What we’ll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
From the memories of a mortician (Caitlin Doughy) to the tale of a young lesbian in post-WWI Britain (from Sarah Waters), this weekend will be full of women’s stories, including ones you can (kind of) sing along to (Shara Worden).
We love a good family dramedy and this one, about four siblings who return home to live in the same house for a week after their father passes away, has an ensemble cast who could entertain us just by folding laundry for two hours. Tina Fey and Jane Fonda top the list, but Connie Britton, Rose Byrne, and Kathryn Hahn (who told us about her love of working with Fey when we chatted earlier this year) all have roles as well (not to mention Jason Bateman and Adam Driver). It’s a laughter through tears sort of flick, which happens to be our favorite kind.
Sarah Waters has made her mark writing the secret lives of women acting out their desires in 19th and 20th century England; The Paying Guests is no exception. In the wake of World War I, Frances Wray has lost her two brothers and her father, whose poor investments have left Wray and her mother in need of funds. Hence the paying guests, 20-something Mr. and Mrs. Barber who arrive to rent out rooms in their house. Frances and Mrs. Barber become friends and then, perhaps not a surprise looking at Waters repertoire, lovers (the L.A. Times calls it “one of the hottest sex scenes to ever take place in a scullery”). The true surprise of this thrilling novel comes in the form of suspense…a crime is committed, a trial is had, and finding out the outcome will have you turning pages till the wee hours of the morning.
When we last saw Alicia Florrick at the end of season 5, everything had changed, not least of all the loss of her mentor and on-again-off-again lover Will Gardner (Kate Harding had some thoughts about that character elimination). With Alicia striking out on her own, both professionally and personally, this might be the season of The Good Wife (premiering Sunday at 9 p.m.) in which we see the formerly humiliated wife truly come into her own. And might that include the State’s Attorney position? As long as we still see plenty of Diane, Kalinda, and Cary, we sure hope so. Oh you crazy Lockhart Gardner crew, how we missed you!
Thirty-year-old Caitlin Doughty has been obsessed with death since she saw a girl take a fatal fall from a mall balcony at the age of eight. At 23 she took a job at a crematory and has not only been working in the funeral industry since, but trying her damnedest to make our death-phobic society a little more at ease with our impending demise. In much the same way as her “Ask a Mortician” web series tackles issues like embalming, natural burials, and what’s in a mortician’s purse with humor and levity without undermining the emotional weight of loss, so does Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, which is as much a memoir of her own experience as it is an eye-opening look at death and funeral practices over histories and cultures.
The mind-boggling heights to which Shara Worden, aka My Brightest Diamond, takes her voice on her fourth album make her opera-trained background loud and clear. The first half of This Is My Hand has the energy to support her experimental singing—horns and strings and beats and guitar pulse and wail. The second half is an ethereal gift, her haunting voice bringing you down as swiftly as it riled you up.
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