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.

“Lucy” by Helium

One pleasant side effect of hearing/seeing the ad for Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy everywhere I go: I get the excellent Helium b-side “Lucy” in my head. Mary Timony, fresh off Wild Flag and busy with Ex Hex these days, was one of the goddesses of Matador in the ’90s, and it was for reasons like this driving, churning track which I think is about being really, really high: “Lucy said boredom is the biggest word she’s ever heard/ Lucy said I don’t get it/ I said ‘word.'” Nobody plays guitar like Mary Timony — they don’t have her spooky tones — and nobody comments in quite the same genius way on what it’s like to be a woman, and everyone should probably listen to everything that Helium released, ever. (I read once that their early EP Pirate Prude, which would’ve been all over the Twilight soundtrack in a better world, stemmed from some early feminist writing by Mary Daly — and yeah, it works.) — Elisabeth Donnelly, Nonfiction Editor

The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

If you like music and comics, and especially if you love Gillen and McKelvie’s Britpop-obsessed Phonogram series, then you need to read the duo’s new project. The Wicked + The Divine is a beautiful conflation of superhero mythos and pop-star worship; I devoured the first issue (which is sold out but still available as a digital download) after reading Tom Ewing’s great interview with the creators at Pitchfork. The second installment came out last week, and I can’t wait to track it down. — Judy Berman, Editor in Chief

Anna Calvi’s Strange Weather EP

A good covers album takes songs from drastically different – even oppositional – music scenes and eras, and lassos them all into a coherent soundscape; Anna Calvi’s brief but potent effort, Strange Weather, similarly imposes her rock-opera-performed-in-a-mortuary sound to the likes of FKA twigs, David Bowie, Suicide, and Keren Ann. With string arrangements by Nico Muhly and David Byrne’s vocal contribution to two songs, the EP’s dynamism never falters. Calvi’s One Breath was one of my favorite albums last year, and while it received unanimously good reviews, it was ultimately underrepresented in the media. I’m hoping people can brave the unwavering darkness of these covers, and that they’ll fall in love with the deathly loveliness of Calvi’s voice, which seems to spew fire, flowers, and moths all at once. — Moze Halperin, Editorial Apprentice

Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXX

The four-episode box sets of Mystery Science Theater 3000 that roll out a few times a year (via the fine folks at Shout Factory) remain a cause for celebration, and though you might think that next week’s release of the show’s 30th volume would mean they were starting to scrape the bottom of the movie-riffing barrel, you’d be dead wrong. Sure, the obvious classics, Manos and Mitchell and the like, were issued long ago, but we’re in prime “undiscovered gems” territory: movies like the drab British sci-fi pic The Projected Man and the snickeringly awful ‘70s bat flick It Lives By Night, which often pack as many big laughs and obscure references per episode as the classics. Plus, we finally get the terrific fifth-season episode Outlaw of Gor (“CABOT!”). And the first season finale, The Black Scorpion, is one of that wildly uneven year’s better episodes, with the show truly finding its voice, style, and rhythm on its way into the classic second season. Shout has also, per usual, packed the set with entertaining bonus features (most of them courtesy of their go-to featurette company, Ballyhoo Motion Pictures), spotlighting the creation and production of these terrible movies. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

The New Yorker’‘s Online Archive

This week, like pretty much everyone else, I’ve been raiding the New Yorker’s online archive, which they’ve thrown open to the public to coincide with their redesign. As someone who let their subscription lapse (leading to a hilarious stream of ever-more-ingratiating “It’s never too late!” letters), this has kinda reminded me why I subscribed in the first place. So much to read! So much to learn! If you haven’t dived in yet, get amongst it! — Tom Hawking, Senior Editor

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Plath’s journals (well, the ones published in this book) start when she’s 18, and it’s a sobering experience to compare your own vapid 18-year-old thoughts to her existential musings. I’ve barely even gotten into the muck of this book — I’m currently at the beginning of her time at Smith — and already I’m underlining brilliant lines twice per page. It’s especially interesting when she explores the tension between her feminist desires and the bizarre dating culture of the ’50s. — Isabella Biedenharn, Editorial Apprentice