June 17th: Rediscovery — Citizen, The Important Places and Stephanie Wittels
Welcome to The Sligo Punch. As always, the origin story can be found here.
Curated by Gene Buonaccorsi & Tim Nelson
GB: I’ve been traveling this week, and each day has been unpredictable in the best way possible. I visited my cousin in Olympia and we spent a while admiring his coffee table. He made it from a slab of a walnut tree that was salvaged by a Tacoma company after the tree was chopped down. Then I headed to Oakland where I reunited with four of my close friends from college to celebrate a birthday and catch up over tasteless, cheap beers. Because I’ve encountered familiar and established things in new places, this week’s Sligo Punch is about rediscovering the past.
Watch This: “The Important Places”
GB: The story of a father’s connection to nature, a son searching for understanding, and the month-long adventure that brought them together. This film meets and exceeds the standard for emotionally engaging the audience. There are joyous moments, introspective ideas and a grander focus on the way that we parse the events that have shaped us.
Listen To This — “Cement” — Citizen
GB: Citizen is from Michigan but the sound of their latest album, Everybody is Going to Heaven, is highly reminiscent of post-hardcore’s New York / New Jersey heyday. Shades of Brand New, Thursday, Crime in Stereo and Glassjaw all hit me when I first listened to this album. The style is influenced by everything from first-wave emo to new wave to 90s grunge, and the unselfconscious drama and brooding of Citizen’s latest stands out against their shiney, energetic peers. “Cement” is the opening track and a serious tone-setter that uses almost robotic clarity to channel those influences.
Learn About This — “The New Normal” by Stephanie Wittels
TN: It’s not uncommon for comedians to reach their early 40s before hitting their stride, but Harris Wittels already had an extensive and impressive resume before his 30th birthday. He wrote for shows like The Sarah Silverman Program, Eastbound and Down, and Parks and Rec (which he also executive produced and acted in). He routinely stole the show by simply reading terrible jokes from his phone on Comedy Bang! Bang!, and almost convinced me to become a Phish fan on Analyze Phish! Hell, he even minted the concept of “Humblebragging” and wrote an entire book about it. Through it all, his comedy was marked by a unique combination of goofiness, hyper-intelligence and a complete lack of fear. That’s why his death earlier this year was felt so intensely, even by those who only “met” him on a podcast.
GB: There’s no dressed-up way to describe this piece. Simply put it’s a raw and tragic experience narrated by Harris’ sister, Stephanie. Among other things, she comments on the transient nature of tragedies involving celebrities and how real life events fade and rise in popular awareness. The line “Nothing makes the pain worse than seeing that everyone else has the ability to move on while you’re still stuck” relates her grief with complete clarity. It’s this vulnerable sense of truth and immediacy that makes this a must-read.
Something we missed? Leave us a comment below and tell us what we should check out.