TV

Search Party: The Best TV Show I Never Knew I Needed

There’s a scene in the very first episode of the TBS show Search Party where protagonist Dory Sief (Alia Shawkat), looking straight out of Beacon’s Closet, enters an NYC rooftop party through an open window, joining other thriftshop-clad millennials who are trying to impress each other IRL with padded resume credentials and Instagram-ready “candid” poses. The party paints an ugly caricature of today’s city-dwelling, college-educated twentysomethings—and yet there’s something endearing, if painful, about the scene, particularly if you are a city-dwelling, college-educated twentysomething.

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Events

Get Your Pop Culture Fix at Vulture Festival Los Angeles

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Calling all pop culture lovers: Are you feeling a little empty inside after realizing you blew through the new season of Stranger Things this Halloweekend? Did that fresh new trailer for Annihilation leave you chomping at the bit for Natalie Portman’s next performance? Perhaps you’re already missing the cast of Scandal even though there are still three episodes left? Or maybe you’ve been holding out all these years for the chance to ask Damon Lindelof about the ending of Lost…and the meaning of life? If so, the folks at Vulture Festival Los Angeles have you covered.

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Movies

La La Land Shines New Light on the “City of Stars”

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Since moving to Los Angeles six months ago, I’ve dreaded the question, “So how are you liking it so far?” My answer always gets convoluted between how much I like the sunshine but miss the seasons or how I love that there’s always something to do but hate how long it takes to get there. The truth is I feel conflicting emotions about this city. Some nights I feel invincible driving past illuminated skyscrapers in DTLA as KCRW fills my car with a new age soundscape. Other times I feel small at a coffee shop drafting my next screenplay, while everyone else around me seems to also be writing and drinking overpriced lattes alone. L.A., as I’m starting to learn, is a paradox. But maybe that’s part of its charm. At least, that’s how Damien Chazelle seems to paint it in his latest film La La Land, of which I happened to catch an advanced screening at Hollywood’s Harmony Gold. With Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, and Chazelle himself enthusiastically presenting, I was open to giving this city another shot.

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Movies

Moonlight Reimagines the Classic Coming-of-Age Story

The saying “Art imitates life” or vice-versa doesn’t accurately describe Barry Jenkins’s critically-acclaimed Moonlight, although many early reviews and interviews with the filmmaker make it seem that way. To succinctly summarize, the film chronicles the journey of a young black boy as he traverses into manhood. The overall plot is that simple, but where Moonlight truly shines as more than just a coming-of-age story is within the execution of its details. With its sweeping narrative, kaleidoscopic visuals, and an atmospheric musical score, Moonlight shows us instead the ability art has in heightening life—especially in the bleakness of reality.

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Theatre

Fringe Benefits: A Review of the Hollywood Fringe Festival

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In the month of June, I attended three productions at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Truthfully, I didn’t know if any of them would be worthwhile, considering it was a little difficult navigating the Fringe’s seemingly never-ending schedule online. There were so many shows listed, I didn’t know what to choose or how to even begin to think about choosing. After sleuthing around in some early press releases, I found one that attracted my attention and committed to another that sounded highly artistic. While the third happened completely by chance, I received it just the same as the other two.

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Pop Culture

Brooklyn Renaissance at the Brooklyn Museum

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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend “Brooklyn Renaissance,” a talk at the Brooklyn Museum about the role storytelling plays in the visual arts. The panel featured three of my favorite artists working today: portrait painter Kehinde Wiley, a superstar in the art world; Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a young multimedia artist whose name you might be unfamiliar with but whose work you have probably seen; and filmmaker Spike Lee, who really needs no further introduction. Now seeing as I am a total pop culture nerd, it took me until just yesterday to get over my starstruck-ness and really digest the points brought up during the event.

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Theatre

Theft, Cocaine, and Tavi Gevinson: A Review of Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth

I managed to restrict myself to only one Arrested Development joke during Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of This is Our Youth, which speaks to how much I liked Kenneth Lonergan’s play. Directed by Anna D. Shapiro and starring George Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson, the show will move from Chicago to Broadway at the Cort Theatre in Fall 2014.

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