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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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Senior Editor
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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Classic Recordings
Robert Altman Week

Monday
Aug112014

In Which We Voice A Dampish Rat For Your Amusement

Man, Beast and Fox

by DICK CHENEY

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
dir. Jonathan Liebesman
112 minutes

There was a woman who loved a dolphin, and Michael Bay once got a "she's coming onto me" vibe from an orangutan from the San Diego Zoo, but animals have rarely sought sexual completeness from human beings until Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Watching Megan Fox ignore sexual harassment from the two lewdest ninja turtles was uncomfortable; the fact that she had to fend off the advances of Gob Bluth (Will Arnett) made it all the more puzzling.

There is a moment in almost every Michael Bay movie where you stop and ask yourself what disturbed sexual fantasy from his past he is reenacting. That moment in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came when Megan Fox was stroking a large CGI rat on his deathbed, and the rat was voiced by Tony Shalhoub. The rat's nose and fur has become somewhat damp as he whinges from her touch. Splinter/Steven Spielberg concordance aside, Megan Fox looked old enough to be that rat's mother.

If this was not the time to utilize the voice-acting talents of Selena Gomez, I don't know what is

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cost $125 million dollars, which is hard to believe given the most accomplished actor in the entire conglomeration is Johnny Knoxville. There is only one African-American character in the film: Whoopi Goldberg plays Megan Fox's boss.

When Megan comes to Whoopi with the true story of how Michael Bay sodomized her and forced her to say that making the Turtles alien warriors from another dimension was a good idea, Whoopi fires her and never appears in the movie again. Despite finding the story of the century and wanting to be taken seriously as a journalist, Fox never breaks the story of humanoid turtles in any publication, even The Huffington Post.

The words "You were too old to play Mark Wahlberg's daughter" hang over this photograph like a Christmas wreath.

The woman (Margaret Lovatt) who loved the dolphin lived with him in a waterproofed environment. The dolphin's name was Peter, and he had a dial-up account with AOL where he posted under the screenname MargLovattsDolfin, mostly about collectible card games and what temperature was best to keep fish at. Margaret took Peter's playful nudges as a sign that he was ready for wintercourse with her. 

"Peter, do you read The Believer? No, you don't? It's a magazine that...oh, nevermind."

Watching a hulking, disturbed, half-blindfolded giant turtle explain how 'hot' he finds the oldest, clunkiest madam in Michael Bay's stable is awkward enough. In addition, Michaelangelo adopts some kind of vaguely ethnic, vaguely Canadian accent that I can't quite pin down; he sounds like if Rachel McAdams was eaten by a salamander. He never consummates his relationship with the brunette reporter or Amy Poehler for that matter, but neither did Will Arnett.

The turtles like pizza, but not as much as you would expect.

Guys, remember. You're fucking turtles.

Since it is no longer acceptable to have male humans sexually harass women in the movies, Bay came up with an ingenious plan to have gruesome assemblages of man and monster tell Megan Fox to spread her legs in a children's movie. I was always told that art imitated life, but I never really believed it until now.

For some reason, Margaret Lovall gave Peter a last name, English. She also gave him a lot more:

"Peter liked to be with me," explains Lovatt. "He would rub himself on my knee, or my foot, or my hand. And at first I would put him downstairs with the girls," she says. But transporting Peter downstairs proved so disruptive to the lessons that, faced with his frequent arousals, it just seemed easier for Lovatt to relieve his urges herself manually. "I allowed that," she says. "I wasn't uncomfortable with it, as long as it wasn't rough. It would just become part of what was going on, like an itch – just get rid of it, scratch it and move on. And that's how it seemed to work out. It wasn't private. People could observe it."

"Megan," Michael Bay said, "Would you like to go where someone could observe us?"

After Margaret moved onto a job giving armadillos near-impossible handjobs, Peter wrote to Boston Globe advice columnist Meredith Goldstein, who explained that Margaret was only using him for twelve-inch cock and he should try jdate, where human women were waiting to anthropomorphize him as a dolphin-version of Chris Evans or, worst-case scenario, Ezra Klein.

Women are beings of infinite understanding. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles exploits this strength by outnumbering April O'Neil and making the turtles more size-appropriate than were the Transformers. "They're six feet tall!" Megan screeches at one point, as if she had never ever seen anything that large. I remember George W. Bush coming up to me at a state dinner one time with a huge grin on his face. He pulled me close and whispered, "You'd have to be huge to fuck a Transformer!" and practically skipped away.

In the end, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, is just an extensive, unimaginative reenactment of Beauty and the Beast. At least in the source work, it took a fabulous library and enchanted castle in order to capture what remained of Belle's heart after a decade of leading Gaston on. ("Gaston, soon! Soon!") The turtles show Megan Fox to their secret lair below the city where they live with their Rat-Dad, and she is very impressed by this. Standards have been lowered precipitously; there must be more than this provincial sewer.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Depression Blues" - Loudon Wainwright III (mp3)

"Man & Dog" - Loudon Wainwright III (mp3)

Friday
Aug082014

In Which We Prefer A Drug-Free Galaxy

Known for Its Decor

by MIA NGUYEN

Guardians of the Galaxy
dir. James Gunn
122 minutes

It was my first time going to the Vista Theatre in Los Feliz, known for its historical architecture and beautiful egyptian decor. The experience melted my face off without involving any hallucinogens or psychedelics.

The year is 1988. In the film’s opening scene, 11-year-old Peter Quill (Wyatt Oleff) is listening to Awesome Mixtape Vol. 1 from his grandfather (Greg Henry) before saying goodbye to his mother who is dying from cancer. Peter’s mother (Laura Haddock) pleads Peter to take her hand in the last waking moments before passing away, but the young man is too afraid. She leaves Peter behind a small, neatly wrapped gift he refuses to open for years to come. He flees from the hospital room emotionally charged with tears running down his cheeks and is abducted by aliens immediately after stepping outside.


Leg Stance and leather prowess. 

Fast forward 26 years later, adult Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is just a normal guy on the planet Morag dancing smoothly along to “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbones on his Sony Walkman cassette player and headphones. The well-placed nostalgic elements to the film add a feel good touch for audience members fifty and above who are familiar with the oldies. The upkeep and function of Peter Quill’s Sony Walkman on an oceanic planet is an extremely questionable and incredible feat.


Groot is a lovable and humorous tree humanoid.

He’s in search of a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan (Lee Pace), an object under everyone’s radar and desire. If the orb falls into the wrong hands the world will crumble and obliterate. After successfully obtaining the orb and battling an intense shootout with Korath (Dijimon Hounsou), Peter decides to sell the orb on Xandar, home to the Nova Corps, an intergalactic police force.

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is relentless reformed assassin filled with a heart of gold. She comes off as intimidating with her high cheekbones, sultry looks and green flesh, but means well. Her intentions are set on betraying Ronan the Accuser and selling the orb off to someone else. She deceives and slyly ambushes Peter in order to steal the orb, but doesn’t succeed.


Bradley Cooper, and nearly everything, is improved by whiskers.

CGI designed bounty hunter Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and his humanoid tree companion Groot (Vin Diesel) join in on the chase to steal the Orb away from Peter. The duo work well together in creating the most lovable pair in the movie. Rocket’s snark, quick wit, and elevated arrogance bring a lot to the table. As audience members, we feel bad for the countless times he has been genetically manipulated. We gain respect for his immaculate one-liners and courage.

The four of them are arrested by Nova Corps and sent away to the Kyln, a superhuman prison. Once in the Kyln, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) wants to kill Gamora for being associated with Ronan. (Ronan was responsible for killing his wife and children.) The relationship between Drax and Gamora doesn’t bode well and he calls her a “whore." The bickering Guardians eventually learn to put their personal problems aside in order to make it out of the Kyln alive.


Mothers know best.

Director James Gunn takes a lot of calculated risks in his directing style. Gunn's storytelling is built on the simple foundation of interlacing top tracks from the 1970s to work with the plot and character development. The movie rides heavily on its funny dialogue.


Chris Pratt's biceps look like tan penises.

Gunn morphs Chris Pratt into a glorious centerpiece in Guardians of the Galaxy. He takes quick sharp witted jabs at Kevin Bacon references throughout, taking the time to really humanize the character. More often than not, the characters and interconnected relationships in Guardians of the Galaxy add emotional value and improbable charming elements to the entire experience. We extend our patience and open our hearts out to an innocence the lovely man-tree carries, for he only can utter three words throughout the movie, “I am Groot,” in that order.  

The fundamental theme/meme of Guardians is built around misfits finding their own action and adventure through their rough-around-the-edges personality. We become emotionally invested in the misfortunes and place ourselves in the characters' shoes through our own vulnerabilities. I think what I'm saying is that I cried during Guardians of the Galaxy.

Mia Nguyen is the features editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. You can find her website here and her twitter here. She last wrote in these pages about the only thing she finds reassuring.

"Out of the Ocean" - Fort Wilson Riot (mp3)

"Yes Indeed" - Fort Wilson Riot (mp3)

Thursday
Aug072014

In Which We Base Things On The Words Themselves

This is the second in a two-part series. You can find the first part here.

Surrender

by JOSIANE CURTIS

I won’t let him sleep in my apartment yet. I haven’t invited him to meet my friends even though he wants me to meet his, wants to show me to his parents, wants me to sleep next to him in a tent next weekend and sit next to him on a plane the week after. He wants me to come half a dozen times every night. He wants me to stay, even when it means he’ll have to wake up to drive me home at six in the morning because I forgot to turn off the alarm clock on my bedside table, and I don’t want to wake all the neighbors. He sends shivers down my spine, curls my toes, packs an extra sweatshirt that he pulls out of nowhere when my teeth start chattering on the walk to the truck – and I won’t let him sleep in my apartment.

+

When I was in elementary school, I used to show up in the office at least once a month, at least every time there was a lice outbreak around the school, claiming that my head itched so they would have to pick through my hair with the lice-searching chopsticks. I never had head lice. I did that, I tell him, I so liked the feeling of my head being scratched.

+

I go to an early yoga practice Wednesday morning. Twice during class, the teacher walks past me during a pose and presses her fingers into the back of my neck, where the muscles are activated, tendons tight and strained when they should be relaxed. The second time, she says: Recognize this. Just be aware of it now, through class, throughout your day. Recognize that you carry tension in your neck.

This is where you find the balance between effort and surrender, she says. It would seem, based on the words themselves, that effort is the hard part, but for many of us, that’s not the case. It’s not wrong if that’s not the case for you – but recognize it. She says: Try to find the balance.

+

Instead of sleeping at my apartment, we spend nights in the bed he shared for four years with the woman before me, and somehow he sleeps easy. Last night I lay awake and stare at the same walls that she maybe lay awake and stared at, in the beginning or toward the end of the fourth year or both. The place is haunted, I think, or I am. He doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Last night, when I roll toward him and then away, toss and turn and subtract from the already-meager four hours of sleep he will get before work, he lets me, he smiles, he runs his fingers through my hair like he’s searching for lice or in love. You okay? he whispers, as his hand moves over my head and down the back of my neck. Recognize: it is tense. Recognize: I am trying to find the balance.

Josiane Curtis is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Portland. You can find her twitter here. You can find her website here. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. She last wrote in these pages about the first sign of dawn. Her work recently appeared on The Rumpus here.

Drawings by Andrew Smith. You can buy prints and originals here.

"You're The One That I Want" - Lo-Fang (mp3)

"Confusing Happiness" - Lo-Fang (mp3)