Culture Hound: The Best Movies, TV, Music and Books of February

Superheroes reimagined. Parties deconstructed. All a bit NSFW.

By The Editors
February 1, 2017 9:00 am

Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important pop cultural happenings.

DO: The Art of the Teese
If you don’t know Dita Von Teese’s name, then you certainly don’t know burlesque. The lady is a legend. An elegant femme fatale who has the power to make you never look at a martini the same again. Teese is bringing her act to the House of Blues with The Art of the Teese, a can’t-miss variety show featuring the who’s who in burlesque, and of course, Dita Von Teese herself. (Feb. 1-3)

READ: Hit Makers
The senior editor for The Atlantic takes a deep dive into the psychology of cultural popularity, dissecting the turns of Facebook, Trump, Obama, Game of Thrones and The Weeknd (and some more historical models). Also discussed: fake news “going viral.” (Feb. 7)

SKATE: The House of Vans Grand Opening Party
Opening this month from Vans is the city’s first and only indoor skate park. Dubbed the House of Vans, the multi-use space located in the West Loop will be able to accommodate art shows, concerts and more. The iconic footwear brand is kicking things off with a two-day celebration featuring performances from Future Islands, Digable Planets and local MC (and InsideHook favorite) Noname. (Feb. 3-4)

LAUGH: Myq Kaplan
With his fourth album No Kidding, the master of ridiculously smart wordplay (who counts Louis C.K. as a huge fan) goes a bit more longform but maintains his punny brilliance and penchant for odd drug jokes and Nicolas Cage rants. (Feb. 17)

WATCH: Get Out
Jordan Peele’s white supremacy horror movie looks properly terrifying — the Key and Peele alum makes a radical shift from laughs to scares here, with a plot centered around an interracial couple (Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams) who visit her family estate for the weekend … in a suburb where “a whole bunch of brothers been missing.” Hypnosis, bigotry and the world’s scariest Bingo game ensue. (Feb. 24)

PERUSE: 50 Parties
New York artist Ryan McGinness threw 50 invite-only themed parties over the course of a year — and documented, in this new hardcover, the hedonism, weirdness and undeniable creativity that resulted. The themes? Sex, drugs, cougar hunt, speed friending, prom, goth, Vogue Ball … you name it, they did it (with cameos from a Beastie Boys mom and Michelle Williams along the way). (Out now)

DO: The Chicago Auto Show
The country’s largest auto show returns this month, bringing along with at least 1,000 cars and latest concept cars and newfangled technologies you won’t know how to work. You’ll wanna download the mobile app, where you’ll be able to stay up-to-date with all the week’s happenings. (Feb. 11-20)

WATCH: Legion
Noah Hawley turned a small Coen Brothers film (Fargo) into an expansive, must-watch television anthology. So letting him tackle an obscure X-Men character and placing the action in a psychiatric ward sounds like the best superhero paradigm shift since Deadpool. Bonus points for the project appearing seemingly unaffiliated with the larger Marvel universe. Also: Aubrey Plaza co-stars, and she’s an American treasure. (Feb. 8 on FX)

Photo: Jesse Thorn

LISTEN: Maximum Fun Presents a Very Very Fun Day
Tickets might be officially sold out — they’re still available on third-party selling sites like StubHub — but this podcast variety show from Jesse Thorn’s production company Maximum Fun is not to be missed. If anything, for the local sounds. Live tapings include The Nerdette, Friendshipping, and Reclaimed Soul with Ayana Contrera. (Feb. 11)

Photo: Salman Rushdie

DO: The American String Quartet and Salman Rushdie
For your monthly serving of highbrow culture, The American String Quartet will be premiering new work by composer and film scorer Paul Cantelon, while author Salman Rushdie reads excerpts of his work. Date night? We think so. (Feb. 24)

Photo: Thievery Corporation

LISTEN: Our monthly Spotify playlist
The winter doldrums are over: we have 26 hot new tracks, featuring the return of Thievery Corporation, Timber Timbre, Arcade Fire, Cloud Nothings and more, plus newcomers Cote, Sorority Noise and SOHN. Plus, hey, Michael McDonald!

ALSO: “Four killer women” direct the horror anthology xx, including a vignette by musician Annie Clark — aka St. Vincent (Feb. 17) … Neo, Morpheus reunion! Yes, that is Laurence Fishburne helping out Keanu Reeves in the ultraviolet sequel John Wick: Chapter 2 (Feb. 10) … Neil Gaiman tackles a cross-dressing Thor in his latest fantasy tome Norse Mythology (Feb. 7) … Just in time for Valentine’s Day, you have your artsy NSFW book choice of Nude Polaroids or 1965 Erotica (pre-orders now) … Author George Saunders was once listed as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world. Now he’s using his power to write Honest Abe ghost stories like Lincoln in the Bardo (Feb. 14) … Miss England’s more acerbic take on The Office? Ricky Gervais returns in David Brent: Life on the Road (Netflix, Feb. 10) … The shocking Paris shooting of 2015 at the Bataclan becomes a life-affirming tale of survival the HBO documentary Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Feb. 12) … Finally, if you hate Valentine’s Day, Netflix basically Better Call Sauls the holiday with Bob Odenkirk’s dark comedy Girlfriend’s Day (Feb. 14)

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