INDIEchouette


VCU FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL
26 March, 2009, 927 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Go to it if you can!  I will be there all day every day!  Byrd Theatre on West Cary Street!

$12 per film!  It may be a hefty price, but it will be well worth it, I promise.

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HERE’S WHERE I HAD AN EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWN
3 September, 2008, 344 pm
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At the bus stop when I heard this girl speaking fluent French on her cell phone to another apparently fluent person.  Here’s how many other people I know who would be willing to have a French conversation with me on the phone because they speak some French:  Two (yes you, Divya, plus Erika).  Here’s the percentage regarding how many of us are fluent:  Zero.  I am so damn hungry for fluency.  I’m ravenous.  I’m a savage cannibal.  rrrrrrrrrrr.  That’s why I’m at college!  I need to take classes and become immersed in the language.  And I’m not doing what I need to because of scheduling conflicts.  How fucked up is that?

I just thought that there was a way for me to inch closer to fluency over the summer, and I’m not nearly there now.  And additionally, I feel that there are a lot of people who are more qualified than I am to become French majors.  I’m only going to be in 201 next semester (because, of course, they were all taken this semester and I am forced to wait)!  I’ve only taken three years of French and I feel like I should have taken seven.  Yeah, I skipped one year.  Big deal.  There are people who catch on after one year of basic high school French effortlessly, and I worked my ass off all three years.  I have no accent–first-years can have accents.  And I’m embarrassed to spout off French when people ask me to.  I had the opportunity to call someone a bastard the other day, but I didn’t because I was on the bus and I was afraid that other people would critique my shitty American accent.  I have zero confidence regarding my French speaking skills, but I am a strong writer in French, as well as a strong reader.  So this girl, yeah, I love French and I am jealous of her.  I’m fucking jealous of someone for being able to speak a language.

Oh, yeah.  And if you think knowing French gets you laid, it totally doesn’t.

I feel as though I should be an instant success story.  I’ve fallen in love with some French music, and I feel that if I listen to it frequently, I should be able to pick up the whole language.  Well, I know that’s not how it works.  I know that I’d have to listen to RFI too.  And do you know how hard it is to find French indie pop/rock?  Fucking impossible!  So I have to rely on Yelle, Serge Gainsbourg, Carla Bruni, Jane Birkin, France Gall, Françoise Hardy, Brigitte Bardot, The Arcade Fire, and Charlotte Gainsbourg.  Not complaining about them, but I want like…I don’t know.  The Arcade Fire in complete French instead of partial French.

I guess I’ve been questioning my worthiness, not my ability or motivation or anything like that.  I know that I want to be a French major, and that I am in love with the language and the culture of France and French-speaking regions.  I just feel so distant from it, and it feels unrealistic.  I’m afraid I’m declining and deteriorating as a French wannabe.  And I’m not authentic.  I think that’s what bugs me the most.  I wish I could just be French and leave it at that.



EYE CANDY
1 July, 2008, 1004 am
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I love this commercial.

I also love this one.

They just make me exceptionally happy.

Know what else makes me exceptionally happy?  Yelle.

Ce n’est pas seulement parce que la fille chante en français.  La voix a de la jeunesse comme la voix d’Erin Fein, mais plus légère.  Et j’aime l’accent de Yelle.  Alors, ma chanson favourite de Yelle est “Les Femmes.”  Elle est très fluide, et je veux écouter souvent ce chanson.

Les Femmes | Yelle
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Yelle’s Website
Yelle’s MySpace

One particular reason I enjoy listening to Yelle is that she’s got a cute voice, not a sexy one.  Just cute.  And if you look at her photos, she’s also cute but rarely sexy.  She’s stylish in the style of M.I.A. or Santogold, but it’s not necessarily an extremely feminine stylishness.  It’s just different.  And she doesn’t rely on sex appeal to get her anywhere, even if she is attractive and does have that option.  She’s also got quite a sense of humour, and if you watch any of her music videos, you’ll see loads of cameos.  For example, ever watch David Blaine Street Magic?  Know Zaoza?  Look close enough and you’ll see him in “Je Veux Te Voir.”



LE FABULEUX DESTIN D’AMELIE POULAIN
12 June, 2008, 1243 pm
Filed under: Barrels of Fun, Film, My Experience with Existence | Tags: , ,

Upon the opening of my eyes, Divya decided to pop in Amélie.  We watched it with English subtitles, and from the first lines, some things were lost in translation.

However, upon the ending of the movie, I was changed.  I must make art.  I must continue with my plans to give strangers anonymous love and encouragement.  Thus, I shall make my postcard(s) this weekend.  I shall go to Barnes & Noble today.  The thing that saddens me slightly is that perhaps someone will get my message and believe that I am a sappy creep (which is exactly what I am).  Or maybe no one will get my message.  It’s the anonymity that makes me happy, knowing that there’s a chance that I helped someone because many people do, in fact, believe in signs (even the skeptical, sometimes).  But in order to increase that chance, I need to spread out my hits and make each note of encouragement different and meaningful.

On the way home from Divya’s, I sang to myself in French, conversed with other drivers in French, and pretended that I was all-around French.  It felt good.



LE CULTURE DE FRANCE ET LE CULTURE D’INDIE

Got sick yesterday, recovered by laying around after school and watching Paris, Je t’aime.  Incroyable.  Indescribable.  I went into French class this morning all ready to use my nasal “r” sound, and then I remembered that it is just high school French and even my teacher does not have it in him.  And we are American.  Pennsylvanian at that.  We are allowed to use these German accents to speak German, but we cannot risk the embarrassment of sounding really, truly French.  How patriotic would that be, in conservative central Pennsylvania, where the French are pansy fags?  Mais j’aime le culture de France.  Even if no one else does.  Just like I love Rilo Kiley in all of its indie rock, folk-tinged glory, even if no one else does because it is too “country.”

This segment reminded me a ton of Garden State.

The overall feeling of the film was nostalgia.  Little stories about love.  I laughed, I cried, I thought about my own love, my own life.  Each part was delicate.  Just five minutes long.  But each had something in it for me.  It was like peeking into all of these different lives and just seeing that they’re all somehow alike, despite socioeconomic status, despite gender or marital status or exact situation.  Precise location.  And it’s because of love.  It made me sad that I mostly had to read subtitles because my savvy for listening comprehension does not extend far beyond the tapes in French class or my teacher and peers, aided with textual references and G-rated vocabulary.  But it makes me that much more motivated to start listening to RFI every day and to download more good French artists.  Maybe not more squeaky clean Lorie.  I know that there must be French indie.  I just don’t know where to find something cent pour cent French.  Because a lot of it (like the Arcade Fire or Charlotte Gainsbourg) is interspersed with English.

Anyway, tomorrow, I am going to New York City for the first time to see Young Frankenstein.  Although I am excited, I am also extremely nervous and intimidated and I really can’t see myself going there.  It’s a cruel city, but I imagine it is also beautiful.  But how do you not look like a tourist when you are enchanted?  I guess it’s not such a bad thing being a tourist; loads of people are tourists in New York City.  But I see it as bad.  I mean, I get so acquainted with the bands I listen to so that I am not a n00b.  So wouldn’t it make sense to do the same with cities I want to visit?

I am less nervous for going to DC on Friday with art.  I have been to DC a million times.  We talk about DC every day in AP Gov.  It’s just going to be another trip there.  I am comfortable with DC.  I mean, it’s halfway home.

I went downtown with Brent to Cherry Alley Café today.  Got a hot chocolate.  And while we were sitting around talking, the oh-so-cute “Anyone Else But You” came on the stereo system.  By now, you should know it by heart.  By the Moldy Peaches.  I mentioned that it is a shame: Everyone is now calling dibbs on all these grand indie bands like they own them, “I heard them first,” hoarding them, sticking them in their Facebook profiles.  Because they have one popular song that the masses like.  And it’s so fucking cute.  And it’s about ugly people loving each other.  How cute is that?

But before their exposure from Juno, no one had heard of the Moldy Peaches.  Nothing wrong with Juno.  I, for one, loved the film.  I could relate to the protagonist.  A sarcastic high schooler who keeps getting caught in romantic waters way over her head, kind of quirky or “off,” in love with her best male friend and unwilling to admit it for a long time.  Very into music.  Quite the fan of hoodies.  Guys at school are not interested, for the most part.  Then you could go into superficial things.  Drives mom’s minivan.  Lives in a small town.  Then you could get more superficial.  Short compared to everyone else.  Brown hair.  Whatever.

But the masses fell in love with Juno because she is not your typical teen protagonist.  That’s just it–she is different.  She fits into the indie subculture.  That stereotype.  And so all of these uneducated, normal teenagers go to the movies and they see Juno, and they see a part of themselves in her.  Just like whenever I go to the movies and walk out thinking that maybe a small part of me looks just like Keira Knightley because she is gorgeous and spunky.  But I look nothing like Keira Knightley.  Many of these kids are nothing like Juno.

So they jump on the bandwagon late, try to become weird by trying to fit in with people like you and me.  The really, truly, incurably weird ones.  The ones who are in love with music and don’t give a shit about looking like a character.  And am I looking for street cred?  No.  No, because I have always been like this.  Introverted, introspective, and “off.”  And no movie is ever going to make me look like a character.  I will always, always be like this.  It is a natural progression from who I was as a sophomore/junior.  Music took over my life.  My priority is not to look as credible as I can.  I have other things to worry about.  I love French, I love several bands wholeheartedly, and I love to write.

But here’s where it gets weird.  Here’s where my story disappoints.  The kids who will change in light of Juno and other movies promoting the indie stereotype, they do not see my peers and I as any cooler for being this way naturally.  They will not try to befriend us and talk to us about how awesome our hobbies and plain clothes are.  How they always secretly wished they were like this, wasting life, and how free it feels to look natural.  Normal.  Because I am pretty average-looking.  They will just try to change their friends to be like them.  So that our little underground thing goes public and then we just look like everyone else again.  And the only way to tell us apart?  Talk to us.  Their personalities won’t change.  They probably still won’t have interesting things to say.  Oh, and they still won’t be able to spell.

I think that hanging out with Brent brings out the cynic in me.  He is, after all, the one who pointed this out, that Juno really stereotyped the indie subculture and that kids just find it intriguing.

Well, music.  I guess we can give them those popular songs.  Make them feel like they can get something genuine out of life because that’s the only genuine thing they’ll ever get out of life.  And for those of you who will continue to stick with the subculture when the hype’s all over?  Good for you.  Because Juno really is a great movie, and if you stuck it out after you fell in love with it, then more power to you.

For some time, I’ve been lovin’ on Sam Beam.  You know, Iron & Wine.  I downloaded this song as per my cousin’s request and shoved it aside for a while, but I recently unearthed it and fell in love.  It’s like a long evening of driving towards the sunset.  I love the handclaps.  While Sam Beam’s eyebrows may only get one star (he has some, does he not?!), the song gets all five.

Boy With A Coin | Iron & Wine
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Iron & Wine’s MySpace

P.S.  I love that my blog has the 26th most popular song on the Hype Machine today, but I also hate it because it was such a fuck-up.  Give me a spot for something I actually deserve, goddamnit.  Whatever, though.  Again, Charlatantric deserves your hits.  Go to his blog and discover truly underrated music.



YOU MAY THINK THAT I AM CRAZY FOR THIS
12 April, 2008, 531 pm
Filed under: Music, Nouvelle Musique, School | Tags: , ,

I don’t know how many of you readers are francophiles, but if you are, then I have something très super to show you.

A few months ago in French, my teacher announced that we would be doing a musical project in light of Valentine’s Day. He handed out a webquest and a packet of lyrics and assigned us each a song to translate.

I did the webquest on the day it was due. It was on this French singer named Laure Pester, and I thought it was funny that he was asking us to learn her life story. Allegedly a former figure skater. Née le 2 mai, 1982. Dating some pop singer. So when we got to class, some kids translated some of her songs aloud and we watched maybe two music videos. And I thought it was extremely lame that we were learning about a pop singer and then listening to her songs. Plus, she was squeaky clean. I would rather learn about Yelle or Julia Shammas Holter.

Well, that was all before I heard “Sur Un Air Latino.” It’s such a catchy song, holy shit. The lyrics rhyme and would probably be very cliché to any French person who is not a ten-year-old girl, but I am not française, so it makes me want to sing along. And I would want to dance, but I cannot dance like Lorie.

Another highlight of our Lorie learning experience was “Ensorcelée.” That was actually the song I had to translate. “Bewitched.” I thought the lyrics were so stupid, and then I looked at the video and it was so cheesy–I mean, you had native creeps with bulging eyes who all had to be notably less attractive than the blonde, graceful Lorie. But the song was just as catchy as “Sur Un Air Latino” was, if not a bit more serious. Instrumentation’s not even bad for pop music.

And then my teacher let us watch some of Lorie’s songs in concert. So he showed us this cute Medley and then he let us watch this song called “Parti Pour Zouker,” warning us that it was designed like “Sur Un Air Latino.” I hated her hair in the clip, but this song was arguably the most catchy. It stuck in my head all day every time I heard it (which was often).

So in honour of Lorie’s catchiness, here’s a rather low-quality version of “Parti Pour Zouker.” You’ll get the idea, though. It’s a good song. I would never put it on a mixtape, never give it to a boy, but I get a kick out of it for myself.

Parti Pour Zouker | Lorie
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Lorie’s MySpace

Lorie, though, has changed her image a bit since the tracks on her Greatest Hits album. She’s a little more sexual, a little less American (in several of her early videos, you see subtle allusions to America, such as red, white, and blue outfits, flags on her tee shirts, and American English sayings on her clothes). She has tapped into her inner Frenchwoman, which should not have been hard, considering that she is French.

I enjoy “PLAY” because it sounds less pop than some of her other songs. I have not attempted to translate it, but it makes up for what “Je Vais Vite” lacks (uniform instrumentation–the lack thereof makes it feel very late-70s/early-80s). It’s sexy and modern, and you could certainly dance to it. The video demonstrates this quite well. Lorie is like a blonde Posh Spice now–she’s all grown up. She still manages to look young, though, which is something Posh Spice could never pull off–maybe because of her dark features.

PLAY | Lorie
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Anyway, why am I writing about Lorie? I am fairly anti-industry, pro-indie. But I enjoy her music regardless of the fact that it is pop because it is in French. Additionally, I think that people could do wonders remixing the better ones–such as the ones I’ve written about. But I can’t remix shit. There are some remixes on her MySpace, by the by, but I think other people could do better. You know, get more creative.



TRISTE

Almost every art class, I listen to the music of my peers.  Sometimes, I feel like forcing my music on them, “Here, listen to this enlightenment,” but I am scared.  When I do work up the courage to plug in my iPod, I become very defensive and shaky.  Once in a while, I will get a complaint to switch the song, but for the most part, everyone is quiet and I’m on edge.  Although I love to listen to “The Henney Buggy Band” by Sufjan Stevens while I am painting my projects, I do not enjoy wasting energy defending my favourite artists.  People do not understand me or my music.  Sharing my iPod is not a particularly pleasant experience.

benefits-of-headphones.jpg

Although I normally prefer my own music (and by that, I mean my favourite music), sometimes, another student will play some music that I can enjoy without shaking.  For example, one compadre (I like that word but I don’t know what it means but it seems appropriate) played the Arcade Fire once, and I was almost dancing in my pants all day.  My leg was twitching, kind of.  Another time, I swear someone was playing Johnny Cash.  I am not a huge Cash fan, but I can appreciate.  I smiled all class.  And then today, something interesting happened.  One of my fellow estudiantes played some intriguing music that I had never heard until that moment.  And it sounded very indie.  The voice sounded familiar, even if the songs did not.  In fact, upon thinking about it, the voice made me think of the Flaming Lips.  I bet it was the Flaming Lips, since I am not an all-too avid listener.  Anyway, I wanted to stand up and shout, “WHOSE IPOD IS PLAYING?!”  It would have scared the owner quite badly, since the two-dimensional tasteless boys at the table next to mine were yelling for a song change every five minutes.  And this art class is Design in 3-D.  Step it up, boys.  Anyhow, if the owner of the iPod had revealed himself (most likely a boy, since that class is swarming with them), I would have most definitely commended him on his superior music taste and then inquired as to the artist of the songs playing through the speakers over our heads.

But I didn’t.

Here is one thing I have learned from listening to other people’s iPods during art.  I listen to many, many female artists and I am not ashamed.  My peers may be incredibly open-minded enough to listen to many different races (including and probably limited to: Whites, Blacks, Latinos or whatever is politically correct), but they are the most narrow-minded when it comes to gender diversity in music.  At least as far as singers go.  Thus, whenever I make a new playlist that I could potentially play in art, I include many female voices to make up for those that other people exclude.

By the way, I hate it when people say “close-minded” to describe someone who is not open-minded.  The antonym of open-minded.  It sounds like you are saying “clothes-minded.”  You sound like a fool.  It’s “narrow-minded.”   Picture the mind as a stream.  It can’t really be closed.  It can just be constricted to let fewer ideas through.

The reason I am typing without contractions for the most part, in this voice with all my thoughts instead of in some funny voice to amuse you is because I am sad.  I tend to do that when I am sad.  And I am going to tell you why I’m sad because today, I was re-reading “The Shared Patio” by Miranda July today, from No one belongs here more than you, and this one tidbit really stood out.  It says:

If you are sad, ask yourself why you are sad.  Then pick up the phone and call someone and tell him or her the answer to the question.  If you don’t know anyone, call the operator and tell him or her.  Most people don’t know that the operator has to listen, it’s a law.

I have been the most monotonous person today, but I felt completely normal.  Other people, though, picked up on my deficiency of happiness and asked me what was wrong, and it wasn’t until I stopped to think if there was something wrong that I realized that I was sad.   I am almost always happy, no matter how silent I am.  But it made me even more sad that other people noticed, and not even me.

Well, I would call someone, but it is his sister’s birthday, so it would be a really short phone call and it would probably make him upset to know that I am sad.  So instead, I will say everything here.

The greatest reason for my sadness is that I miss Derek.  And I think that is quite natural.  He visited me this weekend, and I can’t think about it.  I never felt safer than when I fell asleep with my head on his chest while trying to watch SpongeBob.  And Travis was sitting there, too.  It makes me want to watch SpongeBob again, but I know that if I do watch it again, it will just disappoint me there because I won’t feel that comfort of Derek right there and Travis there, also.  I also felt safe in the car ride taking Derek back to the halfway point, when I fell asleep with my head on his leg and he was playing with my hair.  I wished I could have taken care of him as well as he took care of me.  And I kind of wish I always had someone to take care of me, to have my back all the time and play with my hair.

I feel like this numb, asexual being for the most part, about as attractive, unique, or interesting as a plain white wall.  Even the boys I date do not seem to be particularly attached or attracted to me, no matter how adamant I am about them.  It’s just those two or three days out of the occasional month that I regain the capacity to be loved, that I am loveable and adorable and beautiful, that anyone could see me as anything but wry and dry and plain.  It’s like I lose my ovaries for the better part of each month.  Even when I talk to Derek on the phone, I wonder why he would want to talk to me.  I have so little to say, but I guess we tend to express things less in words.  I had the hardest time this weekend telling him that I didn’t want him to leave, just because it felt so selfish when I ran it through my mind.

So I did not tell him.

Then when we were on the phone after he arrived back at his humble abode, he sounded so happy.  I get like that, too, though, when I get home.  It’s relief from homesickness and a return to normality–never at the fact that I was apart from him.  But it always seemed like he took my departure harder than I did, like a burden on the soul, but now I realize it must be the sensation of being left behind.  I tried to explain this to him, but I guess I couldn’t do it in words, so I gave up.  And I do not think I could convey how upset I was because I didn’t cry or anything.

This sadness leads to another one.  I feel like I am destroying the lives of young boys all over America.  Normally, when I date someone, I take time to get to know them and then I find that they are as distant and unattached as I am.  And that’s that.  They have a special place in my brain, depending, I guess, on how I treated them.  And Phelan has a special place in my heart as a friend, as does Brent.  But I feel like when I end it with a boy, it’s more of me being reckless, but I have never dated and dumped anyone who really needed me.  I have just dated and lost many people who I need.  And the one I was most reckless about was the one I needed the most.

But I suppose I feel guilty.  Because while most males fail to see how I treat them like shit, or do not reflect the ugly face I make at them, I am fairly certain that Brent had the clarity to realize that I was not acting as I should have, even when I did not realize it myself.  And if it wasn’t for him, I probably would have continued my serial dating spree with truly pathetic souls.  But Brent is not pathetic.  And I think that he instinctively played the game I was playing all along, and it sort of slapped me in the face and it made me realize, toward the end, what I was doing.  I was being a bitch.  And just because I had not gotten my period in two months did not grant me any extra-special right to be a bitch to everyone around me.  This last part of the realization came right after I got my period for the first time in two months.  All I can really do is beg for forgiveness, but now that I have been reunited with the capacity to shed the lining of my uterus, I cannot help but cringe at myself for being such a dumbass and want to make it up to him.  I am well aware that another shot at dating would not be fair, advisable, or nice.  Fair, because of the advantage Derek already holds over me.  Advisable, because I am a recovering serial dater.  Nice, because I have found that I take advantage of those who leave their hearts vulnerable for my scrutiny.  But perhaps a batch of cookies will patch things up.  At least I have found a true voice of reason through all of this.  We may have different opinions on authority, and I may have been saddened by the discouragement and negativity I faced while under his care, but I am certain that if I ever find myself in need, I can go to Brent for a good old consolation party.  Or just a hearty conversation in general.

And I guess that only leaves me one thing to be sad about.  This last thing is the simple fact that I will not be around to see my boys grow up.  And I mean Travis, Charles, Coleton, Torey, and Phelan.  They are freshmen.  I have almost known them for a year.  But I have to leave them soon, and I do not want them to forget me.  Because I will never stop waving at them in the hallways.

The Darjeeling Limited

Well, there is only one song I can give you today, but I can give you a bit of a story on it.  This Saturday, Derek and I watched The Darjeeling Limited around lunchtime.  The movie is about three estranged brothers who make a cross-country train trip in India in an attempt to reconnect.  It is a Wes Anderson film.  I love Wes Anderson films because they are timeless.

Hotel Chevalier

The movie is prefaced by Hotel Chevalier.  It is a short film labelled as “Part I” of The Darjeeling Limited.  And Jason Schwartzman from Phantom Planet plays our protagonist, Jack.  You do not learn his name until you watch The Darjeeling Limited.  Well, he is waiting for a woman in a Parisian hotel.  The woman is his ex-girlfriend, played by a bruised Natalie Portman.  And when she arrives at his hotel room door, he plays this ridiculous French-sounding song.  They act formal.  She snoops around.  Food arrives.  And then they have sex.

I could relate best to Jack.  The music, the height, the French.  Travelling.  Never settling down.  But I am terrified of commitment, and it seems that Jack is, too.  He has his one mainstay woman, the one he keeps going back to, the one with the most rickety relationship.  And he has all these other women he wants and eventually gets.  But the only one he loves is that mainstay woman, that Natalie Portman.  And those other women do not love him, either, so they leave him.  He just has them as a temporary drink of freedom, I suppose, and then he misses her and it shows.

Well, here is the song.

Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) | Peter Sarstedt

After I obtained this song, I added it to my iPod and I wedged my new earphones into my ears and I laid on my bed and I pulled the covers over my head and listened to this song loudly and I just cried.  But I love this song.

I’m sorry for being sad today.  Later this week, I will bring you happiness.  I promise, also, that I feel better after writing this down.