Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important (pop) cultural happenings. Let's get to it.
It’s a good month for 76-year-old Mavis Staples. The legendary Chicago soul and gospel singer is getting proper due with a new HBO doc, Mavis!, which chronicles her civil rights-roots and long and illustrious career. The doc falls on the heels of Staples’s new studio record produced by indie folk guru M. Ward. You can catch her live at Thalia Hall March 19 and 20.
Absorb: Light City
Think of Light City as a TED Talk for art, tech and music. Held in Baltimore — the first U.S. city to illuminate its streets with gas lanterns back in 1816 — the inaugural LC will feature 1.5 miles of illuminated art installations, giant crabs made of light, an assortment of tech innovation conferences and an ongoing live soundtrack from the likes of Dan Deacon, DJ Spank Rock, Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation, Robert DeLong and Thomas Dolby. (Begins March 28)
Watch: Midnight Special
A father goes on the run to protect his unusually gifted eight-year son. On their tail: the government, Adam Driver and a group of religious zealots called The Ranch. Set in the Deep South and once again starring the imperious Michael Shannon, the fourth film from indie director/writer Jeff Nichols (Mud) adds a welcome touch of ‘80s sci-fi nostalgia. John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg will be proud. (March 18)
See: China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors
One of the world’s great archaeological finds and cultural treasures is making its only North American stop at the Field Museum. First discovered back in 1974 in Xi’an, China, the Terracotta Army is a series of 8,000 sculptures originally buried with the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty. The special exhibit includes 1,700 objects, plus 10 full-standing clay warriors handpicked by the Field Museum. (March 4 — January 2017)
Has criminally misused Will Arnett finally found his ideal post-Arrested Development role? As Chip, a recovering alcoholic and habitual F-up, Arnett perfectly inhabits the weird, insular world of Venice, California (as co-star Christopher Mintz-Plasse notes, “I like this place. It’s like an online community but in real life”). A serio-comedic midlife crisis via Netflix, with help from Arrested creator Mitch Hurwitz (an executive producer here). Plus, the best TV soundtrack of the year. (March 11)
Read: The Throwback Special
Miss football? Not like these guys. The NFL’s most infamous — and cringe-inducing — injury is the basis for this satirical meditation on manhood. In Chris Bachelder’s novel, a rather eclectic group of 22 men gather to recreate the 1985 infamous play where Lawrence Taylor eradicated Joe Theismann’s leg. Think Fight Club by way of Men of a Certain Age. (March 14)
Speaking of nostalgia: This rather clever Instagram reimagines modern movies (The Revenant, It Follows) as classic VHS tapes.
Do: Clipper Cabaret
Every Tuesday this month, the sultry red-light-lit California Clipper turns into the California Cabaret — a weekly showcase of live music, risky burlesque and even riskier variety acts. Launched last month but now in full swing. On schedule: you, a date, a few well-prepared cocktails and some raucous revelry.
Splurge: Prima Cinema
Unofficially dubbed the “Netflix for billionaires,” PRIMA offers day-and-date releases of Hollywood’s biggest movies in the comfort of your home … for about $500 per flick. Encrypted films are downloaded onto your home theater, and you access these new releases via a fingerprint sensor. The tech’s been around for a bit; the news is that a next-gen, 4K system is imminent.
Read: Post-Racial or Most-Racial?
At a time of polarized race relations and the strangest political cycle seen in decades, Post-Racial or Most-Racial published by University of Chicago Press and written by political scientist Michael Tesler — who’s written extensively on issues of race as it correlates to the Obama era — is a well-researched, edifying read that reflects on the past eight years and what the country’s first black presidency means for the future of its politics. (March 29)
Listen: The Best Music of March
An hour of the month's best new music on our monthly Spotify playlist, from classic rock stylings (The Virginmarys, Brian Fallon) to electronic supergroups (Miike Snow) to beautiful, folsky musing (Whitney's "Oh Woman").
Main image: Greg India Photography