A Divine documentary, a nautical tale, and a whole bunch of cookie dough

A Divine documentary, a nautical tale, and a whole bunch of cookie dough

Three staffers, three unabashed recommendations

I Am Divine
Nobody has anything bad to say about Divine, the female impersonator born Harris Glenn Milstead in 1945, which makes the documentary I Am Divine pretty conflict-free. Instead, it’s a celebration of Divine’s silly, fantastic life: The public knew him best as the early muse for filmmaker John Waters, who famously had Divine eat an actual piece of dog shit in Pink Flamingos. From there, the two found midnight-movie fame together, and their intensely uncommercial work eventually found its way to the mainstream via Hairspray. Divine also had a second career as a disco star, touring relentlessly and sweating it out all over the world. The film gathers talking-head interviews with those close to Divine, including John Waters, Mink Stole, and even his mother, who disowned and then eventually embraced her son. It’s a sweet, salty look at a different time, and it’s available now on DVD. [Josh Modell]

The Cookie Dough Café
So the thing is, as “adults,” we’re not supposed to be buying those giant tubes of cookie dough and just squeezing them into our mouths at any given opportunity. For one thing, they contain raw eggs, and we’re supposed to know that salmonella poisoning wouldn’t be very much fun. For another, we’re supposed to be responsible and watching our calories or what have you. Making a giant batch of your own cookie dough and then eating a fair amount of it is less frowned upon, but it will still earn you the ire of the city fathers. Thank goodness, then, for the advent of The Cookie Dough Café, which produces raw-egg-free cookie dough that I only found out about because of Shark Tank but then turned into my personal life mission to find and devour. You can’t order it at the company’s website, because it only ships to wholesalers, and since when are you a wholesaler? But if you live near a Fresh Market (and most people in major metropolitan areas do), then you can try it. And rest assured: Once you do, you will be converted. This is some seriously great snack stuff. [Todd VanDerWerff]

The Whispering Muse by Sjón
Let me just explain something first: I’m a nut for nautical books. Be they non-fiction or novels, any written work that dwells on life on the high seas immediately gets my attention—perhaps a symptom of being a Pisces raised in Florida who wound up living in Colorado. Frustrated landlubber that I am, The Whispering Muse gripped me from the moment it materialized in my mailbox a couple weeks ago (thanks to some kind publicist who sent it to me in advance of the book’s paperback release on May 6). Sjón is apparently a literary sensation in his native Reykjavik (and, to some degree, beyond), but I’ll admit that I know his name best as an occasional collaborator with Björk stretching as far back as The Sugarcubes. The Whispering Muse has some of that otherworldly aura that imbues Björk’s best work, but it’s clear the novel is the work of a singularly strange and erudite mind. An account of a voyage on the MS Elizabet Jung-Olsen across the Black Sea in 1949, the book begins on a cool, even stately note before flowering into meditation on ancient myth and the overlapping of culture. It’s funny, graceful, and gently mind-bending. And while it’s also short—141 pages— Sjón packs an ocean’s worth of mystery and atmosphere into his crisp, salty prose. [Jason Heller]

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