We open with this gif for a number of reasons. First off, we do so because, really, is there ever a bad time to watch Robyn dance?
We posit that there is not, no not ever, a bad time for that.
Second, because said pop queen just released her first new solo single since 2010-- “Missing U,” which (like all of Robyn’s best work) is both an exquisite bop and utterly heartbreaking.
But third, and best of all, we share it because a delightful anecdote about Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” (from which this gif originates) opens Marissa Lorusso’s excellent essay-- “Women are the Fabric of 21st Century Pop”-- about the latest installment in NPR Music’s Turning the Tables project-- Turning the Tables II: The 200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women+, which highlights the best and most influential songs by women and non-binary artists whose work debuted in the last 18 years. You can stream the list at a number of locations-- we recommend putting it on shuffle and seeking out the individual write-ups for any songs that particularly grab your ear, because all of them are incredible. And, as with last year’s list of the 150 best albums by women in the 20th century, the writing that accompanies the list is just as wonderful as the music itself, whether it’s Ann Powers on the late 90s stars who just missed being included or the curators of the list discussing amongst themselves the choices that go into it. We love this project and hope you guys do, too.
And if not, you can just dance it out to whichever bangers you do prefer.
Coming Attractions: A Livetweet and a Body Swap!
The week of August 19th promises many delights! First up, on Monday, August 20th, We Your Dames will be taking our pals’ book podcast Overdue from this:
(A movie about DUDES swapping bodies)
(A movie about LADIES swapping bodies)
By which we mean we’ll be taking over their podcast entirely on Monday, 8/20 (to discuss the 1970s classic Love Story and whether love means never having to say you’re sorry), and they’ll be taking over our newsletter on Friday, the 24th. You may know Andrew and Craig from their previous guest-editing stint for us, or from their excellent podcast, but if you’re new to their work, we cannot recommend highly enough Stop! Homer Time, their great recent series on Emily Wilson’s new translation of The Odyssey-- so far they’ve discussed books 1,2 and 3 and books 4-7 and neither we (nor translator Emily Wilson) can wait to hear the rest.
AND THEN! On Sunday, August 26th, we will have our next livetweet, of Wes Anderson’s LATE SUMMER MASTERPIECE:
It’s presently streaming on Netflix and we cannot wait to find out what kind of bird you are. The details are as follows:
WHEN: 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, August 26th, 2018
HOW: Streaming Netflix.
WHERE: On Twitter, with the hashtag #MoonriseDames
Dame Margaret Discovers the Joy of Dad Rock, and Other Things
Some days you’re the rocking dad, some days you’re the startled baby.
On the subject great music by women, my beloved favorites Bad Bad Hats just released a BRAND NEW ALBUM, which is excellent! Album. But they also released a very very good playlist, which has… maybe taught me that I love the band Steely Dan, yacht and dad rockers extraordinaire? It certainly made me listen to the song “Dirty Work” more times than is strictly reasonable, and also to discover that many many songs I’d passively enjoyed in a Rite Aid were all by this one band. “Reeling in the Years”! “Peg”! Other songs! That’s all this one band, you guys! DID YOU KNOW??? I didn’t know!!
As someone who’s proudly never lusted after a status purse, I am extremely distressed by how rapidly I began to covet nearly all the totes labelled here as “status tote bags,” particularly the very exclusive ones that aren’t even available for sale. If you work at Penguin Random House and can hook this Dame up with a Riverhead Books tote, I’d be forever grateful. AND I’M WORTH IT!
I am in a state of Constantly Aspiring To Be Some Kind Of Notebook Person and I always seem to think that the trick is finding the Perfect Notebook rather than, you know, actually taking the time and making the effort to form the habit for myself. As a result, I am of course naturally attracted to articles such as this one, "I'm an Obsessive Calendar-Keeper and These (Under $30) Planners Are the Best Out There." Maybe buying one of these will be the solution to all my problems. Maybe thinking buying anything will solve all my problems is my BIGGEST problem. But either way, these journals are fucking alluring and the author's refined system of assessment fills me with innate confidence in her judgement.
Did you know that it the birth of Princess Margaret is what triggered the modern rise of astrology and led to the creation of horoscope signs as we know them? Until reading this piece from Craig Brown on Lit Hub, I certainly did not, and post-reading it, I’m pretty sure that I need to read his whole book, Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret, and right quick.
In the meantime, to scratch that same women-behaving-badly-but--triumphing itch, why not read this New York Times story about how Danielle Bregoli, a young woman who first became famous for slurrily inviting the entire audience of Dr. Phil to step outside and fight her, is taking that viral fame and becoming a rapper named Bhad Bhabie.
Dame Margaret’s Poster Corner
Featured above, Dame M.’s problematic attitude towards posters
Ever since stumbling upon my first-ever Flatstock gig-poster festival, I have been an absolute fiend for well-made, independently printed concert and movie posters. It’s hardly surprising, as they represent a particularly thrilling intersection between my enthusiasms for audio aesthetics and visual aesthetics. However, my appetite for posters has long since exceeded my access to walls upon which to hang them, so you can imagine the INTERNAL CONFLICT I experienced when I discovered that Austin’s Poster Cabaret, my preferred spot for window shopping, was discounting their whole stock by 50%, making nearly every poster on the site $30 or less. IT WAS QUITE ACUTE, FOLKS. Since I am strictly forbidden from buying any new posters until I’ve framed and hung all the ones I already own, I have decided to work my longing out by sharing the highlights of their collection with you, my beloved readers, in hopes that someone can benefit from this windfall. The collection skews heavily to gigs from around 2003-2010, meaning it features predominantly indie artists who were big right around then-- the sale at present is meant to move this old stock so that the shop has space for more current posters. If you have no attachment to the acts of that era, rejoice! You may make it through this round-up without once getting out your wallet. But the posters are so attractive that you may yet fall prey. To wit:
This pitch-perfect Rufus Wainwright poster by Methane Studios makes me wish I liked him a poster-demanding amount. I include it here with confidence that one of our many readers will.
Maybe one who also loves Blondie, so they could complement Rufus with this matching concert poster that Methane Studios made for her.
Or, if you remain fond but not poster-level devoted to those two, you could get these unaffiliated floral-pattern silhouettes-- one male, one female-- and to achieve the same effect. These are a standard frame size, too, eliminating the need for any custom framing.
And if you share my addiction to multisyllabic words and many-claused sentences, these terrific posters for The Decemberists-- one featuring an accordion player and the other a stiff general-- may hold an irresistible allure.
For the movie and music buff, Jay Ryan’s trio of posters for The Swell Season celebrate both that bittersweetly lovely band and the movie that birthed them-- Once. There’s one poster dedicated to Markéta Irglová’s hands at the piano, one of Glen Hansard’s hands strumming the guitar, and one of the busted tiny vacuum sweeper that brings them both together (my favorite). And all three could be had for a mere total of $30 (or $10/apiece).
There’s also this deeply twee and adorable poster by Jay Ryan celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Lincoln Book Bindery, an establishment I have only ever heard of on this poster but for which I possess a profound fondness due to this poster.
All of the posters by Brainstorm Studios have a vintage educational vibe that I know to be particularly in keeping with Dames Nation’s aesthetics-- I am very fond of this one, which illustrates the saying “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.”
Surprisingly, fans of pioneering scientist Charles Darwin can demonstrate their enthusiasm with not one but TWO posters-- one very kid-friendly design honoring Origin of the Species by Delicious Design League OR one more sedate drawing of Darwin and his Galapagos finches by Chicago’s Diana Sudyka, one of my favorite artists on the site-- her drawings of the birds of Hyde Park, IL, a Yeti peacefully consuming a cup of tea, and a grey fox with its kit are three of the prints from this sale I’m MOST UNHAPPY to not buy right now.
And for trailer enthusiasts, picking a favorite from among Leah Giberson’s many paintings of Airstream Trailers would be a perhaps impossible challenge-- all of them are so good.
To stereotype for a moment, impossible-to-shop-for dads might be delighted by Gary Houston’s posters for B.B. King-- one from 2003 and one from 2007-- or Patent Pending’s tribute to The Bridge on the River Kwai, as blues musicians and war movies are two things many a dad has appreciated in his day.
And, whether for a child’s room, or any room with a bright and cheery aesthetic, this ABC’s poster, this STRIKING AND DELIGHTFUL peacock, and this salute to Chicago’s famous hot dogs could all be gloriously at home.
There are many more excellent options to choose from-- I could probably keep listing forever. But, if your interest is piqued, half the fun is browsing for yourself. May you find something celebrating someone who delights your ear that delights your eye with equal intensity! And please do tweet @ me to let me know which posters you buy-- let me live through your sound decisions!
Dame Sophie’s Literary Yelling Corner & An Assortment Of Other Things!
This haughty fella is 100% the Staryk King, no question
Last summer, I read Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, which was great. If sylvan lady magicks, witches coming into their craft, glorious friendship, good vs. evil, and a slow-blooming romance are your jam, this is a book for you. This summer, I have had my feelings shredded perfectly to pieces by Novik’s latest novel, Spinning Silver. She’s thrown Rumpelstiltskin and a bunch of Eastern European history and maybe some tales of Sholem Aleichem into a blender and come up with a story about a young Jewish woman -- a moneylender, no less -- who finds herself kidnapped by the Staryk king of winter after she boasts she can turn silver into gold. But wait, there’s more! Miryem is not the only protagonist! There’s also Irina, daughter of a local duke, who is married off to the tsar, who it turns out is possessed by a soul-devouring demon. I haven’t even gotten around to the steadfast sibling trio of Wanda, Sergey, and Stepon yet. Or about how important the weather is. Or about the cottage that’s in two worlds. Or how richly, philosophically Jewish this novel is. It’s the literary equivalent of a three-episode arc of Fringe: full of things that are recognizable and others that are just beyond our ken, love and loss and life or death challenges, with just a tiny bit of wry humor here and there. it’s complicated in a particularly delicious way that’s ideal for reading in the heat of August. In his review, Choire Sicha perfectly captures and tames my all-over-the-place enthusiasm:
In richness of ideas, and in glory of sentences, both these books are spectacular. Where “Uprooted” was clean and thrilling, “Spinning Silver” is like falling asleep in the passenger seat of a car and waking with a jolt of fear, a cold window sticky against your cheek, a strange night country outside. Where are you? Here, in a book of not very comforting stories, a big and meaty novel, rich in both ideas and people, with the vastness of Tolkien and the empathy and joy in daily life of Le Guin.
In other joy in daily life-type fantasy, have you read this exquisite, perfect imagining of what it would be like if Anthony Bourdain shot an episode of No Reservations in Narnia? I read about it in The New Yorker Recommends, which is a newsletter this newsletter recommends, and I can’t stop thinking about how Bourdain not only read this fanfiction about himself, but really enjoyed and admired it. If there’s a Scoville scale for things that make you cry, this story is a Carolina Reaper of tears.
This week in things that made me laugh aloud in the orthodontist’s waiting room, this detailed & hilarious takedown of Education Secretary & noted educator hater Betsy DeVos’ vacation home in Holland, Michigan, by Kate Wagner, proprietress of McMansion Hell. The best of Wagner’s masterfully sick burns are included as on-image captions such as “I, too, love to base my 5th living room on the Victoria’s Secret waiting rooms” and “let’s be real, this is just a White House Black Market outlet store attached to an architectural cruise ship that ran aground in a tragic maritime accident caused by the intersecting conditions of wealth and bad taste”. I asked my Dad, retired architect and a beloved contributor to one of our best issues ever, about nostalgia formation & historic preservation, to comment. His response?
Well, there you have it
And speaking of actual orthodontia, Cheryl Wischhover reported the hell out of a piece on braces startups that is fascinating. Living in the Greater Bos-Wash Megalopolis, we nearly have a glut of dentists & orthodontists. If you have money and/or good insurance, you can take your pick of providers, and as we’ve discussed before, teeth are one of the last instant visual signifiers of class in the US, but those perfectly straight, bright smiles we’re so attached to are really expensive, and require many office visits over a period of years, depending on the complexity of the corrections a given patient needs. Companies like SmileDirectClub and Candid Co. could meet patient needs with a good-enough product at half the price, but only if they can settle their lawsuits and stick the landing on quality control. I’ll be curious to see how this shakes out.
As high-low mix aficionados, Your Dames are all about splurging on the things that are important to us while seeking bargains everywhere else, so that’s just one more thing we love about Constance Wu’s Strategist-style rundown of her favorite skincare & beauty products. She’s overwhelmed by the available options when it comes to fragrances, so I want to direct her and her team to the joys of Rachel Syme & Helena Fitzgerald’s newsletter The Drydown so that she can benefit from their erudite & intuitive guidance. She was a divine sparklingly silvery column at this week’s premiere of Crazy Rich Asians, I just know there’s a perfume out there that would match that look perfectly! Reviewing this thread of videos of the stars & their guests on the red carpet yielded a bunch of responses for me, primarily feeling the sudden onset of glamour poisoning: gasping at how stunning these two are together, going awwwww/phoooar when Henry Golding happened upon and then joyously joined a photo lineup including Steve Yeun, Jae Suh Park, Randall Park, and Daniel Dae Kim, yelling excitedly at Awkwafina about her dress as if she could hear me, and then tearing up on seeing Michelle Yeoh being photographed with Ming Na, 25 years after the latter starred in The Joy Luck Club, the last US-produced film with an all-Asian cast. I’m going to see Crazy Rich Asians next week with my parents & daughter, when we hope to be part of its strong second-week showing at the box office!
Triple threats: high glamour, high silliness, highest gorgeousness!
Two Bossy Dames is brought to you by:
This vital update regarding the wedding tiara worn by HRH The Duchess of Sussex in Julie/@SamuraiKnitter’s ongoing series on #BroochWars in The House of Windsor
A really heartwarming & surprisingly frank commercial for the smoking-cessation treatment Chantix, featuring Actor Ray Liotta
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