Best Weekend: “Empire” Catch-Up, Madonna’s New Album, + More

What we'll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.

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A weekend spent hanging with the queen of pop, Empire’s Cookie, and legendary studio musician Carol Kaye of the Wrecking Crew is a weekend well spent. TGIF.

“Empire” Catch-Up

If you’re not already watching this high-drama show from Lee Daniels, now’s your chance to catch up before Wednesday’s two-hour season finale. With glamour, guns, and soap-operatic flare, Empire revolves around drug-dealer-turned-media-mogul Lucius Lyon, his just-out-of-prison wife Cookie, and their three sons, all vying for their piece of the pie. A pie that we can’t stop eating, er, watching.

“Rebel Heart”—Madonna

Yes, Madonna misguidedly compared the early leak of this album to rape, and has said a few other questionable things lately, but we will always make room in our iTunes for her Madgesty. What we’ve come to expect from Ms. Ciccone is an EDM-infused caricature of the icon we grew up with and on Rebel Heart she delivers with songs about God, sex, and, what else, being Madonna.

“A Fireproof Home for the Bride” by Amy Scheibe

Watching young protagonist Emmaline Nelson’s coming of age and awakening independence is the most compelling part of devoted friend of DAME Amy Scheibe’s sophomore novel, set in late 1950s Minnesota. But the family secrets that are revealed through intricate storylines illuminating the era’s race, class, and gender constructs as Emmaline sheds the notion that she must be a farmer’s wife and digs into her new job as a reporter add another wonderful layer of intrigue.

“The Wrecking Crew” Documentary

Session musicians are the unsung heroes of the music world, but in this new documentary, the little-known artists who made much of the most famous pop of the ’60s get their due. Known as the Wrecking Crew, this group recorded for everyone from the Beatles to the Ronettes to Frank Sinatra. Among them is the kickass Carol Kaye, a lone female bassist in a man’s world, and whose role in this group of musical geniuses makes this doc a must-see.

“A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara

Hanya Yanagihara’s book about four friends trying to make it in NYC highlights the subtle ebb and flow of male friendship with uncanny insight. When A Little Life takes a turn to focus on the group’s enigmatic, beautiful Jude, the reader watches his childhood tragedy unfold, and becomes privy to his inner turmoil, even more so than his closest companions.

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