Staff Picks: Joanna Newsom, Carey Mulligan, and Yaron

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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Carey Mulligan in Far From the Madding Crowd

Thomas Vinterberg’s adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel (newly available for home viewing) is gorgeously photographed, patiently executed, and perhaps a bit too faithful to the source material, considering the director at its helm (I wouldn’t have minded a slightly more earthy take from the man behind The Celebration). But there’s much to recommend here, particularly in the way of performances; Matthias Schoenaerts is wonderfully understated, Michael Sheen plays his character’s quiet embarrassment and atypical sensitivity with real restraint, and Tom Sturridge is spot-on as the wrong guy who says the right things (at least, for a time). But this is Carey Mulligan’s show, and she carries it with grace, putting across a character who’s sturdy and tough, yet knowing how and when to let that mask slip, just so. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor


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Jessica Hopper’s The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic 

Sure, the book itself is great. But this week, I accidentally happened on an alternative use for Jessica Hopper’s compilation, which brings together nearly 20 years’ worth of commentary on everything from Miley to teen grunge fandom to Bruce Springsteen’s “lost” album. I live in New York, which means men frequently approach me on the street, comment on my appearance, and/or attempt to engage me in conversation, no matter how loudly my headphones are turned up or how deeply I’m engrossed in my book. The other day, two guys walked up to the stoop where I was waiting for a friend and demanded to see what I was reading. I showed them Hopper’s book. I’ve never seen men walk away faster. — Alison Herman, Associate Editor


Joanna Newsom’s “Sapokanikan”

It was no surprise that both the song “Sapokanikan” — the first release from Joanna Newsom’s upcoming album, Divers — and P. T. Anderson’s video for it are perfectly complementary. It’s atypical for a video to speak so lucidly to a song — more often than not they saturate them in superfluous imagery. But the deceptive simplicity of the video, in which we simply join Newsom on a walk through Greenwich Village, illuminates the song’s themes from beneath the musician’s characteristically (and wonderfully) rococo language. The song’s title is “Sapokanikan” — the Lenape name for what would become Greenwich Village after it was colonized — and as Newsom takes a stroll through a wintry contemporary Washington Square Park and stumbles into hot dog restaurant, the video displays all that’s been lain atop the oppressive foundations of these spaces. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor


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Yaron

My staff pick is Yaron, the Israeli counselor in Wet Hot American Summer, played by the show’s co-creator David Wain. I already wrote about Yaron’s lady-friend, Donna, and her healthy sex drive, but I walk around quoting him all the time now and I’ve just known him for a few days. That’s a sure sign of wisdom. — Sarah Seltzer, Editor-at-Large


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How Cats Took Over the Internet at the Museum of the Moving Image

I’m a dog person — and that won’t ever change — but if there is any chance of becoming a feline lover, the outlandish exhibit, How Cats Took Over the Internet, may certainly do the trick. The exhibit, which is being held at the Museum of the Moving Image from August 7th – January 31, 2016 in Queens, NY, is, as NYT describes, “made up mostly of images, videos and GIFs of cats and is meant to be a cultural deconstruction of their enduring popularity.” Believe it or not, the intersection between cats and the Internet has been a legitimate topic of discussion since 2012, when the first annual “Internet Cat Video Festival” took place in Minneapolis. High profile cats like Henri, LeChat-Noir continue to attract people’s attention before winning over their hearts. — Rebecca Blandon, Editorial Apprentice