In Which My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me

Monster Mash Ups

by Molly Lambert

My brother and his DJ friend Capski made this amazing Halloween Mix full of spooky jams for Samhain from the likes of Black Sabbath, Three 6 Mafia, Massive Attack, UGK, Radiohead, Ludacris, The Pixies, The Geto Boys, and the hitchhiking ghosts from The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Download it meow. We said meow!

We Mix On Your Grave Pt. 1 – Capski & Lambo: mp3

We Mix On Your Grave Pt. 2 – Capski & Lambo: mp3

We Mix On Your Grave Pt. 3 – Capski & Lambo: mp3

Speaking of Samhain, the petite prince of darkness Glenn Danzig and Shakira in one of the funniest things I have ever seen on the internets.

Strange Maps is what the name implies

The Best Show on WFMU recaps at Recidivism

Jonathan Rice video directed by Autumn De Wilde, whose book of Elliott Smith photos (with a foreword by Beck) is out in stores now. Amazon suggests we buy it with the Elliott Smith bio by our esteemed pal Ben Nugent. Ben’s book American Nerd is also out now.

Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford are competing for Most Dramatic Gay Midlife Crisis. Rage on, fierce dragons of Chelsea.

One of my favorite music blogs and blog names, Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop, from former Number One Songs In Heaven blogger. Great nostalgic writing from a self-described “ageing British ex-pat” about The Bay City Rollers and a lot of things much too British for us to completely understand.

The rise and fall (and rise) of The Fall, year by prolific year at Daily Reckless

New British Music at Nothing But
Greenlights
.

Selma Hayek in From Dusk Til Dawn, that oughta be good for a couple search hits

Jason Stone IS the Stepfather Of Soul

the always informative Houston So Real

R.I.P. Big Moe!

Indie MP3 is just what it says. Same goes for Just Gimme Indie Rock.

From The New Yorker, on LD’s mental health: “Or the one where Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen invite Larry and his wife to a concert: the night arrives, they don’t call, Larry assumes they don’t like him, then it turns out he got the date wrong. It’s a classic example of a major social cognitive error–jumping to conclusions–that schizophrenic patients are prone to.” As the patients watched David flub situation after situation, they laughed, and they willingly discussed with Roberts how they might behave in the same circumstances. “That bald man made a mountain out of a molehill!” one woman called out during a session.

Scienfeld? Seintology? Xenu Costanza?

GAY VAMPIRES! BLAWWWWRRRRRR!

Cover songs and more at 17 Seconds

Dusty Sevens

The Roaring Machine

Manic Pop Thrills

Song By Toad and 3hive

Pop Head Wound has a great post on how Bruce Springsteen supplanted Brian Wilson as the indie snob’s namecheck reference of choice. I saw Springsteen two nights in a row around this time last year. It was awesome.

Molly Lambert is Senior Editor of This Recording.

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING:

I cast Ryan Gosling in The Harry Nilsson Story, talked up the Georgia music scene, and compared Peanuts to German literature and Will Oldham.

Rachael played where are they now with the cast of Freaks and Geeks. Danish luvs glipsters Hot Chip.

Alex girled out with the superhawt Michelle Obama, the indiefag musical Once, and the weird world that is fashion.

Ready and steady yourself for the return of inimitable nymphet and prose priestess Molly Young.

batty batty batty batty batty batty batty batty batty bat

In Which We Were All Situationists Once

Five Hours of Sleep

by David Noriega

When I was fourteen I would stay up late every night numbing my brain at the family computer. Not unusual, of course, but it caused my mother great distress — not because of the brain-numbing, or out of any fear of cyber-debasement or indoctrination, which would have been reasonable, but simply because she was afraid I wasn’t getting enough sleep. One morning, as I poured tabasco on a bagel coated with melted cheese, she looked at my puffy eyes and said, in that crippling tone native to mothers: “Now David. How much sleep did you get last night?”

“Um… Like five hours?”

“Davey dear, that is simply not enough. You need at least eight hours of sleep every night,” she answered, stat, citing that oddly ubiquitous figure that seems to enjoy the backing of the entire scientific community. (Why eight? I often wondered. Why not seven, or nine?)

The next morning, after another night of rigorous and purposeful e-research, I had an air-tight retort ready to fling like a paving stone through the drifting clouds of tear gas:

” ‘COMRADES,’ ” I said, ” ‘5 hours of sleep a night are indispensable. We need you for the revolution!’ “

“Where the hell did you get that?” She was bewildered.

I told her. It came from a website listing, in blue comic sans font, scores of graffiti left on the streets of Paris after the riots of May 1968. (The site, charmingly antiquated, still exists.)

My romps down the information superhighway weren’t usually this content-heavy. You can imagine. But two or three times a week I wound up image-searching shots from the famous and famously photogenic riots, or, if my handful of open IM windows stopped flashing long enough to allow it, actually reading about them. My main point of interest was The Situationist International, the band of Marxist, avant-garde artists, writers and political agitators who were the principal theorists of the uprising, and whose slogans comprised most of the graffiti I read like mantras.

I had just moved to an Upstate New York strip-mall suburb from a huge city in a different country; my street was named after a kind of tree; I lived three blocks (if you can call the spaces between suburban streets blocks) away from a Jo-Ann Fabrics; I hated mowing the lawn. Now I call this by name: alienation. Not really in the Marxist sense, given that I wasn’t actually producing anything, but mostly in the teenage angst kind of way, standard and risible: I was generally happy and definitely comfortable, and yet things felt inauthentic. People seemed fake. School was run like a furniture factory. If I walked anywhere all I’d see was Blockbuster, Starbucks, houses, trees, Applebees.

Within a year or so I started discovering some of the requisite American-kid palliatives – punk shows in American Legion basements in neighboring towns and the like — but before these things were known or available to me I spent a good amount of time thinking myself a little Situationist-in-Training. Never mind that I hardly understood the bulk of what they were actually saying: I bought a copy of Guy Debord‘s The Society of the Spectacle (arguably the founding text of the Situationist International), read five pages, underlined everything, and went right back to the computer.

There I found things adequately paraphrased and condensed. What I understood, vaguely: capitalism has made a deadening spectacle of everyday life, within which authentic, visceral experience is no longer possible; and yet we must try, deliberately and creatively, to generate such experience for ourselves – to construct, control, and live within our own ‘situations.’ Here lay the road to individual emancipation and, eventually, collective revolution. It made sense and the slogans were great: “You will end up dying of comfort,” “Live without dead time,” and my favorite: “Humanity won’t be happy till the last capitalist is hung from the guts of the last bureaucrat.”

The Situationists theorized the Spectacle under the belief that it could be resisted and eventually dismantled — through art, mostly, and also critical thinking and political organizing, but more importantly through a practical and personal cultivation of a “radical subjectivity” in everyday life. This could be as simple as the psychogeographic dérive — a drift, an aimless walk, a means of re-perceiving and re-imagining urban space and weakening the dead grip of routinized daily experience.

I never did much to apply these little revolutionary lessons. I wasn’t a very good Situationist. I signed up for the Adbusters email newsletter, and I took aimless walks (which I was doing anyway), but that was about it. I did well in school, where I was obedient. Sometimes I watched movies at the local Loews, which was next to the Applebees. I slept five hours a night, but only on weeknights, and not because I was busy plotting the revolution.

It wasn’t until college that I found a number of other guys — always guys — who’d been equally enamored of Paris ’68 and the Situationists as adolescents. Our infatuations were comparably superficial: we weren’t practicing daily acts of resistance and we certainly couldn’t tell you much about Marxist critical theory, but we did think those guys in the pictures building barricades in the streets of Paris looked fucking cool.

How depressing: we went ahead and proved Debord right. The Spectacle appropriates all; we young would-be Situationists were entranced by images and slogans; the revolution was a bunch of dandies chucking rocks. (It’s true: May ’68 is in the books as a monument to disappointment, a major historical ice-on-the-boner, and all that’s left is some cool posters.)

In my case, at least, those nights reading Situationist graffiti eventually led down some worthwhile roads, aesthetically speaking, even though those roads are populated almost exclusively by dead French dudes (Baudelaire, Tzara, Jarry). Moreover, there are a few of us, tattooed psychogeographists mostly, who’ve managed to take those youthful leanings and turn them into something good. And finally, no matter how thoroughly hijacked our lives may be by the soulless Spectacle, there’s always this:

David Noriega is the senior contributor to This Recording. He last wrote about The Melvins in these pages. More about him here.

“The Amazing Sounds of Orgy” – Radiohead (mp3)

“Fog” – Radiohead (mp3)

“Transatlantic Drawl” – Radiohead (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Bridget Moloney: Tell Her You Love Her

Molly Lambert: Feminism Is So Hott

Becca Weiner: Three-Ways & The FK

In Which They Must Eat Sardines

What Are We Looking For If Not to Please?

by Molly Young

The men at the next table are talking politics. “Nixon got elected because his head was so big,” one of them says. Starbucks has emptied out and each occupied table makes a conspicuous contribution to the ambient noise.

This is how I hear the couple next to me speaking Portuguese. A man and a woman, each partner picking up exactly where the other left off so there is no pause in conversation.

The two are short and dark, with the butter-dense volume of moneyed Europeans. Like Picasso. Thick and virile, even the women. They must eat a lot of sardines.

picasso.jpg

picasso & his wife

Anyhow. The woman is lovely.

She acts as though she’s young and beautiful, even though she’s not. It’s a kind of confidence that makes Americans resentful of Europeans. For them, I guess, looks are incidental to attractiveness. I’m generalizing here.

ava-jane.jpg

birkin, gardner

This is what I am thinking as I watch the Portuguese couple. They have drinks but barely touch them, and this strikes me as another important distinction between Them and Us. When Americans buy drinks, we drink them fast. My cup has been empty since I got here. I drank it quickly in order to finish it before I realized that I wanted something else.

dora_maar_au_chat.jpg

dora maar au chat

This, incidentally, is one of the reasons Americans love buffets. Because we think that satisfying an appetite is about having a lot of choices. Ditto malls. These things prey on the anxiety that if you don’t get to see everything you’ll miss out.

But then, of course, that anxiety doesn’t go away even after you’ve seen everything. Instead you wind up feeling anxious AND glutted – a horrible combo.

laetitia-carol-alt.jpg

alt, casta

The Portuguese couple finish their drinks and get up to leave, still talking. The man takes his wife’s cup and throws it away for her. They amble out the door and I return to my Starbucks brochure that I found near the Splenda, and which I am reading because I forgot my book. It tells me that Starbucks offers up to 87,000 different drink combinations, and at the same time I read this someone orders a raspberry hot chocolate with gusto.

Molly Young is the contributing editor to This Recording. Her website is Magic Molly, and you can read her past work on TR here, here, here, here, here, and here.

“Until We Bleed” – Kleerup ft. Lykke Li (mp3)

“Chords” – Kleerup (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Personal ads are a tough business.

Absolutely the greatest Craigslist post ever.

Tess had a Carrie Bradshaw moment.

pomar_alm_trolha_46-50.jpg

julio pomar

In Which You Should Totally Do Your Own Clothing Line

You Ruined My Pants

by Molly Lambert

Gossip Girl
Season 2 Episode 8
“Pret A-Poor-J”

Some people think we write about Mad Men too much at This Recording. And to them I say, relax, the season is over. Sure we’ll probably run retrospectives until next summer but you don’t have to read them. Shouldn’t you be out playing sports?

To those people not watching Mad Men, it’s not like you can make excuses at this point. You can watch all of both seasons for free here on Surf The Channel. Whatever else you’re doing is less important and not as good. Go ahead, treat yourself.

Anyway as a break from our non-stop coverage of the Mad Men season finale, here’s a liveblog review of the latest episode of fellow sophomore show Gossip Girl, “Pret-A-Poor Jenny”

From Jean Baudrillard’s “Seduction”:

Seduction can most easily be seen when things do not try to confuse themselves with the real (things with meaning), but instead use play and artifice to mimic and exceed the effects of the real. Things are seductive when they undermine the world’s apparent factuality.

For example, trompe l’oeil exists only in the realm of appearances, mimicking the third (missing) dimension: by creating the illusion of the third dimension, one thinks there is more reality than there really is.

Thus there is an excess of appearance. Thus there is appearance with no reality behind it. And this is the secret of seduction: signs with no reality behind them, devoid of the “latent meaning” that the Law model wants. “Seduction is a radical surprise borne of appearances, from a life prior to the mode of production of the real world.”

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

New character Aaron The Artist from RISD is cute. Serena has a total fetish for hipsters. She is just as bad as Dan with his fetish for rich white girls. Aaron’s wearing plaid and little fey scarves and makes sound sculptures.

this groovy kid is a sophomore at RISD right now

If GG were more accurate Aaron would be wearing tie-dye and doing power point art like fellow RISD grad David Byrne. Remember when Vanessa made a video art installation to help Serena and Dan get together? That seemed unnecessarily martyrly. Whatever, Vanessa. Cry me a river, make me a video art installation of a bridge and get over it.

Aaron, artist from RISD

Blair and Chuck’s courtship is, as per usual, the best part of the show. Blair gets the best lines. Somebody pointed out that it seems like Blair has a better writer than the other characters. But part of it is that she just is the most interesting character.

Mindy Kaling objects to candle-light seduction scenes because they are gross. I agree, but Blair is obviously a total cornball with her burlesque strip show and Audrey Hepburn thing. She and Chuck both have a rococo fashion sense and their personalities are by far the most complicated and layered.

“I can skip dinner now that I’m so full of humiliation”

Mini-Cooper’s gross party photographer man-friend wearing a keffiyeh taking shots of Little J in her jaunty fashion bowler. Wouldn’t it be fun if these two little teenage coke whores just partied until they died? Omg this PSA with Jenny McCarthy is insaaaane. omg the Twilight previews are insane, gay vampires!

Looking at myspace photos is not a telegenic activity. “Do you know how to weld?” omg Dan watch out, Serena is totally going to f this artist dude in your cool alt-dad’s Brooklyn gallery.

As per usual, Dan Humphrey is a total Brandon Walsh about everything. He gives square advice that never works because it assumes everyone else is a morally righteous person just because you are, Seth Cohen/Dan Humphrey/Brandon Walsh.

Sure, we could make out. But how about we talk geopolitics and then head to The Peach Pit for some shakes and fries instead?

Serena’s been wearing such boob-shirts since she turned into a “bad girl.” She is still kind of boring though. Vanessa is also really boring. She is the Andrea Zuckerman of Gossip Girl. Being the moral center of a fictional universe is so dull.

Chuck Bass, amoral center of Gossip Girl

C’mon “Aaron From RISD.” No real artisty guy asks a girl out that straight-forwardly. He’d just sort of stare at his feet and mumble until Serena realizes he’s into her. Which would be even harder in this case because Serena mumbles.

Anywhere u go Rufus Humphrey, I’ll follow u down

The hottest guy on this show is not Aaron the RISD artist with his dog the Mets fan, or any of the upper east sider boys, or Dan. It’s RUFUS HUMPHREY. I would let him sing Gin Blossoms covers for me all night. He’s no Sandy Cohen but he makes up for it by being really handsome. Look at the way he can hold all of these animals at once!

I was talking with somebody about how there is a lot of sexual tension between Vanessa and Rufus. I can’t imagine they’ll capitalize on it, because Rufus is the other moral center of the show (booooring) and not a male Julie Cooper. God I still miss Julie Cooper. They should write Melinda Clarke onto GG as Blair’s drunk aunt or Bart’s new mistress or something.

Ooh the dramatic music of Blair’s feelings. Molly McAleer more or less explained sex and dating in this video. Apparently the hip photographer also went to RISD, and he’s into fassssshion. Nate Archibald is also a complete square. He’s pretty but he’s not funny enough yet. He will never be Luke from the OC.

Chuck would be a lot hotter if he STOPPED WEARING BOWTIES. Gossip Girl is obsessed with seduction, to the point of absurdity. Chuck and Blair need to stop acting like a couple of theater kids. Seriously. Enough with the sexy mind games and furtive grasps. Just fuck and call it a day.

Meanwhile, on 90210, a bunch of white people make out at a dance and Michael from The Wire is there. Meanwhile, back on Gossip Girl Dan sabotages Chuck and Blair, because he is a little bitch who hates the pleasure of others. Wow, the Tatu cover of “How Soon Is Now”! You really know me, show.

Chuck Bass and Bart Bass both talk in the same voice as GOB and Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock. God Serena, don’t tell Dan you’re going to date Aaron, you asshole. Now that Serena’s ditching Dan, he’s going back to Vanessa for a pity cuddle.

Chuck Bass appears out of the shadows in a Pee-wee suit. I don’t really understand what he’s going for here with the extended self cock-block. Is it just for our narrative pleasure? Some kind of crazy super extended neg? Not so latent gay?

Jenny thinks her brother’s Brandon Walsh influence has rubbed off on Nate Archibald, but it turns out he’s just trying to get into Little J’s shirt-dress. Apparently he likes really bad haircuts.

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording

I Can’t Make It Home – Devin The Dude (ft. L.C.): (mp3)

I Don’t Chase ‘Em – Devin The Dude (ft. Snoop Dogg): (mp3)

In My Draws – Devin The Dude: (mp3)

Let Me Know It’s Real – Devin The Dude: (mp3)

Thinkin’ Boutchu – Devin The Dude: (mp3)

Chuck Bass Is The King Of Bitch Mountain

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING:

Punk Rock Purity With The Jonas Brothers

Archie And Friends On The Internet

David Foster Wallace On John Updike

In Which We Guess We Lost All Our Picnic Spirit

Sports Corner: Return of the Hunters

by George Ducker

It grieves me to no end that the above photo, featuring the New Orleans Saints trudging through the pastoral density of Northwest London, couldn’t be found in a larger size or higher resolution. Maybe my mastery of the internet isn’t as far-reaching as I thought. Believe me, I tried, and believe me, you can’t find the thing higher than 250 or so. I’ll be calling Julian Finney first thing tomorrow morning for a poster-sized image that I can frame and put on my wall.

Sir  Linton, “Mary Queen of Scots About to Be Executed…”

Yes, the second annual foray of the NFL into England happened today, and the Saints took the Chargers for a ride 37-32.

Although this game, played at Wembley Stadium to a sellout crowd of 83,226, was notable for higher scoring and more on-field dramatics than last year’s soggy, fumbling match-up between the Dolphins and the New York Giants, there was less of the patented ridiculousness that peppered last year’s debut on the pitch. There was no streaker in a referee’s cap and there was most assuredly no 26-foot Jason Taylor robot scaring the hell out of unsuspecting pedestrians in Trafalgar Square.

Fred McAfee in the Eye

And the NFL isn’t pussyfooting around with their aims at foreign pigskin colonization.

The impressed Independent snorted, “If you wanted to organize a small war, there’s a chance that America’s National Football League could do a better job than the Pentagon.”

John Seymour Lucas, “Armada in Sight”

Rather than ravaging sleep patterns and jetting in midweek, the teams spent the whole week, jetting straight over after dreadful losses in the Eastern time zone…Some even had the guts to review those games in flight, as with Brees, who said, “I popped an Ambien and sat there and thought about it for 30 minutes and fell asleep.”

Brees

Both teams had time for their share of London sightseeing, but San Diego’s Antonio Cromartie offered the best, most succinct itinerary: “Man, we’ve been to T.G.I. Friday’s, Angus Steakhouse, McDonald’s. That’s where we’ve been.”

Oxford McDonald’s

But what of the weekend’s results on this side of the pond?

J.T. O’Sullivan

San Francisco lost 13-34 to Seattle in new coach Mike Singletary’s mid-season debut.

Chad Johnson

The Bengals lost 35-6 at the ruthless hands of the Houston Texans. Now the Bengals and the Detroit Lions should arm-wrestle to see who gets last place, as both teams have yet to win a game all season.

Shaun Rogers

Cleveland took down David Garrard and the Jaguars 23 – 17. More depressing for Jaguars fans was the last second, non-catch that Matt Jones made, securing them the non-win.

Joey Porter

Miami moved to 3-4 with their 25-16 win over the hot, happenin’ Redskins.

Cowboy cheerleader Abigail Klein

The Elder Bush

And speaking of Presidential figures, you can read all about Barack Obama’s stint as ESPN writer Rick Reilly’s fantasy football partner here.

This photo of Michelle is deeply mysterious to me

And you can read here about the stink surrounding another ESPN writer, Bill Simmons, and the failed Obama podcast.

There’s a new book out on sportswriter and man-about-town George Plimpton. It’s title is the heartwarming (at least to me) George, Being George, and it culls together a ton of interviews (Plimpton-on-Truman-Capote-style) with folks who knew him.

In 1963, Plimpton, then the 36 year-old editor of the Paris Review, wrote to six football teams in the NFL, with the hopes that one of them would take him on as a “last-string” quarterback during their summer/fall training season. The Detroit Lions “an older and experienced team, imbued with a lot of the devil-may-care attitude of Bobby Layne, the roustabout quarterback who’d been there a few years before” took the bait.

The resulting book, Paper Lion, which you should most certainly read if you haven’t, presents early-’60s pro football through the writerly lens of a fan with all the admitted athletic inadequacy of an Ivy League graduate.

Although most of the book is spent on the gridiron and in late-afternoon locker room sessions with the players, it culminates with Plimpton’s one and only appearance as the Lions’ QB during a scrimmage, in which he famously managed three plays and lost yardage on each and every one.

He acknowledges that this, while humiliating, was also the best possible outcome: “If by some chance I had uncorked a touchdown pass, there would have been wild acknowledgement–because I heard the groans go up at each successive disaster–but afterward the spectators would have felt uncomfortable. Their concept of things would have been upset. The outsider did not belong and there was comfort in that being proved.”

George Ducker is the senior Sports Consultant for This Recording although he defers to A.C. in all matters NBA-related, so don’t even ask.

BECAUSE MONDAY IS THE SCARIEST DAY

“Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues” – Bob Dylan (mp3)

“Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell (mp3)

“Hand of Doom” – Black Sabbath (mp3)

“Ut Oh! It’s Mourningtime Again” – Mount Eerie (mp3)

“Needle of Death” – Bert Jansch (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Robots can do it all the time, anywhere.

Jellyfish nearly always rub you the wrong way.

A day of the Triffids is closer than you think.

In Which Door to Door We See If They Can Win This One

Drive for Change

by Maria Diaz

You see in the time leading up to this coming election for president, you are going to meet somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 white girls telling you that you should vote for Obama for president.

Alex wrote that awhile ago, and I can confirm it’s a number which is almost entirely accurate. I’d like to add the following to: you’ll also meet abut 50 former hippies who drive hybrid SUVs, about 500 thin, passive white men who graduated from liberal arts colleges, and a few lesbian couples. Oh, and one Dominican girl who sounds like a white girl. That’d be me.

I went to Reno, where I canvassed for Obama, or “drove for change.” Or rather, sat in the passenger seat of a really old BMW and knocked on doors for change. I’d never been to Reno before, and as a person who enjoys eating meat and looking at flashy lights, I loved it.

As if they knew an annoying San Francisco resident was coming with a cheap digital camera, a laptop and a Moleskine, that same weekend was also the Reno Street Vibrations festival. The bikers there were not the manorexic dudes you fantasize about when they come to your office to drop off packages, but bikers that are in actual gangs and roam in packs wearing jackets with their gang’s name.

The first night, I played nickel slots and watched a cover band play in the hotel bar of the Sands Regency Hotel with about 100 dancing biker women. After the required AC/DC and Skynyrd covers, the band asked : “There any Nickelback fans here!?”, and the crowd roared back. And off they went into a rendition of “This Is How You Remind Me.” I ordered another whiskey and ginger ale and switched to playing the eBay penny slots, a huge rip off which I can’t recommend.

The next morning, while walking around downtown Reno in desperate search of coffee that didn’t taste like poison, I spotted an enormous McCain/Palin sign. Two doors down is the local chapter of Planned Parenthood. One for passive aggressive notes? You decide.

Spotted outside the Sands Regency: a MoveOn.org canvasser, competition! I wanted to challenge him to a fight, I looked him dead in the eye and he just smiled and asked the biker standing behind me if he wanted to register. The biker declined. He didn’t ask me if I needed to register. I wonder if the Obama/Biden sticker on my notebook can be picked up through his Moveon.org x-ray vision (it is a power they are assigned, along with the ability to send 1 million mass emails a day).

One person we talked to told us that she was also hit up by McCain/Palin canvassers. I signed up for McCain’s site (McCainSpace!) under a fake Gmail address to see if I could find out more. You have to apply for their program, where you can be a “McCain Maverick” or a “McCain marshal.” My profile on McCain space has yet to be approved, but I have been receiving messages from Sarah Palin. I keep reporting her to spam.

Annoyingly, this election will be decided by the undecideds. By the people who will wake up on November 4th and decide they didn’t like how Obama looked during a rally on TV. Or by people who aren’t educated in one way or another, who think that by voting for “the hot chick”, the hot chick will sleep with them (are these the same people inspired to drink shitty beer by watching Bud Light commercials or who actually purchase Axe Body Spray?). who perhaps were rejected by Harvard Law. When we asked them, what is the most important issue, most people couldn’t name it.

I think the reality is that most people are decided, they are just ashamed and can’t trust their own feelings. Case in point: the couple who tells us they are undecided, but the minute we close the door, yell out so we can hear them: “We’re voting for McCain! YAY MCCAIN!!!”

There are a lot of bikers in the sub development we visit and most of them aren’t home because of the bike festival. One biker answers the door and towers over us, two stereotypes of blue state liberals there ever was: unpolished, messy hair, dark rimmed glasses, dark tshirts. We are terrified as he tells us that everyone in his house has made up their mind. He says: “We’re all voting for Obama.” We breath a huge sigh of relief and thank him for his time.

Only one door got slammed in our face out of about 100 doors knocked. I knew it was coming when I saw the multiple pick up trucks in the garage.

My favorite people to talk to are the old lady Democrats, the 90 year olds who slowly answer their door in full makeup. They do not hesitate to tell us they’re voting for Obama. They like him, they say. And besides, they tell us, McCain is too old.

The next day, while playing nickel slots, waiting for my ride and enjoying a lunch time cocktail, I spot one of our McCain voters, also at the nickel slots. We’re all the same, united by a love of throwing our money into a toilet. Or a machine with flashing 7’s, all in a row.

Maria Diaz is a contibutor to This Recording. This is her first appearance in these pages. She tumbls here.

portrait of the author

“Mr. Universe” – Aqualung (mp3)

“Good Goodnight” – Aqualung (mp3)

“Can’t Get You Out of My Mind” – Aqualung (mp3)

“On My Knees” – Aqualung (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Josh experiences the fun of bun.

Stalking becomes so easy it’s barely worth the effort.

The truth about the sexes.

In Which The Password is “SUGAR RAY”

Feeling Elbows, Rubbing Queasy

by Molly Young

Through a couple of flukes (acquaintances, a cousin involved in the ownership) I’ve ended up at The Box twice in one week. The Box is a club in downtown Manhattan. It has a live burlesque show and a drinks list featuring $13,000 champagne (did I read that correctly?)

As with many such places, The Box adheres to a mystical door policy. On Visit #1 I was told to say “SUGAR RAY” as a password. On Visit #2 I was not allowed inside until my cousin poked his head out the door and identified me like a perp in a police lineup. Casual humiliation: a staple of the nightlife.

On both visits the atmosphere inside reminded me of an Edith Wharton novel. It is moneyed, socially complex, and devoted to elaborate carousing. The club is full of thoughtful details: paper bags of popcorn, servers in old-tymey costume, live music and a red velvet curtain. There are bottles of Grey Goose the size of rain sticks. It is the kind of thing that sends a ticker tape of WHOA! through your mind.

Whenever I find myself in an elevated position, I always look for something to throw at the people below me. Peanuts, popcorn, coupons.

It is a bizarre place to be – a spectacle with all the theoretical implications of that word. “Fellini-esque circus” works too. Like any cultural Petri dish, The Box felt emblematic and puzzling all at once. Worthy of a witness, certainly, and some documentation. I’ll give a little overview of the show we saw on Visit #2 (it was mostly the same show as Visit #1, but shuffled around.) Analysis will follow.

The first act (though it changes from night to night) had a Persian theme. There was a naked blonde babe wriggling on a chaise while a sultan tickled her with a pink feather. Throughout the room men leaned toward their friends and said, “Check it out.”

Oh, a brief interruption. On the first night we’d been seated in a balcony booth. The second night we were on a sofa directly in front of the stage. From the balcony, the performers had appeared perfect. From up close the show was less magical. You could see backstage, for one thing, and you could tally the natural flaws of the performers’ bodies: stray zits, heavy makeup, pubic stubble.

I hope that crop is made of licorice!

After the Persian act a contortionist came onstage and balanced his entire body on a strap-on penis attached to his assistant. Cool. Then there was a medley featuring a comic midget and some vaudeville renditions of Billy Idol and Rolling Stones songs.

The best acts were the ones with some sort of intellectual component. A girl dressed as Hitler performed a skillful striptease that felt like antique political satire. One routine had a dancer in traditional costume emerge from a Matryoshka doll to perform a Russian dance. At one point she lifted her dress, squatted over a pedestal, and ejected a mini doll from her vagina. (Cue hooting.) More traditional dance. As a finale, she squatted again over the ejected doll and hoovered it back up. The final routine that I can remember was incest-oriented. Details elided here.

Now, let me ask you a question. Do you have a switch in your head that you can flick in order to extinguish moral judgments? Like for when you go see stand-up comedy or a Wayans brothers movie, or when you listen to George Carlin on headphones? There are certain things you can’t enjoy, I mean, without suppressing your moral responses. Turning off the switch is the equivalent of playing a game: you acknowledge that it is a temporary situation in which certain rules need to apply in order to have fun.

Shoes on the bed: uncouth.

Well, The Box presents quite a challenge to this switch. There is so much to delight in: the naked girls, the atmosphere, the drinks, the show. And yet, there is so much to panic over! One thing that is apparent from the start is that There Are No Rules For the Rich. Inside the club you can smoke cigarettes and ash them on the floor, straddle your boyfriend amid 300 strangers, laughingly refer to the financial straits of third-world countries and do drugs. No one is held accountable for their bad behavior. Outsiders like us will always find such an atmosphere uncomfortable. At some moments it felt sinister.

“Decadent” might be the exact word for The Box. I should clarify, though, because “decadent” is so often misused as an adjective. Molten chocolate cake, for instance, is not decadent (though it is tasty.) For something to count as decadent, it has to have a strong element of waste and disregard. A touch of pre-apocalypse. Images that recurred to me at The Box: sinking of the Titanic, court of Louis XVI, Tsar Nicholas II.

Allegory alert!

With the economy dissolving into paste, the bar for decadence is falling. Things that used to seem like standard elements of celebrity glamour (private jets, $30,000 handbags) are quickly becoming distasteful. What was glitzy is now gauche. I wonder how Kanye West will adapt.

And what about The Box? Hard to say. When we took the J back to Bushwick at 4 AM (sprinting from the subway stop all the way home because it was the first chilly night of the season), I had that metaphysical hangover you get when you’ve snooped through someone’s journal or eaten your roommate’s peanut butter straight from the jar. Bad feelings, both.

Molly Young is the contributing editor to This Recording. Here is her website.

Get that dog out of frame, pls.

“We Have To Respect Each Other” – Department of Eagles (mp3)

“Forty Dollar Rug” – Department of Eagles (mp3)

“Family Romance” – Department of Eagles (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Danny on the double feature.

Danish burned Malibu to the ground.

Barely safe links for work.