Friday, December 9, 2016

December status update: where we've been, where we're going (+ my call to the Ben Dixon show)

my new Twitter header and all-around favorite picture at the moment

With the election behind us (but oh, not really) and Christmas on the horizon, this seems like a good moment to pause, take stock, and look both forward and backward. I have some big projects coming up and others that I've just completed, which I'll get to in a moment.

First of all, now that they've been bumped off the front page, let me take one more opportunity to point you toward my Favorites series that wrapped up in early November (a great way to share it is to retweet my tweet-storm thread featuring a picture, link, and line for each one). It began way back in 2012 and hadn't even reached the halfway point this fall but I resolved to finally plow through it by posting an entry every day beginning in mid-September. The end result is a hundred entries on the films that move me, approached in as personal, casual, yet thoughtful a manner as I could manage. Hopefully, they encourage you to check out some the great films they cover. I've also posted a couple Fandor videos on older films (Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property and Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench) related to the new releases The Birth of a Nation and La La Land (and if you like them, please share them - the Boston one in particular has gotten a disappointing number of views, unfortunately). Incidentally, Fandor has adopted a cool new format which displays my previous work quite nicely. In November I also posted my first political commentary on this blog in years (mostly in the form of Election Night tweets) and shared a series of podcasts I've appeared on.

So what's upcoming? Having resumed my Favorites series and Fandor video essays after abandoning them in the spring, two endeavors remain. The first, my numerous YouTube/Vimeo series (including both my Citizen Kane study and the various ongoing series) will have to wait until 2017 to resume - I'm not ready to jump back in yet (although I did post one stray video there last month which I worked very hard on, for Ousmane Sembene's Black Girl). The second, my weekly TV coverage, is ready to return but in a slightly different format for the moment. Several months ago, I finished watching Jane Campion's short mystery series Top of the Lake, writing long reviews of each episode along the way (it's a viewing diary covering my reaction as it unfolds, unaware of what will happen next - just as with The Prisoner - whose concluding entry I'll also be posting soon - and True Detective). The introductory entry will go up on Wednesday, and then entries will go up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, wrapping up inside December. Aside from Showtime's 2017 Twin Peaks, this will be the last time I cover individual episodes of a TV show in such depth. From now on, I intend to write shorter capsules, similar to the format of my Favorite series, as I'll be covering series with dozens, even hundreds of episodes in the coming years. I've already begun some of that work, but won't publish any given series until all the episodes have been completed. No more getting ahead of myself!

And before I get to the final item, just wanted to insert a little teaser: stay tuned for lots of Twin Peaks material in the new year. That kind of goes without saying, given the new episodes but even before that I am going to share a massive series of character studies I've been preparing for months, plus - hopefully - an episode guide I can publish concurrently with any rerun Showtime decides to air before the new premiere. As early as New Year's Day, I may be in a position to promise nonstop Twin Peaks content every single day as we count down to that relaunch.

Finally, some other business to take care of with this entry: I always like to link up to whatever else I'm doing online, including appearances on podcast. Usually this is something Twin Peaks- or occasionally film-related, but last month I actually called into a YouTube political podcast for a change. This political season I've become a big fan of The Benjamin Dixon Show, a left-wing live talk show (which I usually download to listen to on my phone as a podcast) that invites listeners to call in with the "name, comment, and/or question." Ben's commentary is fantastic because he takes clear stands without falling into the "can't criticize my own side" trap. With that in mind, I called in to mention something that had been bugging me - the tendency of a handful of leftists to dismiss protests of Donald Trump by employing right-wing talking points. This ended up launching Ben into a great discussion of his own, about conspiracy theories (especially those involving George Soros) and the need to balance between having standards and taking available opportunities. Hopefully I can call again at some point - if anything, I'm only going to have more to say about politics in the coming months and years though I don't suspect a whole lot of it will find its way onto this blog (tune in on Twitter if that's your thing).

Here's the full show (if you want to jump to my comment at 33:13, follow this link)



Buckle up, and let's extract what relief - and contemplation, and action - we can in 2017, in all areas.

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