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 2 Chainz shopping sprees, nihilist sandwiches, a 450-year-old choral work and more!
GQ's Most Expensivest S***
Live like the 1% with 2 Chainz! This video series is oddly addictive. Maybe it is my morbid fascination with super expensive stuff (a $295 hamburger and a $2 million car, anyone?) that I will never be able to afford or the absurdity of the price tag or 2 Chainz’s expression as he gets the hard sell. I realize this is just another form of promotion and advertising, but I can’t stop watching!
Thomas Tallis, Spem in alium
Strictly speaking, I’ve been ‘obsessed’ with this gorgeous 450-year-old choral work for years. Thanks to an adolescent combination of insomnia and a precious tape-radio that received a particularly strong signal from the local classical station, early modern choral music (Tallis, Allegri, Byrd) is my lifelong jam, and I still remember hearing Spem in Alium for this first time like you’d remember falling out of a tree.
Written around 1570 for an unbelievable 40 voices, which overlap, build and soar for ten overwhelming minutes, Spem in Alium is almost unhumanly beautiful. (There are umpteen renditions out there, by the way, and this one by the Tallis Scholars is my favorite for its pacing.) It’s a rare month that goes by without me listening to this on full blast at least once, but I’ll be honest: with the inescapable release of a certain movie on Valentine’s Day, what reminded me to turn it up this week was remembering the horror of seeing my beloved Spem slapped with an “As featured in Fifty Shades of Grey!” banner on Spotify last year. Yes, apparently a Renaissance masterpiece makes a ‘special appearance’ in the book (although not the movie?) and I dread to think how, but you know what: I’ve gotten over it. Frankly, we can all use a reminder not to be a tedious snob about how and where people discover the good stuff.
Oh yeah, that's the stuff — the kind of content that makes you glad the Internet exists. When I look back, I don't think I learned what nihilism was in school; I remember first hearing the term in a Rancid song. But you don't need to know what the doctrine of a 1900s revolutionary party in Russia is about to see the humor in this Twitter feed. It's just lousy with dark humor, built on a simple formula: Arby's references and declarations that life is meaningless.
Drain the blood, cure and slice the flesh, season and fry the potatoes, feed them the sugar water. Be born. Toil. Die. Arby's. We sell food.
— Nihilist Arby's (@nihilist_arbys) January 28, 2015
Roses will die. Violets will too. May as well try Arby's cordon bleu.
— Nihilist Arby's (@nihilist_arbys) January 27, 2015
The birth of your child, your first snowfall, a shooting star: All meaningless in the face of the void. Arby's: may as well order the large.
— Nihilist Arby's (@nihilist_arbys) February 11, 2015
And for the tweets you don't find funny, imagine the words coming from a gigantic Arby's sandwich, its bun full of graying roast beef, and thick globs of cheddar cheese dripping and falling from the sammie's flapping maw. It adds a second level of enjoyment to tweets like "I'm thinkin life is meaningless. I'm thinkin the universe is a giant random accident. I'm thinkin f**k everything. I'm thinkin Arby's." Follow this beautiful feed!
Pop Stars' Avant-Garde Accessories
SNL isn't usually mentioned in the same sentence as avant-garde, but the variety show's 40th Anniversary bash went there. Kanye West opened his medley by lying on the floor and singing into the camera, while wearing piercing blue contact lenses. Mrs. Kanye West also sported some blue contacts on social media in solidarity (or socio-political commentary?).
Not to be outdone, Sia wore a poofy blond mop. She notoriously eschews the spotlight and has found many creative ways to avoid it (stand-ins and black-light paint, to name a few), but she seems to have hit her stride with the wig that looks like a souped-up Andy Warhol caricature, or just an exaggerated version of herself. While many entertainers are known for quirky costumes and showy props, something about these disguises feels more artistic than the average pop-music spectacle. Or maybe I'm just hoping.
Everything about Ruth Bader Ginsburg
There's nothing not to like about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She's an unapologetic feminist in the midst of colleagues who are...not feminists. She wears cute gloves and jabots. She simply cannot hide her undying love for Obama. She is 81 and can do 20 push ups. Her dissents are so bold they should come with an "Oh, Snap!" disclaimer. And on and on.
My obsession with RBG is always somewhere right beneath the surface, but became particularly present this week, as she's been on a media and speaking tour. When talking to students at Georgetown University, she mentioned the FAQ of when there will be "enough" women on the Supreme Court and shared her answer: 9 out of 9. Take that, patriarchy! She also shared this bit of trivia: "If I could have any talent in the world, I would be a great diva." You thought that was a genius quote? Just you wait. When asked about her nap during the State of the Union, she confessed: "I was not 100% sober." Stop it, Ruth, you're killing us!
But, like Miley, she can't/won't stop; Ginsburg appeared on MSNBC for a 30 minute interview about everything from her opinions on people who get her face tattooed on their bodies (she's more into piercings) to her opinions on more serious topics like Citizens United and Hobby Lobby ("Wrong" and "Wrong again"). I could spend hours listening to her talk (and I have, thanks to YouTube). Before you get lost in a click hole of RBG videos, check out these little known facts about her and the other Supreme Court Justices!
Want more? Check out our past obsessions!