Choice Quotes: Listen Up Philip

Listen Up Philip (2014) Jonathan Pryce and Jason Schwartzman

“You’ll need a country retreat if you want to get anything done.”

listen up philip poster

“It’s a very impulsive decision and I’m pleased with myself for that.”


“I’m glad he’s replaced himself with a younger surrogate for forlorn moping.”

listen up philip x

“I can’t process how grossly dissatisfied I find myself feeling. Things I’ve coveted for years are mine now and all I feel is miserable.”


Leave a comment


art of asking

1. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer [Grand Central Publishing]

–As a feminist and a Boston-based music journalist, I love everything about this memoir. It’s absolutely engrossing. I liked Boston’s The Dresden Dolls and always appreciated Amanda Palmer for her outspoken nature, her feminism and musicianship. Now I truly admire Amanda Palmer and feel we’d be friends if we ever met. I’m wondering if we were ever at a party at the same time at Castle von Buhler—my artist friend Cynthia von Buhler’s former Boston home. The Art of Asking illustrates the importance of making lasting connections through art, love and creativity.

complete review


2. My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff [Knopf]

–Everything about this memoir appeals to me from the font to the cover to the 90s setting to the tone. It begins in winter with sections by season, then chapters with titles such as “Three Days of Snow,” “The Obscure Bookcase,” “Sentimental Education” and “Three Days of Rain.” Memoir as literary recollections. It’s lovely and immensely engrossing because we’ve all experienced periods of doubt, periods of reflection, periods of development, our twenties or the 90s (for some of us, our twenties and the nineties were all of that).

complete review


3. Working Stiff by Judy Melinek [Scribner]

–a medical examiner’s residency in New York. detailed, gory and completing engrossing.


4. Cured by Nathalia Holt [Dutton]

–Berlin patients. painstakingly researched and explained.

interview with Nathalia Holt

unspeakable things

5. Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny [Bloomsbury USA]


alice and freda forever

6. Alice + Freda Forever by Alexis Coe [Pulp]



7. The Fall by Diogo Mainardi [Other Press]

–This is a love story. A moving, clever memoir about a father’s relationship with his son Tito, born with cerebral palsy. It’s clever because Mainardi writes in 424 steps like the steps that his son has progressively taken over the years as he grows stronger and more confident in his movement. A poet and journalist, Mainardi writes lyrically as well as in a scrupulously researched manner. It’s beautiful and fascinating.



8. Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay [Harper]


being mortal

9. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande [Metropolitan Books]

–so much respect for Dr. Atul Gawande and his ability delve into particular medical issues, like aging and death, that prove difficult to discuss. thoughtful text and interesting case studies.

roz chast

10. Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast [Bloomsbury USA]

–amusing and sad: appropriate in describing the aging process.

“I wish that, at the end of life, when things were truly “done,” there was something to look forward to. Something more pleasure-oriented. Perhaps opium or heroin. So you became addicted. So what? All-you-can-eat ice cream parlors for the extremely aged. Big art picture books and music. Extreme palliative care, for when you’ve had it with everything else: the x-rays, the MRIs, the boring food and the pills that don’t do anything at all. Would that be so bad?”

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

TV Preview: Project Runway Threads S1.Ep.8 (finale)

The season finale of the latest Project Runway spin-off Threads airs Thursday, December 18 at 10 pm. The show features teenage designers. This week: Zoe; Christopher; Mady.

Each episode features a challenge and a “surprise door twist” which involves creating a second design. The second designs adds pressure these teens don’t need. There’s already not enough time for one design. During the opening “show us your style” challenge, the winner receives some sort of advantage in the main challenge. It’s varied each episode as if they don’t know what works and what doesn’t as if they’re making things up as the show goes on and maybe they are. Some advantages: stopping your competitors; stealing your competitor’s assistant; a half-hour jump-start. this week the winner receives a consultation with designer Christian Siriano, one of the show’s judges. Host Vanessa Simmons still seems uncomfortable.

Has this show been renewed yet? It must be hanging by a thread.

, ,

Leave a comment

new music videos: Low City; Kuroma

Low City, “Skyline”

love the low-key cool electronic vibe. the video is pure cinematic beauty. Low City is the creation of music producer Abe Seiferth (Yeasayer, RAC) and composer/musician Jeremy Turner. the project features guest performances by members of Dirty Projectors and Bon Iver.

Kuroma, “20+ Centuries”

potential seizure or headache-inducing video from psychedelic band Kuroma formed in 2012 by former bassist of The Whigs and MGMT guitarist Hank Sullivant. upcoming album will be released in spring 2015.

, , ,

Leave a comment

STEELE PICKS: 20 Best Albums of 2014

In 2013 I had a list of 30 best albums. I’ve managed to take it down to 20 this year. There are a lot of women on my list. 17/20 female-fronted bands or female artists. Female vox, darkness and swirling rhythms appeal to me. That’s why I adore Field Mouse so much. Lana Del Rey, Zola Jesus and Lykke Li are dark and dramatic. While I never liked The Pretenders all that much, I appreciate Chrissie Hynde and listened to her powerful solo album over and over. Megafauna is heavier rock than what I generally listen to but with a female singer– a feminist and lawyer– it’s kick-ass. Some are more electronic dance music [EDM] like Banks, Yaarrohs, Phantogram and FKA Twigs. Paloma Faith and Lilla incorporate world music, vibrant beats.


1. Field Mouse, Hold Still Life [Topshelf Records]

my review


2. Dum Dum Girls, Too True [Sub Pop]


3. Lykke Li, I Never Learn [Atlantic]


4. Lana Del Rey, Ultraviolence [Interscope Records]


5. Banks, Goddess [Harvest]


6. Zola Jesus, Taiga [Mute]

my review

phantogram voices

7. Phantogram, Voices [Republic]


8. Morrissey, World Peace is None of Your Business [Harvest]

paloma faith

9. Paloma Faith, A Perfect Contradiction [Epic]


10. Bee vs. Moth, Shelter in Place [Aggraveire Music]

my review

jenny lewis

11. Jenny Lewis, The Voyager [Warner Bros.]


12. Chrissie Hynde, Stockholm [Caroline]


13. Lilla, The Awakening [Lucky Records/karisma music]

STEELE interviews Lilla


14. Megafauna, Maximalist [Danimal Kingdom]

my review

karen o crush songs

15. Karen O, Crush Songs [Kobalt]


16. Yaarrohs, Flesh and Blood EP [Glass Air Records]

the kooks

17. The Kooks, Listen [Astralwerks]

fka twigs

18. FKA Twigs, LP1 [XL Recordings]


19. Jen Wood, Wilderness [Radar Light, New Granada]

my review


20. o’death, Out of Hands We Go [Northern Spy Records]

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

book review: Rewire Your Anxious Brain


Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry by Catherine Pittman. Publisher: New Harbinger Publications [January 2, 2015]. Paperback. 232 pages.

“Anxiety is a human emotion, produced by the human brain, and emotions are caused by the brain’s reactions to situations, not the situations themselves.”

If you’ve been in treatment for anxiety, done CBT [Cognitive Behavioral Therapy] or DBT [Dialectical Behavioral Therapy] this will mostly be review. It’s quite clinical in parts. Author Catherine Pittman describes two types of anxiety: amygdala-based and cortex-based. The amygdala is responsible for the flight or fight response. It attaches EMOTIONAL SIGNIFICANCE to situations or objects. The cortex pathway creates worries, obsessions and interpretations that create anxiety. If focusing on specific thoughts or images you have cortex-based anxiety. If you feel that a specific object, location or situation elicits an anxiety response you have amygdala-based anxiety. You can have one or the other or both anxiety types. There are details about some anatomy and brain function. The brain is neuropathic. It holds the capacity to change its structures and reorganize powers of reacting. Exercise and sleep reduces anxiety as we know. Also CBT, mindfulness and medication can help. “Exercise produces a protein that promotes the growth of neurons in the brain, particularly in cortex and hippocampus.”

RATING: ***/5

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher.

, ,

Leave a comment

TV Preview: Project Runway Threads S1.Ep7

It’s already challenging to be a tween/teen but then when you’ve got the added pressure of competition it’s intense. This week designers Molly, Alex and Julia compete for the 25K prize package. The challenge: create a cover-worthy look for Seventeen magazine. There’s also some advantage by the winner of the “Show Us Your Style” challenge at the beginning of the show and a surprise-door-twist which entails a second design.

Vanessa Simmons hosts. She is joined by judges Christian Siriano and Youtube sensation [I can’t stand this title] Ingrid Nilsen.

Project Runway Threads airs [past most teens bedtime if they have school] Thursday at 10:00 pm ET/PT.

Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,719 other followers

%d bloggers like this: