Favorite Music Videos of 2008

Happy New Year! This past year has been a great one for music and while most magazines and websites are listing their Top 10 albums, I thought I’d share my Top Five favorite music videos:

5. Noah and the Whale “2 Bodies 1 Heart” — Anything that combines track & field with Irish step-dancing with a Wes Anderson aesthetic sprinkled with whimsy is A-OK with me.

4. Lykke Li “Breaking It Up” — I love this video because it’s kind of a commentary on sexy dance videos but it’s also a sexy dance video.

3. Bon Iver “The Wolves (Act I & II)” — This video looks exactly how it sounds. Cold. With a fire burning in my soul.

2. Rihanna “Disturbia” — Someone on a VH1 countdown compared this video to NIN’s “Closer” only substituting the monkeys and Trent Reznor for hotass Rihanna. I say, pas mal.

1. MGMT “Electric Feel” — Jack and I were up late one night procrastinating and watching youtube videos. This was our favorite. It’s hipster wookie dance party ridiculous!

Impromptu Reading — Marisa Crawford & Seth Landman

The other night I attended one of the best readings I’ve ever been to. Seth Landman (ESPN.com writer and international man of heartbreak) invited a small group of friends over to his house on a quiet day-after-xmas Friday evening. His friend Marisa Crawford was visiting from San Francisco and, along with Seth, she gave us an impromptu reading from her manuscript “The Haunted House”–the eponymous poem is told in 60 short parts addressing issues of memory, loss, and female-ness, with some Madonna and horror movie imagery mixed in. Seth read from a series of poems called “Parker’s Band” about a boat named The Seth Parker that circled the globe in the 1930s. These new poems walked the fine line between whimsical and heartfelt and radio feedback. Seth’s friend Jake brought a bottle of super smoky scotch I’d never tried before called Laphroaig. Including the poets there were only seven of us. It was a perfect evening.

Required Reading — English 354

After much deliberation, I’ve finally decided on my reading list for the Creative Writing: Intro to Poetry workshop I’ll be teaching at UMass this spring. It includes:

We’ll also be looking at different poetic forms in Mark Strand’s The Making of a Poem. I hope it’ll be a fun semester for my students.

The New New Museum

On Saturday I went to the Elizabeth Peyton show at the New Museum, which recently reopened on the Bowery. My friend Jen (who some of you might remember from Jezebel.com) lives right across the street so we met there for the afternoon.

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Overall, I enjoyed the show. However, when a friend asked me later what I thought, my response was “It was so small.” I guess I meant that the paintings were small, about 12″ x 18″ (no surprise to those who know Peyton’s work) and the exhibition space consisted only two large rooms.

There’s a great article on Elizabeth Peyton in the October 6, 2008 issue of The New Yorker where I learned that she used to be married to Rirkrit Tiravanija, the installation/performance artist who does pieces that involve cooking and serving food to gallerygoers. Also, the New Museum has now hung a brand new painting by Peyton of Michelle Obama at the 2008 DNC that’s worth seeing.

Other highlights from the afternoon were the performance pieces happening throughout the museum. Through a window we saw a dance troupe running across the neighboring rooftops. Then, in the elevator, other performers were sorting through piles of colored clothing to loud music.

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Finally, one of the best features of the New Museum is their panoramic skyline view from the 7th floor.

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Dance Dance Revolution

To all friends in the Happy Valley, Rachel B. Glaser & I are going dancing at The Basement tomorrow night to celebrate our respective birthdays. Rachel will premier her new party leggings (word on the street is they are “liquid gold!”) and I’m bringing sheet cake so this promises to be a great evening.

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Sadly, despite what the invitation suggests, Peter Gizzi will probably not be in attendance.