Don't let your Boomer family get you down.
Thanksgiving has always been about food.
We suffer through the awkward small talk and often anti-climactic football games for the sake of the meal that awaits us at the end of the day, and even then that "meal" is representative of ethnic cleansing and genocide. But there are a few other pros that lay outside of gorging yourself on mashed potatoes. The holiday always falls on a Thursday, which means you always have a four day weekend. Black Friday is also the following day, so despite whatever infuriating experiences you may have on Thanksgiving with your family, you can at least rest easy knowing you can go out and buy enough stuff to numb the pain.
These reasons alone are enough to warrant celebration. So while you clench your jaw through what is almost guaranteed to be a painfully long afternoon, why not curate some music to help elevate your mood and remind yourself that a four day weekend of relaxation awaits?
"Thank U" By Alanis Morrisette
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Is it possible for a 90s action movie to have a stance on the politics of gender?
When The Matrix came out in 1999, the Wachowskis became two of the biggest up-and-coming talents in Hollywood.
Their mind-bending, effects-heavy action movie had quickly become one of the top-earning R-rated movies of all time and successfully launched phase three of Keanu Reeves' constantly evolving, eternal career (currently entering phase six).
However, as is so often the case, the project that earned the Wachowskis their cred was not everything they originally wanted it to be. As Lilly Wachowski put it in a recent interview with Netflix Film Club, "The corporate world wasn't ready for it." If they'd had their way, it would have been a much more overtly trans movie.
She's also an extraordinarily accomplished conceptual artist.
Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant appeared together on the red carpet yesterday at the LACMA Art + Film Gala, making their rumored relationship official.
Grant is a conceptual artist and painter who has collaborated with Reeves on several projects in the past. Yes, she's 46, but the fact that we're all praising Keanu to the high heavens for dating someone only nine years his junior reveals how low our standards are. Really, we should be praising Alexandra Grant because she seems like a genuinely extraordinary person, and we all know that our beloved Keanu deserves the best and more.
A little bit about her: Alexandra Grant moved around a lot as a child, living in Mexico City, Washington D.C., and Paris. She's always been an artist. In an interview with LA Weekly, she said, "'Artist' is the best word for all the things that I love to do and have been doing pretty consistently since I was a child: reading, staring into space, daydreaming, inventing symphonic-scale projects whether a chemistry experiment or growing seeds into plants, finding meaning in the patterns of bathroom tiles and cracks in the ceiling, believing in the goodness of people and love, drawing while listening to music, experiencing language as images and colors, and desiring to be solitary while doing most of the above."
She studied mathematics in college, then attended graduate school at the California College of the Arts in California. Currently, she is based in Los Angeles. Apparently, she can officiate weddings, and loves Toni Morrison, roller coasters, and Lana Del Rey.
Her work, which has been exhibited in galleries all over the world, "probes ideas of translation, identity, dis/location, and social responsibility," according to her website. Much of her work seems to probe the liminal space between words and communication, images and meaning. She works in dozens of mediums, from clay to glass, painting to sound. Past works include a series of collaborations with the philosopher Hélène Cixous, with whom she apparently has a "telepathic" relationship. One of their projects, called "Interior Forest," is dedicated to "transforming from participants into oneironauts, or travelers within a lucid dream space" and "exploring the peripheries of the collective unconscious."
Other works include a series of collage-like paintings called "Born to Love," inspired by the Greek myth Antigone. She also directed a film called Taking Lena Home.
She has many brilliant philosophies about art, storytelling, religion, and of course, love. In an interview with The Creative Independent, she announced her own three-pronged definition of love. "The first part of it is self love," she said. "I don't think that we can truly help other people until we've worked on our own healing, or else we are going to keep promoting inherited or naturalized belief systems that aren't useful within the work we do. Self love is the first step to being able to love others. The second is really just that sense of loving other people in our community, doing more than maybe we're comfortable doing. But it has to come from a place of self-healing first. The third is loving the responsibility we have to love others who are different than we are. Politics and business thrive from creating false differences between us. I think that we really are in a time where we need to love those who are different than we are, and take action and responsibility towards that."
Grant has applied her definition extensively in her own life. She's a philanthropist, and created the grantLOVE project, which funds arts-based nonprofits in LA.
In terms of her relationship with Reeves, Grant has been collaborating with the Matrix star for quite a while. Grant was introduced to Reeves through a mutual friend, for whom they later threw a joint birthday party, and they became close cooking steaks at the event. "From the beginning, we were collaborating," said Grant in an early interview.
She later illustrated two of his books, 2011's adult picture book Ode to Happiness and 2016's book of poetry, Shadows. The latter book later became an interdisciplinary collaboration between Reeves and Grant.
According to the Shadows exhibition's press release, "Through a series of dramatic photographs, Grant captures Reeves' silhouette in a sequence of movements where his figure often blurs beyond the point of recognition, causing the final images to border on abstraction. After the shoots with Reeves, Grant manipulated the images to invert the images black for white, making the shadow itself the source of light. Despite their mysterious and elegant qualities, the images are narrative and figurative, supported by Reeves's poetic texts in the titles and accompanying book. Hauntingly beautiful, the images are also playful, allowing the viewer to sense the intimacy and exchange in the collaborative relationship between subject and artist." Essentially, it seems that Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant may have fallen in love while she took blurry photos of him as part of a project meant to explore intimacy. (Be still, my heart).
Collaboration and partnership seems to come naturally to these two human angels. In 2017, they co-founded X Artists' Books, a publishing house that publishes "unconventional, interdisciplinary and collaborative artists' books," according to the LA Times. "Thematically we're really interested in darkness and politics," said Grant of X Artists' Books. "We're also interested in marginal voices that are exciting, and in exploring the performative and experimental. I think a book can become a seed, a DNA for world-building."
So, it seems that Grant is just as socially conscious and spiritually awakened as Keanu Reeves himself. One would imagine that there's a roomy cabin somewhere in the California hills where they spend all their time creating, cohabiting space mostly in silence, stopping only to occasionally discuss their dreams.
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Many of us already feel like we're living in a simulation. What can a fourth 'Matrix' teach us today?
20 years after the world was first introduced to Neo and his black sunglasses, the Matrix franchise is returning for a fourth installment.
It's easy to imagine that the film will flop, just like Matrix 2 and 3 did. Those films were widely panned, and their titles are synonymous with disappointing sequels.
On the other hand, in many ways, there's never been a better time to return to the questions that burned at the core of the original Matrix. The possible existence of an alternate, parallel universe formed through technology, artificial intelligence, and social media has become more and more apparent in the past two decades, and talk of simulation glitches has been rampant, especially since 2016. Shows like Black Mirror and The OA have taken the blueprint that The Matrix laid out to new heights, turning reality inside out and leaping quickly from dimension to dimension.
In short, we're living in a post-Matrix universe. The wisdom that the original film imparted is now common knowledge, and most people know that reality is not as it seems. Yet no franchise or story has ever been able to determine what that might mean.
We have little time left to speculate. On and offscreen, we're all witnessing a total overhaul of reality and identity. Our futures may depend on a collective awakening and reshaping that will require mass mobilization and new ideologies. Particularly, once you become aware of the apocalyptic threat posed by climate change and the systems that created it, it can feel like you and everyone else around you are blindly walking inside a veritable matrix, being used as pawns in a large, hungry system driven by looming corporations.
This is partly why, if Matrix 4 simply tries to build on and retell the story it told back in 1999, it will be a failure. If it merely tries to make us question reality once again, if it's mostly a montage of gun violence, stunts, and spaceships, then it'll wind up bottom-dwelling where the sequels reside.
But if it builds on those old revelations—if it riffs on current events and connects to intersectional issues and 21st century philosophy—it has the potential to be as revolutionary as the first.
'The Matrix 4' Is Happening, Complete With Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Lana Wachowski www.indiewire.com
In some ways, this feels unlikely, like too much to ask from a single film. Fortunately, Lana Wachowski has signed on, which is a good sign.
But most importantly, the Matrix franchise has always had a not-so-secret weapon: Keanu Reeves.
The real-world Reeves' sudden popularity has been extensively analyzed. Some have argued it's because he represents an alternative to the Hollywood bad-guy archetype in the #MeToo era. Some have proposed that it's because he seems to know something that the rest of us are just trying to figure out. Reeves is humble, private, poised, and most of all, kind. As Neo and as himself, he exists outside our glitchy, simulated world, outside of the media's clutches, outside of illusion, blind humanism, and the bottomless greed that is at the heart of American exceptionalism and colonial violence, which will also be our doom if there isn't a massive paradigm shift sooner rather than later.
This may sound overdramatic, but—blank slate that he is—Reeves has always been the ideal greenscreen upon which to project different, radical ideas about worlds beyond the ones we accept as real or possible. Now, as Neo, he needs to show the rest of us how to get there.
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American Gods: How Keanu Reeves, Nicolas Cage, and Neil Gaiman Became the Internet’s Most Beloved Men
Though they've had rather different careers, each of these men has become something of an Internet darling in the #MeToo era.
Nicolas Cage and Keanu Reeves are very different celebrities.
Reeves is the shockingly down-to-earth crown prince of the #MeToo era, a title he earned due to his habit of not touching women in photographs. On the other hand, Cage is an insane person who once bought a dinosaur skull for $276,000, and who practices a form of acting based in ancient magic, which he has coined "nouveau shamanic." Still, they both have one main thing in common: They've become darlings of the Internet age.
Keanu had a moment in 2019, to say the absolute least. Over the past few months, the Internet has exploded with love for everyone's favorite Matrix hacker, who seems to have discovered some key to being a decent person that the rest of the male species are still searching for. Because of his recent radically weird New York Times interview, though, Cage seems to be a potential threat to Reeves' position as the Internet's resident king, as does Twitter's latest object of sudden adoration: Neil Gaiman.
Keanu Reeves, Nicolas Cage, and the Age of the Genuine Movie Star
Let's begin by focusing on Reeves and Cage. On a fundamental level, these two are similar because they both represent a kind of radical genuineness that stands in stark contrast to the depressing cynicism that has defined the online world in recent years. "I have gone out of my way not to be ironic and — with the risk of looking ridiculous — to be genuinely emotionally naked," Cage told The Times. And it's true: There's something decidedly unabashed about the way that Cage has conducted himself during his decades-long career, from his roles in Fast Times at Ridgemont High to On Air to Mandy.
Then there's the fact that both Cage and Reeves have been subjects of lists about the nice things they have done (Cage has inspired far less than Reeves, but still, he has donated millions of dollars). Yet, Cage and Reeves are polar opposites on the spectrum of genuineness, with Reeves soaring high above Cage in terms of untouchable, pure goodness. If Reeves is a benevolent god, then Cage may be his antagonistic demon companion.
Either way, they both seem to exist outside or above the glitchy reality of the digital era. Having transcended jadedness, having shed the heavy skin of irony and detachment, they instead occupy a fatherly and almost godlike space in many of our hearts, embodying an openhearted authenticity—a quality that, despite its hackneyed and fraught nature, perhaps we're all subconsciously seeking.
After all, so many of our icons and leaders have fallen over the past few years, revealing themselves to be perverted or slimy con men, and in an age when faith in Hollywood's leading men is receding as quickly as their hairlines, any person who reinvigorates our faith in the human race feels refreshing. If Keanu Reeves was a cool drink of water to wash away the bad taste left by the likes of Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, then Nick Cage is a burst of spiked, ice-cold Kool-Aid: searing, sweet, and dazzlingly colored, he's still a fundamentally escapist beverage.
Coincidental Parallels, or Something More?
The two actors have been linked for a long time. Besides both being born in 1964, another truth that unites Reeves and Cage is the simple fact that neither is a great actor. In their mediocrity, they have still managed to become infamous.
Actually, the subject of whether or not Reeves is a good actor is a very popular topic of debate. When a reader wrote to The New York Times in 2011 asking if Keanu Reeves was a "good bad actor or a bad good actor." The film critics' answer: Neither. "He's Keanu Reeves, dude, and an excellent movie star, blessed with a beautiful blank quality that lends itself to our projections and helps explain why he's been a go-to savior," they wrote. That comment in itself might help explain some of Reeves' (and Cages') allure: In their own way, they're both blank slates, open to our projections. Cage is just more open to bizarre, dramatic kinds of projections.
Regardless, they're both canvases, in the sense that they seem to exist outside of the perpetually broadcasted, glamorous, and hyper-social sphere of Los Angeles, social media, and their drug-addled parties and endlessly flickering screens. When Cage told The Times about what he really wants to do with his days, it certainly wasn't about going to parties or leveraging his brand. "I don't want to go anywhere," he said. "I just want to look at my aquarium, look at my sea horse, read my Murakami, watch Bergman." That interview alone was enough to get him trending on Twitter.
This is what I want out of a Nicolas Cage interview. Please and thank you. https://t.co/cM70mjG3F4— Minovsky (@Minovsky)1565269682.0
Similarly, Reeves is famously introverted, and as Shia LaBoeuf said once, "I don't think he hangs out with other humans that much." Mysterious yet genuine, these two actors float about in a unique space that makes them perfect templates for the meme era. At the same time, they're escapes from the tsunamis of the Internet's ceaseless rage.
If you start digging, the parallels seem endless. Certain people on the Internet have suggested that Cage and Reeves (along with John Travolta) are secretly immortal vampires, due to their resemblance to certain historical figures and their apparent resistance to aging. When asked about the immortality theory, Reeves didn't even deny it: Instead, he told Jimmy Fallon, "We're all stardust, baby" (Classic Keanu!).
Keanu Reeves Almost Changed His Name to Chuck Spadina www.youtube.com
nicolas cage is real life immortal shaggy— mollz ッ (@mollz ッ)1551581469.0
Another 21st-Century Hero Emerges: Neil Gaiman
As of August 8, just a day after Cage's most recent moment on Twitter, another famous person has taken his place as the number one trending topic: Neil Gaiman, the lovable author of books such as American Gods, Good Omens, and Neverwhere. Though Gaiman is not a movie star, he's a well-known and widely beloved Internet personality. Most of the Tweets about Gaiman go something like this: "I was so scared when I saw that Neil Gaiman was trending, but then I realized that it's just because he's a great author and a great guy."
Thank fuck Neil Gaiman is trending just because he is awesome. Can we have more "just because they are awesome" tr… https://t.co/WUvgHs022U— Hubert Motley , Jr. 😬🤔 (@Hubert Motley , Jr. 😬🤔)1565275298.0
Gaiman's American Gods was a lamentation about technology and the godlessness of the modern era. Though not without its flaws, it helped to encourage a rise in polytheism and even encouraged some of the neo-Paganism that has been propelled to the fore in recent times.
In short, Gaiman, like Reeves, is a man whose work seems to exist outside of the media's simulacrum, outside of the crushing reality of #MeToo, and even—perhaps most importantly—the obliterative voracity of late capitalism. Interestingly, Gaiman's Neverwhere presents a Matrix-like scenario wherein the visible world is underlaid by a massive, secret underground realm; and a lot of his work, in general, involves tapping into secret otherworlds that lie just beyond our own.
In 2019, when the visible world so frequently feels unbearable and unsustainable—burdened with shootings and climate crisis reports as it is—perhaps we're all looking for someone who can lead us out of the fog and towards the truth. We're all seeking a world where people can be trending because of how good they are—not how astoundingly evil or rich (or, usually, both). At the very least, we're seeking hope, and we want proof that there are some positive male role models in existence for our sons. In Gaiman's imaginativeness, in Reeves' unpretentiousness, and even in Cage's freakish charm, perhaps we sense something that touches on the sublime.
Breaking the Internet: Vampires, Neo, and Gods, Oh My!
So, what is it about these men that makes it seem like they're immortal, know something we don't, or hold the key to shattering the whole simulation? Is there something about each of their pixelated presences that implies they can help us escape the ever-tightening hold that technology and culture have around our necks?
In the era of Area 51 conspiracies and fake news, Reeves, Cage, and Gaiman seem like obvious choices for Internet darlings. Tellingly, Cage was actually offered the part of Neo in The Matrix but turned it down because he didn't want to film in Australia. The casting directors of The Matrix obviously saw Cage as a character capable of playing someone like Neo, someone who could break down the world's conspiracies, and it seems that Twitter does as well. (Another role Cage turned down: Mr. Wednesday, one of two leading roles on the Starz adaption of American Gods).
Your fifth emoji represents the final clue Nicolas Cage needs to save the constitution from the aliens who escaped at area 51...and GO— 🌸Likes🌸 (@🌸Likes🌸)1564366582.0
If I’m going to go Area 51 I’m taking keanu Reeves— Paige Montelli (@Paige Montelli)1563237747.0
my fiancé as an animated Area 51 guard pissing his pants while Keanu Reeves naruto runs at him with Lil Nas X, Maso… https://t.co/8l1kRNj4ma— elijah daniel (@elijah daniel)1563318129.0
While Gaiman might have few exact parallels to Reeve and Cage, he definitely occupies the same cultural territory as they do, filling Twitter and online blogs with merited adoration that surges up suddenly, often in conjunction with cultural upheaval or tragedy.
It is my two favorites' year-- Keanu Reeves and Neil Gaiman. They are rocking 2019. I discovered their works in th… https://t.co/VAMLt8cF84— Tikya Aguirre (@Tikya Aguirre)1562027308.0
Has anyone else noticed that Neil Gaiman and Keanu Reeves are gradually becoming the same person— tony stark is in hell (@tony stark is in hell)1399482682.0
Perhaps there is also an element of sexism at play in the growing movement that is Reeves and Cage and adoration in particular. Apparently, men can be deified simply for not assaulting women and for not being horrible, capital-obsessed people.
On the other hand, both seem to transcend the gender binary somehow, be it via the bottomless well of kindness that Keanu Reeves seems to possess or the endless spring of hysteria and madness from which Nicolas Cage seems to spew unironically. And of course, Neil Gaiman's Good Omens has also become a popular projection screen for queer fantasies, as the devil and angel stars of that show have a clearly loving relationship that also exists outside of time and gender.
Work in progress #GoodOmens #GoodOmensFanArt https://t.co/IkZXnk9Ky4— Alice Rovai (@Alice Rovai)1565174132.0
Can people stop complaining that Neil Gaiman refuses to label Good Omens as “gay” because ANGELS ARE INHERENTLY SEX… https://t.co/NcW8MSyZZC— Liz❄️ (@Liz❄️)1562660842.0
In the end, there's a definite mystical component to our collective online obsession with Nick Cage, Keanu Reeves, and Neil Gaiman. In June, The New Yorker published an article called "Keanu Reeves Is Too Good For This World" that ended with the author relaying some of the positive experiences she had with Keanu. She concluded with the sentiment: "These moments aren't much, but I keep them close, picking them up every once in a while, the way you would a crystal or an amulet."
Cage, of course, is Marianne Williamson-level mystical. In his recent interview with The Times, he spoke extensively about his search to find a very literal "Holy Grail." He's also been embroiled in countless, ever-stranger schemes; there was the time his cat ate his shrooms on accident, and then he took some to keep it company; there was the time he was stalked by a mime, and of course there's his decision to be buried in a pyramid in New Orleans when or if he ever dies.
Nicolas Cage on why reading philosophy is like a "grail quest"... https://t.co/ZzyJgVm4i9 https://t.co/TwyMAMQcGN— Nolen Gertz (@Nolen Gertz)1565262248.0
In short, all of them embody something of a different world, a world that seems more like a fantasy with each passing day. They are men who are non-toxic while possessing none of the sniveling, loaded traits of the "nice guy" archetype. They embody an imaginative, alternative, organic, queer kind of masculinity, cutting through the drone of both the past's obsession with macho James Dean-types and the modern Internet's jadedness and regressive hatred. They offer hints of communion with something greater that all humans are looking for, whether we know it or not.
just in case you’re having a bad day or need a reason to smile, here's keanu reeves wearing yellow hair clips. https://t.co/PyVoEOfDNL— déia (@déia)1565095936.0
All this leads to only one final conclusion. In a godless era, wherein organized religion is out of fashion, the false god of capital has failed us, and the earth seems to be dying before our very eyes, we are all seeking figures to worship. For better or worse, it seems that Neil Gaiman, Nick Cage, and Keanu Reeves, in their wide-eyed, transcendent genuineness, are the closest things that America—or at least, the American Internet in 2019—has to gods.