29 May 2020

"I'd like to be able to hit a hundred-mile-an-hour baseball. But you have to know your place."

This Week

This past week has been a tough one. Heartbreak after heartbreak, frustrations, anger and rage. I hope you are keeping yourself safe and well and doing what you are able to do. If you’re able to do more than others might be able to, this is a good time to stretch a little and do that. If not, we can all support and encourage.

A couple of actions I recommend are 1) donations (the following tweet from the Minnesota Freedom Fund lists a few options) …

… and 2) self-education. The Chicago Public Library shared a list of books about the systemic problem of police brutality.

In news of less importance, I’ll be sending out the monthly essay for paid subscribers this weekend. It’s about going to movies, missing going to movies and wondering about what it will be like when we can go back to movies. I’m fond of this essay. I hope you like it. If you’re not on the paid subscriber list, you can jump on board today.


The pandemic is the right time to defund the police.

A guide to the relative risks of summer activities.

What will make Americans feel comfortable going out to the movies again?

Tattoos aren’t an invitation to be harassed – and it seems a global pandemic hasn’t halted #tatcalling season.

The Queens of Infamy series is back with Lucrezia Borgia.

“How do you separate what you want from what you know will get you what you want? Desire as surveillance morphs into desire as self-surveillance becomes exhausting. No wonder the impulse is to sink.” On the paradox of summertime sadness and Lana Del Rey.

The long, strange story of the Misfits.

An oral history of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Teaser trailer for the third and final season of Dark.

“I think this is what I look for in an artist — the ability to change, and to grow, and to confound.” Nick Cave.


  • If you’re a fan of 70s psychosexual horror with witches and sociopaths, make sure you’ve read hidden gem Elizabeth by Ken Greenhall. It’s unbelievable this wasn’t turned into a film during that era, because it so closely aligns with those sort of films. It’s ripe for a throwback adaptation. Anyway, the novel is slyly sickening and deserves a more widely-acknowledged place among horror fiction. You can grab an ebook version directly from the publisher for $7.

  • I finally caught the new film adaptation of Emma, directed by Autumn de Wilde. I’m on the record when it comes to preferring Austen adaptations that emphasize less romance and more character growth plus biting irony. This one falls on my preferred side of the scale. Its precise, candy-colored artistic style plays nicely into its humor, and its romanticism is embedded in humanity. I don’t like it as much as Love & Friendship, my reigning high bar for Austen film adaptations, but it’s still quite good.

  • I have also been working my way through The Story of Film: An Odyssey, a fifteen-part documentary series about the history of film directed by Mark Cousins. It’s a highly editorial documentary that tries to re-focuses film history on not only the often-discussed directors but the work that was made across the world by directors of non-dominant races, ethnicities, orientations and genders. Not necessarily exhaustive, but not a bad place to start. The entire series is available on Hulu.

  • Summer weather has come to Chicago. Trying to bring in a little lightness.

Take care of yourselves and each other.




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This week’s quote is from Bob Dylan.