This week, the panel begins by exploring Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé with Slate culture writer (and Beyhive stan) Nadira Goffe. The renowned pop diva’s theatrical debut works both as a well-oiled concert documentary as well as a surprisingly heartfelt deconstruction of Knowles’ previously impenetrable image of perfection. Then, the three consider Todd Haynes’ movie-elvis-presley-age-gap-may-december.html">May December, an emotionally curious, tonally dissonant study of life’s gray areas starring Natalie Portman, longtime collaborator Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton. Loosely based on the real-life relationship between Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau, Haynes (and screenwriter Samy Burch) questions Hollywood’s penchant for sensationalizing tragedy and the ways humans interact with each other. Finally, they are joined by EEFOP (Exceedingly Exceptional Friend of the Pod), Slate writer Dan Kois to discuss grinch-dr-seuss-book-sequel-stole-christmas-lost-review.html">Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Lost Christmas!, a posthumous sequel to Theodor Geisel’s iconic 1957 children’s book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The original IP has been marketed and re-imagined within an inch of its life – but does new author Alastair Heim invoke any of the source materials’ sincerity or deeper meaning?
In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, the panel answers a listener question from Timothy: “When reading for pleasure, how do you choose what to read next?”
We’re also accepting submissions to our yearly call-in show, where Dana, Julia, and Stephen answer questions from Culture Gabfest listeners. Get in touch! Submit a question by calling (260) 337-8260 or emailing us at email@example.com.
Outro music: “Spinning the Wheels” by Dusty Decks
Dana: A two-part endorsement that goes together like wine and cheese: If I Should Fall from Grace with God, the third studio album by Irish folk-rock band The Pogues, and “Shane MacGowan Leaves the Astral Plane,” a wonderful essay by Amanda Petrusich at The New Yorker, which memorializes the late frontman. Don’t know where to start with The Pogues’ catalog? Dana recommends “A Rainy Night in Soho.”
Julia: Drawing inspiration from this episode’s children’s book segment, Julia endorses the Little Blue Truck series (written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by the late Jill McElmurry) alongside her favorite Theodor Geisel work, Hunches and Bunches. “It’s the Beyoncé of Dr. Seuss books.”
Steve: Paris is Burning, which pairs beautifully with Beyoncé’s Renaissance. Jennie Livingston’s landmark 1990 documentary is one of the most moving films Stephen has ever seen, and provides a vibrant snapshot of New York City’s drag-ball scene in the ‘80s.
Podcast production by Cameron Drews. Production assistance by Kat Hong.
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