Thursday, May 31, 2007

Book: BitchFest

ed. by Lisa Jervis & Andi Zeisler, 2006.

300-plus pages of inspiration, critique, hope, and, of course, some bitching. I accidentally lost my back issues of Bitch, which I started reading in college, but thanks to this anthology, I can reread some of the best pieces any time I want. I can also dip into the list of resources at the end of the book for further feminist-y goodness.

Special favorite story status goes to "Full Frontal Offense: Bringing Abortion Rights to the Ts" by my college advisor and favorite professor, Dr. Rebecca Hyman.

Film: Slither

Gross out! This movie was totally disgusting and really funny. I could pretty much watch Nathan Fillion all day long. Plus it was full of trashy people cussing in Southern accents.

Me: "Where do you think this movie is set?"
Jenny: "West fucking Virginia."

dir. by James Gunn, 2006

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Happy 100th Post!

In honor of reaching triple digits, this post is devoted to a few of the Heroines and Female Role Models in my personal pop culture lexicon.

The entire Bitch Magazine crew: I never feel smarter or more inspired than I do after reading an issue of Bitch.

Neko Case: Her voice is enough to buoy me up when I'm feeling small or weak.

Martha Gellhorn: Fearless.

Veronica Mars: I have this love letter in my head to Veronica, which might appear here someday soon. She's the barometer against which I measure most decisions.

Rose Tyler: She breaks my heart every time. A world-saver.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Film: Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End

This was definitely the weirdest movie I've seen in the past six months (and I think that's saying a lot considering the things I'm likely to watch). But it was also huge and fun and hot, with sexy thigh-kissing and dirty pirate sweet-talking. And hottie Naomie Harris on top of all that. Not a bad way to kick off the summer movie season, I'd say. And way, way better than the previous Pirates movie.

Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End
dir. by Gore Verbinski, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On Heroes

The city is smothered in smoke today, and even inside my eyes are watering. Perfect time, I think, to write a little bit about this season of Heroes, which ended last night.

I saw a version of the pilot months in advance--it generated enough buzz around our house to turn heads. I waited, in anticipation, for the season to start, hoping against hope that what seemed like a fairly complicated show, with a definite geek bias, could survive on network TV.

The premiere aired on NBC differed slightly from the pilot, mostly dropping difficult or unwieldy plot threads (Isaac cutting off his hand), and it was for the best. Even so, the story was slow to start--hanging on in those first few weeks was a bit difficult, but the premise pretty much guaranteed that things would kick into gear eventualy.

And when it did, boy, was it crazy. No other show made us shriek with excitment in quite the same way. Frequently, the only thing to be said at the end of an episode was, "WTF?!?" (Hiro and the dinosaur painting, remember?) Heroes plowed through enough plot to keep most writers churning out scripts for seasons. The show tossed about a thousand balls in the air, and out of that thousand, managed to only drop one or two (Hana "Wireless" Gitelman). The plotlines were all distinct, easy to remember from one week to the next, and the insane numbers of characters never got confusing. How do you have a show with 20 main characters and not confuse the average TV viewer? It's a feat, to be sure.

Maybe in retrospect (or in a marathon DVD viewing), the various plot twists and turns won't make as much sense. I know the constant bitching about saving the world and destiny and responsibility have the potential to be redundant and annoying--they were to a certain extent even when watching weekly.

But I can only speak for myself, and I know that the first season of Heroes is going to be forever burned into my brain as one of the TV events of a lifetime. I'll be referencing the show in conversation years from now, I'm sure, the same way we reference the Avengers and old issues of X-Men while watching it now.

That geek bias gives a story deep roots to pull from, and Heroes made the most of it, without doubt.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

From the Pitchfork archives

I just discovered a short but neat Pitchfork column on Cloak & Dagger, my favorite cameo-making superheroes in the Marvel universe.

This totally renews my desire to go to DragonCon as Dagger this year. Anybody got a tap on a cheap source of white spandex?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Today's reading

I feel bad for my library copy of The Thin Place, because I just haven't been able to get into it. This is not the book's fault. Undoubtedly it is the fault of my schedule, which has been bordering on criminally insane in recent weeks.

I'll get to it eventually.

But today I'm too busy sneaking pages of Alan DeNiro while I'm supposed to be working. Thanks to the Litblog Co-Op, I now have a fun-sized version of 5 stories from Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead, plus a few extras.

Plus storySouth has posted their Million Writers Awards Notable Stories of 2006. I'm thinking my best bet would be to print a bunch out and take them with me on vacation this weekend. Because, you know, I do have to do some actual work in this workday.

Comics: Buffy season 8

"The Long Way Home" by Joss Whedon et al (2007).

Read as monthly single issues. Some story stuff in this arc didn't track for me, didn't quite make sense, but I trust and I'm willing to go with it to see where it leads. The rest of it, the stuff that did make sense, I loved.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

From the OA archives

I just got my copy of Oxford American's 2007 Southern Movie Issue in the mail, and I am in love already. Super-smart film writing, an entire article devoted to Dick Powell, a DVD mixtape, plus tons and tons of movies mentioned that I've never seen.

And speaking of, they've posted an article they ran in the first Southern Movie Issue they did, back in 2002, listing
13 Essential Southern Documentaries.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A (small) compendium of beautiful things

Davis, Kathryn. The Thin Place. "The world was strange from day one. Let there be light, God said, and there was light. There is probably nothing more beautiful and implausible than the world, nothing that makes less sense, the gray bud of the willow, silky and soft, the silk-white throat of the cobra, the wish of nature or humans to subsume all living matter in fire and flood. I will hurt you, hurt you, hurt you, says the world, and then a meadow arches its back and golden pollen sprays forth."

Landakotskirkja, Reykjavik. Catholic cathedral.

Pedalturista. London to Paris by bike.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Book: The End of Mr. Y

by Scarlett Thomas (2006).

Intense mystery story with lots of really good bits, lots of awkwardly written bits, and enough Heidegger to make me want to recommend it to all my friends with philosophy degrees. The end more than made up for any sagging in the middle.


Bookslut has a review of the book, and an interview with mild spoilers.