Double dose of Buñuel

First, El Bruto (1953), one of his Mexican potboilers. A mean old slum lord hires a slaughterhouse employee to threaten the ringleaders of a group of squatters who resist eviction. The Brute, who looks like Ernest Borgnine, finds that his ham hock arms attract the patrician’s wife, played by Katy Jurado. Entertaining but not asContinue reading “Double dose of Buñuel”

Fantasia: Codependent no more

“Lose to Win” sets the tone, its sample of the Commodores’ “Nightshift” interpolated as seamlessly as if its synth gauze and bass were performed in 2013. On Side Effects of You, Fantasia’s rasp signifies the lengths she’s traveled since winning “American Idol” in 2004, and acknowledges new hurts too. On the title track, co-written byContinue reading “Fantasia: Codependent no more”

Expanding executive power — mellifluously

Noam Chomsky: Q: On Obama’s 2012 election campaign web site, it clearly states that Obama has prosecuted six whistleblowers under the Espionage Act. Does he think he’s appealing to some constituency with that affirmation? A: I don’t know what base he’s appealing to. If he thinks he’s appealing to the nationalist base, well, they’re notContinue reading “Expanding executive power — mellifluously”

Last man standing

“Any one of us could have said ‘We have to get serious about this. The Republicans are out to win. They are treating this like war. We have to get our shit together.’” This Democratic aide’s lament was published not last week, but September 1991 during the Clarence Thomas hearings, the subject of Timothy M.Continue reading “Last man standing”

Annals in the once powerless

I don’t celebrate Pride — it’s a redundancy. To imagine Alfred Soto on a parade line is to imagine Aaron Burr as a popular two-term president whose visage was carved beside Washington and Jefferson’s on Mount Rushmore. If I went, it would be to pick up men. San Francisco Gay Pride rescinded its invitation toContinue reading “Annals in the once powerless”

Singles 4/26

The highlights of a crowded week: a Jonas Bros stomper that like all good pop synthesizes unexpected, discrete influences; Brad Paisley, not debuting at the top of the Billboard album chart for the nth time, redeems himself with A Brad Paisley Single; a certain nu-disco synthesis by some Germans you know and a mosquito-voiced producer;Continue reading “Singles 4/26”

George Jones – RIP

I hope I don’t sound ghoulish when I admit that in his best performances he, like Roy Orbison, already sounded beyond the grave: a specter tormented by guilt and lust. Cup of Loneliness is a compilation you can spend your life with and whose bottom you’ll never see, and it still isn’t enough. The TammyContinue reading “George Jones – RIP”

Knives out for politics

Many of us are guilty of thinking politics is a substance you inject like a steroid into music when every song by its nature is political. It’s difficult for a gay man to view even a boy-girl relationship as non-political. I define “politics” more broadly; it isn’t just depiction or analysis or engagement with GeorgeContinue reading “Knives out for politics”

“The poor are poor”

My eyes popped like Roger Rabbit’s yesterday upon reading Matthew Yglesias’ Slate column. David Atkins responds: Which leads to the other great failure of rational actor theory in libertarian economics: the artificial separation of government and the governed in a democratic society. At least in representative democracies, the government exists as a mutual compact ofContinue reading ““The poor are poor””

Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky”

Even on Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid” Pharrell sounded thin. How and why he became a signifier of soul in the early 2000s mystifies me; he manufactures a feeling, and I doubt he’s ever said “phoenix” aloud in his life. But it works here because the damn track is hologram disco anyway. Thank Nile Rodgers, whoseContinue reading “Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky””