Quantcast

Video of the Day

Masthead

Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Managing Editor
Kara VanderBijl
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Senior Editor
Durga Chew-Bose
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Senior Editor
Brittany Julious
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Live and Active Affiliates
Search TR


follow us in feedly

Classic Recordings
Robert Altman Week

Thursday
Jul012010

In Which Kenny Powers Is An Average American With Extraordinary Hair

Born On The 4th Of July

by MOLLY LAMBERT 

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY MOTHERFUCKERS! , YOUR FRIENDS AT THIS RECORDING.

I FUCKING LOVE FIREWORKS! GOD FUCKING DAMN IT I DO!!! PYROTECHNICS RULE!!! 

KENNY POWERS COMES BACK IN SEPTEMBER FOR EASTBOUND & DOWN SEASON 2!

This is the explosive long rumored under wraps until now rap inclusive volume 4 of the Kenny Powers mix. If you can't handle going electric, get the fuck out of my free country! It's 2010! The only acceptable musical transitions are Three 6 Mafia into Lynyrd Skynyrd and David Allan Coe into 2Pac. Fighting racism thru iTunes integration.

Do you like music that is heavy as fuck? Music that drips with sweat like a longhair's guitar after a blistering solo? Heavy with sweat like Lil' Wayne's dreadlocks after proving all night that he is a pussy monster? Then you will enjoy Kenny Powers Volume 4. Bump it at your BBQ while you grill and in your truck when you off-road. 

KENNY POWERS BALL 4: EXTRA INNINGS

DJ MOLLY LAMBERT

The Stealer - Free

4 My Town (Play Ball) - Birdman, Drake, & Lil' Wayne 

Mississippi Queen - Mountain

Fucked Up - Lil' Wyte ft. Three 6 Mafia 

I Ain't The One - Lynyrd Skynyrd 

Diamonds & Cadillacs - Jackie Chain

I'm Alive - Spooky Tooth

Stupid Wild - Gucci Mane ft. Lil' Wayne

Green Eyed Lady - Sugarloaf

Box Chevy Pt. 3 - Yelawolf ft. Rittz

Working On The Road - Ten Years After

Goodies - Freddie Gibbs

Rock Candy - Montrose

Never Been - Wiz Khalifa

Cocaine Carolina - Johnny Cash ft. David Allan Coe 

Is It Cool To Fuck? - 2Pac ft. Rated R & Macadoshis

Love Track - Wiggy Bits

Batter Up - Nelly ft. The St. Lunatics

Greensboro Woman - Townes Van Zandt

All 4 Volumes Of The Kenny Powers Mix

STRIKE 1: SPRING TRAINING

STRIKE 2: REGULAR SEASON

STRIKE 3: WORLD SERIES

BALL 4: EXTRA INNINGS

Molly Lambert is the managing editor/resident 70s rock completist at This Recording. She tumbls here.


Wednesday
Jun302010

In Which If You Want To Be Happy Don't Think

We've Been Hanging Out

by ELEANOR MORROW

Skins

creators Brian Elsley and Jamie Brittain

All art about young people comes across as hopelessly naive and bracingly sentimental. Kids changed all that, but it wasn't very good. Harmony Kormine went on to a sterling career as a writer of less comprehensible films, MTV ran Undressed to corner the market in PG-13 pr0n, Larry Clark founded an island in the South Pacific where he could be with whoever he wants, and then E4's Skins tried to fill the role of "telling us all about our young people."

Set in Bristol, the show follows kids through sixth form, when they are 16 and 17 years old. The idea was to follow kids from relatively difficult economic backgrounds, although we might want to rethink those ideas about class. In most ways the men and women of Skins are identical to their upper-class mirror images. Because Skins is one of the most imaginatively conceived shows of this genre, it deserves an American audience, and not in its soon-to-be dumbed down form.

What sorts of children are these? For the most part, they are desperate for love, so transparently pathetic that we forget about the evil things they do. The protagonist of the show's first two seasons, Tony (Nicholas Hoult) is straight out of Cruel Intentions, but hold on, because we never can hate anybody we know everything about. (It's partly why we love our children.) If they make a Barbra Streisand biopic  — scratch that, when they make Barbra Streisand biopic she will come off as completely sympathetic and will most likely be portrayed by Alexa Chung.

The early virtues of the show consisted of its variously successful attempts at an earthy realism. You can't help but imagine that a beer-soaked copy of Less Than Zero was being plagiarised wholesale in writer's meetings, but the resulting blend of regular drug abuse, mental illness, and total alienation from the world is highly entertaining. Rebooting the series every two years was an inspired idea, and also ensures that Skins alumnae can come back to be killed off, or turned into M.I.A. in the case of the minority representative Jal.

It takes a special madness to take the joy out of being a child, but we are accustomed to effecting this as quickly as possible. It is not for the Luddites that we bemoan this worldly process, it is because we are sapping the thrill of discovery from new travellers. Instead of a reason for joy, education is turned into something we resent because of what it takes away from the rest of our lives rather than what it adds to it.

Kids portrayed this in a way acceptable to Roger Ebert, which is itself a kind of violation. There was something deeply disturbing about watching HIV-positive Telly infect the neighborhood, although it's not as horrifying to watch today and in fact feels like a period piece along the lines of Emma or The Bostonians.

The use of birth control on Skins is relegated to those moments when teenage sex is planned in advance, which is to say never.  Condoms feature prominently in only one of the show's episodes, and then only to emphasize that Anwar (Dev Patel) has never had sex. This is perhaps a subtle hint to Britain's youth to keep reproducing at a rate commensurate with that of their Muslim peers. The sex mostly consists of shifting between various sexual positions in a rough manner so as to indicate eagerness. Once, in the first season, eight straight lines of dialogue were "I love you", and it was accurate in every case.

if only your mother from slumdog millionaire could see you now...oh wait Joyless and solemn the boys of Skins are, though the women rarely fare better. The sexist march of lowered expectations is painfully obvious in Michelle (April Pearson) whose greatest desire was to ape her mother's tremendous series of husbands. The men, in contrast, are burdened with all of the unpleasantness and as such are permitted a greater freedom of expression.

The sort of friends you have when you're young are always a sorry lot. A neighborhood is full of them — you simply can't avoid the people you live with, any more than you can avoid having extra-sized ears if you're Katie Holmes. Most entries into this genre turn the neighborhood youth into adults with smaller bodies, and Skins does some of this, including the reading passions of its erudite antihero.

Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do. There's also a hefty dose of afterschool special, proving straights and gays equally enjoy sitting on the green, crying and smoking spliffs. Going to sixth form is pretty much a dream with a lot of free time and your classmate is the guy from Slumdog Millionaire. Without mentioning the contemporary culture (outside of dubstep and heroin injections) more than once, Skins is entirely of this time, where some kind of unpleasant notoriety is always lurking on the periphery.

One of the biggest myths about adolescence is that it is full of important decisions. In fact, adolescence is all about never having to make a decision. Can we even imagine what an alien race would think of us, going from piano lesson to the orthodontist with a frequency unknown outside of this dying planet? More than anything, contemporary day-to-day is fraught with completely variegated experience, an acquired taste for most of us and entirely unknown to those who've never experienced it. The adults of Skins, because they're from the previous generation, can never really understand.

It's actually somewhat funny that a show which insists on portraying the reality behind young lives is so painfully bad at imagining the mystery and purpose of adult ones. Yes, things are rightly more dramatic when experienced for the first time. This is a strong virtue of such moments, distinguishing them from everything else. But it is a weakness to be innocent.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Manhattan. She last wrote in these pages about the HBO series True Blood and The Wire.

digg delicious reddit stumble facebook twitter subscribe

"Good Times Gonna Come" - Aqualung (mp3)

"Sea of Glass" - Tom Middleton (mp3)

"Coconut Skins" - Damien Rice (mp3)

Tuesday
Jun292010

In Which Michael Jackson and Diana Ross Become MiDiana

When I Think of Home

by REA MCNAMARA

The Wiz

dir. Sidney Lumet

Somewhere between moving its operations to Los Angeles (but definitely before that Motown 25 Tribute), Berry Gordy Jr. decided to re-assemble his Hitsville U.S.A. factory line into the motion pictures business. Motown had long established a reputation for deftly packaging blackness as mass entertainment, so a big budget adaptation of The Wiz, that 1975 Tony Award-winning "super soul" Wizard of Oz b-side, was a sure bet. (Especially if it were to be headlined by the only two Motown acts he ever managed, Diana Ross and the Jackson 5's Michael Jackson.)

Sidney Lumet directed the musical with typical Rotten Apple grit, long shooting the extremes between a hazy 'Poppy Love Perfume Co.' hootchified street corner, or green-tinting the then-gleaming World Trade Center plaza as an Emerald City louched out with Norma Kamali parchute dresses and Halston slim sarongs. But that, alongside Quincy Jones' Oscar-nominated original music scoring, wasn't enough: the musical's $30 million price tag was box office poison, and some critics reacted adversarially to either Diana Ross not being naif enough as Dorothy, or Joel Schumacher's est-ian script.

Yet perhaps Dorothy's plaintive 'Are You There God?' lyrical request in "Home" was too close to what the Sound of Young America had become for Diana and Michael: nothing more than a K-Tel Records Greatest Hits compilation. "In the film, Dorothy was facing her fear and that was the same thing I was going through that year in New York," Diana Ross told Elin Schoen in an intimate Good Housekeeping interview of that fall/winter of 1977. "I was really facing the fact that I was out there on my own for the first time in my life. It scared me, but I got a chance to face all of the fears." For Diana and Michael, Beverly Hills was "Kansas"; New York City was the Oz of disco-fied glitter chic, and a chance finally to grow up, together.

When the Jackson 5 first came to California in 1970, they all moved into Diana's Hollywood Hills home. Michael was 11; Diana, 26. "I remember that we used to go out to buy paints and easels and we did artwork together," said the mother, lover and sister of Michael, who inspired in him a lifelong interest in art. "I am pleased that I touched him in the early days of his life."

Black outs, block fires, bankruptcy: if Oz was New York City, then Studio 54 was Emerald City. For a brief moment in his life, Michael was a grown man. Him and his sister La Toya shared a downtown apartment free from Joseph and Katherine, and he "danced almost every night at 54 with Liza Minnelli," said Michael. "We'd talk about Judy Garland." Diana was there too, singing in the DJ booth.

"The two singers wear matching costumes: slacks, shirt, and tie," wrote Hilton Als of a live televised "Ease On Down The Road" crisscross kickstep special that replayed constantly on Paradise Garage's large video screen. "Jackson dances next to Ross, adding polish to her appealingly jerky moves; he does Ross better than Ross." 

Oh Mahogany Lady, how were you always "washed out in the bright light"? Michael must have slept on this question every night in the solitude of his candle-lit Diana Ross shrine.

The Wiz shot six days a week, so most nights were spent alone: at home in the Sherry Netherland co-op still reeling from the first "Mr. Diana Ross" divorce, or sitting in the boardroom at 19, wrestling post-breach from Philly International to Epic.

Did they find in each other the yellow brick road to self-actualization? Diana called Michael “an inspiration”; he declared his intentions to marry her in an Ebony interview. They both had grown up, and friend to friend, had finally loosened that Gordy-an knot.

"Michael will you come?" At the edge of the Forum Theatre stage, she gyrated in a clingy sequined white, waiting for her 'Muscle man'. He emerges to turn the pink spotlight, corkscrew kicking out the bottomline in tight blue jeans. They rock around and round until she passes the microphone; he leaps away to solo so she can finally dip down low.

But Michael was an Off The Wall supernova, a triplicate peak luminosity soon to be scaled by moonwalk. He moved mountains and charity singles; she however, was now the eclipsed light curve who flooded Central Park with her rain dance.

For the sparrow and crow who suffered everything and nothing, the twilight was interiors filled with mirrors and poses. Ross renovated a Tobacco Heiress fortress in Greenwich, Connecticut with gold records and Rembrandts. Michael retreated to Neverland's carnival rides and dollhouses, lining walls with his mortality.

The Wiz will always be the cellulite proof of their then-brand-new post-Motown world — nightlife, record sessions, sound stages and late night phone calls. The scarecrow's knock-kneed walk was an abridged farewell to Michael's ex-child stardom; Diana was Dorothy, and by the time the film wrapped in 1978, she had gone inside of her self, love overflowing the “long suffered-emptiness...I, like Dorothy, had found everything I was searching for was right there with me all along."

Rea McNamara is a contributor to This Recording. This is her first appearance in these pages. She is a writer living in Toronto. You can find her website here. She tumbls here.

digg delicious reddit stumble facebook twitter subscribe

"Ease on Down the Road" - Diana Ross & Michael Jackson (mp3)

"Go Bang 3" - Gang of Two (mp3)

"Friend to Friend (Original CHIC Mix)" - Diana Ross (mp3)

Credits

DOROTHY/DIANA Sarah Taylor

SCARECROW/MICHAEL Daniyah-Daniel Gordon

EMERALD CITY BUS BOYS The House of Monroe

DIRECTION Rea McNamara

PHOTOGRAPHY Alyssa Katherine Faoro

STYLING Filipe Ventena

MAKE-UP Roxanne DeNobrega

HAIR Israel Garcia of Salon Daniel

ASSISTANCE Jeba Bowers Murphy

SPECIAL THANKS: 69 Vintage, Chasse Gardée, Gadabout Vintage, Sian Llewelyn, Lost+Found, Rozaneh Vintage Clothing, Textile & Accessories, Todd-Rod Skimmins

Shot at Studio 107, Toronto

actual cast photo, 1978