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.

Sam Mendes’ Cabaret at the Donmar Warehouse, 1993

I saw the revival of the revival of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s Cabaret over the weekend, which is currently in previews at Studio 54. A near replication of the record-breaking revival that ran on Broadway from 1998 to 2004, this production boasts the return of Tony winner Alan Cumming in his career-defining role as the Emcee (although he was sick with the flu over the weekend, and I saw the still-good understudy) and Michelle Williams, who makes her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles. It sent me down an Internet wormhole, and I discovered the original revival production at London’s Donmar Warehouse, which was taped for television two decades ago, available in its entirety on YouTube. It’s slightly different than the production that ended up on Broadway, with much darker tones, altered orchestrations, and a very disturbing, yet thrilling, performance from Jane Horrocks as Sally Bowles. —Tyler Coates, Deputy Editor

Courtney Barnett, “Avant Gardener”

This song is the most fun deadpan story of being a total slacker, trying to garden, and having an asthma attack I’ve ever heard. Courtney Barnett is basically the only thing I listen to these days and she’s got really sharp lyrics. —Elisabeth Donnelly, Nonfiction Editor

Dave Itzkoff, Mad as Hell: The Making of ‘Network’ and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies

I just dusted off (in barely three days — it’s really hard to put this one down) Mad as Hell: The Making of ‘Network’ and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies, Dave Itzkoff’s breezy, funny, and penetrating look at Network, one of the finest — and certainly the most prescient — films of 1970s. Izkoff adroitly balances the film’s origins, the complexities of its writer Paddy Chayefsky, the logistics of the production, and the picture’s lasting influence. The latter topic is particularly present in the book’s excellent final chapter, which surveys a current television landscape beyond the realm of even Chayefsky’s satire, with everyone from Keith Olbermann to Glenn Beck (who admits, seemingly without fully grasping the film or the character, how much he identifies with and was influenced by Howard Beale) chiming in. An enjoyable read, and an appropriately thoughtful look at one of the smartest and angriest films ever made. —Jason Bailey, Film Editor

Tacocat at Death by Audio

If you love Broad City, you should be listening to Tacocat, the Seattle-based punk band that has spent the last several years crafting upbeat songs about weed, cats, and assorted ladybusiness. Start with their new album, NVM (recommended track: “Party Trap”), but also make sure you get out to one of their shows. On Saturday in Brooklyn, despite singer Emily Nokes admitting that she was so sick her snot had turned the color of her neon-green hair, they threw an all-out party, graciously accepting a fan’s request to play “Leotard” (an ode to the garment ladies can wear on dates when they “only wanna take it so far”) and inviting all menstruating audience members onstage to dance to the aptly titled “Crimson Wave.” — Judy Berman

Jay Caspian Kang, “The Campaign to ‘Cancel’ Colbert”

This week I enjoyed Jay Caspian Kang’s excellent piece for The New Yorker about the ongoing #CancelColbert shitfight. It was a nuanced and intelligent examination of a subject where both nuance and intelligence have been in decidedly short supply. Kang looks beyond the online rhetoric at the actual issues raised by Colbert’s joke, and even manages to get something resembling sense out of Suey Park. (A friend described the entire article as a “polite journalistic facepalm” in regard to the #CancelColbert campaign, which is basically spot on.) —Tom Hawking, Senior Editor

Mel Chin: Rematch at the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art

I had a chance to check out the first major retrospective of the artist Mel Chin’s career this past weekend at the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art. If you can’t make it to New Orleans to see it before it closes on May 25th, I’d keep an eye out for it to make its way to a museum near you. —Jason Diamond, Literary Editor

Schoolboy Q

If you haven’t already discovered Schoolboy Q, now is the time. He’s an LA rapper from Kendrick Lamar’s crew, and is definitely breaking onto the scene with the same fervor as Kendrick. His raps are a little on the growly, intense side, but with catchy hooks that make them palatable. Standout tracks from his latest album Oxymoron: “Yay Yay,” “Man of the Year,” “Collard Greens,” “Los Awesome (feat. Kendrick Lamar).” Perfect music for walking through a crowded subway station and pretending you’re better than everyone else. —Isabella Biedenharn, Editorial Apprentice