Tuesday, May 26 2020
|Sasha Frere-Jones||May 26|
I just looked at a photo of sushi. I mean that I looked at an iPhone photo of our quarantine splurge meal, from last week, like it was a baby rhino. It was the only food we haven’t cooked for ourselves in seventy-six days. We’re not suffering. SNAP buys apples and Heidi is an amazing cook. It’s just wild to look at something that was common, in recent memory, and then ask, before any other question, “What is that?”
Screen Slate has been publishing “a daily aggregate of NYC alternative screening listings accompanied by a short essay about something showing that day” for nine years. They’ve pivoted to “Stream Slate” mode now and are sending out excellent, unpredictable dispatches every day. You can sign up here and view the archive here.
They did real service last week by talking to video storyteller Cecelia Condit and showing her work on Twitch. They also partnered with Neon to premiere The Painter and The Thief, a documentary that slips into a small envelope with Kiorastami’s Close-up. Do you like A+ movies where the accused meets his accuser in a country with reasonable approaches to justice? You’re in luck. Read the interview with director Benjamin Ree only after watching the film. (This movie can be spoiled.) Maybe Ree can get Amy Cooper and Christian Cooper into a room.
Jonathan Glazer made a movie called The Fall in 2019. I didn’t know, because short movies don’t get widely announced. (The Safdie brothers have made two dozen of them.) The Fall, a very unsettling thing, is streaming on MUBI. I think the director of Sexy Beast and Under The Skin absolutely hung the moon but you don’t have to agree. Just give him seven minutes.
The LRB is unlocking bits from the archive every day. Anne Carson’s delineation of Proust’s Albertine is a delicious list of 59 points; Amia Srinivasan’s octopus piece has been haunting me benevolently since it was published in September of 2017.
This Study Hall Patreon post—“a brief history of the past decade in (mostly digital) media”—does a fantastic job of describing what’s happened to journalism in the twenty-first century. So many articles trying to do this get caught in their own hot takes. This does not.
A note from a friend who spent time in the ‘90 and aughts looking under the hood of the print business: “No one quite gets how screwed up print was before digital came along. In the ‘90s, you couldn’t make money with a mag circulation under half a million. Translate that to the current newsletter model: half a million readers at, say, $5 a month is $2.5 million a month. But no one was charging $5 a month for those glossy print magazines; they were charging $12 a year (or less), because they didn’t make money selling magazines, they made money selling ads. It looked like they were in the magazine business, but they were really in the advertising business, and cheap subs let them aggregate a big audience to sell to advertisers. What’s most fascinating about that Study Hall post is that the digital business that ate both the audience and advertising of magazines have managed to replicate the same problem in a different way.”
There are too many newsletters now, but these are great:
Vittles, “a new food newsletter for novel times.”
Tone Glow, Joshua Minsoo Kim’s “newsletter dedicated to showcasing the best of experimental music.” His long interviews are setting a new standard.
Why is this interesting? describes itself by telling us that “every day Noah Brier and Colin Nagy (and occasional guests) send an interesting email,” but this does not convey the richness on offer here.
Edith Zimmerman’s Drawing Links is “a comics newsletter, containing mostly nonfiction stories about my life.” If you’re short on time, choose this one. And subscribe!
This Seventies dub mix has been looping since Sunday.