Raised On Promises

...of cultural gems within

Livetweet Announcement: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!

We’re pretty thrilled, too, Miles!

Dear darling Dames Nationals, our next livetweet selection is Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, a movie both of Your Dames love with their whole hearts. 

The fun begins at 7:30 PM ET on Sunday, September 22. We’ll be running an Open Thread like we did for the Tony Awards a couple of months ago, and will send out the link in advance.

Haven’t seen it yet? Watch the preview, then get ready by adding it to your Netflix queue, borrowing it from your local library, or renting it from your platform of choice. The joint adventures of Miles Morales, Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy, Spider-Noir, and Spider-Ham are such a spectacular visual feast that we encourage you to watch it at least once before joining us for the group viewing extravaganza. (If you can’t, it’s fine, of course!)


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Dame Margaret’s Many Links About Women Thriving in Spaces Designed to Crush Them

How all interactions with straight men should ideally go.

  • It’s happening, Dames Nation: we are just one week away from the premiere of HUSTLERS, the J.Lo-lead, Strippers-Steal-from-Wall-Street-Creeps movie we’ve all been awaiting so long. To prepare myself for its impending glory, I did two things: (1) I revisited the original long-form article that inspired the movie ”Hustlers: The Hustlers at Scores: The Ex-Strippers Who Stole From (Mostly) Rich Men and Gave to, Well, Themselves” by New York Magazine’s Jessica Pressler (portrayed in the movie by Julia Stiles) and (2) I read New York’s new piece “The Hustle Behind Hustlers”which discusses just how hard it was to convince a lot of rich white men to make a movie about rich white men getting ripped off. Both sharpened my hunger for the film to an ALMOST DANGEROUS level of keenness. 

  • Another thing about which I am DANGEROUSLY KEEN: The Highwomen’s self-titled debut album is out today. If you have forgotten who exactly The Highwomen are since I raved about them last month, never fear! Both The New York Times and Esquire have pieces introducing the all-female country supergroup formed by Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile, Marren Morris, and Natalie Hemby. The album is a delight all the way through, but my personal fondest hope is that “My Name Can’t Be Mama”, the Highwomen’s ode to the natural ambivalence of motherhood, goes platinum-- although I would also accept the same outcome for “If She Ever Leaves Me,” a classic country song where a Brandi Carlile patiently explains to a man that he’ll never be able to snag the woman he’s got his eye on because said woman is with Brandi.  In a moment when gender parity on country radio has rarely been worse, and female performers within the genre have rarely been stronger, The Highwomen are a group worth pinning your hopes upon.

  • I definitely have women and music on the brain this week, perhaps because I just finished Taylor Jenkins Reid’s absolute perfect and engrossing novel Daisy Jones & the Six. Written in the style of an oral history, this book sets out to tell the story of a Fleetwood Mac-esque group in 1970s California who produced one remarkable album and then broke up, all in a spectacular explosion of drama. I finished it in about a day and a half and was left absolutely furious that none of the people in the book were real, that I couldn’t hear any of the albums they made either before or after joining forces, that there were no additional biographies, memoirs, or magazine profiles of which I could avail myself, etc. etc. Because that’s how real they all felt. My only comforts in this a FURIOUS annoyance are as follows: (1) Amazon Prime has already optioned the book, so it will be a TV show before too long, meaning the songs Reid has written about will eventually exist and (2) in the meantime, she was obliging enough to put together a playlist of songs that inspired those in the book, and it’s a phenomenal listen. If you have ever enjoyed an episode of BEHIND THE MUSIC, or wondered about the lives of people who create art, or considered the complications of being a woman in (or after!) the era of “free love,” you really have to read this book, and as quickly as possible. My only slightly-odd note is: if you’re buying a copy and you’re someone who cares about your book being maximally beautiful, order the UK edition because it is just STUNNING. The end papers (a too-often neglected space in books for adults!) are a rainbow collage of ticket stubs for imaginary Daisy Jones & the Six gigs, a beautiful touch I will never get over.

  • In a similar vein, this long New York magazine interview with Liz Phair, in advance of her memoir being published this fall, is a staggeringly interesting read. I especially appreciate the way she pushes back on the interviewer’s questions about her experience working with Ryan Adams, but from end to end, it was the perfect piece to satisfy my hunger for more examinations of making music while female in the wake of Daisy Jones

  • On the subject of women, I was a featured guest on Harry Potter and the Sacred Text’s companion podcast, The Women of Harry Potter, where I blessed Minerva McGonagall for her excellent pedagogy and her unwillingness to engage in high-level strategy that crushes the humanity of the people involved. And I snuck in a tangent about how badly universities treat their adjunct staff! 

  • And, last but not least, if you can resist an article entitled “A High-End Dry Cleaner Spills Everything About His Filthy Rich Clients”, I respect you, but I do not entirely understand you. For those drawn to said title like a moth to a flame, I say: hello, friends. This immolation was exquisite, please do come join me in it.


Dame Sophie Sails Away, Set Adrift on Memory Bliss (Or Something! School Started This Week & Everything is Way Discombobulated!)

Enya: giving you DRAMA! since 1988!

  • The annual race for Song of The Summer is something I always look forward to, but haven’t felt super-invested in for years, and I think I now know the reason why, thanks to Miles Klee’s convincing argument that Enya’s “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” has actually been the singular song of summer for the last 3 decades. On reflection -- having relistened to it multiple times in the last couple of weeks -- I conclude that Klee is 100% correct in his assessment of it as an incomparable, majestic, timeless banger. In fact, the entirety of Watermark (the album on which Orinoco Flow appears) is perfect for listening-while-baking and, I am convinced, contributed materially to my latest batch of zucchini bread turning out particularly delicious. You don’t just have to take our word for it, though: Chris O’Dowd made sure to pay homage to the Celtic Queen of New Age’s most famous song in an episode of his autobiographical sitcom Moone Boy where young protagonist Martin Moone and his best friend Padraig run away for a vagabond life on the high seas, accompanied by their imaginary friends Sean Murphy and Legendary Wrestler Crunchy “Danger” Haystacks. (PS: If you’re in the market for a Derry Girls follow-up, Moone Boy is a very solid option.) 

  • Pool season wrapped up for us on Monday, and with it, #PoolsideReads, my neighborly tradition of gently creeping on & documenting what my fellow pool-goers are reading each year. My favorite things about reading while poolside (or lakeside or oceanside, or in any place where you can blend public reading with total sybaritic relaxation, even just for ten minutes) are the twin aspects of aspiration and performance. Which is a gauche thing to admit, but it’s true: reading in public is a social version of an often-private habit, and we all know that and make our choices accordingly. I absolutely want to be seen reading It Books like Fleishman Is In Trouble and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. I also want to be seen zipping my way through Elin Hilderbrand’s backlist, de rigeur for lounge chair-based reading (this summer’s pick was Barefoot, which was just ok for me). I want to be seen because I want both the status that accrues to a person reading an It Book, and to invite my fellow pool-goers to ask me about what I’m reading so that I can fulfil my destiny as a (fancy) purveyor of readers’ advisory everywhere I go. By far the best poolside readers’ advisory I got to do this summer was prompted by my friend’s aunt asking me about my New Yorker tote bag. Did I get it via the discount they promote on Pod Save America every week? What’s the magazine like? Did I think she’d enjoy it? End result: David Remnick’s little hobby publication has a delighted new subscriber! 

  • Apparently it is now SCIENCE that listening to sad music can make you feel better, something goths & emo kids & anyone who has, I don’t know, created a Spotify Playlist called Weepies can tell you. It is nice to have this intuitive truth confirmed by SCIENCE, though, and I will take this opportunity to revisit some previous I Love To Cry pieces, including the one about saudade (a melancholy nostalgia for a person, place, or thing you may never have experienced but nonetheless long for at a cellular level) and the one about my unslakable thirst for cultural catharsis and deep interpersonal homeostasis.

  • Imagine reading a thoughtful, considered, generous, insightful review of your album and thinking to yourself “this is bad! I must put this writer in her place!” That’s exactly what Lana Del Rey did this week, and for the life of me I can’t understand why. The idea that she’s clapping back at an unfounded criticism is absurd on its face: Ann Powers’ longform meditation on Del Rey’s latest album, Norman Fucking Rockwell!,is the result of a deep investment in appreciating and contextualizing her development as an artist over the course of five albums. As a work of music criticism, it’s bound to include some critiques of Del Rey’s work, and the sentences that set off this fit of pique are respectful and reasonable, the kind of thing an artist interested in improving would likely take on board. Or not! She’s free to ignore it entirely! I just...whew. I’d be mortified to be that guy and am feeling acutely mortified by proxy. 


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