I passed by many things while walking from my grandmother’s rental apartment in Montego Bay, Jamaica to visit her in a hospital three kilometers down the road. A Hard Rock Café. Five-star hotels with aspirational names like Secrets, Breathless and Sunscape Splash. An old yacht club with abandoned boats sinking into a scum-filled bay. Luxury villas locked like prisoners behind steel bars. A taxi rank with drivers offering rides, drugs or both. A cruise ship terminal with idling jeeps and buses about to whisk vacationers on eco-tours. A police station with a long line of women and girls waiting to see their husbands and fathers who had been arrested in a recent wave of anti-gang raids. A restaurant where I once sat and listened to the pop pop pop of a nearby semi-automatic and tried to pretend it was fireworks. Fragrant gardens. Rank garbage. A gas station. People sitting in the shade of royal palm trees, trying to escape the heat of the day.
Despite all the things I saw, I mainly felt one thing. Fear.
The history of self-expression is marked by subversive art forms that turn mainstream and gain broader popularity (punk rock, Kim Kardashian). Street art is perhaps the latest, with homeowners choosing to deck their piles, both inside and out, with graffiti-like paintings – as opposed to power-washing it away in a hail of soap suds. Intricately patterned, brightly coloured murals are the new tattoo: architecture-scaled announcements of the personalities and passions of the people inside.
Andrea Manica is a mural painter based in Toronto. She is often commissioned to paint garage doors and fences in the alleyways that twist through the city’s residential neighbourhoods. In part, she says, her clients are motivated to have the art as a way to control the look of a surface that is likely to be covered in graffiti whether they like it or not. It’s their way of having “meaningful or beautiful graffiti,” she says, preventing the kind of senseless, scrawling tags that often mar urban spaces.
In episode nine of Lena Dunham’s Girls — Leave Me Alone — best friends Marnie and Hannah get into a toothbrush-whipping, insult-hurling, door-slamming fight. Yawn. That spat was in the offing since episode one, when Marnie got to see Hannah’s boobs but wouldn’t reciprocate the kindness. Clearly, the friendship was one sided, and based on Hannah giving and Marnie taking. Well, until Marnie gave unemployed Hannah a roof over her head and food to eat, all in return for the displeasure of hearing Adam molest Hannah through the paper thin walls. How did Marnie cope with the smell? Anyway, the real question is, when the hair pulling, cat scratching, boot stomping part of the fight begins — one can only hope, in episode 10 — who will win? Here’s how I think it will go.
Lena Dunham plays Hannah on HBO’s Girls
Hannah: 24-years-old, short, stocky and unemployed. She lives on a self-destructive mix of opium tea, cupcakes and misery (also known as Adam), and what she lacks in stamina — she once collapsed in the middle of the street during a light jog — she makes up for in complete and utter shamelessness (would she have really slept with her old, pervey boss?).
When Lena Dunham’s Girls first premiered, I thought Adam Sackler was straight up repulsive. Eight episodes in, I’m on the fence. On one hand, he’s a foul-mouthed perve with no job, no prospects and no shirt. But there’s an endearing quality to someone as unfiltered, boyish and impulsive as Adam. He basically says everything that crosses his mind and does whatever he wants to. So, like Jessa, I’m not sure if he’s “a great thinker, or just a total fucking idiot.” Below, what makes me want to vomit, and what I find sweet.
Adam Driver plays Adam Sackler on HBO’s Girls
Two words: Golden showers. No, three words (because there are some people who would actually find that hot): Unsolicited golden showers. The only thing more disturbing is that Hannah didn’t break up with him instantly. Or call the cops or the fire department or Amnesty International. Nasty.
Zosia Mamet plays Shoshanna and Jemima Kirke plays Jessa on HBO’s Girls
On The Crackcident — episode seven of Lena Dunham’s Girls — Marnie, Hannah, Jessa and Shoshanna go to a warehouse party in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Jessa hopes that it will be the “best party ever” (which is why she stole her outfit from a Lady Gaga backup dancer), but between the four of them, they manage to make the night seem more like a bad after school special. And, like all after school specials, there are serious life lessons to be learned. Here are the key takeaways.
Lesson 1: Your ex-boyfriend doesn’t want to say hi. Why? Because if you are like Marnie, you look like a crusty “school teacher,” or worse, “one of those Real Housewives”: a high-strung, self-centered priss wearing a too-tight cocktail dress and and a tart, desperate look that says “you miss my face, right?” And, if your ex is like Charlie, he won’t miss your face. He’s too smart, and has already moved on with a lithe young thing like Aubrey, who twirls around him like a stripper on a pole. Strangely, Marnie can’t understand how Charlie could get over their sexless, emotionally void relationship so quickly. But let’s be honest, after being with someone so frigid, he would probably sprint toward a flying monkey with a bad case of ticks.
Even though we’re only six episodes in, there have been some noticeable trends on Lena Dunham’s Girls — gross guys, cupcakes, more gross guys. But on the latest episode — The Return — there was evidence of the most alarming trend by far: surprising someone with a little butt play. Here’s what I mean:
Hannah travels home to Lansing, Michigan to celebrate her parents’ wedding anniversary. But instead of spending time with her family, she meets a young man with farm boy good looks and wavy blond hair — Eric — who is a huge improvement from her previous boyfriend Adam, the jobless, brainless, shirtless wonder.
On the fifth episode of Lena Dunham’s Girls (Hard Being Easy) everyone got what they wanted (well, except for Shoshanna – she’s still a virgin). Here’s what I mean:
Hannah got some material for her memoir
True, her rumply, roly-poly boss shot her down, depriving her of a good workplace sexual harassment story. But at least Adam Sackler (who, by the way, almost looks not gross wearing safety glasses) sexploited her in a new and humiliating way — dumping her than asking her to watch him jerk off. In the memoir, I’m assuming this episode will come before the chapters where Hannah checks herself into cupcake rehab then becomes a lesbian.
Allison Williams and Christopher Abbott play Marnie and Charlie on HBO’s Girls
When I watched the most recent episode of Lena Dunham’s Girls, my first reaction was “finally, Charlie has smartened up, manned up and told that duplicitous Marnie where to go.” But then I thought, wait a minute, Charlie didn’t exactly smarten up — he only realized that Marnie was stringing him along because his gross friend Ray (what’s worse, that Ray sniffed Marnie’s vibrator or that Charlie described it as “a shared tool”?) showed him a passage from Hannah’s diary. True, the passage made him instantly wise, but he should have known before hand that Marnie didn’t love him. For example, in episode 1, when Charlie asks Marnie “what would turn you on the most?” And she responds with “what if you were just a totally different person — you didn’t act like you?” She might as well have said “it would turn me on if you wore a mask and a strap on.”
I’m not entirely sure if anything significant happened on the most recent episode of Lena Dunham’s Girls, titled All Adventurous Women Do. Hannah ate a cupcake in the bathroom. Marnie had sex with herself at a party. Shoshanna didn’t have sex with anyone. The biggest plot development was Adam Sackler possibly giving Hannah HPV, but considering his head-to-toe grossness, is that really so shocking? Hannah and company did say a whole bunch of random stuff, though. And I guess that’s significant. Or at least funny. Here’s a collection of the highlights, and to make the dialogue slightly less random, a translation.
Marnie to Charlie: “You look scary to me, like Mickey Mouse without the ears.”
Translation: Before you shaved your head, you used to look like a too-cute children’s cartoon that I didn’t want to have sex with. Now that you’ve shaven your head, you look like a deformed children’s cartoon that I don’t want to have sex with.
In the first episode of HBO’s much-hyped new dramedy, Girls, the central character, Hannah Horvath, quips “it costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” The line is borrowed from Dolly Parton, but instead of too much makeup and rhinestone-studded clothing, Horvath (played by the show’s creator Lena Dunham) and her friends wear disheveled vintage rags (from the best stores) and carefully blend a Hippie nomad/world-weary artist/spoiled preppy aesthetic (think drape-y blouses, fedoras and broad-shouldered overcoats). They live in bourgeois-bohemian squalor in the hipster-packed neighbourhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Horvath shares an apartment with her roomate Marnie Michaels, and their place suits their clothes: slightly rusty chairs around a Saarinen tulip table; a bathroom decked in trendy white subway tiles with a gaudy floral shower curtain. Horvath’s boyfriend, Adam Sackler (whose last name, fittingly, is an obvious anagram for slacker), is a carpenter-actor-louse whose apartment is even more elegantly disheveled: a tarnished mirror, an typewriter, scraps of his carpenting wood, a plush but ratty settee.