Music

Lana Del Rey + A$AP Rocky - "National Anthem" (video)

Lana Del Rey kicks off this new video with an ode to Marilyn Monroe's "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" sung for JFK. Then, we get a pop tune skewering our culture's love of money and consumerism with Del Rey and A$AP Rocky playing Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy... "Money is the anthem of success."

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

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This film suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

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Music

Baths: Romaplasm

Photo: Mario Luna (Anticon Records)

Electronic artist Baths changes up his focus on Romaplasm, which is about pleasures and fantasies and the past.

Album covers can speak as loud as the music it represents. Baths, the electronic project of Will Wiesenfeld, seems to be telling the listener quite a bit with the artwork chosen. The debut album, Cerulean, was abstract and lively and bright, and the album cover was a vivid, neon blue sphere laid against a solid white background. The sophomore release, Obsidian, was noticeably darker and more human, and the cover featured a sky of a thousand grey tones with a human figure in a gargoyle-like stance grimacing, as if getting through was all that they could muster.

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Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen present a rushed "meal" stuffed with random ingredients and served to a public that's still digesting the appetizer.

Sometimes the best intentions of a parody book fall embarrassingly flat so as to render themselves irrelevant once finished. These are parodies with the nutrient value of a Marshmallow crisp bar, or a microwave-heated sandwich from the local convenience store. Think of "wacky packages" from the '70s, or MAD magazine in its heyday during the same era. They latched onto causes, trends, and blockbuster movies and tried to make a statement that fell usually in the middle. Such parodists with access to mainstream America usually were not partisans and their product reflected a comfortable sort of mischief, an acceptable form of rebellion. Think about novelty recording artists like Dickie Goodman and his 1975 hit "Mr. Jaws" that drew from the blockbuster movie Jaws and struck gold. Sometimes the compromise between a very finite shelf life and artistic relevance means good intentions and artistic integrity in a political parody are the first things to be sacrificed to the sweet seductive power of preaching to the choir.

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