Thanksgiving was good. I saw Jon Hopkins / Nathan Fake / Clark play live sets on Saturday. Now I’m writing a paper and realizing that good scholarship really excites me.
tl,dr: things r good
Interests include dance, music, and culture of all -brows. Join me on my journey to compelling prose.
tl,dr: things r good
The first quarter of grad school has been the longest ten weeks in recent memory.
Just stepping in to say that I saw a free preview showing of Inside Llewyn Davis last night — which, no shame in this game, I honestly expected to dislike. I am fiercely ambivalent about all things folk (craftsmanship? great! the whole “simpler times” / authenticity rhetoric? gag me with a spoon) and blame the Coen Brothers for (re?)arousing interest in that whole scene. O Brother!… kinda grates on me; it’s well-made, but it overflows with quirk and imbues ‘folk’ cultural material with a sense of ‘timelessness’ I really do not appreciate. Or at least, I thought it did. After seeing Inside Llewyn Davis I feel like I should watch O Brother!… again…it seems to clarify the Coen Bros. & co’s stance on folk music, its function, and its value (especially on a representative level).
I guess I shouldn’t talk too much about it since it hasn’t had a wide release yet. Suffice to say, though, that the narrative gymnastics and general kookiness of the cast wasn’t just window dressing, as I assumed was the case for O Brother!. Their relative lack of relationship and continuity has really insightful implications for the movie’s consideration of folk music. With its vague but allegedly ‘universal’ themes, it’s interesting to consider that something can be ‘timeless’ not because it makes itself meaningful to any and every audience — as some folk fans would like to believe — but because it’s rooted in a series of events and situations that roll out and blur together with little conviction. There’s not much in the way of a compelling teleology, which means that Llewyn’s songs can’t be assigned any profound meaning. They barely mean anything beyond the loose collection of events they summarize and aestheticize. I so love the movie’s constant mockery of folk conventions — its self-appointed sense of preciousness, its embarrassing idealism, even its whiteness. None of The Usual Reasons for liking folk music are allowed to persist; and yet, even when you discount the fakery surrounding it, there is something hard to resist about a story that allows its listener to project him/herself into it. Even that, though, is a possibility that only goes so far.
Basically the movie’s main goal is charting the limits of contemporary folk music and it’s great. It also emphasizes the fact that the genre was totally dominated by a bunch of brats running around Greenwich Village in the early 60s, which is anything but timeless. See it when you can.
(but why do I get the nagging feeling that they aren’t actually going to discuss Bangerz as a whole)
If you don’t have the sort of friends who share top-shelf material like this with you, then you need to rethink your life
1. I accidentally typed tumblr.vom into the URL bar
2. Who wants to guess how many times I’ve listened to Bangerz this weekend
I won’t let myself love a good thing. I keep wondering, What if this song were carted off to Lana Del Rey instead
mndsgn - golf shirt