1. Low-budget horror movies. After a slew of bad zombie movies that looked as if they'd been filmed in a film student's backyard (including one that featured Ron Jeremy), I've actually come upon some rather good horror the last week or so. The Plague, which is sort of a zombie movie, but not quite (think zombies meet Village of the Damned), was surprisingly good considering it was a straight to dvd offering. It's somehow affiliated with Clive Barker, which might explain it. Tuesday night I watched Dead Silence and Population / 436. The first, given my ordinary heebie jeebies when it comes to ventriloquists dummies, was already scary in it's premise, but excellent in its execution, (decent script, acting, visuals) and sadly unlike a lot of horror films I watched, managed to nail its ending dead-on. This I watched with my hands ready to cover my eyes through a good deal of the movie, and I'm pretty jaded about these sort of things. The second, after the first, was a little bit anti-climactic, but reminded me of a better version of The Wicker Man and/or The Village. Last night's offering was Venom, again zombies, but this time voodoo zombies.
2. I just ordered a copy of Eireann Lorsung's Music for Landing Planes By, but I saw a sampling from this book on Verse Daily a couple days ago and can't wait to get my hot little hands on it. Not only do the poems look wonderful and it has one of the most beautiful covers I've seen, but the author has a blog and a rather scrumptious etsy shop. Oh my, the skirts.
3. How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine Ever. Got this in the mail a couple days ago. I admit I came to Sassy sort of late in the game, not really until late 1991 when the magazine had been around for a couple years already. When I worked on the highschool paper, there were three of us in the editorial pages staff and we like to model our style and content on Sassy's, lots of ripping on banal teen culture, editorial self-referencing, pseudo-intellectual posturing, but occasional serious stuff..(I had a tendency to write overzealous environmental pieces, another girl first amendement exposes.) It was all terrible, glorious fun. Occasionally we got into trouble for something or other we'd written, but the English department was great about backing us up.
This book sort of posits Sassy as the anti-Seventeen, but actually I read both in tandem at least as far in as my first year of college. (I used to eagerly await and then drool over the thicker back to school issue of the latter every August..) Of course I also secretly watched "90210" (and subsequently "Melrose Place") religiously--very uncool. I would say, however, that the Sassy aesthetic, the culture it espoused was pretty influential on the sort of music I started listening to, the clothes I started wearing, other random bits of culture that informed my life, especially that last year of highschool and first couple of years of college. My sister, four years younger than me, was probably influenced moreso. This was the early nineties, pre-internet and the culture available was pretty much mall and pop song driven, especially if you were in the midwest, which always seems to be at least two years behind the rest of the country. I was also one of those kids tragically without cable most of my teen years, no MTV (probably why one of my guilty pleasures these days is watching old videos on YouTube.) I went through a bad hair-band phase at about 15, but then sort of flailed until more indie music started infiltrating mainstream culture, which hits it's peak with the grunge thing. You know what was out there beyond what was on the radio station, you had to know what to look for, and Sassy was excellent for providing an alternate version of teen life that wasn't so much focused on boys and clothes as Seventeen
But then really, who are we kidding, it was sort of still all about boys and clothes. We are talking teenagers after all. Just with Sassy cool scruffy musician boys and vintage-inspired clothes, but alongside more serious topics regarding feminism and sexuality. I think it was the first place I encountered women who weren't afraid to label themselves the F word. Weren't afraid to be smart and interested in things beyond, or at least in addition to boys and clothes.