Jo Piazza’s Subversive ‘If Nuns Ruled the World’ Shatters the ‘Sister Act’ Stereotype

One of the best parts of Orange Is the New Black Season 2 was the backstory the show gave to Sister Jane Ingalls — her struggles with her faith and her activism as embodied in her life outside the prison, from her ghostwritten book, Nun Shall Pass, to the protest that got her arrested in the first place, in which she chained herself to a flagpole at a nuclear testing facility. After spending most of Season 1 as a saintly nun, she got layers, and we saw what brought her to the faith. It was a moving story about an imperfect woman trying to do good in the world, with all the self-interest and pure action that entails. … Read More

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Why Is Labor Day Such a Terrible Weekend for Movies?

Guardians Easily Tops Weak Labor Day Releases” goes the headline over at Box Office Mojo, which is a bit redundant if you’re the kind of movie geek who gets weirdly hung up on release dates — as your film editor is — since it’s hard to remember a Labor Day that wasn’t filled with “weak” releases. It’s one of the true oddities of the business of summer movies; every year, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July (OK, maybe not the Fourth this year, but usually!) are staked out months, maybe years in advance for high-profile blockbuster hopefuls, and the starter pistol for the summer season comes earlier each year (Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened in April; Batman v Superman recently shuffled its opening date to March). So why, year after year, does the summer go out with a whimper instead of a bang? And with so much hand-wringing over the steep dip in revenues this season, shouldn’t the studios be looking to expand their weirdly collapsed summer? … Read More

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10 New Must-Reads for September

It’s officially September, which means many good things: back to school, the promise of sweater weather, and tons of great new books coming to a bookstore near you. A good thing too, because there’s something about this month that inspires voracious consumption of literature, particularly for those of us who no longer have assigned reading lists. After the jump, a selection of books, from debut novels to first collections from literary greats to searing poetry, that you won’t want to miss this month — and don’t forget to check out our fall books preview for more. … Read More

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‘Worn Stories’ Is a Charming Book About Clothes and Meaning

It’s interesting — one thing that the internet has been good for is a sort of “single-serving” hit of an emotion, or a feeling, capturing a funny little moment in time. That style flourishes on Tumblr, for better or worse, with sites like Humans of New York and Last Night’s ReadingWorn Stories, the handsome new book adapted from artist, writer, and editor Emily Spivack’s reliably smart blog of the same name, does come from that single-serving blog style, where a garment is photographed on a stark white background and a story about its origin and meaning sits beside it, but it’s the very simplicity of the concept that makes it sing. … Read More

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Beyond the Screen: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Writings as the Key to His Art

“Un oiseau chante d’autant mieux qu’il chante dans son arbre généalogique.” Or, “A bird sings best in its genealogical tree.” This reflection from Jean Cocteau introduces us to The Holy Mountain and El Topo director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s mythic memoir, Where the Bird Sings Best.

During his recovery from an opium addiction, under the influence of French philosopher Jacques Maritain, Cocteau made a fleeting return to the Catholic Church. “Art for art’s sake, art for the masses, it’s all equally absurd. I propose art for God,” Cocteau declared. Allies of a parallel “divine” counterculture and kindred poet-magicians, Cocteau wrote the introduction for Jodorowsky’s directorial debut — 1957’s La cravate, a mime adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novella The Transposed Heads, starring the filmmaker. … Read More

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Gorgeous Portraits of Nocturnal Animals

There are times when, as a writer, you really want to delve into the realm of Serious Criticism, taking a critical view of works of art in their sociopolitical context and examining their role in both their own fields of artistic endeavor and against a wider backdrop of cultural trends and movements. There are also times when you just want to go, OMG SUCH CUTE ANIMALS ARGGHHHH~~~~~. These gorgeous photos of nocturnal animals, from Rhode Island photographer Traer Scott’s book Creatures of the Night, fall firmly into the latter category. That’s not in any way to understate their artistic worth — they’re beautifully composed and well shot — but dear god, how cute is that little baby fox thing on the book cover?! Hat tip to Featureshoot, where we first spotted these — and also, do check out Traer’s website, where there’s a wealth of beautiful animal photography. … Read More

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Flavorwire’s Guide to Indie Flicks to See in September

Fall movie season is upon us, which means the studios are gearing up for their Oscar campaigns by releasing the kind of thoughtful, intelligent, adult-oriented movies that the indies have been cranking out all damn year. But the art houses aren’t shutting down for the season. Here are just a few of this month’s limited and VOD releases that are worth your… Read More

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The 5 Most Promising Shows of the Fall 2014 Season

By my estimate, there are approximately 7 billion new shows premiering during the 2014-2015 TV season. Like every fall, the shows range from the typical “friends hanging out and hooking up!” sitcoms to the desperate prestige dramas starring bland male antiheroes to shoddy adaptations of comic books, movies, and even other TV shows — and that’s not even counting all of the returning shows that you have to keep up with! To help you decide what to pay attention to, here are the season’s five most promising new shows. … Read More

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10 of the Worst Jobs in Literature

Gainfully employed denizens of the modern world: happy Labor Day. While you’re celebrating the American labor movement by taking a day off of whatever job you complain about most of the time, why not indulge in a little literature — particularly literature that reminds you just how good you have it when you are in the office? After the jump, you’ll find ten of the absolute worst jobs ever committed to fiction. Check them out, and go back to work tomorrow with a happy heart. … Read More

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10 Famous TV Locations You Can Visit In Real Life

In honor of Friends‘ 20th anniversary, Central Perk — complete with its massive couch — is about to become a reality this fall in SoHo. While the coffee shop will only be temporary, however, there are plenty of TV landmarks that remain long after the camera crews leave. Here’s a collection of famous locations from rural Washington to the south of England that aren’t a Hollywood backlot. … Read More

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