A bi-weekly round up of recommendations from around the interwebs by TNI’s editors and staff.
Rob Horning, Executive Editor
Big bones are easy to fake. But not everyone has been taken in by the paleontology hoax. Watch and learn.
Willie Osterweil, Editor
Music Blog: Beat Electric
For the last month it’s been all boogie, all the time, with this blog as my boogie/disco/soul Virgil. Uploads of rare and classic dance 12″ and 7″s, excellently curated, with lots of information about the bands and producers, as well as occasional killer dance mixes and edits made by the blog’s author. There are tons of mp3 blogs out there, but this is by far the best one I’ve ever seen for this era of dance music.
Adrian Chen, Editor
Movie: The Queen of Versailles
I watched this 2011 documentary about Florida millionaires David and Jacqueline Siegel’s quest to build the largest home in America last week on iTunes and it was amazing. The narrative feels about as true as an average Bravo show, which is to say not very. But it functions excellently as the world’s best episode of Real Housewives of ______. On a scene-by-scene basis, the Siegels, their eight kids and countless dogs, are the most fascinating characters I’ve encountered in a documentary since the two Ediths of Grey Gardens.
Rachel Rosenfelt, Editor in Chief
Tumblr: Sex Pigeon
An amateur photoblog chronicling everyday urban scenes accompanied by Mystery Science Theater-esque commentary. Sex Pigeon basically justifies the medium of Tumblr.
Max Fox, Editor
This is an interactive atlas that shows what features show up where in human languages. It’s really surprising to see the distribution of languages that have no gender versus the languages that have more than five genders, for example, or where people arrange their subjects and objects like Yoda. You can play around with the maps yourself or look through the features and chapters that other users have put together.
Malcolm Harris, Senior Editor
Between higher-profile projects Contagion and Magic Mike, it was easy to miss Steven Soderbergh’s spy thriller about the age of privatization. Haywire starts MMA fighter Gina Carano as operative Mallory Kane who doesn’t know where to turn or who to trust. It’s a well-executed classic plot with a precarious twist, but the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. Michael Fassbender does a great turn as generic-brand James Bond, Ewan McGregor is pitch-perfect as a weasely contractor, and Channing Tatum is beguiling as a puppy-faced junior operative. In an implied trilogy with The Girlfriend Experience and Magic Mike, Haywire easily holds its own. And if you’ve ever wanted to see a female boxer seduce and beat up Hollywood’s hottest stars, this is the Netflix pick for you.
Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Editor
TV Show: Damages
Damages is about Manhattan alpha lawyer Patty Hewes (played by Glenn Close) and her associate, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne.) I’ve watched the entire 4 seasons available for streaming Netflix and it’s paints such an unrealistic picture of the legal world that it briefly made me regret not applying to law school.
The narratives in the show themselves contain no shortage of murder, deceit, theft, and crime. Conspiracies — and careerism — abounds. But the most compelling thing about the show, to me, is the complicated and often acrimonious relationship between Patty and Ellen. Sure, they go behind each others’ backs, plot to kill one another, and set each other up for failure. But it’s one of the only TV series that portrays two accomplished women, largely unconcerned about sex, men, or clothes (though their outfits are fabulous), sitting on a couch, swilling whiskey, and talking about work.
Sarah Leonard, Editor