Tuesday, October 07, 2014

WHO'S YOUR TERRORIST DADDY?


CARRIE MATHISON: Hi, you're my daughter. Unusually, I don't know your name because we rarely use it on the television show Homeland.

DAUGHTER: How is it possible that you don't know my name when I'm already fifteen years old?

CARRIE: Look, I don't write the show. All I know is that you're the daughter I had with a guy you don't know who he is yet, and that you brood a lot. Because on this TV show Homeland--that you and I are both on--teens tend to brood. A lot. 

DAUGHTER: Cool [sarcastically]. So great that I don't have a name. You're a great mom. [Broods]

CARRIE: I wanted to have this talk with you...

DAUGHTER: The first conversation we've had in like, a million years?

CARRIE: OH MY GOSH. Whatever do you want from me? You think it's easy taking out terrorists all the time AND raise a daughter? What is this? A sitcom? By day, she battles Al Qaeda. At night, she battles diapers. Actually [takes out tape recorder] note to self: pitch mom/ CIA sitcom. 

DAUGHTER: Mom, be real. For like once. 

CARRIE: Anyway, here's the scoop. I want to tell you who your dad was. 

DAUGHTER: Oh, cool. Like, tell me. [Broods]

CARRIE: This may sound crazy because it is, but your dad was a US soldier who was captured by Islamic fundamentalists and turned into a terrorist but then became a US double agent who was then killed by the Islamic fundamentalists.

DAUGHTER: Wait....WHAT?

CARRIE: Yeah, and here's the crazy part. I kept you. Despite the fact that I am unstable and make terrible decisions and am incredibly unfit as a mother. But I guess that makes this more interesting...? Like plot-wise?

DAUGHTER: W. T. F. Moooooom, this is like my life? You had a baby with a whatever terrorist and I'm it. That's like, bananas. 

CARRIE: Yeah. That's kind of it. Oh, and whatever you do, don't Google search him. It's ultra depressing. There's this video of him being hanged and it's a major bummer. Hey, are we done here? I feel like I've told you enough. 

DAUGHTER: Ugh, I can't believe my dad was a terrorist. That's like a huge deal. 

CARRIE: Yeah, but like I said, it moves the plot along. Now, I'm bored. Is this the part when you go back to your room and slam the door and brood some more? I've got to make questionable decisions concerning the security of United States which, no matter how many I've made, I still have a job. 

DAUGHTER: And I still don't have a name. Can we resolve that?

CARRIE: [snaps fingers] Oh. Wait a second. I think it's Frannie.

DAUGHTER: "FRANNIE?" I waited fifteen years to find out I'm a "Frannie?" Are you on crack? I go to school tomorrow and tell my friends not only was my dead a convicted terrorist/ double agent, but I'm also a Frannie? 

CARRIE: Just wait until you find out that in the second episode of season four I considered drowning you in a bathtub.

DAUGHTER: Oh jeez. You're the worst. 


Monday, October 06, 2014

"Hey, did someone just fart during my jam?"

Yesterday, I heard a Dave Matthews song on the radio. It was a live version of "Ants Marching." The strange thing is that I did not turn the dial. I let the song play out until the end.

Now I do not have a background in jam. I can neither stand the Dead, or any act associated with it, nor will I tolerate Phish for a patchouli soaked microsecond. If there's a banjo involved, you can probably count me out. This goes quadruple for unironic saxophone. But for some strange reason, I have a weird and inexplicable tolerance for DMB. This confuses me, and so I thought that I would try to figure this out. 

This is not to say that I would qualify myself as a "fan." I don't know the deep cuts, and am more of a greatest hits tourist, but I would be lying if I did not admit to loving "Two Step" at one point, finding vulnerable sweetness in "Crash Into Me" and even qualifying "The Space Between" as poignant. Despite the fact that Matthews' voice occasionally sounds like an Adam Sandler parody character, I like the guy. Is it because he just looks so laid back with his perpetually opened two top buttons and his rolled up sleeves, like he's a co-worker who's really determined to meet client expectations? Or is that goofy smirk like he's about to pull a prank on you, and it's George Clooney-worthy? These two aspects certainly add to his appeal, but I'm not hanging out with the guy any time soon, so it has to be more than that. 

I think the appeal lies in the fact that I admire the casual nature of the songs, like they're not belabored over to the point of obsessiveness. I bet most of the recorded takes are first cuts. I bet Dave says "yeah, that works" a lot followed by his signature giggle. There's an unpretentiousness in Matthews' songwriting like he's--I wouldn't qualify it as "jamming" necessarily--having actual fun. It's loose, frayed, and limber. 

But there's also an underdog nature to the DMB oeuvre, like I can imagine the guys in Radiohead making fun of them. Like I imagine Thom being offended by Dave and his troop of uncool dudes even sharing the bill with him on a festival line-up. But whatever, Dave says. I get it, man. You make art. I make music people want to smoke weed to and maybe if they're up for it, they'll run outside and get a bag of Doritos. I personally would never choose to actively listen to this kind of music, but if I heard it on the radio, nostalgia along with my inability to resist the laid backed nature of DMB would probably render me helpless to changing the station. 



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

BUILD A ROCKET


After I became a dad, my hearing changed. Rather, I should say my listening changed. I wanted less noise, less aggression, and less demand. This isn't to say I'm totally against feedback or angst--it's just that sappiness resonates with me more than it ever has.

I've always sensed a resistance to that change, as if becoming more empathetic made you weaker or uncool. And I would be lying if I said I didn't judge the safe choices of fathers from the distance of childlessness, but I now see the mistake in that.

My shift in cultural taste is simply a shifting of priorities. I'm looking to invest more time into the things that inspire me to connect with other people, as opposed to spending time on those things inspired by alienation and confusion. One of my favorite songs since Steven was born has been Elbow's "Lippy Kids" (this is the live version posted above), and at times, at the right moment, it's really moved me in a profound way. It's stark in its beauty, humble in its heroism, and mountainous in its motivation. It's the sort of song I want Steven listening to and feeling inspired by, as if he could in fact "build a rocket" and fly anywhere in it. It's the sort of song that makes me want to hug someone.

The self-aware me knows the eye rolling these sentiments inspire, but the self-aware me also reminds me of the childless me. The concentrated comfort of having a child and starting a family is that there's much less need to impress others, and more of a want to embrace what feels most comfortable. Detractors would call that "settling" but settling can also be about resolve and reconciliation. And I've reconciled with myself to not be so cool. At least as far as my listening goes. Everything else though...? Still pretty cool.

Friday, January 06, 2012

OFF THE RECORD

This is rapper Azealia Banks with her hype-man sidekick Lamb Chopz.

A few months back, I met with the supremely talented but then virtually unknown rapper Azealia Banks. I conducted an interview with her in her Hudson Hotel room which ended, forty-five minutes in, somewhat awkwardly and abruptly. So I asked for a follow-up. I got that follow up as requested but that too ended awkwardly and abruptly, so we promised one another to continue the interview via email. I sent my questions to Banks, but whatever the reasoning was, never received the answers.

And now in 2012, her fame is bursting like a July 4th firecracker (loudly). The story I wrote has been making the rounds on the web these days because of some "controversial" things Azealia said. And despite the unpleasantness associated with the assignment, it turned out to be one of the most interesting, and more insightful interview I've ever been a part of. It's taken me over a decade to truly understand and appreciate the insight, but a few years back, I read in a Chuck Klosterman interview that too many journalists try to be friends with their subjects, he griped. It may not be intentional or conscious, but the atmosphere between the two tends to remain staid and polite when there is too much caution. But thanks to Azealia, I realized that there's more to be gained from a conversation when it's nothing personal.

In many of her recent interviews since then, she's complained about nosey or prying journalists. I'm not sure if she's talking about me or not, but I kind of hope she is.

- Azealia Banks website


Thursday, January 05, 2012

GROAN
"My name is Kanye, and I do not have an office job."

The first week back from vacation is always a very difficult transition. One would think that after being away from a job for so long you would be refreshed and revived. One would be completely wrong.

The thing about freedom, about not having meetings, and about being home is that this is when you feel most human. Like you have control over your own actions. Like you have the capacity to make decisions. Paradoxically, as a cog in the machine, you are stripped of all that. Corporate America, and all jobs, for that matter, is about the resignation of your ego and free will. This isn't a bad thing or a good thing. Nor is it profound. It just is.

And yet, we subject ourselves to this. We all have goals and aspirations, specifically this time of year, and how disappointed are we in ourselves when we can't quite fulfill or meet those expectations. Ask me about the promise I made to myself on January 1st to write two pages a day on my book. Go ahead. Ask me.

Better yet, don't. But I've been spending the better part of the past four days trying to figure out my inability to find the self-control. And it's not like the other things I'm doing to distract myself from this project are worthwhile. Do you think I needed to watch two episodes of the Big Bang Theory? Did I really need to go to sleep last night at 10:15? Why am I compulsively checking blogs about shoes? One answer is the fear of failure. Complete my project and it's bad and then what. I've wasted all that time.
Another reason is that I'm having a hard time finding passion in just about anything I do. I'm the Tin Man with a bit of the Cowardly Lion (sure, give me pigtails and I'll be Dorothy, too). I've been conditioned to lose heart after years and years of being at the bottom of a hierarchy. When your opinion is just the ground floor of a skyscraper, maybe you're acclimated to the temperature of the lobby?

Whatever it ultimately is--this self-imposed creative paralysis--it's my hope in 2012 to find it. This past weekend, I read about the Christopher Paolini the writer of Eragon and how he wrote his first book in 2003 when he was 18, and he's written four books since then which have all gone on to sell 25 million copies total. I wish I had his discipline.
He also has a sword. I wish I had his sword.



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MORE FREE THAN LANCE, PART II


Freelancers can't afford a cleaning lady.

Just the other week -- to bring you back to the present day -- I had two interesting freelance experiences. The first one, an outlet that I had contributed with frequent regularity, reconnected with me after an internal staff restructuring caused us to lose touch. Being that most of my words, if not all of them, appear on the web, the prospect of writing for a print magazine again excited me. It's strange, right? Years ago, you could walk into any newsstand and you would inevitably find one or two magazines at any given time with my name printed in it. Usually it would be spelled incorrectly.
Now, with Heeb focusing exclusively on our website, and DIW's phoenix-like resurrection into self-titled magazine, contributing to a print magazine is an old folk's coveted opportunity. Only the select few get to do it, and those poor bastards have to hustle and contribute to multiple outlets in an effort to scrounge a decent salary together. That being said, if they were still paying, there's a chance I would love it. There's something so non-blogger about print. But alas, the aforementioned magazine, like all of them, really, wants me to pitch them and them write for free.

The story with the second outlet is exponentially more frustrating. This is a casual friend who is also an editor. We have talked multiple times over the last half-year about me contributing to her outlet and judging by her enthusiastic response, this is really something she would like to see happen. Yet every time I respond, there is a ghost town-like disappearance. I'll hear back weeks later and then I'll write back. And again, another disappearance. This is the norm. Maybe she's been kidnapped. Probably not.

Now, idealistic writer, why would you want to do this to yourself? If you had asked me today whether you should be a freelance writer, I would tell you, sure. Just make sure you have a great full time job. After years and years of service, I've finally allowed for my disenchantment to take over. Yeah, writing is amazing. But it will never be your best friend.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

MORE FREE THAN LANCE



This morning, I read a truly heartbreaking article on The Awl titled Seven Years as a Freelance Writer. Richard Morgan, an impressively motivated former freelancer, spent seven years in New York pitching stories to editors and magazines and tried to make a living by doing something he loved. His story would have motivated me had I still been an idealistic and eager recent Journalism grad, but instead it brought back a ton of memories for me from my life as a freelancer, mostly bad ones.

But first, my experience as a freelancer is one of the motivating factors behind my decision to go back into advertising. After September 11th, when the ad industry first felt both uncertain and unnecessary--who was buying anything then? The world was coming to an end--I decided to give the freelance world a serious chance. Besides, this was right before the blogosphere practically consumed the newsstand to only then regurgitate it back onto the Internet--People were reading magazines still.

The first outlet I pitched to was Time Out New York. I had a connection through a connection and boldly emailed Elizabeth Vincentelli, the Arts and Entertainment Editor at the time, with some pitches and some sample reviews that I had written for a few indie zines. She wrote back telling me that my reviews read more like press releases. Her response was critical, nonconstructive, and ultimately, discouraging.
Six years later, a story I wrote was included in DeCapo's Best Music Writing compilation alongside one of Vincentelli's. In fact, one night at a DeCapo reading event at the Housing Works, she read an excerpt from her piece right after I had. I didn't introduce myself that night.

[To be continued]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MOVING



If you're coming to this site still, well then I thank you for keeping up with me. No excuses for the lack of creativity because--GUESS WHAT--we're still being creative.

1. Yes, BRING BACK SINCERITY will still exist just as it has since February 2003 (before blogs became all the rage) but with less frequency. This site will exist for long form opinions. However, I am posting with more regularity at BBS II: THE BRINGING BACK CONTINUES.
That is my new Tumblr blog which is fancier looking and way easier to use than the ole' Blogger format. So once again, come visit me all the time at BBS II. I am there.

2. This is a link for my latest mix, MIX FOR FRIENDS X: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO BO DEREK.
It's getting rave reviews from the people with ears.
This is the tracklisting:

1. “Teenage Whore” by Dinosaur Feathers, 2. “Cranberry” by the Ruby Suns, 3. “C.L.U.B.” by MNDR, 4. “Rollerskate” by Matias Aguayo, 5. “Excuses” by the Morning Benders, 6. “Harmony To My Heartbeat” by Sally Seltmann, 7. “You’d Be Surprised” by Bobby Birdman, 8. “When I’m With You” by Best Coast, 9. “Albatross” by Besnard Lakes, 10. “Evil Son” by the Rumour Said Fire, 11. “Hurtful” by Erik Hassle, 12. “Dance The Way I Feel” by Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, 13. “Terminally Chill” by Neon Indian, 14. “Stylo” by Gorillaz, 15. “I Can Make The Pain Disappear” by Fear of Tigers, 16. “Rocket” by Goldfrapp, 17. “Caeser” by I Blame Coco (featuring Robyn), 18. “Something I’m Not” by Penguin Prison, 19. “Giving Up The Gun” by Vampire Weekend, 20. “Daisy” by Fang Island.

Okay, that is all for the time being. But like I said, come see me and BBS II and tell them Arye sent you.

What?

Yes, that's me.

What?

Uh huh. I'm over there, too.

It was a joke.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

FOOD, INC. WILL EFF YOU UP



Give him a hard time for over-employing his literary twee, sure, but Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals is some serious real talk. Read it and wrestle with your conscience over something as simple as buying eggs. I have no idea how it became so trendy to be aware of the awfulness out there in the food industry but a) 'bout time and b) it is really freaking me the eff out. Did you know that there is hamburger meat filler that's washed with ammonia to defeat E. Coli? Filler. I know this now because the documentary Food, Inc. which we watched last night. Did you know that corn was our enemy? Corn wants us dead. And it is winning with diabetes. Corn, you're an a-hole.

Mom says, well, don't get carried away. I think she's worried I'll become a vegetarian and won't eat her food. But honestly, I watched a man cut the neck of a chicken last night and I considered becoming a vegetarian for a second. Maybe I should have not watched that movie. I love meat.
What can I do? What should I do? I have no idea. Because on the one hand I'm thinking what will my personal dietetic choices make in the grand scheme of things? But maybe choosing to change your eating habits isn't about affecting the food industry but about feeling better about the food on your plate.
WHO KNOWS?
All I know is that the food industry is really upsetting me. In a very serious way. This world is so effed up. Looking at you, Perdue.

A Primer, Food For Thought:

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Monday, December 07, 2009

THE NEED TO TWIT


"I am waiting for the B train and Mr. Anderson won't stop me."

First I spotted Keanu Reeves on the subway. It was pretty exciting. More exciting than you actually might think it would be. He's tall, and heroic-looking. Like if the train had started speeding up SUDDENLY and a terrorist threatened to blow the train up TO HELL if it slowed down at all, Ken (I call him "Ken") would have run up to the front of the train and would have definitely taken care of things. Unless, of course, this happened on the 1 train which would make it very difficult to walk through to the conductor's car because some of those doors are locked. But anyway, I saw Ken (remember, I call him that). And it was cool.

Then I spotted that guy Chris from The Sopranos which I didn't really care about because I never really liked the show. And besides, he was with his kids so it wasn't like he was a celebrity. He was a dad and some guy walking on the street who's TV I never cared for. Or he was both.

Okay, so then a couple of days later, I saw Bernadette Peters who has not aged a day in 300 hundred years outside of the JCC. Seriously. I remember her from childhood, probably from a cameo on The Muppet Show or something (is that accurate? Holy moley! It is!) and she looks exactly the same as she did then, it's UNCANNY. Like she is a) a vampire, or b) someone who has a plastic surgeon. A) is probably the more popular choice but B) is probably more likely.

And then a few days after that, I was walking down my block--you know, the one I own. Not!--and there's this garbage truck blocking the street because garbage men are nice guys when you're chatting them up about garbage and football but when you're in a car and you're honking, they're all about the "do you hear something? I don't hear anything. I'm taking my time. Ladidah-dadi-dah! Garbage! I pick you up piece-by-piece." So one guy gets out of his car to see what the hold-up was all about, and it's Kevin Kline. Yes, him! From A Fish Called Wanda and...um....some other movies.

After all of this had happened, I realized that I had no one to share this with. I mean, Shana is my wife but she's in school. And they don't get reception ever. So I need to share it with someone....

And so I got a Twitter account. So i can share this nonsense with random people. There it is. I am now in the future, aka, the past for everyone else but the future for me. I'm at twitter.com/aryedworken.