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Friday, December 19, 2014

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Weekend Roundup / Open Thread

30rockWill 30 Rock's prescience ever end?! I think not.

The days preceding the holidays are always weird and sort of empty, you know? Except for the sales and free shipping arrangements—Sephora, J. Crew, Urban Outfitters, and Sperry Topsiders (oh my god WHO AM I WHAT I AM BUYING) keep emailing me to tell me about random discounts and free shipping. What if we all took the rest of the afternoon and bought something for ourselves? Who cares if it gets here after Christmas?! Anyway, after you're done doing that: this week, we started off with some petty enthusiasms, had a bloodfeast, revisited some carols, pretended we liked our sisters, interviewed Chelsea Hodson, Kate Durbin, and Melody Nixon, APPRECIATED GENE KELLY'S BUTT, learned about some lady poisoners, offered the hottest take, brought Robert Louis Stevenson and Ludacris together to discuss Christmas, controlled our sexual angst, tried to survive the holidays with the Bog People, interacted with some garbage people New Yorkers, and compiled some book compilations.

All of our favorite women are pulling out ALL OF THE STOPS at the end of the year. Here are some weekend reads for you: Laia Garcia on Naomi Campbell, Brit Bennett on "good white people", Hazel Cillis on the best Hanukkah albums, Anupa Mistry on The Pinkprint, Beejoli Shah on sexual assault, Sara Black Mcculloch on immune systems, Meredith Graves was person of the year, Anna Fitzpatrick on the best books for kids, and Emma Carmichael, Hazel Cills, and Gabby Noone wrote some of "best culture writing" of 2014 for this lil' ol' site.

We'll be back here on Monday, with a bunch of treats lined up for you throughout the holidays, so don't you fret. Enjoy your weekend.

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Make a #WishForOthers This Holiday Season

Presented by Capital One®.

We all know that giving to others feels great, whether you’re donating to a nonprofit, volunteering at a food bank or doing something nice for a loved one. To celebrate the spirit of giving, Capital One is making the holidays a little brighter by helping grant wishes for others through their #WishForOthers campaign. Check out the video above to see more and to start thinking about your own #WishForOthers.

To participate, share your wish for someone else – a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a community – with #WishForOthers on Twitter, Instagram, or the Capital One Facebook page from Nov. 24 through Dec. 23 for a chance to make it come true. Visit www.WishForOthers.com for more information, official rules, and to see the wishes that other people have submitted so far!

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Holiday Style Tips For Introverts

get out, right now
Death is inevitable, but houseguests are not. Get your home and your person ready for the holiday season (or any season, really) by stocking up on introvert essentials and giving any friends that wander into your domicile the vague, lingering sensation of not really wanting to ever do that again. It’s like that thing where you make yourself invisible in crowds, but for phone contact lists.

Where to start? READ MORE

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Books You Might Like Because Some People on Twitter Thought I'd Like Them

S&GYesterday, Haley had sent me to the library since I've never read any Zadie Smith (I know!! I know!!!!!!!!). I asked Twitter for some additional recommendations, and they gave me more stuff than I could read in a lifetime, so I wanted to share it with you: These Are the Books that My Twitter Followers Think You Should Read. You'll Never Guess What Comes Next. (Books.)

Consider it your holiday homework assignment (after The Pillow Book, obviously). I ended up checking out Changing My Mind, by Zadie Smith, Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward, and, of course, the crown jewel— Simon and Garfunkel: The Biography, by Victoria Kingston.

(And just in case you're not sick of the internet: Rachel Syme asked a bunch of people for the best thing they'd written all year. Load up your Instapaper.)

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Recent Interactions With New Yorkers, Ranked

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1. At the bookstore last night a man asked an employee if they had something, I missed what the item actually was, but it was something rare, one-of-a-kind. The employee shook his head and said, "I'm so sorry, someone just came in and bought it as a gift for her husband." And the man looked at him for a second before responding, slowly, "Wait...what did she look like?" The employee blushed, realizing what he had done, and tried backtracking, saying that maybe he was mistaken, maybe it wasn't really a gift for a husband, and we all laughed, and another customer said "Just try to act surprised," and we all laughed again. READ MORE

The Poet and His Postcards

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i ask only that you treat my postcards as you would a frayed string of rosary beads…

David J. Thompson has been sending me four or five postcards a week since I was eighteen. I was beginning my undergrad at Purdue, obsessed with small-press poetry the way a child gets obsessed with dinosaurs or construction equipment. He didn't know me at all, but I knew and loved his poems; they appeared regularly in the little fold-and-staple journals I devoured at the time, magazines like Nerve Cowboy and Staplegun and Barbaric Yawp.

While most writers in that scene were doing bad Bukowski impressions, bumbling around drunken esoteries and humble-bragging about adventures in casual misogyny, Thompson, who lived and taught in a small town near Detroit, wrote poems that were more indebted to William Stafford or Raymond Carver or James Wright. The pieces were rural, domestic, and ribbed with an almost ecstatic desolation. His speakers were down-on-their-luck divorcees, paunchy factory men at their high school reunions, drunk friends marveling over Mexican death masks. I sent him a note saying how much I loved his work; the postcards started arriving soon after, and they’ve never stopped.

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What It Was Like to Date in the 90s

Brought to you by VH1’s Hindsight.

Dating in general is complicated enough, but nowadays we have to navigate our way beyond phones with cords to figure out how to woo our potential significant other via dating apps, social media profiles and more. Whereas twenty years ago, courting and dating was a little more hands on.

Here are seven ways dating has changed drastically from the 90s to 2014 and why that’s a great (or bad) thing for your singlehood.

The Selection Process

SELECTIONPROCESS

Back in the 90s, you had to go to the mall or local arcade and look for your future bf/gf amongst a few dozen potentials. Now, with dating apps, you can easily see who is single, their sexual orientation and their likes and dislikes while swiping left or right from the comfort of your couch. Photo via Otessa Marie

Getting to Know Someone

GETTINGTOKNOWSOMEONE

In the 90s you had to ask questions and take notes when it came to learning what music they like, foods they crave, and other top favs. Now, you can Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram-stalk your crush to learn what they like vs. actually talking to them back in the day. Also, you can instantly like or reject someone from a mini paragraph description on their social media profiles. #efficiency! Photo via thepliver

Leaving a Message

LEAVINGAMESSAGE
You were forced to deal with the agony of leaving voicemails on landlines within a matter of seconds that felt like eternity. Now, you can carefully construct flirty text messages with just the right hint of wit after having your friends edit every single word.
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Tips For Surviving The Holidays With Your Family

Creature-From-The-Black-Lagoon
Yes, we all know that your Uncle Jeff’s views on same-sex marriages are terribly backwards. Resist the urge to call him out on his conservative viewpoints while at the dinner table. Accept that doing so will just make everyone else uncomfortable and the two of you will almost never see eye-to-eye on sociopolitical issues. Instead, try to focus on staying on his good side. His army training will come in handy after the post-apocalyptic landscape, when the mutant Bog People inevitably attack. READ MORE

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Remember This?

Sorry, Mariah Carey; Christmas doesn't really start until someone says "Remember this?" and posts a link to Stephen Colbert's actually-very-brilliant "Another Christmas Song," which I don't think anyone has done yet, so: you're welcome, and aren't you so glad I'm around? (For some reason, I can't find the real video of the song anywhere, so we will have to settle for this janky slideshow instead.)

Today is Colbert's last episode of the The Colbert Report; he starts at The Late Show this summer. What will he be doing in the meantime? Probably reading all the really nice things people have to say about him: Vulture rounded up 49 celebrities and grilled them from some nice words about Colbert. Questlove's is the best:

Once, when the show came to Philadelphia and it was the Roots and Michelle Obama. And we decided we were going to do "The Star-Spangled Banner," Jimi Hendrix-style. And when my guitar player decided to bash the guitar, a piece of the wood came flying right for my forehead. And I had to be all cool, but I was bleeding.
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Waiting Is Never a Good Idea

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The Selfie Aesthetic: An Interview With Kate Durbin

Kate Durbin's "HELLO, SELFIE!" Performance Project

Kate Durbin, the Los Angeles-based artist, first came to my attention when I discovered The Teen-Girl Tumblr Aesthetic. Co-authored with Alicia Elar, the article focused on the contemporary adolescent female aesthetic and experience, the adult re-appropriation of said aesthetic, and the hazy lines between IRL, URL, and performance. As a woman barely out of my teenage years, it was SO EXCITING to read a serious, critical analysis of a female-centric online aesthetic that is often ignored for being too feminine.

Recent projects like Women as Objects and Girls, Online, curated collections of female-identifying Tumblr posts, show the Teen-Girl Tumblr Aesthetic in practice as well as theory. The images she pulls from the popular microblogging site are collected to show, as Durbin writes, that “the art ‘object’ extends to the bodies of girls both on and off-line.”

In the same way she validates the lives of teenage girls, Durbin probes pop culture icons to discover their humanity. Durbin is the founder of Gaga Stigmata: Critical Writings and Art About Lady Gaga, an online journal about the "meta-pop star". She has also published two books, The Ravenous Audience and E! Entertainment, the latter of which is a meticulously transcribed and dissected examination of reality television, such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Hills.

The themes from Durbin's various works coalesced in her most recent performance piece, Hello, Selfie! The first iteration of the performance occurred in Los Angeles in July, the second in Manhattan’s Union Square in October, and the third was just performed at this year's Art Basel. Durbin’s piece consists of a group of young women who take selfies for exactly one hour. The women do not interact with their IRL audience; instead, their selfies are uploaded to various social media sites in real time.

When I called Durbin, I was at work on a larger project about Hannah Wilke, an artist who was often criticized for using her own naked body as part of her works. Selfies and other images by women, of women, are critically considered Narcissus’ reflecting pool, a slippery slope into vanity. But for Durbin and I selfies are a tool of empowerment. During our conversation, we talked about owning your own images, the ways Los Angeles is like the Internet, and the selfies we choose to see.

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Ask Baba Yaga: How Can I Control My Sexual Angst?

boar baba
Transcript after the jump. READ MORE

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Charli XCX, "Break The Rules"

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Watch Charli XCX on The Today Show, you say? Don't mind if I do!!

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“We do solemnly declare that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife for so long as they both may live. We have chosen each other carefully and disclosed to one another everything which could adversely affect the decision to enter this marriage. We have received premarital counseling on the nature, purposes, and responsibilities of marriage. We have read the Covenant Marriage Act, and we understand that a Covenant Marriage is for life. If we experience marital difficulties, we commit ourselves to take all reasonable efforts to preserve our marriage, including marital counseling.
"With full knowledge of what this commitment means, we do hereby declare that our marriage will be bound by Louisiana law on Covenant Marriages and we promise to love, honor, and care for one another as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.”

Have you ever heard of a covenant marriage? Jill Duggar has one so I assume they’re all the rage: it’s a religiously-rooted agreement that makes “hmm, I just sort of don’t want to be married to this person any more” an inadequate reason for divorce. I'm not married, so who cares what I think, but I can't decide how I feel about this. Can you? | December 17, 2014

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