The Yes List – A Bloody Good CD

Each week, The Daily Beast scours the cultural landscape to choose three top picks. This week, the Twilight soundtrack debuts, outsider artist James Castle gets his first retrospective, and author Barbara Ehrenreich takes on positive thinking in America.

10.23.09 9:57 AM ET

A Bloody Good CD

Twilight: New Moon, the next installment of the wildly popular vampire series does not reach theaters until November 20, but the soundtrack was released this week and has already rocketed to the #2 slot on the Billboard charts (behind Michael Buble, who is dominating for a second week in a row). The soundtrack, put together by Hollywood’s most in-demand music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas (known for selecting and gold-plating the songs in The O.C. and Grey’s Anatomy), has been a big buzz subject in the music industry for the last few months. A spot on the album—which is sure to become as huge a cultural phenomenon as the film—became the most coveted gig in music, and every major label campaigned to have their artists selected. Now, the wait is over that the anointed acts have been crowned—Patsavas chose a primarily indie rock mix, with songs from bigger bands such as Muse, the Killers, Grizzly Bear, and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, and tracks from lesser-knowns artists like Hurricane Bell, Sea Wolf, and Lykke Li. The L.A. Times notes the record’s melancholic tones, calling it “music-to-get-sad-to, definitely,” but also notes that “Patsavas has put together a collection of songs that captures the drama of young love without drowning in it.” Below, listen to “Roslyn” a lovely and haunting New Moon tune from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and St. Vincent’s Annie Clark.


James Castle: The Accidental Artist

James Castle

Born deaf in Idaho, James Castle was an unlikely art star from the start. Unable to write or speak, Castle was expelled from the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind as “uneducable” in 1915. Still, Castle was inspired by the materials available to him—his parents ran a post-office out of their rural home—and he started cutting and pasting papers and brochures into collages. As The Daily Beast’s Rachel Wolff writes: “He illustrated scenes starring men in suits and cocktail waitresses to create what look like comic books or storyboards for movies. He also sketched logos and now iconic product designs (the Morton Salt Girl canister, for one)… An inky mixture of soot and saliva was his primary medium, though as his work developed he would sometimes incorporate hues derived from watercolor blocks and other pigment-heavy materials.” Castle found and made art everywhere, and by the 1950s, Idaho museums began to take notice—though it wasn’t until the Outsider Art Fair of 1997, twenty years after Castle’s death, that his work began to take on a devoted cult following. Now, the Art Institute of Chicago has staged the first-ever Castle retrospective, featuring more tha 200 works of art. Click here to see a gallery of Castle’s and read more from Wolff about James Castle’s life.

View Marilyn Minter’s Dirty World—Erotic photographs from an artist collected by Madonna, and Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

View the Best of the Frieze Art Fair—The coolest works from London’s premier contemporary art show.


Barbara Ehrenreich Looks on the Bright Side

Andrew Shurtleff / AP Photo

Barbara Ehrenreich, author of the new nonfiction work, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America has become quite the contentious figure this week. In Bright-Sided, Ehrenreich argues that positive thinking has become a kind of epidemic in American culture, and that though we value optimism over all things, we are actually less happy as a nation than many others. The Daily Beast’s Megan Hustad spoke with Ehrenreich about her book, which has been sparking heated debate from the New York Times to Jezebel, and about her argument that a society-wide emphasis on being happy is actually very dangerous. Ehrenreich explained her theory: “It’s not a matter of becoming sadder. It’s a matter of becoming more realistic. And asking: What is actually happening in the world? How can we work to fend bad things off? Now some of the economists are saying that we’re headed for a second and bigger crash, as banks fail and more and more people default on their mortgages. Don’t tell me to be optimistic about that. Tell me what we’re doing to stop the reckless gambling on Wall Street. What are we doing to save people who are facing defaults? Do something. It’s not just all in our minds.” Read more from Hustad’s interview, here.

Read an exclusive excerpt from Charles Gasparino’s The Sellout: How Three Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System