Lena Dunham

What We're Loving: Apologies, Honesty, Logging Towns, Not Using Your Hands

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison makes up with an old friend, Jonda Robinson might be the voice of her generation, Molly Jakkamsetti sleeps with the lights on, and Ryan Callahan catches an international disease. WEEZER-2014Imagine one of your favorite friends. Got one? Ok, good.

Now, imagine that you first became friends like 15-20 years ago. You used to hang out all the time, you’d introduce them to your friends, you two were inseparable. It seemed like they just got you. Still there?

Next, picture that like ten years ago, this friend started acting really weird. They began to hang out with a different crowd, acted differently, and just seemed like they were more interested in their new friends than you. Imagine that feeling of weirdness, of betrayal.

Lastly, visualize this friend showing up this week, back to being the cool friend that you remember from twenty years ago. HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE? Years after you’d written them out of your life, because of choices they made, they came back with something that said they’re sorry and that they understand the mistakes they’ve made. Not only would you be able to enjoy their current company, but you’d be able to look back on all of the other memories you shared over the years in a completely different light.

This is my relationship with Weezer. If your story with them is anything like what I’ve just described, then you should check out their new album Everything Will Be Alright In The End. It’s not Pinkerton or Blue, but it’s still really good, mainly because Rivers Cuomo spends the first half of the album apologizing. Don’t believe me? Start with “Back to the Shack” and enjoy them again. - David Allison

urlIf I’m being honest, the thing I’ve been loving since we stepped into the month of October is candy corn. I can’t explain it, especially considering all the other superior Halloween candies out there (shout out to Reese’s Pumpkins), but those tri-colored triangles have become my drug of choice lately, and my local Walgreens is my dealer. I don’t want to make this whole thing about candy, though, so I’ll tell you about the book I’ve been reading while feeding my addiction this week, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl.

The book is a work of nonfiction consisting of essays Dunham’s written about different areas of her life in an effort to “tell you what she’s ‘learned,’” as the tagline reads. While I’m not a fan of everything she does, I respect her work, and I’m slightly fascinated by the fact that we are so similar. For example: she was born in 1986, and so was I; she created, writes, and stars in her own popular show on HBO, Girls, while I created a Tumblr where I post my own stories that are popular with my best friend; she is dating Jack Antonoff, lead guitarist for Fun., and I have listened to Fun. on more than one occasion. I know, right--it’s crazy!

Lena brings the same raw honesty to her book that she incorporates into her work on Girls, so if you’re a fan of the series you’ll enjoy her essays. While in life she may have always been scared of everything (see her essay entitled “Therapy & Me”), in her writing and performing she comes across as unafraid and unapologetic for who she is and the the things she has to share. I appreciate that about her, and I thank her for inspiring me to give myself permission to do the same. - Jonda Robinson

638cde9b3752a092c559747fcf184a27Twin Peaks is coming back, and I’m not talking about the Hooters-rip off restaurant! Can you tell I’m excited?! I remember watching the original, yes in 1990. Boy was I a fan. I bought the Secret Diary of Laura Palmer. I had the soundtrack on a cassette tape. I even tried to tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue (that’s from season one). I was all in.

I liked the goofy characters, especially FBI special Agent Dale Cooper, played by Kyle Machlachlan. Something about his straight laced persona offset by his weird fascination with coffee and jelly donuts… oh I’m sorry what was I talking about? Oh yes, the show, of course. I can’t talk about it without a minor spoiler alert- the evil Killer BOB. (If you have to ask why he is called Killer Bob, well that’s the spoiler). That character still freaks me out. There is one scene where he just sits at the edge of Laura’s bed, doesn’t say anything, he just sits there. DAMN! Now I have to sleep with the lights on.

There’s an argument to be made that I only liked the show because I was a moody teenager who felt like “no one understands me and I want to live in this imaginary world in the Pacific Northwest with dancing midgets.” Yeah, that could be true. To test this theory I went back and rewatched the pilot, and I can report my adult self enjoyed it. It’s a nighttime soap opera for sure, with people cheating on their spouses and trying to screw over business rivals. But with a cop crying at the crime scene and a lady wearing an eyepatch, yelling about hanging drapes, I laughed at the weirdness of it all. I hope the new episodes on Showtime live up to the hype. Mark Frost and David Lynch, I’m thrilled to see what you produce. - Molly Jakkamsetti

Unnews_soccer_virusI have a confession to make. Over the summer I was exposed to a virus from a foreign land. The past few months the virus has grown stronger, as have the symptoms: increased heart rate, sore throat, and chills. Now the virus has taken over. I am highly contagious, and find myself unable to leave the house. Obviously the virus I'm talking about is soccer fever. Did you think I was talking about Ebola? Seriously? It would be in rather poor taste to make Ebola jokes in this town at this time. People are dying.

Unlike Ebola, soccer fever has never killed anyone, as far as I know. (Full disclosure: I've only been paying attention to soccer for a few months. My knowledge is limited.) It has, however, led to the occasional drunken fistful or brawl or riot. Luckily, I watch soccer alone, or with my cat. And she's very small and easily beaten in a fight.

Soccer fever tends to strike me every four years, coincidentally in the months during and immediately after the World Cup. The symptoms usually fade by football season, but this year, thanks to gross administrative incompetence and my dawning realization that men who make millions of dollars to commit violence might not limit that violence to the playing field, I can't have any fun watching the NFL. So soccer it is.

Fun fact: in the rest of the world, what we call "soccer" is called "football."

Follow up fun fact: If you did not know that already, you are too young to read this grown up comedy website.

Thanks to NBC Sports and beIN sports, I'm able to watch or stream many games from the Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A. Apparently these are very important leagues, each with their own stars, styles, and rivalries. As a novice, I really don't know what's going on half the time. I just know that I like watching the pretty goals, and the game doesn't stop every three minutes because someone has a serious head injury. - Ryan Callahan

What We're Loving: Man-Phone Love, The 1st Amendment, Self-Fulfillment, Reconfigured Shakespeare, and Eternal Presidents

dch_what we're loving_02_14_2014Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week Ashley Bright becomes a better person,  David Allison demands that you drop everything, Julia Cotton ponders what it means to be an adult, Nick Scott suggests a new take on a classic play, and Ryan Callahan takes a trip above the 38th parallel.

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I will admit that before I saw Her, the plot did not at all interest me. But with the lure of an afternoon movie with an old friend and the cushion of the name Spike Jonze, I went to see it. And I'm grateful that I did. Some may call it hyperbole to say things like, "it changed me" or "it made me a better person" to describe a movie experience, and maybe it is. But this movie certainly stuck to my ribs. About halfway through watching it, I thought to myself that it was one of my new favorites. I didn't care about the plot or how it ended; it was beautiful and that was enough. Afterward, I was comforted to hear my friend express all of the goofy thoughts that I was having. We were both in great moods and spouting off nutty phrases like how we felt more alive and refreshed. Her made me think about how I experience the world and the people in it. Our encounters make us who we are. If you're not into gorgeous cinematography or all of the hippy dippy mumbo jumbo I threw up above, there's a sassy video game character that'll make you laugh enough to make watching Her worthwhile. - Ashley Bright

imagesThis past week, you might’ve heard about a stunt in LA known as Dumb Starbucks.  Someone went through and created a carbon copy of a Starbucks, complete with the exact same drinks options, sizing, signage, everything.  The only difference?  They put the word “dumb” in front of every word so that they would be protected under the laws of parody.  It was pretty great. When I first heard about it, I just thought it was a fun idea.  Then, news quickly broke that it was perpetrated by Nathan Fielder.  Fielder was the mastermind of Nathan for You, one of my favorite shows of last year and created Dumb Starbucks for a segment we’ll see in season two.  If you haven’t checked out the first season of Nathan for You, then drop everything you have planned this evening (Unless you’re going to a show at the Dallas Comedy House!) and check it out for free on Comedy Central’s website. Nathan For You takes the standard concept of highlighting a struggling small business and bringing in a savior to fix everything, and puts a comedic twist on it.  Fielder’s ideas are the perfect combination of absurd, but still kinda sorta not bad and his commitment to them is astounding. - David Allison

judd-apatow-hints-at-girls-season-3-renewalContrary to what you may read or hear about HBO’s Girls, it is not a show about Lena Dunham walking around naked in the name of “girl power”. To me, it’s a show about four “girls” trying to understand what it means to be an adult. Lena is indeed sometimes naked, but I never found it an effort to tackle the whole body image issue as much as an artistic way to express the raw vulnerability that comes with youth and inexperience. I relate to this show because, I, even as a 32-year-old mother of two, always feel like I’m trying to know how to be a grown up. I’ve never felt like I’ve ever made the full adult transformation. In this series about early-20-somethings, I see a lot of late-20-early-30-something Julia.

In the pilot, we meet 24-year-old Hannah (Lena Dunham) living the life I assumed I would be living right out of college: NYC apartment with best friend. Internship that will surely lead to the dream career. Frequent sex with a dude who could have sex with ANYONE, but chooses to have sex with me. Parties with a cool friend who has a british accent. You know-- being a young adult. It is also in this pilot, however, that Hannah’s parents hit her with the all too familiar phrase of impetus: “We are cutting you off.” That phrase that makes one realize that all of these years you thought you were ascending towards becoming a human being all on your own, you’ve actually been dangling from an invisible umbilical cord yet to be severed. Sure being able to financially support yourself is the most obvious thing we have to deal with, but adulthood cannot be summed up to paying bills. Throughout the series, we watch Hannah and her friends try to understand what life is when you are in charge of yourself for-realzies. Along the way, they irrationally destroy relationships, fumble with career goals, mishandle health issues, “inappropriately” cope with death, and of course, deal with boys. "Another Man’s Trash" (S2) is probably my favorite episode because Hannah gets a look at what she thought adulthood meant only to realize how much her own self fulfillment is important to her.

In the level 5 class I TA at DCH, a student brought up that he was watching shows and realized that there are seasoned performers who sometimes don’t do all of the things that he’s been taught in class. He then rationalized, “... everyone is always learning, I guess.” There is no true adult transformation that happens. You don’t graduate college and *poof* get, maintain and excel at a job. You don’t have a baby and *poof* know all it takes to be a parent. You don’t go through an improv training program, perform in troupes and *poof* never an improv blunder make. This show presents the idea that the real goal is not simply to be an adult, but more to become a complete person, and that that is an ongoing effort. Perhaps understanding that concept... is what makes you an adult. - Julia Cotton

51zhJDXzNXLThis week I started making plans to see one of my top five favorite authors, Christopher Moore, speak on his new book, The Serpent of Venice, when it releases in April. The Serpent of Venice is the sequel to what is generally agreed as Moore's best work, Fool, which I am making my "What We're Loving" pick for this week. Every other book Moore writes is a work of historical fantasy. He famously filled in the lost years of Jesus Christ's life in Lamb and more recently revealed what was "really" happening behind the scenes in the late 1800's French art scene in Sacre Bleu. With Fool, Moore takes readers in the world of King Lear, Shakespeare's famous king that is slowly losing his mind, and tells the story from the perspective of King Lear's court jester, Pocket. The book is incredibly well-researched, and Moore expertly blends in other Shakespeare stories and characters. The book is Moore firing on all cylinders: historical references, literature references, vivid characters, and emotional core (Pocket is a jester because he had a terrible life), and dick jokes. So many dick jokes. Also, there are fuck-stockings, which were turned into a real-life product for purchase on his website. - Nick Scott 

Pyongyang-CoverI moved this week. One of the many joys of moving from one apartment to a slightly larger apartment in the same complex is rediscovering favorite but forgotten books, or books that I couldn't live without but haven't read, or books that I had no idea that I owned. Okay, packing and unpacking the books was the only joy of moving. Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea is a graphic novel from 2005 by Québécois illustrator Guy Delisle, and one of those favorite but forgotten books. I picked up Pyongyang years ago at Comic-Con, based entirely on its cover and subject matter. I am fascinated by all things North Korean. That that a country that sounds like the home of a supervillian from a rejected Matt Helm script commands so much power on the world stage, that such a county even exists, fills me with a combination of joy and terror. This book came about after Delisle traveled to North Korea to supervise an animation project  for a French television station. From the moment he steps off the plane and into an airport so dark that he can't see his guide's face (there is barely any light in North Korea, and no bulbs over 40 watts,) Delisle is brisked away to "admire" the highest point in the city, a 22 meter bronze statue of Kim il-Sung, Hero of the People, Father of the Nation, and, despite being dead for 20 years,  Eternal President for Life. From there, the absurdities and contradictions pile on for Delisle: the mandatory photos of Kim il-Sung and Kim Jung-il in every room on every floor of every building, the mandatory Kim Il-Sung pins every citizen is required to wear, the inability to go anywhere without a guide or translator, the ban on outsiders taking pictures of garbage, which would damage the image of North Korea as the most beautiful place on Earth. Pyongyang is a perfect example of truth in comedy. Delisle doesn't have to make any wacky choices, or tell silly jokes, or create bizarre situations. He just has to be present and observe.  The book could have easily been preachy or pandering, but Delisle's touch makes the absurdities of life in the most isolated country in the world all the more amusing, and the atrocities and oppression that exist right beneath the surface all the more chilling. - Ryan Callahan