Acro Collective’s Holiday Gift Guide: 2016

I think we can all agree that 2016 was kind of a shit year. Trump being elected was just the cherry on top. Zika, Brexit, losing David Bowie….the list goes on and on and on. So I don’t think we should be blamed for seeking a little self-care as the calendar winds down—whether that’s through spending time with loved ones or some well-deserved retail therapy. (Yes, capitalism is a fraught system. Let’s just roll with it for today and get back to fighting the revolution tomorrow, cool?)

Below, some gifts for yourself, friends, and loved ones….reward the intersectional feminists in your life, and spread a little holiday cheer.

Acro Collective Holiday Gift Guide 2016 by acro-collective

Got more suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

How to Deal with Trump-Supporting Relatives at the Holidays

Spoiler alert: I don’t know exactly how you should deal with your racist relatives this holiday season. Every family situation is obviously markedly different, and will call for different strategies. But it will probably be helpful for us to think through this together before you go—don’t you think? With the election behind us and #trumpocalypse looming large, this is more important than ever.

Spoiler alert: I don’t know exactly how you should deal with your racist relatives this holiday season. Every family situation is obviously markedly different, and will call for different strategies. But it will probably be helpful for us to think through this together before you go—don’t you think? With the election behind us and #trumpocalypse looming large, this is more important than ever.  Continue reading “How to Deal with Trump-Supporting Relatives at the Holidays”

Big Sound Saturdays: Cosmic American Christmas

To spread some friendly holiday cheer, I spent what felt like a very long while thinking about what kinds of Christmas songs aren’t an abomination to listen to. Some might, and very frankly have, argued that Country Christmas is not the exception to the mall music rule, but I get it, I get it, goofy moralizing and cheeseball sweet songs aren’t for everyone. It’s fine. I do get it. But blues and jazz Christmas have been done very well without me, R&B Christmas has also been mixed and re-mixed…and then! Like a beacon of light from Yonder Star, a regular Thursday Facebook k-hole bottomed out into the Texas Tornados’ version of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” a Christmas miracle, the day is saved!

Continue reading “Big Sound Saturdays: Cosmic American Christmas”

Gift Guide for Feminist Friends

Presents for those you love (or yourself!)

Gift Guide for Feminist Friends

 

1. Bitch Planet, Image Comics
6. Obvious Child (Jenny Slate)
8. Beyonce and Nicki crewneck sweatshirt

Big Sound Saturdays: Country Christmas!

S.A. scoops us into the unexpected delights of a country Christmas—because irreverence and *jingle-jangle* are not things that need to follow a strict calendar, right?

In any case, it’s kind of like Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere today, and I thought we might as well celebrate. From the Louvin Brothers, ACRO Collective, and I, Merry Christmas, all the time!

We had this tradition for a while at WKCR-FM: Once a year, 36 hours straight of live programmed country music, the annual Country Music Festival. It was full of secrets! The overnights are always the hardest to cover, so we peppered them with country couples, truck-driving country (and the sub-genre, mark me, of alien-versus-trucker races), and my favorite: every midnight, an unannounced hour of country Christmas.

Country Christmas flies an unbelievable wingspan—transitioning from Christmas carols to the ever-growing realm of undeniable pop in the 1940s, it’s still a genre that carries some weight and some more Billboard chart-toppers. In 2003 alone, Jimmy Wayne’s “Paper Angels” was at #18 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, Marty Stewart’s “Even Santa Claus Gets the Blues” hit #55, and at #30, Kenny Chesney’s “All I Want for Christmas Is a Real Good Tan,” birthed from the exhausting and oft-reiterated genre of Beach Music (weirdly, like the murder ballad, country-songs-about-the-beach is looped into genre blankets but not really talked about on its own).

Which is to say! I (mostly) kept my cool this first round and pulled almost exclusively from the 1950s and 1960s: Tex Ritter, Eddy Arnold, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn’s “Good Old Country Christmas.” I listened to so many country Christmas songs that I actually started to confuse the two genres. Like, not all country songs are Christmas songs—blasphemy!—but is every kinda classic Christmas song just really “country?” It’s crazy how well “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” (not included here, you’re welcome) fits with Leroy Van Dyke’s sound, how easily Gene Autry (track 5, you’re also welcome) sings “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane).” Hank Thompson’s scooping, bluesy intro to “I’d Like To Have An Elephant For Christmas” is just one of many markers of country music’s dark tonal (and often lyrical, melodic, referential…) underbelly, but maybe Christmas carols have that, too?

In any case, diving into a mix like this is dizzying, but don’t let it defeat you. Leading in with a cautionary tale by the great Ferlin Husky—“Christmas is holy, not a holiday”—I’ve thrown Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters’ paean to Hawaiian country music “Mele Kalikimaka (The Hawaiian Christmas Song)” in with Hank Snow’s Christmas boogie and Tex Ritter’s Christmas polka and even included a couples duet, Red Foley and Judy Martin’s “Our Christmas Waltz.” Even though some of these songs are, I admit, deeply stupid (Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Christmas Dinner” is a long, jingly catalogue of hot holiday foods), there’s also beauty—Faron Young’s “You’re The Angel On My Christmas Tree”—and Brenda Lee’s disorienting “I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus,” a cowboy vigilante battle that paints Santa as the great withholder and teen dream Lee as a blonde, bedazzled Robin Hood.

Anyway, it’s kind of like Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere today, and I thought we might as well celebrate. From the Louvin Brothers, ACRO Collective, and I, Merry Christmas, all the time!