Staff Picks: Björk at Carnegie Hall and Nintendo Games in Mobile Devices

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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The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Considering my place of work, I’m almost shamefully bad at keeping up with contemporary fiction. So when an extra galley copy in the office and eight hours’ worth of bus ride conspired to give me Ishiguro’s latest, I seized the opportunity and ran through it in a couple sittings. As a longtime fantasy fan, I was less horrified by than curious about Ishiguro’s foray into genre fiction (more specifically, a barely post-Arthurian Britain populated by dragons and pixies in addition to people). Unsurprisingly, it’s phenomenal—a love story, a meditation on history and memory, and a hero’s journey all in one. And despite the change of scenery, The Buried Giant is recognizably the work of the man who gave us Never Let Me Go. — Alison Herman, Editorial Assistant


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The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

This novel is prosaic and far from brilliant, but the subject matter hits close to home. The protagonist, like my beloved late grandmother, is the daughter of Jewish immigrants in early 20th century Boston, and the novel is meant to be her tape-recorded story, told to her granddaughter. Sometimes you can see a book’s flaws — not much plot, simplistic take on complex matters — but be satisfied that you read it anyway. I felt that I had a glimmer more understanding of my own family history, including disease and childhood death, persecution, war and the alienating sensation of landing in a new country. Immigrants tend to focus on the upward mobility part of our trajectories. The Boston Girl does this too, but happily without erasing the trauma that comes from being uprooted, no matter how successful the next generation turns out to be. — Sarah Seltzer, Editor-at-Large


 

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Björk taking off her headdress during her Carnegie Hall concert

There were so many noteworthy things about Björk’s Carnegie Hall concert last Saturday (people have already noticed the lovemaking slugs, the spectacular 15-piece string ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, and, of course, the arresting clarity of Björk’s voice), but the simplest — yet somehow the most gesturally moving touch — was the singer removing the spiked headgear for which her Vulnicura character is known. Split open at the chest, the character on the album’s cover protects her mind by sporting something like a glistening, spiked helmet, which seems at once a symbol of reticence/self-preservation and spiritual openness: the character is a sort of angelic hedgehog. Björk wore a similar headdress by designer Maiko Takeda for the first half of the concert; in her last tour, she’d also appeared with her hair hidden in wild wigs, her chin wrapped in blue fabric (and her Volta character before that wasn’t without its byzantine adornments). There’s no denying the appeal of Björk’s costumery. But this concert’s — and the album’s — most potent words (from “Black Lake”) concern “returning home” to oneself after the identity-morphing detour of a long relationship, and “burn[ing] off layer by layer.” So there was nothing better than seeing the artist reappear after an intermission, revivified, just as herself. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor


 

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Nintendo is finally making mobile games

Yes, yeah, yay: Nintendo, light of my childhood, is finally going to start making mobile games. For years, I’ve fought cravings to buy proper gaming systems, my “adult mind” getting the better of me and convincing me that these things were wastes of money and time, forcing me to instead buy countless lackluster games on my iPhone. Sure, I’ll still probably play 2048 on the subway, when my left hand is anchoring my whole body in the sea of unhappiness called New York, but hopefully, by this time next year, I’ll be playing a legit mobile version of Mario, or, god help us all, Pokémon, whenever I can grab a seat. And, yes, I know the image above is from the TV show, but whatever, Pokédudes. — Shane Barnes, Editorial Apprentice


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The “St. Patrick’s Day” episode of 30 Rock

Any 30 Rock episode will do if you need a quick shot of jokes to your brain, but “St. Patrick’s Day,” from season six, is a grand one with the return of Liz Lemon’s hilarious boyfriend Dennis Duffy (Dean Winters) and lots of really perfect jokes about the Irish. — Elisabeth Donnelly, Nonfiction Editor


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Into the Sea by Marion Poizeau

Surfing in hijab in Iran—could it be done? wondered Irish pro surfer and scientist Easkey Britton. What started off as a wild idea led Britton and French filmmaker Marion Poizeau to a city called Chabahar, located in the very southeast of the country and in arguably one of the poorest and most dangerous regions. The two women then traveled to a small fishing village, where Britton surfed the waves alone while Poizeau captured footage. The result was a short film that Poizeau released online in the summer of 2012, which quickly became a sensation in Iran. Into the Sea picks up at this moment, when Britton decides that she wants to go back and, this time, teach the women of Iran how to surf. Could this be done? What follows is the beautiful adventure of three inspirational young women—Britton, plus Iranian pro snowboarder Mona Seraji and Iranian diver Shalha Yasini—as they navigate legal and cultural norms to bring surf to Iran. — Ona Abelis, Editorial Apprentice


 

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Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXXII

Now that Shout Factory has worked its way up to (take a breath) the 32nd volume of its Mystery Science Theater 3000 collections, most of the episodes commonly considered “essential” have made their way out into the world. But every fan has their particular off-the-beaten-path favorites, which is part of why I’m so delighted by Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXXII (out 3/24 on DVD); it’s got two of my fave also-rans. San Francisco International isn’t one anybody cares much about—it’s a generic 1970s TV movie, for God’s sake. But it’s such an exquisite example of a generic 1970s TV movie, all pale, dull also-rans and labored “action,” and on top of all that, it’s got a Bob Dylan reference that’s produced one of my biggest laughs of the entire series. And then there’s Space Travelers, a rare example of an MST movie with, like, real stars and a budget; it gives them something almost interesting (almost!) to work off of, for once, plus the opportunity for lots and lots of Gregory Peck impressions. The other two films in the four-pack aren’t bad either (Radar Secret Service, a pretty typical ‘50s black-hat movie, and Hercules, a pretty typical ‘60s Hercules movie), and the bonus features are tops—especially a brief but enlightening profile of inventive Hercules producer/distributor Joseph E. Levine and good-natured intros from “TV’s Frank” Coniff. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor