Eyad Zahra's Taqwacores is the film version of the book by M. Knight of the same name. It tells the story of a good Muslim boy who goes to live in a Muslim punk rock house. The house is inhabited by a straight edge kid, a Shi'a skinhead, a burqa-wearing feminist, a skater kid, and a late '70's punk, all of whom practice Islam in deeply personal and often seemingly controversial ways. It is a really fantastic film--the best drama I've seen this year. It takes up many feminist issues in both subtle and sharp ways, including one scene in which a woman leads prayer. Beyond that, it has a lot of elements of your standard Bildungsroman but with the added twist of a character coming of age in a subcultural world, rather than one that is mainstream or given. It also treats the subject of religion with a great deal more complexity and attention to identity than what one hears in most debates over the existence of God and so forth.

I'm looking forward to seeing the documentary produced about Michael Knight and the Taqwacore scene that emerged as a result of his book.


The only thing I will write about Scott Pilgrim

because we all know what happens when I begin rants about my giant crush on Michael Cera...yeah...C'mon, we're all grown-ups. Anyway, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was basically exactly like reading the comics, which in this case was a good thing. Unlike Heroes or all of the movie versions of Marvel comics, the film really expressed the dynamism of the original comics, which were more like a screen-by-screen visual representation of a video game happening inside a young man's head than anything else. Knives Chau was perfect, kind of terrifyingly so at times, and the evil ex's were very, very evil. The nerdiest part was Michael Cera's tall, lanky body performing outrageous ninja moves, which made him into some kind of DDR/Adam West hybrid creature. Yeah, pretty nerdy. Kieran Caulkin was dry and witty, as usual. I watched Scott Pilgrim in a theater in Canada, which made me notice the American self-deprecation for the first time.

Oh, so the thing I was going to say:
The soundtrack was actually pretty good. Beck wrote a bunch of the songs performed in the actual thing and there is a bunch of other stuff on there, including the Black Lips and a funny cameo by Broken Social Scene.


How to Be Alone

"but lonely is a freedom that breaths easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it."

I'm not lonely but I am into being alone and thought this was just beautiful:


Groom, "All the Bored People"

I wrote about Groom and their album, At the Natural History Museum, last year some time. The band's got a new one coming, called Marriage, and it is pretty much delightful. I hope I get to meet these guys some day because they make music that always appeals to my ears and combines what I consider to be the best elements of my favorite genres and bands.

Anyway, the new album will be released by the Popical Islands collective (which as far as I can tell is their creation).

Head on over to Soundcloud to check out "All the Bored People".