Dames Nation, last week:
with the Unfriendly Black Hotties all over again. It’s odd to say that an issue we didn’t write is among the best we’ve ever sent but, when you have [FIRE EMOJI 100 EMOJI FIRE EMOJI 100 EMOJI] collaborators likeChristina & Kamille, it’s also kind of inevitable. So we just wanted to thank them for their incredible work, thank you for appreciating them with the appropriate fervor, and thank our Patreon donors for making guest editors like the Hotties possible. You guys are great and we’re so proud to be able to share other awesome writers with you.
(Where did we find the amazing gifs, you ask? Obvi, we got them from The Hotties.)
Bossy Spotlight: Bad Bad Hats
A simple truth about me (Dame Margaret) is that I am to spring what shopping malls are to Christmas: I begin to celebrate its arrival almost criminally far in advance of its actual appearance and it sometimes feels like celebrating it is my entire reason for existence. As at least once this week, I was able to leave my winter coat at my desk while going out for my afternoon coffee, Dame Margaret’s Spring Anticipation Season has officially begun, likely snow storms next week be damned. In my heart, I’m already documenting the arrival of the season’s first snowdrops and, as a result, my musical appetite demands handclaps, jangly guitars, and, where possible, wryly wistful female vocalists. SO, it just happens to be the perfect moment for me to have discovered Bad Bad Hats, a female-fronted Minneapolis band whose cheery-sounding romantic fatalism matches my aesthetic preferences so well that I feel like they were grown in a lab just for me. How do I love them? Let me count the ways:
She writes songs with lyrics like “Can’t get you off my mind, babe, so I bought this dress to spite you” and “Someday, I’ll call you back/Because I want you more than I want the things you lack” which, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS, really speak to me.
Recorded, their sound reminds me of early Rilo Kiley. Live, they felt like the weighted average of Alvvays and Waxahatchee. If you can catch them on tour, YOU DEFINITELY SHOULD! Especially while they’re opening for Hey Marseilles, another Dame Margaret Adored Band.
And, best of all, at their label’s website, you can get BOTH THEIR ALBUMS for free!! For keeps!!
Dame Margaret's Top 4.5:
Do you want to hear the above gif, but in podcast form? Then allow me to do a leeeeetle bragging by pointing you towards this week's episode of my podcast, Appointment Television, where we notionally discussed awards shows but actually spent an hour shouting intelligently about the patriarchy's terribleness and Anne Helen Peterson's excellence. Someone on Twitter called one of my bourbon-y rants "a soliloquy" and noted podcast expert Dame Sophie deemed it our best episode to date. We also put out a special short episode this Monday, to discuss the news that Sutton Foster will be joining the Gilmore Girls reunion on Netflix and debate The Most Important Question Of Our Time: WHO in Stars Hollow will have a podcast, and WHAT will it be about? I'm really proud of both these shows, and the podcast in general, so shouting it out seemed FAIR. New episodes come out every Thursday as we, like everyone in podcasting, are hoping to ride Serial's coat tails right to the stars. If you like me here, and you like podcasts, then I'm pretty sure you'll like me ON this podcast.
We’ve praised Leila Cohan-Miccio’s newsletter Uptalk before, but I must sing its praises again today. First, because it led me to this amazing pieceabout viral gymnastic sensation Sophina DeJesus whose family’s history in Los Angeles is, it turns out, every bit as riveting as her flawless floor routines.
Second, this week’s issue also led me to Bethy Squire’s mirth tear-inducing essay “I Wish I Could Be as Openly Sad as Jeb Bush,” which contains perfect lines like “I want to bottle Jeb Bush's disappointment, turn it into a perfume, and wear it to funerals.” I have been doing everything in my power to avoid news of the clown car of homicidal maniacs currently vying for the Republican nomination, but this piece made me wish I’d watched the whole thing, so I would have ever piece of context necessary to understand how funny its jokes were.
And, as a galactic cherry atop this delicious link sundae, let's spend a moment getting to know Uriel, the universe’s best-dressed spiritual leader, who looked "like Endora from Bewitched crossed with Glinda the Good Witch — a septuagenarian goddess in glittery gowns and candy-colored wigs."
Dame Sophie’s Top 5:
This'll make sense in a minute, promise.
Street photography is one of my favorite art forms. The commonplaces of everyday life captured by someone who really knows how to frame a shot is...ugh, just picture me clasping my hand over my heart in a gesture of sublime joy. The latest trove to come to my notice is from PM New York Daily, a tabloid that published from 1940-1948, and made its mark by publishing extraordinary oversized photos on high-quality paper. (h/t Girl of a Certain Age)
I was the guest on The Worst Bestsellers a few months back, talking ranting about Jonathan Franzen’s most recent novel, Purity. During that conversation, I remarked that this was a book that really, really wanted to be an Important Literary Spy Novel, With Themes. Now, our greatest Bond, Daniel Craig, is going to star in a 20-episode (?!?!) TV adaptation of this messy behemoth of a novel. So in short, I CALLED IT, and now I am being duly punished for my prescience. But SNACK ON THIS, Franzen! Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels will also be adapted for TV. I live in hopes of watching it with subtitles in, like, 2020. (Related: Dame M. also appeared on The Worst Bestsellers this week, discussing the far-less-classy "bestseller" The Perfect Letter, by Chris Harrison, the illustrious host of The Bachelor.)
Jia Tolentino, one of our very best music-focused culture critics, sifted through the troubling details of David Bowie’s history with former teen groupie Lori Maddox. (Of course, even the term “groupie”, which is so gendered & sneering, is part of the problem. What term do we use, in this era of highly engaged & accessible teen fans & Internet culture creators? Do we just say “fan”? I feel like that doesn’t capture the power imbalance that is the source of so much of the problem.) This piece is a must-read for so many reasons, including Tolentino’s recontextualization of anti-sex 80s feminism as a response to the rapey dystopia that followed Free Love. (It’s very much in dialogue with Karina Longworth’s amazing podcast series from this past summer, Charles Manson’s Hollywood.) I just can’t stop thinking about this: “It is less easy to turn over what Maddox evinces in this narrative, from the late 1970s to her account of it now--which is that women have developed the vastly unfair, nonetheless remarkable, and still-essential ability to find pleasure and freedom in a system that oppresses them.”
Do you need a palate cleanser? Let’s consider the subtleties of European haute couture, where the supremely classy Jenny Packham can’t get no respect. Many of the times you’ve seen someone on the red carpet (or Kate Middleton, basically ever) looking just right, she was wearing a Packham gown. Interestingly, Packham think she’s insufficiently “unusual and in line with a sort of English eccentricity that rules the roost” at European fashion weeks. She just wants to make women look their most beautiful and glamorous, is that so wrong?
Finally, I notice that Yiddish is enjoying a bit of a moment. From Transparent (recapped by #DamesPal and Appointment Television co-host Kathryn!) to Tablet Magazine’s Unorthodox podcast to our own ongoing #punimwatch, there’s just...something Yiddish in the air! Considering that it’s a language that was nearly exterminated in the 20th century, this is something that gives us a lot of naches. Please enjoy these adorable Bubbes & Zaydes explaining Yiddish terms, and join us in our campaign to bring back zaftig as a compliment. As #DamesPal & wordsmith par excellence Lizzie Skurnicksays, “it just means juicy!” I think of zaftig in terms of a certain voluptuous lusciousness, but sure, juicy works if you’re into the whole brevity thing. (I am into the whole polysyllabic parenthetical aside thing.)
Zaftig AND a literacy-lover. That's our Hilda!
This Week in Hamilton
Each week, we offer a round-up of the best bits & bobs to come out of everyone’s favorite Grammy-winning, impossible-to-get-a-ticket-to-through-April-2017 Broadway sensation, Hamilton: An American Musical. We put it at the end of each issue so that haterzzzz can skip right over it and fellow fans know where to find it.
Our beloveds have had a bit of a week, thanks largely to the Grammys! They performed the opening number, “Alexander Hamilton”, which prompted zillions of people across the US of A to wonder aloud to Google, “Say, who was Alexander Hamilton, anyway?” Now, you can look at this as a sad indictment of our nation’s educational system, OR as an acknowledgement that when your enemies destroy your rep & America forgets you, you’ll get at MOST two class periods devoted to your many contributions to Constitutional Law and modern finance, even in very high-quality public high schools. History is written by the victors, indeed.
Then they won (they won, they won, THEY WON!) a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album and Lin’s acceptance speech was perfection & our hearts sang again. Also, Jasmine Cephas-Jones’s most recent #Ham4Ham performance of “My Man” has us poised to pre-order her future solo album, while Oak & Anthony are clearly having a daily slumber party to rival even the one taking place in these pages weekly, and Lin & Groff added another entry to our ever-growing List of Times Lin & Groffsauce Were Cute Together. *greatjob*, guys!