What I'm Reading/Watching/Listening To

I've been listening to a ton of Belle & Sebastian lately, mostly their B-sides compilation, Push Barman to Open Old Wounds. They also have a great free NPR:Live Concerts podcast of a show they did in DC (if you haven't check out NPR: Live Concerts, you totally, totally should). Chris also found an eerily Jeff Buckley-esque singer/songwriter named Matthew Santos. Same dude who did the hook on Lupe Fiasco's Superstar, and he's well worth checking out if you are a Buckley fan. Although not in the past few days, I've been listening to Okkervil River's The Stage Names, one of '07's best. If you are in STL, they're playing an as-of-yet unpublicized show at the Bluebird in March, which should be a good time despite my experience there with State Radio. Seeing a band you really love in a small venue is one of life's greatest pleasures.

I haven't really had time to read books for fun until the past few days since I was crazily cramming in all my school readings, but after class, I was able to pick up the latest issue of The Believer. It's done by the folks at McSweeney's, and is worth the cost just to read Nick Hornby's monthly column "What I'm Reading". I also finished The Golden Compass and am now and atheist. The latest Ready Made came yesterday all about organizing your life. Nice effort, but I'm sure I'm still going to be the slob I've been for 27 years. Sometimes I wish I could just do projects from that magazine and have that be my life. Unfortunately, I gots to pay the bills, I don't live near an IKEA, and my aesthetic isn't really modern, or at least it doesn't come naturally.

Saw two great documentaries that you should definitely check out. Taken For A Ride is awesome on two levels: information and awesome late-80s styles. This film outlines the calculated demise of streetcars, spearheaded by GM, who needed a way to increase sales of personal automobiles. Our entire car culture was basically a construct of GMs business strategy. Think about how that's changed our entire country, and you'll realize why this is important.
Also saw This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which is all about the MPAA ratings system and how arbitrary and biased it is. For example, female orgasm or homosexual sex is almost guaranteed an NC-17 rating, or at least put your right on the border of R & NC-17. They also showed how violence is perfectly acceptable, but sex is taboo, which is basically the opposite of the European way of thought. The filmmaker hires private investigators to find out who exactly is on the MPAA ratings board (since it's not really public information). Of course, the movie itself got an NC-17 rating, so the filmmaker released it as NR. Really gives you insight into the film industry. Warning: total nudity. Lots of boobies, partially for irony, partially to demonstrate how what's totally R in one movie can be NC-17 in another.

We've also started watching Battlestar Galactica Season Two and Oz Season One. If you're into anal rape, shivs, cylons, or Edward James Olmos, check those out.

Off to Punxsutawney this weekend. Bing!


becca said...

Word. I love Battlestar Galactica! However, it's been so long since the last season that I fear I've forgotten some things :/

Gregg said...

Love the Battlestar, too! Has it been gone for a long time because of the strike? We also like the new Dr. Who's and Stargate series. SciFi really does it right.

As far as movie ratings...they are next to useless for me. I found a website years ago called "kids in mind" which is geared toward parents with kids who may wonder about different movies. They divide things up between language, sex/nudity, and violence. Each of these areas has a short paragraph written about them and the reviewers are positively ANAL about it. You may get a description of language that sounds like "3 'damns', a reference to farting, and a scatalogical reference"

It's almost silly, but they certainly err on the side of caution.

We really don't mind our kids seeing nudity at all, and even certain sexual situations. I never understood why something that is GOOD is deemed more dangerous than the violence. The violence is the one I really focus on with ratings. The thing this site misses, though, is context. Other than that, it is much better than the ratings system.