Denis Johnson (Photo: Cindy Johnson/FSG Books)

The book to read

Denis Johnson, The Largesse Of The Sea Maiden

“While Johnson treads much of the same territory here as in his 1992 cult classic [Jesus’ Son]—addiction, crime, obsession, psychedelic transcendence—his final book is overall more concerned with what follows such madness. If Jesus’ Son proclaims, ‘Holy shit, after all the drugs and alcohol and violence, I can’t believe I’m still alive,’ then Largesse responds, ‘Yes, but you’re still going to die anyway.’”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The show to watch

The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

“In the annals of American serial killers, [Andrew] Cunanan’s name isn’t quite as infamous as your Jeffrey Dahmers, John Wayne Gacys, or Aileen Wuornoses. That’s bound to change following the nine episodes of American Crime Story’s second season, a worthy successor to The People V. O.J. Simpson anchored by [Darren] Criss’ career-making portrayal of the murderer whose multi-state, three-month spree culminated in the 1997 shooting death of fashion designer Gianni Versace. With a chilling intensity owing its hair-trigger tics (and taste for Phil Collins) to Christian Bale’s turn in American Psycho, Criss does a shocking, winning about-face from his image as the apple-cheeked dream boyfriend of his Glee days.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The album to listen to

Tune-Yards, i can feel you creep into my private life

i can feel you creep into my private life […] takes Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner’s rhythmic experiments deeper into electronic territory, incorporating thumping dance-floor beats into their joyous cacophony of rock, funk, R&B, jazz, and African influences. Garbus’ voice sounds bigger than ever as she wrestles with political and social issues like race and intersectional feminism, and many of the melodies on i can feel you rank among her best (‘Now As Then,’ ‘Hammer’). Above all, it’s an album preoccupied with freedom—political, mental, and physical—and committed to interrogating and subverting assumptions, and it walks the walk in pursuing both fronts.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The video game to play

Yume Nikki

“Back in 2004, it was part of a broader zeitgeist, a cultural certainty that out in the vast digital wilds horrible things lurked. Japanese horror movies like Ju-On, Ringu, and Pulse were grappling with the lines between technology, isolation, and death; Yume Nikki and its endless mysteries worked less like a commentary on these themes and more like a digital manifestation of them. The game was proof that the internet was haunted and that games might contain within them the dreams of lonely, wandering souls. If Slenderman is the original cursed image, then Yume Nikki is the original cursed game.”
Read the rest of our thoughts on Yume Nikki here.

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The podcast to listen to

Reckonings, “The Defection Of A Roger Ailes Warrior

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Reckonings is a podcast that just feels right for this particular moment, when people don’t often admit to being wrong and it’s an ever rarer thing for such moments to be consequential and public. Host Stephanie Lepp manages to capture all of this in an often jaw-dropping way, interviewing individuals who’ve switched their points of view on major issues. Lepp talks with Joe Lindsley, one-time protégé of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. Lindsley wasn’t just any Fox News employee but rather something of a surrogate son whom Ailes groomed to take over the entire company, which makes Lindsley’s change of heart all the more massive.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.


The movie to watch

Mary And The Witch’s Flower

“Mary’s adventure begins when she follows a neighbor’s cat into the forest and finds a miniature broom hidden among the trees, along with some unusually colored flowers. The flowers turn out to be magic, the broom springs to life (in a less threatening way than Mickey Mouse had to cope with), and Mary soon finds herself at the Endor School for witches and warlocks, where the headmistress (Kate Winslet) and a mad scientist (Jim Broadbent) mistake her for their newest pupil. Serving up the cinematic equivalent of comfort food is probably sound strategy for a new studio positioning itself as Ghibli’s heir. Mary squarely hits all of its marks, fashioning a spunky young hero and alternately surrounding her with gorgeous watercolor landscapes and eye-popping grotesques. It’s a movie with no greater ambition than to charm and occasionally delight. Mission accomplished.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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