Category: Popular Culture

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NOlympics

The quadrennial Olympic Games are often visually spectacular, emotionally stirring and wonderfully sexy. A civic virtue they are not. In September, Los Angeles will be “awarded” the right to host the Games in either 2024 or 2028. Great, right? A wonderful boon for our city, right? Ask the people of Rio de Janiero what they...

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Indiana Review

While the wheels of popular culture churn onward in a cynical race to the bottom, America’s literary journals continue to showcase stirring, innovative, utterly necessary work in the realms of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, essays and impossible-to-categorize hybrid forms. So multifarious and numerous are these excellent journals, many of them affiliated with universities, you could...

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Reefer Gladness in 2017

Despite copious evidence that we may be currently living in a dystopia typically found in richly imagined novels, a Kingdom of Stupidity ruled by an overgrown baby wearing bespoke suits over his diapers, here’s a an important bulletin: Everything isn’t falling apart. At least here in Los Angeles, California, everything hasn’t fallen apart. Yes, we...

Sausage Party

Until viewing the movie “Sausage Party,” we were unaware that a scathing critique of organized religion could be elegantly disguised as an animated film about grocery store products. We didn’t know that sausages and buns — and bagels and bananas, and everything else in a supermarket — could illuminate the folly of waiting for “a better...

One Genius Departs, Another Arrives

It’s been a terrible year of loss for those of us who consider the weekly collection of New Yorker cartoons one of the best reasons for living. William Hamilton, Michael Crawford, Frank Modell — all these legends died recently. And now Jack Ziegler. Even if you didn’t know the name or the man, you’ve seen his cartoons,...

Evening News Script

Good evening, I’m [insert name]. Welcome to the Evening News. Our top story tonight: [something to fear; followed by expert analysis explaining why viewers should be fearful]. In other news: [something to fear]. In a related story: [something else to possibly fear in the near future]. Commercial break: [insert advertisement for a pharmaceutical product; followed...

Speechless

Imagine giving a PowerPoint presentation to a large roomful of strangers. Imagine that you don’t know the subject of your presentation until you arrive onstage. Now, imagine that the slides in your presentation are random nonsense images that range from inscrutable to scandalous. What do you say? This is the premise of the sensationally entertaining...

Overview, with Rick Overton

God bless the Internet. Thanks to digital immortality, all the things we call “content” never fully disappear. It’s possible now to discover new programs that are in fact quite old — or on indeterminate hiatus. Our current favorite podcast extant is “Overview, with Rick Overton,” an hour-long conversation between the legendary improviser-comic-actor-writer Rick Overton and one...

I’ll Be Me

“I’ll Be Me,” a documentary about music legend Glen Campbell’s decent into Alzheimer’s is a deeply affecting, often painful portrait of an artist slowly going away. Director James Keach successfully tiptoes the line between education and exploitation, between truthfulness and vulgar voyeurism. The film has many of the hallmarks of a stylishly produced “Reality” show — confessional...

The Physics of Light

Almost everyone knows who Albert Einstein was. Almost no one can articulate his General Theory of Special Relativity. Ditto Issac Newton and how he mathematically proved planetary gravity. The pop science series “The Physics of Light” explains these universal concepts with superb animations, trippy CGI and clever graphics, all delivered in a storytelling, non-academic style. The...