Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important (pop) cultural happenings.
Historically, January is what’s known as a “cultural nadir.”
As in, it’s not a great time to watch, read or listen to much of anything.
But this year’s gonna be different.
Why? Sundance’s best lineup in years. And the return of Shakespeare. And George Costanza.
Plus, the funniest woman in America (yes, including Amy Schumer) just got a TV show.
Danny Glover in Mr. Pig
WATCH: Sundance Film Festival 2016
January’s traditionally a dumping ground for bad cinema … unless you hit Sundance, which begins January 21st. This year’s festival looks to be a treasure trove for documentary fans, with Spike Lee’s take on Michael Jackson, Werner Herzog’s deep dive into the Internet (Lo and Behold) and biopics on Richard Linklater and Frank Zappa all set to premiere.
As for features: Diego Luna’s Mr. Pig (with Danny Glover and Maya Rudolph), Todd Solondz’s semi-sequel to Welcome to the Dollhouse, a new comedy from Taika Waititi (of What We Do in the Shadows fame), a Canadian horror/yoga hybrid from Kevin Smith, and the welcome return of Whit Stillman, who trades in early ‘80s New York high society for ... 18th century English high society in a Jane Austen adaptation.
The adventures of a straight-laced woman who babysits a “mega-rich woman child” under house arrest. But whatever: you’ll watch because it stars the very acerbic Jillian Bell, the best part of 22 Jump Street. Oh, and the pilot’s available for free right now. (Jan. 14)
CONSUME: George Costanza, in drink form
Melbourne is no stranger to theme bars (there are two based on Bret Easton Ellis’s novels). So no surprise that Seinfeld’s hapless sidekick George Costanza is the subject of a new watering hole called George’s Bar, featuring memorabilia, inscribed George quotes on the front door (“It’s not a lie if you believe it”) and snacks like The Art Vandelay. Oh, and Frogger.
To mark the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death, the Folger Shakespeare Library is sending out the playwright’s First Folio on a 50-state tour. Completed just a few years after his death, Folio collects 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, half of which would never have seen the light of day had they not been collected here. Not on tour: the combo panic room/armed guard battalion that usually guards the fragile manuscript.
LISTEN: The 16 best songs of the month
Our monthly playlist is a showcase for some bold new sounds: the beautiful electropop/R&B of Wet, the abrasive rock of Savages, garage-born goodness via Madrid from Hinds, plus the return of Chairlift, Bloc Party and Santigold, among others.
Also out this month: The welcome return of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Man Seeking Woman on FXX (Jan. 6) ... For superhero fans, there’s The CW’s promising time-bending yarn DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Jan. 21) ... Blackstar marks the reemergence of non-pop, space-oddity David Bowie (Jan. 8) ... And we can’t vouch for it being actually good, but Dirty Grandpa has a kind of Neighbors feel — with Robert DeNiro, no less (Jan. 22).