Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Nothing But Sex or No Sex at All"

For anyone (anyone?) who reads my blog, my interest in the sexual politics of vampire/human couples is already known, especially couples in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, True Blood, and the Twilight Saga (this latter interest, is, ahem, purely scholarly). A.O. Scott's review in the New York Times today does an admirable job of outlining some of these issues, particularly as relates to vampires contrasted with werewolves. Scott's review doesn't address any issues of age (daddy complex!) or race (the deathly white and cold Euro guy versus the hot-blooded Native American one whose last name is actually Black), or family (it's all about chosen families replacing fractured biological ones), but it's right on about the pleasure of the series (it's either about "nothing but sex or no sex at all"), and the pleasure of sublimation in particular. While some people are touting the series' chastity, I think they are missing the fact that countless adolescent girls are getting intense sexual pleasure from movies that collectively feature nothing more than a handful of kisses. Oh, and a couple eight-packs of abs. Scott is right to focus on desire, of the characters for each other, and of the audience members for the characters. How and why marriage plays into this (will Edward, like Bill, be able to "put a ring on it"? will Sookie, like Bella, want to be changed? how much more awesome is Buffy/Angel for steering clear of these subjects?) is a subject for another post.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I dissent, therefore, from this legalization of racism.

Here's the final paragraph from Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy's dissent in Korematsu vs. United States in 1944. (The majority found Executive Order 9066, which called for the internment of Japanese Americans, constitutional.) It's one of the first uses of the word "racism" in a Supreme Court decision, and seems terribly applicable to the situation in Arizona today.

I dissent, therefore, from this legalization of racism. Racial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life. It is unattractive in any setting, but it is utterly revolting among a free people who have embraced the principles set forth in the Constitution of the United States. All residents of this nation are kin in some way by blood or culture to a foreign land. Yet they are primarily and necessarily a part of the new and distinct civilization of the United States. They must, accordingly, be treated at all times as the heirs of the American experiment, and as entitled to all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What's that word doing in a rock song? Styx edition

Today's word: "lad."

Dennis DeYoung is a cheeseball. We all know this. I mean, he's written songs about his wife called "Lady" and "Babe." (Props to them for 40 years of marriage!) But still, decades before he wrote and performed The Hunchback of Notre Dame, DeYoung was already demonstrating his ability to 100% commit himself to a topic and run with it, no matter how nerdy. (I'm reminded of Tommy Shaw, or was it JY Young, saying in Behind the Music, "I just couldn't write any more songs about robots." Incidentally, I still own my copy of "Mr. Roboto.") In the classic jam, "Come Sail Away," DeYoung sings about angels cum aliens who urge him to, well, come sail away. But in the midst of all the late 1970s cheesetasticness, he takes it even one step further by throwing in the word, "lad," as in: "come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me, lad." Why do that? Why take it over the top? I mean, who even uses the word "lad" in the US anyway? While you ponder that question, please enjoy this video, featuring Tommy Shaw in a delightful white, short-sleeve, v-neck, bell-bottom pantsuit.

Friday, June 25, 2010

OMG! Like Heroes, for Dancers!

I'm sure my dance media colleagues are already on top of what is billed as "the first online dance adventure," the upcoming web series The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. From what I've seen and read so far, there is also a lot to think about in terms of who and what types of dance get to be considered "extraordinary" (primarily hiphop dancers, b-boys, and not many girls). But what I'm most excited about is that it brings together two of my favorite things: dance and science fiction. Watch the trailer below, and don't skip over creator Jon M. Chu's introduction - it's key to the construction of dancers as superheroes. I can't wait for the premiere July 7 on Hulu. Bonus: we'll get to see Harry Shum, Jr., a choreographer for and member of The LXD, be more than Glee window dressing! (That's a topic for a later post.)

Don't Knock It Until You've Tried It

With all this hoopla about Michael Hastings' Rolling Stone article, "The Runaway General," leading to the firing of General Stanley McChrystal as top commander in Afghanistan, I can't help but feel that all of the pundits and comedians who are playing this up (cue eyeroll and sarcastic incredulity as they say "Roe-ling STOOONE") are missing a few key points. First, it's not like RS sent the writer assigned to Lady Gaga to Afghanistan; Hastings is a journalist experienced in reporting from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Second, the magazine has been covering the War on Terror on all its fronts consistently over the past nine years. And finally, you'd think the commentators would use this opportunity to question why other print and broadcast media outlets have not had a direct impact on the war and defense decisions like, ahem, Roe-ling STOOONE has. In the end, however, though the article did prompt the firing of McChrystal, his quick replacement by General Petraeus of Iraq fame reinforces that fact that Obama's policy is essentially to stay the course laid by George W. Bush. I even heard one NPR commentator refer to the General's appointment as "a nod to Dick Cheney" and the success of his surge plan. We're coming up on nine years and counting here, people. At least RS is paying attention.

Laughter in the Rain

Just heard this song for the first time in decades today. I really loved this song when I was 3 or 4 and remember singing it when I was at a park and it started to rain. I thought that Neil Sedaka was a woman, though, and wondered why a woman was singing about kissing and holding hands with another woman. Ah, how I love 70s AM radio cheeze!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Watch With...

Spotted E!'s Kristin Dos Santos with her kid in the produce section of the Whole Foods on 3rd at Fairfax.  Back when "Watch with Kristin" was still "Watch with Wanda," she was my spoiler source on faves such as Buffy and Angel.

Friday, June 18, 2010

On Responsibility

Why is it that conservatives are more than happy to call for "personal responsibility," aka "you make your bed, you have to lie in it" for individuals and particularly for women and poor people, but when it comes to corporate responsibility, they have absolutely no use for it? Joe Barton's (R. TX) now infamous quote is just the latest in this long tradition: "It is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown.” 

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A ha!

I spotted character actor Jose Zuniga at the Farmer's Market last month when we were both enjoying dinner at Loteria, but only now remembered his name. Wow, he's been in everything!

7/17/10 update: Spotted him again across the street from the Farmer's Market at the Whole Foods with his daughter - must live in the neighborhood!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

RIP Kazuo Ohno

It's hard to be sad when he lived such a full life, dancing into his 90s, living to 103. I like to imagine Ohno-San and Merce and Pina somewhere making the most amazing dances.


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