Staff Picks: Witch Dramas, ‘Fun Home: The Musical,’ and Dope Body’s ‘Kunk’


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.

Fun Home: The Musical

In honor of the controversy over Fun Home, my staff pick is Fun Home: The Musical. It’s an innovatively staged, intimate musical that cleverly uses Broadway tropes, from upbeat song and dance routines to plaintive, show-stopping solo numbers, to explore sexuality, sexual identity, and family secrets and dynamics. I found it wonderful to see a musical adapted from a conventional book rather than a commercial film, and “Ring of Keys” and “Changing My Major” are the two most unforgettable songs — not un-coincidentally, they are the most overtly lesbian songs in the play. — Sarah Seltzer, Editor-At-Large

Quentin Tarantino’s Shout-Out to Mark Harris

I’ve said for years that I want to be Mark Harris when I grow up—not only because his Grantland columns are something of a Platonic ideal for those of us who write about the day-to-day business of film, but for his books, critical deep dives that are redefining how film history is written. And so, when Vulture published the “outtakes” from their much-discussed Quentin Tarantino interview, it was a wonderful surprise to find QT feels the same way about Mr. Harris’ work. “I think Mark Harris may be the best film writer ever, when it comes to these historical, slightly critical books that he does,” Tarantino effused. “They’re fantastic. Pictures at a Revolution is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life.” (Your film editor concurs.) It’s a welcome bit of praise from one of our finest filmmakers—and, hopefully, will result in a nice sales boost for that book and his latest, the riveting Five Came Back. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

The Art of a Good Parody

Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Seth Meyer’s Documentary Now! premiered on IFC this week, and before I watched its debut episode, I revisited its subject matter: the Maysles’ brothers masterful portrait of Grey Gardens and the world Big and Little Edie had created for themselves within it. Without really planning to, I repeated the process the next day with a different parody-source material pairing: My Dinner with Andre and the brilliant, even-more-meta-than-usual Community episode that takes on both Andre and Pulp Fiction, all in twenty minutes. Combined with last night’s finale of Another Period, I’ve spent a lot of time appreciating the attention to detail, and fine line between reverence and irreverence, it takes to craft a truly great spoof—and being grateful there’s so many around to enjoy. — Alison Herman, Associate Editor

Dope Body’s Kunk

The year’s best album (so far) by an all-male band takes everything worth salvaging from various genres of ’90s guitar rock and intensifies it in a way that’s uniquely contemporary.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

The year’s best movie, featuring a handful of the year’s best performances (Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Kristen Wiig), which brings to life one of the best graphic novels in the history of the genre.

Colleen Green at Cake Shop, August 22

A refreshingly relaxed set from our current bard of 30th-birthday crises, accompanied only by a drummer and all the more cathartic for the intimacy a two-piece band creates.

Judy Berman, Editor-in- Chief

The Dawn of Gloriously Dark, Period Witch Dramas That Aren’t Really About Witchcraft

Between the upcoming releases of the Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard-starring Macbeth, the Sundance Best Director winner The Witch , the Ivo Van Hove-directed, Phillip Glass-scored revival of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and Jenji Kohan’s Salem Witch Trial drama The Devil You Know, we’re about to enter a golden age of period dramas about historically vilifying sorceress myths. What’s most interesting about each of these tales is that the focus seems to neither be on dark sorcery nor even on “witches” themselves — these are no Harry Potters or Sabrinas or Charmed(s) or AHS: Covens. Rather, the horror within each of these tales appears to stem most centrally from the humans who try to deflect responsibility for their own deeds onto mythologized female representations of evil. In these upcoming works, through a backdrop of scapegoated witchcraft, the horrific muggles are coming under scrutiny. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor