The Yes List - Fall's Most Charming Indie Film
Each week, The Daily Beast scours the cultural landscape to choose three top picks. This week, in the Sundance favorite Amreeka, a single mom goes from the West Bank to White Castle.
Little Miss Palestine
After an incredibly successful showing at both the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals, the story of single mother Muna Farah’s journey with her son, Fadi, from the West Bank to smalltown Illinois finally makes it to theaters. As 16-year-old Fadi navigates the harrowing hallways of high school, desperately avoiding the “FOB” label, Muna struggles to find work despite her impressive resume, but eventually lands at White Castle. Despite the fact that the Farah’s are Palestinian Christians, their stereotypical appearance as “Middle Eastern” is enough to fuel the anti-Muslim remarks increasingly commonplace in post-9/11 America. The movie marks writer-director Cherien Dabis’ feature-film debut and although the central characters may not look familiar, a supporting role from Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat adds to the universal immigrant family conflict among first-generation teenagers aiming to blend into the U.S., while still attached to their heritage. Check out Caryn James’ review of Amreeka for more details.
Marcel Duchamp's Secret Masterpiece
Forty years after the Philadelphia Museum of Art revealed Marcel Duchamp’s final work, Étant donnés, the shock surrounding the news that godfather of Dada had been secretly working on the piece for 20 years has still not subsided. The tableau, visible only through a peephole in a wooden door, which exposes a woman’s naked body with legs agape, will now be further examined with Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés, a new exhibition on view at the museum through November 29. The show’s extraordinary range of photographs, documents, objects, and artworks related to the piece sheds light on its conception and production. Though even his closest friends believed Duchamp abandoned art for chess, he worked on Étant donnés from 1946 to 1966 in his Greenwich Village studio. As Rachel Wolff reveals, only three women (including his wife and mistress), who are believed to be the inspiration for the erotic masterpiece, were let in on Duchamp’s final secret.
The World's Ugliest Cakes
From the violent to the phallic to the just plain embarrassing, Jen Yates has seen the most unfortunate baked goods since launching Cake Wrecks in May 2008. Yates has now emerged from the carnage of virtual icing and fondant with a new book Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong, which displays 150 confectionary blunders, most of which have never been seen before. As she defines them on her blog, a cake wreck is “unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate.” Yates’ favorite, as she told fellow (cup)cake blogger Rachel Kramer Bussel, is a cake that was the result of a customer who brought in a picture to be printed from a flash-drive, but the bakery instead drew the drive itself in icing atop the cake. “It was supposed to be a photo of the boss golfing or something,” Yates said. “I love those little miscommunications.” Her baking humor really does take the cake.