Latest News:

Mar

23

2016

Over at Talking Pictures, the movie podcast I do with David Dylan Thomas, we've embarked on a 5-part series about race and movie genres. Between each episode, we issue a challenge to both ourselves, and you, our movie-loving listeners. 

Episodes so far...

 

  1. Race and Action Movies.

 The Challenge: Name 5 action movies where neither the hero nor the villain are white. 

     

       2. Race and Romantic Comedies.

The Challenge: Name 3 romantic comedies where neither member of the couple are white but their friends aren't all the same race either. 

 

If this sounds like your kinda podcast, you can drop this link in your podcast tool of choice or subscribe in iTunes



Mar

23

2016

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I wrote about Duckie and how he taught a generation of teenage boys (including me) all the wrong lessons...

Beyond Hughes’ other sidekicks, “Duckie” has become synonymous with “weird friend thrown over for safe, popular choice,” adolescent canon reinforced by a generation of boys who mimicked Duckie—in dress, manner and seduction—to joke and serenade their way into the hearts of their dream girls.

Disciples of Duckie, we had it all wrong.

Full essay at Salon.com. 



Feb

23

2016

Tips and tricks for how to love music, movies and book without feeling overwhelmed by them. 

1. Know your method and stick to it. I write best listening to music with an object near my left hand (a pen, a notebook, coffee cup). I never read, listen to or watch two examples of the same artist's work in a row. I don't know why and it doesn't matter. I found out it these methods work to keep me creating and appreciating culture at a steady clip. So I don't ask questions. 

Finding your best methods takes time, effort, experimenting and learning from those experiments. But once you've zeroed in on a way, that's your way. Don't torture yourself over "why."

 2. Catalog only if easy and useful.  I use Goodreads to keep track of my books, Discogs for my vinyl records. Both have kept me from buying something twice and remembering work by artists I admire but haven't checked out yet. Both are dead easy and quick to learn to use.

I don't catalog my DVDs because they fail these two rules: I can't find a need to catalog DVDs nor an easy program to do it. 

Cataloging is not its own reward. Don't make busy work for yourself. Do it if its adds something to your experience with the thing you are cataloguing. 

3. Sit in the back row. Lately when going to the movies, I've been sitting in the back row: low traffic, same visibility (I feel no need for the screen to fill my entire field of view as though its an oncoming train), easy to go to the bathroom and leave quickly at film's end. Try it. 

4. The 4 issue rule. If you have more than 4 issues piled up of a magazine, get rid of it. You won't miss them and having them around is torment you bring upon yourself. And why do that?  

Pop! Hacks! are a feature of my newsletter The Smoke Signal, which comes out twice a month. Subscribe if ya like. 



Jan

14

2016

Tips and tricks for how to love music, movies and book without feeling overwhelmed by them. 

1. Download and save playlists. Those of us who used the now-departed RDIO music service were relieved that RDIO gave members their playlists in a little downloadable bundle before they turned off the lights. Not everyone is so nice. Pays to take 30 seconds and export a favorite playlist from iTunes (say a playlist given to you by friend or lover) then upload the file it creates to Google Drive or Dropbox. 

2. Log movies you watch. I have a terrible time remembering movies I saw no matter how much I loved them. So I've taken to scrawling a few lines down about the movie I just saw on Letterbxd just so it's recorded somewhere and I can cycle back when someone asks "What's the best documentary you saw this year?" and the first words that come to mind are "Breakfast Burrito." 

Not an endorsement for Letterbxd as I haven't explored any of its competitors. A notebook and pencil work just as well. 

3. On that, unless you are a serial watcher of movies, once you've watched something on Netflix, Amazon, Itunes etc. delete it. Unless you are going to rewatch it, it's just taking up space. "I paid for it" isn't a good reason to keep it around. It's paying for the privilege of acting like a hoarder. 

4. If one of your 2016 resolutions is to "read more", give yourself time to read 10 pages nightly before turning on the TV. Unless you are reading Proust, 10 pages goes by super fast and if you've chosen a good book, you'll probably want more that 10 pages before turning on the TV. 

 

Pop! Hacks! are a feature of my newsletter The Smoke Signal, which comes out twice a month. Subscribe if ya like.