Jamie York is a producer for On the Media.
OTM Staff Picks, Volume 6
Monday, April 30, 2012 - 03:36 PM
The staff of OTM choose a few of our favorite things. Please leave us comments below and enjoy.
Alex Goldman: There are very few albums where you get something new from it every time you hear it. The Avalanches album Since I Left You is one of them. Nominally a dance album, it’s simultaneously dense and whimsical. It wavers from impenetrably layered samples over thundering kick drums to floating, spacey strings. And on top of all that, they managed to produce a couple of killer videos, one for the title track and one for the lead single, “Frontier Psychiatrist”.
Sadly, it’s been more than a decade since the release of Since I Left You, and in spite of a rumor every couple of years, the Avalanches have released nothing except a couple of mix tapes. To tide me over, I’ve been listening to this playlist of songs sampled on their first album, compiled by some amazing YouTube genius. Without this fantastic playlist I might never have heard this ridiculous and amazing Boney M. song.
Brooke Gladstone: This weekend I finally went to the exhibit of the Stein Collection (Gertrude and family) at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a really satisfying show --partly because the art is so great (lots of Matisses, Picassos and other works I’ve never seen before) and partly because the art was bound up in the lives of so many interesting prickly characters and friends. So much so, that I picked up Stein’s funny and gossipy Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which made me realize that Woody Allen’s parodies of early 20th century Paris were actually satirizing NOT Hemingway, but Stein.
As in Allen’s take on “The Lost Generation”:
That winter Picasso lived on the Rue d'Barque, and he had just painted a picture of a naked dental hygenist in the middle of the Gobi Desert. Gertrude Stein said it was a good picture, but not a great one, and I said it could be a fine picture. We laughed over it and Hemingway punched me in the mouth.
Francis Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald came home from their wild new years eve party. It was April. Scott had just written Great Expectations, and Gertrude Stein and I read it, and we said it was a good book, but there was no need to have written it, 'cause Charles Dickens had already written it. We laughed over it, and Hemingway punched me in the mouth.
That winter we went to Spain to see Manolete fight, and he was... looked to be eighteen, and Gertrude Stein said no, he was nineteen, but that he only looked eighteen, and I said sometimes a boy of eighteen will look nineteen, whereas other times a nineteen year old can easily look eighteen. That's the way it is with a true Spaniard. We laughed over that and Gertrude Stein punched me in the mouth.
Chris Neary: Touretteshero.com describes itself as “a place to celebrate the humor & creativity of Tourettes.” The ‘hero’ – who actually appears in a campy superhero outfit on the site - is Jessica Thom. (Thom has Tourettes.) In addition to being an original take on a blog about a medical ailment, it’s pretty great explainer of what Tourettes is and what it’s like to have it. Here’s the FAQ page. Thom did an interview with the BBC earlier in April that’s worth a listen.
PJ Vogt: I’m worried that everyone’ll’ve seen this one, since it ran on the front page of the New York Times. But this was my favorite thing in the last seven days: a profile of a 92 year old dude who bootlegs DVD’s en masse and sends them to U.S. troops stationed overseas:
Jamie York: Thanks to the International Reporting Project I spent many hours travelling around Malaysia last fall talking to photographer, fixer and friend Rahman Roslan about Islam. Rahman is a devout Muslim and a fine conversationalist and we endlessly debated his faith and how it affects his worldview. I’m also the son of a frustrated travel agent who never got to travel and I’m from a state, Maine, that is always wrestling with tourism and development.
So what, you ask?
Well, add it up and I’m especially fascinated by how you develop the place where millions of Muslim tourists are religiously mandated to visit – Mecca. Basharat Peer’s recent piece on the Hajj in the New Yorker did not disappoint; it was equal parts a pilgrim's expectation, wonder and disappointment. And it raised a great question - what if you ruined Mecca?