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Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
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Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
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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

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Friday
Sep072012

In Which The Arrow Landed In A House

The Matchmaker

by ARIANA ROBERTS

If we are going to be married I think it's only fair you know a little bit about the marriage customs of my people. They involve pigs and beer. And by my people I don't mean Koreans and I don't mean Americans, I mean the Bhutanese, because I'm the David Hasselhoff of their country.

In Bhutan, in every village the matchmaker comes to the girls' houses unannounced so they don't have time to escape. And if they tell the parents, the parents lock the girl up.

Matchmaker is an elected position, and the title is derived from when the Tibetan minister Gar Tongtsen traveled to China to find a bride for the king. Many ministers represented their countries, rulers who the sought the princess’s hand, so the Emperor devised a test to determine she should marry. These included threading spiral turquoise, identifying the root end of a tree cut into a hundred logs, and drinking 100 hundred pitchers of distilled whiskey before identifying the princess among 100 beautiful maidens. Gar Tongsten won, and the princess, terrified at the idea of leaving her home country, composed a song, Lyonpo-garwa-tongthrab, from which the title is derived.

Incidentally, when he was 16 years old, the king of Bhutan (her groom) saw two rays of light beam from his heart towards Nepal and China. The light shone on two prospective brides, the daughter of the Nepalese King and the daughter of the Chinese Emperor.

It's an interesting country, glued together by Buddhism, the purest form of that religion you'll ever find in the world, not pacifistic or ascetic in the least. In fact, the national sport is practiced in tandem with phallocentric festivals. According to legend, the 15th century Buddhist saint Drukpa Kunley shot an arrow from Tibet, praying that his progeny would prosper where it landed. That arrow landed in a house in Bhutan, where he entered and seduced the owner's wife. Now all over Bhutan, giant phalluses (phalli?) are painted on buildings, houses, and trees, purporting to ward off evil spirits. Archery teams even employ tsips, or astrologers believed to possess mystical powers, to engage in black magic, constructing effigies of competitors and smearing them with menstrual blood before festivals.

The triratna, the prayer beads, the ritual chanting and hellfire woodcuts...I wonder if Buddhists and Catholics realize they are the same religion. The Dalai Lama knows he is the same as the pope, the order of monks know they're the clergy, but I doubt the reverse is true.

Anyway, in Bhutan the Buddhist women are happy when their husbands beat them. They don't complain about anything!  And therein lies the key difference between Buddhist women and me, because I would tie any man who ever laid a hand on me to a dzong and set him on fire with a butter lamp.

Ariana Roberts is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Cleveland. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.

"Dinner for Two" - Love This Giant (mp3)

"Weekend In The Dust" - Love This Giant (mp3)

Thursday
Sep062012

In Which It Is Bad News For Everyone

A Certain Low Profile

by DICK CHENEY

Revolution
creator Eric Kripke

Revolution begins when the world loses electricity. This is J.J. Abrams' idea of hell, because then he can no longer abuse Tom Cruise's mental illness further in Mission: Impossible sequels where Ethan Hunt is a grandfather. Even batteries don't work anymore. Earth reverts to a pre-industrial society in every facet except one: there are still jokey allusions to Lost at every possible moment. It's not another show from this fuck unless it's a show that proves Lost wasn't shit in retrospect.

It's still hard to talk about Lost. I blame Lynne for ruining Lost, I never knew it was bad until she told me. It was like how for many years I thought Mona Lisa was a man.

Guys are a lot more into horses, they seem to have replaced girlfriends. Everyone has shifted to a straight razor without even so much as an adjustment period. There is one rule followed at all times: Gus Fring must ride a horse, and the cast of Lost has a chance to play a significant role.

Revolution is so painfully bad it's unclear if this was actually meant to be a show or just a means by which Jon Favreau can express his shame by making young girls cry after Gustavo Fring, in a purple one-piece, shoots their father. It's a morbid and confusing sort of pornography, as crass as anything completely absurd can be.

Presumably it will be harder to manufacture birth control in subsequent episodes. That means America will soon be great again. After all, the world couldn't go on if Juliet was unemployed for more than a month? Remember when she kissed a pre-DUI Matthew Fox, or when she lived with Sawyer like they were bros? No, you don't, because it didn't make any fucking sense.

For now, Revolution only depicts a small number of people in the United States. In further episodes questions such as the following will be answered:

Does anyone have the time or means to get circumsised?

How many times was the phrase "That's the truth" included in the pilot script for Revolution?

Wouldn't people be scavenging power lines in like two seconds?

Would Google really stop existing without electricity? Wouldn't they all just spend their time in that gorgeous cafeteria?

Can Benedict Cumberbatch just shut the fuck up for once?

Did everyone just forget about bicycles?

Was there ever electricity at Wrigley Field?

The main hero of Revolution played a serial rapist on The Closer. "Don't worry, that's not Philip Stroh," I told my wife. I spent forty minutes explaining to Lynne what mise en scene is. Then I spent another forty detailing why I felt Mike Ehrmantraut was an unbelievable asshole who deserved to die. It was dark by the time I was finished, probably because I went off on a tangent on how stupid Fringe was. The Avengers also sucked, but try telling my wife that.

Everything that matters to me or Walter White is pretty much gone. The worst part is, we destroyed it ourselves.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

"All Things Conspire" - Katie Noonan & Karin Schaupp (mp3)

"I Hope I Never" - Katie Noonan & Karin Schaupp (mp3)

The new album from Katie Noonan & Karin Schaupp is entitled Songs of the Southern Skies.

Wednesday
Sep052012

In Which We Treasure Our Ongoing Relationship

All Her Gifts

by ELLEN COPPERFIELD

When Frank Sinatra began to pursue Mia Farrow, he spent money as fast as he could earn it, so fast he was constantly teetering on the verge of collapse but he was still Frank Sinatra. No woman was unavailable to him. If he saw a particularly attractive woman with a date, he'd send a friend to pry the girl away.

Mia's father John introduced his daughter to Frank Sinatra at the age of eleven. John Farrow was sleeping with Frank's first wife, Ava Gardner. The affair had separated her dad from her mother, the actress Maureen O'Sullivan. John Farrow told Frank to stay away from his daughter.

Farrow was a Hollywood girl, although due to a childhood bout of polio, extremely inexperienced in matters of sex. When Frank spotted her watching him on set, he sent someone over to ask how old Mia was. She was nineteen. When Mia approached him, she dropped her purse, and everything came spilling out, including her retainer. She had never even heard him sing.

A Chicago reporter once asked Ava Gardner what she saw in Sinatra, calling him "a 119 pound has-been." She told him, "Well, I'll tell you nineteen pounds is cock."

with her cat Malcolm

Their first date ended up as a screening of his directorial debut, None But the Brave. It was a terrible picture, but Frank's move was to hold her hand. He immediately invited her to Palm Springs. When she tried to beg off, he sent a plane for her. Mia kept her cat on a leash during the trip. They slept together that second night, Mia's first time and Frank's one millionth. The premature ejaculation that had often bothered him never was a problem with Mia Farrow. Faking an orgasm was soon as easy as opening her eyes.

For Christmas, he gave her a diamond koala bear. Next Christmas, her present, wrapped neatly, was a gold cigarette case she kept joints in. It was inscribed, "Mia, Mia, with love, Francis."

Kitty Kelley's biography of Sinatra argues that it was Mia who controlled Frank. It is possible that Frank and his friends willfully mistook Mia's wonderment at being with "Frank Sinatra" as a kind of sinister infatuation. I suppose it is also possible, as Kelley alleges, that "she was extremely manipulative for such a young woman."

Things settled into a familiar routine at first, Mia was not welcome with Frank's friends. For awhile, she understood his discretion. In her memoir What Falls Away, she writes, "After a while he moved my horse to Palm Springs and I rode in the desert. I discovered an oasis, a place that had been a water stop for covered wagons, where Salvador enjoyed splashing in the muddy pond and where I would visit an ancient Native American man who lived in a log cabin, thickly shaded by palm trees. He would always give me a glass of bitter, warm beer and recite beautiful Indian prayers. I was never able to persuade Frank to get on a horse."

riding her horse Salvador

In the days before Frank's fiftieth birthday party, Mia became so angry at being disinvited she threw an ashtray at his head. When he came home, she had cut off all her hair in anguish. After one fight, he gave her a yellow Thunderbird.

Few knew about their relationship, and then everyone did. Some of Frank's buddies were astonished by his change of heart when it came to dating a younger woman. When he saw Billy Wilder's Love in the Afternoon, he harangued Wilder's wife about the film. "He was quite vehement about it," Wilder told Kelley. "So vehement he made my wife cry. He said he didn't like the picture because he thought it was immoral for an elderly man to make love in the afternoon to a young girl."

with Salvador Dali

Mia's Australian-born, womanizing father had died of a heart attack in 1963. An available replacement was Salvador Dali. When she married Frank, Dali's wedding gift consisted of an owl, parts of a frog, and a moon rock. When she cut her hair, Dali told her it constituted "a mythical suicide."

wedding day 1966

Mia sampled a variety of drugs, usually to Frank's considerable annoyance. Her favorite was LSD. She called Frank "Charlie Brown." He stuck to whiskey, consuming a bottle of Jack Daniel's in a single sitting. He referred to Mia as "Angel Face." He was forty-eight years old. When Frank threw Mia a 20th birthday party with hundreds of guests, she became so unhappy she started to cry.

Mia despised Las Vegas. When Frank performed there, she slept with her head on the table. Frank was accustomed to having a variety of women in his life, many of whom were documented by FBI surveillance. Mia also took a younger companion, eventually astonished at how little her new man drank! Frank still found himself unsure. When he introduced Mia to Shirley MacLaine, asking for her opinion, Shirley told him, "What do you say about someone who looks like a twelve year old boy?" Frank began taking testerone shots in order to perform in the bedroom.

in Miami 1967

When Marilyn Monroe was in the throes of her pill addiction, Frank gave her a white poodle she named Maf, as in Mafia.

They came back to each other for good when Frank showed her a $85,000 engagement ring. Panic had driven him to it, the idea of being truly alone. Marriage was what she wanted. He told her, she recalled in What Falls Away, "I have respect for life in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don't believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I'm for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniel's."

After Jackie Mason did a few jokes about the age difference between the two, a thug punched him in the face and broke his jaw.

Frank oscillated between two crowds, the kind of people who hung Picassos and Renoirs on their walls, and his Vegas friends, more likely to put their fist through a wall than to notice what was on it. He was seamless in both social circles, Mia was the judged or judging one. A infamous boat trip to Hyannisport was covered by the press as if was the Super Bowl. It was impossible to hear the person next to you because of the persistent sound of helicopters. "You look like a girl of thirteen or fourteen," Claudette Colbert sniveled at her.

They honeymooned in London. When the wives of Frank's friends came over to take Mia shopping, she hid in the bathroom. The night before her wedding to Frank at the Sands, he had a prostitute sent over. The night before he'd fucked a former flame. Hours before the ceremony, he gave Ava Gardner the news and told her he would always love her. Mia told her friends it felt something like an adoption.

photo by Bill Eppridge

Frank was strongly against Mia starring in Rosemary's Baby. He told her that he couldn't see her in the part, that it sounded like "some kinky devil shit" to him. There were other differences Frank was a lifelong Democrat, and Mia was against the Vietnam War. She sent a bird in a golden cage to A Dandy In Aspic co-star Laurence Harvey, viewing the animal as herself. Frank believed in nature, the birds, the sky...

Other men made Frank insanely jealous. Publicity photos with Laurence Harvey for Aspic freaked him out completely, even though Mia never so much as exchanged a kiss with a man. If he didn't want her to be cast in a particular role, his mob cronies would make a threatening call to the producer. When he heard that Mia shared an intimate dance with his archenemy Robert Kennedy, Frank flipped out. He began cheating on her with the actress Lee Remick, and he could not get the image of her and Kennedy out of his mind.

Frank's control was temporarily replaced by Polanski's directorial obsessions. Although Mia only weighed 98 pounds, Roman wanted her to lose more weight for the last scenes in Rosemary's Baby. Polanski and Cassavetes spent most of the shoot fighting over Polanski's directing style, the man's insistence on shooting multiple takes. Polanski was really into The Mamas and the Papas; Frank demanded Mia bail on the production of Rosemary's Baby, envious of the time it took away from him. She refused. Upon signing the divorce papers the moment they arrived unexpectedly at the New York set, Mia began spending her weekends with Roman and his wife Sharon Tate.

with John Cassavetes

When Robert Vaughn was on the $10,000 Pyramid, he gave the clue for Frank Sinatra by telling his partner, "Mia Farrow's father." She got it in one. To be fair, Frank did use the same aftershave as Mia's dad.

Despite the divorce, Mia still hoped for some kind of reconciliation. Frank ran hot and cold; one minute he was screaming at her to put on a sweater to hide her thin arms, the next he was giving her an antique music box. Her relationship with Frank raised her profile as an actress, allowing her to demand $100,000 per film. When it became wholly apparent Rosemary's Baby was going to launch Mia's acting career into the stratosphere, he grew incensed at her.

Mia and the Beatles minus Ringo

Mia flew to meet a friend in New Delhi, far enough from Sinatra to forget all about him. She later wrote of this time, "I tried to meditate for the recommended twelve hours a day, but I rarely came close." Lepers tried to touch her hair, the water was far from safe to drink. The Beatles suddenly arrived at her ashram. Paul and John wrote a song for her sister. She became friendly with their girlfriends, realizing how long it had been since she had talked to people her own age.

Mia shot a Joseph Losey/Elizabeth Taylor flick, Secret Ceremony, in London, living by herself in the Grosvenor Square apartment where she and Frank had spent their honeymoon. Her secretary told her, "If you kill yourself, I'll never forgive you." The flat brought back too many bad memories, so she moved to a rented home in the country near George and Ringo. She spoke to Frank from time-to-time on the phone, and eventually she realized it was over between them.

She kept the yellow Thunderbird, silver place settings, a few jewels. She began adopting animals out of desperation. She bought her mother a ring at Cartier. She took in eleven cats, and later, fifteen children. She gave the diamond koala bear away.

Ellen Copperfield is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in San Francisco. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. She last wrote in these pages about the adolescence of Barbra Streisand.

"Long Vows" - Band of Horses (mp3)

"Heartbreak on the 101" - Band of Horses (mp3)

Mirage Rock is the new album from Band Horses, and it will be released worldwide on September 18th.