I have recently begun to really enjoy Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (watch those e’s people). Interestingly, I have gotten into their song “Home” which is actually from 2009 and is included in this Tiny Desk Concert.
There is no Edward Sharpe. Sharpe is the alter ego of singer Alex Ebert. Ebert and Jade Castrinos form the core of this expansive ensemble. There are ten people in the band making this the largest (and judging from their appearance, smelliest) Tiny Desk Concert to happen yet. There are a few guitars, accordion, bongos, drums, keyboards and lots and lots of singing
Everyone seems very happy in the band, especially Castrinos, whose bliss is either delightful or disturbing to watch here.
“Janglin'” opens with the whole lot of them bopping along to the janglin song. Alex Ebert has a folky, husky voice. There’s lots of shouted “heys” and a fun, nearly-bass vocal section where they all sing “Mag-ne-tic-zeros.” “Home” is a wonderful song with a catchy whistle and a fun horn section. The catchiness of the chorus is undeniable. And this live version is infectious. The final song, “40 Day Daydream” is a big rambling piece. There’s a moment near the end that allows Ebert to sing unaccompanied and you can hear that his voice is quite nice.
I always enjoy seeing performers having fun and it’s clear that these Zeros are doing just that.
[READ: January 3, 2014] Judy Blume and Lena Dunham In Conversation
I considered the idea of writing only about tiny books in February. (I have a number of tiny books that have come along recently and I thought February would be a good time to read them all). Of course, it’s already the 11th, so there goes that. But I can still do some, right?
So this little book (6.5 x 4.5 inches, 77 pages) is the full (and enhanced) interview with Judy Blume and Lena Dunham. The excerpted version appeared in the January 2014 issue of The Believer. For this book we have the full interview (I assume) and the authors were given a chance to add comments to the interview afterward.
What we get here is Dunham, more or less a fangirl of Judy Blume, talking to her idol. But Dunham is not just fawning, she is direct and inquisitive and they seem to hit it off immediately, which makes for a great interview. Blume talks about her phobias (thunder, loud noises). And their fear of the blank page. And we also learn of Blume’s writing and daily routines (which are very different from Dunham’s).
My favorite part was hearing about Blume as a kid making up books and doing “book reports” on them in class. She never got caught and always got As.
Dunham admits to being a precocious reader–she read Lolita at age nine because she knew it was an “adult” book–although she admits she didn’t get it at all. (Since I posted about Dunham just the other day I have a bit more insight into her and this seems entirely plausible). She also read Blume’s teenage books when she was younger than intended. Blume says there was no YA or tween category then, and that most of her books are pre-teen. But she is delighted that Dunham read those books so young. She feels that children should read whatever they want. If they have questions they’ll ask, if they don’t ask it probably went over their heads.
They talk about Summer Sisters, a book I don’t know at all, and young women exploring their sexuality. Dunham says that at sleepovers when she was a teen, girls would explore their sexuality with each other–that’s what the code “sleepover” meant–and she was made uncomfortable by this corrosion of their safe, friend space. Blume is totally surprised that girls do this now since it was so secretive when she was younger. And both wish there was more heavy petting and dry humping than actual contact for kids–Blume says “it’s very satisfying and not as scary.”
This interview is very enjoyable and gave me more respect for Dunham and more appreciation for Blume. I’ve always liked Judy Blume (I mean, who doesn’t), although since I was never a girl, I don’t think I read her as much as I might have. I feel like I read Are You There, God, but maybe it’s just so iconic that I know it without having read it. Clark has just started getting into the Fudge books, so maybe there will be a Blume Renaissance in our house.