A Definitive Ranking of Every Kurt Cobain Movie Ever Made*

If John Waters is the Pope of Trash, Kurt Cobain is the Pope of Teen Angst. My early punk days were spent loading quarters into the high school cafeteria jukebox just to hear the opening chords of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Years later, I forwent Klimt’s “The Kiss” as my dorm room poster of choice in favor of a black-and-white photo of Kurt Cobain pensively smoking a cigarette and holding his guitar.

Nirvana is an important part of the starter pack for entry-level punks. Nevermind is one of the best-selling records of all time, the extreme popularity a testament to it’s relatability. But rather than being labeled a “sellout,” Kurt Cobain remains an enigmatic figurehead to every upcoming generation of teens, in no small part because of his tragic suicide in 1994.

We still search for deeper insight into the man who once said that “People don’t deserve to know. It’s none of their goddamn business what my personal life is like now. Fuck them, they don’t need to know everything about me.” And yet there have been countless movies, documentaries, books, and suspicious homemade videos eager to analyze Kurt Cobain’s legacy.

As someone who has read at least 9 different books on grunge and bought the Kurt Cobain Journals from Urban Outfitters, what I am trying to say here is that I am most definitely qualified to rank this list.

*Note: After multiple attempts to scrape an illegal download link off the web, as well as IRL trips to indie video stores across Toronto, a watchable copy of The Vigil (for Kurt Cobain)—a 1998 road trip movie about a group of teens who hail from the same city where Marilyn Manson was recently punched in the face in a Denny’s travel to Kurt Cobain’s memorial in Seattle—still eludes me. As such, it has not been included in the ranking.


The Box Builder

508 West 24th Street, Penthouse South$9,250,000; common charges: $4,246; taxes: $2,0413 bedroom; 3.5 bathroomsInterior: 3,018 square feet; exterior: 600 square feet


There are three penthouses in architect and developer Cary Tamarkin’s newest West Chelsea building, on West 24th Street. Penthouse North is already under contract. All of the other units in the building have been sold as well, and the ground floor retail space—sold to an investor—has been leased. Tamarkin’s buildings, with their boxy, post-industrial outlines, are scattered across the West Village and Chelsea, where many less graceful imitations have sprung up as well. Tamarkin “is widely credited with having reintroduced the fashion for raw-space loft development in New York,” the Times wrote in 2001.

On Tuesday, listing agents at 508 West 24th Street were holding an open house for brokers to see the two remaining penthouse apartments. One visitor had apparently been involved in a landmarking dispute with Tamarkin on the Upper East Side in the early aughts. Tamarkin’s initial proposal had called for a seventeen-story condominium building; the building plan that passed, two years later, was nine stories. “Tell her I hate her,” Tamarkin scoffed.

Tamarkin, who is from Long Island, studied architecture at Harvard and led his own firm, in Boston, for ten years, before moving back to New York in the early nineties to become a developer. “My whole life I had identified as an architect. That’s what I did since age twelve,” Tamarkin told me. “But I wasn’t prepared to be a starving artist my whole life.” In 1992, when he was thirty-five, he invested with a friend who, conveniently, had just gotten a job running the real estate fund at Oaktree Capital, in an abandoned warehouse in the West Village. A building at 140 Perry Street, which had been vacant for five years, Tamarkin said, cost 1.6 million dollars. “Even if the building made no money, I’d make twice as much money as if I’d just been hired as an architect, because I was also getting development fees,” he said. “In fact, the building sold out, and I made a million dollars. I had never seen a million dollars. So, this was definitely the right idea.”


My 90s/00s Beauty Trends: Where Are They Now?

We’ve already addressed Black Honey, but what happened to all the other makeup in our (my) makeup kits in the late 90s?

DuWop Lip Venom: Still under all my other lipstick in my makeup bag, and still effective! Somebody needs to remind the teens DuWop still makes this before the shot glasses ruin their faces. They should also probably know that it’s fun to prank your boyfriend by giving him a blowjob while wearing it.

Gap Dream solid scent: I used the last of the solid scent around 1998, before moving on to a Demeter scent (Madeline), and then, Clinique Happy.

Bonne Bell Flip Shades: Definitely a precursor to being that girl who carried a Zippo everywhere even though she didn’t smoke.


I Bet I Would Really Like the Second Season of ‘Other Space’

Recently I was in a bookstore, where I overheard one employee making fun of another’s embarrassing taste in comedy. “So you have like, a dumb sense of humor,” she said, “This is really revelatory.” The TV show she thought was so laughably bad was Broad City. Her coworker weakly tried to defend what some might call The Best Most Important Comedy I Can Currently Name Particularly When, Like Now, I Am Dumbed with Rage by How Smug This Store Clerk Was, but the girl stopped him. “I watched the pilot?” As if she had minored in Bevers Studies at NYU. “So, I got it.”

I think we can all agree, as reasonable human media consumers, that we should not be able to judge a show by its pilot (and also that the pilot of Broad City is great, and that that store clerk is probably now dead from her own self-satisfied wrongheadedness, having walked directly into traffic because she thought she knew where she was going but thanks). In many later-great cases, shows can’t even be judged by their abbreviated first seasons — the first six Offices, the first six Parks and Recs, even the first five Seinfelds. When comedies are heavily character-based, reliant on audience familiarity and actor chemistry, they necessarily take time to gel.

This brings us to Other Space and its 8-episode first season, currently streaming on Yahoo! Screen.

Some appetites (mine, maybe yours?) were whet for Other Space after reading the New Yorker’s profile of Allison Jones. Jones is a low-key comedy icon, the casting director responsible for the big breaks of everyone from Seth Rogen to Jonah Hill to basically the whole cast of The Office. The New Yorker followed her as she cast Other Space for her dear old friend, Ghostbusters: The Lady Reboot director and Freaks and Geeks co-creator Paul Feig. She was tasked with assembling a top-notch cast of relative unknowns to play Captain Stewart Lipinski and his inept, young crew, and she did it. Really well.

But, as The Office, Parks and Rec, and Seinfeld proved, that is just the first step. And I bet the second season of Other Space would really be something to talk about.


Teach and Frisk

At the front of the one-classroom schoolhouse in the Mar Vista Gardens housing project in Culver City, California, a handful of high school students and their teacher sit in a circle and participate in small group discussion. Behind them, a dozen or so students who have opted to engage in independent study work silently at their desks. The volume of the class rarely rises above the level of a friendly dinner table conversation.

Affluent families all over the country pay upwards of thirty-thousand dollars a year in private school tuition for settings like this. But this classroom, where students learn about astronomical research in Antarctica from a visiting CalTech scientist, tend to an organic vegetable garden, and practice non-violent conflict resolution, is part of Central High, a Los Angeles Unified School District alternative school for would-be dropouts, which operates out of sixteen sites from San Pedro to North Hollywood.

Yet the man running this class, a forty-two-year-old former public interest lawyer named Vitaly, may be on the brink of being fired. For the last four years, he has refused to conduct mandatory in-class weapons searches of his students—which the district argues keeps classrooms safe—because he believes that the policy is unethical and would destroy everything that makes his classroom successful.


Are You Just LARPing Your Job?

Slack, maker of extremely expensive professional chatrooms, is annexing online work culture at a stunning rate. The industry narrative doesn’t quite cover it! Sure, a lot of companies are signing up and closing their Campfire chats, their Hipchats and their IRCs. But the thing about Slack that gives you that low dread of unstoppable acceleration is how fully it encompasses how you talk to coworkers: first it replaces a group work chat, then it gradually replaces your Gchats and the last remaining AIM conversations. Eventually—and this is when you finally begin to understand why, in the big fun-free casino of venture capital, the Slack table is so crowded—it starts to replace email. It’s a weird and distinct feeling, and one that often coincides with Slack apologetics. It is the process of Slackulatory capture.

There may be offices, and types of jobs, for which sitting in a chatroom all day makes everyone more productive. This does not seem to be the case in online media, which is most effusive in its praise for the service. Slack is where people make jokes and register their presence; it is where stories and editing and administrating are discussed as much for self-justification as for the completion of actual goals. Working in an active Slack (or Campfire for that matter!) is a productivity nightmare, especially if you don’t hate your coworkers. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either rationalizing or delusional.


The Lease Busters

220 West 98th Street, #4$3,650 per month2 bedrooms / 1 bathroomNearest subway: 1/2/3 trains at 96th Street


Flip is a startup which makes it easier to break leases. The app is still in beta, but its founder, Susannah Vila, who is finishing up her MBA at Columbia University, has introduced to fellow students at Columbia who are looking to get out of their leases. “The idea came about just because I am the number one customer for it,” Vila told me. “I just love to move. I’ve moved three times since starting business school.” Vila is currently on two leases: She lives in Lower Manhattan, on East Broadway, and sublets her previous apartment. “It’s silly that you get constrained and stuck into leases by the year—you should just be able to move in and out of apartments whenever you want.”


The Toys You Won’t Buy

I don’t have a lot of “rules” at home for the baby. I put Zelda to bed consistently, I’m strict about her eating, and I keep her away from iPhones. Other than that, it is mostly a free-for-all around here. Still, even before I had a baby, I had THOUGHTS on the insane baby toys which are really popular these days: you know, the ones that fit the whole baby inside of them, with crazy lights and sounds and glitter? “They’re huge, they’re loud, they’re ugly. They probably overstimulate the baby’s senses and make it crazy!” I told myself. That philosophy crumbled relatively quickly in the face of gift-laden visitors and a need to search out everything I could imagine that my baby would want or need. And so, while your baby will happily play with a cardboard box for hours at a time, you (like me) will probably spend a lot of time (and money) shopping for toys—to entertain, to distract, to “stimulate,” and to educate your new roommate.


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