Category review

Anne Bradstreet is a shit poet

It’s true, kids.  I’m not interested in elaborating at the moment– but good Lord, what a chore to afflict students with!  It’s unconscionable how many of her barely literate offerings are stuffed inside most survey anthologies. What is the reasoning here?  That because America had Emily Dickinson, a major world poet, in the 19th Century, […]

Dal Shabet’s “B.B.B.” (album review)

[I’ve been punishing myself with the unfulfilled duty of penning some sort of official notice of Dal Shabet’s B.B.B. album all winter, this being, as it were, the “winter of 2013-14” record here at la casa del Somesuch.  With every new “last snow of winter”, I determined I would write up a review, and with […]

How’s the new Isabel Allende novel, I wonder?

From the dust jacket copy: Neglected by her parents, nineteen-year-old Maya Nidal has grown up in a rambling old house in Berkeley with her grandparents. –West Coast Hippie Gothic, I guess. Her grandmother Nidia, affectionately known as Nini, is a force of nature—willful and outspoken, unconventionally wise with a mystical streak, and fiercely protective—a woman […]

Althouse on the new Naomi Wolf Vagina biography

One of the funniest comments threads there ever.  That’s saying something.

Russian Eyes

The Daily Mail rounds up a Russian photo competition. (above)  A beggar and his dog wrap up against the cold in Novosibirsk.  Below, Airborne Assault forces on the move.  Also included are some striking cityscapes, a bit or two more of Russian military might, and a nubile hottie dancing in a St. Petersburg fountain with a […]

T-ara’s Fairytale Schemes and Schoolgirl Daydreams: “Apple is ‘A'” and “I Go Crazy Because of You”

For a group publicly active only since the middle of 2009, K-pop deities T-ara have produced a remarkably versatile and fecund body of work.  From their earlier period as a sextet (Hwayoung joined the group in July 2010) here are two chestnuts, presented back to back for maximum glee. First, our heroes in a musical tie-in advert campaign.  […]

Blood on the Dancefloor: T-ara’s Disco of the Dead

For a song called “Lovey Dovey”, this has an unexpectedly brooding tone.  Like one of t.A.T.u.’s hard, glittering tracks of doom, it’s somehow almost– menacing.  Danceable, oh yes, but– But then, we should always expect surprises from the world’s most elite pop act, T-ara.  And surely nothing adds that little extra frisson of edge to your […]

Tunnel of Love: Girls’ Generation’s “Genie” Epiphany

The Birth of Venus, thirteen feet wide, is a pagan altarpiece. . . .  In this cultic epiphany, Venus dominates the eye, as she dominates the picture plane.  She rises from the starbust shell (a trumpeting petrifaction of her splashing foam) to stand in Apollonian sunlight.  She is sex and love washed clean of mystery and […]

If you’re a six year-old boy

and you watch this video– you will grow up to be gay. But then, they didn’t have this when I was growing up.  Whew– dodged a bullet there! [Ed.:  Funny thing I noticed in your bathroom, Lucius.  Why does your sink appear to have half a dozen pair of pastel g-strings soaking in it?  Isn’t […]

T-ara’s Ghost World: “Why Are You Being Like This?”

K-pop powerhouses T-ara, with one of their best songs.  In other words, just another day for  T-ara: I just love this.  The retro flourishes are sophisticated, but what’s really terrific is how the whole effect dovetails with the song’s offkilter, high-energy melancholy.  That remarkable bridge– the way it evokes the excitement and danger of attraction, love, trouble— it […]

Things that go “Bang!”

“T-R-Y!!  Do it now!!!” “T-R-Y!!  Pick it up!!” “You’ll never catch me!!  O–oh no!!!”

Bo Peep Bo Peep Bo Peep Bo Peep Bo Peep Bo Peep Bo Peep Oh!!!

         This: is the grooviest thing– you’re ever gonna hear– in your entire life.  I’m ashamed to admit this but, I watched this the other night amid a bunch of other Northeast Asian and East European music videos, and I liked it– I even mentioned it (or rather T-ara, because I forgot the song’s […]

At the end of Saul Bellow’s “Mr. Sammler’s Planet”

     Am I right in thinking that Mr. Sammler is telling his wayward niece, in so many words, to go give her dying father a blowjob on his deathbed?      Because I am completely convinced of this but I can’t find anybody to back me up.  Has noone ever suspected?  I read an old hardcover, […]

Small classics: Robert Benton’s “Still of the Night”

     Reflecting on what I do or (mostly) don’t like about J. Lee Thompson’s Happy Birthday to Me, I found the film of comparison I thought would be most helpful as a pointer to “what might’ve been” in terms of what would be needed to elevate Thompson’s little slasher to the status of genre classic– […]

Fiat Filmmaking: J. Lee’s little giallo

     If ever a script could’ve used a good call to order, it’s the one for J. Lee Thompson’s 1981 slasher/giallo thriller Happy Birthday to Me.      Though I can’t say for sure, it’s certainly plausible that I caught sight of this poster art as a vhs cover as a kid.  It’s the kind of […]

Francis Coppola’s “Tetro”: two tiny thoughts

     I.  Surely Coppola means it as the companion-piece to Rumble Fish?  Of course initially Rumble Fish was the companion-piece to The Outsiders, the Expressionistic art house chaser for the neo-Kazan teensqueak romanticism of its mainstream rival.  Coppla called Rumble Fish “an art film for kids”, and Tetro, with its total immersion in Oedipal family […]

Double-billing Coppola

     Returning to One from the heart after fifteen years:  it’s a masterpiece.  How could this deeply felt and recklessly ambitious tour de force be so hated?  Coppola birthed a Hollywood Godard movie– perhaps that’s the cause.  I cried amid chills at the end.  Coppola’s Cymbeline— I wonder if Robin Wood ever saw it?  Probably […]

Treasures of the National Gallery of Scotland

     Britain’s museums don’t get the sex-oomph pop coverage of the Louvre or the Uffizi; but if you can overlook the fact that you’re not wandering along through a set from Russian Ark all the while, you might well appreciate that good old Brittannia has some of the grandest art holdings in the world.  If […]

Katy Perry sucks (I’ll say it again)

     While it occurs to me, I’ll recycle a brief notice I extemporized on Althouse a little while back: I abhor Katy Perry. Emotionally as well as sexually, she’s porno-coy. A bug-eyed Zooey Deschanel twee-freak playing at being a slutty, trailer-trash Ke$ha or latex-clad Gaga. Even more than those peers, her shtick is infuriating, fatigueing, […]

“Keep watching, keep watching”: Brian De Palma’s “The Fury” as blank screen (part One)

     Are plot holes in The Fury subtext, or are they the very thing itself?  Brian De Palma keeps the film making just enough phenomenological sense that we can stay with it, giving in to the illusion.  Yet, rationally considered, the film keeps piling on discrepancies, riddles, seeming contradictions.      I think this is one […]

Story of Xtina (poor little pop princess)

     There are certain little pet hypotheses and worldly conundrums I like to hash out inside my head every sweet day of the year.  Christina Aguilera is not one of them.  Still, on occasion, I do ponder the weirdness of the poor girl.  This little item on blindgossip brought me back.      With Christina, you just […]

Practical Parenting: “Suspiria” vs. Gaga

     Here’s something about modern living I truly don’t understand:  how can parents stand for their kids to be exposed to Lady Gaga?      Now, I have something specific in mind here; but first, let’s enjoy chewing over some more generalized objections.  First, her lack of distinctive talent.  There’s little about discourse today on Pop Culture […]

Rococo hearts on ice

     I’ve long admired Anne Rice’s passionately engaged amazon reviews, so I’ve been meaning to get started with my own series of effusive encomia.  I finally decided to get started with this: Barry Wordsworth’s five-disc cycle of Mozart Symphonies with the Capella Istropolitana splits the last five major compositions over as many discs, billing each with […]

Oxbridge dreams: G.V.G.V.’s magic “Youth Cult” collection

           Thanks to the fine blogger-aesthetes at fashionartisan, I’ve discovered the thrilling Fall/Winter 2011 collection (titled “Youth Cult”) from Japan’s G.V.G.V.  Take a look at fashionartisan’s review, and you can click for the full collection courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo’s website.  From their gallery I cull just a few delightful morsels:      Brave a […]

Sombre Secretaries (sexy style): Veronique Leroy Fall 2011

     Veronique Leroy is one of my pet designers, though she seldom manages to set off the radar of the likes of Harper’s Bazaar or the most namedroppingly conscious of fashion consumers.  This almost certainly helps endear her to me; but much more important is her adventurous sense of style.  She makes the kind of clothes […]

Elinor Dashwood: crossed swords in the sitting-room

          “What a sweet woman Lady Middleton is!” said Lucy Steele.           Marianne was silent; it was impossible for her to say what she did not feel, however trivial the reason; and upon Elinor therefore the whole task of telling lies when politeness required it, always fell.  She did her best when thus called on, […]

Booblie Goethe

     What’s up with these weird big bare tittie covers Penguin souped up for Goethe’s Faust?      Part I is simply credited to “Photonica”.  I assume this is supposed to be Walpurgis Night, which may be allowed, I suppose, to encompass some Teutonic tittiedom.  But then here’s Part II’s cover: credited to Dominic Davies/Millenium Images.  I suppose […]

Convent clash: teen witches at Meadham Kirchhoff Fall 2011

     The folks at Bust magazine have posted their own rave review for the Meadham Kirchhoff Spring 2012 collection.  I have kinduva love/loathe thing with Bust, which I’ve read on and off for many a year and, rather sinfully, actually introduced to a couple of female crushes [Ed:  And how did that work out for […]

Child of nature: Marianne in “Sense and Sensibility”

     Elinor could not be surprised at their attachment.  She only wished that it were less openly shewn; and once or twice did venture to suggest the propriety of some self-command to Marianne.  But Marianne abhorred all concealment where no real disgrace could attend unreserve; and to aim at the restraint of sentiments which were […]

Do Meadham Kirchhoff understand girls? (do I?)

     I ask the question in an open-ended, non-judgmental sort of way.      The correlate: do riot grrl/3rd wave feminist/empowerment types understand girls?  After all, Meadham Kirchhoff are the anti-fashion fashion designers, much as many icons of grunge are, say, anti-pop pop stars (Courtney Love, PJ  Harvey) or otherwise perceived as swimming against some kind […]

Meet cute: quiet admiration at first sight in “Sense and Sensibility”

     Marianne’s performance was highly applauded.  Sir John was loud in his admiration at the end of every song, and as loud in his conversation with the others while every song lasted.  Lady Middleton frequently called him to order, wondered how any one’s attention could be diverted from music for a moment, and asked Marianne […]

Teen Vogue’s idea of “good girls”

     I’ve started rereading Sense and Sensibility— and rereading Austen, and if it’s autumn, then especially Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion— is about the best damn thing you can do with yourself; and that brought to mind about the second best thing you can do with yourself, which is peruse Teen Vogue and model your wardrobe, dormroom, […]

Like a Lady: Tory Burch Spring 2012

     There’s a wonderful footnote in one of historian John Lukacs’ books about how today, a nasty young thug will accept and even be pleased to be called a ‘gentleman’, but absolutely no young woman, however strict her rectitude, wishes to be addressed as a ‘lady.’      That strikes me as keenly perceptive, deeply telling about […]

Round round: plastic princesses of British pop

     The Sugababes still exist?      In principle, I always want to cast a friendly eye on British girl groups– to say nothing of hotties in skintight vinyl (latex? –and they really are delivering on the ‘skintight’ part), but isn’t it about time for this revolving-door outfit to sunset itself out of existence?  This glorious spread of exuberant […]

Reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning

     I just read Sonnets from the Portuguese— should we be nicer about Elizabeth Barrett Browning?       It seems the lady doth protest too much:  she lays on the invalid schtick real thick, and so her possessive fervor– the triumphalism of her love, a great distraction from Death, she insistently claims– starts to cloy, or […]

Bundled Up: Anna Sui Fall 2007

     Anna Sui’s Fall 2007 collection may not be as sharply distinct an affair as the previous spring set a la Marie Antoinette, but it’s still a lavish affair with not only lots of pleasure for the eye, but astute and wearable hints for the present season.  As usual there’s a strong sense of pre-Bolshevik […]

Mengin’s Sappho

     This is something I’ve just come across by chance:      You’ll be thinking:  Rossetti? Burne-Jones? One of those lesser cats English majors gravitate to?  But no, this is Charles Mengin, a French disciple of Cabanel.  Considering this, I rather think those poor Academic painters in France got the rough end of the stick from […]

Is Pride and Prejudice Austen’s Julius Caesar?

     If my reading of the Arden Shakespeare is correct, we can make a pretty good surmise that, not only was Julius Caesar the most immediate precursor to Hamlet, but the writing of the two works may well have overlapped.      The two works are vastly different, yet there are certain Julius Caesar-like motifs that permeate the […]

Mormon Disco Queen

     Becky Jean Williams, baby. Granted, I don’t know for a fact that she’s a Mormon, so:  apologies in advance if I misreport.  But she collaborates with Mormons, lives in Salt Lake City, and is tagged with “mormons” on last fm.  Anyway, feel free to call me a Confucian or a Platonist or whatever you […]

Cold comfort: “Flower-Gathering” by Robert Frost

     I left you in the morning,      And in the morning glow,      You walked a way beside me      To make me sad to go.      Do you know me in the gloaming,      Gaunt and dusty grey with roaming?      Are you dumb because you know me not,      Or dumb because […]