Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers each recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed the most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.

Flavorwire - Cat Fashion

Cat Fashion Show at the Algonquin Hotel

Relevant to pretty much all of my Pinterests — cats, dead writers, cats — is this Cat Fashion Show the Algonquin Hotel that’s taking place tonight. Let’s PLEASE make this a trend, New York. What is life for other than to gaze on beautiful cats? — Michelle Dean, Editor-at-Large

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Blind Willie McTell (Document Records)

I purchased the first few Document Records reissues put out by Third Man Records a few months back, but I’ve had this massive pile of books sitting atop my record player, so I haven’t been able to listen to them. I felt like fixing that situation this weekend, so I moved everything out of the way so I could get through the pile of albums I’ve purchased this summer, but ended up just listening to Blind Willie McTell’s The Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order Volume 1 over and over. — Jason Diamond, Literary Editor

Love Hotel Tour MI by Sayo Mitsuishi and Joseph Hammer

I’ve been revisiting the work of Joseph Hammer — aka the LAFMS member who restores paintings with his own saliva and a single Q-tip, and orchestrates tape loop performances while wearing latex gloves (sometimes just the fingers). He created an ongoing series with artist Sayo Mitsuishi, Love Hotel. The duo visits different “love hotels,” which become the stage for surreal, minimalist noise and movement experiments. — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor

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Beck live at Prospect Park, August 4

The first real concert I ever went to was a Beck show. It was the summer of 1998, I was 13, Ben Folds Five (who I loved at the time) and Elliott Smith (who I hadn’t yet heard of and thus ignored, a decision I’d come to regret just a few years later) opened, and I was there with a friend who I’d dated briefly the previous year. And his dad. At some point in the evening, I ran into an older boy who I had a crush on and experienced every possible emotion at once: excitement, nervousness, embarrassment, infatuation, shame, etc. It was, in short, one of the most memorable nights of my young life. Fifteen years later, Beck remains one of rock’s most fascinating figures, and I am hopefully a slightly less awkward human being. Since he didn’t have a new album to promote, he took the stage with his excellent Sea Change band and put on a sprawling, career-spanning show that highlighted his versatility, checking in with all the essential Beck personae: the neo-folkie, the Prince acolyte, the grunge rapper, the middle-aged balladeer. He even made time for energetic covers of “Billie Jean” and “Tainted Love.” I’m sure I’m showing my age here, but I can’t resist observing that they just don’t make rock stars like Beck anymore. — Judy Berman, Editor-In-Chief

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Hejira by Joni Mitchell

I tend to turn to Joni Mitchell during periods of strife, and her 1976 album Hejira is one that has always appealed to me. It’s the last of her albums that I really dig — I can’t keep my interest in her jazzier sensibilities, but Hejira incorporates just enough of those elements to keep it interesting and mellow. With nine stellar songs centered around the concept of travel (its title refers to the Arabic word for “journey”), Hejira is, next to her 1971 album Blue, is Mitchell’s strongest and most complete work. — Tyler Coates, Deputy Editor

Flavorwire - Paranorman

ParaNorman

My roommate has been on an animated movie kick lately, and this weekend I caught her right at the start of kids horror comedy ParaNorman. I plopped onto the couch, and 20 minutes in I was cursing myself for not seeing this in theaters because oh my god, this movie is beautiful. I had no idea I’d ever swoon at the sight of toilet paper monsters or dead hands popping out of the ground, but there I was, screaming, “OH MY GOD, THOSE GRAPHICS.” It is equally terrifying and gorgeous, its scariest scenes featuring a palette of dazzling neon hues against a stark Massachusetts sky. And for all ParaNorman‘s gloom and doom, I couldn’t help but think this movie is a fantastic way to get kids more comfortable with the idea of death. You’d think watching children play with corpses would be too morbid for young audiences, but ParaNorman handles its dark subject matter in a way that’s too funny and sweet to be disturbing. This movie is really something special, and any animation nerd who hasn’t seen it should get to Netflix right away. — Sarah Fonder, Editorial Apprentice

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“Trial By Twitter” by Ariel Levy

This week I choose “Trial By Twitter,” Ariel Levy’s long-form piece on the Steubenville case for The New Yorker. This is clearly a sensitive and emotive topic, but Levy addressed it well, examining the bloggers who were so influential on the way the news of the case broke, the rapes’ impact on Steubenville as a whole, and how the Internet has irrevocably changed the way such cases unfold, for better or worse. Powerful, intriguing reading. — Tom Hawking, Music Editor

Flavorwire - Injustice

Injustice for the PS3

Some of the sweetest memories from my childhood involve two things: video games and super heroes. As an avid gamer growing up, and a naturally competitive tyke, I loved smashing baddies — whether as the mystical Yoshimitsu for Playstation’s Tekken, playing as Kirby or Lucas in the most recent remake of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii, or now, in Injustice for the PS3, which has found the beloved heroes and famed villains from the DC Comics Franchise — from Batman to Cyborg of the Teen Titans to Killer Frost — duking it out in Mortal Kombat-style hyper-brutality. With a well-writen plot and complex take on the superhero canon, Injustice is a game as sophisticated as it is ruthless, as vicious as it is nostalgic and heartwarming, and above all, fun. — Marcus Hunter, Editorial Apprentice.