What we’ll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
We’re listening to Jazmine Sullivan’s ‘Reality Show’ (you read that right), going to see Julianne Moore in ‘Still Alice,’ and watching the most important documentary we’ve seen this year.
Julianne Moore got an Oscar nod yesterday for her role as Alice Howling in Still Alice, and it’s one well deserved. Her portrayal of a woman dealing with early-onset Alzheimer’s is tragic, unsettling, and deeply moving. And Kristen Stewart as her daughter Lydia, delivers a surprisingly poignant performance.
Miranda July’s 2007 collection of short stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, put on display July’s impressive ability to distill the human condition in quiet, sad moments between eccentric characters—a swim teacher without a swimming pool but with several aging swim students, a factory employee and his lonely co-worker, a runaway teen who likes that she’s good at the sex shop job that she hates. The First Bad Man, her debut novel nearly eight years later, promises to do the same as it follows protagonist Cheryl Glickman through her everyday eccentricities, which July spins into memorable moments that strangely, intimately, mirror our own.
The time has come to bid adieu to Leslie Knope and all the Pawnee weirdos we’ve come to know and love and, unfailingly, laugh at. The seventh and final season of Parks and Recreation premiered this week and we’ll be watching the double-header—which catches up with everyone in 2017—again, cause it was that damn good.
We will always love Whitney Houston, so, despite Lifetime’s biopic track record (ahem, The Brittany Murphy Story), we were signed up to watch Whitney (which premieres Saturday night, at 8 p.m.) even before Yaya DaCosta displayed her uncanny ability to look just like the icon. She shines in the role, reminding us why we loved Whit so much in the first place. Directed by Angela Bassett and focusing on Houson’s relationship with Bobby Brown, you can’t help but be left with the feeling that they did almost have it all.
Every 10 minutes around the world a woman dies from the complications of an unsafe abortion. Dutch doctor and activist Rebecca Gomperts has dedicated her life to changing that, with a boat on which she offers the procedure in the safe space of international waters, just offshore of the many countries that outlaw abortion. This crucial documentary by filmmaker Diana Whitten (read our Q&A with her here) not only recounts the obstacles and victories of Gomperts and her team, but also is a must-see for every woman in the states, a cautionary tale of what may come as Congress continues to chip away at our reproductive rights.
In 2011 R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan stepped away from music and that break’s done her right. Reality Show showcases a new level of storytelling, and the tracks—from disco bangers to acoustic slow burns—revel in Sullivan’s voice, which tells a story well beyond the words she sings.
It’s not just about the stories. Journalism is also about who is telling them.
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