Best Weekend: ‘OITNB,’ Music from Sharon Van Etten, + More
Happy national Orange Is the New Black Day! We’ll be celebrating by not leaving the house till every last episode of the new season’s been watched. You too? Great. When you’re done hibernating we’ve got four other goodies to tickle your pop culture fancy.
The ladies of Litchfield are back (and came back a night earlier than expected—thank you, Netflix!)! After the slocking business that went down between Vee and Red at the end of season two, Caputo taking over, Bennett trying to come clean about Daya’s pregnancy, and Piper scheming to keep Alex from fleeing, it’s a wonder we were able to wait this long for the return of OITNB. It’s on Netflix now, so let the marathon commence.
Kate Walbert’s The Sunken Cathedral begins with two elderly friends, Marie and Simone, both widows and survivors of WWII. The passage of time—and how close they are to its end—is a haunting theme throughout, even as we meet the other characters who give the novel its varying points of view. The constant anxieties of modern life, the disasters—both natural and manmade—always lurking in the shadows, create a disconcerting backdrop as we get to know the rich and impossibly human subjects in Walbert’s world.
Singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten has a way with words, cutting to the chase of her darkest emotions and setting them to the most beautiful music. This EP, I Don’t Want to Let You Down, is no exception, featuring gorgeous piano, strings, and guitar driven tracks with just the right hint of pop as Van Etten reckons with the implosion of a relationship.
Yes, the story of Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s musical genius, psychological problems, and drug-fueled relationship with his overbearing therapist is interesting enough to warrant seeing this biopic, which stars the extraordinary Paul Dano as a young Wilson and John Cusack as an older one. But Elizabeth Banks as Melinda, a Cadillac saleswoman who would become Wilson’s wife, is reason alone to see the film in her best screen performance to date. Wow: God only knows what he’d be without her!
In Lisa Gornick’s third novel, which reads more like a collection of short stories all woven together, we meet Louisa and Bear, the couple from which each narrative branch sprouts. Their volatile relationship sets an unsettling tone, as we meet their friends and family, some only tenuously connected, throughout, in stories that highlight a compassionate and infinite understanding of the human condition of loss.