Five reflections for you on February 28, 2021
Reflection 1: The movie Nomadland
WHEN I FIRST CAUGHT THE TRAILER FOR NOMADLAND, while still managing my psychological fallout related to COVID and quarantine and bank account monitoring, I said to myself, “Oh, hell no!” But then after considering the reviews my curiosity triumphed. Also, my fandom of Francis McDormand made it easy to acquiesce.
The movie is not what you think it is, namely a bummer ride. It is spacious, poetic, mindful of the way loss and heartbreak can forge our decisions—but not in a maudlin way. It’s also filled with miles and miles of natural beauty framing the horrors of locations like the interior of an Amazon fulfillment center. But juxtapositions like that are never rammed behind your eyeballs. Visuals are presented free of agenda, allowing your impressions to bloom in response. That experience alone makes the film unique—and yet it is so much more—so much less.
Nomadland is streaming right now on HULU. And it’s so worth the subscription, especially considering that the wildfire film The United States of America vs. Billie Holiday has just debuted. That film will rip your wig off (and heart out). I still can’t dislodge Andra Day’s Holiday from my inner vision or ear. She sings all of Holiday’s classics herself—and slays.
Reflection 2: my 2021 playlist on Spotify.
IN 1979 I LANDED A DREAM JOB when I convinced Bob Magoon, the owner of Honolulu’s best and biggest gay bar to hire me as a DJ. My one condition was that I only wanted to play rock and New Wave music and not be limited to the confining thud-thud of disco. I’d always loved disco—and I still do—but back then I wanted to mix genres with abandon. That to me was the real art of DJing. Anyone can blend a 120 BPM song into another 120 BPM song. But try blending Kate Bush into The Normal’s Warm Leatherette. I dare ya. Anyway, I was hired—but only for Monday nights, the slowest night in the club—but who cared? So began my love affair with mixing.
I cringe when I consider the content of some of the mixtapes (and then later mix-CDs) I’ve given to guys I was smitten with over the years. (Hello Brad!—remember the time we were listening to one of my tapes at your apartment—in bed—and my foot brushed against a petrified bologna sandwich you’d forgotten to remove from under your sheets? Pure romance!)
As you know, a mixtape can say—through sequenced songs—what it took Shakespeare months to compose in a sonnet. I guess we’ve all done that—although my mania for mixing increased as I grew older. At the height of my obsession, I had a room in my home devoted strictly to the thousands of vinyl records and CDs and every sort of stereo component in existence. My prized possession was my Pioneer DDJ-FLX6 mixer—that was the altar where the art happened—in how you configured a segue between songs. Segues are the equivalent of Buddhist bardos—mystery spaces where the alchemy of opposites merge.
Anyway, this is a longwinded way of saying I love sequencing and sharing music—and although I enjoy the convenience of Spotify I miss the ability to oversee the netherworld of The Segue. Each year on Spotify I gather together all of my favorite songs—starting from January 1 to New Year’s eve—and from just about every genre out there. Here is my new playlist for 2021—follow along and watch it grow.
Reflection 3: Adam Curtis’ Can’t Get You Out of My Head
I DID A LONG ZEITGEIST TREND REPORT on this documentary for the paying subscribers to WOODRUFF. But I want to make sure you add this to your ‘watch list’ regardless of having read my overview, so here’s another prod.
Fortunately, someone has uploaded the entire six-part documentary onto YouTube—but you never know how long that will last due to copyright shit. So your other option is the fantastic Thought Maybe site which houses all of Adam Curtis’ productions for the BBC. Why should you watch this? Because knowledge is power. And this latest effort from Curtis is all about power. But in ways that you never considered power. (And besides—how many more seasons of The Bachelor can you endure?)
There’s no easy way to capsulize what Curtis does, without writing volumes about his near-freakish approach to sound and visuals—complemented by his own deadpan narration that makes it feel like he’s talking directly into your brain holes. Strap yourself in for a one-in-a-million sojourn.
Reflection 4: the importance of the post-sex shower
“I think showering before sex is more important, to be honest. I don’t want no funky balls or coochie ruining my good time.” —Sofiya Alexandria
OMG. I CAN’T WAIT until this is an ‘issue’ again. What to do pre- or post-sex.
Reading this I was reminded of the key anatomical challenges between men and women’s plumbing. But then men have their own predicaments, with an appendage that’s always in the way—rubbing on things, bumping against edges, and ‘extending’ at the worst moments. (Why as a Catholic child did I always get an erection during mass on Sundays?)
The article also reminded me of how particular I am about pre-sex showering (and Waterpiking, flossing, brushing, and gargling—I know, so vanilla). I do miss the post-coital cigarette though. But that’s another reverie for another post.
Reflection 5: March 2021 Horoscopes for Moderns
ONE OF WOODRUFF’S most popular subscriber-only features.
Here’s a preview for those of you still wondering if you should join up for my prescient channelings thoughtfully prepared for creative adults (like yourself!)
There is tremendous pressure now to reconsider the influence of the media and how it shapes our cultural narrative. All cultures begin with a story—a unique vision, but it’s a story that’s always open to revision.
The recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius illuminated the perennial question: How do we generate (Jupiter) and sustain (Saturn) a system that benefits everyone equally in the human family (Aquarius)?
Poetically this a wonderful inquiry. But politically it threatens entrenched positions of power and influence. And so here we are again—working our way through an age-old struggle—but with the new impetus from last December’s Aquarian conjunction. Hint: With Aquarius, the people usually prevail.
With the last three signs of the Zodiac (Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces) churning with a wild mixture of influences, our individuality—our sense of the personal—can feel lost in the clamor of common needs and the politics that govern them.
This is evident in the government’s upcoming confrontation with Big Tech. Consider electronic media’s invasive enmeshment with our lives. What the fuck? In the last two decades the internet—acting as a universal nervous system—has invaded our homes (and bank accounts) across the globe. Who controls this arrangement? And why has it been commodified to the point where only three or four gargantuan corporations operate, monitor, and censor it? Stay tuned for Pluto’s ingress into Aquarius in 2023 and the monumental antitrust challenges that will follow.
The rub here is the planet Uranus’ continuing transit through Taurus, turning the giant financial markets into casinos and unleashing rogue mutations like Bitcoin and Dogecoin—vaper tender that’s value is determined by the complexity of the blockchain that protects it. Blockchain? What the hell?
Also, that same Uranus transit in Taurus keeps twanging the instinctive drives that control our basic need for security which, amidst COVID, is still operating on red alert.
How is this impacting you personally? Read on: