December’s best movies, music, TV and books
Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important pop cultural happenings.
SHOP: You’re So Baby
Concept stores are the new thing, combining art gallery with boutique. You’re So Baby is a new one from the folks behind the design firm Studio Hus. It’s where you should snag your bird a gift. In addition to some 16 brands, they’ll have an opening capsule collection with local artist and model Natalie Krim, whose spicy work will be featured on wallpaper, lingerie and upholstery. The opening party is tonight.
Brainy genre flicks are in again — kudos, Arrival, Dr. Strange, etc. This time out, it’s Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (the Oscar nominated helmsman behind The Imitation Game) shepherding America’s two most likeable stars (Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt) through space. Here, the dynamic acting duo play an unlucky pair of travelers who awake 90 years earlier than intended during an interstellar trip.
Folk singer Loudon Wainwright III performs the first show in the Sorting Room at the Wallis. If you haven’t been to the Wallis in Beverly Hills, it’s the old Post Office, a historic building built during the New Deal, and the Sorting Room is a 150-seat cabaret room where workers used to literally sort the mail. (Dec. 3)
PLAY: Dead Rising 4
Shooting zombies in a mall during the holidays? Sold. Real world parallels aside, DR4 is sort of an undead take on an open-world playfield (a la Grand Theft Auto). You can leave the mall and explore the town, but … it is the holidays. (Dec. 6)
The Tall Man. Zombie dwarves. Shiny, spiky balls. Recipe for a cult horror classic — which the original Phantasm certainly was, and is. This new 4K restoration was overseen by the film’s superfan, J.J. Abrams. Pair it with the film’s fourth and final sequel, Ravager, which sees its first Blu-ray release. (Dec. 6)
PERUSE: Sex Magazine
When isn’t it about sex? When it’s Sex, an interview-heavy, lo-fi online ‘zine that sees its first 10 issues collected here in print. Interviews, design, music and fiction take precedence. Your indie-rock-loving artsy friend will dig it.
BUILD: Your vinyl library
What’s your vinyl pleasure? Heavy metal fans can discuss Motley Crue’s The End, 12 records that collect the L.A. band’s best and worst moments (out now). Beck’s entire back catalog continues its vinyl reissue campaign, continuing with Odelay, Sea Change and Guero (out now).
Tom Petty’s underrated, post-1994 output gets a seven-album box set (Dec. 9). Lou Reed’s creatively fertile 1972-82 recordings lands the box vinyl set treatment (out now). Sub Pop’s not just grunge reissues — their entire online store of indie goodness old and new is on sale (until Jan. 3).
Counterpoint: Vinyl’s dead, cassettes are where it’s at, and Green Day’s re-releasing all their albums on tape … boombox included. (Dec. 9)
STREAM: White Rabbit Project
Missing some Mythbusters? The old science series’s Build Team — Grant Imahara, Kari Byron, and Tory Belleci — return in this Netflix show that aims to investigate “history’s greatest inventions, heists and more” (along with something about “sexing a cockroach”). (Dec. 9)
WATCH: Raw Science Film Festival
Dubbed the Academy Awards for science, the Raw Science Film Festival runs films that explore real science. Obviously that’s necessary for the documentaries, among which are Morgan Spurlock’s One Giant Step and Microsculpture, a biopic on a sports photographer who makes a steady living photographing the smallest creatures on earth. It also holds true for fiction works, like Seat 25, which is Black Mirror-esque film about girl who wins a trip to Mars. (Dec 10)
LISTEN: The best songs of December
Our monthly Spotify playlist highlights the best in new music, including The xx, Childish Gambino, The Weeknd, some band called the Rolling Stones and a lot of new favorite acts (Nick Murphy, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, SOHN, etc.). And a bizarre, dance/French horn take on Weezer’s “Buddy Holly,” because why not?
© Catherine Opie, Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles Courtesy the Artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles
In Breaking News, an upcoming exhibit at The Getty, you can see that mainstream media through the eyes of contemporary artists. Perhaps you’ll get a new perspective not only on our culture’s trouble with veracity, but also with its equal obsession with celebrity. (Dec. 20)
ALSO: Childish Gambino promises “R&B meets Pink Floyd” on his new record Awaken My Love!, which seems as good/trippy as his Atlanta TV series (Dec. 2) … Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone fall in love in the Oscar hopeful/take a date indie flick La La Land (Dec. 9) … Speaking of small indie films: Rogue One (Dec. 16) … An Aussie take on Archer? Good on ya, Pacific Heat (Dec. 2, Netflix) … Think life should be lived out of a camper? There’s a new magazine just for you: Kudos, The Rolling Home Journal (out now)
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