These are the things that I know about American Horror Show [Ed: Shea, it’s American Horror STORY], which I am supposed to write 1,600 words about right now. I know that:
a) It is a TV show that comes on TV.
b) It is a scary show, though it might be more accurate to describe it as a weird show or a creepy show.
c) It is not the same show as The Walking Dead (I suspect if you are a fan of one then you either like them both or you absolutely hate the other one).
d) People won’t shut the fuck up about it.
Beyond that, I am completely unaware. I don’t know what the plot of the show is (again, I think that the creeping out is central). I don’t know one single person that has a role on the show (there is this man that lives down the street from me that has a very large upper body and extremely skinny legs—he’s hella creepy, so it’d be pretty neat if he was on there). I don’t know what season it’s in and I guess I don’t even know the names of any of the characters.
So what I did then (per my editor, mind you) is just sit on Twitter while the show was on Sunday evening and peruse the #AmericanHorrorStory hashtag and try to figure out what was going on as it was happening.
1. The neighbor died.
I don’t know who he’s the neighbor to or what his role on the show was beyond “neighbor,” I just know that he is no longer for this world. I think that I might not be alone in my naivety here though: The only thing people seemed to be saying about him was that he was handsome. I hope that when I die that’s all people say about me. I don’t figure that’ll be the case. I figure my family will say something like, “He was an okay dad and an okay husband and he never got very obese, so that’s good” and I figure that people on the Internet will say something like, “Shea’s dead? Shea? Oh right! That’s the guy that was always making boner jokes, right? RIP Boner Jokes.” Just like they say about Martin Luther King, Jr.
For having been awake all of 20 minutes, Lou Doillon looks damn good.
We’ve met for lunch at La Bottega, an Italian café in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Her “just got out of bed” hair—fringed bangs and tousled locks—and “just thrown together” outfit—white shirt over black skinny jeans, paired with a blue sweater and black coat—are effortlessly chic.
While most of us would still be groggy and wiping sleep from our eyes, the 31-year-old Doillon’s stylishness is not that surprising—her birthright is such. After all, Doillon’s half-sister is actress/singer Charlotte Gainsbourg, and her mother, of course, is ’60s/’70s It girl, Jane Birkin, who, back in the day, was a model, actress, singer and muse to many (most notably, Charlotte’s father, Serge Gainsbourg).
As Doillon sips on a large cup of coffee and ponders what to order for lunch, I can’t help but notice that she’s the spitting image of her mother. “We’ve got the same smile,” she points out. “We’ve got a smile that eats up the rest of the face.” She flashes one, and it’s true. Seriously—it’s almost as if I’ve traveled back in time and found myself at lunch with a young Birkin. And like mother like daughter: Doillon, too, is a model, actress and singer, and an It girl in her own right. Naturally, it’s impossible not to compare the two.
For a certain generation of rap fans and rap fiends, it’s impossible to oversell Wu-Tang Clan’s debut.
With its collection of dense rhymes, coded New York slang and the dustiest beats this side of a cluttered Canal Street basement, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), released by Loud on Nov. 9, 1993, announced the arrival of a crew deep with talented and charismatic MCs both in touch with the streets and fixated on floating far above (and burrowing far below) them at the same time. It was an album steeped in mythology, pulling from the beliefs of the Five Percenters, the worlds of Kung fu and comic books and the crew’s own origin story, and with the rugged and rollicking flavor of the best controlled chaos. Repeated listening always revealed new gems—flourishes lurking in the background, acronyms and references (obscure, and at times ridiculous) stitched into seams—and fans quickly became fanatics. Being fluent in the Wu became its own reward.
For hip-hop, the album’s impact was nothing short of a full-scale home invasion, as Wu-Tang helped wrestle the nation’s attention back to New York post-The Chronic, gave Loud Records a spine (on which it would build for years) and, thanks to shrewd deal structure, completely disrupted the concept of the standard rap record deal. An incredible run of four to five certified classic Wu albums would follow (depending on how you feel about Method Man’s Tical), as would so many Wu-affiliated businesses—from clothing, to 1–900 numbers, to skateboards, to other rap crews (Killarmy, Killa Bees, etc.)—not to mention the canonization of the crew mastermind and in-house producer, RZA. No other rap crew ever—before or since—has ever branded itself as well as the Wu. And it all started here.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this groundbreaking debut, we asked 12 writers to use the classic album’s song titles as inspiration for works of short fiction. It’s a collection that’s as varied as the styles of the members of the Wu, and it’s packed with darts. Enjoy.
A crucial part of being a Sad Girl is having the ultimate Sad Girl playlist. So this week, we had frontwoman Molly Hamilton from Brooklyn indie band Widowspeak tell us about her top 10 favorite sad songs. The collection ranges from Cat Power, a fellow Sad Girl singer, to The Microphones, a band that always pulls at the pit of her stomach. Her playlist is the perfect wallowing-on-gray-day soundtrack. Also a perfect soundtrack for such a day is the latest EP from Widowspeak,The Swamps, which is out now on Captured Tracks. It’s a six-song collection of wistful and melancholic bliss—the dreamiest swamp to swim in.
DAY ONE (WEDNESDAY, OCT. 30)
Hours of sleep: minimal
I’ve come all the way from Chicago, Ill., to Reykjavík to attend the Iceland Airwaves music festival; it’s my seventh year attending the fest and my ninth time in the country. You may be thinking I have a thing for Iceland, and you’d be correct in that assumption. What makes my obsession perhaps more surprising is that I am averse to cold weather and while Iceland’s temperatures aren’t the coldest this time of year, it’s still ranging in the 30s (upper in the day, lower at night), and with a biting wind, it wouldn’t seem the kind of place someone like me might fall in love with. But I am enamored and that only continues to grow.
I’ve been to a lot of festivals and while each of them has its own charms, Airwaves is in its own category. Nestled in Iceland’s capital city at the top of the world, they boast an eclectic lineup that draws international acts (this year,Kraftwerk, Savages and Yo La Tengo are among them) along with up-and-coming artists (Vök, Grísalappalísa) and established Icelandic artists (Ólafur Arnalds, Emiliani Torrini, Múm). It’s a true chance to discover new acts, not the ones buzzing on every blog, but some that the majority of the world has not yet heard. That element of surprise and wonder is something that music fans don’t get to experience at most festivals where the acts are likely already established.
@empressoff has a gorgeous new track up. Here’s a photo I took of her the other day on the rooftop.