Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week


Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.

Enon by Paul Harding

Paul Harding’s new novel, Enon, is eating my leisure-reading nights. About a father’s grief in the aftermath of the death of his 13-year-old, it’s linked by one character to Harding’s superb, Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers. A small book, but a great one. Don’t miss it. — Michelle Dean, Editor-at-Large

Wise Up Ghost by Elvis Costello and The Roots

Sure, I love Declan MacManus and Philly’s favorite sons separately, but they seemed such a peculiar combination that their forthcoming collaborative record (currently streaming via NPR First Listen) could have come out mighty dodgy. Instead, it’s Costello’s most vibrant and vital record in years, and one of The Roots’ most daring, adroitly blending hip-hop rhythms, “there’s a riot goin’ on”-style trouble soul, and Costello’s direct, evocative vocals. The result is one of my favorite records of the year thus far. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

California Lager by Anchor Brewing

When I’m not bashing Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I’m drinking lots of beer to help usher in the autumn I’m so in love with. This week, to tide myself over since I just can’t bring myself to start drinking Oktoberfest until it gets to at least 70 degrees or lower, I’ve been drinking a lot of Anchor’s California Lager. — Jason Diamond, Literary Editor

Image via Greg Cristman for Brooklyn Vegan

Spiritualized, live at Webster Hall in New York City

I know these are fighting words here at Flavorwire, but I never really got Spiritualized until last year. I don’t know why I didn’t sooner, but I always knew I needed to, so I signed on to cover a show of his for a blog in Portland last summer. I’d already grown to appreciate Jason Pierce’s mythology (he has died twice, you guys! Jason Pierce is actually Buffy!), but seeing him live turned me into a full-fledged convert. A Spiritualized show is a definitive experience, something you really need to see for yourself to understand. The music is clearly great on its own, but I’ve never seen any musician bring their work to life onstage the way Jason Pierce does. It’s as if the music materializes before you, so heavy that it’s actually impossible to take in all in at once (if no one’s ever had a seizure attending one of these shows, I’ll be really surprised), and the result is as transcendent as the name implies. I may be preaching to the choir here, but seriously, you need to see Spiritualized live if you get the chance. Trust. — Sarah Fonder, Editorial Apprentice

Wreckers (dir. Dictynna Hood)

This week I watched Wreckers, a 2011 Brit film starring Benedict Cumberbatch (well, he’s in more of a supporting role, but whatever). The film scoring is a little odd and the story takes a few too many twists and turns, but it comes back together spectacularly well in the last 25 minutes. The final scene isn’t a gut-punch so much as a slow knife turning in your chest. — Lillian Ruiz, Social Media Director

The Tempest at the Delacorte Theater

On Saturday night I got to see a musical version of The Tempest produced by Public Works, a new initiative from the Public Theater which brought together over 200 New Yorkers from all five boroughs to the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to Shakespeare in the Park. Partnering with The Dreamyard Project, The Children’s Aid Society, The Brownsville Recreation Center, Fortune Society, and Domestic Workers United, the production saw an extremely excited and thrilled cast of non-professional actors appearing alongside Broadway titans Norm Lewis and Laura Benanti, as well as the hilarious Jeff Hiller, Carson Elrod, and Jacob Ming-Trent. It was a bright, energetic, and completely amazing theatrical experience, one that left my companion wiping tears of joy off her face. Here’s hoping we see these types of productions in the city more often, especially those produced with and for New Yorkers who aren’t the typical Broadway demographic. — Tyler Coates, Deputy Editor