I couldn’t have picked a better time to watch LA 92, the 2017 documentary about the 1992 Los Angeles riots. I first watched it in July of 2020, as the U.S. was in the middle of being shaken by a summer-long rebellion against police violence after the murder of George Floyd. LA 92 was directed … Continue reading LA 92 triggered all my memories of witnessing a historic uprising
I saw Courtney Barnett at the Enmore Theatre here in Sydney at the end of last month. She was magnificent, even more than I was expecting. As I sit and type this a couple of weeks later, I’m thinking it’s one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. It was my first time seeing … Continue reading The catharsis and redemption of Courtney Barnett live
This is late, embarrassingly late. I made a draft list in January, but held off writing it up because I wanted to listen to a few more things and make some final decisions. Then for a bunch of reasons I couldn’t get around to it. My energy was consumed by my essays about Don’t Look … Continue reading A belated list of the best albums of 2021
Firenadoes, koala denialism and hanging loose: Australia’s apocalyptic bushfires prove Don’t Look Up isn’t exaggerating
This is intended as a companion piece to my recent essay about Don’t Look Up. It was originally meant to be a section of that essay, made up of no more than a few paragraphs, but as I wrote, it kept expanding. Eventually I realized I had so much to say about the bushfires here … Continue reading Firenadoes, koala denialism and hanging loose: Australia’s apocalyptic bushfires prove Don’t Look Up isn’t exaggerating
I went into Don’t Look Up, the new political satire on Netflix directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice), expecting it to be heavy-handed. That was the verdict of many film critics and others I follow: that its dystopian spoof of climate politics is well-meaning but as subtle as sledgehammer. I was hoping to … Continue reading The power of Don’t Look Up is in the details
This essay is adapted from a presentation I gave at our Classic Album Sundays Sydney listening party celebrating Tame Impala’s Currents earlier this month. I’ve included a playlist, embedded below. There’s a paradox at the heart of the massive appeal of Tame Impala’s third album: it’s without a doubt a pop album, a conscious effort … Continue reading Tame Impala’s Currents: A contemporary classic of epic, obsessive psychedelic pop
Bright Lights, the new album by Susanna Hoffs, and her first in nine years, is an unexpected treat for me. Its release — on Hoffs’ own label, Baroque Folk — was only announced a few weeks ago. From what I can gather from interviews and from Hoffs’ social media, she experienced some frustration in getting … Continue reading Bright Lights by Susanna Hoffs: A collection of warm, intimate, impeccably chosen covers
Comic books are disposable entertainment by definition. They started out as stories for kids printed on cheap pulp, serialized in weekly, easy-to-digest installments. A century later, the paper stock might be nicer, the budgets for creative talent higher, and the storytelling far more sophisticated, but this disposability remains inherent to the medium. This is not … Continue reading Marvel’s What If…?: Disposable by design, intermittently powerful, ultimately frustrating
Earlier this week, Emma Watkins unexpectedly announced she is leaving the Wiggles after nine years in the yellow skivvy (and 12 years in total as a performer with the group). The revelation, which came via Emma’s Instagram page, was quite a bombshell on the part of the hugely talented, multidisciplinary performer and TV personality, who … Continue reading Hats off to the legend that is Emma Watkins, as she leaves the Wiggles
For the last decade and then some, The Octonauts has been one of the best shows on TV for young kids. There are a bunch of reasons for this: gorgeous animation, strong writing, endearing and memorable characters, and an educational mission that feels genuine and not smarmy. But the thing that always sticks out for … Continue reading Octonauts: Above & Beyond is teaching young kids about the climate emergency
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