Jenny From the Block takes on working women tropes and unequal divisions of labor, all while wearing a pair of ass-less chaps (no comment). Other gems? A serious purple power-suit, a nod to BumbleBFF, and a crowd of awakened women dancing in the streets. But seriously, about the oppressive men in this video—where did she even find those living Ken-dolls? 😂
What does falling in love look like? As Todd Haynes’ film Carol reminds us, it often looks quite boring, looking from the outside in. Lives are brought together and broken apart in the most ordinary of settings—a rather depressing department store, a diner where the porcelain is thick and ungainly, a motel with ugly bedding. People with beautiful cheekbones and deep, startling gazes must still remember to pay their coffee bill and deal with traffic.
In some ways, not much happens in the movie. Two women meet in 1950s New York, exchanging glances and a joke or two over a toy counter. They fall in love, suddenly and without warning. One of them is Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett), the kind of woman who matches her coral lipstick to her nails perfectly, the better to veil her repression. The other is Therese Belivet, an aspiring photographer who shies away from others (Rooney Mara). What ensues? A couple of visits, a road-trip to flee Carol’s estranged and pushy husband Harges (Kyle Chandler), sex, and finally, a confrontation that sends them spinning away from each other and then back again.
In other ways, the stakes of the film are much higher. Vibrating underneath these events is a tension more meaningful than a shared cup of coffee or kisses exchanged on a motel pillow. In an era that could not brook the love between two women, or even call it by its name, Carol’s struggle to fit both her family expectations and her personal needs into a single life is a bitter one. She and Therese strive to fully realize their desires and selves. From the 1950s until now, that struggle for the right to occupy mundane space, even peacefully and beautifully, without intrusion and judgment, can ring true and familiar.
Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt, the source material for the film, was long considered a literary footnote—after a surge in popularity at the time of its publishing, it fell to the wayside. It was, in fact, daring and important in many ways. Not only did it take lesbian love as its central theme, it broke the convention of “lesbian pulp fiction” to give its lovers a happy ending and a modicum of hope. The Price of Salt also precluded that other famous love story of the 1950s, Lolita, in its use of transgressive sex and the open road to explore the morality of American sentiment and loneliness. Both versions of the story celebrate the seemingly small but in fact monumental choice of self-satisfaction in the face of censure. In Carol, the driving force of a beautiful love story unfurls, whisper-soft but sweet.
The 1940’s and ‘50’s boast such an enormous archive of atomic bomb scare songs—most of them lovingly compiled onto the Atomic Platters (“Cold War music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security”)—that it feels a little tired to loop them all into a mix that would probably end up being kind of hard to listen to. I went for apocalypses of mind and body instead…In the hopes of mixing these songs into something that sounds like an atomic explosion, this mix is a little out of my usual Big Sound Saturdays fare. Apocalypse Sound!! is loaded with garage rock, punk, riot grrl, afrobeat, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, and some big tunes from Italy, Indonesia, and Thailand.
The 1940’s and ‘50’s boast such an enormous archive of atomic bomb scare songs—most of them lovingly compiled onto the Atomic Platters (“Cold War music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security”)—that it feels a little tired to loop them all into a mix that would probably end up being kind of hard to listen to. I went for apocalypses of mind and body instead, with tunes ranging from totally explicit (Elvis Costello’s “Waiting for the End of the World”) to personal disaster, the girl group Heartbeats’ self-released, organ-laden heavy-hitter “Cryin’ Inside.”
In the hopes of mixing these songs into something that sounds like an atomic explosion, this mix is a little out of my usual Big Sound Saturdays fare. Apocalypse Sound!! is loaded with garage rock, punk, riot grrl, afrobeat, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, and some big tunes from Italy, Indonesia, and Thailand. I Giganti’s “La Bomba Atomica” is a 1960’s patchwork of low register swamp sounds and earnest falsetto, bombs in the night, and the ever-irrepressible Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “Frenzy” is to the tune of frantic disorientation that I’m hoping the mix will bring you, the listener, into. Barring Chance Halladay’s “13 Women”— a heavy, huge, hilarious apocalypse, like the Twilight Zone’s “Time Enough At Last” in Big Man fantasy space—everyone on here is pissed off. I even rounded it off with a song that The Red Elvises wrote for the post-apocalyptic rock ballad-cum-samurai film Six String Samurai, a furious ska boogie that dances itself all over Leonard Nimoy’s cautionary “Visit To A Sad Planet.” No holds barred in any of these songs. Paint them on your body, carve them in your walls!