Shits & Pieces: April 2015

George Ezra

I saw George Ezra’s appearance on Saturday Night Live a couple weeks ago, and now I am fucking smitten. 50% musically and 50% romantically. Dear God, he seems a little dangerous, that Gretsch-playing, blues-y, scamp. And that voice, such a deep whiskey-soaked voice oddly juxtaposed on a little baby angel face. I feel like a fifteen-year-old girl watching Elvis. I want to run away on a boxcar with him because our parents don’t understand us.

Sara Barron’s The Harm in Asking

This is the second of Sara Barron’s memoirs that I have read, and I thank God she apparently hasn’t learned from any of her past decisions. Her first book, People Are Unappealing, Even Me focuses on a broader scope of her life and more on her family and their relationships, while The Harm in Asking focuses mainly on Sara and her college and post-college years in New York as a struggling theatre major/Lillith Faire obsessive/wannabe lesbian (seriously.) These times are exactly as cringeworthy, awkward, and uncool as you imagine, verging on an Amy Schumer sketch level of oh-my-God-this-should-not-be-real-but-it-probably-is. Her experiences seem improbable, but never impossible. There is that last tiny thread of recognition, that every memory you wanted to forget was cranked up to eleven and lived through by Sara Barron, with even less grace than you managed to muster up. I LOVE embarrassing coming of age stories, probably because I am in beast mode denial about my own, so this book is an incredibly comforting presence in my life.

Here Comes Greatness (Matt Luem, Greg Fiering, 2002ish)

I’m on a serious hardcore wrestling binge, and this gem was the only useful suggestion YouTube has ever given me. It’s a short (~20 minutes) home video-y documentary about the hardcore backyard wrestling feds of California in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Interviews with wrestlers theoretically shed some light on why they choose to self-injure for no money and almost no audience, but the answer is either elusive or deceptively simple, entertainment combined with a drive to find the line between life and death and poke it with a stick. There is plenty of footage of these guys taking barbed wire and panes of glass in suburban backyards and a sand pit “arena” on the side of a hill, which sits so firmly at the intersection of glorious and bootleg, even the set designers of Mad Max couldn’t have dreamed it up.

Silver Linings Playbook

I read the book because I saw the trailer, then loved the book so much I’ve been holding off watching the movie for around 18 months. I was left with the overwhelming feeling I had no idea what had happened to two hours of my life. I think, had I had no prior knowledge of the book, I would have thought this was a great romantic-comedy. But I read the book and a romantic comedy seems against everything it stood for. I thought the book was a completely heartbreaking story of what happens when life gets in the way of your plans for it, and the illogical, flailing, desperate attempts we make in before the acceptance that everything you had planned for is irretrievably lost. I guess, in the nature of romantic comedies, the film went for the quick, happy, fix everything ending. No one is sad but no one really learns anything. It took something that was beautiful in it’s brutality and rounded all the corners and made it safe, and I kind of hate it for that. I hate that whoever optioned this was served a perfect story on a silver platter, and didn’t use it. It gave me the ultimate ‘I could have done that better’ fan response, that is constantly mocked/rejected by filmmakers. But now I’m thinking if you consciously choose to alter a story and it does not live up to the original, not only is that a legitimate complaint, but you’re kind of self-aggrandizing.

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