All posts filed under: Culture

#RESISTANCE Playlist

With major news breaking every single day, the enormity of the issues that we’re dealing with in the U.S. and abroad can seem insurmountable. In America, I feel as though we’re on the verge of a collective meltdown. Stress and tensions are mounting and the government seems to be doing everything it can to weaken the people. From blocking refugees, to pulling out of the Paris Agreement, and fighting to dismantle our healthcare system – the list goes on and on. Across the globe we’re seeing an uptick in fascism, and it’s our duty to fight it. On the day of the election I listened to a playlist I made in hopes that Hillary Clinton would become our first woman president. That day didn’t arrive, but I’ve continued to make playlists – for the inauguration and the historic Women’s March – to either get me through the day or strengthen my resolve. Today I wanted to share my #RESISTANCE playlist, which is short, but packs a punch. We have to persist, and listening to music …

On America, Mobility, & Freedom in “Easy Rider”

“A man went looking for America, but he couldn’t find it anywhere.” Few taglines remain relevant long after a film’s release, but Easy Rider’s ominous warning (“he couldn’t find it anywhere”) maintains its potency nearly 50 years after its debut. In David Laderman’s Driving Visions, he situates the road film genre within an explicitly American context and characterizes Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969) as “arguably the quintessential, genre-defining road movie.”[1] Following the cult popularity of low-budget biker exploitation films, Easy Rider seems to have borrowed from the aesthetic and tonal vigor of these works, but extended itself to a broader cultural critique that was relevant for a wider spectrum of Americans falling under the banner of “the counterculture.” While the influence of cinema imported from Europe and Asia facilitated the rise of the American auteur, the explosive socio-political context of late 1960’s could also be credited for cultivating unique works which explored social tensions and questions of identity, and more specifically, what it means to be an American. Easy Rider – in addition to preceding …

Visiting the Huntington

I’ve been meaning to visit The Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino for over two years, and finally went with my sister recently. Below are photos we took in the various gardens, which span 120 acres and include a Desert Garden, Japanese Garden, and Chinese Garden, among others. The photos below do not do The Huntington justice, so I recommend spending the day there if you’re ever in the Los Angeles area. The Huntington Library was founded in 1919 by Southern California businessman Henry E. Huntington. Huntington had a deep interest in gardens, art, and books – building a massive research library, art collection, and botanical gardens. Only 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles, the Huntington Library is a wonderful place to relax and appreciate nature.

Fast Fashion & “The True Cost”

The True Cost is one of those documentaries that everyone should watch, and then tell their friends and family to see too. I discovered the film after a friend told me it was necessary viewing, and I’m so grateful for her insistence. In order to be conscientious consumers, it’s imperative that we know where our clothes come from, who’s making it, and how they’re being treated. The True Cost examines the human rights, labor rights, and environmental impact of the garment industry, focusing on the horrific practices of fast fashion in particular. It’s also important to note that with women making up the majority of garment workers across the globe, this topic is a feminist issue as well. Before watching The True Cost I admittedly shopped at places like Zara and H&M because they offered affordable, cute clothing. But such low prices are the first sign that something is not ethically produced. Now I not only shop less (why do we need so much stuff?) but I buy second-hand and search for brands that are known to treat their employees well and embrace sustainable practices. Compared …

Final Thoughts Before the Return of “Twin Peaks”

Tonight’s the night! After re-watching Fire Walk With Me I have some final thoughts I wanted to put out there before the series premiere. *SPOILERS AHEAD* ON NOSTALGIA I’ve certainly been critical of “nostalgia-TV” in the past (see my post on Fuller House), and am particularly weary of 90’s specific reboots and revivals – but unlike other shows, the Twin Peaks return doesn’t bother me. Is my love for the show somewhat nostalgic? Yes, absolutely. Is its newfound popularity since it began streaming on Netflix at least slightly indebted to the grips of nostalgia? Surely. But more than that, Twin Peaks‘ adoration and acclaim should be credited to the fact that it was, and still is, an extremely well crafted, unique, intelligent, and inventive series that changed the televisual landscape forever. Based on how the original series ended and what I’ve gleaned from interviews, I imagine that the revival will pick up with “good Cooper” still stuck in the Black Lodge 25+ years later, trying to get out. Simply seeing the characters/actors return 26 years after the final episode is a return to the same, but I imagine that …

Summer Mood

Although it’s not technically summer yet, it sure feels like it to me. Last fall I posted a “mood board” here on Catch-all, which visually encapsulated my feelings during that time of year. I forgot to share something for winter and spring, but I’m so excited about this summer (woohoo, school’s out!) that I decided to come back with a summer post. I’m always inspired by the beach and the desert, but this summer I’m also enjoying bright, playful patterns, oranges and pinks, vintage Emilio Pucci, all things Lupita Nyong’o, Twin Peaks (It Is Happening Again), Wet Hot American Summer, fruity cocktails, greasy diner potatoes, purple flowers, and donuts and pies. What visuals (and tastes, smells, and sounds) are stimulating you this summer?

It Is Happening Again: “Twin Peaks” is Almost Back

After over 25 years, Twin Peaks is returning to television on Sunday, May 21st and I am so, so excited! Incase you don’t follow me on Twitter and see my annoyingly obsessive tweets, Twin Peaks is pretty much my favorite show of all time. I’m not an OG fan because I wasn’t even born until 1991, so I couldn’t watch it in its first run, but thanks to Netflix I discovered the series shortly after graduating from film school. As an undergraduate I took a television class in which my teacher lectured passionately about how important and revolutionary Twin Peaks was for TV, and it stuck with me. So once I realized it was on Netflix, I decided to give the series a shot and was absolutely floored by the first episode; immediately captured by its unique atmosphere. Twin Peaks is campy fun, but also terrifying. It’s surreal, yet frighteningly close to reality. It’s sometimes lighthearted, though often horrific and dark. Each episode catapulted me through a series of emotions from start to finish. It captured my attention in a way that no other show has, or I presume ever will. I …

Business & Leisure in San Diego

This past weekend my sister accompanied me to San Diego, CA, where I presented a paper at the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association’s national conference. My paper, titled “How YouTube and Instagram are Normalizing Veganism,” analyzes the ways in which vegan cooking and lifestyle content creators appropriate mainstream YouTube aesthetics, and examines the importance of a strong digital community for vegans. While the purpose of my trip was to present at the conference, I spent the majority of my time hanging out with my sister in and around San Diego. On our way down from Los Angeles we stopped in San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar, La Jolla, and Coronado Island, and in San Diego we spent time at Balboa Park and around Old Town. We also drank great coffee from Heartwork Coffee Bar and Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, and stuffed ourselves with food from Kindred and Barra Barra. Presenting at PCA/ACA not only gave me the chance to work on my public speaking skills (I’m doing better but there’s so much room for improvement), but it also provided me with some much-needed time for …

Watch Abha Dawesar’s TED Talk: “Life in the ‘Digital Now'”

I don’t often watch or listen to TED Talks, but when I happen across one while endlessly scrolling online or listening to NPR – like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” – they always seem to emerge at the perfect time in my life. And I love novelist Abha Dawesar’s “Life in the ‘Digital Now,’” not only because she’s brilliant and speaks to so much about our digital lives that I’ve been trying to grasp, but her talk came into my life at the exact moment I needed it. I’m currently taking an entertainment business class at USC about digital technology and the entertainment industry. For the most part I thoroughly enjoy the course, but I wasn’t prepared for all of the focus on futurism and our likely destinies as tech-obsessed individuals and societies. Taking this class has made me realize that talk of a hyper-technological reality is personally anxiety inducing. And visions of a world filled with AR, VR, and AI are absolutely terrifying. I may be typing this blog post using WordPress on my laptop, and I …