ALOHA, Dame Nation!
Margaret rewatched Lilo & Stitch last night and yes, the line "This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good." will always make her cry. See also: "Ohana means family," "I'm lost," and "I remember everyone that leaves." See also: MOST OF THE MOVIE, really. But for a partners-in-crimeship like Two Bossy Dames, truly, who could be a better model than Lilo & Stitch?
The movie is streaming on Netflix, ripe for revisiting! And it's also fitting because, if you think about it, Stitch is kind of a pioneer, as the only one of his kind living on an alien planet? And Margaret has some THINGS to share about pioneers, SO?
O, Pioneers!First off, we have the story of Solomon Butcher who, on his journey from failed homesteader to failed real estate tycoon, ended up taking a series of photos that document the settlement of Nebraska in all its sod-house, pump-organ-in-a-farmyard glory:
From there, please direct your attention to this stunning essay by Eula Biss: "No-Man's Land: Fear, Racism, and the Historically Troubling Attitude of American Pioneers" which draws a beautifully complicated parallel between the attitudes of American pioneers and the language of modern gentrifiers. It's funny and insightful and balanced and great. Just read it, really. You'll be so glad you did.
And finally, lest we think all new territories have been conquered, here's a piece on the psychic cost of being the lone black woman pioneering in the wilds of Google's phalanx of software engineering. This is an exact, careful, painful description of an incredibly difficult thing to put into words. Quite illuminating. Musical Crushes: Strap In, We Have MANY This Week
T-Pain is a) adorable, b) very funny (but also touchingly glum), c) a crushingly talented singer and so therefore d) very crush-worthy. Sophie has been watching his Tiny Desk concert on repeat for over a week.
Questlove is famously, cucumberishly cool. He doesn't freak out about things, even things he loves. So to see him absolutely lose his mind with joy over the music memorabilia that Nardwuar the Human Serviette gives him, especially in this new-to-us 46-minute version of their interview from 2013, is a total (and deeply educational) delight. "You managed to stump me...you normally wait, like, four questions in, and then you give the sucker-punch...this means A LOT - wait, is this mine?"
Tennis' knowing, girlish vocals and surf guitar & Hammond organ-drenched tunes skillfully press all of our yearning-for-a-new-Best-Coast-album buttons. Meanwhile, The Growlers serve up what amounts to the male vocal version of Best Coast with Pet Shop Eyes. Swoon.
EDM super-producer Calvin Harris' new album is full of collaborations. Maybe (probably) predictably, his collab with perennial Dames darlings HAIM, Pray to God, is a favorite jam.
What happens when your Comedy Crush brings his wife onto a podcast and together they talk about all your most recent Musical Crushes? If you're Margaret listening to Mike Birbiglia and Jen Stein's appearance on KEXP's Music that Matters podcast, then: (1) your Comedy Crush becomes an almost dangerously intense Relationship Crush, (2) your elaborate fantasies of being best friends with both people become rich with specific detail, and (3) you learn about a bunch of new bands you super need to listen to all right now/forever.
Your Dames are hoping to bring you a full discussion of Taylor Swift's 1989soon soon soon. Until then, just know it's on endless repeat in Sophie's car, thanks only fractionally to her 9 year-old superfan.
Twee As Hell
First up, a rec from one of our favorite fellow TinyLetterers, Lisa Schmeiser of So What, Who Cares? who perfectly characterized this 10-minute film, The Life and Death of Tommy Chaos and Stacey Danger, as "Wes Anderson meets Ridley Scott for tacos at this really great strip-mall place in Hermosa Beach."
Stills from the all-puppy video of "Shake It Off" (not really, but it's a great alternate video concept, no?)
Can we all agree that Maira Kalman is the best? Her many picture books include an illustrated version of the Talking Heads song "Stay Up Late" and a love letter to Grand Central Station. She also illustrated Daniel Handler's masterful Why We Broke Up (much beloved by both your Dames), so her lavish My Favorite Things is very much on Sophie and Margaret's to-drool-over-read list.
And, in closing! Two Bossy Dames HQ (1) needs these person-sized pillow-filled bird nests and (2) will henceforth be known as The Magpies' Aerie:
Unrelated to Anything Else Herein, But Delightful to Us & Therefore Maybe to You, Too
The idea that Banksy may be a woman is beguiling and for the record, Sophie is SOLD on this concept:
Compared to the highly visible work of Invader or Fairey or dozens of other high-profile street artists, Banksy's work is different. Girls and women figure into Banksy's stenciled figures, for starters, something that isn't true of 99 percent of street art. Banksy's work has always done more than project "Banksy" ad nauseum. (In fact, a "handling service" called Pest Control exists to authenticate Banksy's protean projects.) Banksy's graffiti understands and predicates a relationship between the viewer and the street, something that graffiti that merely shouts the artist's name or icon over and over (and over and over) doesn't do.
(Many thanks to alert Dames reader & Sophie-palAnnfor this headcanon!)
Cooking In The Archivespairs two things your Dames adore, food and old-timey academic sleuthing. A recipe forlemonadefrom the 18th century?Shrewsbury Cakes("basically, early modern snickerdoodles")? Yes, please! The writers,Alyssa and Marissa, are scholars who met at the University of Pennsylvania, and to say that their work is happily, fully nestled within the nerdiest corners of the Dames' wheelhouse (can there be corners in a wheelhouse?) is not an overstatement. We'll be camping out in these Archives for a good long while. (Oh, come now, you love a good pun, right?RIGHT?!)
Cord Jefferson's beautiful meditation his mother's lifelong walkon the path of kindnesswill make you cry, and think, and call someone you love to tell them you love them, because life is too goddamn short.
When you get off the phone with that person that you love, reward yourselves with a cleansing chuckle at Vulture'sAural History of the Inception Horn .
Finally, our title this week derives from a new-ish observance,Candletime, which was created by Sophie's college chum Magda Pescenye (who is probably known to some of you who are also parents as Moxie ofAsk Moxiefame). The aims of Candletime are twofold: to prevent Christmas from pushing into Halloween, and to fend off the soul-destroying effects of the end of Daylight Savings Time. Darkness before 5pm is pure cruelty, and twinkly candles are pure psychic kindnesses to oneself & those so fortunate as to live, work and play with us. This year, Sophie is not messing around, and hauled out the big guns to celebrate Candletime:
That's right. A three-candle silver-plated candelabrum that is the size of a 2nd grader's torso, giving a giant, jolly double-middle finger to the darkness. TAKE THAT, OLD MAN WINTER. (And please excuse my less-than-pristine countertops.) Margaret's candle-jammed-into-a-craft-beer-bottle Candletime contraption is far less regal but still amazingly effective at gloom-deflecting.