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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Chris’ Culture Corner

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


By CHRIS PONCE — arts@theaggie.org


Book: “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong (2019)


Okay, I’m sure I’m not the first person to recommend this book to you, but I’m doing it anyway. “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” was the last memoir I read and it’s stuck with me ever since. Vuong is a poet, and his mastery of syntax and art is apparent on every page of the book. This memoir, unlike most traditional nonfiction works, is all one letter to Vuong’s mother who was illiterate. This heartbreaking story deals with several topics Vuong experienced throughout his life: his complicated relationship with his mother, his sexuality, his racial identity and trauma his family has experienced. Vuong does a beautiful job of explaining that he and his family shouldn’t be defined by the trauma they’ve lived through while still explaining the role it’s had in his life. This read is deeply personal and it’s worth all of its praise. You won’t regret picking this up on your next visit to the Avid Reader. 


TV Show: “My Adventures with Superman” prod. by Jake Wyatt (2023)


Sometimes, the media we consume doesn’t have to make us ponder the deepest questions of the universe. Sometimes, media can exist just to make us smile and that’s what “My Adventures with Superman” has done for me. Please don’t stop reading if you’re not a Superman or comic fan. This animated series is by far the most accurate portrayal of Superman that’s been made in years, and the show does this by staying simple. The show follows an early reporter, Clark Kent, as he begins working for the Daily Planet (we’re a newspaper, of course we love Superman). It’s a wholesome watch and great to throw on if you need a background show.


Movie: “Palm Springs” dir. by Max Barbakow (2020)


“Palm Springs” is one of my favorite romantic comedies and I’m surprised I haven’t written about it yet. In a genre that’s often bashed for its cheesiness and repetition, “Palm Springs” offers an original story with a unique setting for its love story. The film follows two characters, Nyles and Sarah, as they find themselves trapped in a time loop (yes, like “Groundhog Day”). As they live the same day over and over, rather than being terrified, the two begin to appreciate their new lives with each other. “Palm Springs” deals with questions such as our place in the universe, why our actions matter regardless of consequences and of course, love. On top of this, the movie is hilarious — what more is there to ask for? This is truly one of my comfort movies and I hope you have a similar experience as I did with it. While it’s no longer Valentine’s Day, it’s never the wrong time for a romcom. 

Album: “This Old Dog” by Mac DeMarco (2017)


This album is deeply personal to me, the way it portrays feelings of grief and letting go of someone couldn’t feel more accurate. “This Old Dog” is about DeMarco’s messy relationship with his absent father. Many of the songs also deal with his father’s death and the confusing situation that left him in. In the track “Watching Him Fade Away,” DeMarco dives into the struggle of watching someone you barely know pass away — in this case his father. This album, like most albums, is worth listening to in order to feel the journey of loss that is being told. Of all of DeMarco’s releases, “This Old Dog” has the most purpose and intention. For these reasons, and many personal ones, this is something worth listening to. 


Written by: Chris Ponce — arts@theaggie.org



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