Wednesday, December 8, 2010

speaking of this motherfucker

BRAINBOMBED




I might just be stoned, but I swear to god that the "shuffle" on my iPod knows how fucking stoned I am right now. If i wasn't bombed and about to eat some pad thai (!) that i just made myself (!!), i probably would have skipped right past that Erkin Koray shit with a shrug and a yawn. As it stands right now i'm about to go into a goddamn conniption fit over how fucking SICK this song is. Approximately 1.5 weeks away from that International Studies degree that is going to open up mad doors and get me so much pu$$y [ed. note: sudden explosion of the tightest ever DREAM song right when i typed those dollar signs into "pussy" thanks to my main man iPod], and all i can think to do with myself is get bent, cook dank food and start typing on this neglected-ass blog. i have no idea what to do after college because i got this real world shit down like frowns. the thing is, i still suck at school, and i should really be working on at least 1 of 3 final papers. so i probably won't be able to update this shit with even a semi-serious level of dedication until like next wednesday, but i just wanted to say what's up.
your boy about to be on some unrelenting "movie-per-day" project shit.

*photo by Sergey Maximishin, total beast.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

DUMB HOT


Pusher (1996)
dir: Nicolas Winding Refn

It's been a disheartening cinematic week for me. I regrettably kicked things off the other morning by having my nose rubbed in someone else's poop by Michael Haneke's The Seventh Continent (1989), a film I've seen 3 times now. Directed by a guy who I might kind of hate but have an unreasonable amount of artistic respect for, I'm still having difficulty getting behind that one. Peep it yourself and I'm sure you'll understand the basis for my disavowal. Just make sure you're in a fairly positive emotional place. One that you don't mind being rudely commanded to leave by a manipulative Austrian asshole cinematic scientist. And then just yesterday I had a big French fart laid directly in my face by Alain Resnais's obnoxiously quirky and pointlessly confounding Wild Grass (2009). There wasn't a single frame throughout that entire film where I almost forgot that I was watching A FRENCH FILM directed by A FRENCH DUDE who was "masterfully playing with the art form." For the record, fuck "playing." Especially when it's just one old dude in a sandbox pissing all over his own plastic shovels and laughing to himself while everybody else just stands around and scratches their heads like whhhaaaaaaa. So thank fuck for Nicolas Winding Refn, an unstoppable Danish juggernaut of a director, who single-handedly saved my week with this balls-out portrait of one mid-level drug dealer and fulltime fuck-up in a perpetually dreary Copenhagen. Refn is a bit of a beast, as should be obvious to anyone whose seen this year's borderline-surrealist biopic Bronson or gloriously violent parable Valhalla Rising. The Pusher trilogy, and this first entry in particular, are how the dude initially made a name for himself. Refn made this film on a baby budget just after being denied entry into Danish film school, using only handheld cameras and an odd mix of professional actors, amateur friends and genuine street people. The result is an extremely naturalistic portrait of one man's struggle with his own steamrolling incompetence, a surprising feat of sympathetic character study that has you feeling genuinely bad for this guy despite the fact that he's kind of a piece of shit, not unlike Kim Ki-duk's mad underrated Bad Guy (2002), but with less blatant misogyny and much more thinly-veiled homoeroticism. This is no-holds-barred filmmaking in the most blunt and thus cliched sense of the phrase, but there is the undeniable presence throughout the proceedings of a young and passionate creative mind that is in complete control of the chaos that we witness unfolding. And the dude uses music in his films with the exact amount of aesthetic precision and ostensibly random genius that you hope you would use it in your films, if you made films. Nothing washes the mental palette clean of joyless scolding or pretentious poppycock quite like a well-done and undeniably unique gangster flick. Peep this one, then peep the sequels.
In other news, my final semester of school meanders on and the weather is gradually shifting into some chilly-ass bullshit. So hook yourself up with some Salem on your ipod and maybe that new reissue of the Chromatics' "Night Drive," spread some shrooms on a peanut butter sandwich and prepare yourself for a 3 month rainstorm.... of the mind.

Friday, September 17, 2010

NUN OF MY BUSINESS



Flavia the Heretic (1974)
dir: Gianfranco Mingozzi

Haha. I'm still chuckling from just typing that name. Italy, LOL. This was a pretty perfect movie for me to watch right now, as its very existence and the experience of viewing it sort of mirrors the late-20's end-of-college personality crisis in which I seem to be currently stuck. I'm about to hammer the final proverbial nail into the shitty proverbial coffin that is the "college experience," albeit my own has been very different from that of most young Americans because I'm kind of old and I hate pretty much all young Americans, but nonetheless I find myself in a rut that is very common, I'm sure, to what most of them go through at this exact moment in their educational timeline. I'm sort of like "fuck school" right now (senioritis) but I'm also kind of "fuck everything else, too" (angeritis). For the past few years I've dedicated the majority of my time and sanity to the historical and analytical study of international cinema, with the occasional segue into the realms of that ubiquitous language of beggars and thieves (jk) Espanol and the surprisingly inclusive fart-cloud that is known as "Religious Studies." Here enters Flavia, itself an obvious example of said international cinema that, unlike the majority of its nunsploitation brethren, actually offers up some analysis of its own both in regards to the art form of cinema and the perpetual dialogue between all of man's religions. Far from just another titillating exercise in religious-inspired sexual depravity, this film actually has a lot of interesting things going on in it that don't revolve around the supple flesh of long-repressed (read: horny) nuns or the erotic torture they receive at the hands of other totally hot naked nuns. In fact, there isn't much here in terms of thoughtless titillation. I dare even say that as a nunsploitation title it sorely disappoints. What we do have is a borderline successful observation on the interplay of multiple religions (primarily Catholicism and Islam) in the historical context of female repression, mostly successful because of the fantastic performance by Florinda Bolkan, who you may (should) remember from Lucio Fulci's unheralded and best film, Don't Torture a Duckling. It certainly never reaches the point of a reasonably well-researched term paper on the topic, but it does at least inject its dreary proceedings with some degree of genuine insight. Of course, I barely remember a fucking second of it. For all of the film's best efforts to engage me in a compelling discourse on these topics the only thing I really remember is some woman having her nipple sliced off and some other lady crawling nude into the hollowed out chest cavity of a dead cow (see above, holy shit). And therein lies the problem: I don't give a shit. About film analysis. About religious study. Even about Spanish (it's hard). Here I am about to graduate with what is supposedly a successful education in three different areas and I barely remember shit about what I was taught, nor do I really care all that much. I certainly have no idea what I plan to do with any of it. Teach other people a bunch of shit about the German New-Wave that doesn't really matter all that much in the grand scheme of the universe? Mediate arguments between interfaith couples? Hang out in El Salvador? I don't know anything about El Salvador! I don't know anything about myself! Was school just a huge waste of time and money, just like I decided it was when I was 21 years old and dropped out the first time? I seriously hope not. But in the meantime I will continue to enjoy movies like Piranha 3-D despite the best efforts of my film professor to turn me into a snobby, joyless connoisseur. I just had to look up how to spell that word. I might be dumb. And I think I'm pretty alright with that. This December I will end up with a BA in International Studies, but my brain has had a PhD in Weird for as long as I can remember. We'll see which one I use more.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

YOU CAN USE PEACE DOGG BUT I USE VIOLENCE

I apologize for the lack of updates, but it's been a rough week for ya boy. On Monday my weirdo parents were in a pretty bad motorcycle accident when a deer straight up just jumped right into them. My mom is remarkably UNSCARRED (queue the mental image of Phil Anselmo's stomach tat with that imaginative experiment in spelling), but my dad is fairly thrashed. He's doing alright considering that it was a motorcycle accident and dude is in his 60's, but he'll probably be posted up in ICU for at least another week while his NINE BROKEN RIBS (queue the mental image of Phil Anselmo's anguished facial expressions during any given Pantera video) and the bruise on his brain heal. So I've been spending a lot of time at Roanoke Memorial Hospital this week, hanging out with my family and reminding my drugged-up father that he's in a hospital, not a prison. Other than that I've been sweating buckets over VCU's nonsensical graduation application process, smoking too much weed and watching shitloads of films that I haven't gotten around to writing about. So in the grand spirit of remembrance that surely permeated every red-blooded American's thoughts throughout all of yesterday, here is a short review (imma be late for work) of the most enjoyable and shamelessly violent movie I checked out this week.

Machete (2010)
dir: Robert Rodriguez

Famously based on its own fake trailer, Robert Rodriquez finally got around to fleshing out this pulpy homage to "classic" grindhouse cinema by giving Danny Trejo all of maybe 13 lines, throwing together an admittedly fantastic and perfectly cheesy story about the intertwining worlds of Mexican druglords who inexplicably carry around Samurai swords and are Steven Seagal, racist U.S. politicians and the current hot-button issue of illegal immigration, somewhere along the line also convincing Lindsay Lohan to kind of show her boobs. The result is actually a lot better than I expected, injecting the genre with a much-needed dose of self-aware parody and casual humor that doesn't ever go too far or distract too much from the seemingly nonstop array of decapitations, naked breasts and shocking visual moments where you realize that Trejo is like four fucking feet tall! Extra points for Jessica Alba kind of being naked and also being surprisingly good at this kind of thing. Between this and The Killer Inside Me, she might be growing on me as opposed to simply making my pants grow (sorry).

I also checked out:

Crank: High Voltage - very effective in terms of what it promised and what I rightfully expected. Don't cheat yourself by pretending you're a high-brow pussy; this movie is absolutely worth a rental. Fun and vulgar with a genuinely good sense of humor about both itself and all of the racial/sexual/etc. stereotypes that make life worth living.

The Marriage of Maria Braun - sneakily subversive period drama from Fassbinder. I'd go into boring academic detail but that's what school is for. If you're a fan of Fassbinder then you've already seen it, and if you've always been curious about him but kind of terrified by his coke-fueled madness and brain-rapes like The Third Generation, then this is a great place to start. Accessible but intelligent, like the world's finest women (huh?).

Frantic - just after doing some pretty weird things and getting into trouble over it, Roman Polanski took off on a self-imposed (and self-preserving) exile from the U.S. This was, I believe, the first film he made during this period, but it's very possible that I don't know what I'm talking about. Oddly enough I don't really know what this movie is talking about either because I fell asleep twice while trying to watch it. It's not bad or even all that slow, I just smoke too much weed and get off of work way too fucking late. Harrison Ford was pretty cool in the 80's but I saw an interview with him recently where he seemed like kind of a prick and had a pretty shitty earring. Oh well, I guess we can't all age as well as "Siamese Dream."

There were some more, but I'm having a hard time remembering what they were. Fuck you guys anyway, go do something cool outside.

Friday, September 3, 2010

FLIP WATER LIKE POLAND SPRINGS



Twentynine Palms (2003)
dir: Bruno Dumont

Yikes. I don't really know where to start with this one. I suppose a warning is in order: I don't recommend that you watch this film. I'll probably never watch it again, and I've sat through The Spirit of the Beehive like three times now. This is some tedious shit. It's also some deeply pretentious shit. And some misanthropic French-people-never-actually-laugh shit. But it's also some really, really good shit. As a movie-going experience this could fit pretty comfortably within the Michael Haneke "disgust for/punishment towards my audience" school of hopelessly high-brow pedantic hijinks. Certain segments (alright... most of the film) is iiiinsaaanely draaawn oooouuuut (read: boring) and the ultimate "payoff" is so jarring that you'll probably end up more angry than anything else. Angry at Dumont for putting you through such an ordeal; angry at the characters for simultaneously representing and subverting everything you thought you knew about human behaviour; and angry at yourself for completely missing the point. Despite the often breathtaking landscapes and mathematically-tight shot composition, this is not the cinema of escapism. It's a painting, sure, but a painting with a metric shit-ton of carefully held-back pathos seething within its framed borders. As an experiment in cinema itself, I can't think of much that could make it more successful than it already is. I've read some reviews that compare it to the Adam & Eve yarn about original sin and some totally expected write-offs as just another long-winded meditation on the banal and omnipresent nature of human evil. But personally I think it works better as an unsettling, realistic portrait of a certain stage that most ultimately doomed romantic relationships settle into before the inevitable, messy split. We've all reached that point where communication has crumbled and the only real expressions of emotion towards our so-called better half are fighting and fucking. The two characters in Twentynine Palms are believable because of their painful awkwardness. They barely speak one anothers' language (literally and metaphorically), their physical encounters are random and bizarrely personal: during the (many) graphic sex scenes--which are themselves somewhat refreshing, existing as they do in a touchingly honest series of naturally-lit, non-glamorous encounters--both characters seem completely enveloped within themselves. Sex is not a shared, transcendent experience between these two lovers anymore; it is a violent cry against the inevitable truth of the relationship's futility, an ironically impotent attempt to practice control over the situation, and a selfish final act of stress relief. When the film finally erupts into an unexpected melee of brutality, we as viewers should not actually be all that surprised. Our supposed Adam & Eve have been tenuously perched atop this well-spring of violence throughout the entire film, and several sequences have obviously hinted towards the impending, omnipotent-seeming danger that has surrounded them the whole time. The interesting thing is that we never quite know where the eventual attack will come from. Much like many romantic relationships, our two characters seem to exist within a world where they are the only actual living inhabitants. We can feel the undercurrent of tension between them, hinting at an eventual confrontation that will not be easily solved by the most obnoxious and awkward pool-sex since that hilarious scene from Showgirls. And we can also sense their discomfort within and distrust of the surrounding world, which is itself framed as an undeniably impressive but nevertheless desolate landscape of unseen spaces and unknown motivations. Dumont's film is unnerving as all fuck, especially because anyone who has ever been in a relationship that failed will initially relate far too easily with the barely-likable protagonists. And yes, it does meditate on the nature of evil. It also subverts nearly every road-romance film that came before it by focusing solely on the negative moments of its central relationship as opposed to the adventurous sense of discovery and rebirth that usually shows up in such films. Nothing is fixed in this film, and you'll most likely walk away with many more questions than you are comfortable with, the very least of which being "did they ever even pay for those ice cream cones?"







Wednesday, September 1, 2010

REAL TALK


I realize that a few months ago (!!!) I made a promise that I would update this blog something as ridiculously often as once every evening. Clearly I was bluffing and by this point that promise must seem as empty to the two of you as my balls after watching this fucking video. But the truth is that I have actually been busy. I went to Mexico, and it was a beautiful, fascinating and wildly entertaining country full of friendly people, incredible food and cheap-ass beer. But it also happens to be a country that is held together by bubble-gum and magic. If you've been there you know what I mean. Aside from that I've just been "mastering some skills." If you've ever had some skills to master then you know what I mean. Fortunately for my own motivational reasons I have now begun my final semester of school (fingers crossed, butthole puckered), I have made an executive decision on my own life: for the entirity of this semester I will somehow find the time to watch one movie per day and post something about it up on this blog every evening. Grand ambition meets Great big bags of weed. I'll start that shit on Thursday. In the meantime I've been fucking around with this band called REAL TALK, (all caps to enhance shameless self-promotion). In honor of my impending graduation I'd like to share the best song that I've ever written:
Jungle Bungle
take some pills
have a thrill
don't forget to write your will
eating fungus
beasts among us
beware the stares that night has brung us
bungle in the jungle
accidental death
psilocybin visions
ravaged by savage breath
lions, tigers, bears oh shit
nothing's sticking to the script
pupils dilate, vomit, sick
panic, clutching sharpened stick
this isn't fucking happening, man
yes it is
wife and kids
never see them after this
now it's through
nothing new
the stains in the grass
used to be you
That song is about a drug vacation in the jungle gone wrong. Anyway, stay tuned for an actual movie review this Thursday. Probably that sexy interracial saucepot pictured above. In the meantime, if you is high:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

CUT SKOOL CUZ YOU LIKE, "FUCK SKOOL"

My spring midterms will be over next week and I'll have about one solid month of packed bowls, tanned bodies and ignored alarm clocks to glide me through the eternally awesome Richmond summer before I head to Mexico for four weeks of drinking, studying and lingual embarrassment. I hereby swear to do my damnedest to utilize that first month, prior to dodging kidnappers and pretending not to notice narco "activities,"to churn out my first honest-t0-god printed on paper zine since the infamously gay-titled "Your Words are Bullets" virgin and only issue from way back in like 2002 (maybe). So look forward to that, if you're into that kind of thing. Meaning me and my opinions and a thousand euphemisms for tits n' ass. In the meantime, here are some tits n' ass for you to ogle because my "feminist" girlfriend is playing Zelda in the other room and fuck school.





Saturday, May 1, 2010

THIS WEEK IN NETFLIX


"Defendor"

This is pretty much the same movie as the incredible "Mirage Man" except not Chilen and not not starring Woody Harrelson. I think this one is actually Canadian, but it could have easily taken place in Detroit. Were you aware that Detroit sucks? Were you aware that this movie made me cry a little bit? Were you aware that it is perfectly acceptable for a grown man to cry over the story of a mental retard who thinks he's a superhero seeking vengeance against the imaginary villain who killed his mom, even though she actually just died because she was a junkie? Well, consider yourself aware-ed.


"Daisies"

1966 surrealist freak-fest from Czech New Wave staple Vera Chytilová. Her name has at least one or two more weird punctuation marks above some letters, but my computer doesn't even understand Eastern European chicken-scratch so those punctuation marks unfortunately "do not compute." This film is pretty much the working definition of avant-garde in fluid form, so Chuck Norris fans beware. Imagine living inside of a Rauschenberg piece with two frustratingly fit but extremely obnoxious upper-class pixies following you around and chirping like birds. Sounds like a nightmare, I know, but give this one a try if you've got the mental balls for it. Often misinterpreted as a proto-feminist experiment, I personally think it's more about the uselessness of lazy, spoiled bourgeois trifles (i.e. the kind of art school twats who probably love this movie) in light of the greater good of mighty Socialist productive society(!!), although I do feel like not liking this movie would somehow make me a misogynist. Worth considering: is it weird to be extremely turned on by scenes of cute girls making huge sloppy messes and smearing cake all over each others' faces, or scenes where they just sit around and eat tons of food? Is there something wrong with me?


"Sheitan"

The French horror new wave was pretty on-point there for a while, and I feel like this little nut-kicker gets unfairly overlooked by most people who should appreciate this kind of thing. A bit of the standard "city kids get fucked with in the countryside" formula, but refreshingly skewed by a particularly manic sensibility, some truly great shot composition, an unreasonably hot temptress and enough bizarro shit to make "Gummo" fans scratch their heads and glance around for the exits. Vincent Cassel is unrecognizable and totally incredible, especially considering the fact that he is an A-list international superstar who is basically just goofing around with the French equivalent of the Day by Day dudes. It may sound redundant, but the scene where they chicken-fight with thuggish melungeons in an eerie green hot spring is totally creepy.















Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'M A MESS



There is no good reason for a 28-year-old man to get as shamefully inebriated as I did last night. My last semi-clear memory is walking into Aladdin's sometime between the hours of 1 and 2 am. The guy at the counter took one look at me and said "you can't bring that bike in here" to which I responded "what if I just bring my bike in here?" to which he immediately and confusingly responded "ok." Having successfully shattered his defenses with my unmistakable gift for debate, I confidently sauntered over to the counter and ordered my usual, a falafel pita with onion rings. After counting out the dollar bills slowly and carefully and paying the man, I sat down to complete a crossword puzzle with the assistance of two genuinely thugged out black dudes. They were helpful at first but eventually lost interest when they noticed I was just drunkenly filling in "words" like SLAIT and THRASHE so they started talking to some girl who looked younger than me about her 13-year-old son. By the time my food was ready, she had given both of them her number and I was ready to ride my girlfriend's bike home (I still have no idea where my own bike could possibly be locked up). Unable to locate her or anyone else because I forgot that I had a cellphone, I ended up sitting in the darkness of my balcony eating my falafel, alone and confused.
It seems like this past month or so since my best friend and #1 warrior Superchill passed on to that great big catnip field in the sky, I have been falling to pieces. Not in an overwhelming nervous breakdown type of way that alienates your friends and makes them avoid your phone calls, but more in a subtle way where I just sit around all day not doing any of the things I need to do and then get so shitfaced at night that I spend a very loud and probably very obnoxious half hour boozily explaining to my friend that "the past is meaningless" and then making fun of everything that everyone in the world has ever liked just because the one thing that I liked more than anything else was taken away from me. Not very constructive, I know. I'm working on it.
On the plus side I've been having some pretty amusing mornings based around piecing together the forgotten moments of the previous evening's shamble through my apartment in search of somewhere to lay my clouded head. Like some amnesiac detective who is unaware that an outside world even exists, I shuffle around the apartment between the hours of 9 and 11 am trying to figure out why my shoes are in the bathroom, why my passport is in the freezer and how exactly I apparently created something edible from the baffling ingredients of egg noodles, brown sugar, sliced tomatoes (I was wielding a knife?!?!) and soy milk. Why are there ants on the television? Why is one sock on the porch? Why is my girlfriend in such a great mood? Did we have sex? Did I even brush my teeth? Do I even know where my toothbrush is? Yikes.
I'm a mess. And it's getting old. Starting tomorrow (not today; hangover) things are going to need to change around here. And by "here" I mean "inside of me, personally." No more boozing away the pain instead of utilizing my usual creative outlets, this blog included. I hereby guarantee a new and improved schedule of updates that will keep you entertained and informed. And by "you" I of course mean "me." Does anyone even read this thing? Well, no matter. Starting tomorrow, the new GET MUMMY will launch onto the unsuspecting blogosphere a whole new world of shit that no one cares about. I hope you're ready. And by "you're" I mean "I'm."

Monday, March 8, 2010

ILL SHIT, SONS

Some ill shit has gone down and continues to go down over this past weekend and this shitty week of midterms, so I haven't had much time for or interest in updating. But rest assured that I will soon fire off a review of this total fucking gem.



this is some next level shit.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

REVENGE OF NETFLIX FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE OF DOOM ON DEATH MOUNTAIN 2


"The House of the Devil"

If you remember the 80's like I remember the 80's, then you don't remember much of shit. You and I probably both have somewhat comparable mental menageries of personal and most likely weird childhood moments, cultural frameworks and maybe just a little bit of adult concern seepage. An onion basket of images, sounds, smells and nausea, all crystallized into a fragmented broken windowpane overlooking the spotty, subconscious past. A bicycle ride downtown to the army surplus store for those MREs that I somehow found delicious, much to the confusion of a father who had no other choice than to eat them during a stint in Vietnam that he still refuses to talk about. The girl who lived next door that my older brother and his friends forced to eat dog food one afternoon, and who my parents caught sneaking onto our back porch two nights later to secretly eat some more. You know, crazy 80's cul-de-sac shit. Everything else is just a messy Pollock painting of family moments, Christmases, treehouses, Lego competetitions, injuries, lies and "fibs." The overall culture of the 80's itself is a blur around the edges, but one that somehow still penetrates my memories like Roman Polanski penetrates shiny European baby-pussy. Maybe one of my oldest and most prominent memories of the decade that oversaw the initial forging and tempering of my young molten soon-to-be-awesomeness would be the evening which, like dozens of others before and after it, began with my parents going out to the kind of function they could still enjoy together while my brother and I were young enough to be successfully handled by the high school girl with questionable morals from just across the street. In fact, the only thing that set this evening apart was the fact that I pooped in my pants because I was too afraid to go upstairs and use the bathroom by myself. I never asked my marginally-responsible babysitter to take me upstairs because I was embarassed to be afraid. I never told either her or my brother that I pooped my pants because I was embarassed to be a pants-pooping maniac who already had shame issues at much too young of an age. So I just kept my distance from the two of them for the rest of the night (poop smells) and would occasionally have to walk backwards out of a room so that they wouldn't notice what I was convinced must be the huge visible lump in the back of my pants. UNFORGIVABLE. Another noteworthy moment from that night was much earlier, before my messy brown downfall, when my neighbor showed me the article in the newspaper about the slasher icons Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. At the time, just the photograph of Freddy in the paper bugged me out for the rest of the night. I was terrified. Fast-forward 20 odd years and I've got the horror palette of Rob Zombie's wettest dreams. And that's why I love "House of the Devil." I'm not saying anything else. Watch this one if you have even a passing interest in subtle horror. I know that sounds crazy but wikipedia that shit. "Subtle horror." It exists! This is a surprisingly convincing slice of solid gold homage right here, and if you don't get a Pavlovian boner for the babysitter's best friend's hair then your 80's childhood was sadly less stocked with confusing-to-a-young-man older babes than mine was. Sorry, man. Get over it. What are you, 30?

Monday, January 25, 2010

DON'T STEREOTYPE MY THING, YO


Puerto Ricans are loud. I realize that sounds extremely stereotypical and uneducated but those things don't concern me because it also happens to be true. I don't personally know any Puerto Ricans on an intimate level (however you want to interpret that) and I haven't spent enough time in the predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhoods of the majestic nightmare that is New York City to mean "Puerto Ricans are loud" in the Jerry Seinfeld sense of anglocentric befuddlement. It's a stereotype that I never really knew existed. But over the recent Christmas/New Year holiday my girlfriend and I spent two weeks in Puerto Rico and I am telling you right now that those fuckers are loud. All the time. Music is omnipresent and inevitably BLARING, be it the pounding goofy gangsterism of reggaeton or the classier leanings of some laid-back salsa. No matter the tune, the undeniable fact is that some tune will always be present. It pours out of open car windows, the doorways of high apartment balconies and tiny boomboxes on the laps of street dudes. Then there are the fireworks. Ubiquitous throughout the holiday season, celebratory explosions would shoot randomly from the streets into the skies with absolutely no warning. As in: directly from the streets and straight up into powerlines. At all hours of the day and night. The people themselves are in a seemingly constant state of chatter; boisterous, proud and admittedly pleasing to the ears. Spanish is a tight language and the particular dialect in Puerto Rico was so singular and fast-flowing that it rendered my limited talents in espa├▒ol basically useless. Everyone patiently suffered my stumbling through one incomplete sentence and immediately responded in English so masterfully learned that my shame was plugged in and amplified so much that Space could observe it. The Moon knows I'm a terrible bi-linguist.
The experience as a whole was solid. Old San Juan is a bonafied good time punctuated by epic colonial forts and the kind of architecture that makes you want to drink mohitos in the cobblestone streets all day, wearing an ice cream white suit & a panama hat, grabbing the asses of some possible prostitues and maybe drunkenly waving a gun around while some guy follows you and plays a horn. No one was doing that and I can't imagine why anyone would be, but that's what I wanted to do. The beaches in San Juan and the surrounding area are probably not the nicest on the island, but they did the trick for me. And I never tire of laughing at German accents or bonering over THICK LATIN CULOS. The tiny island of Vieques was a mixed bag; the southern town of Esperanza was a sloppy tumble of gross U.S.tourists thankfully salvaged by its incredible ocean views and the surrounding beaches that sort of changed my limited understanding of what "paradise" could actually mean to a person as broke as myself. The northern town of Isabel II was a differenct experience altogether; we spent the 2 days following the New Year there and were greeted by a gaggle of stumbling amiable zombies, wasted from 2 days of opulent rum consumption. They wandered around glassy-eyed and smiling, stopping occasionally in doorways to dance by themselves whether there was music playing nearby or not, and engaging my girlfriend and I in some of the most entertaining and warm conversations either of us has probably ever had with a total stranger, booze-influenced or otherwise.
I went to Puerto Rico with zero expectations and left with probably a lot less insight than I should have gleaned, but my overall impression is that of a genuine and welcoming place that deserves much more time and inquiry than I was able to grant it. The culture-shock was more of a slow burn than a jarring confrontation, its impact most likely softened further by the fact that I was reading Werner Herzog's "Conquest of the Useless" while I was there. Herzog was struggling with his own concepts of human nature in relation to the necessity and interpretation of art while slogging through the armpits of South America. I was trying to get a tan and eat as many plaintains as possible while floating around in the friendly rat-tail of the Caribbean. I imagine that's part of why he has spent his life as a cinematic Indiana Jones and I'm sitting in the school library listening to Tangerine Dream and avoiding my Spanish homework.
Different strokes, I guess.