What we'll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
Comedian Jen Kirkman’s gonna make you laugh, Anna North’s new novel might make you cry, and Holly Miranda’s second album will certainly make you dance—in other words, we’ve got a pretty rich weekend planned for you.
We’ve all eaten a block of cheese like a sandwich, right? No? Well, Jen Kirkman has and she’s not ashamed to talk about it, or the fact that she’s a childless divorcee about to turn 40 and what that means in our anti-“spinster” society. With this standup special (which just premiered on Netflix), Kirkman spins an hour’s worth of her incredibly smart, neurotic comedy and reminds us that it’s okay to die alone, we should even feel good about it.
Though Sophie Stark is at the center of Anna North’s new novel, we discover this complicated character—a documentarian whose ability to capture people’s true essence is just as good as her talent for making real-life connections is bad—only through the narration of those who know her. A character study with an unusual structure and riveting realism, Sophie, and Sophie, will not soon be forgotten.
Jennifer Connelly plays Nana, a mother who abandoned her two young sons in Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s latest film Aloft. With a hint of magical-realism and more symbolism than dialogue, Llosa’s film, which also stars Cillian Murphy as one of Nana’s grown sons, and the always excellent Mélanie Laurent as a documentarian helping him search for his mother, is packed with beautiful, wintry landscapes, perhaps to help soften its uncomfortable look at motherhood.
A mix of acoustic folk with a decent dose of pop-tinged rock, Holly Miranda’s self-titled sophomore album showcases the singer-songwriter coming into her own. With guitar, piano, sax, and strings filling the space behind her sassy lyrics—“The days are shorter, but the nights are long/We could fuck in the sun and dance till dawn”—Holly Miranda is a smorgasbord of musical tastes and talents.
Nell Zink takes her absurdist style and applies it to a story that addresses sexual orientation and race in ways you could never imagine in her second novel Mislaid. Set in the ’60s, Peggy, a White lesbian, marries Lee, a White gay man, and they have two children before she runs off with their daughter and changes both of their identities to that of African-Americans via Virginia’s “one-drop rule.” It’s a satire of life in the South, one that comes with a hefty helping of Zink’s scathing kookiness.
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