2014 - %3, May

Brian Eno's and Karl Hyde's "Someday World" Will Leave You Smiling

| Mon May 12, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

Eno•Hyde
Someday World
Warp

Britain's Brian Eno has a pretty amazing resume: founding member of Roxy Music, superproducer (U2, Devo, Talking Heads), wise collaborator (David Byrne, Robert Fripp) and always surprising sonic innovator, even after nearly a half-century on the music scene. (Read our recent profile of Eno here.) On Someday World he's joined by Karl Hyde, singer for the esteemed electronica group Underworld, with charming results.

Supported by a nimble cast that includes Roxy mate Andy Mackay on sax, the lads fashion bright, sleek pop that almost seems to be infused with helium. From the peppy beats to the airy melodies to the bemused, understated vocals, it can be easy to overlook the darkness in the lyrics—if you can decode them. Near the end of the album, Eno sings, "When I built this world/I built it full of guilt/I filled it with regret and pain/With sin and then with sin again," but you may come away smiling and ready to dance anyway.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Elliott Smith: "It's Just, I like Music, You Know"

| Mon May 12, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

Heaven Adores You, a Kickstarted documentary about the life and music of the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival last week. It combines interviews with friends and collaborators, photos and video from throughout Smith's life, and ample footage of Portland, New York City, and Los Angeles (the three cities where Smith created music)—set, of course, to a soundtrack containing at least one song from every Elliott Smith album, plus unreleased recordings.

Director Nickolas Rossi embarked on his "love letter" to Smith in a quest to preserve the memory of the musician's life, which is often overshadowed by his sensationalized 2003 death. Smith, who suffered from depression and addiction, died at age 34 of two stab wounds to the chest. "The eight-year anniversary of his death came, and I totally spaced it out," says Rossi, who has been a fan since the mid-'90s. "I didn't even realize it had happened. And I thought, 'We can't start forgetting about Elliott Smith! There has to be a way to make sure that he's accessible to the generations that are going to come after this.'"

"There is a story there a well. A really beautiful, kind of simple story there about a guy who just wanted to make music, and it touched millions of people across the world."

After launching their fundraising campaign, the filmmakers were undecided as to the film's direction. ("Is it going to be a biography, or is going to be a big, 96-minute music video?") That was when they received an email from Kevin Moyer, a longtime friend of Smith's, asking only, "How can I help?" Before long, they'd enlisted Moyer as one of the film's producers. He arranged interviews with 30 people close to the artist, including Smith's sister, friends, former bandmates, and collaborators. Rossi says "we really wanted to get a feel of what it was like to know him, and be friends with him, and play music with him, and watch him evolve as an artist."

The interviews are what drive the story. "When I would listen to Elliott's music, he was accessible, but he was sort of on that pedestal…because he makes such amazing art," explains Rossi. "And I guess what I realized was he was just a normal guy. There were a lot of things about him that were unique and amazing and he had incredible talent, but what I learned was he was just somebody's brother, somebody's friend, somebody's boyfriend."

As the team began putting the film together, they realized "it was very heavy on the superfan stuff," such as details about "the way that Elliott recorded certain things, and what microphone he used." Although Rossi found these things fascinating, he realized the film needed to be accessible to anyone. So while Heaven Adores You includes older, unreleased songs for diehard fans, "there is a story there a well. A really beautiful, kind of simple story there about a guy who just wanted to make music, and it touched millions of people across the world."

Rossi became entranced by Smith some 20 years ago after hearing "Satellite" on a mixtape while driving cross-country, and says he easily "could have made a 14-hour movie with all of the songs that I thought were amazing...You really can't go wrong with an Elliott Smith record. You'll find something, or one or two, or maybe four songs on any album that will resonate with you." Smith rose to mainstream prominence in 1998 when his song "Miss Misery," which was featured on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, was nominated for an Academy Award.

Heaven Adores You also includes footage of interviews Smith did throughout his life. "The less I think about it, the happier I am," he says at one point. "I don't really care where I fit into anything, or if there's anything to fit into. It's just, I like music, you know? That's the thing. It's really uncomplicated."

Music Review: La Sera's "Summer of Love"

| Mon May 12, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

TRACK 2

"Summer of Love"

From La Sera's Hour of the Dawn

HARDLY ART

Liner notes: Take a gorgeous melody, add soaring multilayered voices, and top with shimmering guitars for two minutes of shiny pop perfection on the third album from La Sera, a.k.a. Katy Goodman.

Behind the music: Goodman was billed as Kickball Katy in the pioneering noise-pop trio Vivian Girls, recently defunct.

Check it out if you like: Blondie and the Bangles then, Dum Dum Girls and Best Coast now.

This review originally appeared in the May/June issue of Mother Jones.

Quote of the Day: Happy Mother's Day!

| Sun May 11, 2014 4:32 PM EDT
Jeramie, Richard, & Emily Dreyfuss. November 19, 1983.

I had always wanted to be a mother. It’s the first thing I said to your dad. We met at a party in LA in February, 1983. I was a producer at CBS. "What do you want to do with your career at CBS?" he asked me. And I said, "Nothing, I want to get married and have children." And he said, "Me too. Let’s get married." And we got married like one month later and now we have you three kids. If we hadn’t been this crazy, you guys wouldn’t exist! So be nice to the baby boomer generation.

Jeramie Dreyfuss, my mom and the best actress ever to play a psycho killer in a deeply disturbing early-70s horror film. (Happy Mother's Day, mom! I love you.)

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms! You guys are the best.

This Video of Michael Sam and His Boyfriend Finding Out He Has Been Drafted Is Amazing

| Sat May 10, 2014 9:11 PM EDT

Earlier today, Michael Sam received a really great phone call. He had become the first openly-gay player to be drafted in NFL history. Cameras were present as he and his boyfriend found out the news together. Watch them share a kiss and beautiful embrace as they learn of the historic decision by the St. Louis Rams:

 

Advertise on MotherJones.com

WATCH: What Can Oklahoma's Botched Execution Teach Us About the Death Penalty? [Fiore Cartoon]

| Fri May 9, 2014 9:03 PM EDT

Mark Fiore is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and animator whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Examiner, and dozens of other publications. He is an active member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, and has a website featuring his work.

How to Open a Wine Bottle With Your Shoe

| Fri May 9, 2014 7:07 PM EDT

Once upon a time a father sat his son on his lap and said, "Son, one day you will have a bottle of wine, but you will not have a corkscrew to open it with. You will look around for some sort of apparatus with which to free the wine from the bottle."

"Daddy, should I use a knife to push the cork into the bottle?"

"Ha. No. That's a horrible idea. Use your shoe!"

And so began the legend of the wine-bottle-shoe-trick. But many were dubious. Was this just a story? An old wives' tale told by frat boys with an urge?

It turns out: No! You can really open a wine bottle with your shoe*.

How do we know? Smart, fearless Mother Jones reporter Tim McDonnell made it happen (watch the video above).

Here's how:

  1. You need a solid-soled shoe. No work-out soft-soled BS.
  2. Find a really sturdy wall. We're talking brick.
  3. Have courage and strength.
  4. The shoe must be perpendicular to the wall.
  5. Have faith, and take several determined, precise swings.
  6. The cork should slowly emerge over the course of several swings.
  7. Keep your face and other vulnerable bits away from the impact zone (SCIENCE).
  8. The force of the liquid inside the bottle will force the cork out.
  9. Drink!!!

*Mother Jones does not endorse that you try this at home in any way. Please drink in moderation. And don't drive.

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne in "Neighbors" Are the Best On-Screen Couple in Years

| Fri May 9, 2014 4:03 PM EDT

When you think of the greatest on-screen couples in TV and cinema history, a handful of pairs jump to mind: Bergman and Bogart in Casablanca. Cusack and Skye in Say Anything... Chandler and Britton on Friday Night Lights.

You can add Rogen and Byrne to the list.

In the new comedy Neighbors (directed by Nicholas Stoller), Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play Mac and Kelly Radner, a married couple struggling to adjust to a new era of parenthood. When a rowdy fraternity—led by Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) and Pete Regazolli (Dave Franco)—moves in next door, the two houses go to war in hilarious fashion.

Although the film's advertisements don't make it look bad, necessarily, Neighbors is much smarter and emotionally deeper than its TV spots and trailers would have you believe. But what sets the movie over the top is the pairing of Rogen and Byrne. As the two plot and execute their campaign of revenge against the frat boys next door, their moments of scheming are infused equally with a delightful chemistry and a sense of strained, fumbled maturity.

And the reason this works so well is because the filmmakers didn't treat the female lead as a comic prop or as some stereotypical wet blanket, as is the case with so many male-centric comedies: She's as devious and committed as the boys. "From the start, they wanted to make my character very much a part of the story," Byrne told the New York Times. "From Day 1, Nick [Stoller, the film's director] and Seth were both like, 'She's as in on this as everybody else—and as irresponsible as everybody else.' That was really exciting."

You can catch glimpses of the Radners doing there thing here:

Their best scenes actually have nothing to do with plotting physical destruction against their neighbors. In one sequence, Kelly and Mac awake following a night of heavy drinking. A hungover Kelly goes to breastfeed their newborn, only to have Mac intervene, warning her that at this hour her breast milk would be like a "White Russian." In pain from the excess milk, she orders Mac to milk her. The sequence, including the aftermath of the deed, is a thing of comic beauty—chaotic, appropriately horrifying, and just cute enough.

Anyway, the whole movie is very good. TheWrap calls it, "an instant classic." Slate dubs it, "a surprisingly progressive take on bro privilege that still has lots of dick jokes." I'm inclined to agree.

"Community" Has Been Canceled

| Fri May 9, 2014 2:56 PM EDT

Community, a show that you and all your Twitter friends sure did like a lot, has been canceled.

RIP Community—may its legend live on in stories.