Misty Harris included a quote from me in her latest trend piece on “place-dropping:
“The inevitable I-wanna-be-on-vacation factor makes the pretension harder to dismiss,” says Robert Lanham, bestselling author of three books on cultural foibles.
Lanham suggests the key to a successful place-drop is knowledge of which travel war-stories will help and which will hinder — something he carefully considered after stumbling upon a clothing-optional beach during a recent trip to Mexico.
“It’s not going to win me any favours to place-drop that ‘John Denver songs sure sound better when performed on a pan flute by leathery nudists in Tulum,’ ” says Lanham. “And yes, this happened.
Aforementioned, scary nudists after the jump. Too bad I don’t have video of them playing “Annie’s Song.”
I got a really nice mention in the Yale Daily News.
In closing his talk, Monks read a popular piece from McSweeney’s entitled “Internet Age Writing and Course Overview” by Robert Lanham. The piece is written as an English class syllabus but satirizes the new state of writing on the Internet, from blogs to Twitter and Facebook. The “course” covered everything from “Week 1: reading is stoopid” to “Week 5: I can haz writing skillz?” and demanded “ENG: 231WR — Facebook Wall Alliteration and Assonance” and “ENG: 232WR — Advanced Tweeting: The Elements of Droll” as prerequisites, among others. Monks said the piece exemplified what McSweeney’s tried to publish: “pop-culture oriented conceptual humor.”
Thanks Christopher! Here’s the piece.
Evidently, this story was syndicated all over the place:
Then, the air came out of the tires. Released in 2004, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou cost $60 million and took in $24 million. The more modestly budgeted Darjeeling Limited grossed $12 million in 2007, $5 million less than Rushmore. These were commercial failures, sure, but the critics were also starting to pile on. Phrases like “too precious,” “cloying” and “detached” popped up more and more in Anderson’s reviews.
In one case of hipster cannibalization, The Hipster Handbook author Robert Lanham, writing for the ubercool Viceland Web site, said of The Life Aquatic: “Wes Anderson doesn’t make movies anymore. He creates overly precious paintings inhabited by emasculated man-children who knit sweater vests to the accompaniment of Belle & Sebastian while fantasizing that they’re macho enough to skin a caribou with a pocketknife. The set pieces to The Life Aquatic are stunning, but watching this film is like visiting the Natural History Museum. It’s a beautiful building, but most of its pleasures are filled with lifeless things.”
For the record, I think Wes is back. Fantastic Mr. Fox was his best film in years. It’s great to see him back on track.
New York Magazine has a long-overdue cover story on the Brooklyn music scene and the thing is pretty epic. The article discusses the latest wave of a-list indie bands—Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Antlers, TV on the Radio—and canonizes the Dirty Projectors as “the most risk-taking” group of the crop:
Bitte Orca, it turns out, is Dirty Projectors’ real New York album, an urbane and sophisticated outgrowth of the most fertile new-music environment the city has seen since the CBGB heyday of the seventies. It is no coincidence that it came out within months of beloved albums by two giants of the local scene—Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion and Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest. These three bands do not sound alike. Animal Collective layers lush, romantic harmonies on top of kooky, heavily sampled orchestrations, a sound that is equal parts madness and impeccable logic. Grizzly Bear has a much more down-to-earth, folky approach, reveling in the pure pleasure of melodies and the ways they can be turned inside out and upside down. But the three bands all embrace many of the same virtues: fearless sincerity, devotion to craft, agnosticism about digital technology (which is to say, they use it but don’t fetishize it), profound musical curiosity, ingenuity at using the human voice as an instrument, and an uncanny ability to reproduce their complex material in live performance (in no small part because this is where the money is).
The author was kind enough to include a quote by yours truly:
Meanwhile, a more studious, art-focused scene was coalescing around a Williamsburg band called TV on the Radio, which released its label debut EP Young Liars in 2003. “They had art-punk, gospel, freak folk‚ everything interesting that was going on in Brooklyn,” says Robert Lanham, the freewilliamsburg.com blogger, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1996. “TV on the Radio was just a completely different organism.”
And later, they deem FREEwilliamsburg one of the “Five Voices That Matter in the Music Blogosphere.” Yahoo!
Critics will of course say this article came a tad late, but the real arguments will revolve around their Brooklyn Top 40 list. (I was happy to see it included zero Hold Steady songs—hipster frat rock). Still, it was nice to see New York paying respect to the amazing music scene that has emerged. As I told the reporter, it’s the most exciting time to be making (and listening to) music in the city since the late Eighties.