Shameless Plug Sunday: Redux
Wilson here. Mr. Struggan does not like repeating himself, but clearly you all weren’t listening when he told you about Mellow Pages Library, the coolest, most radically awesome independent library in the world.*
Currently, their IndieGoGo campaign stands at $3,664 of their $20,000 goal, and there are only 3 days left for you to donate. This is an embarrassment, a disappointment, a fucking travesty. Give them a dollar, or ten, or a hundred. It’s important, damn it!
Mr. Struggan sends his emphatic regards.
*based on scientific data collected from the mind of Mr. Struggan
Days Are Gone, 2013
Nico here. Mr. Struggan wanted me to get back into writing album reviews, so I chose Haim’s debut album Days Are Gone, which recently debuted at Number 6 on the Billboard 200 and Number 1 on the UK Albums Chart. Unknowingly, I saw Haim’s lead singer, Danielle Haim, perform with Julian Casablancas at 9:30 Club in January 2010 while he was touring on Phrazes For The Young (2009). Composed of Danielle, her two sisters, Este and Alana, and drummer Dash Hutton, the band brings a lot of musical experience and talent to the table. In a dearth of popular rock groups, they are successful in quenching a thirst for mainstream music made by musicians who play instruments, while also not being unfairly relegated to a “girl band” category. Haim is the rock band for the Rookie Magazine generation.
My favorite thing about Haim’s music is that its core is relatable power pop. The songs are about relationships and romance, equally confident and insecure. The music is slickly produced and draws from a lot of pop influences, but their lyrics are unpolished, which makes them believable. As they are not completely formed, I am excited about the group’s ability to grow, as opposed to being over-marketed and packaged in different colored wrappers. Happily, they don’t seem to be conflicted like Taylor Swift (always sad), Miley Cyrus (tongue), or Lady Gaga (transparent desire to be taken seriously). The troubles they draw from are fairly average, which creates a relatability unseen in a pop landscape overflowing with theatrical sets and costume budgets.
On “The Wire,” eclectic, non-abrasive guitars and percussion remind me of Vampire Weekend. The song has a great ability to get stuck in my head. Though well-crafted and recorded, there is room for deeper and more specific themes. The songs don’t convey any mental image. What movie is this the soundtrack to?
As Larry Fitzmaurice’s review of Days Are Gone notes, the band’s slick production, marketing and matching haircuts could make it easy for listeners to dismiss them. After all, they are managed by Jay Z’s RocNation. As a periphery-member of Hov’s artist portfolio, Haim is still finding their sound, and has been given room to find success in their own way. But, as fellow RocNation signee Wale’s The Gifted (2013) shows, ”doing your own thing” and even releasing a Number 1 album does not garner greatness or the mantle of “classic”. These sounds for the time are not necessarily timeless.
Mr. Struggan sends his Regards.
Don Jon, 2013
Written and Directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Hey folks, Wilson here. As an unabashed fan of Mr. Joseph Gordon-Levitt ever since his 3rd Rock form the Sun days, Mr. Struggan was very eager to assign me this week’s film review. Don Jon marks Gordon-Levitt’s debut as a screenwriter and director, and sets up a starring role for the affable and multi-talented actor.
The film’s titular character, as you may have guessed, is a Don Juan / Lothario, re-imagined for the 21st century as a suave Jersey clubber named Jon. The beginning of the film introduces a decidedly two-dimensional character, whose admitted foci in life revolve solely around his appearance, his family and friends, his sexual prowess, and most importantly of all, the gratification he receives from consuming pornography. Jon is thrown off his routine, however, upon meeting Barbara (wonderfully played by Scarlett Johansonn) who grabs enough of his attention for him to consider a real committed relationship. What Jon soon realizes, though, with help from his new community college classmate Ester (Julianne Moore) is that he’s merely traded one routine for another, and that relationships in this day and age, though maybe easier to find, are harder to maintain than it seems.
At first, the film and its characters come off as a bit predictable and shallow; people depicted as two dimensional rom-com caricatures who are present only for comedic effect. Under Gordon-Levitt’s writing and direction, though, the film matures and blossoms as it progresses into something with depth, without any cheap sugarcoating. The supporting characters turn out, in the end, to be wonderful foils and deliverers of a healthy balance of humor (Tony Danza and Glenne Headly delight as Jon’s parents). Ultimately, Gordon-Levitt gets by on sheer confidence in his story and where he wants it to take us.
Hollywood’s recent streak of confronting the issue of sex addiction seems mostly built to capitalize on a hot topic, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from seeing this movie. Its statement about love in the age of internet porn isn’t much of an epiphany, but it’s worth stating nonetheless, and turns out to be a clever interpretation of the Don Juan legend.
Mr. Struggan sends his Regards.
Mellow Pages Library
56 Bogart St, Bushwick, NY
Hello, dear readers. Wilson here, presenting a special Shameless Plug Sunday Regard from Mr. Struggan. As you are aware from our book reviews, Mr. Struggan is an avid reader. What you might not know about Mr. Struggan, though, is that he is also an avid library lover. Mr. Struggan’s two most favoritest librarians, Matt Nelson and Jacob Perkins, are the custodians of the legendary Mellow Pages Library in Brooklyn. They are in need of your help, and Mr. Struggan is here to tell you why you should give it to them.
Mellow Pages Library is an independent library and reading room located in the heart of Bushwick. Matt and Jacob, in running the space, take pride in two things most of all, their commitment to making available to the public the widest range of small and independent press publications possible, and their commitment to doing so free of charge. That second part is where you come in. Over the last year or so, Mellow pages has enjoyed rapid expansion, which has brought with it much added responsibility that, so far, Matt and Jacob have carried themselves. To insure that their positive vision for the library and its mission continues, they are now launching their first fundraiser via IndieGoGo to help cover the rent, upgrade the space, and maybe even provide a bit of wage to their volunteers.
Mr. Struggan cannot stress enough how awesome it would be if you threw a little bit of capital Mellow Pages’ way. It would be so awesome, in fact, that Mr. Struggan has a proposition for you: share/retweet/reblog this post and spread the word, and you could receive from Mr. Struggan a free one-year membership to the library. How’d you like them
apples books? Very much so, Mr. Struggan would bet. Check the link at the top to contribute to the campaign, and don’t forget to stay mellow.
Mr. Struggan sends his shameless regards.