Welcome to Freshtown, Dames Nation.
Your mayor would like to introduce herself.
You know Your Dames love a quality self-esteem jam, and we bless, from the very bottoms of our groove-loving hearts, Colombian electro band Bomba Estéreo for giving the world “Soy Yo”. This video follows a little girl around her neighborhood in Brooklyn as she stares down mean white girls, basketball-playing boys twice her size, and totally befuddled breakdancers. This is a tween “Good As Hell”, another beloved 2016 #DamesJam.
Behold, this adorable child wielding her recorder as an instrument of power!
A Carlton Dance For A New Generation!
The star of “Soy Yo” is The Cutest Happy Tough Cookie we’ve seen since Blind Melon’s Bumblebee Girl, and our wish for all of you is that you embrace & embody her level of “this is my point of view, and it’s awesome, you can’t bring me down!” [Breaking: we have just learned that her awkward-fierce dance moves were inspired by The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. <3 <3 <3]
But Dames! Where are some other great places to learn about A+ music from Latin & South America? We’re so glad you asked! We love:
Alt.Latino: NPR’s weekly podcast on music in Spanish & Portuguese is a treasure for your ears. Bonus: you can also enjoy a lot of the songs co-hosts Jasmine Garsd & Felix Contreras choose for the show (and more besides!) in the Alt.Latino Radio streaming channel.
Club Fonograma reviews songs & albums constantly, and also performs a crucial annual act of music service journalism for the culturally overloaded: creating lists of best albums & songs of the year. (Their archives are hard to navigate, so your search engine of choice is your best friend here.)
Remezcla is essential weekly reading on modern Latinx culture. If you’re not already following them in all the places, DO.
Last but not least, Spotify playlists, of course. Dame S. found Indie español → 2016 this week & is looooving it.
We’re sure there are plenty more we just don’t know about & we would love to hear from you about your favorite sources for the newest in new that’s not in English.
In conclusion, let’s learn from this wise, joyful brown girl and listen to this song a fafillion times.
Play it for a friend today!
PS: Bomba Estéreo areon tour right now, so if you're lucky enough to live near where they're playing & you go see them, please let us know how great they are live!
Would YOU Like To Cultivate The Confidence of The Mayor Of Freshtown?
Well, GOOD NEWS! We’ve got an Ask Two Bossy Dames issue coming up soon and we’d love to help you! We’ll even waive the traditional 5 cent fee. Just drop your query into our Google Form and you MAY be the lucky one showered with our wisdom & sparkling insights!
Bossy Spotlight: Don’t Think Twice
(A Love Letter by Dame Margaret)
My ever-lasting crush on Keegan-Michael Key was not harmed by the viewing of this film, but it was gently dinged for like half a minute.
If you pay attention to film critics, I won’t be the first person you’ve seen praising Mike Birbiglia’s new film Don’t Think Twice-- it has already managed the rare feat of achieving a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.* BUT! Why would you care about what FILM CRITICS have said unless a DAME like myself will vouch for their correctness??? And in this case, boy, do I ever. Don’t Think Twice tells the story of what happens to an improv group when one member gets very famous, very fast, and the rest do not. It’s both as funny and as uncomfortable as a movie about people who do improv ought to be, showing in the first seven minutes why you might NEVER want to be around comedy people, but making you cry in the last ten over how much these weirdos love each other, and how genuine their connection is. It is also a really moving piece of art about the challenges of living a creative life, featuring three women in major roles, none of whose existence in the film is defined by their looks, bodies, or relationship to a male character. Gillian Anderson in particular just bowled me over-- the story she’s given to tell is one I’ve never seen for a female character before, and her performance is gobsmackingly great. I’ve now seen the movie twice and I can’t stop thinking about it, or talking about it. I have loved writer/director/performer Mike Birbiglia since I first encountered him on This American Life**, but his first film-- an adaptation of his own book, Sleepwalk With Me-- struck me as merely fine. This film, on the other hand, was nearly perfect, and of a type I think is too rare these days: thoughtful, emotional, funny, humane, and small-- something where friendships are in danger of disintegrating but skyscrapers escape wholly unscathed. Birbiglia has been pounding the pavement to promote the film, writing great pieces like this one for the New York Times on “making it small,” hoping to show Hollywood that there is an audience for this type of movie, and his results have been good. But that’s no reason we can’t join in and make them better. It’s an independent movie, so it might be hard to find a showing in your area. But, if you can, DO GO. You will be glad that you did, and you can come shout with me about it afterwards on Twitter. And if not, it’ll be out for rental on streaming platforms soon, and I promise my shouting will keep.
*The movie review aggregation website famous for infuriating oversized infants by accurately reflecting the low critical opinion of movies made by Zach Snyder.
** If you would like to know more about my long-standing devotion to Mike Birbiglia, you should bump your Patreon support level up to $10/month, because I will be devoting MANY INCHES of our Quarterly $10 Patron Email to the subject, as well as many other delightful things.
Dame Margaret Is Far Too Tired to Think of a Fun Snappy Way to Describe Her Links This Week; Thinks First Weeks of the Semester Should Be Outlawed
Think but once of how many times Marianne Dashwood would have played this song after being jilted by Willoughby and you will never hear it the same way again.
How did “Maps,” an at-best-moderately-well-known song by The (at-best-moderately-well-known) Yeah Yeah Yeahs go on to become one of the most influential songs of the last 15 years, even earning its writers a credit on Queen Bey’s Lemonade? Well, Popbitch has you covered, with an EXCELLENT in-depth look at how the song influenced The Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson, and-- of course-- Ms. Yonce. And, if you want a little further listening, its influence is also a major focus of our beloved Switched On Pop’s episode dedicated to Swedish super producer Max Martin.
I am and will ALWAYS be fascinated by any article about the complicated dynamics of online dating under unusual circumstances, so I of course loved this essay from Allison P. Davis about Tindering her way across Europe, and how her dating life as a black woman was drastically different in Berlin than Brooklyn.
Speaking of New York and racial discrimination, have you ever wondered what turn-of-the-century urban planning might have to do with the birth of hip-hop? A VERY GREAT DEAL, according to architect and designer Mike Ford, who had a fascinating conversation detailing the exact relationship this week with FADER.
If there is any chance you missed the L.A. Times’ recent series on a PTA mom in Southern CA who was framed for drug possession by a pair of high-profile parents she affronted, well, you should remedy that. Is it a little discouraging how often the stories that seem “shocking” and worthy of long-form examination center on white women? Yup. Does that mean this bananas story centering on a pair of white women isn’t deeply compelling? Nope! It does not mean that! And, if you want more where that came from, the L.A. Times’s newsletter put together an exhaustive list of their favorite true crime reporting, from a wide array of sources, and it ought to keep you reading for WEEKS.
And then, as a light palate cleanser, how about Alexandra Petri’s perfect imaginary pitch letter for The Great American Novel, which promises features such as “16 pages imagining how a woman feels about something that perfectly explain why the author is now divorced,” “a sentence that is 18 pages long so the reviewer will have something to describe as ‘bravura’,”and “author explains what is really wrong with politics today; it is much simpler than we thought,” among other hilarious things. It is perfect, unlike the genuinely enormous swath of literature it’s skewering.
Dame Sophie’s Link Buffet
Sans souci, c’est moi (hahahaboohoo)!
Summer, COME BACK to me! I know I said last week that it’s over & we should all be listening to our Autumnal jams up here in the Northern Hemisphere. I also know I shouldn’t ask too loudly for the return of summer, as this week has been almost oppressively oven-like, but as happy as I am to see my daughter head back to school, I long for a weekly lazy afternoon on the beach. Due to my having bought into the sucker’s game of responsible adulthood, however, the closest I can get to that ideal right now is this gallery of Mesmerizing Motels of the Atomic Age, all on the shores of my beloved Cape May County.
Carrie Fisher (yep, General Organa herself!) has launched an advice column over at The Guardian. She’s wise and wry and funny and perfect in her advice to a woman whose husband has been visiting prostitutes throughout their marriage. Also this week in Gifts We Don’t Deserve From Great Britain: this sketch imagining the saucy, baking pun-laden Mary Berry/Paul Hollywood slashfic you didn’t know you wanted. I vote that Joanna Lumley & David Walliams guest-judge at least one of the challenges this season.
I’m contractually obligated to jump up & do a little dance whenever something about legendary children’s book editor Ursula Nordstrom flits across my screen, so here’s an excellent piece on Nordstrom and the queer history of children’s literature. “But who is she??”, you may ask! Ursula Nordstrom is probably the most influential person on your childhood who you’ve never heard of. During her career at Harper & Row (now HarperCollins), she had a hand in publishing books like Goodnight Moon, Charlotte’s Web, Where the Wild Things Are, and many, many more. It seems like nowadays, everyone has an opinion about children’s literature whether they actually know a thing about it or not, but in the mid 20th century, writers for children and the women who worked with them were largely ignored, and so were relatively free to do as they liked, aesthetically & narratively.
Of course, then as now, children’s literature was overwhelmingly White. We’re making progress, S L O W L Y. It’s infuriating. Wonderful lists of books--books by Native authors, authors of color, QUILTBAG authors, authors with disabilities, and a host of other identities that distinguish them from being straight, white men--pop up all the time. Buying, borrowing, reading & sharing books from those lists can help speed up the process of normalizing better representation. The most recent one on my radar is Debbie Reese’s 59 Native Writers in 59 Minutes Tweetstorm (in handy Storify form).
Finally, two things that are #TweeAsHell, since we haven’t done that in a while: Neko Atsume Toast Art (I just restarted playing this game from scratch. Still so soothing!) and bunny bags to keep your stuff organized and cuuuuuuuute.