1. “Nepal: Before and After the Earthquake.” Confronting nature’s extremes on Everest and in Katmandu.
“Three weeks ago, the photographer Giles Price was on Mount Everest, taking pictures of climbers and their camps—the provisional little tent cities that sprout on that brutal frontier for several weeks every year, during climbing season, and then disappear. These settlements are determined but fragile, heroic but also insignificant—a bunch of colorful little spots on a very large mountain, like splattered paint. Photographed from a helicopter overhead, Price says, the tents ’very much start to look like mankind’s footprint on another planet.’ Price was back in Nepal’s capital, Katmandu, asking for the check at lunch, when the first temblor hit on April 25. For a second, no one seemed sure what was happening; your imagination has to do a lot of work before you can accept that the ground is actually convulsing beneath you. But the shock had a magnitude of 7.8. People caught on quickly. Avalanches on Everest, triggered by the quake, killed at least 18 people, some of them Sherpas hired as guides. But the most crushing stories of devastation continue to come from Nepal’s remote villages, many of which were initially cut off from aid by landslides. The accounts hint at the trauma of seeing an environment mostly taken for granted as stable and secure suddenly disintegrate. There was the house that fell on a little girl who had just walked inside to fetch water. There was the nursing mother who looked up and saw the unthinkable: ’The hills all came down.’”
2. “Film the Police.” A new app makes it easier.
“Last month, video footage emerged that appeared to show something illegal: A U.S. marshal approached a woman who was filming him on duty, snatched her smartphone, and smashed it on the ground. That incident only became news because someone else was filming the encounter. But not every bystander filming a police encounter can have a backup. What should a person do when there’s no one else on the scene? A new app tries to answer this question by offering, in effect, a different kind of backup. Called Mobile Justice CA, the app uploads all video footage as it’s being captured to servers owned by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Even if the phone is destroyed, the video will survive. The app was co-released Friday by the ACLU of Southern California and the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and it’s available now for iOS and Android devices.”
3. “Extreme Makeover.” For Slate, Lili Loofbourow on the dramatic, surprising evolution of Louie’s philosophy of love.
“The doll bit is hilarious, but it also demonstrates that Louie’s approach to everything (the show, comedy, gender) is actually the opposite of the slapdash indifference that some of his antics may suggest. It shows massive, exhausting, life-sapping effort. The kind of effort Louie would never have shown toward anything at the beginning of the series. There are moments of frustration and violence during his exploits with the doll—at one point he even weeps—but one thing is clear: He is trying. Specifically, he is trying when it comes to understanding how women work. The doll sequence shows the extreme frustration and care with which he’s trying to rescue his girls from a reality where dolls have no eyes. It also shows Louie’s ongoing process of self-improvement over the course of the series. If Season 4 is largely the story of Louie, having learned to try for what he wants in Season 3, overstepping into near-coercion, Season 5 is about stepping back and, rather than taking what he wants, becoming it.”
4. ”A Citizen of the World: Orson Welles at 100 by F.X. Feeney.” On the occasion of Orson Welles’s 100th birthday, the Los Angeles Review of Books publishes an excerpt from F.X. Feeney’s new biography on the filmmaker.
“This was the America in which Welles was functioning. If we interpret his life strictly in terms of his frustrated relations with the film industry, we lose touch with what he actually cared about, and what he meant to his contemporaries. If we free our eyes from the gunk of Hollywood-Golden-Age nostalgia, we can view Welles more fairly and fully in the greater context of American history. In such a context, his years in Europe after 1947 cease to be an abdication, as many have posited, and constitute a stance. If we take the mythic Hollywood line that Welles was a dangerous and ungrateful houseguest who misbehaved and was sent packing, we buy into a narrative that affirms the conformity of the 1940s and ’50s that brought us the blacklist, and implies: That’s just too bad; that’s how things are. If instead we accept the challenge of thinking in a larger political context—as Welles always did—we’re faced with a tale of independence and a man who was always devoted to building a better world, long before he got to Hollywood, and who stayed on that course long after he left town: building worlds for himself, if no one else, come what may.”
5. “Kurt Cobain’s Beautiful Heck.” For The New Yorker, Sarah Larson on Kurt Cobain: A Montage of Heck.
“Montage of Heck makes Cobain’s written words and drawings move: writings in his ruled notebooks, lists of mixtape songs written in ballpoint pen, a drawing of a band called the Reaganites, ideas for names. (Boy in Heat, Drugs for Sale, Bliss, Erectum, Seringe, Man Bug, Godchild, Re-hash.) ’Our final name is NIRVANA,’ a page says. Watching Montage of Heck feels like being a teen-ager in the eighties or nineties: making mixtapes, making weird collages, scrawling dreams in a spiral notebook, going to shows where bands play in front of projections of, say, slaughterhouse footage. When paired with Cobain’s music, the effect can be thrilling, and a poignant reflection on time.”
Video of the Day: The music video for Giorgio Morodor’s “Déjà Vu,” featuring Sia:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.