guys would have life sentences in jail.
"Not a Second More" - The Lees of Memory (mp3)

"(I Want You To) Let It Flow" - The Lees of Memory (mp3)


Thursday
Sep182014

In Which We Are Judged On So Many Things

painting by Kate Shaw

The Right/Wrong Time

by HAFSA ARAIN

1

I certainly did not know two years ago that leaving school would be just as harrowing an experience as entering it in the first place. When I started graduate school as a rather insecure 25-year-old, I found the first semester to be one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I remember a conversation with my mother a few weeks in, in which she lamented the loss of my presence at home, and in which I lamented the loss in my confidence and ability to speak my mind. Through her tears and my discomfort, I communicated what I could not say to her in person: that I wanted more than anything to come home and be comforted.

My parents, who have learned how to be supportive of me and my choice to study the humanities, sent me to California with the sense that I would relearn who I was and return to them a reformed and renewed person. This is true, although I never went back to Chicago. I relearned who I was in graduate school — rebuilt what I had deconstructed in undergrad  and now I need to relearn how to be a whole new person. One who does things instead of thinks things, one whose identity is connected intimately to whom one works for.

This is because we pretend it is a choice who we work for and why  have we not been directed through life’s strange twists and turns to end up in a place if only because chance made it so? That you met so-and-so doing something connected to what you do, or that your friend introduced you to someone who happens to have some money set aside for an intern  these are the ways we get jobs, not because we actively search for something that fulfills our identity. This is the way I have gotten jobs  only because I have proven myself to the right/wrong people at the right/wrong time.

Painting by Kate Shaw

It is a strange thing, then, that we place so much value in where someone chooses to make their living. We ask about it at parties, or assume that it must be announced like a calling card on social media. It must go after my name in every email I send out  I am inextricably connected to what I do. Even after I am much older, should I ever decide to leave what I do even though it is fulfilling, it will live on my resume as a stamp of my life as a 27-year-old. You did “x” for “x number of years” and that’s how we will define you.

The only act in connection to work that has ever proven my identity is leaving a job  ceremoniously and at a young, impressionable age. The leaving was the act of being myself. The leaving is what led to everything that came afterwards. The leaving was the key to my success. When I tell some relative much later in life how to feel alive, I will tell them to quit their job in the way I did: without any regard to the consequences. Quit when you know you can’t take it anymore, and then revel in your poverty, for it was your own choosing.

Of course, I could never imagine giving such advice now  not when I know too deeply and too recently what it feels like to see bright red numbers and an unfortunately placed “-” on my bank statement.

2

Unlike my sister, who works as an accountant, I have found that the kinds of jobs I've had expect me to envelope myself in them. In most cases, I have not minded this expectation. I am accustomed to enveloping myself in things  it is how I exist best. In college, it was maybe listening to certain kinds of music or reading certain books. In graduate school, it was my research and exploration of young Muslim women living in Pakistan.

Such a life is only worth living if you believe in what you envelope yourself in. And such was my perception of crisis in my transition from student to worker that I met with my thesis advisor at first notice to go over the potential PhD programs to which I should apply. In recent conversations with him, I have confessed my own doubt and apprehension in my work. To this he replied: what is your project?

And to that, I thought, I have too many.

painting by Kate Shaw

3

Having been raised to be creatively-focused, I find the most challenging aspect of my job is not the expectation of bringing ideas forward or challenging my bosses, but rather the expectation of hyper-productivity. I had never judged myself before on how much work I could accomplish in a day, only the quality of said work. To be judged on both now is a challenge I have never encountered before. As much as I try to welcome such a challenge with open arms, I find that I am often seeing my own flaws in a way that makes me resent what I used to do and who I used to be. That I could have spent all that time learning how to be better at what I do now and didn’t  that I had wasted so much of my life not being a good enough or fast enough worker.

I resent those who are able to work in the creative field even more than I resent myself. I recall especially a talk I attended a year ago with Zadie Smith, a much beloved author, who said that she could spend at maximum about four hours per day writing. What I actually resent is not that she requires only four hours per day to write amazing works of literature, but rather her financial ability to live her life comfortably while working however many hours she chooses to.

4

When my mother turned 50  a few years ago now  she told me over the phone that everything she thought she knew about herself was so little compared to what she knew now in her middle age. Her role as a mother, as an immigrant, as a woman – all of these things made such little sense to her when she was my age. Even in my struggle for instant satisfaction as a millennial, I hold very closely onto this notion. That one day, I too will be a slightly wrinkled 50-year-old woman who will look back on my life with the solid understanding of where I have been and where I will be then.

Hafsa Arain is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. You can find her twitter here. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. She last wrote in these pages about her childhood.

Paintings by Kate Shaw.

"Kahlil Gibran" - Starfucker (mp3)

"Malmö" - Starfucker (mp3)