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.

The Great Beauty (dir. Paolo Sorrentino)

People are likening this Italian nominee for Best Foreign Language Film to Fellini’s work, and certainly his fans won’t be disappointed. But The Great Beauty also asks hard questions about the very world Fellini depicted; most powerfully, it wonders whether living the flamboyant life of an artist, surrounded by sensual pleasures of all kinds, can kill any inspiration or urgency one has to actually make art. —Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief

Cut Me Loose by Leah Vincent

The eye-catching cover of Leah Vincent’s memoir, Cut Me Loose, has been jumping out at me in every bookstore I’ve visited over the past couple weeks. That, combined with Jason Diamond’s praise of the book and a shameful voyeuristic intrigue about ultra-Orthodox Judaism from spending lots of time in South Williamsburg, convinced me to take the plunge. I’m loving Vincent’s straightforward writing, and some of her experiences, emotions, and inner struggles are relatable for anyone who grew up with a pretty religious background and began questioning it during his or her teenage years. —Isabella Biedenharn, Editorial Apprentice

James Vincent McMorrow’s Post-Tropical

I am a huge fan of James Vincent McMorrow’s 2011 release, Early in the Morning, which is beautiful and fantastic. Thanks to a friend, I found out that he just released his new album Post-Tropical just last month. I’ve listened to it everyday since Saturday and it gives absolute shivers. He still keeps his awesome falsetto, but this album is a bit more rhythmic than the last and definitely worth a listen. —Lillian Ruiz, Social Media Director

The Ecstatic Music Festival

New York’s coolest-named concert hall is also host to one if its coolest events: the Ecstatic Music Festival forges unexpected musical pairings, has them work collaboratively on new compositions, which they debut as part of the 3-part concert series at the Merkin Concert Hall. Last Saturday, it was Dawn of Midi (performing Dysnomia, their Steve Reich-influenced approach to free jazz) and electro-acoustic ensemble Bright Wave. One of their joint pieces was an unsettling composition that sonically traced a day in the life of Kanye West (as Kanye West does, I suppose). Upcoming collaborations include poet/alt. hip-hop artist Saul Williams with the Mivos Quartet and “toebourine”-inventors Buke and Gase with So Percussion. —Moze Halperin, Editorial Apprentice

Classical Minnesota Public Radio

I’d probably need somebody from NASA or MIT to help me calculate the time listening to Classical Minnesota Public Radio-to-productivity ratio. I don’t know how much time I actually spend listening to the public radio station that broadcasts from two time zones and 1200+ miles away, but I know it’s a lot. And while it’s no great surprise that the state that produced F. Scott Fitzgerald, Husker Du, and great indie presses like Coffee House and Graywolf would have one of the best classical music stations in the country, the fact that I’m a New Yorker that has never lived in Minnesota, yet still count myself among the station’s members, should say something about the quality of the music, as well as the great app. and streaming services. The station is having a membership drive right now. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I think it is 100% worth supporting. —Jason Diamond, Literary Editor

Orphan Black

I’ve started watching Orphan Black, and I’m in love with it. I’m not even at the end of the first season yet and I’m continually salivating for more. — Michelle Dean, Editor-at-Large

Mo’ Meta Blues by Questlove

On one hand, it seems a little early for Questlove to go writing a memoir, but Mo’ Meta Blues isn’t just a memoir; it’s a celebration of music, a tick-tock of influences, and a treasure trove of good stories. Questo’s writing is confessional but never indulgent, and his conversational style extends to the book’s unconventional format (it’s filled with footnotes by Rich Nichols and memos from co-writer Ben Greenman to its publisher), which extends the central idea of peeking behind curtains, getting a handle on processes, and turning fandom into accomplishment. —Jason Bailey, Film Editor