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A top (x) list of consumed media from 2017

That is… a gross title, but here we are. I haven’t been around on here (obviously) but I figured I’d ease into it a little bit by writing about things that are easier to write, i.e. lists of things I enjoyed as opposed to a check-in, i.e. how am I, how am I, which is what my family is probably going to appreciate more. But we’re not having that today.

Because my memory is kind of gone, also, this is probably not an accurate list. I’ll likely see something I want to edit out, etc. two seconds after publishing, but such is life.


Julien Baker at Union Chapel, London

Albums

Once upon a time, Brand New’s Science Fiction had a sure spot on this list. If you’re not familiar with the emo news circuit — which, who is anymore? — Jesse Lacey was accused (and admitted to with a… sorta apology/non-apology) of sexual abuse of a minor when he was 24 years old¹. So, yes. Everything I feel about Brand New is in shambles (but I don’t want to get into that right now—I am now a master of deflection); here’s a better (I think?) list:

  1. Julien Baker’s Turn Out the Lights — gives shape to all your deep-buried sorrows, brings them to the surface, and reassures that darkness can co-exist with light
  2. The National’s Sleep Well Beast — Matt Berninger whisper-sings intimations of a life flashing before your eyes, sometimes out of order
  3. Phoebe Bridgers’ Stranger in the Alps — melancholy mountain music to put on whilst on the tube, thinking about mortality and how you got to where you are
  4. Rostam’s Half-Light — it’s like resurfacing from being submerged in a lake to warmth and the sun in your eyes
  5. Lorde’s Melodrama — post-hedonism sadness with no regret, set to music you can’t help but dance to
  6. Sorority Noise’s You’re Not As _____ As You Think — honest and open; unlikely lifeline for when you are edging closer to the edge
  7. Jay Som’s Everybody Works — warm, easy music for languid summer drives or day-time lounging
  8. Vagabon’s Infinite Worlds — so far, my favourite winter blanket
  9. Japanese Breakfast’s Soft Sounds from Another Planet — somehow makes you want to play the guitar?
  10. Waxahatchee’s Out in the Storm — sounds like the cool girl you’ve (I’ve) always wanted to be

Other notables: Wolf Parade’s Cry Cry Cry, Sufjan Stevens’ The Greatest Gift, Big Thief’s Capacity, Alvvays’ Anti-Socialites, St. Vincent’s Masseduction, Molly Burch’s Please Be Mine, Paramore’s After Laughter, and Harry Styles’ self-titled debut.

EDIT: … As predicted, a late addition: Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s Lotta Sea Lice is also really good.

Books

I read a lot this year, especially towards the end… but I didn’t read a lot of books in full. Here are the ones I really liked, out of the 19 I finished as of writing. Not all of them were published in 2017, so… uh, sorry about that.

  1. A City Inside by Tillie Walden
  2. Confabulations by John Berger
  3. 300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso
  4. All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey
  5. True Stories by Sophie Calle
  6. So Sad Today by Melissa Broder

* Complete list of finished titles can be found here.


from Thelma

Movies

Movies, I find hard to track because I don’t… keep track, haha. But in (very) recent memory, the films released this year that I thoroughly enjoyed are Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig), heartwarming coming-of-age and Very Much My Jam; Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino), the very beautiful cause of many sleepless nights spent lying in residual want; Don’t Break Down (Tim Irwin and Keith Schieron), exhilarating and sad (?) Jawbreaker documentary that awakened a latent crush on Blake Schwarzenbach which thankfully went away; and Thelma (Joachim Trier), beautiful and mysterious with large spaces of quiet meant to keep your feelings expanding.

Very sure I’m forgetting like… a lot, but other fun films I enjoyed watching were Spider-man: Homecoming, Kong: Skull Island, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Television

I basically subsisted on television this year, but here are my favourite 2017 releases (in no particular order).

  1. Insecure season 2
  2. Easy season 2
  3. BoJack Horseman season 4
  4. American Vandal
  5. The Bold Type
  6. Alias Grace
  7. The Americans season 5
  8. Master of None, season 2
  9. Star Trek: Discovery
  10. Grace and Frankie season 3
  11. The Good Place season 2A
  12. Teen Wolf season 6B
  13. One Day at a Time
  14. Halt and Catch Fire season 4

EDIT: Also enjoying Runaways a lot!


Bruce Nauman

Art shows or pieces

(In no particular order, and excludes shows I or my family was part of because, well… those are a very not impartial given.)

  1. Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency at the MoMA, New York
  2. Bruce Conners’s “Crossroads” from Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016 at the Whitney, New York
  3. Mariano Ching and Yasmin Sison’s Traveling on the Edges of Lost Maps at MO_Space, Manila
  4. D, a group show curated by Gary-Ross Pastrana at Vinyl on Vinyl, Manila
  5. Elaine Navas’s Nothing Moves Itself at Artinformal, Manila
  6. Nilo Ilarde’s Fools of the Trade at Artinformal, Manila
  7. Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, the Message is Death at Store Studios (co-presented by the Serpentine Galleries and The Vinyl Factory), London
  8. TJ Wilcox’s Gentlemen at Sadie Coles, London
  9. Artist Rooms: Bruce Nauman at Tate Modern, London
  10. Artist Rooms: Joseph Beuys at Tate Modern, London
  11. Marie Harnett’s Still at Alan Cristea Gallery, London
  12. Bernardo Pacquing at Silverlens Galleries, Manila
  13. Wade Guyton: Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged at the Serpentine Galleries, London
  14. Basquiat: Boom for Real at the Barbican Art Gallery, London

Let me know if you want to know more about a particular thing, but I’m sure people on Google can better help you out with that. What are your favourites from this year?

———
¹ I was supposed to see them in London, mid-November, but news broke out just a few days before, which led to them cancelling their show. I got my money from the (scalped) ticket refund, and although I feel kind of bad that I never got to see them, I think my heart would have shattered even more if I saw them play and then found out about the abuse.

Featured image from TJ Wilcox’s Gentlemem

The Sunday Currently Vol. 37

Reading

I’m reading a couple of things at the moment, though I’d like to report that I’ve finished two books recently: Heather Havrilesky’s How to Be a Person in the World (finally!), which I thought was good but also went on for a bit too long. IDK, I’m a fan, but I think maybe advice column collections aren’t for me. Also finished Roman Muradov’s The End of a Fence, which is gorgeous and sublime and abstract.

What I’m currently reading are Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin’s I Hate Everyone But You, which is cute enough, but also reads as sort of a fanfic AU where the authors (who have a YouTube channel together) are actually childhood friends and went to college together. Sweet and cute, so far, but also weirdly invasive and may potentially be alienating if you don’t like their dynamics to begin with.

Also in the middle of Giorgio Guglielmino’s This is Now. A geographical guide to cutting-edge contemporary art, which explores new and active artists per region. It’s quite interesting and resembles the kind of writing I maybe want to do with regards to art. I find that a lot of crit, although important and hold a place in the world, alienate a lot of other people. This is Now has been a pleasant read so far and I’m so glad to see art from places I’m pretty unfamiliar with.

Writing

Not writing a lot; mostly transcribing. It’s very unpleasant.

Listening

Beautiful new albums out! Currently on rotation are The National’s Sleep Well Beast (of course) and Phoebe Bridgers’ Stranger in the Alps. Both good, both recommended, both on Spotify.

Watching

In the middle of catching up with The 100‘s fourth season as I mourn the end of Teen Wolf. I’ve also been watching This is Us, and it’s such a good family drama? I love it a lot even though all it does is make me feel this weird combination of warm-fuzzy and sad.

Thinking

Let’s not go there.

Smelling

The fresh cup of coffee I am making.

Wishing

Let’s not go there either.

Hoping

Or here!

Wearing

One of the few shorts I have left that don’t have holes by the buttocks. The shirt I wore outside yesterday because I was too lazy to change out of it.

Loving

MY DOGS. Art? Watercolor paper? Paint?? Being able to actually sit down long enough to read books?? I don’t know. Let’s look for small delights, shall we?

Wanting

I don’t want to go here either.

Needing

Really makes me wonder why I thought it would be a good idea to post one of these today.

Feeling

Because I don’t want to go here either.

Clicking

I’m gonna go and self-promote: here is my new portfolio of work. It’s mostly updated in the art department, but I’ve got a few design projects up on there and I finally put up links to my writing work. Like, wow, how did it take me this long! Any comments or suggestions welcome, of course.

The Sunday Currently was originally created by SiddaThornton

Situation Amongst the Furnishings — Dina Gadia at Silverlens

You’d think I’d be more diligent at uploading time-based events, given my background in publishing, but here we are. Dina Gadia’s solo exhibit at Silverlens, Situation Amongst the Furnishings, closed on 12 August 2017, almost two months ago. Is there a point to uploading these things at all? To my mind, yes. I don’t know about you, though. I do know that I have a hard drive full of photos that I always “mean” to upload but never do. I do know that I always wish someone would post photos of exhibits that I’ve missed. So here’s something, maybe, for someone who would’ve liked to have seen this show but didn’t get to.

Anyway.

Aside from being really aesthetically into Dina Gadia’s work, which is always graphic and vibrant and just attractive, part of why I think I always enjoy seeing her work is that it’s infused with humor and wit. There’s something a little bit off or irreverent about her work, but it’s never in a way that’s too in-your-face and it never tries to be overtly provocative. It just is, in a strangely quiet way.

The paintings in Situation Amongst the Furnishings were a delight to see, for me. (This write-up’s probably coming off as a little trite and shallow, but it’s a blog, lol. Give me a break.) It’s what you might have come to expect from Dina’s work, but with the volume turned up, a little bit.

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For full exhibit notes and installation views, click here.

Almost Doing Nothing — Nilo Ilarde at Finale

As someone who’s used to making small and intimate pieces, I’m always in awe of artists whose work seem to effortlessly occupy their designated spaces. One of my favorite artists, whose eye and perspective I value highly (although personal conversations with him are rare, heh), is Nilo Ilarde.

In Almost Doing Nothing, Ilarde creates visually stunning work that subverts and respects the space it’s in, gathering references and influences, invoking histories and memories, but never in a way that’s too on the nose or obvious or easy.

The signage from the now-defunct mag:net cafe, a gallery for which Ilarde has curated many shows, presents a simple statement: “place rather than thing.” In Almost Doing Nothing, there is a suggestion for the viewer to consider the space, through the artist’s own alterations to it, and what it is, and what he’s intended for it to become. In the video room, he carves out literal screens, some that look out into the other spaces, inscribed with “video of its own making.” Evidence of the process of this making is strewn about the resulting environment.

My favorite piece is, predictably, the centerpiece of the show: the work that dominates the Tall Gallery, a space that intimidates a lot of artists but one which Ilarde seems to work with with ease. The mirrored images imitate a labyrinth — “which is a straight line” — a long work, visually infinite, contained in a small space. It is a beautiful tribute to Roberto Chabet, one that is fitting and perfect.

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Almost Doing Nothing is on view until 28 September at Finale Art File. Read an excerpt of Jonathan Olazo’s notes on the show here.

New music — 8 tracks

(But first: a short update on the last post—I did end up going, I made him make a finger heart, I wrote about it, and I gave him a book.)

I’m not sure when it started, but I’ve been making an effort with regards to listening to new music as they come, instead of waiting for the songs and albums to turn into toddlers. I don’t usually talk about new music anymore, aside from unabashed gushing, but here’s… something. It’s an exercise in writing about music and things I enjoy… or more verbose unabashed gushing, probably, I don’t know.

“The Louvre” by Lorde

Easily my favorite track off of Melodrama, which I love despite all the Jack Antonoff, “The Louvre” is deceptively playful and upbeat, betraying a tangible sheen of melancholy that runs all throughout the album. “The Louvre” is big, grand gestures and dangerous all-consuming love, but it’s also about the loss it leaves behind when the fire burns out. (Listen here.)

(If you’re curious, my second favorite is “Hard Feelings/Loveless,” which has a pretty amazing Vevo x Lorde session. The bridge kills me every time.)

“Appointments” by Julien Baker

Pleasantly surprised that the first single off of the to-be-released sophomore album, Turn Out the Lights, is one that I hadn’t heard yet. “Appointments” starts off slow, a bit like it’s leaching into you, bit by bit, and when you resurface, you realize how much of you it already has in its hands. At the end, she sings “Maybe it’s all going to turn out alright / And I know that it’s not / But I have to believe that it is,” and it’s super fucking bleak, but the way she sings it, you’d sing along, thinking it was a hymn. (Listen here.)

“Can’t Get It Out” by Brand New

The second track off of Brand New’s surprise album drop (so surprising that I only found out about it because Petra sent it to my email), “Can’t Get It Out” is the one that’s stuck to me the most and it’s the song that I “bonded with” immediately. Jesse Lacey, with fuzzy guitars and an ominous whistle, managed an approximation of how heavy-laden I feel on most days. (Listen here.)

“Carin at the Liquor Store” by The National

So far, The National’s released four new tracks off of Sleep Well Beast, which they’re aiming to release by the 8th of September. This is probably my favorite, and it’s not because it has all six letters of my name in the correct order; it feels the most melodic, the most intimate and personal. Like an end-of-the-day song, the soundtrack to you, taking off your day-to-day masks in front of someone you love. (Listen here.)

“Minimize” by BP Valenzuela

I’m patiently waiting for BP’s new album, but this is such a gorgeous lead up to it. She’s stated that “Minimize” is about being “resigned to imagining what it’d be like to just want someone happy, whether it’s with you or not.” Her languid vocals are soothing, paired with a sadness she’s come to terms with, like a person who’s used to loss and solitude. (Listen here.)

“Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers

I’ve been waiting for new music from Phoebe Bridgers for a while. Even as she sings about betrayal and a falling out, there’s a steady sad calmness to the song, her rage tempered, somehow, with resignation. (Listen here.)

“Provider” by Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean was someone I’d avoided listening to for a long time, and I’m still not sure what is it about his music that resonates with me. “Provider” sounds like the calmness of a night on a beach washing over you. (Listen here.)

“You’re Dreaming” by Wolf Parade

You know how, when you’re too attached to old music and the artist releases new stuff and you can’t quite get around to liking it right away. Well, this is a super convoluted way of saying that that’s not what happened here with me, haha. Wolf Parade’s Apologies to the Queen Mary is one of the albums I keep harping on and on about until now, 12 years later.

A new Wolf Parade album is coming out on October 6th and if the rest of it’s going to sound like “You’re Dreaming,” I can’t wait. (Listen here, though the video is great.)