Vanity Fair back-issues at HathiTrust Archive
Reading old Vanity Fair issues from the 1910s-20s at the (free! available to anyone!) HathiTrust archive. The ads are the best part! —Michelle Dean, Editor-at-Large
Little White Lies, Issue 50
The fine folks at Little White Lies were nice enough to send me a copy of their recently released 50th issue, and it’s a doozy for film fans. In commemoration of their 50th year, they devote a two-page spread to a film from each of those years, featuring gorgeous, inventive new illustrations and essays from filmmakers (Rian Johnson, Monte Hellman, Mark Cousins, Andrew Bujalski, Ti West) and fine film writers (Ashley Clark, Vadim Rizov, Keith Uhlich, David Ehrlich, Adam Nayman). Some of the choices are odd and unconventional — but often delightfully so, as when A Touch of Sin director Jia Zhang-ke breaks down the influence of Breakin’, or Calum Marsh deconstructs the “anarcho-punk battlecry” that is Crank: High Voltage. Overall, an unpredictable, enjoyable tour through a half century of cinema. —Jason Bailey, Film Editor
Kelela, Cut 4 Me
I’ve been on a Solange kick as of late, but in the vein of “mixing things up,” I discovered Kelela, who opened for Solange on tour last year. Kelela’s mixtape Cut 4 Me debuted in October (which you can download for free here), and a part of me is screaming, “IT’S ABOUT TIME I FOUND THIS.” The entire mixtape is totally chill, but still moody and emotionally present. I will happily ring out 2013 listening to Kelela’s melodic synth-R&B, the lyrics of which she writes after the music, fitting words into tracks that she initially records as gibberish. It sounds like a songwriting recipe for disaster — on writing her lyrics, she says, “Everything is left to chance” — but she makes it work, and well, at that. —Brie Hiramine, Editorial Apprentice
Kiki & Herb, Do You Hear What We Hear?
I’m not much of a Christmas music fan in the sense that I don’t sit down to actively listen to it. (Having said that, I’ll sing along to “All I Want for Christmas Is You” as much as the next guy.) But I’m overjoyed that Kiki & Herb’s long out-of-print Christmas album, Do You Hear What We Hear?, is available for streaming on SoundCloud. Featuring holiday classics like “Frosty the Snowman” mixed in with the usual Kiki & Herb fare like “Running Up that Hill” and a medley made up of Mary J. Blige’s “Deep Inside” and Tori Amos’ “Crucify,” it’s a nice alternative to, say, Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped Up in Red. Basically, I’d like to crawl inside these sounds, have them squeeze me until I think I’ll die, and then drip Crown Royal and ginger ale down my throat. A Christmas miracle! —Tyler Coates, Deputy Editor