Friday, November 13, 2009

Things I liked about this week

It's too easy to sit here and bemoan the things that have been tough, tiring of simply frustrating--the near miss on the ebay auctions, the coffee table debacle, even the grading. So here are some of the things I've enjoyed, in no particular order:

1. the Mad Men finale. I can't recap it as well as my dear friend Ben (whose blog, Nobody Puts Baby in a Horner is on my blog roll and offers amazing, self proclaimed irresponsible recaps). But I love the show, the clothes, Pete Campbell's confession that he wasn't really sick, Trudy Campbell's hats, Sally's precociousness, Don's story, Roger's rougueishness and Joan for being Joan (and she looked so great in her black capri pants, grey cardigan and white shirt). I  love the 1960s and have published a lot on the era and its media--so many transformations in gender and society--possibilities changed, styles mutated and the world appeared to transform itself at least twice from 62-68. The transition between  early 1960s style and elegance and mid-late 1960s mod Swinging London youth fascinates me--so much great stuff, the world quickly forming and reforming so each moment is as distinctive as it is ephemeral.

2. South Park. Eric Cartman episodes are always sublime, as are Butters ones, for that matter. But this week's Dances With Smurfs was one of the better ones, complete with its surreal Glen Beck parody. Following from Butters as a pimp and the dead celebrities episode, this half season has been one of the best, filled with rare treats. Even the weakest episode offered the thrilling spectacle of Eric Cartman singing "Poker Face" while playing Rock Band with Kyle and Kenny.

3. The Girl Can't Help It. The screening for my celebrity class this week made me realize (again) just how underrated Jayne Mansfield was--as a comedienne, singer and screen presence. She is no Monroe but that's because she is herself--funny, smart and completely in control (as seen in her perfectly sharp enunciation).  She has none of Monroe's vulnerability--she's together, smart and in on the joke. That's tougher to romanticize but she comes across as a lot of fun and as the obviously smart woman she was off-screen. My students must be aware of my fondness for the Tashlin-Mansfield films: I also screened Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter earlier in the semester. And that's a film that any fan of comedy or Mad Men, for that matter, should check out.

4. Criterion Collection DVDs 50% off at Barnes and Noble. Undoubtedly the best DVDs around, although their collection is limited. I have already bought four Criterion DVDs this semester so I was a little miffed about missing the deal on these (especially as one was Fassbinder's FDR set with the great Veronika Voss). But I made up for this by getting 12 more discs--including upgrading my copy of Vampyr, finally getting The Rise to Power of Louis XIV, three more early Godards, an Ozu double set, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, The Scarlet Empress and The Third Man. Some are for teaching, some for research purposes, and others are just for me.

5. Sewing with Cindy and Alyssa. Such great people and so much fun to use another part of my brain and get away from work.

6. Bored to Death. The best new comedy of the year and one that completely captures Brooklyn (or at least the Brooklyn I know).

7. Acupuncture. Always wonderful, sometimes more than others. Next semester's schedule allows me to go twice a week. Hopefully it won't be necessary, but it is currently a great and necessary part of my life. My acupunturist, Juliette Aiyana, is truly gifted.

8. the weather--early in the week, that is. Sunny and warm. I love hot days in November.

9. Jim O'Rourke's The Visitor. My copy finally arrived from amazon (on back order since before the cd was released). His first CD in about 7 years, this is recognizably him and therefore I know I'll love it as I get to hear it more. It sounds beautiful but as it is all one track, it is going to require more plays before I feel I know it and can listen to its textures.

On a final note, my apt is so hot that now I'm wearing the olive-gold Ebba and bare legs, no cardigan. At least inside I can enjoy my pretty Mayle when it's cold outside.


Marti said...

I have all the Bored To Death's on DVR. I am so watching once Californication and Curb Your Enthusiasm are over. Can you believe that the year is almost over? Where has the time gone???

Jeffrey Sconce said...

I'm thinking "Mad Men" next season will start with the Beatles and then gradually take on Thomas Frank's "Conquest of Cool" for inspiration.

Happily, I had never heard "Poker Face" until Cartman sang it. I've now heard the original, but greatly prefer EC's rendering.

Moya said...

I love Curb too. I can't believe so many of my favorite shows are ending or just completed. It's going to be bad reality TV, Gossip Girl, Melrose and 90210 until I find something else to watch.

I can't believe the year is over either. I don't want to think about it at all--I haven't done half the things I'd planned to do and yet I seem busy all the time.

Welcome, Jeff! I keep thinking Mad Men won't take on the seminal events--MW seems to favor a more elliptical take on history--but then your favorite Dallas moment came up. So I think you may be right. Will Sally be a Beatlemaniac and will Pete Campbell grow his hair?

I'm with you on EC's version of Poker Face. I really want an "I ask Questions" t-shirt, but it has to be the same as the one Butters wears. The ones on the internet are all wrong.