Indexing: Peter Beinart, Skippy Dies, Titus Andronicus And More

Where Vol. 1 editors share what they’re into this week

Jason Diamond

Over at the site I work at, we interviewed Peter Beinart, and I couldn’t be happier with how the interview turned out.  I think Mr. Beinart is one of the most important voices in American journalism when it comes to discussing how America conducts itself — especially when it comes to our relationship with Israel.

I’ve been reading various pieces of his throughout the year in anticipation for this interview.  I didn’t conduct it (my pal Jared Bloom from The Full Ginsburg did) but I wanted to make sure I was caught up in case he needed some help.

I also began pawing through Michael Schumacher’s biography on Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics.

Nick Curley

Pictures at a Revolution has delivered the film nerd gossip.  It’s clicking on all the usual itch-scratching 70s movie cylinders: self-obsessed, insecure Warren Beatty!  Smarmy Mike Nichols!  Rightfully surly Poitier!  Eccentric chain-smoking producers with silly accents!  Flaky screenwriters fleeing the country!  Virtually no input from women!

Otherwise, my reading habits have been all gridlock and gridiron.  Several editorials read in an attempt to grasp Boehner and McConnell.  Several stymied critiques of Obama that only further obscure the issue.  Several Monday morning (or Friday morning… or Tuesday morning) quarterbacks analyzing the NFL.  No one is doing it better than the Awl. Boy, that’s a phrase you’ve probably read more than once on the Internet lately.

Turn my headphones up: Marc Maron’s tender interviews with Doug Benson and Blaine Capatch, Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor, Marnie Stern, war-era Vietnamese garage rock, and Gil Scott-Heron old and new.

Recently watched (in order of most enjoyed to least enjoyed): Howard Hawks’ insanely charming Rio Bravo, Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop (even better on second viewing), Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (shockingly good old stand-up and new verite mixed with a dull as dirt Donald Trump Apprentice subplot), Le Samourai as my third or fourth Jean-Pierre Melville disappointment in a row, and the last twenty minutes of City of Angels, quite possibly Nicolas Cage’s worst movie.  Think of the Caginess that covers.
Tobias Carroll
The other night, I found myself revisiting the Loney, Dear discography for the first time in many months. (This Nico Muhly post may have provided the impetus.) I was in the midst of outlining the piece I’ll be reading on Friday at Slice’s Piethos II, and found myself craving something idiosyncratic yet sentimental; after going through a couple of Billy Bragg songs, I arrived on the work of Emil Svanängen, and was reminded of why I’d been so enthusiastic about it when I first heard Loney Noir, close to four years ago now. Beautifully composed and endearingly sincere, there’s a classic indie-pop feel to them; that said, their density and arrangement help Loney, Dear’s music elude easy categorization.
Also in heavy rotation has been Tyvek’s latest album, Nothing Fits. It’s far removed from the neatness of Svanängen’s albums — and even from the anthemic qualities of Tyvek’s own early work. Nothing Fits sounds more like a fractured, lo-fi take on the early-80s SST Records roster. (This is a good thing.) I’ve had SST on the brain a lot lately — in coming up with one end-of-the-year list, I’ve been trying to finish an SST-based analogy to compare the nonfiction work of John D’Agata to that of David Foster Wallace. (D’Agata as the Minutemen to Wallace’s….I’m not sure.) Not sure what, if anything, will come of that.

In terms of reading, I just finished Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies. I’ll have thoughts on that on a forthcoming “best of 2010” list — which should serve as an indication of how I felt about it. Started Paula Bomer’s Baby on the subway this morning; it gets many points for featuring a story titled “The Shitty Handshake.”