Friday Five for November 15, 2019

Kim Gordon photographed by Natalia Mantini. 

It’s Friday again. Time for Friday Five.

1. Listening No Home Record by Kim Gordon My mind has been blown (a la the 2016 American political dramedy BrainDead, which is worth a re-watch) by Kim Gordon’s solo debut. That’s right. Solo debut. After 38 years of making music, Kim Gordon just dropped her solo debut and it’s nothing you could possibly expect and brilliant. I have read some reviews and interviews, because this is a rabbit hole that must be followed, and it sounds like neither Gordon nor her co-producer expected the album to turn out quite like this. And what is “this?” Trap banger, avant rap, bluesy rock, folk opus . . . no matter the style, these are songs that you want to listen to on your bike commute because they scream “get out of my fucking way.”

2. ReadingBeing busy is killing our ability to think creatively by Derek Beres According to “research,” being able to switch between focus and daydreaming is an important skill that’s reduced by our insufferable busyness. The information overload we receive in current society keeps us mired in noise, which saps us of not only willpower (of which we have a limited store) but creativity as well. What seems to be lost in being “connected” is really irreplaceable time gained to focus on projects. Without that time, Cal Newport, author of Deep Work says, you’re in danger of rewiring your neural patterns for distraction. Eek.

3. ReadingThe Awkward Act of Self-Assessment by Standing Acrobatics This extremely useful article for acrobats and aerialists takes a look at self-assessment, which is essentially weighing your ability to do something against the risks involved in failure. Since your ability to accurately judge those two components gets better with experience, Standing Acrobatics  asks how can someone realistically be asked to accurately assess something they have no experience with or knowledge of? Phone multiple friends and coaches, folks. The article talks through the P.R.E.P. method of self-assessment. Learn it, live it, love it.

4. ReadingBroadway’s Dirty Secret by Helen Lewis In The Atlantic article, Helen Lewis  discusses how much American commercial theater relies on European state funding for the research and development of shows. Directors can take artistic risks under the safety net of state subsidies–running workshops and rehearsed readings, or stage short runs to test the public appetite for a show–and when those risks pan out, Broadway producers can step in. With limited residency opportunities for circus artists in the US, I wonder if this model is a viable route for bringing contemporary circus to larger US audiences.

5. WatchingI Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike by Mary Cain At 17, Mary Cain was the fastest girl in a generation and the youngest American track and field athlete to make a World Championships team. As a 7th grader, Cain ran a mile in 5:03 and by the time she was a high school sophomore, she ran the 1,500 meters in 4:11. That’s hella fast, ya’ll. Her high school track coach didn’t know how to coach her properly, so when Nike called, she joined a legendary coach training a team of fellow track stars to see how far she could go. As a coach, my job is to help athletes to achieve things they cannot accomplish on their own, to push them past what they thought was possible. Students need to be vulnerable, to embrace the unknown, to do things that they might not understand or want to do. They have to trust me and to have that trust betrayed, like Cain discusses in this video, must be devastating. Eight other athletes corroborate Cain’s allegations of abuse, according to Sports Illustrated.

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