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Entries in molly lambert (100)

Thursday
Dec232010

In Which You're Telling Me You've Really Never Rolled Before Tonight?

I Love Your Nails

by MOLLY LAMBERT

I was told we needed more Black Swantent on This Recording. Surely you read Durga's review. What about Elizabeth Gumport on Wild Things or when I did Basic Instinct? As with Inception, I joked about Black Swan forever before I finally saw it, and then it shut me up completely with all the subtlety and charm of Mila Kunis sitting on my face.

The erotic thriller genre is never dead because it has enduring core appeal. Despite the abundance of porn on the internet, there's no substitute for the speedball of narrative pleasure and filmic sex. Audiences are voyeurs by definition. Sitting in a dark movie theater surrounded by strangers is the exemplary mundane sensual experience. Sitting in bed alone with your computer is the black swan of mundane sensual experiences.

Inception and Black Swan would make good partners for a double bill; one glassy and phallic, the other wet and feathery. Architecture and Ballet are the barely disguised stand-ins for Film Direction. Both men take on their rivals and fatherpigs (Kubrick, Hitchcock, Lynch, De Palma). Both are meditations on control and release. Is any profession more like being the Old Testament God than directing movies? Blogging?

David Fincher made The Social Network into a movie about how we use the internet to create and control our images. Life is the contrast between perception and truth. Nina Sayers looks like Natalie Portman, but that doesn't help her with dancing or fucking. Winona Ryder and Jennifer Connelly are cast as the spouses of Vince Vaughn and Kevin James and we are somehow supposed to ignore the cognitive dissonance that follows.

Women especially are told not to talk about or ask what is going on, to trust men and male decision making abilities without question. It's the cornerstone of horror and basis of the "final girl" trope. It is what makes Rosemary's Baby, Alien, Carrie and Halloween, the ultimate horror films about being a woman, so insanely effective. 

Natalie Portman is great. She does the thing in the movie that the movie is about. Mila Kunis, girl honestly if you get google name search alerts and you see this, I just wanna go half on some weed brownies with you and Miley Cyrus and Macauley and some internet Mollys. Seriously Mila is so cool, and part of it is that you know if you saw her and American Psycho 2 somehow came up she'd be the first person to laugh about it.

Every time Vincent Cassel talked about "doing the black swan" I thought of that thing from The Game about subliminal seduction cues like saying "below me" to get a girl to think you're saying "blow me." When you are a girl most of culture is not addressed to you but you are supposed to act as interested in it as if it were. Would men rather see The A Team or an erotic thriller about competitive ballet? Why can't it just be both?

The best thing is that Black Swan passes the Bechdel test with flying colors, was made for cheap, and is doing really well, going against the horribly off-base yet oft-repeated conventional studio wisdom that men won't see a movie with a majority of female characters, whereas women will still have to go see crap like the The Hangover.

Black Swan's box office isn't all dudes being dragged by their girlfriends. Nor is it all perverts in raincoats. Men are able to enjoy movies about women just as much as I am able to enjoy Caddyshack (and I really enjoy Caddyshack). Don't believe me? Just ask the people who watch Mean Girls whenever it's on TBS because that's EVERYBODY.

I mean thank god Aronofsky and Portman both went all the way, as promised. All of the tropes: the heavyhanded symbolism, the mirror scares, the crazy night out at the club from Blade. Without camp it would just be cold. Aronofsky embarrasses himself constantly in this movie, but that's why it works. He stops caring about cool because coolness is detachment, and this is a movie about getting wired into your damn self.

What if There Will Be Blood had closed with Daniel Day Plainview making Paul Dano suck his cock in the basement bowling alley? If instead of bashing his head in, he had forced him to fuck? What's the difference? Mentorship and rivalry are poorly disguised metaphors for sexual roles. Why is it only in movies about females that these tensions are ever noticed or played upon? If True Grit doesn't end with a gangbang, I'm out.

Kill your idols, kill your rivals. David Mamet is my Winona (forever) and Aaron Sorkin is my Mila Kunis. Let's be real, I am my own Mila, tacky backpiece and all. I'm from Hollywood. Ask me about the time I successfully Buellered my way through improvising my final solo project for a modern dance class in college. It was my Opening Night.

Stay tuned for Blog Swan, wherein the many Mollys of the internet get locked inside a library and have to read our way out like a flock of little literary Nomi Malones. "Publish or perish" is taken to the limits of seriousness as we are stalked down giallo lit hallways by the subway poltergeists that leave spam comments on squarespace.

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She took dance classes in school for so much longer than you might imagine.

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"The Coral Sea, Part One" - Patti Smith & Kevin Shields (mp3)

"The Coral Sea, Part Two"- Patti Smith & Kevin Shields (mp3)

"The Coral Sea, Part Three" - Patti Smith & Kevin Shields (mp3)

"The Coral Sea, Part Four"- Patti Smith & Kevin Shields (mp3)

The Coral Sea wiki

Tuesday
Dec212010

In Which It Seemed Eventual But Then It Also Happened All At Once

Youth And Discipline

by MOLLY LAMBERT

In elementary school I was often in trouble. I could never tell whether I was being singled out to scare the other girls into submission, or if I was just genuinely worse than they were. I wasn't violent. My badness came out as a lack of respect for authority. I asked questions. I rejected being treated like a child. The administration wasn't fond of this approach. I developed a reputation as a troublemaker. I felt I was being unfairly stereotyped due to being ginger. I refused to sing the national anthem. 

Homeroom teachers liked me every other year. The ones who liked me loved me but the ones who didn't like me really, really didn't like me. Why would they? I read books inside my desk when I was bored, and I was almost always bored, except for when I felt like being interested, and then I would insist on dominating the discussion.

I told my kindergarten teacher that I wanted to be an ichthyologist. She asked me how to spell it and I said "I don't know, I'm a fucking kid." I probably didn't say "fucking."

I left the classroom constantly without any real reason and went to the library down the hall, then showed no remorse whenever I got caught because I felt none. I was stubborn and arrogant and nine. I talked to the librarian more than probably any other person at school. She suggested young adult books to me and I bristled at reading anything that far below my advanced reading level. I can't remember her name or even the honorific, but I have a vague recollection of what she looked like (a librarian).

There was a contest to stump her with any question that could be solved with information from the library. I continually tried to win and failed. I found some remote scientific information and then hid the book way back behind some other books on the wrong shelf. She figured me out immediately. The shame I felt was mostly that I hadn't gotten away with it and beaten her. It was a good warmup for the internet.

As a child I was most afraid of men with beards and other people's dads. At some point my position on bearded men reversed, in a psychologically transparent turn towards fetishization. I am still pretty fucking scared of other people's dads. 

There was a mock election in 4th grade and we all gave speeches. I wrote something about helping the homeless that I thought would go over well. I read it out loud to the class and felt like a fraud, as all politicians must feel. I was chosen as the class candidate for the democratic party, to compete against room 8's republican, my friend Jessie. I had never felt any natural calling towards politics, but I didn't want to lose.

I picked the nerdiest kid in my class to be my VP, since he had written the only other speech I considered to be remotely in the same league as mine. Jessie picked a kid who was really dumb and mean and had a growth hormone deficiency but was somehow considered popular, possibly because he was rich. They won in a landslide. 

After I lost, I contemplated the pointlessness of the election, which was after all fake and yet had proven some things I already suspected to be true. I sat on the swingset alone with whatever big important novel I was reading that week, Steinbeck or Melville or something else that I didn't really have any life experience to relate to yet but deeply enjoyed the idea of relating to. I always hoped somebody would ask me about what I was reading but nobody ever did. Later as a teenager I was always hoping somebody would ask me what album I was listening to on my discman. They didn't. 

The PE coach, a youngish blonde lady that we referred to only as Coach, developed an intense enmity towards me when I refused to spend my valuable recess time playing house or sports with the other kids in my class. I was often caught inside the library and forced back outside, where I would read a book alone in silent dickish protest. 

In a meeting Coach told my parents that I made the other kids feel stupid by using such big words, and that sometimes I used words even she couldn't understand. My parents only told me about it much later, confirming all my suspicions that Coach had been kind of an idiot, and that people in positions of power over you usually were. 

A kid in my class told me I was sarcastic, and I told him that I didn't know what that meant. I am sure he thought I was just being sarcastic. I went and looked it up and felt satisfied that there was a term for the thing that I was. Whenever I was accused of cynicism, I would say "I'm not cynical, I'm just sarcastic. I'm an optimist." I am still not convinced that I am really an optimist. It would be optimistic to think that I am.

At the neighborhood playground I talked to all the kids, and when that became dull, I would talk to their parents. "Oh hey what's up? You here with your kids? That's tight, I'm a kid. So, what do you do?" When I got bored of that I would talk to the ice cream truck guy. "You sell ice cream? That's rad. In the future I'll write for the internet."

Sometimes I went to the park with a weird girl I was friends with whose family lived next to it. Once she brought a box of condoms she said she had found in her parents' closet and we walked around putting condoms on all the metal fenceposts. In high school I would write a hit one act play based off of my playground experiences that was seventy percent a ripoff of The Zoo Story and thirty percent a ripoff of True West.

My music teacher selected me to sing a solo of "Where Is Love" from Oliver. I was flattered and embarrassed to be singled out. As a kid the desire to be exceptional competes with the desire not to establish yourself as different, for fear it will be turned against you. I was accused of reading the dictionary for fun. It was not very far off.

When I got up to perform the song during the recital I suddenly felt horrified that I was about to sing something so earnest and corny. Afraid that people would somehow be able to see into me too deeply. Halfway through the first verse I blew in the microphone accidentally, and laughed. Then I sang less, and blew in the microphone some more. This cemented my bad reputation. I am still struggling with sincerity. 

I joined the Girl Scouts because all my friends joined. When I learned that the Boy Scouts would be getting pocket swiss army knives I became furious, then sad when I found out that nobody else cared but me. The most hated girl in our class's mom became the troop leader. Our meetings were held in the auditorium after school.

Once I excused myself to go to the water fountain and when I got into the hallway sprinted at the playground exit, towards night and freedom. When the kindergarten teacher's son opened a door the doorknob made direct contact with my face and I had to go get stitches. I can't remember whether the kindergarten teacher's son was attractive, or if all men in their twenties just seemed desirable to me at that age.

My interest in ichthyology turned to marine biology when I decided that I couldn't possibly exclude mammals. My budding ocean sciences career eventually wound down after the realization that I was way too claustrophobic for Alvin. I had an art teacher whose obsession with Ancient Egypt became mine. I was initially terrified of him because of his beard. I did a drawing of the sun and the real sun glinted off it so intensely, for a week I was secretly convinced I had magical powers related to art.  

I was cashiering at a grocery store and my old art teacher came in. I didn't recognize him since he was clean-shaven and I hadn't seen him in twenty years. He remembered me immediately, since I look basically the same and had a nametag on. He seemed surprised to find me working in retail. I took his wife's business card and promised to call them and have dinner but then never did. It's strange to see the adults from your childhood. What do you say to someone who changed the course of your life forever?

I wrote a poem and was chosen to read it during graduation. I felt completely confident that my poem had been the best but also vindicated that it had been chosen. The administration took credit for my love of reading, which they had tried to squash at every possible turn. I wore a mint green dress. I decided I was going to be a writer, even if I had to take credit for it occasionally. I didn't blow in the mic.

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She authors the This Recording twitter here and tumbls here. She last wrote in these pages about incepting the internet. You can find an archive of her work here.

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Tuesday
Dec142010

In Which We Get Wired Into The After Dark Side Of The Internet

Girl, I Just Work For You

by MOLLY LAMBERT

I was telling a friend of mine the other day that I hate how aggressively disgusting the ads on the sides of porntubes are. He pointed out that I was asking too much of something that was free, and that it was free for a reason, and he was right. It is like complaining that the free coffee at the optometrist sucks. Of course it sucks. It's free. And you're not there to drink the coffee, you're there to get your vision checked.

Porn sidebar and pop up ads make you feel horrible and ashamed that you are watching porn youtube clones, but not because you are ashamed to watch porn. It's because you get so familiar with all the different iterations of the ads. Familiar enough that you are fonder of certain ones that others, My Teen Ex-Girlfriend occupying a slightly higher position than 18 & Abused. Shades of Maxim's I'd Rape Her 100

Who doesn't like feeling a little ashamed? I am a sick half Irish-Catholic fuck. Those ads are always like hey 4th wave feminist lady, so jaded and openminded, here is a huge thicket of misogynist internet porn advertising to remind you you're supposed to feel like watching consenting adults fuck is a repulsive thing only old guys in raincoats do and you're intruding on a sacred no girls allowed circlejerk cumfilled cenote

I should probably thank those creepy ads for making me feel like the internet is Times Square in the 70s and 80s, or the curtained off adult section of 20/20 video (RIP). How much less dirty(/successful) would it be without all the tacky accessories and cheap internet trappings? Considering how easy it now is to find anything you could ever possibly think of, at least the clandestine nature replicates the horror of feeling like you might get caught. Who wants to jerk off in an Apple store? It's redundant. 

This is actually also how straight guys feel when they watch Gossip Girl or Sex And The City or Nancy Meyers movies or listen to Ke$ha. That is why they do it literally holed up in bed with the lights out and the blinds shut with the window cracked a half inch open like the Unabomber. (the shivering wind comes in to say "it's truuuuuu")

That's how I watched the super edited Sex And The City reruns that were on KTLA for a while. Sometimes on a broken stairmaster in the porn basement style tan carpeted downstairs living room of the condo I lived in a few years ago. One time MTV2 showed the Beyonce B'Day video anthology for 24 hours and I just left it on the whole time. Sometimes I still think "wow, that was a really great day." These are my confessions

Doesn't it feel like people use chat programs like confessionals? As the generation that grew up with instant messaging, when are we going to acknowledge that it is a totally weird thing that we all use completely inappropriately. E-mail is for outlaws.

The extent to which instant messaging has made life more fun and helped me kill boredom/put off work is complicated by all the times I've had serious conversations on IM that really deserved better. Nothing that happens on the internet tends to feel very real, although things that happen in real life never feel very real either. 

Nothing in mainstream pornography is all that weird. Whatever sick stuff you like, it's seriously honestly still probably pretty normative. Just look at the viewcount. That doesn't mean you should go around telling everybody what your specific fetishes are (no1curr), it just means that you're definitely not as fucked up as you might think.

Fantasy is meant to be a deeply isolating personal experience. Knowing how many other people are exactly like you would just ruin the fantasy. You're better off pretending like you're the only perv in the world. People who don't watch porn, those are the real sickos. Also pederasts. Everything else is basically a Kardashian sex tape. 

Lines between the public and the private are so blurred these days. Who can tell the difference anymore between internet self and self? As a kid I used to feel fucked up by the idea that the person you are around your friends at school might be different than the person you are at home with your family, and that the person you are privately could be completely different from both of those things. I was a weird kid, but I wasn't wrong about infinite coexisting selves. Private browsing. Private from who, God?

The endlessly shapeshifting facebook monster has changed to reflect the very, very, recent movement towards people openly admitting how much time they spend on their computers every day. The looking at porn isn't even the shameful part at all, it's the looking at facebook. And even people who avoid facebook have their own internet sandtraps; any browsing that is purposeless or lacking an end point. The obsessively hitting refresh for no actual reason, as nailed by David Fincher in The Social Network

It's easy for anyone to Don Draper themselves into believing that they are the idea they present to the world. Some people go too far towards being a coherent exaggerated persona. Others go the opposite direction and lose all filtering ability, telling the internet every single time they are sad (don't do that! why u do? :D)

Ke$ha took a picture of herself getting head, which is mildly rock 'n roll, but how good could it be if you're able to take a camera phone picture (not very good!) Did the internet make people more bipolar, or just expose how bipolar most people generally secretly are? Does mediation always dilute experience? It's completely case by case.

I don't like when celebrities say they never use the internet, because that's ridiculous and they're lying. It's just the new "I don't even own a TV." You don't have to own a TV anymore, because you can just watch TV shows on your computer! I guess there are people out there who have no desire whatsoever to watch narrative television shows. Some of them are my good friends, I imagine they have a hard time talking to me. 

The other weird thing that happens specifically on the internet is the feeling like you're being pulled towards a collective self. This happens on twitter, facebook, and mushrooms. The differences between your taste and anyone else's taste, your self and their selves, more elaborately codified than ever, seem completely meaningless. 

Writing is masturbating with words. Blogging is masturbating on a webcam. You have to get tested for print. After a certain age everyone is fairly committed to the two or three keywords that other people would use to describe or introduce them, but on a daily level no one is really very sure how one day's self connects to the next day's. 

I keep watching music videos late at night on youtube. I like versions that are a few generations of betamax transfer old, because it reminds me of watching music videos on The Box and 120 Minutes. I also like the fuzzier low quality versions better because you can't put VEVOs in a playlist without a fucking commercial always coming up. 

I like to make playlists and let them play in the background while I write, like a Grand Theft Auto radio station of the mind. Then I watch them again the next day in the afternoon for the feeling of displacement from time it gives me. It's a tunnel from one place to the other. It's an endless loop of this Wham! video for "Everything She Wants." 

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She runs GIF Party, This Recording's twitter, and the newly formed JPG CLUB.

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"Visit" - Forest Swords (mp3)

"Glory Gongs" - Forest Swords (mp3)

"If Your Girl" - Forest Swords (mp3)

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