Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

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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.

The Meeting* of the International Order of Sodomites, hosted by Justin Sayre

Justin Sayre is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the smartest and funniest people on the planet. (Read his amazing response to “top privilege” here.) And I adore his monthly variety show, The Meeting*, which is now running at 54 Below. Each month is dedicated to someone who has contributed to gay culture — last night’s edition celebrated Liza Minnelli — but it also gives Sayre the chance to mix politics, song, and comedy. In the video above, from last month’s meeting, Sayre responds to the VMAs (the second part of his rant is here). If you live in New York and are a non-heterosexual (or just love non-heterosexuals!), this is a show you must check out. — Tyler Coates, Deputy Editor

WordFest at The Mount

I was lucky enough to get invited up to Lenox, MA to judge the Literary Death Match that was part of The Mount’s WordFest this past weekend. Lenox is really one of the loveliest places, Edith Wharton’s home is magical, and the place I stayed at, Blantyre, was absolutely wonderful. I don’t think I could pick anything else. — Jason Diamond, Literary Editor

Iron Man 3 (dir. Shane Black)

Now that the extraordinarily depressing summer movie season has come to an end, it seems even clearer that the big winner of the season — in terms of big-budget tentpole blockbusters, at least — was Iron Man 3 (out this week on DVD and Blu-ray). Sure, it was a superhero sequel with destruction a-plenty, but at least it has some wit and intelligence about it, and its crackling dialogue and quiet, character-driven interludes are even more noteworthy in light of the dreck that followed it. The Blu-ray sports some excellent bonus features (including a terrific audio commentary by director Shane Black and his co-writer Drew Pearce); best of all, they’ve used the disc’s release to launch a “JARVIS” iPhone app, which is kind of like Siri, except more fun and with Paul Bettany’s voice. What can I say, I’m an easy mark. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

U.S. Girls — Free Advice Column EP

Meg Remy’s U.S. Girls won my undying affection with last year’s GEM, an album that smashed together glam, grunge, and ’60s girl groups — and also managed to work in a cover of “Down in the Boondocks.” Now she’s back with Free Advice Column, an EP collaboration with the Canadian producer Onakabazien that matches Remy’s aesthetics with hip hop-flavored beats. Watch Flavorwire in the next 24 hours for some exclusive U.S. Girls material; in the meantime, enjoy “28 Days,” which is about exactly what you think it’s about (as long as you think it’s about that special female time of the month). — Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief

Cranes — Loved

For the past few weeks, I’ve been listening to a ton of Cranes, a super underrated shoegaze-y British band from the ’90s. My favorite in their discography is Loved, an album that’s all over the place in a beautifully cohesive way. It’s both abrasive and sweet, airy and industrial, of its time and totally ahead of it. If Grimes had a burnout older sister, she’d probably sound something like baby-voiced lead singer Alison Shaw. This album makes me feel like a sad teenager in a Canadian independent film from the ’90s, and I absolutely mean that as a compliment. It is perfect mood music for the beginning of fall. — Sarah Fonder, Editorial Apprentice