Staff Picks: Natalie Prass, ‘Silicon Valley”s New Woman Engineer, and Will Ferrell as Harry Caray

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.

Natalie Prass — “My Baby Don’t Understand Me”

The first time you hear Natalie Prass’s voice, you may be taken aback by a certain note of treacle familiarity. You’ll soon realize that nostalgia-inducing trill also belonged the voice you imagined your Polly Pocket having (or that, as so many others have noted, most Disney princess actually had). But imagine if those intangible Disney friends had been gifted not with a femininity essentialized by their mostly male creators, but rather with the ability to sing songs with the depth of a…real person? And imagine they were also given surprising horn arrangements that, rather than bolstering their gushing sentimentalism, never quite went where you expected? Natalie Prass’ debut, self-titled album’s opening track, “My Baby Don’t Understand Me,” uses this contrast to its fullest potential. Can you think of lyrics you’d find more startling coming from one of the aforementioned characters — who were made to feel, to pine and eventually just be loved — than the song’s opening lines, “I don’t feel much/Afraid I don’t feel anything at all?” Or, for that matter, the crushing, mid-track epiphany, “Our love is a long goodbye?” Sung so sweetly, numb reality is given almost unbearable clarity. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor


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Silicon Valley‘s New Woman Engineer (Who Is Not a “Woman Engineer”)

Desperately necessary tech satire aside, the best thing about Silicon Valley has always been the sheer fun of watching Dinesh and Gilfoyle call each other names. This week, the show upped the ante on interoffice verbal abuse with the addition of Alice Wetterlund’s Carla. Not only does she take vocal exception to being thought of as a female programmer, but she also quickly establishes herself as the office’s deftest prankster, tricking her fellow coders into believing that Pied Piper is paying her far more than they’re getting. Oh, and she uses the C word. A lot. — Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief


“Harry Caray” on Letterman

You guys can have your cheerleaders and your cowbells and even your Dubyas; for my money, the funniest thing Will Ferrell ever did during his stint on Saturday Night Live was his bananas-funny impersonation of legendary Chicago sportscaster Harry Caray, which he played with a potent mixture of moxie, cluelessness, and downright oddity. (If you’ve not had the pleasure, here’s a good place to start.) So it was just a bit of good timing that I happened to start my home-stretch return to The Late Show With David Letterman on a night when Ferrell-as-Caray made a surprise appearance, referring to Dave as “Ed” (after former theater inhabitant Ed Sullivan) and congratulating him on his retirement (“That’s a good call!”). The byplay is good and the bit is funny, but I could just watch him look around in confusion for hours and hours. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor


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Opera singer/aerialist Marcy Richardson 

The first and only time that I’ve seen opera singer and aerialist Marcy Richardson perform was when she pulled herself up onto an aerial hoop at a secret Brooklyn warehouse recently and began her to sing in a clear, soprano voice to a familiar classical track. At the same time, she moved in and around the hoop delicately, effortlessly—although the moves required incredible strength. Her performance was filled such poise that a tranquility took over the warehouse, and people erupted in cries of “beautiful!” and “brava!” When Marcy finished, we all clapped tremendously and I have been hoping for another pop up warehouse performance ever since. — Ona Abelis, Editorial Apprentice 


The Signature of All Things

Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things

I’m reading Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert’s historical novel, The Signature of All Things. It’s completely different from her memoir: a lengthy, detailed, fascinating story about a family of botanists and explorers in the 18th and 19th centuries, written in a lively, wit-laced voice that recalls previous eras of storytelling in the best way. I’m probably still going to be reading it weeks from now, but that’s part of the fun — a contemporary book that has the heft and breadth of a bygone era. — Sarah Seltzer, Editor-at-Large