Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

We once again have your back here at Flavorwire if you’re in need of some nourishment to satiate your appetite for all things cultural. This week’s round of staff recommendations offers a diverse sampling of art, literature, and sport to keep your brows high and your mind engaged throughout the rest of the week.

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The Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare in the Park

The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park is a New York institution, offering free performances of both classic and new plays as well as musicals. This year is no different: with The Comedy of Errors currently playing and a new musical version of Love’s Labour’s Lost set to open July 23, this year’s double bill is a lovely summer treat. I saw The Comedy of Errors on Friday evening a few hours after the rain stopped falling from the sky, and it was a delightful distraction from the terrible weather we’ve had so far in this unseasonably chilly summer. Hamish Linklater and Jesse Tyler Ferguson do double duty by playing both sets of twins (usually played by four different actors), and the setting — updated from 16th-century Greece to upstate New York in the swinging ’40s — provides the perfect escapism for the lighthearted plot. Slapstick and swing dancing abounds, as do a few gun-toting nuns. — Tyler Coates, Deputy Editor

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Hexual.Sealings.Prt.4.5 by Knxwledge

Beat-maker and producer extraordinarie Knxwledge has become more than prolific in the underground hip-hop scene, releasing numerous EPs and LPs in a given month, and drawing samples from sources ranging from Joanna Newsom to Mary J. Blige, Kanye West to Luther Vandross, and up-and-coming artists like Sonnymoon and Gwen Bun. His latest EP, part of the extensive series Hexual Sealings, is short and sweet, featuring a remix of Danny Brown’s “Blunt After Blunt” on the opener “dewyewlyke[TWRK][droogs],” among other gorgeously produced tracks. Since it was released just last night at midnight, you can be among the first to taste some of Knxwledge’s impressive work.  — Marcus Hunter, Editorial Apprentice

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Game 6 of the NBA Finals: Spurs vs. Heat

Sports aren’t often thought of as high culture, but last night’s game was every bit as compelling and emotionally draining as the most thrilling of story lines you’ll find in film and literature, all played out in real time in front of a TV audience of god knows how many people. Basketball is a particularly fascinating sport to me because of its contradictions — it seems to sit on the tipping point between individualism and team dynamics; it’s a mixture of athletic grace and brute power, of skill and strength — and last night had all those things in abundance, plus all manner of last-second drama. — Tom Hawking, Music Editor

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Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (ABC) 

I finally got around to watching the unaired last episodes of ABC’s brilliant-but-canceled Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, and they were absolutely worth the wait. I was worried the show had lost its touch after a mix-up in this season’s episode order caused a slight dip in quality, but I was thrilled to discover that the best was yet to come. I can say with little doubt that the show hit its peak with these unaired episodes. While Krysten Ritter has always been the obvious centerpiece, every central cast member absolutely kills it here: Dreama Walker is magnetic and James Van Der Beek continues to prove how underrated he is. Nevertheless, the standout is really Ray Ford, who was always great as James’ assistant Luther, but is straight-up on fire in these episodes. His comedic delivery gave me stomach pain from laughter, and that is something I never, ever say without complete sincerity. Don’t Trust the B—-‘s bittersweet swan song is a perfect showcase of a smart, weird, and endlessly ambitious show that deserves to be a cult classic. The last episodes aren’t available on Hulu anymore for some reason, but you should watch them any way you can. Because this is your fault. — Sarah Fonder, Editorial Apprentice

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Jan Švankmajer’s Kunstkammer

There’s a Jan Švankmajer exhibition at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow June 21 to August 25. I’ve always appreciated his films, but haven’t paid his fine art career enough attention. He makes grotesque ceramics and assemblages inside vitrines — a surreal cabinet of curiosities.

“I am a collector,” he told the Guardian in 2011. “The environment I live in reflects this. I am convinced that people who collect something do it because they fear the world and other people. With their collections, they create an alternative world that they are able to control.”

The GCCC show is presenting Švankmajer’s curiosities as part of a “large-scale architectural installation” that “aims to immerse the viewer in the phantasmagoria of Švankmajer’s art and his world, thereby offering the viewer a completely unique insight into his practice.”

I won’t be heading to Moscow any time soon (I look forward to photos and reviews in the coming months), but the show has inspired me to dig deeper into Švankmajer’s work. A 2011 interview with AnOther Magazine offers this insight from the Czech artist: “If art has any sense at all, it lies in liberating man from domestication by civilization and for it to be able to liberate the audience, then it must, first of all, liberate its creator,” and, “For me, creating hybrid creatures is a free game of the imagination. In fact, it is playing at god.” — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor

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Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

I can’t believe I spent nearly 29 years on this planet without reading Márquez. Now that I’m midway through his slow, moody, exquisitely detailed story of Fermina Daza and the two very different men whose love shaped over half a century of her life, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to discover one of the most eloquent prose stylists in any language. — Judy Berman, Editor-in-chief