duolingo stat line: 336 day streak, 12596 lingots, 614,595 points, language learned: portuguese/french/spanish/italian (new stories and golding up that skill tree)
i have kid fury and chrissle to thank for this, which has become the vibe that i’m putting out there for this month. i mean, really-i have been out of control since watching that grace jones documentary, but hey-hot tita summer.
august came in like a wrecking ball-i made a new friend at music bingo, who was going north anyways, so we made it to my first freedom train, my first emancipation day, and it was perfect timing, and i have to speak all of my love and appreciation to itah for running one of the most important bookstores in the city, and for forever mobilizing the people and taking up space.
i experienced my first company picnic at murray’s farm where we oogled pretty chickens, puppies, pigs and piglets, turkeys, kittens, cows, and chicks. i also got derailed from recovering a chicken with a hand full of cake, and won the bocce ball tournament at the last moment. i almost filled out the garbage book, walked among corn fields as tall as me, and had a grand old time.
mezcal happened to me. it was a weird night, but i made it home, and did not puke. i fell asleep and woke up very early to finish it’s always sunny-season 6. the last hours of my 30s are going out sleeping on my body’s clock.
we moved into our new studio! (on one of the hottest days of the year). but it’s real, and we’ll be in production again real soon…
i celebrated my ten-year anniversary in this city at a crayon bar, spending too much money on lotions and sunscreen at shopper’s but a) optimum points! and b) shiseido has been the truth, and i’m turning 40 soon and we ain’t getting any better at environment, so i gave myself the gift of skincare. finally, adobo with bonus friends using white peoples’ things was the perfect cap to the evening. happy anniversary, toronto!
i lived in the east end for a few days-what a lovely refresh. i also have an art cart now, which is everything. the girl really likes it. we spent an art cart day together, and it was so lovely.
1) the last black man in san francisco-dir.joe talbot this may have been the best film i’ve ever seen in my life. the story, the cinematography, the casting, the acting, the wonder-everything. there have been a lot of great films about gentrification, all set in oakland, and this completes the holy trinity along with sorry to bother you and blindspotting. i heard a podcast about the making of, and saw the poster at TIFF when i went to see paris is burning a few months back. wow. what a gorgeous piece of work.
2) the poetry of pop-adam bradley this one should’ve made it to july, but didn’t. i also couldn’t do the appendix this time, but i will, at some point. i definitely suggested the janelle monae “pussy cataracts” lyric for the false rhymes chapter-second edition!
“The most danceable songs find a balance between the reassuring and the surprising.” (76)
“Lyrics can flood the line or leave it wanting.” (87)
“No one, not even Rihanna, speaks like Rihanna sings.” (102)
“Songs are made for ears, not eyes.” (118, Pat Pattison)
“The English language rarely gets lazier than it does when it’s dealing with love.” (149)
“Just because singing announces itself as meaning doesn’t make that meaning clear.” (186)
i was also led here because-rod stewart x miguel x asap rocky? ok.
3) 40 & single-written and created by leila djansi i’m not sure how i got here, but it’s quite something to see the glamour and wealth of ghana immortalized on film. i kind of wish that vanessa williams would have become a better actor than when she was on melrose place, but it was nice to see that she’s still working, and that she’s still fine. the fact that abortion, queer relationships, hiv and stis, rape, murder and fashion are depicted are groundbreaking, though i kind of wish that the protagonist could have been with a fine white lady, or at least one that looks like she could be the same age-but i guess that’s a way to interpret her “daddy issues”. also-the legacy of being called “ransome”-yikes. i thought i was mishearing it, but it was a full plot point.
4) schitt$ creek-season one catherine o’hara and eugene levy are comic geniuses. also-i want to hang out with daniel levy. this show is amazing, i’m so glad for it. for anyone who doubts the original programming of the mothership-watch this one. (and kim‘s). it’s unfortunate, but clever-they can avoid any diversity characters because they set it in a small town, but i’m here for white people’s shows-it’s kind of better when they stay in their lane.
5) definitely hispanic-lejuan james i got this completely on its cover, never having seen any of dood’s viral videos, so it makes sense that i don’t have a single pull-quote, which is not to say that i didn’t like it-it was just exactly what i expected it to be. i checked out his IG and i am glad for his success.
6) it’s always sunny-season six this one made me laugh immediately from episode one. maybe, like the simpsons, they’ve really hit their groove. the bonus materials-the podcasts and lethal weapon 5, are killer.
7) hold still-lynn steger strong “She believed in what she was giving: books, communication, it was the world that saved her once.” (82)
“She’d used one to help the other. She was pretty sure that neither would turn out better as a result.” (144)
i got here through the “i’m leaving new york/i’m never leaving new york” pairing, as well as the mother of mother issues anthology. the is a full-blown alternative mother story, and i’m here for it allll.
7) crashing-season one wow. what a great reflection of what standup comedy is truly like. you gotta find your motivation, and finding your wife in bed with a hippie art teacher is motivation. i can’t tell if i think pete is pathetic or heroic, but i’m sure it’s somewhere in between. i love the appearance of the comics, whether featured or not, and i wonder if this is an extension of judd apatow‘s claim to have done everything in his career thus far so as to be able to do standup now, but i’m here for it.
8) true detective-season two tim riggins yelling “no” is exactly how i felt when i came home from moving our studio to an unauthorized $600 charge on my credit card from MLSE and then having to text m to see if it’s also something that she experienced-what a mistake. a reminder to people-it’s called “self” worth because it’s the worth of your SELF. (katt williams). why get so worked up about what someone else thinks of you if it’s not at least a bit true? just work on it. also-i didn’t say you were a bad person, that’s just what you’re choosing to hear. you are trifling and a space case and cannot handle money to save your life, but those are all (correctable) behaviours, not personality traits. you’re hella annoying, but i’ve solved that by just not engaging with you further. but i wish you no ill-will, i hope you find accountability, really, i do. you might just need to work for it. but back to this show-it was beautifully done. i enjoyed it much more than the first season, which, surprise surprise, is contrary to the ratings (i mean, i was recently reminded that i liked gigli, and i’m proud of that fact). the extended cast, the story that doesn’t exist in the bowels of the mind’s bayou, and the less terrifying pacing made it more accessible for me than the first. and the third has mahershala?! sign me up!
9) what lies between us-nayomi munaweera this one also came from the mother-taboo anthology, and damn-it truly delivered on the perfectly-woven story. here are some pull quotes:
“Then too, motherhood is broken because in this place, to be a good mother is to give yourself completely. It is to erase yourself. This is what I refused to do. So they shudder when they hear my name, but inwardly they smile because they have not failed in the way I have.” (6)
“Everything done can be denied.” (23)
“I have misled him. But this is what he expects to hear; this is the narrative people expect from me. Is it so bad to give it to them?” (167)
10) madea’s big happy family-tyler perry i’m not sure if i’ve seen this before, but there was enough “new” plot twists that it was still entertaining. it was teyana taylor‘s first film, and she perfectly exemplified perry‘s “ghetto baby mama” stereotype. it wasn’t clear to me if bow wow was wearing contacts, or if his eyes have just gotten lighter over time. i’ve never understood the madea getup, but i did absolutely love “prescriptures”.
11) women on the verge of a nervous breakdown-pedro almodovar i’m not sure of the exact inception point of artist influence, but i’m sure that there is a “before almodovar” and “after almodovar” in my life, just as there must be in tarantino‘s life. the shots, the absurdism, and the dvd bonus knowledge that he’s worked with his brother (producer) and the same editor for all of the films makes all the sense in the world. the percolator earrings made me want to get an ice cube and a needle, and i’m kind of charmed by the fact that this movie is about how the world is perfect, but men still lie. hashtag, universal truth.
12) vi-kim thuy i falsely assumed that kim thuy‘s books needed to be translated from vietnamese to english, but really, they needed to be translated from french to english. that being said-either she employs an amazing translator, or she just writes so beautifully across all languages that this collection of vignettes categorized by places in places comes alive-the ones that i’ve been are strong enough to float the ones that i haven’t visited, and her work is everything. seeing her recently at the reference library with the live demo of the cookbook confirms that she is also everything.
“She had the delicacy never again to talk to me about my father. Perhaps she understood that I needed silence in order to hear his voice again, and to find a path back to him.” (128)
13) schitts creek-season two i mean, this show is amazing. but the cast is amazing, and i learned that the show is the baby of lindsay‘s old boss on corner gas. makes sense. the smalltown cbc comedy that has gotten a makeover and makes fun of rich people-a winning combination. also-i haven’t seen chris elliot since get a life, probably because he played a similar archetype, and he twisted himself into a pretzel in the opening credits of that.
14) black girl magic-eds, mahogany l. browne, idrissa simmonds, and jamila woods i found this because i heard the song exploder podcast of jamila woods’ song “baldwin”. the public library doesn’t have her album, but it did yield this amazing collection of poetry that does not suck at all. i love that it’s organized in the way that it is-spreading out peoples’ work, because i enjoyed looking through the contributor’s notes after each piece, and i love that all of their author shots are so varied-from the sideeye to the joy to the choice to be smoking a giant blunt-i’m here for this addition to the canon. i love naomi extra‘s ode to her grandmother’s girdle, am struck by this line in toluwanimi obiwole‘s “Amerikkkana”:
…What does terrorism even mean to a man who knows his colonizer’s anthem better than his father’s eulogy?” (147)
and this gem from thabilise griffin‘s “destiny, chile”:
i like my cereal soggy and my liquor irate
and my favourite from the whole collection is morgan parker‘s “Magical Negro #80: Brooklyn” which is in part a cover of the lord’s prayer. i also learned that “one thing about music when it hits you feel no pain” was a bob marley lyric before it was a dead prez one (and well before it was a drake one). though britteney black rose kapri‘s “micro” is a close second fave.
15) the return of kid cooper-brad smith i literally gasped, “a western!” when i got this one. the last western that the ontario librarian’s association recommended i read was the sisters brothers, and, well-i can’t be mad at that. i love that it was my cat-sitting staycation book, and i was literally terrified by cats entering my room during a particularly tense plot point. it was saucy, it was well-written, it incorporated a real and racist practice of stolen land into the “cowboys and indians” narrative, and i couldn’t recommend it more. it was a real desperado tale.
16) the simpsons-an uncensored, unauthorized history-john ortved i don’t feel like there is any new information in this, other than liz taylor telling matt groening to “fuck off” because she kept making maggie‘s first word too sexy. the most interesting part for me is that it seems to be read by the same person behind “effective personal leadership”, which is an odd juxtaposition, or is it?
17) it’s always sunny-season seven danny devito is perfect. i am really glad that he has found such a perfect ongoing role. all of these idiots are perfect, really-i feel like i’m in the place where i can really see the humour of this show now. i’m glad i stuck it out for seven seasons.
18) hobbs and shaw-dir. david leitch i knew i wanted to see this from when we kept seeing the trailer for it during our nba championship winning playoff season. the rock can already do no wrong, but idris elba as an evil sexy robot?! throw in some badass women and cameos by the dumbdumbs that are kevin hart and ryan reynolds? this type of ridiculously expensive and explosive action flick ticks all the boxes of escaping to a summer blockbuster. i love that i could recognize some of the hawaiian-influences in the language thanks to the course i’ve been doing on duolingo.
19) crashing-season two i like how this season dealt with the realities of dating someone who is also in comedy, or, more generally, someone who works in the same field as you. competition, ethics, and luck are all parts of negotiating a relationship as such, and throw in the self-absorbed, insecure profession of standup?! yikes. it’s kind of creepy how much ally looks like jess tho-and i’m starting to wonder if apatow has tyler perry leanings when it comes to writing female characters as irrational and emotionally mean. *one to watch. i like that he keeps winning and losing, and i don’t think it’s an accident that i’m writing about this at the same time that i’m listening to the last episode of the imposter, which is aliya’s live standup set (amongst other things).
20) the most beautiful-mayte garcia i finished this one at propeller, where i cashed in my free mocha (on their confusing old-system card) maybe at a table with aliya‘s at least one-time brooding partner? it was another side of the story of prince, the legend-as it was proof that he essentially groomed himself a child bride. mayte is very gracious, only mentioning that “in retrospect i think he liked the power dynamic” of marrying someone so much younger than him, but he really was on a lifelong revolving door of staging the next one while moving the last one out of paisley park. i could tell how much her heart broke, and how she still very much relates to her own body as a little girl, but if your only boyfriend became your husband, and that guy was prince-what do you expect? she gives a few glimpses of her exclusive insight to his history of drug use, and how she could see the parallels of her being the next girl with carmen on her way out, and her being the one on the way out with manuela coming in. i had forgotten that she dated tommy lee, and google just told me that manuela is now married to eric benet-yeesh! i’m glad i found this one at gerrard/coxwell last week, and i wish mayte all the peace and healing in the world. i did have a flash of inspiration by her v-shaped bangs, but we’ll see how that might shake out with this shaved side. (sigh).
21) the breakbeat poets-eds. kevin corval, quresh ali lansana, and nate marshall it’s interesting to note the differences between poetry anthologies as compiled by women (about black feminism) and men (about being hip hop adjacent), both in form, content, and ensemble cast. i like that this one is organized not only by a poet’s contributions, but also by their age. the differences in people’s bio photos between the two is also something of note. i’m also noticing that there is no listed 1979 contributor-dangit, i missed that opportunity. i’m charmed by the poems dedicated specifically to rappers (24 haikus for biggie for each of the years he was alive), the ode to a fig, and the change of tone from the folks born before me to the folks born after me. ocean! danez! jamila! morgan and mahogany! i love that i caught up on my inflection point pods that included the episode where mahogany was performed black girl magic-the poem that i presume begat the anthology.
“I’ll be the air that you breathe
I’ll be your number one fan.
I’ll scream the ‘heys’
I’ll tolerate your hoes
I’m a Hip Hop cheerleader.” (74, mic check 1,2-jessica Care moore)
22) secrets from my vietnamese kitchen-kim thuy i love that kim thuy is doing all of the things-she’s truly an inspiration.
23) the hustle-dir. chris addison i guess i’m feeling remakes of ’80s films because i’m here for this one (originally directed by frank oz!). bigup to rebel wilson for producing this as well as starring in it, and i guess anne hathaway is now the queenpin in a posse film. it’s interesting that she speaks dutch tho-thank you, dvd bonus material. i also love her outfits and styling this movie, and the fact that everyone calls her “annie”.
24) the path made clear-audiobook read by oprah winfrey it’s short! and there are a few good tidbits to listen to whilst laying on your couch with a sheet mask! it’s interesting that the whole point seems to be that you are bigger than your money, but at the same time-a large part of this woman’s empire has been about gross capitalism and the acquisition of things, but one needs the other, i suppose.
25) it’s always sunny-season-season 8 from the beginning-i’m here for “pop pop-the final solution”. in fact, before that-i was mesmerized by the opening video game sequence. the dinner for schmucks plotline with the sexist twist? nobody saw that coming. DR JINX! what a perfect cameo! LADY HOUSE!