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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Senior Editor
Brittany Julious

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 madonna (5)


In Which Everyone Is Entitled To Madonna's Opinion

Girl Material


Madonna's mother was also named Madonna. She thought her mother looked kinda like Anne Sexton, sort of like Mary Magdalene. Her mother thought jeans were the sign of the devil; she was a devout French Catholic who married a second generation Italian.

Her mother died of breast cancer because she worked as an x-ray technician and they didn't know how to protect her from radiation.

beach jogging w/ sean penn

She never shaved her armpits, not even after she became a cheerleader. She encouraged a poor schlub named Russell to remove her virginity. She said, "Are we going to do it or not? Do it!" The expression on her face was halfway between a grimace and a frown.

Her dance teacher said, "Madonna was a blank page, believe me, and she wanted desperately to be filled in." He took her to the gay clubs he frequented, one of which used to be Al Capone's hideaway for cheating on his wife. He would tell her she was beautiful. She went on a diet of all popcorn because he sadistically weighed his students before class and would scream if they were over 115 lbs. For christ's sake, she was only a child.

At the University of Michigan, she was poor, barely able to make her rent. She shoplifted what she could not buy: cosmetics, food. She rationalized this by saying she would pay it back one day, balance the ledgers when she became rich.

After she divorced Sean Penn, she dated JFK Jr. for three months. Jackie Onassis refused to meet her. She told her friends that the son fucked "like a nine year old."

her first nude portfolio

Finished with college, she moved from Ann Arbor to Hell's Kitchen. She essentially looked something like this:

She worked at Dunkin' Donuts, Burger King. She posed nude. She was raped by a heavyset man on the roof of a tenement. She dropped dance, she could not concentrate on it. She started dating a guitarist. She played a dominatrix in a movie; getting raped onscreen was part of the role. She was seeing many men. She was twenty-three years old.

Her dance teacher died of AIDS in 1990.

Sean Penn saw "Like a Virgin" on television. At the time, he was dating Elizabeth McGovern. He quickly forgot about her and with his buddy James Foley, went down to the "Material Girl" set a few blocks from Foley's apartment.

She knew she wanted to be famous, everything was directed towards that. Her boyfriends bought her lingerie, tried to get her to cook. She was not interested. After sex, she would turn over and ask, "What do you like best about me?"

When she hit the club with her backup dancers, they'd hone in on the best looking guys, and crumple their numbers as they walked away. After True Blue came out, Andy Warhol called her. She told him she didn't just want to talk and have her ideas taken. He said, "That's very smart."

dancing with 13 year old chris finch on a british tour

A three pack-a-day smoker, Jacqueline Onassis died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1994.

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

her wedding to penn"Borderline" - The Flaming Lips (mp3)

"Live to Tell" - Bill Frisell (mp3)

"Like a Prayer" - Tori Amos (mp3)

"Oh Father" - Sia (mp3)

"Like A Virgin" - Teenage Fanclub (mp3)

"Ray of Light" - Natasha Bedingfield (mp3)



In Which This Is Not About Love

  How To Make Up Your Own Mind


Based on font alone, YM was the lesser Seventeen. Italic serif trumps squat sans-serif any day. More accurately, toting a magazine whose title spoke to a future, more seasoned age, far outweighed one that might pass for a daytime soap or a new, travel-size tampon ad campaign.

But YM had the juice! They had free numerology booklets, Britney in a diamond-filled bathtub, Ryan & Reese in multiple issues, more contests, more MTV, more visible tattoos, and cheesier Photoshop — at the time, a good thing. They also featured a higher count of dimply, floppy haired boys on their covers: Barry, Devon, Gavin, Scott, Matt. So in that spirit, here are a few vague abstractions, a "Where Are They Now?" if you will.

"The Audible Knuckle-Cracker"

In a bi-coastal long distance relationship

Masterly maneuvers inside lining tears in her peacoat sleeves

Had a pet snake as a kid and named it Palindrome

When complimented about her piano hands she reflexively lies and complains about her fictional childhood piano teacher Thérèse

Untangles gold chains for friends when she's high

Equates talking about the annals of finding suitable work clothes to talking about the weather

Answers the phone with "Sup" or "Yo"

"The Braided Bed Head"

Always opts to sit on the floor

Has an ongoing theory about pets looking like their owners with the exception of celebrities

Takes pants-less Photobooth pictures of herself in her Ecru-Tulipe Saint James long sleeve

Recommends that everyone read Marguerite Yourcenar's Alexis

Has a fantastic sense of direction and can gauge if you respond better to points of compass or landmark routes

Things she hates that people assume she loves: botanical tattoos, Nicole Krauss books, marzipan, impromptu hula hooping

L-shaped couches give her bad vibes

"The Future Jenna Lyons"

Can switch from blonde to brunette seamlessly

Takes an adderall and then pops her pimples, plucks her eyebrows, and bids on trompe-l'œil eBay serving dishes

Lieutenant jackets, Ikat weaving, chunky statement jewelry

Has a twin brother that she rarely mentions; as kids they were Lands' End catalogue models

Is always caught skulking in photographs or lifting things with claw hands

Was worried Chanel Vamp nail polish would get discontinued again so she stashed a supply in her closet

Has low blood pressure

"The Clinique Happy"

Still collects Sanrio cell phone charms

Mouths the words as she reads on the subway

Three beers in, she'll request Soulja Boy and flawlessly execute the "Crank That" dance

Wears her mother's college graduation ring

Has no patience for people who stand on escalators

Never got the whole Winona Ryder thing

Her How-To "Cake Icing Technique" video has 427, 131 hits on YouTube

"The Girl with a Boy's Name"

Can only read in bed if she's wearing a headlamp

Describes her extended family using a wine lexicon: Acetic, Aggressive, Bold, Dry, Nutty, and Corked

Dresses up as either a cat or an iPod for Halloween

When discouraged about life she refers to her Model UN plenary address from junior year

Always has her shawl collar oversized Harris tweed blazer

On days when she occasionally wears mascara, friends of her parents sigh emphatically and tell her that she looks like Natalie Wood

Has especially postural Kyphosis in a dress

Seventeen was treated like a nonrival good. Passed around from sleepovers to backpacks to bio class to cafeteria huddles, the magazine was rarely read alone and circulated with the same urgent mien of teenage insecurity. Questions about Like vs. Lust vs. Love, prom, parents, back to school layering, and ratifying horoscopes, were asked and then answered in one sweeping quiz, personal essay, or celebrity interview.

Especially iconic were the covers: a close-up of Jennifer Love-Hewitt cozied in her white turtleneck, Claire Danes crouching in a pink trench with Mod Squad 'tude, Reese Witherspoon sprawled on a chaise lounge, a Drew Barrymore cut-out from Ever After, Jordana Brewster! Brad Renfro! They just don't make 'em like they used to. Luckily, I dug up some old covers and added a few extra trimmings for good measure.

"The New Me!"

Contemplating buying a pair of "Brilliant Blue" colored contacts

Determined to find the pink Gwyneth Oscar gown for prom

From here on out, no more smiling in pictures. Just pout.

Entrepreneurship vs. Environmentalism? Hmm...

Often seen twirling car keys

"The Cat Woman"

Self publishing comic zine based on Queen Cordelia

Family friends often remark, "You're looking more and more like your mother!"

Secretly already have an outfit planned for Accepted Students Day

Bored by girls who are only now obsessing over Christiane F.

“The Twister”

Parents are upstairs

Apparently there’s a boy who’s coming who might spike the punch

The girls know all the words to "The Boy is Mine"

Count four pairs of dELiA*s platform Mary Janes

Later, Donna Martin Popcorn Ice Cream in bed while reading Little Girl Lost

“Doing Homework On the Bed”

Middle part, no eyeliner, no mascara, just ChapStick

Uses Rhodia notebooks

Surprises everyone and auditions for the lead in the school play

Reads her mother’s copy of To Kill A Mockingbird instead of the one handed out in class

Likes resting face on cold surfaces like marble countertops

"The Pre-Haircut"

Summer before college road trip with Mom to The Mount

Rosy cheeked after one glass of red wine

Recites The Gettysburg Address as nerve pacifying technique before tests or first dates

Romanticizes growing up in a suburb subdivision

Durga Chew-Bose is the senior editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. She last wrote in these pages about list-keeping. She twitters here and tumbls here.

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"Seven (The Twelves Remix)" - Fever Ray (mp3)

"Not In Love" - Crystal Castles ft. Robert Smith of The Cure (mp3)

"My Name Is Trouble" - Keren Ann (mp3)

"Not About Love" - Fiona Apple (mp3)


In Which We Upgrade And Or Totally Ruin Your Next Social Gathering 

Black Swan: The Party Game

by MOLLY LAMBERT with contributions from TESS LYNCH and SARAH JOHNSON

In case you haven't seen Black Swan, reading this reveals and ruin nothing. The party game is simple; all things can be paired up and divided into white swans and black swans. White swans have technique but black swans have essential style. The white swan is the brain, the black swan is the crotch. Not every facemash splits this way but it sure wasn't hard to come up with like a billion of these in ten minutes with friends.

As with Fuck Marry Kill, the thing about this game is that it becomes dangerous as soon as you start directing it to people's personal black swans, which inevitably always happens. Drunk people have a tendency to be more honest than they really intended to. As soon as you start talking about people in the room at the party you are fucked.

But aren't all parlor games kind of dangerous/purposely meant to encourage relational transgressions? Isn't that also why people drink? God knows spin the bottle is built for destruction. It's easy to be the black swan that pushes other people into playing. Who wants to go to a party where nothing happens? What, you never rolled before?

White Swan/Black Swan

Madonna/Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry/Chrissie Hynde

Diana Ross/Donna Summer

Michael Jackson/Prince

Prince/Rick James

Luke Skywalker/Han Solo

Judd Apatow/Adam Sandler

Jackie O/Marilyn Monroe

Seth Rogen/Jason Segel

Jonah Hill/Danny McBride

Elvis/Little Richard (original black swan queen)

Joe Strummer/Joey Ramone

Belinda Carlisle/Cyndi Lauper

Emmylou Harris/Linda Ronstadt

Rachel Weisz/Marion Cotillard

George Clooney/Jon Hamm

the 60s/the 70s


Thomas Pynchon/Kurt Vonnegut




Steven Spielberg/Joe Dante

Joni Mitchell/Carly Simon

American Idol/X Factor


Debbie Gibson/Tiffany

Lily Allen/Katy Perry

Drake/Lil Wayne

Taylor Swift/Miley Cyrus

Selena Gomez/Demi Lovato

Gwyneth Paltrow/Winona Ryder

Blair Waldorf/Serena van der Woodsen

Jack Kerouac/Neal Cassady

John Mayer (musician)/John Mayer (celebrity)

Adam Trask/Charles Trask


Kathleen Hanna/Courtney Love

David Bowie/Iggy Pop

John Cale/Lou Reed



black and white/color

Dakota Fanning/Taylor Momsen

David Byrne/Bryan Ferry

Philip Glass/Brian Eno

Sean Penn/Robert Downey Jr.

Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp

Oprah/Martha Stewart




The OC/Gossip Girl

Elton John/Jeff Lynne

TRL Xtina/TRL Britney

TRL Britney/Pink Wig Britney


Fat Joe/Big Pun

Green Day/Blink 182

David Foster Wallace/Jonathan Franzen

Bernard Malamud/Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow/Philip Roth

John Cheever/John Updike

Steve Martin/Chevy Chase

Dan Ackroyd/Bill Murray

Bill Murray/Andy Kaufman

Lindsey Buckingham/Don Henley

Robert Redford/Warren Beatty

Warren Beatty/Jack Nicholson

Gregory Peck/Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando/James Dean

The Graduate/Carnal Knowledge



Pacino/De Niro

John Malkovich/Christopher Walken

Emilio Estevez/Charlie Sheen

Meryl Streep/Susan Sarandon


Angela Chase/Rayanne Graff

Townes Van Zandt/John Prine

Godfather/Godfather II

Freaks And Geeks/Undeclared

Loudon Wainwright III/Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon/Tom Petty

Harry Nilsson/Randy Newman

Eric Clapton/George Harrison

Tyra Banks/Naomi Campbell

the 90s/the 00s


Harvest/On The Beach


Tina Fey/Amy Poehler

Leonardo DiCaprio/Matt Damon

Matt Damon/Ben Affleck

Priscilla Presley/Ann Margaret

Betty Draper/whoever Don Draper is banging 

Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn

David Gordon Green/Jody Hill  

David O. Russell/Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson/Coen Brothers

Christopher Nolan/Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky/David Fincher  

Madonna/Young Madonna

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She tumbls here and twitters here.

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"The Passenger" - Iggy Pop (mp3)

"China Girl" - David Bowie (mp3)

"Under Pressure" - Queen ft. David Bowie (mp3)