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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Culture Corner

The Arts Desks’ weekly picks for movies, books, music and television shows

TV: “Bonding”

It isn’t often that I sit down to binge watch a TV show — I’m more of a YouTube kind of guy. But there’s something about the Netflix show “Bonding” that has kept me coming back. I have watched the series’ seven episodes all the way through three times, just because my next little group of friends needs to enjoy the absurd humor that this show presents. The dynamic protagonists Tiffany (a.k.a. Mistress May), a professional dominatrix, and her gay high school BFF Pete (a.k.a. Master Carter) keep me coming back for more as they navigate their alternative lives as sex workers. Let’s hope Netflix doesn’t axe this wonderful show, like they’ve done to so many other great ones in the past.

Movie: “Ex Machina”

Nature versus nurture. Classically, this has been the debate about raising children. Is a person’s inner process something they are born with, or is it taught? While most today say that it is a mix of both, “Ex Machina” falls squarely in the camp of nurture. This 2014 movie is a story about creating the perfect artificial intelligence (AI) in humanoid form. Just like humans are bound to repeat the behavior they see, two AIs, Eva and Kyoko, learn how to act from Nathan, their creator. This movie is a great lesson in “treat others how you would like to be treated.” Just like in real life, failing to follow this rule might stab you in the back.

Book: “Final del juego” by Julio Cortázar

“Final del juego,” or “End of the Game” in English, is one of the many compilations of short stories written by Argentine author Julio Cortázar. I first read this book in a Latin American Literature class while studying abroad. I still pick up this collection from time to time to re-read many of the stories it contains. One of the common threads throughout the collection is making the reader question the reliability of the narrator, examining what really happened versus what the narrator said happened. My personal favorite, “Una flor amarilla” (“A Yellow Flower”), expertly succeeds at this. Is the narrator honest, or is he just an old drunk? Many of these stories have been translated into English, but if you can read Spanish, make sure to pick up the original.

Album: “Queen Elizabitch” by CupcakKe

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been a little bit lost since CupcakKe (Elizabeth Harris) abruptly announced her retirement via an Instagram livestream last month. With her career spanning roughly four-fifths of my college career, I have been following CupcakKe since early in my freshman year. A fearless singer and rapper known most for her sexualized hits like “Deepthroat,” CupcakKe also has a contemplative side, as shown in her single “Picking Cotton,” a song analyzing the effects of American chattel slavery today. One of my favorite of the twelve tracks on her second album, “Queen Elizabitch,” is “33rd.” In this song, she sings, “Waiting for me to fall off b*tch keep waiting, waiting/It’ll be the 33rd of the month I’m just saying, saying.” In 2017, when she released this album, CupcakKe felt invincible — her haters could never take her down; it would never happen. The 33rd day of the month would never come. It’s immensely sad to see that the 33rd of the month finally came and went, and my favorite artist has ended her career. CupcakKe has pledged to remove her music from all streaming services, so make sure to have a listen while you still can.

Written by: Kenton Goldsby — arts@theaggie.org

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