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

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
(e-mail)

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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Entries in alex carnevale (249)

Thursday
Jul092009

In Which We Look Into Becoming Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart Is The Mother of Us All

by ALEX CARNEVALE

Kristen Stewart is the refined perfection of femininity up to this point. Although fairly young in years and fairly obnoxious in interviews, we nonetheless wish to be born again as her. It's up to science to make that possible.

Before Michael Jackson died, he thought about cloning himself. It's a shame he didn't — and you can bet his concert promoters wished they had encouraged him a little more sternly.

Serious ethical concerns have been raised by the idea that it might be possible in the future to harvest organs from clones. Some people have considered the idea of growing organs separately from a human organism - in doing this, a new organ supply could be established without the moral implications of harvesting them from humans. Research is also being done on the idea of growing organs that are biologically acceptable to the human body inside of other organisms, such as pigs or cows, then transplanting them to humans, a form of xenotransplantation.

I have a solution to this ethical problem: clone Kristen Stewart. Then whenever you needed a new heart, you could just get Kristen Stewart's heart. Harvesting the organs of her clones would just be mainstream like 30 Rock and Jeb Bush. We need authenticity in popular culture, and Kristen can provide it.

Young hospital patients would have pictures of Kristen on their walls. She would have brought joy to transplant wards, victims of motorcycle accidents, Stephenie Meyer apologists. For there's one way for the exchange of organs to be good and on the level — charge for the work, the implantation of K-Stew's organs, but make the organs themselves free to those in need, in the quantities they are available.

Kristen has already consigned herself to a life of photographers trying to snap her every Joan Jett impression. She's already agreed to perform mouth-to-mouth on Dakota Fanning, how would the availability of her lungs to emphesyma patients possibly degrade her more than that scene from The Runaways?

Those of us who have actually read the Twilight series know what Bella is destined to become. It will be a great cultural moment when we can watch her pregnant with Robert Pattinson's bb. Do you know how many photographs there will be of that? There will be more photographs of that than of Jesus.

Maybe we need to get Kristen's agent on the phone. They've marketed her perfectly, the way I wish they had marketed Mariah Carey — like a really depressed lesbian. It is a thing of beauty to be surrounded by moody lesbians every hour of every day. They're good company, they're willing to dress up like Joan Jett or Gloria Steinem depending on the hour and lunar tides, and they're receptive to new ideas.

Julia Roberts will be whimpering about how lucky she was! Every single mistake she makes will be ONTD'd. This is a scary fate for anyone, it murders most anyway. Can we instead donate her body to science?

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

"The Green Word" - The Lava Children (mp3)

"Troll" - The Lava Children (mp3)

"Firefly" - The Lava Children (mp3)

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Wednesday
Jul082009

In Which We Have The Page Turners for the Plebes

You can find Andrew Zornoza's summer reading list here.

Summer Reading

by ALEX CARNEVALE

Summer is a time for reading. We used to have a game at our library (with useful prizes) for books completed. I am sure I bested everyone, but reading, like the acquisition of all knowledge is its own reward. To find that first explicit sex scene, to tell of Dumbledore's death, to make the round hole in your heart full with Robert Heinlein.

These days my friends tell me of what they are reading. I am always cringing! If you like to read, read it all. If you do it grudgingly, consign yourself to only the best. Stick with the classics — the real classics, not what gives Harold Bloom bloomies. Find something readable and rewarding and forget the rest. A real page turner.

Heinlein's most ragtag fun adventure. Great for engineering majors; lovers of robots and cats. It begins in the dark recesses of a bar, it ends someplace a lot more fun. The greatest revenge fantasy ever written, you will literally be cheering so loudly that they'll hear you in cold sleep. Why would you want to read anything better than this?

If you can't get the good Heinlein, settle for an inspired imitator. Awesome scale, moving feeling for the victims of interplanetary war. Here's Scalzi: build a real universe, with some of the vagaries of our own. Put everything on the line. Pack with bludgeoning sense of humor and moral responsibility. Enjoy on the beach or with cocktails.

Since girls don't usually like spaceships (I sympathize, they're so damned big), there's something for everyone. If you can't read this book in an afternoon, consider retiring to Florida.

John Irving's had his moments. Hell, he's had more than a few moments. Despite being a major dickhead, he can really write and his family histories are extremely engrossing. For tears and such there's Garp but Hotel New Hampshire is best for really weeping and has a million endings, each better than the last. It made it to the movies, but it could never really be a movie — it was too wild and wonderful.

There are lots of great multiple narrators novels (Joe Haldeman's Seasons, Faulkner's As I Lay Dying) but this is my favorite, American Psycho before there was an American Psycho. (Have you read American Psycho? It's brilliant.) Yet Bret Easton Ellis weeps his Lunar Park dream about being a fad and Amis just releases quality novel after quality novel. He's a very funny man.

His father had the more perverse sense of humor.

Morgan decided to write a fantasy novel. He'd never written one before. So he wrote a combination steampunk/Guy Gavriel Kay/Future Earth missile of a fantasy novel. It's a bit thick in places, but the mythology is just breathtaking and there's a sequel coming.

The greatest Canadian novelist ever, Kay's imaginativeness knows no bounds. If this guy was in a supermarket, he'd probably be high on acid and praying to the Budweiser display. This is the first book of a fantasy trilogy that makes The Lord of the Rings look like Spongebob Squarepants. That's not really a putdown but do I have your attention. Six Canadian college students get transported to Fionovar, first of all worlds. I love multi-world fantasy with sex and boners and Princes and insane mage battles. I could bathe in The Fionovar Tapestry, I really would.

If you're going to rip somebody off, go straight to the top. Ishiguro took Kafka's measure and turned out a long book that could be 50 pages for what it feels like. Deeply moving, strange and wonderful, it holds your attention like an exciting dream, and although I can't remember any sex in it, that's OK this time.

A collection of all his short stories with generous introductions for each, GRRM got a profile for his Game of Thrones series but he's also an extremely versatile genre-hopper with a devious mind for the unexpected.

His stand-alone novel with Lisa Tuttle is the perfect beach read. A spaceship lands in a ocean-dominated world. To get from island to island, they refashion the materials from the craft into wings handed down through families that allow passage around their strange but vibrant little world. One girl changes all that.

 

I couldn't put it better myself.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

"Dismantle" - Collarbones (mp3)

"Weatherman" - Collarbones (mp3)

"Voltaire" - Collarbones (mp3)

Also, do not read Donna Tartt's The Little Friend. I warned you.

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Tuesday
Jul072009

In Which We Are All Merely Objects

Our Friends And/Or Neighbors

by ALEX CARNEVALE

Neil LaBute can be convicted of most crimes. He's a satirist without a sense of judiciousness, he's terrible with stereotypes, he's made the ninth worst Nicolas Cage movie ever (The Wicker Man) and he also became a Mormon. His films are intentionally provocative; so was Oleanna and it's still a hell of a night at the theatre. But he made the best film of the 1990s, so he gets a pass from me.

Any man can be redeemed from an eternity of questionable artistic decisions with a masterpiece. Because LaBute wrote and directed Your Friends and Neighbors, therefore he can sit at my dinner table. He can partake of my food, and penetrate my v. His ugly goatee and Brigham Young education are no barrier to my call.

Your Friends and Neighbors begins with an innocent meeting of old friends; two couples, Amy Brenneman and Aaron Eckhart, Ben Stiller and Catherine Keener. In a quiet moment before he and his wife leave, Ben makes a (goateed) pass at Amy. He makes her write her number in a book, and kisses her hand. It is sort of childish, but everything about a blind pass is so.

Eckhart's wife has reason to worry. Her husband can't generate a big, fat boner for her. We understand her deep pain. Isn't that the greatest nightmare? To bed down for good with a soft load that won't eject?

Naturally she's wistful for what a goatee would feel like down there. And Stiller's character is an artist — anyone who would date an artist is either a lesbian or a fool, but she is the latter and she wants his artistic ways inside of her. It turns out the girl he goes with, Catherine Keener is a lesbian, or at least bi like Oprah. She is sweet, cold and cutting, like a crisp glass of lemonade.

For example: Eckhart makes his wife a gift of an antique watch that doesn't keep time. A sort of bracelet. Ben says, "Why would you go around wearing a watch that keeps no time?" His paramour, the lovely Keener, says, "Why else would you if it wasn't on purpose?" She understands the gift. Lesbians love presents.

Later, Eckhart is telling us how 'no one can make me come like I make me come.' Love of masturbation: it's an affliction. It nearly cost us the Louisiana Purchase, or so I'm told.

Eckhart's good friend is the pure, guiltless embodiment of his onanistic shame. Jason Patric plays him, in the finest role of his career. Patric is a medical doctor, and as we all secretly believe of all docs, he's a fink. He's a shithead with a larcenous tongue who favors women the way Cesar Millan favors a cat.

For shits and giggles he up and uses another doc's letterhead to inform a salicious ex that she was on some poor patient's lists of partners who might have, probably did, contract AIDS. So there is a male spectrum of behavior, yet it all boils down to what LaBute really believes of men — that they are still homo sapien, still running around in circles like Neanderthals, full of deceit with no good reason for it.

And what of the women? LaBute is accused of misogyny, and that critique is sometimes just, but surely not in the drama of his electric debut, In the Company of Men. It is the greatest anti-male film of all time, and it seems to be practically a true story. That film was about two enterprising blokes who wished to dually seduce a lovely deaf girl — and then dump her hard, for funsies. How anyone could take offense at such a scheme is beyond me...when you hear about a film in which a murder takes place, do you cry for that victim? LaBute is interested in killing more than people, he prefers to murder ideas: the more sacrosanct, the better. Ideas and Nic Cage's career.

But in LaBute, are women simply objects? He makes Keener's love interest (Nastassja Kinski) a slender artist's assistant, the most beautiful thing in three states. They stare longingly at what's on the wall. So your greatest hopes, fears — Neil is intent on making a joke of them. He has static people crying out to one another. He's saying, They need not cry. We can see their sadness in their faces, like a close shave, or protruding zit.

A modest housewife with an impotent husband, Brenneman is willowly, unsure, weak. She is uncertain of what she wants other than hard penis, which isn't an outlandish request. All the men she's with in the film ask "Is it me?" when they can't produce a throbbing member. She can't make them solid. She's herself a ghost, only good for passing through. This is when LaBute is at his meanest — when he believes he's being merciful.

The most famous scene in Your Friends & Neighbors occurs in the muddy heat of a sauna, where the three men exchange stories of best fucks. Humans always remember the best of something, it's usually the only reason for optimism and continued good cheer. In mindsplitting detail Jason Patric (he of Speed 2: When Sandra Bullock Didn't Resemble The Grinch Who Stole Christmas) recalls his finest sex:

We cannot feel for a monster, or the Victor Frankensteins who brought him to life. So what is left for the audience to surrender to? We are amazed, or delighted, or disgusted, or equal parts of each. Then we come to it, just as suddenly, as though the answer comes drifting in out of the steam. We made this thing, so it is ours to answer for.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

"Marbrider" - One Hundred Dollars (mp3)

"Someday Soon" - One Hundred Dollars (mp3) highly recommended

"No Great Leap" - One Hundred Dollars (mp3)

One Hundred Dollars myspace