May 2018 Culture Recap

Hello old friends and new! I’ll bet you never thought Poetic & Chic would be breathing again, but here we are, or rather here I am. It’s been a long time and I’ve thought a lot about what Poetic & Chic once was, and what I could do with it all these years later. I’ve kept my favorite old posts from the old blog and they are in the archive. So what about new content?

I'm not certain what kind of new content I'll be putting out because I'm working on other types of writing (yes, fiction), but it's all a long ways off. But, starting today, I’m going to do a recap of what I’m reading, watching, and listening to each month. Call it a cultural round-up, but these are the questions I get most frequently from friends and I like the idea of having a running record. Here we go for May!

Books:

Three books in the month of May and that’s a solid average for me. All three are good books, with Circe being the best in my opinion. Really brilliant telling of Circe’s adventures in mythology. It’s vivid and sharp, and a great follow-up to Miller’s novel Song of Achilles.

Little Fires Everywhere brings up a lot of ideas about family with a very light touch that ultimately leads to a lot of gut-punches. Definitely in the mainstream, and definitely something you’ll want to discuss with friends.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a creative take on life inside the Hollywood Dream Machine of the mid-twentieth century, especially as a member of the LGBTQ community. I was fascinated by it, but it is definitely “soapy” and a bit of a romp.

Film & TV:

Other than the usual Bravo TV (which I don’t think requires a recap), I haven’t watched much TV lately, even Netflix! But, here is what I did get around to:

Atomic Blonde. What took me so long! Charlize Theron is AMAZING - sexy, powerful, dynamic, and a true action character. They style of this film is exceptional; hair and makeup are flawless, along with fantastic costuming and a soundtrack that is truly ON POINT for the late-1980s. You had me at Reflex’s “The Politics of Dancing” - perfect placement in the plot, and the song could be a microcosm of the entire story. The lighting and sets are also perfection, with a dark palette with a few vivid pops of neon colors - just like the 80s!

Wild, Wild Country. Okay, how weird and fascinating was this? I still have so many questions about the whole thing - namely, who do we root for? I could see all sides (which is the mark of a great documentary), but who do you think is the villain? I went back to find a very old episode of The Dollop podcast where they covered the Rajneeshees and they filled in some of the blanks with their usual humor.

Evil Genius. Still not sure what to think about this. Yes, it’s a diabolical crime, and I’m not defending any of the players here, but there was a lot of mental illness in the mix which brings home the tragedy. As the friend of Marjorie says at the end… “what a waste”. I have questions about why this woman (Marjorie) was not given the medication she needed even in mental incarceration. What am I missing? I thought it was like Mommie Dead and Dearest or Making a Murderer in that I’m left with more questions than answers, with a lot of villains on all sides.

Podcasts:

Yes, I’m a bit of a podcast addict. I listen when I take walks, when I run errands, when I’m cooking dinner, when I’m getting ready in the morning. Listen, radio is terrible these days and I have music on all day at work, so podcasts actually give my brain something to engage with and think about.

I have my usuals: My Favorite Murder, The High Low, Bitch Sesh, and a few others, but I’m going to call out the favorites of the month…

Goop - Gwyneth x Blythe Danner. The Goop podcast came on the scene a few weeks back and I’ve really been enjoying it. The interview with Oprah was fantastic - I’ve actually listened to it more than once. Gwyneth interviewing her mother Blythe Danner for Mother’s Day was a really beautiful, heartfelt chat.

Dressed: The History of Fashion - Branded: A History of Designer Logos. The Dressed podcast is informative and interesting, and as someone who’s studied a lot of fashion history it’s a nice recap for me. The hosts seems little formal and too scripted, but they do lighten it up a bit. I enjoyed their history of designer logos for its insight on the house of Lanvin, and they definitely got it right when relaying the history of Louis Vuitton (a subject I know well!) I just wish these two presented more subjective opinions and were a bit more conversational.

The Art of Manliness - episode # 398 - Should a Man Care About How He Dresses? This podcast is a new one for me and I picked this episode at random. It was really interesting though and I definitely think it’s a great listen, especially for a lot of men in the modern world who don’t think their personal style matters. This is a conversation with style coach and author Tanner Guzy who offers great insight.

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness. This was another random selection that I dropped into and I am now pretty obsessed. Jonathan Van Ness from the Queer Eye show reboot proves himself to be exceptionally intelligent, and genuinely intrigued by all the topics he explores. He also brings in really amazing experts to talk with him in a quick half-hour format. Some of my favorites so far are: Why’s the Bail System Such a Hot Mess?, Has Britain Screwed Itself with Brexit? What Makes a Cult a Cult? This last episode on cults even touched on Wild, Wild Country and the Landmark program, which was entertaining.

Criminal episodes 91 & 92 - The “It” Girl and Dementia Americana. I really enjoy Criminal - it tells really intriguing stories that can be horrifyingly dark, or oddly funny. This set of two episodes covers a true crime story that I’ve read about and still fascinates me: the story of Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White & Harry Thaw. Let these episodes initiate you, and then check out Paula Uruburu’s book American Eve for a detailed story.

The High Low. When people ask me to recommend a podcast this is my immediate go-to. I love both Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton; I think they’re vibrant, fresh, and brilliant, offering succinct overviews on issues and then presenting their own opinions. As a great example of one of their episodes, try the one from May 23rd on Ireland’s Abortion Referendum and Royal Wedding Recap. It shows both the high and the low, the significance and frivolity of their podcast. I’m a big fan.

See you in July!