I recently watched Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth for the first time, and it reminded me of another similar film of his, Coffee and Cigarettes. The film is a compilation of 11 short films, all revolving around the theme of cigarettes and coffee. My favorite is “Cousins” starring the fantastic Cate Blanchett who’s so awesome that she gets to play herself. To make things even more interesting, she also plays the role of “Shelly,” a fictional cousin who comes by to visit. Blanchett perfectly captures the awkwardness of small talk, especially between two people who only thing they have in common is being related. When I first watched the film, it took me a while to realize Blanchett was playing both characters. Is it just me or should she think about dyeing her hair black in real life? Just a thought.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
I love the idea of anthologies–getting them for one author and discovering others–but what inevitably happens is I wait for the starring author to publish their contribution separately as a Kindle Single or go to a Barnes and Noble and read through the stories I’m actually interested in, skipping everything else. But every once in a while an anthology comes out that’s pure magic cover to cover, and all it took was George R.R. Martin on the editing team.
Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love includes Jim Butcher’s “Love Hurts,” a short story from the Dresden Universe that promises to solve at least some of Harry and Karen’s UST, and Neil Gaiman’s creepily mind-blowing imaginary girlfriend story, “The Thing About Cassandra,” both totally worth the anthology’s negligible Kindle price. However, also worth reading are M.N.L. Hanover’s haunted house story, which brings some genuine chills, and a sci-fi classic about a middle-aged man and his alien love, reinvented with use of the internet, by Peter S. Gould. And of course, the pièce de résistance, a snippet from the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon rounds off this anthology’s offerings of bittersweet romance.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
When you think of romantic art, art that speaks to our emotions, we think of paintings. Pieces that capture that sweet spot where romance combines with our habit of wanting to seek ourselves in art. 8-Bit Fiction has weirdly accomplished that without the use of conventions. Instead, they use pixel art and text to create pieces that cut right to the heart–whether it’s sadness, brute honestly, or humor–and packages them in a medium that does not typically require such gravitas.
Don’t get us wrong, the project still very much reeks of Tumblr, echoing the “teenage sadness” personality of the site in most of its pieces. But that’s the true brilliance of 8-bit Fiction. There’s a tongue-in-cheek energy behind sentences like “True love, my most deplorable fetish” and “I adore you, even on the days you hate yourself” that makes us love it for being so unapologetically mushy. When retro art meets Tumblr, you know the results are going to be something special.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
As people gear up for the long weekend ahead, just remember: not everyone gets the day off. And for some people, the work never ends.
Welcome to Forever, an odd game about working the check out at a supermarket where scanning the items produces not the price but the message “and forever.” Objects are bulky and difficult to maneuver, but as your endless line of customers marches by, they become increasingly bizarre, going from giant jam jars to baseball bats to…Magritte’s not-a-pipe.
Forever is Art with a capital A, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the chief enjoyment of the game is derived from the increasingly strange things that come bumping their way down the conveyer belt. The customers are largely faceless and reactionless–throw something at them, a temptation many cashiers have no doubt struggled with, and the items simply reappear on the belt–but you find yourself wondering exactly why someone would buy this strange assortment of items and what they plan on doing.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Ania Ahlborn’s chilling crime novel Within These Walls explores the price of success and muses on what it would be like to discover the secret to immortality. The story follows a down-on-his-luck crime author named Lucas Graham, who is reeling because his life has fallen apart. Desperate to regain his old success, he manages to get an interview with a notorious cult leader named Jeffrey Halcomb, who is currently locked away in prison. After Halcomb declines the interview, Graham is left piecing together the puzzle on his own at the scene of the crime. During his investigation he discovers one horrifying secret: some things never truly die once they’ve been promised immortality.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Haruki Murakami is a name you should know by now, and if it’s one you don’t, you have great things awaiting you. In 2001, The New Yorker published one of his shorts, “UFO in Kushiro,” a work that was inspired by the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. Available to read online for free, there’s no excuse not to have read this beautiful piece of literature.
The tale blurs the line between modern and mystical, telling the story of a man with no insides. Murakami’s writing is filled with powerful symbolism and a slew of characters that are both eerie and playful in their demeanors. “UFO in Kurshiro” builds off of Kobe, Japan’s tragic earthquake, but Murakami doesn’t stop there, taking his protagonist into a ghost-like and soul-sucking setting that serves as its own character.
You may be able to read this story in less than a day, but it’s certain to stick with you for much, much longer.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Thursday, May 21st, 2015||No Comments »|
Boy/girl duo 18+ has a band name that actually makes sense. Their music is sexy, racy, and yeah, you should probably be 18+ to listen to it. Their 2014 debut album Trust is an intriguing medley of genres, from spoken word to murky r&b, with a d.i.y. vaporwave aesthetic that lets you know this band only exists because of the internet. But their formula is a hit-or-miss one, and Trust is the polarizing kind of album that either dazzles you with its innovation or wears you down with its shtick. But if you’re looking for an introductory track, their lead single “All The Time” is fantastic. Easily their most accessible track, it has a slinky cool pop hook that massages your brain. Even now, months after listening to the album, I still return to this track sporadically, or drop it into mixes for friends. Recommended for those who like deeply sexual music that you can listen to–all the time.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Thursday, May 21st, 2015||No Comments »|