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Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.

Gonna Go Down In Flames

screenshot from "Style" music video, Taylor Swift

Manipulated screenshot from the music video for Taylor Swift’s “Style”. In case you can’t tell, it’s trees and sunset. (Sunrise? Hard to know which.) I made this ages ago and I forget why I wanted to post it. Here’s what the scene actually looks like in the video:

Taylor Swift music video screenshot

“Style” is my favorite song from 1989. In general I think the album is pretty mediocre. Still, I can sing along. “Blank Space” is appealing, but it’s no “Mama’s Broken Heart”. I love me some crazy girl chic but I also like dynamic… dynamicness. Dynamitude? And more than one clever lyric. My favorite is a mashup of “Style” and “Blank Space” by Louisa Wendorff. Her version combines the good parts of both songs, and the arrangement is lovely.

Now I’m listening to “Mama’s Broken Heart” and it’s just sooo much better than “Blank Space”. Miranda Lambert singing, “Run and hide your crazy, and start acting like a lady”—that breaks my heart in the right way. See also: “Better Dig Two”. Crazy vengeful country ladies make me feel better about the world.

A Drink for the Dog Days

Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine. Glorious red hair and red lipstick.
Image via the band’s Facebook page.

The phrase “dog days” makes me think of Florence Welch singing “The Dog Days Are Over”. I hear those words, and immediately the song starts playing in my head. Plus, look at her pretty hair! Not relevant, but I’m a sucker for redheads.

This week I’m assembling the third issue of Balm Digest, “Medium-Sized Dogs”. Dog days are on my mind — literal dog days — but that got me thinking about the figurative ones. I guessed the expression came from watching a hound dog pant on the porch during sweltering August. Location: the American South. Wrong and wrong! According to Etymonline, the idiom’s origins are Greco-Roman. Sirius, the bright Dog Star, ascends just when summer starts getting horrible. Hence, “dog days”.

Traditionally, afternoons in July and August are the most miserable, so hot that you can’t even take a nap. Here we are in January, no need to be cooled down, but I decided to make up a summer cocktail recipe anyway. Lifestyle content is fun, and I’ll be damned if the weather obstructs my whim!

Honey Mint Julep

  • tablespoon of honey
  • shot and a half of vodka (because bourbon is gross)
  • stir thoroughly, aiming for syrup consistency
  • fill the rest of the glass with chilled mint tea
  • stir everything again to make sure the honey is dissolved
  • add ice if you feel like it
  • (alternately, put the ice in first and drizzle honey over it)

Yay! Get winter-drunk on a cocktail that makes no seasonal sense!

Pour It Up

The alternate title for this post was “Consciousness Streaming 2k14 Before The Year Runs Out”.

So about those collages… (Spellcheck always wants me to mean “college” when I type “collage”, and I’m like, “lol spellcheck do u even know me”.)

It’s hard to figure out your own art. It’s hard to decide what it means. Does it need to mean something? I can’t trace where the thoughts come from, because they arise from media and dreams and relationships. The media that I’m drawn to and the dreams that I have and the relationships that I seek are all based on each other, so what’s a girl to do?

The Weeknd in concert
Via @abelxo on Instagram.

“This ain’t nothing to relate to.” A line from The Weeknd’s ballad about young adult stardom, “John Carpenter”. He repeats those words over and over again after the unsurprising verses about fame and drug abuse. Okay, technically every one of his songs is about young adult stardom, partying too hard and trying not to get knocked down.

“I tweak all day just to sleep at night.
God damn, I’m high.
My doctor told me to stop;
he gave me something to pop.
And I mix it up with some Adderalls
and I wait to get to the top.
And I mix it up with some alcohol
and I pour it up in a shot.”

After singing through more hedonistic angst, The Weeknd says, “This ain’t nothing to relate to.” What a relatable statement that is, though! What a Sylvia Plath type of thing to say. It is very relatable to feel alone at a party, for your success to be filled with ennui.

The mood reminds me of another song in a similar vein: “Tuesday” by I Love Makonnen, featuring Drake.

Illustration: I Could Bring My Shame

The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images

I made a mini fanzine about The Weeknd. For those of you unfamiliar with the artist, this is how I described him in SPURNED:

“Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, is perpetually melancholy. He sings with tremulous vigor. He addresses themes that are common in rap and rock ‘n’ roll: money, drugs, sex. Identity-building through escape. ‘Bring your body, baby. I could bring you fame.’ Tesfaye’s groaning melodies evoke summer nostalgia, the queer ache for a better connection.”

During the past few months I have listened to a lot of The Weeknd’s music, over and over again. Naturally that made me want to produce art about him and his lyrics. I wasn’t pleased with the printed version of I Could Bring My Shame, so I decided it would work better as a blog post. The content is mostly drawings, but there is a written section.

The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images
The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images
The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images
The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images
The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images

11/22/2014, 10:56am

Last night I dreamed that I was at The Weeknd’s concert, probably one of the pair he did in San Francisco although the dream did not specify. It was a dream so it didn’t make proper sense. He was swaying to the music, not really performing, and in the dream I flashed to my mom and said, “Electro concerts are awkward because the artist just plays the recording.” My mom wasn’t there, in the blue-purple-grey smoke of the venue, but back in our muted limestone-tiled kitchen at home. The limestone is red-brown-orange. In the dream I could teleport but I didn’t think about it. It was time smooshed together, all the #snippets blending because of the pressure, the force applied.

Surely at his real concert, The Weeknd crooned into the mic and all the girls swooned. I swooned in my dream even though he was just lounging, just standing there really. His crazy hair was extending everywhere, growing up and away from him, leaving the stage and curling around the crowd. I’m lying; it didn’t happen like that in the dream. My awake self is making it up.

I don’t only exist on Thursdays, unfortunately. I looked at The Weeknd’s Instagram once and some girl commented on a random concert photo like, “Please love me, Abel! I promise I’ll only exist on Thursdays.” I was embarrassed on her behalf but I can be like that too. I’ve hit on at least one rapper via Twitter. It was pathetic. I think I deleted those posts but I’m not sure.

“Don’t make me make you fall in love. Don’t make me make you fall in love. Don’t make me make you fall in love with a [man] like me…” Okay, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you, but you’ve made me anyway, and you don’t really exist, not like I imagine you. I’m sorry.

He makes us all fall in love, all of us with self-esteem from Lana Del Rey lyrics. (“Dear Lord, when I get to heaven, please let me bring my man. When he comes, tell me that you’ll let him in. Father, tell me if you can.” I should have capitalized “heaven” but it wasn’t my first impulse.) Those two artists are linked in my head even though The Weeknd doesn’t sing about Lolita, I don’t think. Does he?

I’ll admit that I’m self-conscious. Who am I kidding? I always admit that. Okay, I’ll admit that I’m telling myself, “They thought they were going to read about The Weeknd but they’re reading your stream-of-consciousness trash diary about how lyrics mean too much to you. Lyrics mean too much to everyone. But we all know they’re writing about themselves, the goddam narcissist artists I love.” I mean, fucking Morrissey is the best sad-kid example, right? And he’s clearly writing about himself.

I only write about myself.

“Louis V bag. Tats on your arms. High-heeled shoes make you six feet tall. Everybody wants you; you can have them all. But I got what you need.” Six-inch heels bring me up to six feet…

The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images
The Weeknd Abel Tesfaye mini-zine images

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