Héctor Medina in VIVA, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Exploring the complicated codes of machismo and gay culture in a destitute but transitioning sector of Havana, VIVA is both a touching and harsh film. Jesus, a gay hairdresser, pursues his drag star dreams while hustling on the side. His father, Angel, returns from a stint in prison and forcefully sets himself up in Jesus’s home and life. As they struggle to reconcile, Mama, an aging queen, offers tough warmth and protection to both men.
German-American sculptor Eva Hesse died of a brain tumor at just 34. But her short life contained more hardship and success than most. Escaping the Holocaust, Hesse came to the U.S., where she studied at Yale. This documentary explores her artwork and journals to show an accomplished young artist celebrated by her Conceptual artist peers and committed to her craft as she confronted adversity and ultimately death.
READ: Golden Delicious by Christopher Boucher
Appleseed, Massachusetts, is the town that metafiction built. When the economy begins to rot, due to a blight of bookworms that burrow into the residents’ very meaning, the young narrator finds his own life and that of those he loves upended. Boucher’s strange story is referentially so. Prepare to meet Reader and question the very act of literature as you consume this book.
HEAR: Balter / Saunier by Ensemble Dal Niente/Deerhoof
With arrangements by Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier and Brazilian composer Marcos Balter, this musical collaboration dabbles in jazz, pop and rock, resulting in something approaching experimental lounge music. The talent on this album should surprise no one familiar with the two groups, but the successful merging of both is more than an amalgamation of sounds, rather truly inventive harmonies.
The Ship by Brian Eno
Musical magician Brian Eno has worked with David Bowie, John Cale, David Byrne and Bryan Ferry, he’s produced countless other chart toppers and he’s had an enduring solo career. The Ship continues Eno’s exploration of signature soundscapes in four tracks (including a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free”) that cumulatively form an electronic Titanic of emotion.