What we'll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
We’ll be spending the weekend with Sister Spit founder Michelle Tea, Oscar-nominated actress Marion Cotillard, and Iceland’s queen of mind-melting pop, Björk. You can too! TGIF.
Marion Cotillard got a best actress Oscar nod for her role in Two Days, One Night, a French film about a woman who, after taking a leave of absence to deal with her depression, finds she no longer has a job to return to. Cotillard’s riveting performance and the intriguing psychology behind her co-workers’ behavior elevates what could have been a snoozer into something truly gripping and surprising.
Our favorite icelandish kook compared the making of her new album Vulnicura to having open-heart surgery, which is fitting since it was inspired by her split with creative equal Matthew Barney. The first six songs correspond chronologically with their breakup, and though the album is her most personal, the music remains entirely Björk-y in style, with swelling percussion, drum-and-bass beats, and syncopated vocals, demonstrating that her talent at arrangement has only intensified with her heartbreak.
Michelle Tea has always written with a raw intimacy that could make even the bravest among us cringe, whether she’s sharing about her past life as a sex worker, her dramatic bisexual relationships, or her attempts to get pregnant. Now at 43, Tea, a queer feminist icon, has taken her tumultuous life and boiled it down to a self-help book of sorts. How to Grow Up is a collection of essays that reveal Tea’s evolution as a “grown-ass woman,” and just might help reveal your own.
We didn’t realize how much we missed The Americans until Wednesday’s season-three premiere, which was so good we’re watching it again, and even if you didn’t miss it, hit rewind. Russian spies Elizabeth and Philip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys at their best) dive deeper and deeper into the emotional complexities and physical terror of their Communist devotion, especially now that revealing the truth to their daughter Paige hangs in the balance. And that ending!!
Bettye LaVette’s has been making criminally underappreciated music for five decades, so we’re making it our mission to see that everyone we know listens to her latest, Worthy. A collection of covers from the likes of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones, LaVette gives each track her magic touch, turning rock hits into soulful, heart-splitting songs as if we’ve never heard them before. Backed by bluesy instrumentation and subtle R&B grooves, these are songs that will stay with you long after you listen to them.
In A Bad Character, Idha is the young female narrator on the cusp of adulthood, but Delhi, where Deepti Kapoor’s debut novel is set, also plays a major character. The book explores what affects living alone in the middle of India can have on a woman, and Idha is intrigued by the darkness of a shady man she meets, much to the chagrin of the middle-class aunt who’s taking care of her after her mother’s death and father’s abandonment. It’s a coming-of-age story to be sure, but one that’s complicated by Delhi’s chaos and class structures, shadowed by Idha’s lonely longings.
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