For this installment of “Elsewhere,” I’m experimenting with a new format, both in terms of design and voice. Enjoy!
Last week, it became official: Slowdive has reunited for some concerts and possibly a new recording. So it shouldn’t be surprising that folks are revisiting their music. Paste’s Zach Schonfeld boldly claims that Slowdive’s Souvlaki trumps My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless as “the definitive shoegaze statement.” For example, he calls it “Rumours for the dream-pop set, a bracing chronicle of heartbreak that finds each contributors to that heartbreak playing equal roles.”
Related: Club AC30’s Robin Allport remembers when he first heard Slowdive and considers their legacy and The Fly offers “An Introduction to Shoegaze” featuring a nice assortment of music and video clips.
Meanwhile, in music news from last week that most people heard about, the Grammys happened, and one of the gala’s most acclaimed performances was Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder’s. I've watched the performance a number of times, and it leaves me with a big smile every time, especially when Stevie Wonder brings it home with “Another Star.” It strikes me as a definitive Daft Punk experience given how it reveals the love and appreciation they have for their influences and collaborators.
And finally, in music news that has my inner angst-ridden high school student absolutely giddy, The Cure have announced their musical plans for 2014: a new album titled 4:14 Scream, a couple of concert DVDs, and a new “Trilogy” tour during which they’ll play The Top, The Head on the Door, and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me in their entirety. Which means it’s time to break out the red lipstick, mascara, and black fingernail polish.
Taylor Marshall wonders whether or not The Beatles promoted abortion in their music. Simcha Fisher has written a solid, thoughtful (and slightly cheeky) response:
Our main job isn’t to apply ‘censor’ bar across everything that doesn’t come straight from the Baltimore Catechism. We take what is good. We’re supposed to be experts at identifying what is good. We’re not supposed to be screaming meemies who bite our lips and blush every time someone dips into a minor key.
Related: Marshall’s analysis reminds me of the time Glenn Beck tried his hand at art history and criticism.
Alissa Wilkinson reflects on what she learned from the life and work of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died earlier this week from a heroin overdose. Hoffman was one of Hollywood’s finest actors, capable of playing a wide range of characters. Consider that he played both the gentle Phil Parma (Magnolia) and the despicable Dean Trumbell (Punch-Drunk Love). Jared Keller reminds us of an even more tragic side to Hoffman’s death: he was a father as well as a great actor.
Alissa Wilkinson has also penned a great essay explaining why Christianity Today reviews R-rated films: “…we want Christians to be some of the most thoughtful conversation partners and culture makers you can find.”
In light of his receiving a Golden Globe lifetime achievement award, Woody Allen’s adoptive daughter Dylan has detailed the sexual abuse she suffered at his hands. Allen has never been prosecuted and has denied the charges. Not surprisingly, this has reignited the age-old debate over how one responds to art made by represensible and questionable artists, i.e., if Allen is truly guilty, does that somehow “contaminate” his art? Adding some more fuel to the debate, Damon Linker argues that Allen is a moral nihilist, which certainly doesn't make him a child molester, but it does render him powerless to condemn such actions.
My Christ and Pop Culture colleague Derek Rishmawy has written an thoughtful piece dissecting the “myth of isolated worship” in response to this Donald Miller piece. Rishmawy writes: “The idea that a Christian can experience healthy, Christian worship and community outside of the context of church is an American myth that Miller seems to have played right into. A healthy, functioning Church is about putting Christ on display for the world to see, not our individualism.”
The AV Club has written a nice primer to “the bullshit-strewn career of Penn & Teller.”
Naomi Wolf explains how porn has damaged our views of sex, but not necessarily in the way you might think: “The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as ‘porn-worthy.’ Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.”
Finally, photographer (and geographer) Kilian Schönberger treks across Europe taking photos of places that look like they belong in old fairy tales, e.g., gloomy forests, ivy-covered castles. Basically, I want to go to there. (The photos are all stunning, and made all the more impressive by the fact that Schönberger is colorblind.)