Ricky Gervais Gets Animated
Anyone who saw Ricky Gervais host the Golden Globes knows that the British comedian takes pleasure in the humor of excruciating awkwardness. On February 19, the creator of The Office and Extras unveils his new HBO series, aptly titled The Ricky Gervais Show, which is essentially Gervais chatting with his longtime collaborator Stephen Merchant and friend/punching bag Karl Pilkington. But there’s a twist. The conversations have been animated. The talks first began as an addictive podcast series (Gervais and Merchant would make fun of Pilkington for an hour, to hilarious effect), but with the animation, the whole concept is elevated to theater of the absurd. Find out for yourself why Gervais is still at the top of his game by watching the first episode, now available for free on iTunes.
Kiki Smith’s Feminine Journey
Painter and sculptor Kiki Smith has long been infusing her work with feminist themes, but she has never drawn on women’s lives for inspiration as much as she does in Sojourn, a new installation at the Brooklyn Museum through September 12. In the exhibition, Smith uses women’s lifecycles as her subject, focusing on birth, death, domestic life, and the life of the mind, all tenderly approached with Smith’s typically gentle hand. Through sculpture, cast objects, collage, drawing, and photography, Smith examines both the conventional and unconventional ways in which a woman’s life can unfold, from religious enlightenment to creative projects. Chloe Malle reviews Sojourn on Art Beast and watch Smith explain her vision in a short video.
Wingnuts: The Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America!
Obama's historic inauguration was supposed to usher in an era that transcended left/right and black/white. But as Daily Beast columnist John Avlon writes in his frighteningly vivid new book Wingnuts, "hope has turned into hate" in Obama's first year. Avlon introduces readers to a calvalcade of "fright wing" crazies who are stoking the hate, from Birthers and Tea Partiers to people actually praying for Obama's death. Not that the left is spared, as Avlon explains how some of these movements and much of the factionalization actually originated with liberals. With a foreword by Tina Brown and eye-opening portraits of figures like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Keith Olbermann, Wingnuts is the first release from Beast Books, a joint venture between Perseus Books and the publisher of this newsletter. It's available as an e-book, audio (as read by the author) and a paperback original.