FRIDAY FIVE: Fire up the TARDIS

For my inaugural Friday Five, I’m stepping into a time machine to look back at some previous eras.  Join me, won’t you?

I first heard about Halt and Catch Fire from Molly Lambert and Emily Yoshida’s sadly defunct podcast Girls in Hoodies.  Their praise for the series — which follows the misadventures of three tech innovators in the Silicon Prairie of the mid-1980s — piqued my interest, and when I got an Amazon card for my birthday I sprung for the DVD box set.  After binge-watching the first season, I started buying the episodes from iTunes once season 2 started.  What’s gotten me to fall in love with this series?  The milieu, which is so familiar (speaking as someone who’s the same age as Gordon and Donna’s daughters) and yet so foreign; the engaging characters, played by brilliant actors; the subtlety and the suspense it courts; the working relationship between punk coding prodigy Cameron and working-mom Donna, and the music.  As someone with mental conditions, I’m really impressed with how the writing team has handled Cameron’s anxiety, and I also love how the show has depicted the parallels between the punk scene and the nascent internet/gaming subculture.  And the cliffhanger ending for this week’s episode…oh em gee.  Sadly, AMC is taking a wait-and-see approach to a Season 3.  If you’re looking for a series to take the place of Mad Men on your Sunday nights, give this one a shot.

Staying in the southwest (I think) but moving the time machine forward to 1989, We Can Never Go Home is a comics miniseries about two teenage misfits with superpowers.  The hyper-realistic depiction of the protagonists’ hometown and school grounds the story and makes the violence they experience all the more shocking.  I first heard about this through this post on Instagram, and anything with an explicit nod to Hüsker Dü is A-OK with me.  Matthew Rosenberg and his creative team have done a great job of engaging the audience and making the main characters’ struggles palpable and painful.  The last page of Issue 3 left a lump in my throat.  This will apparently be a limited run, so get in while it’s still going.

Let’s go west with the You Must Remember This podcast, which is taking a long, hard look at Charles Manson’s Hollywood this season.  Due to the brutal nature of Manson’s crimes, whether I’ll last through the season is anyone’s guess, but the episode dealing with Manson’s connection to Dennis Wilson was fascinating and deeply sad.  I have a great fondness for Dennis Wilson’s solo albums (Pacific Ocean Blue sounds like a mashup of peak Nilsson and early Springsteen), and getting some backup on the creation of those records makes them all the more poignant.  Karina Longworth always has something worthwhile to say, and her love of film is steeped in a great intellectual curiosity and an irreverent attitude that might make you reconsider things you took for granted.

Staying in Southern California but going back a bit, this skirt caught my eye on the Junebugs and Georgia Peaches blog, and I have to say…I’m in love.  I’m hoping I get a job soon so I can get one in time for fall.  I love the ric-rac detail, and the print makes me smile.  (I’m with you, Amelia: the cactus riding the pinata FTW.)

Finally, moving a little forward to the Kennedy era…I try to keep political matters off my blog, but for the past year I’ve been working a position funded by AmeriCorps.  Holding down this job has given me the opportunity to hone my skills and learn more about the field I want to pursue (social media and marketing for nonprofit arts and education organizations), and has allowed me to engage in activism and learn more about people and communities with whom I haven’t worked.  I’m very proud of my work here, and as I wind down my service year I am dismayed to learn that Congress is voting to cut funding to AmeriCorps.  If you care about service and the ability to make a living while helping underserved communities, reach out to your Congress-critter about why AmeriCorps matters.

TUESDAY TUNES: In lieu of socks, a song

I cast on for Sarah Wilson’s Honey of a Hurricane socks today.  Sadly, my camera ran out of gas and I was unable to take a picture…so here’s another treat for you.

As my friends may know, I started taking ukulele lessons with Amy Kucharik in December.  I’ve been doing fairly well — if I do say so myself — and I’ve set myself a small goal: to record Straight Outta Lawndale, a ukulele tribute to SST Records.  Of the SST bands, my favorite is Husker Du, and I’m hoping to record two songs of theirs in the lab before the end of my service year.  Sadly, I can’t figure out how to embed this, but I made a little video of myself singing and playing “Flexible Flyer”.  (This is how it’s supposed to sound.)  This was my first video, and while it’s pretty rough around the edges — I struggle with the A# chord, and the phrasing can be a little awkward — I’m proud of the progress I’ve made over two months.  This can only get better from here, right?

TUESDAY TUNES: a twofer

What is this, Old Home Week?  Two of my favorite bands of the college rock era are gracing the Boston area with their presence.

First is O Positive, a band beloved by a certain generation of Boston rock fans.  I’ve written at length about my love for their music, and whenever they play a reunion show I make a point of seeing them.  If you like jangly indie pop or have a soft spot for the Donnie Darko soundtrack, you owe it to yourself to check them out.  Here’s “Waited”, an unreleased track that sums up their sound pretty well.

 

Sadly, I will be unable to see Bob Mould play behind his latest album, Beauty & Ruin, at the Paradise on Thursday.  If O Pos were the soundtrack to my middle school years, Mould and his various bands — Sugar and Husker Du — found me during my high school years and refused to let go.  I feel really thankful that I had Mould and his cohorts to scream when I was unable to.  If you like feeling emotional, you can check out Mould’s appearance on WTF, or listen to Bob’s set from Bumbershoot last year.