Modest Mouse, the Lonely Island, Lighting Cues and More: Today’s Recommended Reading

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Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘Net are doing, too. Today, there’s an article about finding new ways to preserve theatrical lighting design from specific performances, a glowing ode to The Lonely Island, a list of 20 long drives you can take while listening to Modest Mouse’s 20-year-old album about a long drive, and more.

In the Atlantic , Adienne Lafrance writes about attempts to figure out how to preserve the plans for lighting design in productions in the digital age, within an already mercurial and ephemeral art form. She speaks with Doug Reside, the theater curator for the New York Public Library, who says:

“Theater is an art form that’s really hard to pin down. It’s not like literature or poetry where you have the thing on the page. All we really have are the traces of the historical event that took place in a particular theater, in a particular run…Lighting design is the thing that’s hardest to understand from historical documents. If you look at a set design, you get a sense of what that set looks like … and the same is true for a costume bible. But with lighting, the photographs certainly don’t capture the dynamic lighting—and they also frequently don’t capture what the lighting looked like.”

Following the raucously funny trailer for the Lonely Island movie — Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping — Fran Hoepfner writes for Jezebel about the history of the anti-cultural import of the Lonely Island’s sheer goofiness, and the history of her own fandom:

Perhaps I’m so fond of The Lonely Island because they were sincere when I still loved things wholly and sincerely. They were stupid when I was stupid. The bulk of their material could be qualified as parody, I suppose, but there’s nothing tongue-in-cheek. There’s nothing snide… I don’t want to write The Lonely Island off as never saying anything with their work—they’ve been occasionally political—but they were always fundamentally about jokes and gags and pranks. They’re middle schoolers in adult bodies. They’re the three friends from Berkley, just trying to make each other laugh. So much of their material is this male-oriented, dick-based, body fluid, people-getting-into-fist-fights-and-ugly-crying type of comedy. They know this. They don’t think they’re writing Louie or Veep. They think they’re writing their 100th digital short about sucking their own dicks.

Modest Mouse’s This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About turns 20 tomorrow. In honor of the band’s first album, Pitchfork has given you something to not really think about, enabling a good drive with nothing to think about: a list of drives that’d be particularly perfect if accompanied by This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About. Here’s Los Angeles, Calif., to Santa Barbara, Calif.:

If you make the venture out west, some people might shade you for selling out to the palm tree scene — but who can blame you, given how gorgeous SoCal drives are? The journey from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, where Mediterranean-style arches and azure beaches reign, is brief and especially majestic. This drive feasibly could have been in Brock’s mind when he crooned of “better views” and “close relaxing sounds” on “Beachside Property,” but we can’t imagine him having spent a lot of time in Santa Barbara by 1996, given his upbringing across Montana, Oregon, and Washington, and formative years on the east coast.

An interesting piece — about allegations of an art project’s disregard for the very place it uses to aim its critique at America’s economic imbalance — was published today in the Detroit Free Press. Artist Ryan Mendoza had a whole abandoned house moved from Detroit to be displayed as what he purports to be socially aware art in Rotterdam. However, he reportedly left a mess behind:

The project ignited a heated debate about whether it was a meaningful artistic statement that would draw attention to the city’s struggles or just another example of so-called ruin porn — the exploitation and glamorization of the city’s decay. But critical arguments and polemics at 10,000 feet are one thing. The reality on the ground is something else entirely…Six months after artist Ryan Mendoza’s team finished stripping the facade off a two-story house near 8 Mile and Livernois — and assured neighbors the rest of it would be demolished immediately — the naked shell of the home still stands in the middle of a healthy block. It’s a jumble of urban decay, rubble, debris, exposed beams and falling plaster.