Frontier Psychiatrist

Archive for January 2012

Every cook knows olive oil is essential. For Tom Mueller, it’s the lifeblood of Western Civilization. In Extra Virginity, his lively, earnest, exhaustive, and sometime exhausting debut, Mueller discovers oil not only as food, but as fuel, lubricant, medicine, skin care, perfume, aphrodisiac, religious symbol, and way of life. In the words of one aficionado, true extra virgin olive oil is the stuff that “makes you get down on your knees and say, ‘Fuck’.”

As Extra Virginity explains, all olive oils are not equal. Each country has its own varieties, such as biancolilla, cornicabra, and racioppella in Italy, picual and arbequina in Spain, and koroneiki in Greece. Oil tasters talk like sommeliers; to them, oil can have pleasant notes of cucumber and artichoke or taste like pipi de gatto (cat pee). More broadly, oils range in quality from lampante (lamp oil) to extra virgin, a term coined in 1960 by the European Parliament. Unfortunately, as Mueller reports in the book’s central exposé, rampant fraud and lax regulation have made “extra virgin” meaningless. If you buy a bottle labeled extra virgin, there’s a good chance it’s lower quality or adulterated oil that pretends to be the real deal.

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On Monday, our film expert Franklin Laviola shared his predictions for the approaching Academy Awards nominations.  Not surprisingly, he did quite well: 71 out of 104 nominations correct, perfect performances in the Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film Categories, and a spot-on prediction that Hugo and The Artist would lead all films with 11 and 10 nominations, respectively.  He also correctly predicted that Jennifer Lawrence would look like this:

Of course, the fact that Mr. Laviola correctly predicted many of the nominations does not mean that he agreed with them.  Thankfully, he stopped by to give us some quick thoughts on the best and worst of the Academy’s choices.  Let us know if you agree.

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Today we bring you Side B of our January mixtape; you can listen to Side A here.  Even better, you can download the whole thing over at our tumblr.  This installment includes selections from two of our favorite January releases, Schoolboy Q’s Habits & Contradictions and Cloud Nothings’ Attack on Memory, as well as cuts from upcoming albums by Royal Baths and Blondes.  Enjoy.

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It’s been said before and hopefully it will be said again: hip hop is on the rise. Last year we learned that the Internet actually does work as a means for promotion, catapulting hungry artists from nobodies to somebodies over night. By removing the tawdry veil of fake success that defined hip hop of the mid-Aughts, the Internet empowered kids who were interested in expression first, fame second. Because of that exposure, the power in hip hop is gradually being transferred from out-of-touch superstars to those who care more about advancing the genre than their own ego.

So that puts us in 2012. If this is in fact the Return of Hip Hop, what exactly can we expect to hear? If Schoolboy Q’s Habits and Contradictions is any indication, near-future hip hop will be swagged out, expertly produced, often frightening and completely human. Read the rest of this entry »

San Francisco has a bit of a hold on me.  There’s something romantic about the steep sloping hills, the colorful rows of houses, and the mist rising off the bay.  Who minds a bit of grey skies and rainy days when you have Napa and Sonoma waiting for you across the bridge?  And the food!  There are endless tacos and burritos in the Mission, Tartine is the bakery to end all bakeries, and Zuni Café tirelessly rolls out their ever-famous roasted chickens.

I regretfully did not have the pleasure of going to Zuni Café on my last visit to the Bay Area.  And so I must thank the kind Judy Rodgers, who, via the Zuni Café  Cookbook, has gifted us a glimpse into how it’s done.  This roasted chicken recipe is so straightforward and accessible that even a home cook such as myself, who still giggles and squeals pulling the liver and neck out of a whole chicken, can deliver an incredible, Zuni-licious chicken.  Now, I didn’t say it’s a short recipe, but truly, if you follow the steps, I think it would be hard to mess up.

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Porcelain Raft - Strange Weekend

Mauro Remiddi has led a complicated musical life.  He has performed Klezmer Music for the Berlin Youth Circus, crossed the 38th Parallel to re-interpret the folk songs of North Korea, composed music for short films and Vaudeville revivals, and, today, he is set to release his solo debut under the name Porcelain Raft.  The record, entitled Strange Weekend, is a triumph of so-called “dream pop,” a record at once both intimate and expansive, both gentle and arresting. Mr. Remiddi recently re-located from London to Brooklyn, and he was kind enough to take time out of his increasingly busy schedule to answer some questions for Frontier Psychiatrist.

Frontier Psychiatrist: Strange Weekend is a triumph, and I have many questions about it, but first I have to ask you to share some of your experience in the Berlin Youth Circus with our readers.  There is not nearly enough written about circuses in these pages.

Mauro RemiddiI was playing accordion with a Klezmer trio, busking around Italy. We were playing in the street of Florence, when a bunch of kids came over with an older boy and a woman with them. They started to chat with us after the performance; we couldn’t understand each other — I didn’t speak German and they didn’t speak Italian (at that time I still didn’t know English). So they drew on a piece of paper a circus tent and we understood they were asking us to joying them as musicians in their little Italian tour. We did…

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(Tomorrow at 8:30 AM on the East Coast, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will announce its nominees for the 84th annual Academy Awards.  The annoucements will be made by the moderately attractive Jennifer Lawrence.  Sadly we did not have the opportunity to speak with Ms. Lawrence, so we asked our resident film expert Franklin Laviola to give us his predictions for the nominations.  Check back tomorrow morning to see how accurate he was.)

Note: In categories where predicted nominees are not listed in alphabetical order, they are listed in order of the likelihood of their nominations.

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Listening To:

Sons of Dionysus

A Transmedia Novel of Myth, Mirth, and the Magical Excess of Youth.