Jamie York is a producer for On the Media.
OTM Staff Picks, July 25, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011 - 11:58 AM
It's Monday. Time for OTM staff picks. Feel free to offer us feedback in the comments section, and enjoy!
Sarah Abdurrahman: In honor of the suffocating heat wave, which peaked here on Saturday, I pick the Masta Ace song “Born To Roll” for one line that captured the sentiment of the weekend: “It’s Saturday, it’s Saturday, the heat might smother you.” Really, it’s just an excuse to pick this song because I generally love it.
Also, the Lebanese film “Caramel,” which I recently re-watched and loved it even more than the first time. To quote Masta Ace, “check it out y’all.”
Bob Garfield: A mere 100 pages into Eventide by Kent Haruf, I don't wish for it to end. Painful and sweet, spare and intense, frightening and inspiring. All at once.
Brooke Gladstone: Ok. No point in attempting to cover-up what has long been apparent to everybody: Geek – c’est moi. I had a beach weekend, finally. And I had a beach book: The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. Yes, bought it in hardcover. A splendid time was had by me.
Alex Goldman: This weekend, I read a book from the 33 1/3 series about Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. I knew a lot of the back story about the creation of the album already, but the author draws some pretty interesting parallels between Public Enemy in the late 80’s and James Brown in the late 60’s, with liberal sprinklings of Wattstax, Funkadelic and Motown. I think the most interesting revelation that came from reading this book (and the 33 1/3 on Paul’s Boutique) is that it seems like absolutely no one likes Russell Simmons.
Chris Neary: "The Best Show" Gems
If you're familiar with The Best Show with Tom Scharpling, you'll be delighted to see the best comedy segments from the show laid out in this handy, if not stylish, webpage.
If you’re not familiar with The Best Show, bear with me. It airs on WFMU, a listener supported, non-commercial radio station broadcasting from Jersey City. I used to live in Jersey City, and I wore living in the heart of WFMU country like a badge.
The programming schedule features shows with names like “Nardwuar The Human Serviette Show” and “Inflatable Squirrel Carcass.” The Best Show airs Tuesdays from nine to midnight. That’s prime time for people (like me) who listen to independent radio. The host is Tom Scharpling. He plays great music, and the show also features skits between Scharpling and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster. That’s where my staff pick comes in. Click on the link above for a rundown of their best moments. The one I like best is here:
Nazanin Rafsanjani: One of my roommates in college was obsessed with the giant squid. They’re all elusive and mysterious and giant and no one’s ever seen a really giant giant squid but scientists know they exist. According to this, their eyes are the size of beach balls. You can see videos of little giant squids here and here.
Katya Rogers: Absolutely the best podcast out there (other than OTM of course) is the BBC’s Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo talking about movies. I listen religiously. Kermode has this crazy-deep knowledge of film history and peppers what are known as his “Kermodian-rants” with Marxist theory, good old british cynicism and an I’m-not-buying-this-hollywood-crap sensibility. I don’t even go to the movies anymore. Don’t need to. Mark tells me everything I need to know.
PJ Vogt: I'm reading The Twenty-Seventh City, which is Jonathan Franzen's first book. So far it's great. It's got the strong writing and acid character sketches of his big books, but without the slog and dread and Importance that, for me made The Corrections sometimes feel like a big plate of oatmeal and vegetables. Instead, this book centers around a big absurd conspiracy plot about a female police chief conspiring to run the city of St. Louis like a 3rd world dictator (car bombs, wiretaps, secret agent seductions). Also there's a family that's falling apart.
My only caveat is that while I was writing this blurb, I read the following review on Amazon: "In the end, [Franzen] loses control of his material...The result is that, despite deft intercutting and some surprising twists at the end, the reader is not wholly satisfied. Any potential for greater resonance is left undeveloped, and this densely written work ends up as merely a bravura exercise."
Yikes. But what does Amazon know, anyway?
Jamie York: Four voices that I’ve been appreciating:
1. This is quartet as force-multiplier. And the story of this song makes me all the more appreciative for it. I’ve listened to this probably a hundred times and there’s something just idiosyncratic enough about the vocals so that it remains mysterious.
2. I don’t think David Hidalgo gets enough love. He has one of the most affecting voices I know. Plaintive and pure, high and lonesome. This is a great example. And this is the fuller version. Both are harnessed to his voice.
3. John T. Edge is ostensibly a writer about food, but he manages to include so much else in his ken that it hardly does him justice. Founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance where he and a crack team “document and map our region’s culinary standard bearers through oral history interviews. We’re talking fried chicken cooks, barbecue pitmasters, bartenders, ham curers, and row crop farmers.” Edge is also one of my favorite writers, never precious or sentimental, he’s been writing a column for the New York Times where he looks at the ‘ongoing evolution of American cuisine’ through portraits of Ethiopians in Indianapolis and Vietnamese Cajuns.
4. And lastly this, which I can’t stop watching. It should be so simple but there’s something about the synch of voice and movement and something about the voyeurism and strange defiance in the dancers that I find really compelling. Check it out.