If ever there was a week for escapism, this was it; the constant stream of bad news inspired more than one member of my Twitter timeline to dream out loud about diving under their covers and staying there for as long as possible. This issue is all about entering other worlds—for better or worse, whether through the consumption of hyperreality or the obliteration of the everyday.
It’s springtime, so let’s dust off the cobwebs and talk about music we like. Yes? Yes. Read on for my seven favorite songs of 2013 so far, Brad Nelson’s examination of Paramore and Fall Out Boy returning, Andy Beta’s take on Kurt Vile and the tenacious nature of time, and Michaelangelo Matos’s praise for the new album by DJ Koze. If you want to hear the records in question, head on over to Spotify.
There was a period in the early ’00s where some friends and I would watch not a lot of wrestling, but a fair amount—we’d get together for pay-per-views, marvel at the ability of Ric Flair to perfectly pepper his outlandish promos with his signature “whoo”s, mimic the self-bigging-up style of Rob Van Dam, marvel at how much of Dustin “Goldust” Runnels’ elaborate facepaint stayed on despite his in-ring sweating. A couple of moves and other shifting plates meant the end of our get-togethers, but I still think of those times fondly enough to follow Chris Jericho on Twitter and keep up with the goings-on through other pals still in the scene. So when Mike Edison, man about New York City and a wrestling aficionado so hardcore he requires prospective attendees of his Wrestlemania party to fill out an application (with essay section!), asked me if he could write about the possibly final match by the dead man lumbering who goes by The Undertaker, I had to say yes. In addition to his thoughts, this issue has a question for you, dear reader: What is the hipster? (Don’t all gnash your teeth at once.)
The process of opening a Snapple bottle—the half-hearted shake to loosen the tea leaves from the bottom, the peeling of the plastic, the twisting of the cap until its satisfying, pregnant pop—is a sense memory that’s forever linked to middle school for me, when I’d walk down Fourth Street to Strathmore Bagels and get some sustenance for drama club, or mathletes, or whatever after-school activity I’d signed up for. A few weeks ago, after spotting the company’s peach iced tea on the menu of a sushi place, I got back into the habit. Innovations in sweetening technology and other food-related sciences have caused a lot of taste memories from the pre-organic era to be completely bygone (miss u, Cinnamon Crispas), but the peach iced tea, from the pop to the last sip, had pretty much the same round sweetness that I remembered, even though the tea leaves had somehow managed to become more water-soluble over the intervening years. That first sip was a gateway drug just like it was in the late ’80s, and I’ve been sneaking bottles here and there ever since. (Although in the context of sushi orders, I tend to save them for dessert.)
In addition to the quest for the familiar, this issue features the return of Kevin Fanning to the world of beverage reviewing, which I am thrilled about because Knowledge For Thirst, the drink-consumption chronicle he produced with Josh Allen, is, straight-up, one of my favorite sites on the internet ever.