Reviews, Then and Now

by Jessica Machado

Old reviews excerpted and tweaked from my college newspaper, my college internship, my post-college journal and my post-college non-paying newspaper job, 1999–2002.

“New in Local Music,” Spring 2001

Worth more than its name would imply, Fydolla Ho tired me out with their head-banging riffs and naughty whispers in the studio this week, but didn’t leave me reaching for a tube of itch relief in the morning…. Punk princesses and veterans of the L.A. rock scene, the Eyeshadows channeled their fiery godmothers to play their hearts out well past two in the morning at the tiny Hollywood den Three Clubs yesterday…. Surfacing amidst the recent renaissance of the funky female songwriter, Patricia Mann soulfully delivers tales of lust and regret on the best of the dozens EPs I’ve heard this week, Lady Lothario….

“Stale in my iTunes Playlist,” Spring 2014

Aptly named for its lack of inspiration, “iPhone Playlist” is nothing but a getting-from-A-to-B soundtrack, packed with predictability, even on shuffle. You’ll hear songs gifted to me in a mix last year, like Schoolboy Q’s “Collard Greens” (a bouncy ode to weed, perfect for head-nodding while passing people on the street), followed by a song from Beck’s Guero because Guero (stacked with jaunty beats that are great for both working out and city walks) has been a staple in all my playlists since 2005, followed by one of the hundreds of songs I once owned on CD, like Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” (keeps a dancy pace while brooding in my eardrums on the elevator ride up to work) because my musical tastes have been solidified since the ’90s. The most recent addition to “iPhone” is Beck’s new album, Morning Phase, which was purchased because I already knew I liked him and I’m a lazy, 35-plus Caucasian who falls in a certain quadrant of the education-income matrix that causes her to purchase music streaming on NPR. Overall, “iPhone” might be comforting in its familiarity, but it’s in dire need of an update. ★★ 1/2


Cruel Intentions Brings Sophistication to Teen Genre,” April 1999

Out of the rash of trendy teen flicks that have taken over movie screens in recent months (I Know What You Did Last Summer, She’s All That), there is only one that stands a chance at becoming a modern classic: Cruel Intentions.

In fact, it is the talent of Ryan Phillippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar that make the audience forget that most high school kids are insecure and lame, as they carry their cockiness with sophistication. This may not be realistic, but their calculated delivery is much more amusing than watching lovesick young people play out their regular problems.

“TV’s Young Slobs Bring the Real,” April 2014

When the next generation blinks into their Google Glass to see what the hell we were watching in the second decade of the 21st century, they will note that it was a great time to be a young, hapless asshole. Which is absolutely true! Because that’s what being young is for! And in 2014, the women finally participated. On Broad City, Abbi and Illana don’t even bother trying to grow up past paying for their own bag of weed, while the girls of Girls are a lot more self-serious but remain equally as half-ass about putting any effort toward getting their shit together. But if you’re looking for the biggest narcissistic shlubs, look no further than reality TV. I could probably name hundreds of cast members to demonstrate this, but the best or, dare I say, the realest of the worst are the Real Worlders. In this latest Ex-plosion version, every single roommate is so tortured by their prowess, ego and general restlessness that when their exes unexpectedly move in, they don’t know what to do with them other than hook up. Ha! People in their thirties would just ignore them and continue fucking off on their computer. And that is why people in their twenties will always be fascinating: They have no idea how sloppy their everyday shit is, nor should they.


“Considered: Jeff, the Dude From the Bar Who I Sorta Dated,” 2001

Cons: His flirtiness and emotional fuckwittage would drive me nuts. Pros: Has beers with me, snuggles well, is hot. Plus, nothing much else is going on in the man dept., especially since my pseudo boyfriend has found someone else to hang out with. Con: Probably feels the same way about me. Pro: Maybe that isn’t necessarily a problem. Con: Except I always want every man to realize I’m the most wonderful thing to come into his life.

“Considered: Kat, New Work Friend,” 2013

Pros: Hit it off right away. Made jokes about the sexist content of the publication we were freelancing at. Seemed to have more in common with than basic office malaise. Con: A little too eager to hang outside of work. Pros: Lives in Brooklyn. Picked somewhere quaint for brunch between our prospective neighborhoods. Talked about feminist writers we enjoyed, agreed that there is nothing avocado doesn’t pair with, drolled on about our mothers. Made me feel comfortable enough to tell her about a tragic sexual experience I had years ago. Pro/Con: Induced comfort to point where I bared poor choices and longtime vulnerabilities. Con: Pulled away from the table in the middle of my story. Said, “You know all of that is totally on you, right?” after I was done. Pro: “Yes,” I told her. Con: “Judgmental bitch,” I muttered in my head. Pro: Didn’t take the last complimentary mini muffin, so I did. Con: Awkward pat-pat hug goodbye. Pro: Both knew better than to take it out of the office again.


“Entertainment Calendar: St. Patrick’s Day,” 1999

If a drunken, obnoxious crowd running amok in the streets of downtown is a turn-off, there’s an alternative — a drunken obnoxious crowd trapped in a bar! Irish Rose Saloon has a selection of strong Irish ales and lagers, as well as Irish whiskey shots for only $2 and Irish coffee and Nutty Irishman drinks for $3. The band Irish Hearts will be playing the Irish Rose, too, so come out and celebrate the luck of the Irish!

“Entertainment Calendar: Happy-Hour in Midtown New York,” 2014

Looking for a chill bar near your office? Not a schmancy well-heeled-cluttered lounge with a signature martini named Lavender Dust, but a place with volume-appropriate music and seating spatially thought-through for conversations? Somewhere with drink specials that don’t attract every young wannabe mogul wearing a baby-blue button-down shirt that his mom bought him for his first Manhattan job? Well, best of luck to you! What we can offer you is O’ Lunney’s, O’Reilly’s, O’Brien’s, O’Casey’s, Connolly’s, Molly’s, Maggie’s, Foley’s, Mulligan’s, Muldoon’s, Scallywag’s, Rosie O’Grady’s, Paddy Rielly’s, Peter Dillion’s and Jack Dempsey’s, all serving $12 glasses of sauvignon blanc and $9 pints of Guinness. If you drink enough of the $14 Jameson’s, maybe you can block out that terribly poppy “I wanna see you be braaaave” song blaring overhead that somehow seems fitting in a brass-trimmed cave that smells like fish n’ chips.


“Nightlife Review: Hawaii Doesn’t Suck,” six months before I moved away

With all the different types of music and scenes nowadays — the rave scene, the hip-hop scene, the goth scene, etc. — it’s a shame the people complain about the lack of things to do in Hawaii. I understand that people feel the need to fit in somewhere or to have a certain persona attached to them, but would it hurt to wander across these rigid boundaries called scenes every once in a while? Also, why does everyone feel they have to dress a certain way to be in a certain scene? Doesn’t some goth chick ever want to put on a pair of baggy overalls?

“Nighttime Review: My Living Room Doesn’t Suck,” always, lately

In my living room, there is but one scene: Me across the couch, my husband in the leather chair, his feet on the coffee table, both of us in clothes that barely touch our bodies. We try to get fired up about events going on in the world, but then usually get distracted by the way one of us said something and how it can be made fun of. We talk about dreams of writing a country song together, of turning off the TV and the computers and finally getting past the introduction of Infinite Jest. We suggest limiting the unwinding, crossing the threshold that lies between our sedentary coziness and the unexpected outdoors, and doing an actual thing. But then we go, “Eh, we’ll get out more once it warms up.”

Previously: Travelogues, Then and Now

Jessica Machado writes about what kind of grown-up she is here.