Best of Across The Margin 2019, Arts & Culture

As 2019 comes to its close, Across the Margin takes a look back at some of its most treasured moments in Arts & Culture…

Throughout this final week of 2019, Across the Margin has been seasoning the air with thanks for all those who have spent time within our pages whilst sharing our picks for the “Best of Across the Margin, 2019.” Our best-of compilations conclude with a look at our choices for our finest articles in Arts & Culture…

 

JORGE OTERO-PAILOS’ RÉPÉTITEUR” by Nathaniel White

An analysis of Jorge Otero-Pailos’ Répétiteur, an installation featured at the New York City Center’s Harkness Studio…

On view at the Harkness Studio, a dance rehearsal space tucked away on the fourth floor of the New York City Center, Jorge Otero-Pailos’ Répétiteur transforms the former atelier of dance-legend Merce Cunningham into an allegory of the dancing body, a corpse simultaneously extinguished and embalmed by the artist’s intervention into the space. An architectural historian and preservationist by trade, Otero-Pailos works primarily with latex-cast, a medium that he deploys at the City Center to cleanse the studio of the residues of the dancing body: dirt, sweat, and bits of skin that have accumulated on the studio walls over years of rehearsal. Evaporated into a liquid-latex solvent that subsequently congeals into hardened sheets of rubber, the traces of the bodies that have swept through the room have been placed in six, 4×4 light-boxes that are lit from below and scattered throughout the room. What results is a dazzling constellation of sculptural objects that punctuates the vast darkness of a space interrupted from its everyday function as a working dance studio. Read more!

 

THE TOP 50 ALBUMS OF 2019

“Throughout 2019, as we here at Across the Margin spiritedly indulged in what was to be another stunning year in music, we were continuously awed by the wondrous output across musical genres. As the year’s most celebrated albums began to come into focus, we came to realize how challenging assembling the striking offerings of 2019 in a ranking system would be. There exists a parity of blessing this year, and it is safe to say that any of the albums we celebrate in our countdown are surely someone’s favorite album of the year. And so, while we boldly title this yearly celebration “The Top 50 Albums of 2019,” what we are proud to present here is simply the albums we are most grateful for this year, those which received the most play and settled most soundly in our souls. So, without further delay, let’s step in and drop the needle.” Read more! Rock the playlist!

 

CHRISTIAN NIEDAN’S HISTORY STORYTELLERS — PART SEVEN: THE ARTIST

The seventh installment of a twelve part series, recounting and expanding upon an array of interviews with an assemblage of historians and history-infatuated filmmakers. The series continues with a look at a pairing of environmental disasters in the country of Kazakhstan, as well as the impact of Genghis Khan, Stalin, and the Cold War had on the region, with an interview with Kazakhstan-born artist Almagul Menlibayeva…

“The Aral Sea was once the world’s fourth-largest lake — a vast saltwater expanse that, at the dawn of the 1960s, stretched over 26,000 square miles between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It was during that decade when the Soviet Union diverted two rivers feeding the Aral (the Amu Darya and Syr Darya), rerouting them to irrigate neighboring cotton fields. The result was that the Aral shrank to a fraction of its former size, and the remaining waters split into much-smaller bodies. The shorelines of these new lakes lay far away from what were the old Aral’s coastal fishing communities, with those in the dried-up eastern basin occupying what is now known as the Aralkum Desert.” Read more!

 

EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE DECONSTRUCTED by Michael Shields with L.P. Hanners

Continuing a long-running tradition of Breaking Bad analysis, Across The Margin celebrates the latest offering from Netflix and director Vince Gilligan, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie…

“Amid the tremendous height of Breaking Bad’s 2008 – 2013 television run, one of the greatest stories ever told was covered by Across The Margin with zest. From episode deconstructions, to think pieces about the fascinating connection between Walter White and the poet Walt Whitman, to explorations into a potential alternative ending, to episode rankings, Across The Margin’s Breaking Bad coverage was consummate. Thus, when it was announced that Breaking Bad’sshowrunner Vince Gilligan was poised to revive the sun-scorched, blue meth-addled world of Breaking Bad in the form of a two hour Netflix film, our excitement was palpable, our mouths left watering.” Read more!

 

IT TOOK ME A LONG TIME TO GET ON THE BUS” by Jeff Schneekloth

How I learned, later in life, to appreciate — and eventually love — the Grateful Dead…

If I could travel back in time and have a chat with my eighteen-year-old self, I’d tell him to study harder in school. “I know it sounds cheesy,” I’d say. “College is easy. Just show up for class, I’m begging you. Yeah, internships are for nerds but it beats working in a grocery store twenty years later.” Then I’d tell him to quit drinking and doing drugs immediately. “I know it’s fun and it makes music sound better, but someday you’re gonna have a hell of time trying to quit. You’ll be sharing stories in church basements asking for God’s help. Neither of us want that.” Then I’d tell him to start listening to the Grateful Dead. “I know they sound like old hippies. But they’re not. Believe me — and this is you talking — they’re as great as the Wu-Tang Clan.” Read more!

 

CLOISTERS IN FICTION” by Christian Niedan

The prevalence of The Cloisters in literature: A look at the numerous novelists who have set their characters loose amongst The Met Cloisters’s light filled stone hallways…

“The cover of James Carroll’s 2018 novel The Cloister is simple, yet evocative, and ambiguously timeless. There lies a stone hallway with a vaulted ceiling framing a silhouetted couple walking away into brilliant light. The couple could represent either historically real medieval lovers Peter Abélard and Héloïse in 1100s France, or fictional new friends Father Michael Kavanagh and museum docent Rachel Vedette, walking the halls of New York City’s Met Cloisters museum in 1950. Carroll skillfully utilizes the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s quiet outpost in northern Manhattan to tell his tale of two entwined relationships linked across 800 years.” Read more!

 

GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8, EPISODE 6 DECONSTRUCTED by Geoffrey Golia (ATM’s #GOTGuru)

ATM’s GOT Guru deconstructs and adds context to the happenings in Westeros for one final time, in an episode breakdown where the Series Finale of Game of Thrones, “The Iron Throne,” is put under the microscope…

““The Iron Throne” was a Tyrion-heavy episode, and that is always a good thing in my estimation (I am absolutely in awe of Peter Dinklage’s acting throughout these eight seasons). It felt as if he was our guide for this final act, ushering viewers towards conclusion. We walked with Tyrion as he witnessed the senseless destruction at the opening of the episode and into the bowels of the Red Keep (“I’m going alone”), then followed him as he explained to Jon the depths of Dany’s unsoundness of mind and hunger for power, and then finally steering those in charge of the rebuilding a broken world towards selecting Bran the Broken to become their king. Do you find it remarkable Tyrion made it this far in the game of thrones, keeping in mind  all his missteps, enemies, and his physical limitations? What do you think of his fate and future as the un-wanting hand of the newly crowned king?” Read more!

 

THE MUSICAL EVOLUTION OF MICHAEL KIWANUKA” by Miki Hellerbach

An exploration of Michael Kiwanuka’s albums, and the growth found through his subsequent releases, culminating with his latest masterpiece, Kiwanuka… 

“Michael Kiwanuka first entered into my musical consciousness through a means of sonic nostalgia. When I first heard his work, it connected to a lot of my former musical sensibilities, yet made me feel as if I was listening to something new, a pleasing blend created through reincarnation. Kiwanuka’s first full length album Home Again was released in 2012 and I revisit it often to this day. The album possesses songs that sound classic, as if crafted by an early 70’s rock n’ roll singer-songwriter. From beginning to end Home Again is as easy listening as it is head-nod inducing. The song that hooked me most emphatically was the powerful ballad “Worry Walks Beside Me,” a song that exists as a classic blues ballad bolstered by deep guitar strokes and strained yet smooth emotion-filled vocals. Surprisingly, the lyrics describe a quaint yet poignant overview of modern anxiety, heightening the idea that although many of Kiwanuka’s soundscapes seemed to hail from days of yore, his music and headspace is very much steeped in the modern world.” Read more!

 

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: VICE” by Douglas Grant

The case for Adam McKay’s Vice to win Best Picture at the 2019 Academy Awards…

“Before 2015, many knew Adam McKay as a writer, producer, and director attached to big comedic brands such as Saturday Night Live, Eastbound and Down, and Drunk History. He would regularly collaborate with comedic talents such as Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Danny McBride, and Judd Apatow. His name is attached to a wide array of films, TV series, documentaries, TV specials, sketch comedy, and video shorts, all of them more or less comedic in nature. He brought us laughs with cult classics such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and comedy video websites such as Funny or Die. However, it was 2015’s The Big Short when McKay took his directorial and comedic talents in a new direction by using black comedy bordering on high drama to explore biographical themes addressing abuse of power, corruption, apathy, greed, and American capitalism at its absolute worst. He even uses black comedy to help the average citizen unpack the complicated details of what brought about the Great Recession of 2008, having actors such as Margot Robbie or Selena Gomez, playing themselves, break down the fourth wall to explain finance terms such as “Synthetic CDO.” He also has Ryan Gosling’s character, Jared Vennet, briefly deviate from history in his narration to explain how those individuals and banks responsible for bringing about the recession were — in a parallel universe — held accountable, before reminding us that in our real world these same people and banks escaped punishment for bringing the American economy to its knees. He soon thereafter produced the HBO series Succession, which also explores themes of corruption, entitlement, and capitalism run amok in its fictional depiction of the dysfunctional Roy family, who run one the biggest media and entertainment conglomerates in the world. McKay has begun to show us a new side of him, one that’s interested in more than just our laughs. He seems determined to tap into our collective moral outrage, making us cringe inwardly just as we are laughing outwardly. And he has done this once again with his latest film, Vice, an unflinching and scathing biographical rebuke of former vice president Dick Cheney.” Read more!

 

Brace yourself for more Art, Music, Film, Television, and Culture articles coming your way from Across The Margin in 2020!

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *