Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

What to listen to, watch, and read this weekend

Journalists film Finnish Secret service agents escorting a man from the room before the joint press conference between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin last week in Helsinki, Finland. The Gaslit Nation podcast lays out what was known about the two leaders’ relationship before the GOP convention.
Photo: Chris McGrath (Getty Images)

The podcast to listen to

Gaslit Nation,2016, A Gaslit Year, Part One—Manafort, Wikileaks, And Trump’s Long Bromance With Putin


“Today it’s pretty much taken for granted that Donald Trump has some kind of shady business going on with Vladimir Putin. To state otherwise is the contrarian view. This wasn’t the case two years ago. Not at all. And not for a lack of credible evidence. That’s the incredibly frustrating reality that gets unpacked in this inaugural episode of Dame Magazine’s Gaslit Nation podcast. Co-hosts Andrea Chalupa and Sarah Kendzior—two of the first journalists to ring alarm bells—spend a good deal of time simply laying out everything we knew for sure prior to the GOP convention in Cleveland, and it’s quite a bit.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.

The album to listen to

Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

“Besides the usual bright shimmer of shoegaze guitar, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love indulges in passages of Smashing Pumpkins-esque atmosphere, cheery ’90s-style solos, and a ballad—the moody, uncharacteristically brief ‘Night People’—that could have come from an Arcade Fire record. One needn’t agree with the “die hipster” crowd to feel occasionally drained by the all-grandeur-all-the-time approach—the way almost every song here seems to operate in a constant state of crescendo. But only the most stubborn traditionalist could deny how close Deafheaven often gets to the higher plane of its name.”
Read the rest of our review here.

The movie to watch


“If the recent Sorry To Bother You presents a head-trip, music-video vision of trying to get by in Oakland, California, then Blindspotting offers a more grounded tour of the city, addressing some of the same or related problems: racism, gentrification, systemic oppression. Given the proximity of the two movies both at Sundance and in general release this summer, Blindspotting has every opportunity to look more staid, earnest, and traditionalist in its approach to the subject matter. As it turns out, this may be why such a small-scale, sometimes predictable drama can still feel, at times, downright revelatory: It crackles to life without a surfeit of surface flash.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The comic to read

Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch, The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins


The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is based on one of several campaigns that the McElroy family has undertaken together on their podcast, The Adventure Zone. As a podcast, the story has to rely a lot on verbal descriptions and dialog to fill in the details, which artist Carey Pietsch excellently translates into visuals. She expertly draws facial expressions from the tone of voice used in the podcast, taking lines directly from the show and creating vibrant, colorful panels to replace or enhance them. Readers who have never listened to the podcast or played a game like this won’t have any trouble diving in and embracing it.”
Read the rest of our review here.

The book to read

Megan Abbott, Give Me Your Hand


“Thriller author Megan Abbott can make anything creepy. In her latest novel, Give Me Your Hand, she describes a hotel’s indoor water park as ‘a hothouse for dying grandparents and abandoned children.’… [Give Me Your Hand] combines her fascination with high school girls with a bit of the medical drama found in The Fever. The story follows Kit Owens, alternating between her perspective as a poor high school student hoping to find a better life by pursuing a scholarship for women in STEM, and as a young woman 10 years later as she competes for a spot in a research study that could mark a turning point in her career. Looming large in both timelines is Diane Fleming, Kit’s high school best friend who kindled Kit’s ambitions and now has the power to keep them from coming to fruition.”
Read the rest of our review here.

The show to watch

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind

“Director Marina Zenovich builds her Robin Williams documentary around an interest in the human brain, and how one human’s brain could spark so brilliantly yet doubt its abilities so profoundly. No easy answers are given, no definitive conclusions are formed, and the interviewees in Come Inside My Mind don’t give a diagnosis. Instead, their testimony forms an image of the man Lewis Black calls ‘the light that never knew how to turn itself off,’ a father who could dial directly into his children’s sense of playfulness, and a friend who filled Billy Crystal’s voicemail with a string of nonsensical messages from made-up people. Nobody’s better at forming that image than Robin Williams himself: His body of work was vast, and thanks to a propensity for going off-book, the amount of footage at Come Inside My Mind’s disposal—often unseen by a general audience—is also deep.”
Read the rest of our review here. 


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