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The Pink Hulk

I created this video for Valerie David. She really liked the results. She writes:
I wholeheartedly recommend Nancy McClernan for your video shooting and video editing needs. She created for me a wonderful, professional video for my award-winning solo show The Pink Hulk: One Women's Journey to Find the Superhero, about my autobiographical journey to become a two-time cancer survivor. She took the time to make sure every detail was perfect and coached me to help me do my best on shooting day. The end product was a video that has booked me work, receiving so many compliments from all who have viewed it. You can view it on my website http://pinkhulkplay.com/. In addition, her expert video services generated an outpouring of donations to my fund-raising campaign, helped me to partner up with cancer organizations based on how impressed they were by its quality, and assisted me in successfully promoting and marketing The Pink Hulk. Thank you, Nancy!
Valerie David
Performer/Writer/Producer of The Pink Hulk: One Woman's Journey to Find the Superhero Within
http://pinkhulkplay.com/ Facebook: @pinkhulkplay, @ValerieDavid 646 319 2443  ~ vadactor@aol.com ~ pinkhulkplay@gmail.com

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WAIT FOR IT

A video I edited for a monologue video series.


On the road with Donald Fagen

I sort of lost track of Steely Dan for a while and to be honest it's partly because I haven't really felt much for their work since "Two Against Nature." But that album - or at least the one song... I was in a bookstore in Manhattan and as I was browsing I heard music playing from above and I thought what is that beautiful sound? I knew SD was scheduled to release a new album so I quickly realized they were my angels. Specifically, "Jack of Speed." 

But because of Walter Becker's recent death I've been reading up on the Dan and just realized Donald Fagen had put out a book of writing, "Eminent Hipsters", so I bought it and read the whole thing in a sitting. In the credits at the back Fagen thanks Hendrick Hertzberg for reviewing his manuscript, which led me to wonder why Fagen has never written for the New Yorker. 

In the New Yorker archives there are some articles which mention Steely Dan in passing and just a few that focus on them, including one about Becker's death, and that's it. The closest they get to a review is Sasha Frere-Jones odd summation of them as "a band that could not come to be now."

But no Fagen bylines and why not? He knows Hertzberg, he's a bona fide god of rock, there's probably a greater concentration of Dan fans among New Yorker readers than most other places and he writes beautifully, as you might guess from some of the finer Dan lyrics, but especially in the second half of the book, which is almost entirely Fagen bitching about the discomforts of touring with a sub-Dan band. I found those stories more interesting than his essays about the monsters of jazz and other childhood heroes.

The second half of the book isn't only an old guy complaining about the kids these days and health problems, although even that is far more interesting than you have any right to expect. There's also jarring moments of tragedy (his wife's son's suicide) and unexpectedly hysterical humor and just solid nuggets of wisdom. Some of my faves:
...sheets and pillowcases smell like soy sauce, a common occurrence in hotels. Is it because they use some particular noxious detergent? Or is it what everyone's thinking, that the launderers are Chinese people who eat while they're working and allow certain elements to mix with the cleaning elements? Or would it seem totally paranoid to imagine that certain disgruntled, vengeful workers might actually pour their bottles of soy sauce into the washing machines or dryers?
*** 

...Back to the artist as a megalomaniacal dick Just like in the civilian population, a nasty, rude fucker is nasty and rude - because they're scared of what you think of them. It's a defense. Sometimes the same stuff that made them so scared has also contributed to their creative nature, though I've found that the most unpleasant ones are usually mediocre artists as well. This is because real art - I'm generalizing here - requires a certain amount of empathy.

Of course, an artist has to maintain control. This means making sure conditions are right, which includes being unsentimental about tossing people who aren't doing their job or who reveal themselves to be psychos or whatever. But even firing folks can be done with kindness...
***  
...Probably right-wingers, too, the victims of an epidemic mental illness that a British study has proven to be the result of having an inordinately large amygdala, a part of the primitive brain that causes them to be fearful way past the point of delusion, which explains why their philosophy, their syntax and their manner of thought don't seem to be reality based. That's why, when you hear a Republican speak, it's like listening to somebody recount a particularly boring dream.
***  
When everything's working right (while performing in concert), you become transfixed by the notes and the chords and the beautiful spaces in between. In the center of it, with the drums and the bass and guitar all around you, the earth falls away and it's just you and your crew creating this forward motion, this undeniable, magical stuff that can move ten thousand people to snap free of life's miseries and get up and dance and scream and feel just fine.


So it's five years since Fagen wrote the book and he just lost his long-time collaborator and friend and must be going through a lousy time. I hope he's OK. 

And also I hope that the New Yorker will ask him to write pieces now and then. And give him one of those nifty headshot cartoon icons like Hertzberg has.



Starra is a star

Starra Andrews stars in this instructional video.


Cassatt/Morisot vs. Renoir

The Met is not at all phased by Renoir-hating, obviously, since
they included this Renoir in a membership outreach email.
There doesn't seem to be much going on with the Renoir Sucks at Painting crew outside of their Instagram.

But their Instagram presents evidence connecting Renoir to white supremacists as in these hate mails from the Nazi web site Stormfront and Donald Trump's apartment.

Speaking of Nazis, it turns out Renoir was a bit of an anti-Semite as recorded by Julie Manet the daughter of another impressionist painter Berthe Morisot who was married to the brother of another impressionist Edouard Manet:
 ...Julie quotes Renoir as saying, “[The Jews] come to France to earn money, but if there is any fighting to be done they hide behind a tree… There are a lot of them in the army, because the Jew likes to walk about wearing a uniform”. During the same discussion, Julie notes that Renoir also “let fly on the subject of Pissarro, ‘a Jew’, whose sons are natives of no country and who do their military service nowhere”. Renoir goes on, “It’s tenacious the Jewish race. Pissarro’s wife isn’t one, yet all the children are, even more so than their father.”[15]
On another occasion, Julie quotes Renoir talking about how he “naturally” refused to sign a petition which the Jews and anarchists were signing for a reconsideration of the Dreyfus trial. During another interminable discussion, a “very worked up” Renoir observes that  “the peculiarity of the Jews is to cause disintegration”. On a later occasion he derides Gustave Moreau’s painting as “art for Jews”[16]. 
Renoir's comments about Jews sound exactly like contemporary bigots talking about Muslims.

All the other artists mentioned in this post are better than Renoir, but with the possible exception of Manet, Renoir is the most famous.

The Stormfront comments are idiotic and wrong-headed as Nazi comments will be. The one quoted by the anti-Renoir brigade says: "Renoir created beautiful works of art depicting happy, healthy White people enjoying life. That's why the anti-whites despise him..."

Of course this is blatantly false. Nobody is complaining about the art of Mary Cassatt or Berthe Morisot, who both painted the same exact subjects as Renoir. And yet Renoir is much more famous and revered than either of them. Max Geller, the leading anti-Renoir guy makes a good point:
“I think what’s important to understand is that Renoir actually does suck at painting, and there are plenty of female artists who never get hung in fine art museums because they’re dominated by males,” Geller said. “And if you’re going to dominate, territorially speaking, your walls with white male artists, I think you should make certain that they are good artists.”
And not only did Cassatt and Morisot paint the same kind of subjects as Renoir, sometimes they painted exactly the same subject.

Here are two pastel drawings of a woman in red with her dark hair up in a bun, breastfeeding.  The first is Renoir, the second is Cassatt. You can't get a clearer demonstration of the superior skills of Cassatt with the composition, choice of color, use of paint and draftsmanship. You can't compare the faces since Cassatt's woman  is turned away, but it's unlikely hers has the visage of a slow cow as Renoir's does.

  




And here are two paintings with similar compositions and (almost) the exact same subjects. The first is Berthe Morisot and her daughter Julie Morisot by Renoir and the second is a painting by Morisot of her daughter Julie and Morisot's sister-in-law, who would be around the same age as Morisot.

What a difference - Renoir's is flat in composition and color and lighting, while Morisot's piece has depth and subtlety. Renoir doesn't even attempt a background, content to make it his usual wash.
And you can see that Renoir, as he did with painter Suzanne Valadon when she was young, put Julie Manet through the Renoir-alizer and turned a thoughtful young woman into another generic smiling pretty girl-cow.

Well at least Julie got her revenged by recounting Renoir's anti-Semitism for the world.

Clearly Morisot and Cassatt handled the "white people having fun" every bit as much as Renoir, except they did it much much better. Which is why nobody is saying they suck at painting. But since Renoir had a penis he was and continues to be given much greater respect than either of these two female Impressionists.






Nova Scotia wines are amazing

At the Stubborn Goat
Before I saw Brooke Johnson's TRUDEAU STORIES in Wolfville Nova Scotia I stopped to have dinner at The Library Pub & Wine bar. I ordered the Nova Scotia wine in order to be polite - I had no idea it would be so amazing. I asked my server for a recommendation and she brought me this (I think) and no wonder it's a favo(u)rite - it was really great.
L’Acadie Blanc, Domaine de Grand Prè A local full-bodied favourite of complex character with pleasant aromas of fresh cut hay and herbal notes that is complemented by a rich, lively grapefruit acidity. By the glass 7 

But I might have had this instead:
Ortega, Domaine de Grand Prè This is a brilliant wine with intense aromas of pear, dried apricot and honey, layered with delicate floral notes and rose petal. Produced in an off-dry style, the pronounced nose leads to an elegant, balanced and complex palate. By the glass 9
And notice the prices - those are in Canadian dollars which means the L'Acadie Blanc was actually $5.60 and the Ortega was 7.20. Wow, what a contrast to New York prices for top-quality wine - or really any wine.

The next day when I was in Halifax at the Stubborn Goat Gastropub, just off the Halifax waterfront for lunch I ordered some more Nova Scotia wine. Also great. I liked the white better than the red but both were great. Once again I asked the server for a suggestion and forget what she brought me, but I'm pretty sure it was Nelly's Goat Nova Scotia White which is their house blend. Truly delicious.

I've been trying to find Nova Scotia wine in the US and so far no luck. It looks like I will have to order direct from the winery if I want it. Which I plan to do ASAP from Domaine de Grand Pre.

Dude in London discovered Nova Scotia wine too.

Canada trip - what I learned

Acadian flag
It's been two weeks since my trip to Nova Scotia and I've hardly had a chance to blog since returning thanks to my 2-week French intensive class which started right when I got back, and other things.

So now that I have a moment, here are some things I got out of my second foray into Canada:

  • I drove 400 miles around Nova Scotia and I literally did not see a single police car. 
  • The roads in Nova Scotia are scary - they only have highways into and out of big cities like Halifax. Everywhere else it's two lane roads, which is a nightmare if you don't want to drive much over the speed limit and there is no-passing. Those Canadian drivers will drive right up your ass, well above the speed limit including at night in dense fog. Which I unfortunately did drive in. I assume this speed-limit scofflaw situation is associated somehow with the scarcity of state troopers (or I guess province troopers.)
  • Nova Scotia is not really Frenchy except for the south-west section I drove through where I saw many homes flying the Acadian flag.   
  • Nova Scotia wine is ah-maze-ing. More about that in the next blog post. 
  • Thank god for funky college town coffee houses - in the US and Canada. Starbucks is OK, but college town coffee houses have a better vibe, are usually larger and much more relaxed. You can sit in a coffee house charging your cell phone for hours while drinking a single cup of cappuccino and the kids at the counter don't care the least little bit. The coffee houses I hung out in during my trip:

Coffee by Design on India Street  in Portland Maine - I hung out here while waiting several hours between my train from Boston and the ferry to Nova Scotia. They had tiny lil bagels but the prices were reasonable.

I neglected to take a photo so I used the one from their web site.

 Just Us Coffee in Wolfville Nova Scotia - I had breakfast here on Sunday before my drive from Wolfville to Halifax. The window looking out onto the street isn't actually a window, it's just a big opening. It looks like the coffee house was once a garage.



You have to walk through Just Us Coffee to get into the Acadia theater which of course is a great idea since theater-goers can get stuff before or after the show.


Just Us! Coffee House and Acadia theater from across the street.

Humanit-T in Downtown Halifax - may be the greatest coffee house I've ever charged my cellphone in. Just look at this - it has all the best things about a college town coffee house but takes it to the next level.

It has the standard painting by a local but it's actually a pretty good painting. It has a comfy canapé sofa with throw pillow and serviceable coffee table in front - beat up so that if you spill any coffee you don't feel guilty. And an outlet - right there above the sofa.

This is the perfect coffee house set-up especially for a traveller. I was there on a Sunday afternoon while it rained for a couple of hours and although it was somewhat busy I always had a place to sit - this spot opened up during hour two and I was ecstatic. It's the little things when you've driven 200 miles in the last 24 hours on crazy scary Nova Scotia roads.

Humani-T in downtown Halifax -  center of the college town coffee house universe


The exterior of the mighty Humani-T Cafe.




The Works, Portland Maine - I wasn't here very long, it was a quick stop between the Portland ferry and the bus station on my way home - yes I had to take a bus instead of a train between Portland and Boston. But I got to spend a little time in this cozy spot so they fully deserve to be on this list. Much better than being forced to hang out in a Dunkin' Donuts across the street.


Yay I am in Canada

I've been too busy traveling to blog. But I finally made it to Canada. Yay!

Going through New Hampshire via Amtrak


CAT ferry to Nova Scotia




They freaking LOVE Tim Hortons in Canada. I haven't seen a single Starbucks - it's all Tim.

Le bon rosé de Provence


Over twenty years ago (is it possible?) I took four co-workers out for dinner in Philadelphia. This was before I had a credit card so I was entirely dependent on my checking account for payment and during dinner I realized I was going to be short unless I cut back on some things - so I ordered the cheapest bottle of wine, a rosé - and one of my co-workers made a slighting remark about rosé.

Well now rosé is in vogue baby. They are really pushing it all over Manhattan with big displays in most liquor stores.

So I got me this bottle from Aix-en-Provence and I have to say I am loving it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with rosé - this article discusses its rehabilitation.

The gender stereotyping that once ghettoised pink wine as a drink for girls and big girls’ blouses is long gone. Rosé is everywhere. In France, sales have exceeded those of white wine for several years now. Over here, rosé is drunk winter and summer and goes stratospheric every time the sun shines. The colour helps; a glass of rosé or crowd of bottles glowing different hues of pink is attractive. With the rehabilitation of a wine once considered too frivolous and lightweight to be worthy of proper attention has come another phenomenon: the rise of Posh Pink.
Rosé is now a status symbol – an expensive, aspirational, incredibly desirable drink that comes in ego-boosting sizes, not just magnums but also jeroboams, imperials and six-litre methuselahs. As with yachts and Porsches, size is not everything. It is, of course, imperative to have the right sort. Trying to be flash with a glass of sweet, raspberry-coloured Californian blush zinfandel is about as smart as gluing “go faster” stripes to the side of a Ford Mondeo and entering it in the Monaco Grand Prix.
 
First rule of posh rosé (there are a few derogations, but not many): it must come from Provence.

Arretez! C'est le French Language Police!

She says: "we are criticized for using too many anglicisms in our newspaper."
His response: OK (anglicism) Partons en debriefing (anglicism) pour faire la
check-list (anglicism) des items a updater (anglicism) dan les news (anglicism). 
("Let's have a meeting to make a checklist of words we should update.")


The French are sick of creeping anglicisms and have an entire organization devoted to dealing with this scourge: The Academie Francais. Here is the section of its web site devoted to Neologisms and Anglicisms on the AF web site

You can see why it's such an issue for the French - right across the English Channel (called la Manche by the French) is England and a thousand years of cultural exchange. 

And as if that wasn't bad enough there is the cultural dominance of the USA all over the world, and that means a double-whammy of English for the French.

The English language has no equivalent to L'Academie Francais in part probably because of the de facto dominance of English, and also because the English language has no problem with grabbing words from other languages. 

And then there's the fact that 29% of all English words already come from French and another 29% comes from Latin - and a lot of French comes from Latin. Paul at Langfocus thinks that English is a Germanic-Romance Language hybrid even though English is technically classified as a Germanic language.

The British have something to say about the French Language police:
Ask a French person to get back to you and they are unlikely to do so ASAP. The abbreviation is the latest term to fall foul of the Gallic word police, the Académie Française, which says it is 21st-century rubbish.
The Immortals, as academy members are known, have published a damning condemnation of ASAP in their ongoing campaign to protect what is known as "the language of Molière".
"This abbreviation of as soon as possible, which is far from transparent, seems to accumulate most of the defects of a language that hides its contempt and threatening character under the guise of modern junk," the Académie writes.
"The use of developed French forms would be more relevant and would not feature this unpleasant and restraining nature. It is a safe bet that the urgency of a request would be indicated in a more refined manner, and the answer would not be any slower."
It goes on to suggest dès que possible as the appropriate response.

 But although the English language is a thieving magpie, we certainly have our English-language purists in the US and it might be even worse in Canada in part because French is an official language there.

I feel like the French should relax - no matter how many English words they borrow from us - like we borrowed from them - French will never sound like English - it will always have that certain je ne sais quoi.

23 and me and no real surprises



I got my results back from 23 and Me and there was no exciting new information - my genes indicate pretty much what you would expect - 97% Northwestern European of which almost all is British & Irish, with a small amount of French/German and and other "general Northwestern European."

The tiny specs of Africa DNA probably go way way back to the pre-out of Africa days. 

Slightly more interesting, but not unexpected - I have a fairly high expression of Neanderthal DNA - 74% higher than other 23&Me customers. But of that, according to 23&Me, the only Neanderthal variant I have is associated with height - it's supposed to make you a little bit taller. And since I am about an inch or so taller than the average height of American women, I supposed that's valid.


One thing I was really impressed by was the estimate that my French/German connection was from between 1750 and 1840 - I already blogged about this - a cousin of mine traced some of my paternal ancestors to France - on the German border to the early 1700s

Which of course wasn't a surprise, but rather a confirmation that this genetic testing is pretty accurate.

The Oceania DNA was the wildcard - I didn't expect anything outside of Europe or Africa and that ancestor is from between 1690 - 1780. 

Also interesting, I am more ethnically French than my French teacher, who is from Morocco. 


The Enchantment

Dude can rock a tux
I went to see The Enchantment. My actor pal Matt DeCapua played a lady-killing sexyman, although the literal killing is done by the lady herself.

I was intrigued by the provenance of the play which was written by a 19th-century Swedish woman, Victoria Bennedictsson, who slit her own throat and left the play unfinished.

But I was nervous because one of the selling points of the play is its connection to two Scandinavian plays written by contemporaries of Bennedictsson, Hedda Gabler by Ibsen and Miss Julie by Strindberg. As I've mentioned on this blog, I'm not a big fan of Scandinavian plays - and you can throw Chekov in there too even though as a Russian he's not technically qualified.

I don't like Hedda Gabler and I hate the misogynistic Miss Julie. I thought a piece in Ms. Magazine about a Neil LaBute adaptation of Miss Julie, from a few years ago, has a perfect synopsis of the play:
On a midsummer night at Julie’s father’s estate, the patriarch is away and thus the servants are at play at an offstage party in the barn. Miss Julie takes a break from dancing with her servants, which is scandal enough, to flirt with Jean and have a few drinks in the kitchen. An overt display of sexuality and mutual seduction culminates in sex, after which Jean proposes they run away together and open a hotel. When Julie says she wants to go with him but cannot supply him with the seed money (the money is all her father’s, obviously), Jean turns cold, calling her a whore... 
And then he convinces her to kill herself.
Miss Julie is considered a classic and is produced again and again in spite of its extreme misogyny and  unbelievable ending.

The Enchantment is mainly a long suicide note. The author killed herself over a man who rejected her. The play indicates that the man decides, too late, to make the protagonist of the play his wife, which is not only unbelievable in the context of what we've been told about the character in the rest of the play, but also is so obviously an example of a "you'll be sorry when I'm gone" wish fulfillment.

If Bennedictsson wrote the play and then killed herself in a spectacularly gruesome way in order to be remembered post-mortem, she certainly did succeed: her play is being produced internationally, in addition to her (possible) influence on Ibsen and Strindberg. Meanwhile, the man whom Bennedictsson allegedly killed herself over, George Brandes, is, I'm guessing, mostly unknown outside of Denmark.

I suspect the translater/adapter Lexen was reluctant to make changes to the original work in order to retain the purity of the author's intent - but a suicide note is not the best original source for a contemporary play.

And the set for this production was wrong in that a small stage was made even smaller by a doorway which partitioned off a quarter of the stage to indicate a garden, which was barely used - not enough to warrant cramping up the stage that way, anyway.

But that's nothing compared to the problems of the script. The Village Voice review of this production of The Enchantment was pretty harsh, especially in reference to the male actors, but I thought that was unfair. The review notes:
Ironically, in a piece about the female gaze, the men seem to have been chosen for their beauty alone — it might be a power reversal, but it’s not quite the one we’re looking for.
But I believe the critic is blaming the casting and performances for what is really a problem with the playwright's handling of the male characters. Benedictsson uses male characters the way many playwrights even up to the present time use female characters - for support, for exposition and for objects of desire. Benedictsson's male characters are the suitor and the brother and the sexyman - mirror images of the thankless roles female actors complain about all the time. 

And about the much-touted Swedish "realism" - I doubt that these plays were especially realistic in staging or content even when they were first written. The ending of Miss Julie is especially absurd - I seriously doubt many Swedish women were so easily talked into killing themselves for having extra-marital sex, especially before any pregnancy was discovered.

Maybe it's because nowadays the realism is so extreme that playwrights like Annie Baker (I'm actually not sure if any other playwrights are imitating her in this) include long paint-drying silences which do a perfect imitation of life, but there's nothing realistic about the opening scene of The Enchantment, in which the sexyman strides in and immediately starts in on the seduction patter. He's written much too chatty and obvious for the irresistible Frenchmen he's supposed to be.

But maybe compared to the artifice that came before in Swedish theater, this is what passes for slice of life.

In any case, I think there is some worthwhile material in this play, but it needs some work to make it a satisfying piece de theatre.

One more observation I have - the play seems to be saying that "free love" is dangerous in its impact on some people. But the play does not actually make the case. Because, would the pain experienced by Louise in being rejected by Alland be any better if instead of declaring himself unbound to any one woman, he just up and married someone else? It seems to me that would be even worse. I suspect far more people have killed themselves because of rejection in favor of a single real rival than dozens of potential rivals. 

Someone told me...

My French teacher turned the class onto the music of Carla Bruni (now the wife of former French president Nikolas Sarkozy, particularly her justifiably popular Quelqu'un m'a dit.


It's a lovely song and also, it seems to me, quintessentially French in its quasi-philosophical lyrics interrupted by the refrain in which the singer hopes she is still loved by some unnamed individual.

But not just the content - the way she briskly clips along is just like French speakers - talking too fast for anglophones to keep up.

Here are the lyrics in French:
On me dit que nos vies ne valent pas grand chose
Elles passent en un instant comme fanent les roses.
On me dit que le temps qui glisse est un salaud
Que de nos chagrins il s'en fait des manteaux
Pourtant quelqu'un m'a dit.
 
Que tu m'aimais encore
C'est quelqu'un qui m'a dit que tu m'aimais encore.
Serait-ce possible alors?
 
On me dit que le destin se moque bien de nous
Qu'il ne nous donne rien et qu'il nous promet tout
Paraît que le bonheur est à portée de main
Alors on tend la main et on se retrouve fou
 (Refrain)
Mais qui est-ce qui m'a dit que toujours tu m'aimais?
Je ne me souviens plus c'était tard dans la nuit
J'entends encore la voix, mais je ne vois plus les traits
Il vous aime, c'est secret, lui dites pas que je vous l'ai dit
Tu vois quelqu'un m'a dit
 (Refrain)
On me dit que nos vies ne valent pas grand chose
Elles passent en un instant comme fanent les roses
On me dit que le temps qui glisse est un salaud
Que de nos tristesses il s'en fait des manteaux
Pourtant quelqu'un m'a dit
 
Que tu m'aimais encore
C'est quelqu'un qui m'a dit que tu m'aimais encore.
Serait-ce possible alors?

The refrain is translated as:
That you still loved me
Someone said you still loved me.
Can it be true?
And the lyrics...
They say our lives are not worth much
Passing in an instant like fading roses.
They say that time is a bastard
Who makes coats out of our pain.
But someone told me (lyrics)
They say fate mocks us,
Promising everything, giving nothing,
Happiness is within reach
But we get nothing but craziness.
But someone told me (lyrics)
But who is it who always told me you loved me?
I do not remember, it was late at night
I can still hear the voice but I can not see the features
"He loves you, it's secret, do not tell him I told you"
You see, someone told me ...

Ooh intrigue.

The first line of the refrain has a handy demonstration for why French (or I supposed all Romance languages) is difficult for anglophones - the word order is mixed up:

The line is:
Que tu m'aimais encore
Which is literally translated as "That you me were loving still"

The concept is easy enough to grasp in writing, but when you're listening to someone speak French you're constantly going back to earlier in the sentence. Like "OK so they said "you were loving still... who? - oh right, the "m" which stands for "me" is tacked onto the beginning of "were loving" so that's who.

Oh and "encore" can mean both "again" which is how English-speakers know it but at the same time also means "still." Because of course it would.