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a few good summertime things
Here we go . . . a late July, triple-digits on the thermostat, the kids are storming the castle, wild times round up of a few things keeping me sane these days:
My band’s show at Lemonade Park last week was great. We brought out the biggest crowd Lemonade Park has seen so far this summer, and it was so much fun to see hundreds of people singing and dancing to all of the 90s goodness. And then, as happens, good things must come to an end, and I made a hard pivot to spend some time detoxing from 90s music. This is necessary so that I can prevent Ace of Base from occupying my first thoughts every morning, because nobody needs that. So I’ve been listening, among other things, to Leif Vollebekk a lot lately. He’s a Canadian musician I found because I’m a big fan of Gregory Alan Isakov and Leif is playing keys on GAI’s upcoming album. He’s chill. He’s soothing. He’s not Ace of Base.
I finished reading Claire Dederer’s Monsters, a collection of essays exploring our relationships to artists and their work when it becomes complicated by news of awful, monstrous deeds. (Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, etc.) She works through her own complex feelings and thoughts about the artists and writers that have influenced her, and how their biographies complicate the relationship to the work itself, and what it means for our culture to wrestle — collectively but perhaps more importantly individually— with our relationships as audience members to art and its makers. I love the depths to which she goes in order to be honest and critical and generous all at once, both toward the art that she ultimately names as worthy of her love, as well as toward herself and her own sense of the role we each might play in making art that’s free of monstrosity. It’s such a good read.
Let me state plainly at the outset that Miller Lite is my beer of choice. I’m not straying. As someone who can no longer drink a beer much heavier than, like, one sip of a Blue Moon once in a blue moon, I easily get bored with my limited options of beer that isn’t St.-Louis-piss-and-everything-to-everyone Bud Light, but also isn’t overpriced-lake-water-parading-as-Everyman’s-Beer-but-still-isn’t-good Boulevard ‘89. And so, in this moment late July, I seek something easy, something simple and light and CHEAP, something that describes itself deliciously as a “Cold Snack.” Yep. Thank you, Montucky. You’re the bomb-ba-lombest.
I did the thing. On Friday I took a gaggle of 7-year-old girls, two teenage boys, and one friend to see Barbie in the afternoon, and then (sans gaggle) to see Oppenheimer that night. I don’t know what to say about Barbie other than this: If we men can just be open to the possibility that this seemingly-unhinged yet wildly smart and swaggering brand of feminism has so much to show us about how we can do better (e.g., small example, don’t force women to listen to you sing Matchbox Twenty) and work toward meaningful equality, well, that would be rad. And if we men can just be open to the possibility that no Oppenheimer-esque level of theorizing can absolve us from the Oppenheimer-esque level of real world consequences, then maybe we will still have to make hard decisions but can do so with love rather than power at the center of it all. There’s a small recess of my brain that wishes to say more thoughtful things about both films, but that’s the part of my brain that has gone AWOL for the month of July. So screw it: come one Barbie, let’s go party.
Stay cool and have fun out there,