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Alex Carnevale
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Kara VanderBijl
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Mia Nguyen
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Durga Chew-Bose
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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

Saturday
Nov072009

In Which Tomorrow Night's Mad Men Finale Will Solve All

The End of Draperian Monogamy

by ELEANOR MORROW

As we await the third season finale of Mad Men tomorrow night, the best show on television appeared to have wrapped-up its Draper-related storylines by having Don stay together with his wife. Now she has to make a crucial decision between some weird-looking politician and her hunky Dick Whitman of a husband. All we can surmise from this glorious season is that Trudy is having none of it.

Incensed by the ministrations of wife Trudy, Pete Campbell killed President Kennedy. He did it with the candlestick, in Texas. Pete Campbell is the true mastermind of the Oklahoma City bombing, which we can only hope Mad Men takes great pains to emulate in roughly 2027.

What you share with your wife was of questionable utility on this week's Curb Your Enthusiasm. You should not share anything with your wife, especially not your finances, or secret Dick Whitman photos. Do me a favor. Dress like this:

And shut up. Pete Cambell was on the receiving end of a demotion. Pryce coos to Pete that his rival makes clients feel "like they don't have needs." Pete's initial paranoia is justified, and he is walking out an elevator while Peggy discusses banging yet another of his co-workers. "They're homos," Duck tells Peggy when he tries to get her to take her underclothes. Is he right?

Don turns off the TV, tells his daughter everything is all right. In his sweater vests and stagey sexuality we respected him so much more when he was telling Suzanne that she made him feel things he's never felt before. Now he's signed over his things to the kookiest blond on Draper Court. Don's wife's hoo ha smells like a nectarine.

Ms. Draper's peculiar political homo proposed to her, and now awaits his reply like an election result. He is perhaps addicted to this scent, or else as a graying old man he can no longer solicit the affections of single women. Ms. Draper made out with him in the car, which is like the only rest stop on the long road to unsatisfying infidelity. But cheating is by nature a displeasurable task.

Roger Sterling is a man of means. He once cribbed together a suitable wedding toast from the vast disappointments of his business partner and wife. His daughter is rendered happy in her institution of marriage. She is the only one. Roger makes phone calls from his wife's bedside, praises his first wife, wishes for another. Can nothing stall these unending dreams of desire?

If nothing else, a daughter knows how to control her parents. Examples of other demanding daughters include

Lee Harvey Oswald was a committed Communist, just as committed to his cause as any of us are to our own particular causes. Others know not want cause they should commit to, and end up in "marketing." Pete Campbell's future is bleak, just wait until he experiences the cagey unrest of the Y2K bug.

With a hard decision looming, it's best to boil things down to Ms. Draper's imaginative meeting with her father's estate lawyer. "Is he a good provider?" the guy asks her, as if he doesn't know the answer! I wish I could pay someone to slowly force me to accept the decisions I've made in my life through passive-aggressive rhetorical questions. Actually, I can probably secure the same lawyer- he's likely still practicing in the Long Island area.

Nevermind the accoutrements. How can we be happy in our own skins without legal aid? At least someone has figured out how. Perhaps she gives lessons.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Manhattan. She tumbls here.

"First Song for B" - Devendra Banhart (mp3)

"Last Song for B" - Devendra Banhart (mp3)

"Angelika" - Devendra Banhart (mp3)

learn more about Mr. Banhart's new album What Will We Be here


Friday
Nov062009

In Which You Will Know Adam Goldberg Even Before You Hear His Chimes

Revealing Art

by ALMIE ROSE

(Untitled)

dir. Jonathan Parker

96 minutes

Remember that guy in Annie Hall who comes up to Annie Hall at a party and says, “Touch my heart with your foot”? (Untitled) is like a movie about that guy. And his friends.

The guy in question is musician Adrian Jacobs, played with an expertly furrowed brow by Adam Goldberg. (Untitled) is funny and sharp about the art scene in New York and how ridiculous, yet heartbreaking, it can be. In any creative field it’s often a struggle trying to figure out where your next job is going to come from or even how to get your foot in the door. Sometimes it seems like everyone in the world is more successful than you are, and this angst is perfectly captured in Adam Goldberg’s tortured face. Tortured looks good on him; mark this film as the first time in history that I have ever been seriously attracted to this guy. One of the truest clichés there is is that brooding artists will always be sexy.

Bringing sexy to the table is Marley Shelton as gallery owner Madeleine Gray. Her skirts alone are like works of art.

Gray, in her audible skirts and vanity glasses, is a perfect representation of the Urban Outfitters generation. Here costumes and set design are purposeful clues – everything is there to reveal something about the characters. In Glamorama Bret Easton Ellis wrote, “The better you look, the more you see.” I couldn’t help but think of this maxim as I envied the impressive sculptural necklace Shelton’s character wears in her first scene. Adrian actually uses its sound for one of his clusterfuck musical works.

Madeleine is a shrewd woman; the kind of person who is too smart to reveal what she’s really thinking. This of course makes Adrian fall for her. “What did she do to catch your attention?” his female band member asks wistfully. Oh honey, I know, I’ve been there. Seeing (Untitled) is a good way to spend your time and practically a must if you went to The New School.

Almie Rose is the senior contributor to This Recording. She blogs here. In New York, (Untitled) is playing at the Angelika Film Center this week. In L.A. it's playing at Laemmie's Sunset 5.  

"Old Orchard Beach" - The Magnetic Fields (mp3)

"Summer Lies" - The Magnetic Fields (mp3)

"Jeremy" - The Magnetic Fields (mp3)

Thursday
Nov052009

In Which Some Time Goes By

It Is Still Dark Outside

by YVONNE GEORGINA PUIG

Day in life: I wake up around seven. It's steaming hot outside. I am seventeen. My sister, Vanessa, is nineteen and studying at Oxford for the summer. I am at home in Houston, helping my grandmother take care of my ailing grandfather. He has heart disease, and is very slowly, and somewhat painlessly, dying.

This day I wake early, as I need to pick up my grandfather, Poppa, and take him to see Gramma, who broke her arm a few days ago in a car accident, at the hospital. This is difficult as Poppa is feeble, and unaccustomed to Gramma's absence.

When I arrive he is awake and sitting at the kitchen table. The light is gray and cold, despite the heat outside. I help him with his cane and we drive down Gessner to Memorial Hermann Hospital. He looks strange walking down the hallways, very thin, like a patient. I am thinking about my boyfriend, and vaguely, about applying for college in the fall.

Though I'd rather be with my boyfriend or sleeping, I understand there is some significance, some meaning, in spending this time with my grandparents. Gramma is upbeat. She tells us about the doctors and the medicines and the big operation on her arm. She looks like Lucy, but with gray hair. And Poppa is like Desi. When Gramma irritates him, he grinds his teeth and mumbles in Spanish. Gramma makes a joke about not needing to stick around while the nurse helps her use the restroom, and Poppa and I go to mass at St. Cecilia. I went to school here in eighth grade and I wonder if I'll see anyone I know, and hope that I don't.

During the service I can smell Poppa's breath. An old smell, a from-deep-inside kind of smell. I wonder if Poppa believes any of the Jesus talk, because I don't, and decide that he probably doesn't either. It's just a part of his and Gramma's history, and now it is part of mine.

I wait in the pew while he takes communion. It was a point of contention between my parents and Gramma and Poppa that my sister and I weren't baptised, but I'm not sure it made a difference to Poppa. Father Risotto has an unbearable lisp. We sit on the far right of the church, and Poppa spends most of the service looking around at the parishioners. After mass, we walk through the church parking lot and a car pulls in front of us, too fast. Poppa stumbles and shakes his fist and grumbles something in Spanish. I take him home and he watches some football and smokes a cigarette even though he shouldn't be smoking. Tomorrow I will come again and we will go back to the hospital.

A few weeks later, the phone rings at 5 a.m. I hear my mom saying, "Evelyn? You mean George, not Evelyn. Evelyn?" She comes into my room. "Yvonne, wake up, Gramma died." Gramma? Gramma was not dying, Poppa was dying. I climb out of bed like a robot and drive to their house. It it still dark outside. I can't stop my hands from shaking.

I walk in and Poppa is in his hospital bed, beside the big bed where they slept together before Poppa got sick. Gramma is in the bed on her back, eyes closed. "She's gone, sweetie," Poppa says and I hug him. There's a flurry of paramedic activity and I'm told to sit outside. Some time goes by in which I sit on the couch and stare off and wait, various people show up, and then Poppa is wheeled into the living room. He leans over in the wheelchair and begins to cry into the crux of his elbow. I get up to hug him, but someone signals me to let him be. A few of us sit and watch him cry. He's just said goodbye to her. I hear someone say they were married almost sixty years. Another person tells me they are taking her away now, do I want to say goodbye?

She is on the floor, pale, when I enter the room. I am still shaking. I sit on my knees and kiss her forehead. It's slightly cold, which doesn't surprise me, but the stickiness does. Goodbye Gramma, I say. And then I leave. The afternoon is busy. Kay shows up and she hugs me and I cry when no one is looking. I sit with Poppa for a few minutes before I go home at the end of the day. He is watching football and not saying much. I ask him if he needs anything and says no. My dad comes in and asks about arrangements. I give Poppa a hug and tell him that I'll see him tomorrow.

A few hours later, Poppa dies. My dad and sister were there; his mouth began opening strangely and Martha, an unpleasant distant cousin, kept saying Come to Jesus, George, Come to Jesus. He died in the same room as Gramma, twelve hours later.

Yvonne Georgina Puig is the contributing editor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She tumbls here.

"Crack the Shutters" - Snow Patrol (mp3)

"Set Fire to The Third Bar" - Snow Patrol ft. Martha Wainwright (mp3)

"Crazy In Love" - Snow Patrol (mp3)