Journalist. Editor. The anesthetic wearing off.
stv [at] stvanairsdale [dot] com
"She says, ‘But I know a man whose heart is restless;
he’s never home and he’s never gone.
And he had some good things, but he lost them—
like everything he ever set his heart upon.’”
—“O! Grace,” Jason Molina
Jason Molina’s death wiped me out. Pretty much every day since he succumbed to alcoholism a year ago, I’ve had a song of his close-by, often involuntarily. They loop in my head. I’ve awoken to “Back on Top” and “The Old Black Hen” and “The Harvest Law,” among many others. I’ve swayed to the opening riff of “Blue Chicago Moon” again and again, often without even hearing it, often in the same place: I walk up to my desk a few minutes before 9 a.m. and it just cues up by some memory element I can’t place. I look at the black lid of my coffee cup and suddenly there’s music. “Blue Factory Flame” joins it some days. The meandering 4/4, the stalking guitar, the sinewy rhythms. Paralyzed by the emptiness.
He sings about being Sick. You get it. Anyone who drinks or has drunk or wants to not drink any more or has seen Sickness in someone they love knows what he means. Anyone who recognizes the soul lost amid those familiar ghosts in “Nashville Moon” or that reflective resistance of “Ring the Bell” or the inner world unraveling to oblivion throughout the entire Josephine album—Molina’s ravishing, heartbreaking finale—knows Sickness.
If you’ve never heard a Jason Molina song, just start anywhere. But mostly start with Sickness. Start with Addiction. Start with the scariest influence you can imagine. Something three or four times your size exhaling a miasma of black vapor over your head and curling around your ears and directing you with febrile vigor and promising a future that it won’t show you even as it teases it as always, always being just around the corner.
It’s not around the corner. Sickness lured Molina and killed him. I heard its song before we lost him, and I hear it still with every indelible note Molina played, every morning, every day. And when the notes dissolve to silence, like they have in the moment I write this, with the thousandth listen to “Hold On Magnolia” subsumed by the depraved welter of St. Patrick’s Day festivities on the street outside, I wonder if Sickness observes its conquests the way we observe its claims.
In the morning, in the quiet, occasionally in its embrace, I wonder if Sickness awakens to horrors of its own. I wonder if it knows will never make art or create anything, but instead affix itself to ideas and work and products, opting to ravage the people and the systems responsible for them. Sickness must know its cruel means and mysteries will captivate us like those of any killer, and we’ll reel from its every tragedy. It must know that its anniversaries and casualties will stack up, and we’ll contextualize them by legacy and memory.
But we must also know that even the most romanticized legacies of Sickness are, inherently, vast and nihilistic binges. We must know that Sickness claiming someone like Jason Molina represents a death for itself as well—that every explanation or goodbye it denies is a triumph of nothing. As we recognize it in our lives and imagine its defeat, however incrementally and painfully, Sickness must know that there is no future in its ruin.
So many of us share Sickness. So many of us struggle amid its misfortunes. So many of us can help—if not ourselves, then others. A year after Molina died, I listen to and re-listen to and memorize every cue and tremor of what befell him. His songs yield greatness, which we honor today. They also yield clues and vertigo. I hear Jason Molina; now can he hear me? Where do we go from here? I’ll listen as long as it takes.
Happy birthday to George Michael, who is 50. He shares June 25 with George Orwell, who would be 110 if he were alive today. What else do they share, other than magnificent artistry? Ahem:
• “George Orwell” and “George Michael” are pseudonyms for men named Eric Blair and Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, respectively.
• Both Georges grew up with two sisters. Orwell had an older sister named Marjorie; Michael has an older sister named Melanie. Close enough.
• George Orwell’s most famous book is Nineteen Eighty-Four. George Michael’s breakthrough album with Wham!, Make it Big, was released in 1984.
From a press release:
Production has begun on NO STRANGER THAN LOVE,a quirky, romantic comedy starring Alison Brie (AMC’s “Mad Men,” NBC’s “Community”), Justin Chatwin (Showtime’s “Shameless”) and Colin Hanks (Showtime’s “Dexter,” “Orange County”). Nick Wernham will direct from a script by Steve Adams. The film is currently shooting in Toronto.
NO STRANGER THAN LOVEfollows Lucy Sherrington (Alison Brie), a heart-breakingly attractive high school art teacher in the small, secluded village of Spot Valley, where there is not a male in town who is not secretly or openly in love with her. And who can blame them? She is kind to everyone, and helplessly sympathetic, yet romantically she keeps them all at a polite distance…until tonight. Tonight she has agreed to a rendezvous with Clint Coburn (Colin Hanks), the married high school football coach who’s been on a lustful quest in Lucy’s direction for the last five years. Just as they are about to begin their affair, Clint disappears down a hole that opens up in Lucy’s living room floor. But this is not just any hole. It is an inter-dimensional, one-way hole of infinite darkness that leaves Clint stranded and floating in oblivion.
In this unpredictable love story, Lucy Sherrington must embark on a harrowing quest to rescue Clint Coburn and keep their love affair a secret, all the while avoiding a dark stranger in town, Rydell White (Justin Chatwin), who has one thing in mind: finding Clint Coburn.
On lobster throwing as the embodiment of the modern-day American dream.
NO LOBSTERS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS OSCAR BAIT.Christopher Rosen
I really don’t watch movies everSpent 10 minutes talking to Jesse Eisenberg about stuff. Not included: our asides about the Knicks and Marv Albert. (via 42inchtv) Christopher Rosen
Jason Molina, the leader and architect of the bands Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., has been on my mind a lot since news of his death emerged on March 18. He died a few days before that during a protracted hiatus from recording and touring. In 2011, fans, friends and peers helped raise money to support Molina’s long and ultimately unsuccessful recovery from alcoholism. I wish I had known then, and I wish I had contributed. I also wish I’d known how much his songs would possess me over the last month and a half, because I might have held off revisiting them for a while. As it stands, 45 days after Molina’s death, I cannot silence them.
HOW MANY LIVES COULD HAVE POSSSIBLY BEEN SAVED OR CRIMES SOLVED BY THE AGENTS OVER THE YEARS WHO HAD JOINED BECAUSE OF" DIE HARD ". This does’nt excuse any crime commited but sometimes one must take into account the totality of the individual. The epic moral sensibilty in the work of John McTiernan needs a voice once again . The culture cries out ! Who knows who or what his work will inspire ! So , it is with this that I call all who can be if help to possibly help -FREE JOHN MCTIERNAN. Prayers to St Patrick to Intercede .
"[Rob] Thomas is responsible for delivering not only a movie to his devout Veronica Mars following, but also the tokens customarily promised to Kickstarter backers for their various levels of largesse. At 9 this morning, that meant no fewer than 34,763 limited-edition t-shirts. It meant 17,919 DVDs of the finished film (plus Blu-ray copies for the 7,222 backers who have pledged $100 or more) and 8,092 Veronica Mars movie posters — 2,885 of which must be signed by the film’s cast, as ensured by Thomas. At least 967 backers at the $175 and $275 levels will receive the complete Veronica Mars TV series on DVD. The vast majority of these rewards must be designed, manufactured, packaged and shipped new to the organizers, who then must repackage and reship them (within the US only!), after various stages of customization, to their respective backers. […]
Looking at the figures and the estimated deadlines for delivery (most are concentrated around Thomas’ projected release date of February/March 2014, an astoundingly tight production schedule even for a film with whole-hearted studio backing), the obvious question is, “How can this be accomplished?”