Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Very Unhappy Birthday To You (Planet Earth)! aka, the list to confuse all lists (Demolish)

this Walt Whitmany image courtesy of Jessica Hundley.
Pinkman blows away 2011!
2011 was a pretty strange year personally, not great, not terrible- I will come to view it I believe as the year I was in between- waiting for folks to get back to me, for me to apply for things, for hard work to crystalize into something substantial. Maybe 2012 is the year all this, what seems at times endless work and waiting, comes home to roost? In any event, as usual and how I suppose most of you as well view the day to day, I don't experience life as a series of newly unfolding events, many things I discovered for the first time were in fact old to the world, as Thom Anderson says in Los Angeles Plays Itself, the present is a combination of the future and past come to rest. Here is a list in no particular order of what I enjoyed the most for the first time in 2011.
Crazy Band

After waiting for things to happen, 2011 might go down as the first year since High School I didn't go to that many shows. In fact most of what I discovered music wise came from reading other critics I like instead of just seeing bands live. This was weird but also strangely normal feeling. I'm more worried that my creaky old lady styles aren't bothering me more. I love music but this year I let it take a backseat for the first time in a long time. I don't know what this means to me personally except that I hope to see more music in 2012. I'm back in the saddle at the Weekly so perhaps that will move things along. I think I experienced a depression or weird kind of PTS surrounding music last year that made me question my work in a way that was frightening. I might now just be lifting my head above ground to sniff out whats new. In any event, I really liked this short video snippet by Crazy Band.

Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty and cooking!
Have you seen Yotam's vegetarian cookbook Plenty? It has completely revolutionized my life. I literally cannot express the joy I have from looking at it's luscious pictures. This year I got a nice wok, a super duper blender, went to the Framers Market regularly, gardened a few small but vital veggies and renewed my commitment to a mammal free diet- I eat seafood, dairy products and eggs- and continued to try new recipes. 2011 was the year I cooked. And I'm not ashamed to say that a few things I made were AWESOME.

Los Angeles Plays Itself
Speaking of Thom Anderson if you haven't seen his 2004 film essay Los Angeles Plays Itself, do yourself a favor and see it. It is liquid brillz.

LA Plays Itself,
Not to dethrown the former but it's predecessor LA Plays Itself by Fred Halstead is no less incredible. I saw it this year too and it blew my mind. No pun intended. Maybe a little. Here's a snippet of it.

I saw Drive and LOVED it, I love this a little more: click here for maximum awesomage

Which led me to The Thief with James Caan, Michael Mann's first and only good movie. Holy snakes this shizz was good. The soundtrack is by Tangerine Dream.

Im a broken record:
EMA best of best.

Best thing I missed but wished I could have seen:

Cowboys and Angels from machine project on Vimeo.

my tape recorder was in the show though! The same one I used for our LA Times interview. Google it if you're interested.
New new new not broken record faves:
Zola Jesus, Ke$ha, Austra, Men:

Off our backs was my second most played record of 2011
Adele/ Man, I loved Adele something fierce this year.

Game of Thrones!!!!

I watched the entire first season in three days.
Also, Breaking Bad!!! Jesse Pinkman is my new TV boyfriend.

The murals of Ramona Gardens. I rented American Me from the library because I was bored and couldn't find Double Indemnity and also because I hadn't seen it since elementary school. It was as schlocky as I remembered but the DVD version came with this amazing documentary put together by EJO about the White Fence and Hazard gangs of Boyle Heights in the early 1990's, arguably when they were at their most active. Afterwards I did a little research and came across Ramona Gardens, the oldest public housing project in Los Angles and one of LA's most dangerous areas. Literally hundreds of people have died in it's confines since it opened in 1954. What was remarkable to me however- aside from being half Latina and having a vested interest in it's subject matter, also as an Angeleno- was the incredible art that proliferates there as well. The murals are famous and have been living and breathing for almost as long as it's walls have held inhabitants. More are panted all the time, the old ones are restored annually by local artists and for the most part left tag free. There is a culture of respect within Ramona Gardens to keep the murals safe and intact. They are in some small way, East LA's version of Watts Tower. Folk art created to uplift and brighten the community. The documentary was by far superior to the movie.

It then led me to this amazing short film made by the LA Times about this exchange program that happens with Homeboy Industries and a Pritchard Alabama church group.

These documentaries really got me thinking about my role as a feminist. While intellectually I know that the treatment of women in this world depends on both sexes I have primarily to this point been female focused; focusing on their self esteem, sense of bodily self worth, and their autonomy as individuals. These documentaries for the first time really opened my eyes to the fact that reaching men in a healthy way and filling them with the same feelings of importance, devoid of violence and entitlement is equally as important. That men cannot simply be asked to comply, but must also be shown compassion and understanding. I will try to be a better human to all people in 2012.