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.

Life Partners, starring Gillian Jacobs and Leighton Meester

Life Partners is a cute comedy about two best friends, one straight, one gay, who come to a crossroads about growing up when one of them jumps into a serious relationship (adorably enough, it’s Jacobs, with Meester’s real-life husband Adam Brody). Meester’s excellent as a slacker lesbian who’s always dating the wrong, too-young girls and just wants someone to watch America’s Next Top Model with. It’s a bit like a remake of Nicole Holofcener’s classic film about female friendships and growing up, Walking and Talking, but unlike that one, you’re not going to think about Life Partners in the morning. And sometimes you need a movie like that, right? — Elisabeth Donnelly, Nonfiction Editor

tildaswinton_thegardenThe Garden (dir. Derek Jarman)

It’s a shame that so many people think of avant-garde films as cold, academic things. The work of British arthouse director Derek Jarman, which ranges from narrative to experimental but often falls somewhere in between, is one of cinema’s best arguments against that stereotype. Last night, the Brooklyn Academy of Music concluded its Jarman retrospective, Queer Pagan Punk, with what is perhaps the filmmaker’s most wrenching work. Premiering just a few years before his own AIDS-related death, 1990’s The Garden is a lyrical rendition of the life of Christ, played out in a series of emotional, visually stunning vignettes. But in place of Jesus, Jarman casts a persecuted gay couple; Tilda Swinton is the film’s paparazzi-stalked Mary. And the whole thing is a metaphor for the AIDS crisis, then at its peak, culminating in a work of art that’s personal and political and channels the pain of that particular moment in history more effectively than anything you’ll read in a history book. — Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief

Benjamin Booker — “Have You Seen My Son?”

Benjamin Booker, who recently released his self-titled debut album, played two shows this past weekend, and although I had tickets, I was sick and couldn’t go. I’m still mad about it. Booker is a rare talent, making the kind of music that pumps you up and gets you jumping. There are no synthesizers here, no altered vocals, just Booker’s shredded guitars and charmingly hoarse vocals. “Have You Seen My Son” is Booker at his best. “I heard that you were calling on the lord/ Asking for answers, for some relief/ I heard that you were calling out my name/ And that you cried for a whole week,” Booker croaks, and then the song breaks down — you think it’s over until steady, marching drums crescendo into the guitar solo we didn’t know we needed. It’s old-fashioned rock & roll, but it’s still fresh and heartfelt. — Angela Lashbrook, Editorial Apprentice

Perfume_Genius_Feminem_TeePerfume Genius’ “Feminem” Tee

I am wearing this t-shirt right now. It is one of the finest purchases I have made all year. Buy this instead of taking Eminem’s misogynist/homophobic rants seriously. — Jillian Mapes, Music Editor


The Death of Klinghoffer at the Met Opera 

Thanks to my opera-loving Jewish parents, I finally got to see The Death of Klinghoffer, the controversial John Adams opera about a terrorist attack on a cruise ship that left the titular character dead, a victim of thuggish, politically-motivated murder. After all the fuss about whether the piece is anti-Semitic, what I saw when those stunning Met chandeliers rose along with the curtain, was a riveting piece with beautiful music, a weird libretto containing possible Christian overtones, and a message that was nuanced in some places, confused in others, didactic (but not anti-Semtiic) in others. Flawed and muddled, even, but not necessarily offensive. Tickets to high art like ballet and opera can be too pricey. But the chance to stand outside the Met with listening to my fellow New Yorkers arguing and debate the meaning of an opera that’s extremely culturally relevant again? Priceless, as they say. — Sarah Seltzer, Editor-at-Large

foxcatcher-poster-steve-carell-banner

Steve Carell’s Foxcatcher Nose

There’s so much to be said about Foxcatcher, and it is, undoubtedly, my favorite movie so far this year. But what’s a favorite movie without a favorite nose? Whether or not Olympic wrestling coach/murderer John du Pont’s actual nose was quite as distended, quite as indicative of his lifetime of clotting, unfulfilled arousal as it is in the film is a question photos of John du Pont don’t quite seem to answer. But even if there isn’t perfect verisimilitude in Carell’s prosthetic, the way the actor uses it — always tilting his head slightly upward as though trying to a. smell the writhing man-bodies he’s invited into his household and b. indicate his tendency to poke around in other people’s business — is masterful. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor