A Few Great Things I've Read Lately

Haven’t done one of these in a minute, but it’s a rainy Saturday and I need a break from halfheartedly cleaning my apartment. So here we go. Some are longish, some are shortish. Some just are.

The Best Night $500,000 Can Buy: Devin Friedman, GQ, Sept. 2012

"When you see the entrance to Marquee at 11 P.M. on a Saturday, you know why the promoters call this process "bringing the shitshow." Massing out front were, by my estimation, at least 2,000 people. Packs of Asian bachelorettes sucking on cock-and-balls lollipops. Pods of probably either Libyan or Italian princes of the overclass in blazers and exposed solar plexuses and calfskin loafers and Adrian Grenier knit caps. Teams of 29-year-old white men in untucked dress shirts and heavy cuff links who stood stunned mute by the endless throng of women wearing almost identical vagina-length dresses that perpetually seemed on the verge of revealing at least, at least, a butt cheek—though by some invisible force above the hemline never, never ever did."

Places I’ve Lived: A Nanny’s Room, the Perfect Sublet, and a Place You Can Instagram: Meaghan O’Connell, The Billfold, Sept. 7, 2012

"The apartment was huge, beautiful, and, best of all, free. I had a big window and a view of the Williamsburg Bridge. Stephen Malkmus was rumored to live there. Some scenes from Eternal Sunshine were shot in our building. I was the Help. The help with a college degree, peroxide blonde hair, and a newly-cultivated addiction to Menthol Lights. I felt adrift and un-at-home, reading their Houellebecq books, and ruining my too-fragile psyche. I left the house whenever I could, and walked through the courtyard gate each time charged with possibility in my Forever 21 dress. I felt very lucky to be young, a strange and sad thing to be aware of and console yourself with, because I knew that while I was not where I wanted to be (like everyone I met, it seemed), I also knew I had time to figure it out. I could leave all of this behind one day, whenever I wanted (if I could only get up the guts to look them in the eye and tell them so)."

My Parents Adopted a Murderer: Amity Bitzel, xoJane, Sept. 6, 2012

"That isn’t to say, thought, that things weren’t weird. Because they definitely were. Like the time Neil Patrick Harris, old Doogie Howser himself, called our house to talk to Larry (character motivation, I guess). Or the fact that we all sat together as a family and watched that made for TV movie — I’m pretty sure the dictionary definition for meta-surreal is something like ‘Watch the scene where Doogie Howser, playing your adopted brother, brutally kills his parents on TV, as the real killer, your actual brother, eats popcorn in your living room.’"

The Rules of Freelancing: Ann Friedman, Columbia Journalism Review, Sept. 6, 2012

"I’m in the midst of my own freelance experiment. Admittedly, I started with the advantage of several years of experience as an editor, so I know a lot of the people to whom I’m pitching, and I know how editors think. I’ve made some freelance rules for myself: 1) Set up a few recurring gigs (like this column) to add structure to my week and my finances. 2) Send at least two additional pitches per week. 3) Meticulously track each assignment through six stages: pitched, assigned, published, promoted, invoiced, paid. The lag time between publication and payment is usually significant. So prepare to harass your employers to cut the check."

A Conversation With Whit Stillman About The Script of “Metropolitan”: Sharan Shetty, The Awl, August 22, 2012

"I couldn’t afford to do a film set in 1968 or 1969. We’d need period cars, costumes, all that. So I didn’t specify. I also think that isn’t very interesting; once you specify a time, once you say "this is 1969," you separate people from the story. So the idea was to suggest the past, but not say too much. People can come to their own conclusions about what period it is. And the reaction was great: there were some people who thought it was the 50s, others, the 60s, others who thought it was the 80s, when it was filmed. What helped the ambiguity on film is that most cars parked on Park Avenue, or on any street, are old cars. No one parks their new Jaguar out there."

Inside the Minor Leagues of Pro Wrestling: Katie Notopoulos, BuzzFeed, August 28, 2012

"Hardy is a “face” – a good guy character – and the face role in a match is always the same: get tossed around the ring until turning it around at the last minute for a win. Hardy, who has back and knee injuries, doesn’t perform any of his famous high-flying moves from back in the day. This match is certainly a huge step down from the packed stadiums he used to perform in, but he takes hits and rolls around theatrically on the mat, and when he pins Jay Lethal for the win, the crowd goes wild. Hardy rips off his T-shirt and tosses it to them as they cheer."

The Gangster Princess of Beverly Hills: Sabrina Rubin Erdeley, Rolling Stone, August 31, 2012

"Like her fictional hero Tony Montana, Lee maximized her power over those around her. She surrounded herself exclusively with obedient sidekicks and avoided situations where people weren’t prepped to be wowed by her presence, as when Cady once invited her to a party at actor Jeremy Renner’s house: "Does he know who I am?" Lee asked, declining. Cady soon found their relationship shifting from friendship to master and servant as Lee tightened her leash, especially after Cady acquired a boyfriend. Lee made her break plans at a moment’s notice, scrolled through Cady’s phone "just to see what you’ve been up to," and bought Cady a three-carat diamond ring, instructing her to display it on her engagement finger – a symbol of the girls’ emotional betrothal."

Blane and Andi, 25 Years Later: Jessica Pressler, Slate Book Review, Sept. 7, 2012

"Cue “Desperado” as McCarthy heads off a journey of self-discovery, one that involves much staring into the middle distance, licking of ancient filial wounds, charged but chaste interactions with women with “ample breasts,” and of course, pizza. Specifically: “Papa John’s quatro queso pizza at six-thirty in the morning.” Morning pizza! The taste of freedom! It’s a sensitive-yet-vulnerable man’s rumspringa interrupted only by the occasional pang of conscience."

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