Rampant Media Consumption – April 2015

Here’s what we’ve been checking out this month.


Music: Cherry Glazerr, Jacco GardnerThee Oh Sees, Wild Nothing, Madlib, King Woman, Acid King, J-Louis, WAND, Meatbodies, Ah-Lahs 

Books/Zines: My Complicated Relationship With Food, Middlesex, Crate Digger, Snakepit Gets Old

Film/Shows: The Wolf Of Wall Street, Archer, It Follows, Dear White People



This is exactly the kind of book Penguin should be publishing: expensive, risky, minimalist, and something that wouldn’t exist in the market with the risk management strategies of indie presses. Seemingly an innocuous book about fluffy consumerism, Sarah Lazarovic’s book about coveting beautiful things goes shockingly in depth about the political ramifications and results of our shopping. She looks at people’s tendencies to hoard, where the clothes are manufactured, the equation of identity with brands and fashion, and how we sometimes find ourselves buying things that we don’t even love. She grew up in suburban Florida, miles from the “good mall” where she carved out who she was before abandoning its synthetic smells for her local thrift store and a game of seeing how many rayon dresses she could obtain for a crisp twenty dollar bill. By the end she is living in Ontario and is now an adult, making much more informed choices about where her products come from and not needing to own all of the ones that she admires. It’s a fabulous treatise on shopping, an indulgently joyous book to read, and surprisingly political with plenty of social commentary. Even when I didn’t agree with her conclusions, her ability to engage my cognitive thinking was a breath of fresh air.


I wasn’t feeling well at the beginning of the month, so I lay on the couch and watched a few Studio Ghibli movies I’d never seen before. Princess Mononoke was perfectly entertaining, kind of heavy-handed but so it goes. I was much more enchanted with The Secret World of Arriety and Howl’s Moving Castle—probably because they’re both based on books of my childhood.

Then I started to read Snow Crash. It was an exciting dystopian ride through the “loglo” (that’s what lights up the future when it has turned into one giant strip mall). The story was engaging and grappling with ideas about sexism and racism in interesting ways, and I enjoyed it immensely right up until about halfway through when it turned into a long, rambling treatise about an ancient Sumerian language and the Tower of Babel and a good goddess and a bad goddess and I don’t even know what else. It started to feel like that time I was at a party and a guy wouldn’t stop until he’d explained to me his entire made-up theory of pre-history and why it justified all sorts of messed up things about gender relations and so forth. I think the book’ll get better, but can I stick it out ’til it does is another question. It’s a huge book; if you don’t want to commit to reading it yourself here’s a review that’s almost as long.


First and foremost, I want to share something that maybe many of you are familiar with, but I found this worthy of remembrance. I could try and describe what it is you’re looking at, but I’m still speechless.

I managed to get a little reading in, the recreational kind. Bel Ami, the second novel by French author Guy de Maupassant. Originally published in 1885, it’s accoladed as his finest work, and perhaps timeless is a good way to put it. Everyone knows a scoundrel, the world is full of them and although times have changed, the scoundrel has remained, more or less the same. This story follows one such person as they climb the Parisian social ladder and manipulate themselves into a prominent position at a forerunning newspaper. Full of the typical balances of love, wealth, strife, and dueling, Bel Ami is an engaging and quick read for those looking to familiarize themselves with the methods of the cheat, scoundrel, riffraff, reprobate, or otherwise rogue type.

Still well engaged in Champions League soccer. My beloved FC Bayern Munich is on their way to play the juggernaut, FC Barcelona, in the semi-finals. The paring should be the favorited high-octane explosion of talent expected at this level of play. There will be more money in talent on the pitch than the national debt… well almost, but truly, should be high quality.

I normally enjoy, on a dubious level the films by Wes Anderson, mostly as I try not to let my imagination get the better of me. However, this week I finally watched Moonrise Kingdom. As I’m likewise sure many of you who’ve seen this film, I too was reminded of everything that made being a kid great. As a child who spent a great deal of their childhood in the scouts, I felt the best intentions were shown on screen. The adaptation sung the highs and lows with more than enough creativity to carry me away into the best versions of my youthful memories.

I’ve been getting a healthy dose of Fela Kuti, famed for having trademarked the term and musical styling Afro-Beat. I’ve known about and listened to his stuff for years now, but recently I watched the documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, and I’ve since been back it. The film parlays the rugged and controversial history of legendary rock drummer Ginger Baker, best known for his work with the band Cream. Of the many irresistible adventures Mr. Baker embarked, one such was traveling to Africa to play with Fela. They recorded some music together as a demonstration of both of their diversity, although Fela shined through. Felal Kuti, as a side note famously traveled with a musical entourage of 70 people. His group name: Fela Kuti and the Africa 70, is in reference to the population. I’m a big fan of the 1975 album Expensive Shit Expensive Shit.


Went to more Powell’s book readings and thought about related books and zines on our own shelves. :o)

Partisans reminded me of The Blue Suitcase.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed reminded me of Accounting for Ourselves, Support, and Our Commitment is to Our Communities.

DIY Magic reminded me of Grow, How to Be More Creative, More Often, Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work and Steal Like an Artist, the 75 Tools for Creative Thinking card deck, and Mighty Ugly.

Is Shame Necessary reminded me of The Power of Neighborhood and the Commons, How to Make Trouble and Influence People, Anarchists in the Boardroom, Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind, and everything by CrimethInc.

Dreamland: The Story of America’s New Opiate Epidemic reminded me of Agents & Assets and Whiteout.

And I went to an OMSI Sci-Fi Festival, which reminded me of Bikes in Space volumes one and two, space sharks, Lowriders in Space, and Octavia’s Brood.


Listening: Jerry Paper’s newest album, an ex-Animal Crossing lovers dream. Perfume Genius, Iceage, and John Coltrane’s Interstellar Space.

Reading: The collected short stories of Lydia Davis, bell hooks’ All About Love, Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Also making a third attempt at Gravity’s Rainbow.

Looking at: It Follows- the movie didn’t scare me, but the idea of it did. Tons of stock photos of Komodo dragons for an impromptu art project.