Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important pop-culture happenings.
PLAY: The Video Game Art Gallery
Expect all walks of life for this Chicago first: a permanent gallery dedicated to the art of video games. Located alongside the 606, the VGA Gallery opens its doors this month with Savior, an inaugural exhibition on the first indie game to come out of Cuba. (Opens August 11)
DO: The Floating Museum
Debuting this month is quite the ambitious mobile museum concept — a floating barge for the arts that will make stops along the Chicago River and bring with it film screenings and interactive art exhibitions. The barge will travel from the southeast to Eleanor Park then to the Chicago River Walk, before docking at Navy Pier, where it will stay for two months. (All month long)
READ: The Wrong Way to Save Your Life
A powerhouse of an essayist who's work has appeared everywhere from the New York Times and Best American Essays (2013) to The Rumpus, Chicagoan Megan Stielstra has a lot to say. Her latest is a new collection of personal essays on "fear, creativity, art, faith, academia, the Internet, and justice." Basically, the perfect pick-up-and-read anytime, anywhere book your summer has been missing. (Out now)
Speaking of Chicago writers, another book not to be missed this month: The Grip of It by Jac Jemc, which centers around a couple who decide to relocate to a small town in Wisconsin, only to find their Victorian home is not what it seems. If early reviews are any indication (it’s being comparing with Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House), you’re in for a proper psychological thriller. (Out now)
WATCH: Logan Lucky
Welcome the unretirement of Steven Soderbergh with this Channing Tatum-led heist flick with a NASCAR bent — or, a “hillbilly take on Ocean’s 11,” as one scribe put it. Who cares if the screenwriter may not exist? (Aug. 18)
BINGE: Comrade Detective
In this extremely meta bit of Cold War nostalgia, Tatum (again!), along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Nick Offerman, dub over a fake 1983 Romanian police drama that celebrated Communist ideals. (Aug. 4 on Amazon Prime)
Speaking of meta, James Van Der Beek mocks the real-life superstar DJ Diplo in the promising mockumentary series What Would Diplo Do? (Aug. 3 on VICELAND)
READ: Mrs. Fletcher
The Leftovers author Tom Perrotta pivots from The Rapture to (no joke) MILF porn in his latest book, which is more a satire on cultural identity, age and sexuality — but does really center around one middle-aged woman’s discovery of a site called MILFateria. (Aug. 1)
Jeff Koons - Rabbit (1986)
CELEBRATE: We Are Here
Everyone’s favorite contemporary art museum turns 50 this year, and the MCA is celebrating with a major three-part exhibition drawn from its vast collection. The first of these exhibitions — I Am You — takes over the museum’s second floor and focuses on our relationship with the environment. (Opens August 19)
LISTEN: Our monthly Spotify playlist
Our 30-song playlist of great new music for the end of summer, including new songs by Cut Copy, Arcade Fire, The War on Drugs, Gogol Bordello, Action Bronson and a ton of new artists.
DRINK: Statesman Bourbon
Out today, Statesman is a special bourbon from Old Forester that’s actually a big part of the upcoming film Kingsman: The Golden Circle (wherein an American spy organization operates as a distillery as a front). We tested it out earlier this summer, and at 95 proof, it packs real heat and a lot of character. Along with Mr. Porter’s upcoming Kingsman wardrobe, this is the rare blockbuster series that lends itself well to ... well, not cosplay, but let’s say enhanced adult dalliances.
PERUSE: Heidi Klum by Rankin
Celebrity photog Rankin creates a nude portfolio of the international supermodel and TV personality, because we should all celebrate looking this good at 43. (Sept. 1)
DO: The Fly Honey Show
As one of the most diverse and sex-positive burlesque shows around, the Fly Honey Show is a no-brainer. The hoochie coochie show returns this month for a three-week residency at the Den Theatre. We suggest you grab a date and expect one helluva sexy time. (Opens August 10)
BUY: Eric Nado’s Typewriter Guns
The Montreal artist reassembles old typewriters into works of deadly art ... like, say, a vintage Remington fashioned into a rifle.
AND DON’T FORGET: We’re a bit worried about The Dark Tower, but Idris Elba hasn’t let us down yet (Aug. 4) ... Aubrey Plaza chases down a social-media star in the promising, of-the-moment satire Ingrid Goes West (Aug. 11) ... Horror auteur Adam Wingard (You’re Next) tackles the Japanese manga Death Note, in which a teenager figures out he can kill anyone by writing their name in a mystical notebook (Aug. 25, Netflix) ... It’s Keanu Reeves, Traci Lords and two wacky Euro detectives squaring off in the decidedly odd new series Swedish Dicks (Aug. 2) ... ... Another year, another Madden NFL video game (Aug. 25) ... Finally, the welcome return of Hard Knocks (Aug. 8), Broad City (Aug. 23) and The Tick (Aug. 25)