Week in Culture

Taylor Swift's exes fear her new album, Keith Richards lets us into his Life, and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert storm D.C. Check out more can’t-miss film, TV, art, and music picks.

Life According to Keith Richards

One might argue that the story of Keith Richards’ life is already written all over his face, but where would the fun in that be? In a sea of less-than-enthralling memoirs, Richards is shaking up the publishing industry with his new memoir, aptly titled Life, and it’s already proving to be as engrossing and utterly quotable as the man himself. When he’s not referring to his Rolling Stones cohort Mick Jagger as “that bitch Brenda," Richards dubs speedballs “the breakfast of champions” and even turns the lens on himself, explaining, “I'm just a retarded gangster, really." It might be a stretch to say, “truer words were never spoken,” but definitely not more entertaining ones.

Life hits shelves on Tuesday, October 26.

AP Photo

Chilean Miners’ New Goal: Beat El Presidente

Since the 33 Chilean miners were successfully rescued earlier this month, they have been nursed back to health and are apparently ready for some competition. After they famously watched a live broadcast of their national soccer team play Ukraine during their 69-day entrapment, they’ll engage in a game of their own… against a presidential squad. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera proposed a game after visiting the men in hospital and joked, “The winners will get La Moneda [the presidential palace], and the losers will have to go back into the mine,” according to the New York Post. Though we’re not sure who will be repping el presidente, the minders’ captain will be Frank Lobos, one of the 33 rescued and a former professional Chilean soccer player in the 1980s and 1990s. And the invites are continuing to roll in for the miners from all over Europe, Sports Illustrated reports. Game on!

The soccer game between the Chilean miners and the Chilean presidential squad will take place on Tuesday, October 26.

John Grisham Can Do No Wrong

Few scenarios are more compelling than a “You’ve got the wrong man!” story, and no one knows how to tell one quite like John Grisham. The mega-selling crime author is back in top form this week with The Confession, a psychological thriller about a dying murderer trying to convince authorities that in four days’ time they’ll be wrongly executing an innocent man convicted of his own crime nine years before. Even when he’s sticking to his usual formula of fast-paced crime stories Grisham is, as the New York Times Book Review puts it, “about as good a storyteller as we’ve got in the United States these days.”

The Confession comes out on Tuesday, October 26.

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The Whitney Gets Its Party On

One of the biggest gatherings in the art world is not just limited to the artists who have made The Whitney one of New York’s premiere museums. From actors such as Claire Danes to models including Jessica Stam and Lily Donaldson, more than 1,000 of Manhattan’s elite are expected to gather at the Whitney’s annual Studio Party this week, hosted by digital artist Cory Arcangel (perhaps best known for hacking Super Mario Bros. and erasing everything but the clouds). And with Agyness Deyn, Charlotte Ronson, and many more serving on the soiree’s benefit committee, high style and acclaimed contemporary art’s evening of meshing is likely to be yet another glamorous affair, worthy of some wonderful people watching at the very least.

The 2010 Whitney Studio Party will take place at the museum on Tuesday, October 26.

Someone Save the Penguins!

It’s hard to imagine a silver lining coming out of a story about an oil spill, but if there ever were one, it would be The Great Penguin Rescue. Ten years before the disastrous BP oil spill still plaguing the Gulf Coast, another massive spill off the coast of South Africa put the local population of 75,000 penguins – 41 percent of the world’s penguin population – at serious risk. Without missing a beat, animal expert Dyan deNapoli (understandably known more often as “the Penguin lady”) jumped into action, eventually gathering a team of 1,250 volunteers who individually scrubbed the oil from and nursed back to life nearly all the 40,000 affected birds in what became the world’s biggest ever animal rescue. For those still hoping for a March of the Penguins sequel this is the perfect, adorable solution, as well as another stark reminder of the dangers of environmental irresponsibility.

The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, A Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World’s Largest Animal Rescue comes out on Tuesday, October 26.


Time to Get Scared Shrekless

If you’ve already watched Hocus Pocus, Casper, Scream, and a slew of Alfred Hitchcock movies in preparation for October 31, then NBC has the antitode for your tired All Hallows Eve entertainment collection. Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas are all lending their voices once again to the jolly green giant of a franchise that is Shrek with a small-screen Halloween special, Scared Shrekless. During the half-hour program, America’s favorite ogre challenges his beloved Fiona and his friends to spend the night in Lord Farquaad’s haunted castle to see who can last the longest. Cheesy? Sure. Mindless? True. But really, if you cannot indulge in a little childlike entertainment to coincide with your king-size candy bar for Halloween, then you have not found the true meaning of this holiday season.

Scared Shrekless premieres on Thursday, October 28 at 8 p.m.

Joan Marcus

Angels in America Returns to the Stage

It’s been two decades of gay rights and medical developments since Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner highlighted the AIDS epidemic with Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. Now, for its 20th Anniversary “Kushner Season,” the Signature Theater Company has resurrected the groundbreaking play for an off-Broadway production featuring Star Trek’s Zachary Quinto and Zoe Kazan, granddaughter of Elia and recent star of It’s Complicated. But despite what would appear to be an outdated premise, in a time when the tragedy of Tyler Clementi’s suicide and Carl Paladino’s gay bashing are ruling headlines, Angels in America is still pertinent. Set in the mid 1980s, as the AIDS epidemic escalates and Ronald Reagan begins his second term, the play follows a young gay man suffering from AIDS (Quinto) and a large cast of characters (from the living to the dead) played by just eight actors. Kushner hopes his message still resonates. “Whether Angels had that impact, I don’t know,” he told Newsweek. “[But] you have to believe that your work would have an effect, or why would you do it?”

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes opens on Thursday, October 28.

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Fashion Elite Honored at Night of Stars

Barney’s beloved Simon Doonan will grab the mic again to emcee this year’s Night of Stars, Fashion Group International’s annual event honoring those who’ve made a difference in the industry. Among the big names are Mad Men’s powerful stylist Janie Bryant, Project Runway’s star editor Nina Garcia, and headlining honoree Balenciaga creative director Nicolas Ghesquière to the recently rejuvenated designer Pierre Cardin, who will receive the Legend Award. All are expected to be in their Thursday best.

Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars will be held on Thursday, October 28.

© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The SFMOMA Looks Into the Camera’s Lens

Considering we live in an age when a racy photoshoot of Glee’s fictional high school students ignites a controversy and Courtney Love tweets a nude picture of herself, it seems only fitting for a museum to investigate how photography has become a medium that exposes one’s most intimate moments. With more than 200 works and the help of the Tate Modern, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is tracing the way cameras have allowed the private to become public in their new exhibition, Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870. "This seems an appropriate moment to look at these kinds of pictures to learn from them and to better know ourselves," says SFMOMA Senior Curator of Photography Sandra S. Phillips. “The spy who used to be consigned to the shadows and often called shady is now tolerated in the open and can, in fact, be you or me with a cell phone, even as we are being observed through a surveillance camera.”

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit " Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870" open on Saturday, October 30

Comedy Central

Washington D.C. Turns Into Comedy Central

By now, it would take a fair amount of work not to notice that not much of the current political discourse is well, very sane, whether Glenn Beck is shouting about “honor” or Jimmy McMillan is shouting that “the rent is too damn high.” After Beck’s Tea Party-centric “ Rally to Restore Honor” in August, Jon Stewart decided to hit back with this week’s “Rally to Restore Sanity,” billed by Stewart as a “call to reasonableness” and set to take place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Naturally, Stephen Colbert is countering with his own “March to Keep Fear Alive” held in the same place at the same time, explaining that “America was built on three bedrock principles: Freedom. Liberty. And Fear — that someone might take our Freedom and Liberty.” Whether the rallies actually restore anyone’s sanity (or keep anyone’s fear alive) remains to be seen, but at this point they really couldn’t hurt.

The Rally to Restore Sanity and March to Keep Fear Alive both take place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. at noon on Saturday, October 30.