Cat Fight This Feeling: I watch GLOW

So Netflix made a show about women's wrestling in the 1980s and I am hard-pressed to imagine a concept which would seem, on its face, more custom-made for me. But then I watched the show. So, okay, I watched the whole season (ten episodes, hovering just over thirty minutes each), I was interested enough to want to know what it would do. Let me try to gesture at what really did not work, and also what I enjoyed. Vague spoilers.I love the look of the thing. The first episode's opening credits, … [Read more...]

Ignatius After Dark: And Other Bright Ideas from the Sick Pilgrim Conference

Last week I headed to sunny South Bend, IN for "Trying to Say 'God': Re-enchanting Catholic literature." Its official sponsor was "the University of Notre Dame's Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts" but a bunch of the organizers were people from the Sick Pilgrim blog/community and that sounds cooler. Anyway, my notes:# Notre Dame in summer is ridiculously lush. I swear whoever planted this rambling campus made it a project to get every kind of tree and just jam them right up next … [Read more...]

If We Shadows Have Offended: I read “If We Were Villains”

So you don't have to!No, this trashy novel by M.L. Rio, set at an exclusive arts conservatory where the Shakespeare-obsessed fourth-year students probably kill a dude, could be cheaply summarized as, "The Secret History, but dumb." That's not even necessarily a criticism--lots of smart books are painfully dumb, and some dumb books are unexpectedly smart. I found myself enjoying this book and finding unexpected pleasures in it. It's frustrating and I think for most readers its flaws … [Read more...]

From Girlhood to Sublimity: Watching “The Fits” Again

It is the last dream of children: to be forever untouched.--Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name The AFI Silver theater in Silver Spring is doing this terrific series where they feature movies from the past year that you might have missed. I believe The Witch is later this week and yes, go see The Vvitch, it's vvonderful. (It's vvreally sad!) But what I saw in this series was The Fits, Anna Rose Holmer's extraordinary feature debut. It was the best movie I saw last year and now that … [Read more...]

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids: Three short horror movie reviews

A little of everything here.Left Bank: Artsy Belgian psychological suspense flick about an injured elite-class runner who starts to doubt her boyfriend's motives. Slowly shifts into a very different horror genre. I often dislike those genre switches--in theory I approve of them but I often end up wishing I could just see the movie I thought this would be--but here I loved it. Spooky and weird, and it commits to its bizarre worldview. Strong sense of place; hints of misogyny-as-horror (aka … [Read more...]

“To Paradise, By Way of Kensal Green”: I review “The English Way”

for the University Bookman. Papist polemics, monks with painted eyelids, "apostolic viragoes" and more! You might expect a book called The English Way: Studies in English Sanctity from Bede to Newman, compiled under the reign of King George V, to rustle through the fingers like a necklace of finely-wrought gold. You might expect serenity, monumentality, harmony: a peaceable parade of right little, tight little saints.You might expect that, anyway, if you don’t remember much about English h … [Read more...]

A Very Short Post on Gay and Women’s Liberation in Christ

In one of the three post-concussion Gay Catholic Whatnot interviews I've done so far, my interlocutor asked me, "So what do you think about... pride?"Me, probably getting a little bit too much Jeeves in the face: "Pride, the mortal sin? Or Pride, the thing where they throw beads?"But no, it's in fact a great question, because it implies an underlying question of what a Christian model of gay (and I think also women's) lib would look like. Pride, the thing where they throw beads, is … [Read more...]