The Yes List – An Indie Film Dials L for Love
Each week, The Daily Beast scours the cultural landscape to choose three top picks. This week, an indie film dials up a poignant love story, Peter Gabriel covers Paul Simon and Radiohead, and two major art shows are back in New York.
An Indie Film Dials L for Love
In today’s modern world, it was only a matter of time until a filmmaker told a love story that takes place primarily on cell phones. But no one expected it to be as good as 25-year-old Kyle Patrick Alvarez’ Easier With Practice, which many critics are hailing as the independent film to beat in 2010. The drama follows a lonely fiction writer named Davy Mitchell ( The Hurt Locker’s baby-faced Brian Geraghty), who while on a road-tripping book tour with his brother receives a phone call from a mysterious woman who calls herself Nicole, and believing initially that it is a prank, he goes along with it. But she keeps calling, and Davy and Nicole start to become intimately intertwined over the phone, forming a kind of deep bond that Davy could never find in his daily life. It’s melancholy, sweet, and true, and the critics have responded in turn. Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times says that the film “reveals the sense of loneliness and isolation that permeates modern life and the lure of fantasy in filling its emptiness.” Indeed, it may just be a small indie, but the film carries a big message: You’re never alone if you can get to a phone.
Peter Gabriel’s Musical Back Scratching
This week, Peter Gabriel’s latest album, Scratch My Back comes out on Virgin Records, and it has a twist. The new record was not written by Gabriel, but rather by other popular groups and artists, including Bon Iver, Radiohead, Paul Simon, Arcade Fire, and the Magnetic Fields. It is essentially a covers album—and a stellar one at that—but it is part of a bigger project: Gabriel has opened his entire catalog to the groups he covered, encouraging them to make covers for part two of the series, aptly entitled, I’ll Scratch Yours. We can’t wait to see who gets “Sledgehammer.” As for the covers record, it’s quiet and pensive, but worth the long wait. As Ann Powers of the L.A. Times writes, “By turning these songs into Shakespearean soliloquies, he argues for their complexity and depth, their right to be considered as art songs.”
Art and Armories
It’s a world-class weekend to see art in New York. The 2010 Armory Show runs through Sunday in Manhattan. The show is still America’s most important art fair (or at least it shares the title with Art Basel Miami), exhibiting works of the 20th and 21st century from the world’s top gallerists. If you want to be in the white-hot center of the art world for just one day, this is the place to do it. General Admission is $30, and you can pre-purchase tickets online. Further uptown, is another major art show in an actual armory. The Art Show, organized by the Art Dealer’s Association of America, featuring 70 national galleries, and also runs through Sunday.