A Capital anticipation list: Finite and Flammable, Maurizio Cattelan, Black Star, bowling, P.S. Eliot
Each week, Capital's editors and writers will offer a list of the events, activities, releases and personal obsessions that we are looking forward to during the next week. Here is a list of our anticipations.
Finite and Flammable's launch party
Joe: My first piece for Capital, published on the site's second day of existence, was about a renewed interest in zines among a certain set of New Yorkers who found in the saddle-stitched self-publishing ethos of yore a respite from the incessant churn of today's search- and social-media-maximized web.
"It doesn't take much these days to amass a large devoted online readership, especially not for web-native 20- and 30-somethings who live in New York and work in the media," I wrote at the time. "And yet, 20- and 30-something web natives who live in New York and work in the media are the ones spearheading this modest zine revival."
I was heavily involved in zine culture back in the '90s. Like many, my obsession began the first time I thumbed through a tattered issue of Maximum Rocknroll, my mind blown by the prodigious amount of arcane punk rock knowledge that was packed onto every page. Before long I was making my own zines, the first of which was born at a North Jersey Staples in 1996 and the last at a Central Jersey Staples sometime in the early 2000s, back when the cool kids created "profiles" not on Facebook or MySpace or even Friendster, but pretentious proto-networking sites like Makeout Club and Lipstick and Cigarettes, and when LiveJournal was still one of the most popular blogging platforms around.
When I wrote that early Capital piece, spending all that time talking to people who had great stories that somehow revolved around zines gave me (and my fiancee, Jessanne Collins, a former zinester turned magazine editor) the idea to do another zine... and it would be about zines themselves. "These are stories of zines we did and zines we didn’t," is how we described it on Tumblr.
It took us a year and a half to actually pull this thing together, but we now have 25 amazing submissions from people including family and friends of Capital (Gillian Reagan, Choire Sicha, Zach Baron, Marisa Meltzer, Adam Rathe), old-school zine-scene luminaries (Jim Romenesko, Chip Rowe), writers whose work you have likely read before (Alexander Chee, Elisabeth Donnelly, Sarah Malone, Sheila McClear) and others who are old friends or total strangers or who aren't writers or people you've ever heard of, but whose stories you will surely enjoy.
The zine, Finite and Flammable, is due to be sent off to a Midtown copy center sometime in the next few days. (A feminist eco-friendly one, natch.) We're hosting a launch event on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at ABC No Rio. There will be zines for sale (ours and others). There will be free wine. There will be ex-punks. Gillian will read a story about her 6th grade erotica zine. What more can you ask for on a Wednesday night?
Maurizio Cattelan at the Guggenheim
Reid: I haven't been to the Guggenheim in more than a year, but some old colleagues recommended I go see the Maurizio Cattelan retrospective. I don't know much about Cattelan, aside from his very famous sculpture, La Nona Ora (the one with John Paul II felled by some kind of meteorite). I assume the rest are just as whimsical, and they're all hung from the ceiling, for reasons I don't totally understand, but it appears to have a neat visual effect.
Possession, a winter festival, Black Star and more
Gabe: I'm really curious about Possession, Andrzej Zulawski’s totally insane-looking 1981 film with Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill; it's a film about infidelity, but there's also grisly murders and some kind of sci-fi monster. Speaking of infidelity, that's the subject of an article we just ran related to the Romanian Film Festival, and I hope to catch some of the films on view there as well. A great movie I have seen is von Sternberg's ridiculously over-the-top The Scarlet Empress, starring a gorgeous Marlene Dietrich and screening at the 92Y Tribeca. All that being said. My only confirmed plan to see a movie this week is for Breaking Dawn.
Saturday evening the Gowanus Canal Conservancy Winter Festival is taking place, with performances by Amanda Palmer, The Suzan (a band I really enjoy), Savoir Adore, and Ambassadors, plus the requisite Brooklyn-made beer and vittles. I hope to be able to see Krapp's Last Tape, opening Tuesday at BAM and starring John Hurt, who I was amazed to learn has never graced a U.S. stage before!
One of the coolest bands this city has, Endless Boogie, did a very cool project with artist Spencer Sweeney, who silk-screened a limited-edition L.P. that will be on sale at the Boo-Hooray Gallery Tuesday, and there will be what is promised to be a "most mellow" acoustic set by the band. And Black Star is playing a show on Saturday, always a cause for joy, even if it's at the worst-named venue in the whole city: The Best Buy Theater. There are two sets to the show, an odd but not unwelcome detail.
"Elizabeth R" (streaming on Netflix)
Tom: I never was able to get into the Jonathan Rhys-Myers-enabled series "The Tudors," but as a result of one thing or another Netflix figured out that I might want another try at the story of Queen Elizabeth. I picked luckily: "Elizabeth R," a BBC production that aired in six hour-and-a-half parts in 1971, is streaming now. Glenda Jackson plays Elizabeth from roughly the time of her sister Mary's brief elevation to the throne, through her time "in the shadow of the ax," to her own death, and I can't help but think that she is the secret wellspring of so many current filmic conventions about how to do Elizabeth. (Jackson, who has for some time now been a Minister of Parliament for the Liberals herself, is as skilled a politician as her character, it would seem, in the present political climate of Britain.) Her voice has that quality of complete command: It purrs when it's sweet and it roars when it's vicious. It's a similar quality to that which made Cate Blanchett perfect for the role (and also that of Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.) I can't take my eyes off her.
Yardwork and bowling
Dana: My front yard's looking like crap. There's no denying it. All of the hostas have died back for the winter, and what's left of their leaves is yellow and withered. The sapling that was ripped out by neighborhood vandals and then replanted a day later by me looks dead (though I'm giving it through the spring to recover, my apologies to my neighbors). There are piles of dirt where there shouldn't be, and the border fence is still incomplete. This weekend I plan on rectifying that which I can, or at least neatening things up a bit. And also planting some bulbs. I'm thinking tulips or daffodils.
I'm also going bowling this weekend. Bowling is one of the few activities, along with pool, I suppose, that I'm really bad at yet somehow still enjoy (this even though I took a bowling class in college). So there's that.
P.S. Eliot's final shows, Cindy Crabb on Doris, Hot Snakes
Gillian: P.S. Eliot, an indie-pop band glittering with '90s punk nostalgia, formed in Birmingham, Ala. where Dixie, D.I.Y. and Christian rock scenes mix (and where "American Idol" contestants are bred). There, four years ago, twin sisters and bandmates Alison and Katie Crutchfield met Brooklyn's The So So Glos while they were in town, on tour. They "blindsided us with motivation, unknowingly," P.S. Eliot vocalist and guitarist Katie Crutchfield said in a 2009 interview. "They were brothers and best friends and had no inhibitions about what they were doing. That sort of assurance about leaving stability and comfort behind to travel and play music is what we founded the band on, I’d say." And it's true: an Americana narrative about relationships, the road, and memory have anchored the band as well as the punk ethos of the Crutchfield sisters, who released a 7-inch and an album before moving to Brooklyn and, in April, releasing Sadie, an L.P. available online for free. It's their final album, and one of my favorites of 2011. There's a grubby adrenaline in the guitar on Sadie, adding to the fuzzy, jangly signature of their 2009 L.P., Introverted Romance In Our Troubled Minds. But the lyrics about relationship malaise are as sharp as ever. Highlights include the wry "Shitty and Tragic" ("Water under bridges or something / I'm not gonna be around / For your masking charismatic display"), the driving pop-punk of "Pink Sheets" ("I've got a feeling it's dead at the scene / And when it's not breathing it seems so serene"), and a sparse "Diana," in which vocalist Katie's typically even tone is grated to a croak ("We work on our feet all day / We've got every record ever written OK"). The ladies still plan to make music in other projects, but P.S. Eliot will play these songs and others for the last time at The Bell House on Sunday with Latterman and on Friday, Dec. 9 at Death by Audio.
Since I'm already in the very current '90s-and-zines zone, I'm going to recommend seeing godmother of the feminist zine scene Cindy Crabb speak at the New School on Tuesday, Dec. 6. She created her autobiographical zine Doris in 1994 and has covered, in her own description, subjects including "boating down the mississippi, coming out, farming, punk, girl gangs, overcoming shyness, survival, love, history, family, travel, ecological politics, building things, creating things, and way, way more." Her new book, The Encyclopedia of Doris, has just been released. She is the editor of zines Support, and Learning Good Consent, and is a sexual assault survivor advocate. She is also, as evident in her writing and in the video above, a strong, adorable, and kind person. She'll be at 6 East 16th St., Room 1107 at 8 p.m. It's free, although donations will be accepted.
I was also surprised by a friend with a last-minute ticket to see Hot Snakes tonight at the Bell House. You can read about the show in J. Edward Keyes' weekly round-up of shows in the city, "Streets of your town."