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Alex Carnevale
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Mia Nguyen
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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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Thursday
Apr022009

In Which The Allures of Françoise Need Not The Internet

More Talented Than Jane Birkin

by BRITTANY JULIOUS

I don’t want to say it’s all about the bangs. But when it comes to Françoise, it’s all about the bangs.

I think we’d all like to believe that our infatuation with certain celebrities has some sort of redeeming quality beyond the sun-kissed coif of Jennifer Aniston or the all-too romantic curls of Patrick Dempsey, but that would be a lie. For some, the personal style trumps artistic merit (no matter how large that merit may be).

There are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of young, waif-like females parading around street corners and down back alleys. Hours spent browsing websites online for inspiration, although most likely misinformed by a slew of images culled from Google; they immediately find comfort in the image of Françoise.

Her eyes are large, round and warm. Her beauty, natural and graceful, is a respite from plasticized and inorganic expectations for the modern females. Their slender physiques are clothed in dark black pants and striped tops. And their hair? Full of shine, it's sleek, so memorable that one can’t help but admire the staying power. The undeniable and effortless chic that Françoise defined over forty years ago.

That’s not to say that Françoise was and is not a symbol of female ingenuity, talented beyond compare. Of all of the fascinating women of her era, Françoise seemed to best embody the characteristics that made the 1960s memorable.

Her songs were of the ye-ye style, yes, but she never abandoned her musicianship for the sake of quaint, sometimes simplistic French pop music. “Comment te dire adieu,” remains one of her best known songs as well as a critical favorite (especially among the hipster set).

As the ye-ye style eventually lost popularity, Françoise merely expanded her musical horizons. Although she is arguably the most well known ye-ye artist beginning with her first record, Tous les garçons et les filles, the end of the ‘60s saw a richer, more realized phase of her musical career (with songs recorded in French, German, and English) by way of over 20 albums recorded in the following three decades.

The modern Francophile, however, seems to skim over this point.

Here’s a good starting point. Here’s another. And in case it all seems to confusing, remember that Träume (1970) is lush and warm and meant for fall, Gin Tonic (1980) is the re-emergence of the “hard-to-pin-down” cool that made Françoise Françoise, and Clair-obscur (2000) is the comeback, the re-awakening and the reminder that some things just get better with age.

Brittany Julious is the senior contributor to This Recording. She tumbls at britticisms and blogs at glamabella.

ENJOY THE MUSIC OF THIS SPECIAL ONE

download the album comment te dire adieu here

"Le Temps de L'Amour" - Francoise Hardy (mp3)

"The Rose" - Francoise Hardy (mp3)

"C'a Rate" - Francoise Hardy (mp3)

Wednesday
Apr012009

In Which He Liked Frank O'Hara For The Same Reason He Had Not Liked Him Before

 

A Note on Frank O'Hara In The Early Fifties

by KENNETH KOCH

The first thing of Frank O'Hara's I ever read was a story in the Harvard Advocate in 1948. It was about some people drunkenly going up stairs. During the next year, when I was living in New York, John Ashbery told me that Frank had started to write poems and that they were very good. I forget if I met Frank before or after John told me he had started writing poems. Actually, as I later found out, Frank had started writing poetry a long time before, and prose was only a temporary deviation for him.

In any case, the first time I read some of Frank's poems was in the summer of 1950, just before I left for France on a Fulbright grant. John Ashbery had mailed them to me and had described them enthusiastically. I didn't like them very much. I wrote back to John that Frank was not as good as we were, and then gave a few reasons why.

These poems by Frank were somehow packed in one of my suitcases when I went abroad, and I happened to read them again when I was in Aix-en-Provence. This time they seemed to me marvellous; I was very excited about them. Also very intimidated. I believe I liked them for the same reasons I had not liked them before - i.e. because they were sassy, colloquial, and full of realistic detail.

It was not till the summer of 1952 (after coming back from Europe, I had gone to California for a year) that I got to know Frank well. Know is not really the right word since it suggests something fairly calm and intellectual. This was something much more emotional and wild. Frank in his first two years in New York was having this kind of explosive effect on a lot of people that he met. Larry Rivers laters said that Frank had a way of making you feel you were terribly important and that this was very inspiring, which is true, but it was more than that.

His presence and his poetry made things go on around him which could not have happened in the same way if he hadn't been there. I know this is true of my poetry, and I would guess it was true also of the poetry of James Schuyler and John Ashbery, and of the painting of Jane Freilicher, Larry Rivers, Mike Goldberg, Grace Hartigan and other painters too.

One of the most startling things about Frank in the period when I first knew him was his ability to write a poem when other people were talking, or even to get up in the middle of a conversation, get his typewriter, and write a poem, sometimes participating in the conversation while doing so. This may sound affected when I describe it, but it wasn't so at all. The poems he wrote in this way were usually very good poems. I was electrified by his ability to do this at once tried to do it myself - (with considerably less success).

Frank and I collaborated on a birthday poem for Nina Castelli (summer 1952), a sestina. This was the first time I had written a poem with somebody else and also the first time I had been able to write a good sestina (my earlier attempts had always bogged down in mystery or symbolism). Artistic collaboration, like writing a poem in a crowded room, is something that seemed to be a natural part of Frank's talent. I put this in the past tense not because these things are not part of Frank's talent now, but for the sake of history - since I believe that, as far as American poetry is concerned, he started something.

Something about Frank that impressed me during the composition of the sestina was his feeling that the silliest idea actually in his head was better than the most profound idea in somebody's else head - which seems obvious once you know it, but how many poetrs have lived how many total years without finding it out?

This Nina Sestina collaboration occurred during one of the weekends in teh summer of 1952 when Frank and I, Jane Freilicher, Larry Rivers, and various other writers and painters were in Easthampton. Jane and Frank were sporadically engaged in being in a movie which was being made out there by John Larouche.

Frank's most famous poem during the summer was "Hatred," a rather long poem which he had typed up on a very long piece of paper which had been part of a roll. Another of his works which burst on us all like bomb then was "Easter,"  a wonderful, energetic and rather obscene poem of four or five pages, which consisted mainly of a procession of various bodily parts and other objects across a vast landscape. It was like Lorca and Whitman in some ways, but very original.

I remember two things about it which were new: one was the phrase "the roses of Pennsylvania," and the other was the line in the middle of the poem which began "It is Easter!" (Easter, though it was the title, had not been mentioned before in the poem and apparently had nothing to do with it.) What I saw in these lines was 1) inspired irrelevance which turns out to be relevant (once Frank had said, "It is Easter!" the whole poem was obviously about death and resurrection); 2) the use of movie techniques in poetry (in this case coming down hard on the title in the middle of the work); 3) the detachment of beautiful words from traditional contexts and putting them in curious new American ones ("roses of Pennsylvania").

He also mentioned a lot of things just because he liked them - for example, jujubes. Some of these things had not appeared before in poetry. His poetry contained aspirin tablets, Good Teeth buttons, and water pistols. His poems were full of passion and life; they weren't trivial because small things were called in them by name.

Frank and I both wrote long poems in 1953 (Second Avenue and When the Sun Tries To Go On). I had no clear intention of writing a 2400-line poem (which it turned out to be) before Frank said to me, on seeing the first 72 lines - which I regarded as a poem by itself - "Why don't you go on with it as long as you can?" Frank at this time decided to write a long poem too; I can't remember how much his decision to write such a poem had to do with his suggestion to me to write mine.

While we were writing out long poems, we would read each other the results daily over the telephone. This seemed to inspire us a great deal.

Frank was very polite and also very competitive. Sometimes he gave other people his own best ideas, but he was quick and resourceful enough to use them himself as well. It was almost as though he wanted to give his friends a head start and was comeptitive partly to make up for this generosity. One day I told Frank I wanted to write a play, and he suggested that I, like no other writer living, could write a great drama about the conquest of Mexico. I thought about this, but not for too long, since within 3 or 4 days Frank had written his play Awake in Spain, which seemed to me to cover the subject rather thoroughly.

Something Frank had that none of the other artists and writers I know had to the same degree was a way of feeling and acting as thought being an artist were the most natural thing in the world. Compared to him everyone else seemed a little self-conscious, abashed, or megalomaniacal. This naturalness I think was really quite strange in New York in 1952. Frank's poetry had and has this same kind of ease about the fact that it exists that is so astonishing.

April 1964

"Luv In This Club" - Damian Weber (mp3)

"My Goofy Girl Was A Kookstar" - Damian Weber (mp3)

"I'd Be Wrong To Say I Loved You Not Quite Or Almost Always" - Damian Weber (mp3)

"Break Free On A Rickshaw Home" - Damian Weber (mp3)

House Press Music website

Damian Weber myspace

Monday
Mar302009

In Which I Went To Space And Came Back And Nobody Gives A Shit

I'm So Glad You Came Over

by ELEANOR MORROW

Eastbound & Down

creators, Ben Best, Jody Hill & Danny McBride

When I was about seven I spent a good portion of my days with a younger girl who lived in my apartment complex named Emily. She became the embodier of my darker plans. She was fearsome in her desire to win my approval, because I was a year older than her, and she would endure any humiliation if she thought it likely to please me.

Thinking back on those days, I feel the exuberant joy of being worshipped. This is something like what keeps former MLB star Kenny Powers plugging along. When he's at his most depraved, his most conceited, he still manages to win the admiration of others.

Returning to his hometown after an MLB career that had many furloughs, Powers is offered the position of physical education instructor at the local high school. That Kenny has no such accreditation and shouldn't be in a room with a minor is no matter for Principal Cutler, who ultimately will relinquish his fiancee to the washed up racist.

April is Kenny's long-lost paramour, and when Eastbound & Down begins, she seems about as interested in him as a bunny rabbit in a bear trap. Kenny's not the most appealing option, but he is more of a man than Principal Cutler will ever be. The look in April's eyes as she diets down to please one of them two imbeciles hasn't been on television since those first sad moments of Three's Company.

Kenny's a desperate man, but another teacher soons volunteers to be his assistant. Stevie is more pathetic than Kenny, a mentality that it is hard to believe exists. His directorial debut of Kenny's comeback video is screened every place Kenny wants to be worshipped by more than just a chronic masturbator.

Executive produced by Will Ferrell's poolboys, Eastbound & Down is pretty much a full-length comedic movie stretched over a six episode cable TV arc. Hating a character usually works a lot better in a movie than a television show, which depends on the repeated empathy towards a character to trigger more than one viewing.

Kenny's dickiness is backed up by a certain vulnerability, and that's probably what April finds attractive. Hell, Basil Fawlty got a lot of ass, why not Kenny Powers?

Deadwood alum John Hawkes as Kenny's brother Dustin and his blond wife put up the obnoxious uncle of their children out of a Christian duty to the less fortunate. Soon Dustin's mouthing off to his construction clients and the kids are developing a deep appreciation for the highest forms of pornography. Really, Eastbound & Down is a morality play. It suggests when and where it is appropriate to treat people like an asshole, and it displays the consequences of positive and negative behavior.

In the series' climactic scene, Kenny Powers throws a 100 mph fastball and knocks out the eye of Reggie Macworthy (Craig Robinson), his chief rival at a promotional event for Ashley Schaeffer BMW. Ferrell's Schaeffer is in the background after the gruesome feat, waving around a baseball bat at no one in particular. No matter how ridiculous or gross we are as we run over other people, the assholes will always be haunted by what it is they've done.

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

"All or Nothing" - Au Revoir Simone (mp3)

"Another Likely Story" - Au Revoir Simone (mp3)

"Organized Scenery" - Au Revoir Simone (mp3)

"The Last One" - Au Revoir Simone (mp3)