Alex Goldman is a producer for On the Media. One time he got run over by a car.
Staff Picks: August 8, 2011
Monday, August 08, 2011 - 01:10 PM
A lot of our producers are on vacation this week, so the staff picks are only going to be the stragglers who are hanging around. But what we lack in quantity, we make up for in quality! As always, feel free to tell us what you have been into lately in the comments section!
Sarah Abdurrahman: I am picking The Best Page in the Universe, which is a website where some guy named Maddox just rants about the things that bother him. It is hilarious (if not highly inappropriate) with blog entries like “Nobody cares if your puns were intended,” “9 things I learned about the world from anonymous stock photo models,” and “I am a genius, you are not.” Check out his April Fool’s post, which is a mock photoblog. Disclaimer: I am not endorsing the things he says!
Bob Garfield: About 18 years ago, when Farewell My Concubine won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, I said to myself: "This is a film I must see before America's credit rating is downgraded." Well, I almost made it. Finally watched director Chen Kaige's epic saga this weekend and it is remarkable. Not so much because it manages to span the invasion of Japan, the rise of the Kuomintang, the Communist revolution, the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, but because you find yourself grooving on Chinese opera. In the opening of the movie, the art form seems like a random combination of Japanese Kabuki theater, acrobatics and a style of singing reminiscent of a cat in heat -- all cultivated in a brutal academy that makes Oliver Twist look like Gymboree. But by the time three hours is over, you get caught up in the heavily ritualized performance. Very zen. Or chan, as the Chinese Buddhists call it. Ironic twist at the end, too (although you can see it coming from about the Qing Dynasty.)
Alex Goldman: I suppose I've been playing it for months now, but any time I'm dying for a diversion, I love playing the flash game Gamma Bros by PixelJam. It's a browser based game, and it's free, so you can even play it at work! Just don't tell your boss and/or senior producer. The design is great, the gameplay is top notch, even the music is killer.
Speaking of killer music, I'm finally reading Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad, which profiles bands like Dinosaur (jr), Big Black, Fugazi, Minor Threat, and Sonic Youth. It's basically a book about all the bands I was really into in high school before I heard about Afrika Bambaataa.
Chris Neary: My first staff pick is the opening paragraph of Home Land by Sam Lipsyte. It’s the start of a very long, very honest, very funny submission in the Easter Valley High School Alumni Newsletter. Here it is:
It’s confession time, Catamounts. It’s time you knew the cold soft facts of me. Ever since Principal Fontana found me and commenced to bless my mail slot, monthly, with the Eastern Valley High School Alumni Newsletter, I’ve been meaning to write my update. Sad to say, vanity slowed my hand. Let a fever for the truth speed it now. Let me stand on the rooftop of my reckoning and shout naught but the indisputable: I did not pan out.
The rest of the book is great, too.
My second staff pick is a soccer podcast, The Football Ramble. The Football Ramble is a litmus test for whether you like the pure, unvarnished podcast format. It’s just four guys talking for an hour. The host, Marcus Speller, gives the show a loose structure, but the best moments come when Speller brings up a game that happened in the preceding week and the other three guys riff on it for a couple minutes. I have no idea what they’re talking about from time to time because they use British idioms I’ve never heard before and because I know very little about soccer. But that’s what podcasts are for: letting you dip into a strange world that’s not being watered down or simplified for your benefit.
Here’s the most recent show.