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Friday, April 19, 2024

Culture Corner

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


By ANNABEL MARSHALL — arts@theaggie.org


Book: “Almost Invisible” by Mark Strand (2012)

“Oh,” said my friend after reading this book. “I didn’t realize poetry could be enjoyable.” If that glowing review doesn’t have you rushing to the nearest library, I don’t know what will. Mark Strand’s strand of poetry marks (hah!) a deviation from what you may have thought of poetry in high school: a dead-but-beaten horse oscillating between tortuous Middle English blather and soulless Instagram axioms. That’s not this. Clocking in at about 70 pages, each poem from “Almost Invisible” is a tight, affecting riddle, ranging in topic from the mythical to domestic satire. 

And if you already love poetry, including the Middle English blather, this is still a wonderful read by a literary star: Strand won the title of Poet Laureate and a Pulitzer for his contribution to the American poetry scene. So that’s fun.


Album: “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess” by Chappell Roan (2023)

True Midwest princess Chappell Roan occasions the only time I will ever use “fantastic” and “Missouri” in the same sentence (no offense to the “Show Me!” state). Roan captures the angsty-teenage-bedroom-pop vibe in a way that’s especially familiar to queer kids and anyone with a dream of moving far, far away. Just a few weeks ago, an impressive late-night debut cemented her instant-cult-classic quality: campy visuals, Stevie Nicks vocals, the works (YouTube it!). You may have heard songs like “California” or “Casual” bouncing around the internet for the past few years before finding a home on this album, but also check out “Red Wine Supernova” and “Picture You” — my current favorites. Catch her on the upswing so you can say to your friends that classic remark of taste: “I knew them before SNL!”


Movie: “In the Mood for Love” dir. by Wong Kar-wai (2000)

To me, this is the perfect rainy-day flick: intensely personal, patient but not slow and visually gorgeous. For people who are into film, this is an obvious choice, but I had never heard of this movie until I stumbled upon it mid-pandemic. Even with my limited understanding of cinematography, I thought it was brilliantly enjoyable. Primarily in Cantonese and Shanghainese and set in 1962, this film embodies an era-defining aesthetic while speaking to universal themes of longing and beauty. I’ll say it’s 50-50 if you cry or throw something at the screen. If nothing else, you can finally be one of those annoying art bros who talks about Wong Kar-wai at house parties.


TV Show: “Supernatural” (2005 to 2020)

If you’re new here: welcome to the worst TV show that has ever had several master’s thesis projects written about it. If you’re not new, so sorry to see you here again. Here’s the deal: two brothers fight monsters on the greatest American road trip ever broadcasted by the CW. Everyone is hot, violent and suffering from daddy issues of biblical proportions (literally, biblical). This show is where a lot of the ex-“The X Files” crew ended up and it shows — it’s actually pretty gruesome. But more than that, it’s hilarious, stupid, emotionally devastating, gay, homophobic, a modern-day “Inferno,” meta, Jensen Ackles shedding a single tear, cringe-worthy, timeless and a decade-and-a-half-long fever dream. One of the great joys of “Supernatural” is that the canon content only makes up about 30 percent of the experience of being a fan; the show has produced a robust internet community (remember SuperWhoLock? No, me neither.) with high levels of interaction from the cast and creators, to the extent that major plot points started out as internet speculation. So if you’re the person googling “cast” or “bloopers” the second the movie is over, this one’s for you. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be astonished they renewed this for 15 years.


Written by: Annabel Marshall — arts@theaggie.org  



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