Culture Hound

December’s best movies, music, TV and books

By Shari Gab

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02 December 2016

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

WATCH: Passengers

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.

SUPPORT: American Field Expo

You need holiday gifts? Yeah, you do. Get ‘em here. The American Field Expo is the largest growing pop-up market for Made in the USA goods. And it’s taking over the Brooklyn Expo Center this weekend. Founded by Ball & Buck CEO Mark Bollman in order to help support growing brands, local craftsmen like Brooklyn Butcher Blocks as well as American makers like Dickies and Brothers Artisan Oil will be showing new and holiday collections. (Dec. 3 & 4)

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)

ENJOY: Company XIV’s The Nutcracker

Whatever crippling malaise the world seems to have caught, this is the cure. Back at it again for the holiday season, Company XIV presents its adults-only revival of Nutcracker Rouge. Directed and choreographed by Drama Desk Award nominee Austin McCormick, it’ll blow your f*cking mind. No, seriously, that’s not a eupemism, there’s loads of f*cking involved. It’s madness. It’s magnificent. It’s the holiday special that our cultural moment demands. It’s the best damn holiday party in town. (through Jan. 7)

BUY: Phantasm and Phantasm: Ravager

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)

VISIT: Letters To Andy Warhol

Continuing on a hot streak of impressive exhibitions, the Cadillac House’s newest curation, “Letters to Andy Warhol,” centers around five different interpretations of rarely viewed letters from the Warhol archive. Culling from different periods in the icon’s career, the letters are interpreted through artistic contributions from several modern-day cultural creators, including Aimee Mullins, Brian Atwood, Chiara Clemente, Derek Blasberg, David LaChapelle, Francesco Clemente, J.J. Martin, Nick Rhodes, Sean Lennon, Sienna Miller and Zac Posen. For the luddite, there’s a 100-foot- tall book, and for the futurists, a virtual-reality experience. And for everyone with blood running through their veins, Cadillac also pulled some tasty circa-'60s rides from their archives for the affair. (through Dec. 26)

GIVE: Art Markit

Clean out your closet, but don’t toss out those worn-out jeans. Instead, buy art with them. New York infamous artists Jeremy Penn, Curtis Kulig and Baron von Fancy have teamed up to auction exclusively on ArtMarkit.com in exchange for denim currency. Commissioned by Cotton Inc., each bid is the amount of denim pledged to donate and recycle with Cotton’s the Blue Jeans Go Green program.  Opening bids will start with 10 pieces of denim apparel. (through December 21)

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)

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?

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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