What we'll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
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Happy new-Sleater-Kinney-album week to you! There are also stirring memoirs to read, new TV shows to catch up on, and movies to watch. Yay Friday.
When Sleater-Kinney announced a new album, our riot-grrrl-loving heart did an ecstatic leap. And now that No Cities to Love is out, it’s doing a head-banging, high-kicking, air-punching dance of joy. Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss are older and wiser, as the songwriting and skillful musical rapport reveals, and rocking just as hard as they did in the late ’90s and early aughts. With its pop-punk tilt, No Cities is an all-out power move, right when we need these feminist anthems the most.
With the House passing H.R. 7 on the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and with reproductive rights squarely in their crosshairs, it’s time to revisit the moving documentary After Tiller, which chronicles the four doctors who perform third-trimester abortions in the wake of the assassination of Dr. George Tiller. A harrowing reminder of our waning rights.
The Academy may have snubbed Jennifer Aniston for her role in Cake, but we’re still intrigued enough to see the movie that will hopefully let the actress shed Rachel once and for all. Playing a woman, Claire, suffering from chronic pain and depression, the film takes a look at her isolated life, and the people she depends on (including her housekeeper Silvana). Aniston’s character is unlikeable to the extreme and, call us crazy, but that’s something we’d like to see.
Alexandra Fuller first came to memoir acclaim with Don’t Let’s Go To the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, her account of growing up in what is now Zimbabwe during the Rhodesian wars. Now she’s a grown woman and mother of two adult children and a 10-year-old living in the U.S. and reeling from divorce. In Leaving Before the Rain Comes Fuller poignantly mines the danger and romance of her childhood to understand the marriage she had and the life she’s living now.
With all the worth-watching TV shows on these days, Togetherness might have slipped under your radar, but the new HBO series, created, produced, and directed by the Duplass brothers (even starring one-half of the duo) is prime for catching up on. Mark Duplass and the always-lovable Melanie Lynskey play a married couple nearing 40-something, dealing with all the malaise, nostalgia, and sexlessness that can come with it. Amanda Peet plays Lynskey’s sister turned houseguest, and Steve Zissis plays a semi-permanent couch surfer, adding to the milieu of genuinely written yet still winning characters, creating a show as addictive as it is relatable (to a particular subset of aging white hipsters that is). To see the other half of the Duplass brothers on screen, marathon Transparent if you haven’t already, Amazon Prime is making the entire season available for free on Saturday.
This haunting and harrowing graphic novel depicts author and artist Nina Bunjevac’s family history—her father was a Serbian nationalist living in Canada—alongside that of 20th-century Serbia, the country of her ancestors. Juxtaposing the violence of her father’s native country from the ’40s on (as Jews and Serbs are shipped to concentration camps) with the abuse that took place within her own family, Bunjevac creates an intriguing tale, one deepened by the fastidiousness of her carefully inked and detailed drawings.
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