My favorite pop culture from 2017 (so far)

Here’s everything a lot of things that I loved from 2017 so far. In one blog post. Instead of trying to get hits on my blog with a lot of different pages. I limited each category to five so I left a lot more that I love out. C’est la vie.

Television Shows

The Americans – FX
This is the show you’ve been meaning to watch, but somehow still haven’t. It’s about two covert Soviet Spies in the 1980s. And so much more… but I’m trying to keep these under 40 words.

Fargo/Legion – FX
I cheated. These are two different shows brought to you by the same mind: Noah Hawley. They’re wildly different. One is about a mutant from the X-Men universe. The other is an off beat crime drama.

Master of None – Netflix
Here, Aziz Ansari is nearing auteur comic perfection. “New York, I Love You” and “Thanksgiving” show you how much story can be told in 30 minutes. “Amarsi Un Po” is the Magnus Opus.

Santa Clarita Diet – Netflix
You were expecting Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt here, weren’t you? I think this horror comedy was ridiculous and I can’t stop thinking about it. Totally not something I’d normally love, but did anyway.

Veep – HBO
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is still the Queen of Comedy. Even though this show lost a step, it’s still miles ahead of the other true laugh out loud comedies out there.

Reality Shows (that are NOT guilty pleasures)

Keeping up with the Kardashians – E!
Kendall, Khloe, Kourtney, Kim, Kylie. That’s the proper ranking of the sisters. Don’t fight me on this. (Note: Kourt used to be second, but Khloe has taken control this season.)

Real Housewives… – Bravo
I don’t watch them all. Perennial favorite NYC and (weirdly) Potomac for me.

RuPaul’s Drag Race – VH1
This is my first season watching live and I wish I learned what “Shantay, you stay” meant nine seasons ago.

Survivor – CBS
This is the only show I watch live week to week. It’s not a guilty pleasure. It’s the best pleasure.

Vanderpump Rules – Bravo
You should hate most of these people, but won’t. Even if you don’t agree with their lifestyles, you’ll find one you connect with.

Books

American War – Omar El Akkad
It’s set in 2074-2095 and there’s another American Civil War. A young girl sees the horrors of life and grows up fighting. The steps Sarat takes in life can be viewed as heroic or villainous. This book follows her arc from innocent child to what a human can be turned into during a time of war.

Black Moses – Alain Mabanckou
Tokumisa Nzambe po Mose yamoyindo abotami namboka ya Bakoko a/k/a Moses grows up in an orphanage and turns to life in the underground crime world of the 1970s and 1980s. The novel was longlisted for the Man Booker and was translated from French.

Lincoln on the Bardo – George Saunders
The story, which tracks President Abraham Lincoln on a visit to the grave of his recently deceased son, is narrated largely by ghosts in the cemetery. At 60,000 words, this isn’t a traditional novel by any means. Expect to be tested by the writer’s prose and style.

The Man Who Shot Out My Eye is Dead – Chanelle Benz
The book begins with a non-traditional western that grabs the reader in close, then follows up with a contemporary story of family and violence that is just as gripping. It’s not just the wide-ranging eras and plots that make each story stand out; it’s the carefully-crafted voices.

One of the Boys – Daniel Magariel
An unnamed boy narrates the story about his father’s journey after a divorce. The boy and his older brother have been told countless times how evil their mother is. However, it turns out that the father is an addict and it’s all his fault.

Comics (ongoing)

Black Hammer – Jeff Lemire; Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart (Dark Horse)
Though the logline seems simple – a group of superheroes are trapped on a farm – this book delves deeper into the psyche of humanity than expected.

Dept. H – Matt Kindt (Dark Horse)
There’s a murder mystery at the bottom of an ocean. Then there are the hidden secrets of all of the suspect’s past. This is one of the most beautifully drawn comics I’ve ever read.

The Fix – Nick Spencer; Ryan Hill, Steve Leiber (Image)
A modern noir about backstabbing and undercover cops. Seems straightforward? Guess again.

Paper Girls – Brian K. Vaughan; Cliff Chiang (Image)
Mixing the nostalgia of the 1980s, sci-fi aliens, and the twists and turns we’ve come to expect in modern media, here we have the only comic I read consistently.

Southern Cross – Becky Cloonan; Andy Belanger (Image)
Hot damn. Sci-fi? Murder mystery? Grit? Another comic that pushes the boundaries of traditional storytelling.

Films

Casting JonBenet – Kitty Green
True crime is so hot right now. This documentary about the infamous murder of a child beauty pageant star is completely original. It focuses on local actors who think they are auditioning for a retelling of the events as they reveal what they remember of that day two decades ago.

Get Out – Jordan Peele
It’s the perfect social commentary for 2017 we didn’t know we needed. Racial tensions aren’t all they seem to be in this. They’re more. It’s a twisted tale from an unlikely source. But I guess we really should start expecting great things from this comedic (and dramatic) savant.

It Comes at Night – Trey Edward Shults
This psychological and thrilling horror film brilliantly avoids predictable horror clichés and instead is an anti-horror. The intensity is so profound that it reminded me of my 90-minute panic attack in Gravity.

Logan – James Mangold; Scott Frank, Michael Green
Finally, an original comic book film. We see Old Man Logan falling apart with Professor X. Everything we’ve come to expect from an X-Men film was thrown out the window and we get an emotional road story with a definitive ending.

Lost City of Z – James Gray; David Grann
Based on a true story (based on a terrific book). There are no aliens, no monsters, no machines. Just a classic adventure tale with strong actors (Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson). Beautifully filmed with the right about of flash.

Albums

Capacity – Big Thief

Gone Now – Bleachers

Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset – Richard Edwards

Middle Kids EP – Middle Kids

Pure Comedy – Father John Misty

Non-Album Songs

“Birthday Candles” – Tancred
“Distant Solar Planets” – Julien Baker

“Runaway” – Allison Weiss
“Same Dark Places” – JR JR
“SGL” – Now, Now

Podcasts (new)

Black on the Air – Larry Wilmore (The Ringer)
The comic/political commentator offers his views on weekly topic, plus interviews culturally relevant figures.

Lovett or Leave It – Jon Lovett (Crooked Media)
Jon Lovett is the funny one from Pod Save America. Here he does a weekly live show with gimmicks and games. It’s your perfect liberally-biased news source.

Nancy – Kathy Tu and Tobin Low (WNYC)
Think This American Life, but focusing solely on LGBTQ stories and themes.

S-Town – Brian Reed (Serial + This American Life)
Imagine a Southern Gothic novel in podcast form. We follow John B. McElmore. He’s from the small, rural town of Woodstock, Alabama. He’s never left, but he despises it greatly.

Up First – Rachel Martin, David Greene, and Steve Inskeep (NPR)
News of the day in less than 15 minutes. Perfect with a cup of coffee.

 

Instagram Accounts

Goodtype

Meetmeeker

Secret Buttholes

Taste of Streep

HAPPY #PRIDE !!!!!!! 🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈

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Toll Gate Revival

#TBT to the grand opening day of the shop about a year and a half ago. Time flies when you're slingin' #vintage

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Websites (daily reads)

Electric Literature
The hottest literature reviews and author interviews.

Reddit
The best place to find the craziest news.

The Ringer
Where pop culture and sports collide.

Uni-Watch
A very specific place where you can obsess over the aesthetics of sports uniforms, logos, and designs.

Vox
News and opinion, slanted left.

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