my shadow is just dirt

I was in Chicago last Friday (dropped in at the Roscoe Village Bangers & Lace for some lovely beers) and didn’t write a recap, so we have a lot to catch up on.

Two weekends ago my wife and I had an all-day movie marathon. We watched The American (I irrationally love this movie, even though the ending is cheesy as hell), The ScoreBoogie NightRonin, and The Grey. That weekend, we also finally watched The Hateful Eight. It was about what I expected: entertaining, but off the mark. Tarantino’s last two have been clunkers after the brilliance of Inglourious Basterds. Let’s hope the next one turns things around.

tankLast week, I caught up with Tank Girl, the 1995 film based on the eponymous comic books. It was amusing, but I was hoping for more. Still, Lori Petty does everything she can to sell that role. Is there a more quintessential ’90s quirky actress than Lori Petty? She used to drive me crazy. Now I feel nothing but affection for her. I also watched a few recent foreign films–Schneider vs. Bax, a fun Dutch film about two hitmen tasked with bumping each other off, and Sea Fog, a South Korean film about the captain of a failing fishing vessel who takes a job smuggling Chinese refugees but runs into trouble at sea. Both were worthwhile. I also watched The Automatic Hate, which is about a Boston sous chef who gets contacted by a cousin he didn’t know he had, and then sort of…falls in love with her, causing all manner of long-buried family issues to explode. The transgressive subject matter is well-handled, though some of the character decisions feel unlikely.

janeI finally watched Jane Got a Gun, which was entertaining but deeply flawed. It wants to be So Moving, and the film is bathed in saturated light and speckled with lens flares and features a lot of emotive whispering. I wasn’t bored, but it just can’t accomplish what it wants to.

I also rewatched Heathers, because it was time. It is always jarring to revisit ’80s favorites and realize how rape-y they were.

I’ve gotten a lot of reading done in the last few weeks. I finished Rachel bell’s chapbook Welcome to Your New Life with You Being Happy, which I’ll be reviewing soon, as well as Tonight We Fuck the Trailer Park Out of Each Other by C. Russell Price, a book I purchased sight-unseen based purely on the title. I also read and adored Carrie Colpitts’s zine My Aim Is True, and I really need to buy the later issues of this perzine. I finally read Grace Krilanovich’s novel orangeThe Orange Eats Creeps from Two Dollar Radio. I’ve heard it whispered about in awed tones for years, but I was kind of disappointed. It wasn’t bad, it just…did nothing for me. I had no idea what was going on most of the time, which might have been half the point. I felt like there was the foundation for an absolutely kick-ass novel, but it’s so smeared and obscured by opaque language and stream-of-consciousness babbling that there’s little left to work with. I also read my friend Michael Ratcliffe’s poetry chapbook Shards of Blue and Dougie Shoals’ collection To Carolyn: A Song of Schizophrenia, and I read Gabrielle Brant Freeman’s poetry collection When She Was Bad from Press 53 for review.

Weekend mornings at our house involve a lot of vintage vinyl played loudly while we make and eat breakfast, and this past weekend involved Blondie’s Autoamerican. While sitting at my desk this week, I revisited a favorite from my junior high years: Mariah Carey’s Daydream. I don’t care what you say, that’s an all-timer.

Here on the blog I’ve reviewed two zines–congratulations you are prequalified for the darkness that consumes us all by Jamie J. Mortara and All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues by Julia Eff–and I shared some of the awesome street art from Montreal and some great quotes about writing by Ray Bradbury.

Melinda and I are heading to Ann Arbor for this weekend, and I can’t fucking wait. We generally head up every winter. There are so many great bookstores, breweries, bars, and quirky shops, which is all we need a city to have.

The title of this article is from this passage in Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps: “I’m death in drag. My name means ‘Lady Annihilator.’ My shadow is just dirt. I store myself in the muddy smells in the backs of buildings.”

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