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 recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.

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Denis Johnson’s “The Largesse of the Sea Maiden”

Denis Johnson has supposedly been working on his story in this week’s New Yorker, “The Largesse of the Sea Maiden,” “for seven or eight years.” That sort of news not only means you must go and read the new work by one of America’s greatest writers, but also calls for celebration. — Jason Diamond, Literary Editor

“Her Ghost” by Woman’s Hour

I have a feeling that Woman’s Hour is going to hold a very CHVRCHES-like place in my heart, in that they’re both very particular bands for very particular moods. And while I’ll listen to their full albums while I’m in that mood, I’ll only really latch on to a few of their songs for my more regular rotation. “Her Ghost” is one of those songs. It’s lush and intimate, an R&B smoothness set against a light electronic melody, and the lyrics are dreamy and pleasantly introspective. I have it on repeat. —Brie Hiramine, Editorial Apprentice

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Elizabeth Price’s At The House of Mr. X at Whitechapel Gallery

Whitechapel is screening Elizabeth Price’s 2007 film, At the House of Mr. X, until April — and I’m hoping to finally catch it in person on an upcoming trip. The Turner Prize-winning artist and former frontwoman for influential twee group Talulah Gosh takes us inside the home of “an anonymous art collector” in her “study of desire and consumption.” The coolly sensual, low-lit tour of Mr. X’s modernist objects is accompanied by a vocal arrangement (surely some pop band) and disembodied text that eerily invites us to “rest upon the soft furnishings” and “relax” — lulling us into a false sense of calm. It’s all very HAL 9000 — if the sentient computer adored Kukkapuro armchairs. — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor

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M.O — “For a Minute” and “I Ain’t Got Time”

This British R&B trio is more than just 2014’s answer to Destiny’s Child — they’re like three Beyoncés (or maybe two Beyoncés and a Kelly, because Kelly’s underrated. Sorry, Michelle). If you make a workday playlist full of high-energy M.O. pop songs, I guarantee a 200 percent increase in productivity. Just kidding — you’ll probably be too distracted dancing underneath your desk to work at all. — Isabella Biedenharn, Editorial Apprentice

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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at Brooklyn Museum

First, an apology: I waited until the last second to see this acclaimed retrospective, so now it’s closed and my recommendation will do no one any good. That said, it’s still worth mention, because it’s never too late to educate yourself about one of fashion’s greatest and most provocative artists. Following Gaultier’s work from the late ’70s through the present and tracing his sensibility from Madonna’s iconic cone bras to the bodices he’s been constructing for Beyoncé, the show delved deep into the couturier’s countercultural inspirations and revealed the extensive work that went into some of his most detailed pieces (one incredible dress bearing an intricately beaded portrait of a tiger took 1100 hours). But what made it a great exhibition — rather than just an exhibition of work by a great artist — was the care with which it was put together. From quilted, boudoir-style walls and ensembles that mixed items from Gaultier’s men’s and women’s collections to eerie mannequins with talking, moving videos of models’ (and in some cases the designer’s own) faces projected onto them, it beautifully reflected the iconoclastic, off-kilter sensibility of its subject. — Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief

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Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox on Criterion

I wrote last week about the pleasures of Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, but hadn’t yet gotten a look at the marvelous new special edition from the Criterion Collection — and I’d regarded Criterion’s edition with some skepticism, since the film was already available on Blu-ray from Fox. Well, if you bought that one, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to buy it again. The extras, as is Criterion’s style, are voluminous: A droll new introduction by Jarvis Cocker as “Petey,” a full-length animatic (animated storyboard) of the entire film, a seven-part “making of Fantastic Mr. Fox” featurette (including wonderful footage of the on-location voice recording), a discussion and analysis of the film by a couple of little kids, a recording of Roald Dahl reading the entirety of the book, an excellent hour-long BBC documentary about Mr. Dahl, a selection of image from Dahl’s original 1968 Mr. Fox manuscript, and a chattily verbose new audio commentary by Anderson. And the movie (which only grows more charming with return visits) looks amazing, unsurprisingly. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

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Seth Herzog’s Sweet at The Slipper Room

A friend of mine convinced me to go to a comedy show last night; knowing nothing about it except that it was held at a burlesque club, I entered the experience worried that it would be an unfunny amateur hour (which it half was, and half SO wasn’t… I’ll explain) that, by focusing on corporeal humor, would tenuously try to link itself to the theme of its venue. It turns out, however, that I’d been in the shameful dark about a New York Comedy phenomenon: Seth Herzog’s Sweet – held weekly on Tuesdays at the Slipper Room – has been going on for nearly 12 years. My Sweet defloration coincidentally occurred on a special night for the show: in tandem with the Olympics, Sweet hosts an amateur comedy competition, judged, last night, by Chris Gethard, the ubiquitous Questlove (I see him so often I wouldn’t be surprised if our cycles aligned), Herzog’s show-stealing mom (the most biased of judges, who openly graded competitors on her approval of their hairstyles and deducted points for distasteful tattoos), and others. Together, they comprised a peanut gallery so riotously funny it didn’t matter that the contestant pool was made up, for the most part, of limp-tongued individuals who seemed altogether too nice to be funny. Nikki Glaser also appeared for a hilarious 15-minute set that managed to make possibly trite comedy topics – like the avoidance of catcalls and books – seem entirely fresh. Check it out next Tuesday! — Moze Halperin, Editorial Apprentice