Tag Archives: avidly

The LARB Questionnaire Interviews Avidly

This week, LARB’s channel Avidly celebrates its third birthday.  In honor of the occasion, Avidly editors Sarah Blackwood and Sarah Mesle sat down to respond to the LARB questionnaire.

 

How do you get up in the morning?

We get up twice, once on EST then on PST. Children screaming us out of bed on both coasts.

Do you succumb to nostalgia?

IT WAS HER ONE BEAUTY

Do you write long and cut, or short and backfill?

We cut the first paragraph. Always.

How do you feel about your Wikipedia entry?

We feel you should start one. Continue reading

blog broad city

Making Their Way in The World Today

Today’s post was originally published by LARB Channel Avidly

By Sarah Blackwood

“City’s hard,” my three-year-old son occasionally remarks. He offers those words as mere description, though, no real judgment. (I mean, he’s three; lack of judgment is the best and worst thing about him). He’s no stranger to the strains of urban life. He helpfully reassures my husband and I as we lug ninety pounds of children plus stroller up and down the urine-soaked stairs of the subway station. “We’re okay!” he chirps in encouragement from his seat, and we grimly move forward.

Last week’s cold open of Broad City found the unlikely protagonists running for the train, high-fiving when they snake between the closing doors, and then turning to confront the hell of other people on the train along with them. The bit that follows is a riff on the dystopian film Snowpiercer, in which humans have taken refuge from a dead world by boarding a never-stopping train that simply becomes yet another vehicle for brutal class warfare. But where the protagonists of Snowpiercer move forward through the train cars aiming to assassinate the single guy (heh) in charge (heh) of stoking and maintaining class warfare, Abbi and Ilana move in another direction. Continue reading

inherent vice

The One That Got Away: On Inherent Vice

Today’s post was originally published by LARB Channel Avidly

By Evan Kindley

“Doc stroked his chin and gazed off into space for a while. ‘You know how some people say they have a ‘gut feeling’? Well, Shasta Fay, what I have is dick feelings, and my dick feeling sez—’” — Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice (2009)

“It is said that analyzing pleasure, or beauty, destroys it. That is the intention of this article.” — Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975)

***

The new movie by Paul Thomas Anderson is out, in most major U.S. cities anyway. It’s an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel Inherent Vice, and you should see it, unless you hate all of Anderson’s movies (some people do) or Pynchon’s books (ditto), because in various ways it represents tendencies that have long been latent in each of their work, and in American literature, film, and culture more generally. I’ve seen the film twice, and found it intensely pleasurable, but I will try to show how the nature of the pleasure it offers might not be available to everyone, and how that might be a problem. Even on its own terms, it’s not a perfect movie — it might be the most flawed film Anderson has made, though I’d give the edge to Punch Drunk Love — but, like all of his movies, it is touched with enough greatness to justify the price of admission and bear careful scrutiny. Scrutiny (and spoilers) follow. Continue reading

blog avidly middle aged women

Essays That We, As Ladies of Early Middle Age, Would Like to See Written*

Today’s post was originally published by LARB Channel Avidly

“Witty Meeting Comebacks that Indicate Your Displeasure While Concealing the (Professionally Discrediting) Whirling Dervish of Your Rage”

“Throwing Money at Problems: A Justification”

“Is This Sex Position Degrading or Just Uncomfortable?”

“Age-Concealing Procedures: Talking to Someone While Pretending They Haven’t Had One, or, Injectables: Agreeing to Disagree”

“Strangely Funny Moments in The House of Mirth

“Women Who Take Care of Too Many People and the People Who Take Care of Them, i.e. Other Women”

“How to Get your Eyebrows Done Without Feeling Weird About It”

laura petrie“Rules for Wearing ‘Challenging’ Clothing Items, Ankle Boots Specifically”

“I Don’t Know Why I Asked You if You were OK a Third time, Perhaps Because I am Dissatisfied with Your Answer of [Shrug]?”

“Am I the Only One Not Enjoying Delightful, Airy Chitchat with my Hair Stylist? An Investigation”

“Ten Satisfying Ways of Letting Your Enemy Know That You are Ignoring Her, While Still Ignoring Her.” Continue reading

larb blog deep springs syllabus

Our Deep Springs Syllabus

Today’s post was originally published on LARB Channel Avidly

By Sarah Mesle and Sarah Blackwood

AMERICAN ENCOUNTERS

Drs. Sarahs
Office Hours: 9-midnight
Office Location: Cabin, fireside

Note on Class Policy: Never, ever email us. We will not respond.

September 7: Methods
Introduction: How to Do Things with Words
Herman Melville, “A Squeeze of the Hand,” Moby-Dick
Jacques Lacan, “The Signification of the Phallus”

September 14: Concepts
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish
Donald Winnicott, on The Good Enough Mother Continue reading

larb blog jeter

Reading Jeter’s Joy

Today’s post is from LARB Channel Avidly.

By Pete Coviello

I am not a sports fan.

It’s true, I watch a little, and have some bits of gear – my Italia jersey that I wear when the World Cup comes around, my Yankee hat – and in a vague way I keep up. But having a stake in the fluctuating fortunes of the New York Yankees has never felt to me like, say, a devotional practice, in the way that listening to bands and reading books and fighting about them so plainly has been. I’ve liked the Yankees fine. But the truth is I have not loved Mariano Rivera with anything like the life-traversing ardor with which I’ve loved Emily Dickinson, or Carson McCullers, or Prince, or Mac and Laura from Superchunk.

SO imagine my surprise as, in these last weeks, I found myself planted night after idle night on my couch here in Chicago, watching the last season of one of those Yankees unfold, one mediocre outing into the next. When people I know express surprise that I watch baseball at all – I evidently do not give off the convincing vibe of someone who gives a lot of fucks about baseball – I have this stock line prepared for them: Some people meditate; some people do yoga; I watch baseball. And it’s true. It chills me out. Continue reading

larb blog mulholland drive

Grief, Investigation, and Mulholland Dr.

Today’s post was originally published on LARB Channel Avidly.

By Lisa Beskin

month or so after my mother’s death in 2001, I found myself in an awkward situation involving David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. I had just seen it in the theater, loved it, and desperately wanted to talk about it with a certain friend. But I hadn’t yet told him my terrible news, and because my mother had committed suicide, it couldn’t be told quickly or summarily. Every time I told someone what had happened, I flinched for both of us. It just wouldn’t do to call him up and chip, “There’s been a tragedy, but guess what? I went to the movies and saw Mulholland Dr.!” This little dilemma was the love-child of survivor guilt and Miss Manners. Eventually I settled on emailing my friend about my mom and telephoning a couple of days later. I was learning that this new, strange life had room for grief and pleasure both—and ways to live with that excruciating truth. Continue reading

Ice Bucket Challenge

On the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Ferguson

Today’s post was originally published last week by LARB Channel Avidly. 

By M.J. Dinius

Last night on Facebook, my friend explicitly linked the two stories dominating my social media feed: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the events in Ferguson, Missouri.  My friend asked,  “How many buckets of ice would I have to pour over my head to get people to care about black lives?”  Likely meant to be more provocative than substantive—especially when compared to the real and deep connections confirmed between Ferguson and the Middle East — the question might be seen as an opportunistic, if well-meant, politicization of a charity fundraiser.  Or more confrontationally, it might be challenged for implicitly setting up a false choice between caring about African Americans and people suffering from a terminal, incurable disease.

For me, the post struck a still-quick nerve, compelling me to take seriously the question of what moves people to care about others these days, to question what it means to “care.” And it made me think again about the relationship of two concepts that are strange traveling partners: care, and cure. Continue reading

larb blog angela davis

Pop Politics: Angela Davis, Nina Simone, and Bob Dylan

By Jordan Alexander Stein

If I hum a few bars, you might begin to recall the tune. It goes like this. In August 1970, a warrant was issued for Angela Davis’s arrest. Two guns she’d legally owned and registered turned up in a courtroom shoot out a week before, and this disgraced philosophy professor, doubtful of getting a fair trial in Ronald Reagan’s California, went underground. For two months, Davis evaded police and the FBI, before she was arrested in a Times Square motel, resurfacing to one of the most publicized trials of the twentieth century.

Those are the verses most people know. But the song I’d rather sing you begins elsewhere—sometime in 1971, when Nina Simone carried a balloon into the Marin County jail where Davis was being held for trial. Continue reading

larb blog beck

Quiet Days in Malibu: Beck’s Recent Album

Below is an excerpt from a review by Dave Coon of Beck’s most recent album, “Morning Phase,” originally published on Avidly, one of our LARB Channels. 

Artists have been trailed out of the box canyons north of Los Angeles by enemies, real or imagined, for decades. Jules Amthor, Chandler’s sociopathic psychic, cornered Phillip Marlow in one of these canyons. Joan Didion haunted the curves of the PCH in her white corvette and Neil Young was pursued by an army of mutant machine gun toting dune buggies down the dunes and onto the beach.

Other than the need for record sales and lunch, what is chasing Beck out of Malibu these days?

Beck is among us again, staring out at his listeners from the cover of “Morning Phase”, his recently released record, and his first for new label home, Capitol Records. His twelfth long-player dropped this spring and — other than the fact that it is a gorgeous sounding record — I’m not sure what to make of it. Continue reading