Salutations, Dames Nation!
Please pack all your best brocade smoking jackets and join us TOMORROW NIGHT as we livetweet VELVET GOLDMINE, A.K.A. “What if Citizen Kane BUT INSTEAD David Bowie?”!
When: Saturday, February 6, 2016, 8pm ET
Where: Twitter! We’ll be using & tracking #velvetdames throughout the film
How: The film is available on Netflix - just hit PLAY at 8pm ET!
Join us for this symphony of pastels!
Dame Sophie's Top Links
It’s entirely possible that both Dame Margaret & I over-identify with Miss Sharon Jones. (It’s equally possible that this is us paying ourselves an overly lavish compliment.) If this profile is your introduction to this great American artist, please proceed immediately to Spotify to place her entire catalog directly in your ears.
Longtime readers know of my (possibly abnormal) devotion to museums, the smaller & more idiosyncratic, the better. This longread is about a huge & famous one, the American Natural History Museum, and how the stories museums tell connect humans with their environments, each other, and society at large. You'll need about 20 minutes to read this one & it'll be worth every second, promise.
Ms. Marvel is the reason my daughter & I maintain monthly single-issue subscriptions to a handful of comics titles at our local comics shop. Ever since we subscribed, we’ve read & enjoyed a variety of titles, many of them from Marvel (Ms. Marvel is her favorite; Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye is mine). You can feel something special happening in these series - there’s a verve, an emotional heft, and a clear editorial vision at work. Reading this profile of Sana Amanat, Marvel’s Director of Character & Content Development, made all those pieces fall into place, in the best, most fist-pumping way.
Patron Saint of Dames Nation Nora Ephron (of blessed memory) was such a sparkling personality. This interview (for which Dame M. also vouches, most vociferously), conducted when she was just a lass of 32, captures the essence of so many of the things I love about her: her wit, her self-mockery, her work ethic.
Dame Margaret's Top Links
If he hadn't died in 2001, Monday, January 25th would have been my dad's 68th birthday. So he has been on my mind a lot lately, but I'm pretty sure "Unfathomable Life: A Writer Grieves for Her Father, Through Five Movies" by Jessica Ritchey would have pole-axed me regardless. It is a stunning, heartfelt piece of writing and film criticism, and it took me right back to that first year without my dad-- specifically, to the first time I watched The Royal Tenenbaums. It was the first Wes Anderson movie I ever saw, and it remains my favorite. And I stayed in my seat, sobbing, for probably ten straight minutes after it was done, long enough to scare my friends, because I was so overwhelmed with envy that Chas Tenenbaum got to hold his dad's hand in the ambulance, when my dad had died without any of us there. That sounds like a very painful memory, and in some ways, it is. But one of the crucial things that Ritchey's piece gets is that, when you lose someone really wonderful, even the pain feels like a gift. Art that makes you feel connected to the person who's gone can be devastating. But it also... makes you feel connected to the person who's gone. And, ultimately, that sense of connection, the feeling that they're close if only because there's so much of them still in you, that is always going to be more important than the pain of their absence. (P.S. Reading over this collection of favorite Frank A. Willison quotes, it becomes apparent the degree to which my sense of humor is inherited, and how DEEPLY he would have loved Twitter.)
ON A (mostly) DIFFERENT SUBJECT, a linguistic researcher named Tim Lomas has started tracking all the foreign words for positive emotional states that have no easy equivalents in English. The science motivating this is iffy (by my lights), but the 216 words he's found are SCRUMPTIOUS. A few favorites:
Sólarfrí (Icelandic) (noun): sun holiday, i.e., when workers are granted unexpected time off to enjoy a particularly sunny/warm day
Schnapsidee: German for coming up with an ingenious plan when drunk;
Gigil: Philippine Tagalog for the irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze someone because you love them so much)
Pihentagyu: Hungarian for quick witted people who come up with sophisticated jokes and solutions (literally "with a relaxed brain"); a word that describes Dame Margaret very well. And:
Kao pu: Chinese for someone who is reliable and responsible and gets things done without causing problems for others; A word that does not describe Dame Margaret in really... any respect.
And finally!! Two great albums to enjoy this weekend! 1) WE ARE KING by KING, which is dreamy, electropop R&B at its absolute finest (check out sample track "Supernatural" and just SEE if you aren't hooked), and 2) The debut album from The Suffers, which is rousing, Motown-Funk revival R&B at ITS absolute finest, and is currently streaming as part of NPR Music's First Listen series. IF YOU CAN get tickets to see The Suffers open for Lake Street Dive, YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF to do so, and right quick.
This Week In Hamilton
Now THAT's what we call a birthday gift.
You may not have realized that you needed a handy list compiling many of the times Jonathan Groff & Lin-Manuel Miranda were feels-crushingly, unbearably cute together, but we here at the Bossy Aerie anticipate your needs. Happy Weekend, gang.
Hear Lin-Manuel Miranda speak passionately about how early 90s hip-hop influenced his work in his Grammy Nomination interview.
Ahhhhhh, freak out! Everyone’s favorite Broadway cast will be performing the musical's opening number (via satellite) at the Grammy Awards! We are still hoping for a Hamilton medley featuring pop stars, too, though, if only because we really want to see Nicki Minaj spit "Guns and Ships." Search your feelings, you know that would be amazing.
No surprise here: Lin had some smart & passionate things to say about how early 90s hip-hop influenced his work in his Grammy Nomination interview. A hot, nerdy mensch is all our joy.
Lin chatted with Rebecca Mead about dirty politics in the Early Republic (plus ça change, 21st century chums!) on the New Yorker Radio Hour.
The Incomparable Podcast Network has launched #Pod4Ham, a podcast where a panel of Hamilton enthusiasts get together to discuss each song from the show in-depth. Bonus! They are looking to set up diverse panels of people discussing the songs they love best, so if you ARE someone with THOUGHTS or you know someone with THOUGHTS, reach out to them on Twitter!
And, speaking of podcasts, Hamilton came up on last week's episode of Judge John Hodgman. Given Dame M.'s consuming obsession with both the musical and John Hodgman, it's hardly surprising that his take on it struck her as particularly insightful, BUT just because it's predictable doesn't mean it's wrong!
You Generous Gems!
Finally, a big,bigthank you to all of you who helped make the first month ofour Patreon campaignsuch a success! Thanks to your generous contributions and signal-boosting, this newsletter is now cost-neutral! We're also (slowly but surely) adding our best original content to Tumblr, have scheduled the first of six annual movie live-tweets, and are working with a designer on a logo. Next up: merch! Tote bags in 2K16!
We deeply appreciate your enthusiasm & support, Dames Nation. You're all (individually & collectively) Simply The Best.