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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

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)

Wednesday
Aug062014

In Which It Feels Like A Sunlit Hardwood Floor

This is the first in a two part series. Part two publishes tomorrow.

Wild Goose Chase

by JOSIANE CURTIS

Portland has more Canada geese than anywhere else I’ve lived. They’re mostly harmless, and occasionally cute in the spring, when the fluffy nutritional yeast-colored babies line up and flop flop flop in a row behind their mamas, or scatter as bikers fly past on the Burnside-to-Steel-Bridge esplanade. I’m skeptical, and I walk in a wide arc away from where they gather on the grass along the SW waterfront.

The only geese I encountered before Portland were hateful and mean, or protective, if we want to give them the benefit of the doubt. A childhood friend of mine, Britta, had two as pets. I don’t remember much about my friendship with Britta besides those birds, and the fact that I was jealous of the snappy names her parents had given their daughters, Britta and her younger sister Brooke, the kind of feminine but original names well-suited for pretty petite girls with blonde bobs and perfect blunt-cut bangs. I don’t remember if the geese had names. I do remember that they chased me every single time I went to her house, somewhere between the front door and front gate of the yard, either coming or going or both.

+

Well they can’t chase you if you don’t run, my mother told me once. It seems strange, in hindsight, coming from her. She had been a runner her entire life, literally and figuratively, running track in high school and then moving from coast to coast, always coming or going or both. It seems like the kind of advice a father would give, or at least someone more sturdy, someone grounded.

But if you don’t run… what happens when they catch you?

There’s only one way to find out.


+

Do you know when someone gives you flowers for no reason? Do you know what that feels like, versus what it should feel like?

What it should feel like: The sunlit section of a hardwood floor inside a west-facing French door, inside a cool house, on a late afternoon in September. A spot of warmth that is unnecessary but nice. Welcome but not overwhelming.

What it does feel like: What I imagine it feels like to be chased by something when you’re standing still; when something catches you because you don’t run. What I can only imagine that feels like, because I never tried to find out.


+

When I swim laps at the SW Community Center pool, I pretend I am being chased by a shark. I am maybe the only person who prefers the pool during peak swim times, when we have to put three people to a lane and swim in loops, trying to match each other’s pace. I choose the lane marked “Fast” even though I am not a particularly fast swimmer. But I pretend the other people in my lane are sharks, and I become a fast swimmer.

Whenever I am forced to stand still, I think of losing my legs. I get visibly nervous on crowded escalators, clench and unclench my fists and step side to side when people stand in pairs in front of me, laughing and holding shopping bags and blocking the path where I would step. When I am still, I picture rounded but strong black beaks pecking at my shin bones, or shark teeth taking off one of my lower limbs altogether.

+

He leaves flowers in my car door one morning and I can’t remember if I even smile when I see them. Have you ever felt thank you and I’m sorry in the same sentence, for something someone else did and something you didn’t do, or rather, something, a warmth, you didn’t feel? When, instead of warmth, fear and gratitude and guilt swim fast loops in the pit of your stomach. Those feelings don’t work well together; they crash and curdle.

But if you don’t run… what happens when they catch you? 

I want to find out, but I don’t know how to be still without the nightmares. I want to stop running but I am skeptical, walking in a wide arc around where he pauses to catch his breath. 

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.

"Runaway" - Mr. Little Jeans (mp3)

"Mercy" - Mr. Little Jeans (mp3)