Antarctica was a pretty great band from the late ’90s that was kind of like, “Oh hi we used to play seminal Midwestern emo music in our previous band, but now we live in New York and sound more like New Order and Slowdive at 17 degrees Fahrenheit.”
This song is the definition of winter, even though it still reminds me of when I first heard it in a friend’s car on a mild autumn evening 10 years ago. (10 years ago??? Ack!) Shortly thereafter, I traded a different friend a 60 Ft. Dolls CD (That’s right, 60 Ft. Dolls. Whaaaaaat!?) for his copy of the Antarctica 2XCD, to which I still often fall asleep.
I have an item in today’s Observer on a pop-up gallery show currently on view at the old Tower Records space on Broadway and 4th. It’s about people being nostalgic for things they don’t really know anything about! Also people trying to recreate the imagined wildness of those old New York “happenings”— did any of these really happen btw?— by convincing landlords who can’t lease their property that letting them put art there and put on a big flashy opening will increase the chances someone will want to rent it.
The thing is, those happenings, as I understand them, were all about people rejecting the market and deciding to do things on their own terms— having parties in abandoned buildings, not ones where the landlord thought it’d be advantageous to host them. The platonic “happening” occurs spontaneously, out of thin air— the result of mysterious energies and abundance of creativity. The model behind this Tower Records thing, meanwhile, involves accommodating the market in every way possible and operating at the whim of whichever realtor you’ve managed to convince to work with you. According to one of the organizers, this particular project almost got shut down a week before it went up because the landlord got a nibble on the lease. Also the curators weren’t allowed to take down the huge ad banners on the outside of the building that provide the brokerage firm’s phone number.
The model is basically: take what you can get and do as much as the market will let you do. Which is fine, things cost money, I know, but I also think it disqualifies these people from claiming that what they’re doing captures whatever old downtown community spirit they’re pretending to channel.
P.S. It should also be noted that this show, supposedly so disconnected from the art market, is worshipping a RECORD STORE, a place where you BUY THINGS. (h/t @callmeicebox)
As a writer of social/trend pieces and also someone who likes to poke fun at them for being made up, I can honestly say that I’ve experienced this one first-hand, sans the therapy part:
As awareness of environmental concerns has grown, therapists say they are seeing a rise in bickering between couples and family members over the extent to which they should change their lives to save the planet.
In households across the country, green lines are being drawn between those who insist on wild salmon and those who buy farmed, those who calculate their carbon footprint and those who remain indifferent to greenhouse gases.
While no study has documented how frequent these clashes have become, therapists agree that the green issue can quickly become poisonous because it is so morally charged. Friends or family members who are not devoted to the environmental cause can become irritated by life choices they view as ostentatiously self-denying or politically correct.
Though I will leave it to you to guess which side of the fence I tend to land on.
But now it feels like something has changed. In spite of (or maybe because of?) the mainstreaming of Celebrity Rehab, our craziest celebrities don’t seem to be following that trajectory any more. Upon hearing of Johnson’s death, our minds immediately began tallying a list of other celebrities whose lives are, we feel, in jeopardy: Courtney Love. Mischa Barton. Tara Reid. David Hasselhof. What about Kanye West? We briefly considered adding Johnson’s fiancée, Tila Tequila, to our list, but we suspect it’s more likely she will outlive us all, and even after death will probably continue to exist in her current form, seeing as she is made entirely of plastic. But from now on, when celebrities act a little bit twitchy, when they lose half of their body weight, show up “completely out of it” at photo shoots, completely reconstruct their faces, and/or purchase monkeys — or, in Johnson’s case, a child from Kazakhstan — we won’t enjoy it as much, because a part of us is going to actually worry. At least until the next celebrity rehab book comes out.
So about a week or so ago I was at a friend’s house and we were eating all kinds of salsa, because he had many kinds, and then someone was all “hey how come this one isn’t open?” and held up a bottle of green salsa called Jose Madrid XX. And then the dude whose house we were in told us because it was soooo gnar-gnar. And we were all whatevs bro I am oves and opened it.
And I really wish we hadn’t. I saw two people gag before the jar made its way over to me. By the time I fished a healthy (and by that I mean unhealthy, in retrospect) load onto my chip one of them had put soap (real soap) in his mouth hoping that along with yuengling it would result in some kind of cooling agent. And at this point I was starting think hm, maybe its pretty bad. No it is probably not. And then I put it in my mouth and it burned and stung. And I swallowed thinking “that was bad but not so bad”, but within seconds the fire spread. First throughout the rest of my mouth then down my throat and probably to several vital organs. There might be an ulcer in the roof of my mouth. It was a good fifteen minutes before I could taste anything again.
And just now I was wondering about Jose Madrid. Does he have other salsas? Are they all this hesh? Where is he from, etc? So I goog’d Jose Madrid and guess what? When you go to www.josemadridsalsa.com the error message says “FORBIDDEN”. That’s right! This salsa is so feiry and gnarly and shit that it is literally TOO HOT FOR THE WWWs!!!
The part of the New Yecade I’m most excited for is this: the return to quality. Yes, it helps your Google rank to have key search terms in the headline. Yes, you should remember to tag stories and tag them again. Yes, we have all learned the lessons of ferociously jumping on the latest big news story—Michael Jackson’s death showed how big those dividends could be, and damn near broke the Internet in the process. But if you care about the news and write what you want to read—not just what you think Google search wants to read—there are people out there who want to read it.
This philosophy neatly sums up the success of The Awl, created by former Gawker-ites Alex Balk and Choire Sicha. The two looked at the Internet and didn’t see the site that they wanted, so they made one. They had writers they liked write about topics they found interesting, and built up a site filled with content they cared about, presented according to their rules. (Those writers, by the way, contribute for free, and not because they don’t have any other options.) Yes, they talk about Megan Fox, but when they do it’s like this. And some of their posts don’t even have headlines. Yet, they’re in the top 75 sites on Technorati. More of this, please.