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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Culture Corner

The Art Desk’s weekly picks for music, movies and more 


By ELIZABETH WOODHALL  — arts@theaggie.org


TV Show: “Dead to Me” by Liz Feldman (2019)


Emmy-award-winning show “Dead to Me” premiered on Netflix on May 3, 2019, and it went on to have three seasons, with the finale premiering on Nov. 17, 2022. The dark comedy depicts two grieving women who bond over the loss of their husbands. Jen (Christina Applegate) is a widowed real estate agent mourning the loss of her husband who died from a hit-and-run. Judy (Linda Cardellini) is in the same support group as Jen because she claims her fiance died of a heart attack. In reality, Judy conceals the truth: her husband is alive. The reason she lies is to get close to Jen — someone who is inconsolable and resorts to anger when forced to face the truth of her husband’s passing. This series explores the intricate complexities of womanhood, friendship and grief while still maintaining a light tone for a considerably dark story. 


Book: “Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure” by John Cleland (1748)


Cleland wrote one of the first well-known erotic novels in London in 1748 that features pornography in prose form. The story follows innocent 14-year-old Fanny Hill as she faces the death of her parents who passed away from smallpox. Forced to look for work after being left with no other fortune, she travels to London and unknowingly joins a brothel. It’s here where she deals with various sexual encounters — both heterosexual and homosexual — that shape the way that sex was perceived back in the 17th century. Cleland explores the hardship that many women faced when having to find work — and, weirdly enough, the various ways that female and male genitalia can be described. He shows the complex relationship “prostitutes,” or sex workers, had with sex when choosing to commodify their bodies, while also exploring themes of solidarity within sex work. The author highlights the value of virginity and what it meant to be a woman at the time, trying to make it out alive and gain financial stability. 


Movie: “One Day” dir. by Lone Scherfig 


Based on David Nicholls’ novel in 2009, this romantic drama follows Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) and Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) —  two people who seem to be romantically interested in each other, but decide that they are better off just sticking to friendship. Over the course of 20 years, we see Dexter step into a television host personality while Emma becomes a school teacher. Even with so many failures to remain friends, it’s evident that two people who’ve known each other for over two decades could navigate the world without having each other. Dexter becomes a player and falls from fame; Emma is stuck in a lifeless relationship. After many misses, it’s not too hard to imagine what happens next. Netflix recently released a TV mini-series, “One Day,” that is also based on its book and movie counterparts.


Album: “Rumors (Super Deluxe)” by Fleetwood Mac (1977)


This album is timeless; it transports the listener to the soft rock, drug-infused scene of the 1970s. Whenever I listen to Fleetwood Mac, it seems like they’re the kind of band who created music that was true to them — not just true to their time, but true to anyone who likes good music. With tracks like “Dreams” and “You Make Loving Fun” that forefront their iconic instrumentals, the bass guitar and drums, it’s hard to not be immersed in an atmosphere of tranquility and hope of what is to come. Other tracks, like “Go Your Own Way” and “Silver Springs,” put a spotlight on the romance between vocalists Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Their whirlwind romance could be seen throughout their time in the band, both on tour and even as of recent years, like their 2009 “Unleashed Tour” which released an expanded version of “Silver Springs.” Their tremulous relationship could be observed through these tracks of lost love, disappointment and loss. Stevie Nicks’ famous line, “You’ll never get away from the sound of a woman that loves you,” proves the lifelong struggle to be with Buckingham even as he went out and sought love elsewhere. This album has a history and is history, all in one. 


Written by: Elizabeth Woodhall — arts@theaggie.org 



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