Welcome to Obsessed, a weekly series featuring everything the KQED Arts gang can't stop talking about. We're bringing the conversation from the watercooler to cyber space! This week, we're freaking out over a skateboarding Iranian vampire, neon art of Tupac, this one part in the Friends theme song, and more!
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Every now and then, a movie comes along that sticks in your head long after you've left the theater, like a pesky high-school crush. You can't stop thinking about it. Your friends get sick of hearing about it. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is like that for me.
Director Ana Lily Amirpour transforms Taft, Calif. into an Iranian ghost town called Bad City, where a feminist vampire lurks around town punishing misbehaving men. When she's not sinking her teeth into necks, she spends her time skateboarding, her chador floating behind her, or dancing in her room to Iranian New Wave (be prepared to fall in love with the soundtrack and have a mini-meltdown when you realize it's not available to buy yet). In a culture inundated with sequels and prequels and remakes, it's refreshing to come across such an original, stylish, weird, progressive film. Go see it tonight at the Roxie in SF or the New Parkway in Oakland!
That One Part in the Friends Theme Song
There's some serious binge-watching of Friends going on in my house right now, and my current obsession is the theme song by the Rembrandts. Specifically, the awkward high harmony on the "A" of the line "Your job's a joke, you're broke / Your love life's D.O.A." You know how some songs have one little part that you anticipate every time you hear it? As soon as I see Jennifer Aniston romping in that fountain, my brain goes, "Oooh, it's coming, it's coming." I love it and hate it at the same time, like any effective jingle. Interestingly, the Rembrandts didn't even write the Friends theme song, but were made famous by it, and this interview outlines their mixed feelings about it. Every time the song comes on, I can't imagine what life must be like now for the guy who sang that harmony.
Michelle Guintu's Nostalgia Art
One look at SF-based artist Michelle Guintu's paintings and I said to myself, "Where has she been all my life?" Combining two of my favorite things, neon colors and '90s celebrities, her paintings are like a hug from your old bestie from middle school, the one who wore the other half of your heart-shaped BFF necklace. And who doesn't love artwork that makes you feel like a kid again?
From the Wonder Years rosy-cheeked cast, to Tupac and Biggie relaxing on a picnic blanket, to angsty Angela from My So-Called Life, no one is safe from Guintu's paint brush. People of a certain generation will be drawn in by her subjects, and others will appreciate the use of color and her deceptively simple portraiture techniques. You can currently see her work at a brand-new gallery, Good Mother, in Oakland, and find affordable prints from the artist at BigCartel and Society6. Michelle just had a solo show at New Image Art in L.A., a sure sign that her star is on the rise.
Stalking Book Requests at The British Library
Thrill-seeker that I am, I’m currently obsessed with this video showing “10 hypnotic minutes of real-time book requests from the British Library’s book delivery system.” Yes, this really *is* just 10 minutes of scrolling book titles, and it’s mesmerizing. Marvel as you bounce from Hebrew poetry and a 1963 New York Review of Books to The Life and Lore of the Bird. Like whenever my dad insists on showing me his (admittedly fascinating) historical coin collection, I love wondering about the hands that these objects are being passed back and forth between; all the novels being researched, the PhDs and night classes being labored over. And in case that all sounds a bit insufferable, you’ve also got bizarro titles like London is a Man’s Town, But Women Go There (1930) to chuckle at.
I love podcasts, especially ones that capture a group of friends having fun with each other—it’s sad to admit this, but sometimes they feel like the only social interaction I get outside of work (oh boy, that is REALLY sad). My most recent discovery, The Dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, has had me wearing headphones at all times of the day. Each episode consists of Anthony, a standup comedian and writer/actor for IFC’s Maron, reading an article about a messed up time in history to Reynolds, an up-and-coming standup and actor. Each story has been hand-picked to be ripped apart by the two, and they have a blast doing it. I highly suggest starting with the episode about Iron Michael Molloy or the one on Cassius Clay.
I've recently been spending a lot of time on the 8tracks app. Their main shtick is “internet radio created by people, not algorithms.” Music lovers create mixtapes of their own, to share with friends. It’s been a sweet way for me to discover new artists, and some of the mixes are 3-5 hours long and equally as good at the start as the end. I’ve been playing through their IDM, glitch-hop, minimal techno and ambient mixes and have been surprised by their selection. I’ll still use SoundCloud and Spotify, but 8tracks is my jam right now.