What we’ll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
We’ll be bunkering down this weekend to escape the shit weather (in pretty much everywhere but California that is), with our noses in short-story collections by Edith Pearlman and Mary Mayhew Bergman. Until Sunday eve, when we DVR Girls to watch after Amy and Tina’s Golden Globes swan song, which will have us crying in our popcorn—first with laughter, then with sadness that we’ll have to suffer different hosts next year.
Last we saw Hannah Horvath et al., shit was about to go down … to Iowa since (spoiler alert) Hannah had just found out she’d been accepted into the University’s writers workshop. And because the first ep of season 4 is called “Iowa,” it’s pretty clear which choice she makes. We’re dying to see how she fares away from Jessa, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Adam, who all have their own compelling messes to work through. Boy, we’ve missed these girls.
Now in her late 70s, Edith Pearlman has been writing short stories for more than 40 years and the mastery is apparent in her newest collection Honeydew. The 20 stories included introduce a cast of quirky, lonely, complex characters—a divorcee real estate agent, a Latin teacher at a private girls school, the employees and patients at a Massachusetts hospital. All come to life with Pearlman’s careful handfuls of words, enough, somehow, to convey entire lifetimes.
Sandy Denny would’ve been 68 years old this week if she hadn’t died of a brain hemorrhage after taking a fall down some stairs at the too-young age of 31. But even if you’ve never heard of the British folk singer—whose legacy hasn’t gotten nearly the attention of her similarly short-lived contemporary Nick Drake—her influence is everywhere in today’s neo-folk scene from Cat Power and Florence and the Machine to Laura Marling and Joanna Newsom, who cite her as a direct influence. Denny was a hard-living girl and it came through in her songs, a mix of brashness and vulnerability that we’ll be revisiting all weekend.
The third time is usually the charm, but Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have been knocking their Golden Globes hosting gig out of the park since they took the stage in 2013. This marks their third and final time making fun of Hollywood’s hoi polloi at the industry’s booziest awards show and if the last two years are any indication we can expect disguises, inappropriate makeout sessions, and what are likely to be some of the only truly hilarious moments of the awards season.
Almost famous women are exactly what Megan Mayhew Bergman’s new collection of short stories is about, imagined takes on real life outsiders including Freaks’ conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, Lord Byron’s daughter, Oscar Wilde’s niece, and Joe Carstairs, a lesbian who wooed Marlene Dietrich and owned an island in the Bahamas. Though many of them came to sad or tragic ends—the story of Dolly Wilde explores her final, narcotics-addicted days—their stories of giving societal expectations the finger are fascinating enough on their own. Bergman’s imagining of them is even better.
It’s not just about the stories. Journalism is also about who is telling them.
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