Friday, March 21, 2014


My five fave finds & re-discoveries of the week. 
(In no particular order)

(Poster by Tom Whalen)

1) Frozen

For the past few months, I’ve felt like the last holdout on Frozen. When the movie was in theaters, I wasn’t about to pay 10 bucks to see a world covered in ice and snow; I could look out the window of my Chicago apartment for free.

Then when Idin…,excuse me, Adele Dazeem, performed on the Oscars, I had a hard time getting a handle on the song "Let It Go." I was like, “what is she wailing about,” as I turned down the volume.

But there’s always a part of me that likes to understand why things are popular. Plus, over the weekend, I heard a cute twink humming “Let It Go” while sitting alone at Midway Airport. Since twinks are my type, I figured that there might be some future seduction scenario where a strategic Frozen reference could come in handy.

So, earlier this week, I took to the couch, with a Solo cup of Diet Coke and vodka in my hand, and rented Frozen on iTunes. When it was over, I was, to use fairytale parlance, enchanted, and “Let It Go” went from being annoying (except when hummed by twinks) to deeply thought-provoking.

I couldn’t believe how much the song made me reflect on my own life, especially when Elsa, the Snow Queen, sang:

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

It reminded me of the moment I decided to take a chance and become a fully nude stripper. As I wrote in my memoir: “After years of wondering what it would be like, I had done it—faced a fear, defied expectation, embraced a taboo self.”

One of my favorite moments from the “Let It Go” sequence is when Elsa races over a canyon, creating an ice bridge as she goes. It brought to mind a Martin Luther King Jr. quote that I often turn to whenever I embark on something new: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Overall, Frozen is a smart, twisty tale that challenges the fairytale conventions that most of us grew up on and have often unwittingly and unwisely applied to our own lives. Through its two female leads, Frozen deals with issues of love, romance, and redemption in such a way that it delivers on the ultimate promise of Feminism. By offering empowering messages for women, Frozen expands the possibilities for us all.

(Photo by me)

2) Lizzo

I caught rapper Lizzo at SubT on Wednesday (opening for the equally mind-blowing Marijuana Deathsquads) and I was floored by her energy and talent. You definitely want to be down with her, because she's seriously "on the verge."  Her song "Paris" was featured this season on Girls, and she's just been signed to a major label.

Everything about Lizzo is cool. Born in DeTwa and raised in Houston, she decided to start writing music in the 5th grade, after she skipped school to see Destiny's Child perform at Wal-Mart. She can play the classical flute and has a degree from the University of Houston, but she turned down a scholarship at the Paris Conservatory in order to turn up her career in hip-hop.

She's gotten a lot of comparisons to Missy Elliott, but, to me, she brings to mind the grounded hip-hop queens of the '80s, who traded in fun and attitude more than flash and sex.  Lizzo joints like "Be Still" remind me of the days when I used to choose my friends based on whether or not they knew the lyrics to "Wrath Of My Madness," "Live On Stage," "Feelin' Kinda Horny," and "Cha Cha Cha."

I also love how "Be Still" reflects Lizzo's upbringing on gospel music. The song references one of my all time fave gospel songs. (Check my review here if you want to read more about the song and the circumstances that brought this rendition into being.) 

3) Beyoncé notebooks

OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! I've already ordered a complete set. Get yours here

4) The art of Norbert Bisky

These are the types of guys who I want to seduce with Frozen references.

5) Evian Christ's Waterfall EP

I've been raving about this guy ever since "Fuck It None Of Y'all Don't Rap," which will likely go down as one of my favorite tracks of the decade. Dude destroyed Lincoln Hall when he opened for Purity Ring, and he continued his winning streak by producing the nastiest--and therefore my favorite--cut on Yeezus. I was fanboy-ing like a motherfucker when I saw him at Pitchfork last year.

I love his whole approach to music, as he explained in a recent interview: “If you can shake up the status quo, that’s how new progressive forms of music come out. You can’t keep flogging the same thing forever. You need to shake things up to modernize.”

He's out with a new EP and it doesn't disappoint. It's music for gettin' bloody and feelin' alive. 


As you might know, I spent the latter part of last year in Miami and now I'm missing it like crazy. These are the joints I used to play while running around South Beach.

Oh, and check back Monday. I'm starting a new daily feature! 

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