Four Things to Look Forward to in the Next Four Weeks
Sometime after the champagne fog dissipated in early January, I made my yearly super basic resolutions. This year, I promised, I would go to bed earlier, not play chess after ten, and swear less often in front of my two-year old son (who now says “shit” whenever he drops something). I also promised to do stretches and ten minutes of meditation before hitting the desk so that I can be more pliable and focused in the morning. But now, so short into this New Year, I’ve already failed. The worst infraction against this resolution came when I stayed up until 4 AM to watch Klay Thompson return to the Warriors and played at least three hours of chess while waiting for the game to begin – which caused extreme neck pain from bending over my phone. Instead of lamenting the death of my better self, I made a new resolution: focus on the future — on the people and things and events that make me excited about living on this doomed planet. From now on, I will invest more energy in the things that are worth getting excited about. Anticipation, it’s one hell of a drug.
Julius Eastman at the New York Philharmonic
February 3 & 5, 2021
The New York Philharmonic have given this season’s most exciting concert the most boring name imaginable: “Constanzo Sings Berlioz” does in fact feature the countertenor Anthony Roth Constanzo singing Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été, but the program’s real highlights for anyone born after 1940 are Gregory Spear’s setting of Tracy K. Smith poems and the professional debut of Julius Eastman’s only (surviving) symphonic composition. Symphony No. II, The Faithful Friend: The Lover Friend’s Love for the Beloved is Eastman’s final large-scale composition and features an unusual orchestration of flutes, oboes, English horns, bass clarinets, contrabass clarinets, bassoons, contrabassoons, trombones, tubas, strings, and a ton of timpani (and I mean a ton).
The piece with the arabesque name and complex instrumentation addresses the intricacies of Eastman’s relationship with the poet R. Nemo Hill. Like all relationships, this one begins with a pronouncement of undying love and is followed by the climax of Eastman and Hill’s “sexual union” in music. The piece then descends into the loose ends of their failed relationship, before ending with the firm belief that love, despite all, transcends everything. For Eastman, spiritual and sexual ecstasy are two faces of the same coin, and this newly discovered piece promises to deliver on Eastman’s personal blend of minimalism and his exploration of his self in compositions. The Eastman revival is already a couple of years old, but this particular gem promises to show us a wider breadth of his genius.
The Super Bowl Halftime Show
February 13, 2022
What could be more delightful than the Super Bowl’s cringeworthy halftime show? There have been many memorable-terrible moments — immediate nominees include Maroon 5’s Adam Levine flashing his nipple in 2019, Fergie singing “Sweet Child of Mine” in 2011, Aerosmith and Friends (i.e., Britney Spears, NSync, Nelly & Mary J. Blige) “walking this way” in 2001, or Madonna and LMFAO doing God knows what in 2012. Even when the event is non-controversially good (see Prince’s marching band-infused “Baby, I’m a Star,” “Proud Mary,” and “All Along the Watchtower” medley in 2007), the bombast and awkward choreographies are such a weird fit for a game where grown men bash into one another in pursuit of an eggplant-shaped trophy. This year, the event feels safely good, which is a category of cringe on its own. What will the rap nobility of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar deliver for Super Bowl 56? Hopefully a few snippets of Lamar’s rumored new album. This alone will make a walk down Death Row memory lane worthwhile. But what will be the real cringe moment? You have to watch to find out.
Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au
February 11 (Giramondo) February 15 (New Directions), February 23 (Fitzcarraldo Editions), 2022
Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au is a much quieter thing to look forward to. The inaugural winner of The Novel Prize, a new biennial award established by the publishing houses Fitzcarraldo Editions (UK), Giramondo (Australia), and New Directions (USA), is quiet and crisp like a clear winter morning when snow feels like a possibility despite your app’s suggesting sunshine. The book relates the journey of the narrator, a woman in her twenties (?), and her mother who visit Japan in the autumn. On this fictional trip, the two women discuss art and their rooms and the weather, which might be boring if it weren’t for Au’s svelte sentences and hypnotic sense of rhythm. Almost imperceptibly, the tale becomes more complex and the reader learns about the mother’s family history in Hong Kong and the narrator’s own formative experiences in Australia. What begins simply ends in uncertainty — and that’s already spoiler enough. Technically, I can’t really anticipate the release of Cold Enough for Snow since I’ve already read a galley, but I still highly recommend the sense of calm it delivers. Light a scented candle and feel yourself transported to a world of melancholy and dissolving identity.
Keep checking back for when
Over the past two years, we’ve all doom scrolled enough for a lifetime. This is one of the many reasons why I’m excited that 032c.com will be retiring the infinite scroll of the website’s current iteration. We’ll be launching a new website soon, so keep checking back here to discover its launch, but right now I’d like to take this opportunity to say a few words about the old website (the one you are still reading) before it goes the way of the angels. (It’s always important to talk about your feelings before it’s too late.)
Dear Infinite Scroll,
Some may have said your various fonts and repeating images were ugly and disorienting, but to me you were always a dependable friend full of surprises and new discoveries. At times, you were difficult to grasp or purposefully obfuscating, but I always knew you were chaotic good and not chaotic evil. I will miss the mystifying logic of your “deeper” suggestions as well as the way the logo felt like it was getting ready for a race while the next page loaded. I’m sad to see you go but am grateful for the time we had together and take pleasure in knowing you’ll always be there for me on archive.org’s Wayback Machine. Farewell, my friend, but it’s time to make way for the future.