All My Stars (44)

By: Joanne McNeil
November 3, 2016


One in a weekly series in which Joanne McNeil recommends books, films, exhibitions, and more. You can also subscribe to the All My Stars newsletter here.


The trouble with a weekly newsletter about things I like is that it is very easy to run out of superlatives. I like these things for many different reasons, but when a work is a true masterpiece, it is difficult to ratchet up my praise accordingly. Thankfully I haven’t encountered that with Moonlight because whatever I’ll say about it only underscores what you’ve heard by now.


Moonlight is just as incredible as you’ve heard. It is the first truly great American film since Paris, Texas. It will be remembered, taught in film school, and talked about for many many years, but you’ll want to see it now while it’s still ascending to its inevitable status as legend. Watching the scene where Juan teaches Chiron how to swim, I remember thinking that moment was as good as anything that film might ever achieve. But then the following hour continues with scenes of equally burning beauty and intensity.

Once you’ve seen Moonlight, you’ll want to read Wesley Morris’s powerful essay on sexuality and black men in film, and Hilton Als’s unforgettable review.

Every performance is exceptional, but Naomie Harris… stop reading this for a minute and do a Google Image search for “Naomie Harris red carpet.” Look at those frocks! Safety pins, bedazzling, weird vinyl appendages, feathers. She wears the kind of dresses that if I saw them on a rack in a store, I’d wonder who on earth would go out in public in them. Naomie Harris would — and somehow she always looks like Venus emerging from a scallop shell:



Reading The Attention Merchants, Tim Wu’s very comprehensive new book on advertising in the 20th and 21st century — in particular, its encroachment on private life — got me thinking about Rod Serling’s methods to avoid sponsors from censoring his work (essentially, telling the same story but with an alien visitor.) Serling, to continue on some points from several newsletters ago, is a great person to listen to if one is ever feeling hesitant or unsure about their work, because he always got the job done. A hundred times over. And he got the job done on his terms. In addition to his skills as a writer and producer, interviews with him reveal just how politically charged his work was from the beginning — and how strategic he was.

Watching Twilight Zone inspired this year’s Halloween costume — a book by the Kanamits:




CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators