feminist. vegan. Simmons College B.A. Boston University M.S. in journalism. likes: indie film; documentaries, foreign films; art museums; tea; vegan cooking; literature; alternative music/goth/ Americana/ electro-pop/ folk.
New York-based duo Cults — one of my favorite bands– released Offering B-Sides & Remixes, a companion release to 2017’s LP Offering that includes three previously unreleased songs and a new remix of “Recovery” by famed producer John Fryer. The band start a U.S. tour in Washington, DC on November 30. Get ready for some dreaminess.
Offering B-Sides & Remixes Tracklisting:
1.) Not Impossible
2.) Hope You Found What You’ve Been Missing
3.) An Echo
4.) Offering (Mike Simonetti Remix)
5.) I Took Your Picture (Etienne de Crecy Remix)
6.) Recovery (John Fryer Remix)
U.S. TOUR DATES:
11/30/18 – DC9 – Washington, DC
12/1/18 – DC9 – Washington, DC
12/2/18 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
12/3/18 – Great Scott – Allston, MA
12/8/18 – Baby’s All Right (Early Show) – Brooklyn, NY
12/8/18 – Baby’s All Right (Late Show) – Brooklyn, NY
12/15/18 – Barboza – Seattle, WA
12/16/18 – Barboza – Seattle, WA
12/17/18 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
12/19/18 – The Chapel – San Francisco, CA
12/20/18 – Gundlach Bunschu Winery – Sonoma, CA
12/22/18 – Echo – Los Angeles, CA
12/23/18 – Echo – Los Angeles, CA
It’s The Dandy Warhols’ 25th anniversary and the band will release its 10th studio album ‘Why You So Crazy‘ (Dine Alone Records) and embark on a tour in 2019. A 360° short film for the song ‘Be Alright,’ was done in a single shot and filmed at the band’s space, Odditorium, which includes a bar owned by vocalist/guitarist Taylor-Taylor who has a deep passion for the wine world. Taylor-Taylor also directed the film which stars Jessica Pare (Mad Men).
The Dandy Warhols are:
Courtney Taylor-Taylor (vocals, guitar)
Zia McCabe (keyboards, vocals)
Peter Holmström (guitar)
Brent DeBoer (drums)
‘WHY YOU SO CRAZY’ tracklisting:
1. Fred N Ginger
4. Be Alright
5. Thee Elegant Bum
6. Sins Are Forgiven
7. Next Thing I Know
8. Small Town Girls
9. To The Church
10. Motor City Steel
U.S. TOUR DATES
May 3 – 5 – Atlanta, GA – Shaky Knees Festival (on sale 11.14)
May 6 – Washington, D.C. – 9.30 Club
May 7 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair
May 8 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
May 10 – Toronto, ON – CMW
May 11 – Chicago, IL – Metro
May 12 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
May 14 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre
May 16 – Los Angeles, CA – Theatre at the Ace Hotel
May 17 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory at North Park
May 18 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Infectious beats and an uplifting song. The video stars British actor Jeremy Irvine (War Horse and Mama Mia). He dances through the streets of London’s Docklands. more info on Friendly Fires.
Posted in Books on October 17, 2018
A Little Tea Book by Sebastian Beckwith with Caroline Paul. Bloomsbury| October 16, 2018| 132 pages | $20.00| ISBN: 978-1-63286-902-9
here’s my little review:
Although I’ve been drinking tea for years, I’ve only started learning about tea. I enjoy an Assam or Earl Grey in the morning and will drink green tea later in the day and evening. This lovely book serves as the ideal tea primer. It has brief sections and a conversational tone. As it states in the introduction: “I’m offering you a little about a lot.” It’s a foray into the world of tea and will make you want to read more and acquire more knowledge. It delves into quite a few tea topics including the tea plant, the six types of tea, names, history and health benefits. I didn’t know that tea originates from one plant—Camellia sinensis. Tea is categorized from least to most oxidized: green, yellow, white, oolong, black and dark. The tea name may refer to the process or to its place of origin. Where a tea comes from matters. For instance: “Green teas grown in China often have a nutty, roasted, vegetal profile while those from Japan tend to be more grassy and rich.” It’s a quick, pleasurable read—while sipping tea, of course– and also a solid reference. It will make a perfect gift for the tea lover in your life.
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Bloomsbury.
Posted in Books on September 24, 2018
Disoriental by Negar Djavadi. Europa Editions| April 2018| 352 pages | $18.00| ISBN: 978-1-60945-451-7
“Our memories select, eliminate, exaggerate, minimize, glorify, denigrate. They create their own versions of events and serve up their own reality. Disparate, but cohesive. Imperfect yet sincere. In any case, my memory is so crammed with stories and lies and languages and illusions, and lives marked by exile and death, death and exile, that I don’t even really know how to untangle the threads anymore.”
“I have become—as I’m sure everyone does who has left his or her country—someone else. Someone who has translated myself into other cultural codes. Firstly in order to survive, and then to go beyond survival and forge a future for myself.”
A gorgeous, exquisite, smart and meditative novel about an Iranian family and its struggles and triumphs. As Kimia Sadr sits in a fertility clinic in Paris she reminisces about family myths and ancestry. She ponders how she got to be where she is at this moment. She recollects her family history as well as Iran’s history and how it’s made her who she is today. Kimia is a lesbian and she’s decided to have a baby with a man that she met during her travels. He’s HIV+ and so they need to use the clinic. Kimia’s been wandering for years in an attempt to figure out where she belongs. It’s perhaps not in her birth country where she spent the first ten years of her life and it’s not in her adopted country to which she and her family exiled. Being in one’s twenties and figuring out our place in the world can be complicated enough but Kimia had her sexual identity and cultural identity to figure out.
“Raised in a culture where the community takes precedence over the individual, I’d never been so tangibly aware of my own existence. I finally felt like I was in control of my own life. I could make decisions that had nothing to do with the past, or the way an immigrant has to act in order to gain legitimacy in their host country.” And “I was putting myself back together again, rediscovering happiness, getting back on my own two feet, as if after a long illness.” It’s fascinating that Eastern society stresses community and Western society focuses on individuals. Kimia faces prejudices in facing stereotypes of Iran and the Middle East: “Then a long silence, during which I could see in my interlocutor’s eyes that their Iran was located somewhere between Saudi Arabia and the Lebanese Hezbollah, an imaginary country full of Muslim fundamentalists of who I suddenly became the representative.”
For those unfamiliar, it’s the ideal primer to Iranian revolutionary history. Abundant information gets beautifully shared throughout this novel in an accessible and manageable manner. It’s definitely a challenging yet completely rewarding read. In reading Disoriental I was reminded of the memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi which also focuses on the disdain for education and intellectualism and its impact on the Iranian Revolution. It’s not that different from our current political climate where well-educated people tend to be less likely to blindly follow a leader. You’ll understand and relate to this novel. Disoriental has been nominated for a National Book Award for Translated Literature. I’m rarely disappointed in Europa editions titles and I need to read them more often.
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Europa Editions.
Posted in Books on September 10, 2018
Crudo by Olivia Laing. W.W. Norton| September 11, 2018| 142 pages | $21.00| ISBN: 978-0-393-65272-7
The ecru cover with black lettering and a dismembered fly in the middle of Crudo’s cover pulled me in with its darkness. This might be a slim novel but it’s packed with provocative prose, eccentricities, witty observations and overall intellectual prowess not often accomplished through such brevity and through experimental style. It’s not easy to explain when nothing and everything occurs. It’s a feverish and daring stream of consciousness about our destructive and often restrictive society. Finding an element of safety and belonging can be overwhelming. Author Olivia Laing (The Lonely City) impressively wrote her fictional debut in real time over the course of seven weeks.
Kathy, a recently-turned-40 writer contemplates existential issues, the horror of the Trump presidency, white supremacy, Brexit, impending nuclear war with North Korea, social media, marriage and love. “She was at the middle of her life, going south, going nowhere, stuck between station like a broken-down engine.” She marries a man 29 years older than her (also a writer) and falls in love. Of this new marriage: “She was feeling panicky, she couldn’t quite remember how to be alone, ironic since she barely regarded herself as female. A fag with tits, statically improbable but not unheard of, especially in the conglomerate-building internet era of gender dismantlement.”
When Kathy meets a friend at a pub, “They talked about marriage, how to do it so it didn’t bury you beneath its baggage. They thought they had a handle on it, they thought they could see a way to maintaining their dignity independence autonomy style, but it was touch and go they both admitted.” Completely relatable to me as I’m 49 and I haven’t been on a date in a year and I’ve never been married and struggle to find someone intellectually and culturally compatible. Someone who can support and comfort without control or stifling. “You think you know yourself inside out when you live alone, but you don’t, you believe you are a calm untroubled or at worst melancholic person, you do not realize how irritable you are, how any little thing, the wrong kind of touch or tone, a lack of speed in answering a question, a particular cast of expression will send you into apoplexy because you are so unchill, because you have not learnt how to soften your borders, how to make room.” Sheer brilliance throughout.
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from W.W Norton.
Posted in Books on August 6, 2018
Blood Highway by Gina Wohlsdorf. Algonquin| August 7, 2018| 320 pages | $16.95| ISBN: 978-1-61620-563-8
–review by Amy Steele
Scrappy teenager Rainy Cain knows how to fend for herself even though she’s still in high school. She manages to be independent and to present herself a certain way so that no one will ask too many questions. She’s been through an awful lot in her life and she’s yet to graduate from high school. She’s developed protective coping mechanisms that enable her survival. Her severely mentally ill mother neglected her long ago. They still live in the same house but don’t communicate with each other (sounds like me and my stepfather). After her mother commits suicide, Rainy’s felon father, recently released from prison, kidnaps her in hopes that she’ll lead him to money that he believes her mother hid when he was sent off to prison for a series of armed robberies. He’s a violent, ruthless man. Rainy wasn’t even aware he existed. Blaine, a seemingly good guy and police officer, with more in common with Rainy than one might suspect, pursues them. I love this sentence about Blaine: “His interior was this packed, cluttered museum of guilt and regret.” Author Gina Wohlsdorf spent a decade writing the novel. When she started she wasn’t that much older than her central character, strong-willed and determined feminist Rainy. As I dove into this thriller, which really skirts into horror, I didn’t know what was going on for quite a bit but the compelling writing kept me reading. There’s a cinematic edginess to the characters and this riveting and scary cross-country chase.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Algonquin.