Culture Corner

Culture Corner

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The Arts Desk’s weekly picks for television, movies, novels and music

Television: “Shrill”  

This Hulu series premiered on March 15 and has been praised for its stark honesty and diverse, talented cast. Based on Lindy West’s novel “Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman,” the series follows self-described fat woman Annie as she seeks to overcome her insecurities and improve her quality of life (in aspects unrelated to her weight). Saturday Night Live cast member Aidy Bryant stars in the role and gives a raw and nuanced performance in each episode. The series includes sharp social commentary about navigating the world as a plus-sized woman and does not reduce its characters to tropes or stereotypes. The series is poignant with some heartbreaking moments; overall it’s an uplifting and inspiring watch.

Movie: “Matilda”

“Matilda” was and always will be my favorite movie. Based on Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s novel of the same name, the film maintains the book’s inventive narrative voice and simply adds Danny Devito into the mix — apparently the secret ingredient for a successful children’s movie. Maura Wilson stars as the adorably precocious Matilda, a character whom I always looked up to as a child. The film is held dear by bookworms everywhere, who learned from Matilda that reading is not just a useful escape but also a superpower.

Novel: “The Book Thief”

Markus Zusak’s 2005 novel follows Liesel Meminger, a young girl in Nazi Germany who has a penchant for stealing books and a Jewish fist-fighter hiding in her basement. The story is told from the perspective of Death, which creates a fascinating and perplexing perspective for  both the story and the novel’s historical period. Zusak’s writing is inventive, weaving dark themes with endearing characters and plot lines. Although it’s a young-adult novel, “The Book Thief” has an enduring quality that readers of any age can appreciate as a modern classic.

Album: “Make My Bed” by King Princess

On June 15, 2018, singer-songwriter Mikaela Straus, also known as King Princess, released her debut EP “Make My Bed.The EP followed the release of singles “Play 1950” and “Talia,” two ballads dedicated to the LGBTQ community and queer love. Straus’ soft, airy voice contrasts with the explicit nature of the lyrics as she sings frankly about love and sex. Straus’ unique voice and lyrics make her pop songs feel fresh and exciting. Of the three new tracks introduced on the album, “Holy” is the standout hit and showcases Straus’ incredible falsetto.

Written By: Alyssa Ilsley — arts@theaggie.org