The presidential election may be only two weeks away, but don’t let that deter you from catching up on all the top-notch arts and entertainment stories featured on PolicyMic. Catch up here on the Culture stories, reviews, and interviews from the past week.
Top Feature Stories in Culture:
“The Master”: A Celebration of True Hollywood Bromance (Sam Brounstein) – “What does it mean to be a man? Since the beginning of cinema, movie makers have churned out an infinitum of responses to this question, often with iconic and awesome results. Every character in the pantheon (or, shall we say, MAN-theon?) is synonymous with some idea, usually crystallized in a significant era: Conan the Barbarian’s titular character is the ancient alpha, a harkening to a time when men were men, and ate colossal shanks of meat for their sole sustenance.”
Will Harry Potter Fans Ever Love a J.K. Rowling Book That’s All Muggle and No Magic? (Rachel Wilson) – “Some of it, though, is, frankly, fucked up. Rowling has admitted that she never saw herself “as your children’s babysitter or their teacher. I was always, I think, completely honest. I’m a writer, and I will write what I want to write.” That definitely shows as the novel spirals towards its devastatingly real ending: no Deathly Hallows, no Expelliarmus, no “all was well.” There is graveyard sex, cutting, drug overdoses, and enough pettiness to drown a baby in (which, by the way, happens on page 462).”
Meet the Most Dangerous Voice on the Radio (Alex Kapelman) – “In 1963, Fass created “Radio Unnameable,” his radio show that reflected the rapidly shifting atmosphere of New York City in the 1960s. The show which was free form and unscripted, frequently featured spacey remixes of records, and allowed several night owls to call in to chat all at once about whatever topic struck Fass’s fancy at the moment. It wasn’t perfect (try envisioning a 10 person public conference call at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday night in 1967.)”
Is Art More Powerful Than Money? One Art Campaign Seeks to Take Big Money Out of Politics (Elena Sheppard) – “In one submission, the “I Voted” pin is graffitied to read “It Voted$.” In another, a traditional campaign-style poster projects slogans: “We are the 83%.” And “Super PACs are undemocratic." Notably inspired by Fairey's work, many of the submissions visually incorporate the words that we associate with the issue. The highest voted submission on the site reads the words, "Democracy is sold to the highest bidder."
Reviews of the Week:
"Masterful" Viewing: 8 Interpretations of the Biggest Oscar Contender of the Year (Rebecca Zhang) – "No one seems to know what The Master is about. It is surely a character study, but one that has to be seen multiple times to come to a comfortable, if any, conclusion. I’m still in the process of figuring out a thesis from the given evidence, but here are eight of my many theories as to how this sure-to-be-Best-Picture-nominated movie was really meant to be interpreted."
Bruno Mars Can Really Sing, and His SNL Skits Are Funny But Absurd (Jasper Zweibel) – "In case you hadn't heard, the dude can sing, and I mean really sing. SNL clearly had Mars play to his strengths, asking him to perform a musical number for his opening monologue and do vocalist impersonations (his Michael Jackson was dead on) in another sketch."
"Better Off Without 'Em" Book Review: Chuck Thompson is Lazy and Cynical About the South (Emen Garcia) – "This man hates the South. He starts off on the topic of religion, opining, “no shit, there are religious kooks everywhere, but the South is to radical Christianity what Afghanistan and Pakistan are to radical Islam.” His tone is uniform throughout. Whether on religiosity, legacy of racial discrimination and indifference, detrimental adherence to conservatism, or stubborn sense of pride despite its stunning imperfections, Thompson tears into the American South maliciously and relentlessly."
Chinese Artist Debuts in America with "Boun Unbound" ... Imagine a World Covered in Silk (Lizzie Rechter) – ""Thread winding" is the technique she created based off her childhood memories and it is done by winding silk or cotton thread around an object until it is completely covered and ultimately transformed. This appears to be a repetitive, rigorous and almost manic technique."
People Around the Web are Talking About:
Taylor Swift's New Album Red: The country (or is it pop?) music phenomenon is out with a new album on Monday. Expect Twitter, Facebook, Google, and basically the entire world to be drowned in T-Swift admiration. If the released tracks from the new album are any indication, it looks like Ms. Taylor is heading down a road of pure pop.
Why I Left Goldman Sachs: Remember that guy who caused a huge stir when he quit his Goldman Sachs job via a (very) public op-ed in The New York Times back in March? Well that guy (Greg Smith) is releasing his book Why I Left Goldman Sachs on Monday.
Cloud Atlas Released: Highly anticipated film release hits theaters this Friday; the book follows six-intertwining story lines over the course of 500 years. It looks like an absolutely mind-boggling epic ... and it stars Halle Berry and Tom Hanks.
Scandal on Broadway: The Broadway show Rebecca was cancelled in pre-production after the producers couldn’t could no longer afford the $12 million price tag. Things are getting soap opera-esque as it turns out this was all an elaborate plot to defraud the producers. Now, there’s a $100 million law suit underway.