The Arts Desk’s weekly picks for movies, books, music, television shows
Movie: “Happiest Season” dir. by Clea DuVall (2020)
Starring Kirsten Stewart, Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza—to name a few from the star-studded cast—“Happiest Season” is about a woman who brings her girlfriend home for the holidays to a conservative family that is clueless about her sexuality. It is categorized as a “romantic comedy,” but also sheds light on the implicit and explicit difficulties of being a queer woman, the challenges of comeing out to one’s family and the impact that this can have on one’s partner. I do have my own issues with some things that occurred in the plot, but it is overall refreshing to have queer representation in a holiday movie, especially given the different experiences of “coming out” that are depicted.
Book: “The Strange Library” by Haruki Murakami
This book is a fast-paced nightmare. Although this short novella was written for children, it has some creepy imagery that is bound to sneak up on you. Murakami’s vivid description of a little boy trapped in a secret labyrinth deep below his public library is enough to make you never underestimate the librarian again. It is on my favorites list because it is a short and easy read but still gives you chills.
Album: “True” by Solange
A fusion of 80’s electronic music and Alternative R&B, Solange’s album is a seven song gold mine from top to bottom. There are also unique instrumental sounds that pop up in the background of some songs. While the album itself has an upbeat nature, the lyrics within detail a heartbreaking journey through a breakup. My personal favorites of the album are the first and last songs, “Losing You” and “Bad Girls – Verdine Version.” The entire album is less than thirty minutes but will have you playing it on repeat for hours on end.
Television Show: “Portlandia” dir. by Jonathan Krisel (2011)
Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s random collection of comedy sketches feature Portland’s citizens, who pride themselves with the slogan “Keep Portland Weird.” From eclectic bookstore owners to troubled couples, each sketch brings to light what exactly the city’s slogan can mean. Armisen and Brownstein play the main characters in different recurring roles based on the sketches. They often crossdress and wear various costumes to distinguish themselves from each role. My favorite sketches include Nina and Lance, which has Armisen and Brownstein play opposite genders to portray the couple, and Toni and Candace, the two “feminist” women who own the eclectic bookstore. While some sketches can be a miss, most are comically random and parody Portland’s weird population.
Written by: Mariah Viktoria Candelaria –– firstname.lastname@example.org