Welcome to The Culture Wrap! This is a new Friday feature edited by Jessie Tu that shares her pick of things to read, hear and watch. Just in time for the weekend.
What to watch:
We’ve all heard about the horrifying crimes committed by Larry Nassar, the USA gymnastics national team doctor and osteopathic physician. But the point of searing, necessary documentaries like this one, directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, is that we hear the voices and stories of the young girls who were impacted by the crimes. This is critical viewing. Like the systemic obfuscation of Jeffery Epstein’s paedophilic conduct over decades, this film reveals the perpetual conspiracies in large, powerful organisations that protect dangerous predators like Larry Nassar. (Netflix)
Fleabag Seasons 1 and 2 (Pictured at top of page)
I was late to the game. I am always late to things. I decided to get onto this because I’d subscribed to this digital stream for the first time and wanted to make the most of it. Phoebe Waller-Bridge plays a thirty-something woman navigating her love life (having lots of sex with the wrong men), her failing cafe (which she owned with her best friend) and her strange, strange family. It’s a tragedy that there only remains two seasons. The humour is sharp, the characters, incredibly biting, and the writing (the most important part of any television series) is brilliant and tight. (Amazon Prime)
What to hear:
Podcast: Hey Aunty!
Presenter and producer Shantel Wetherall conducts “Fireside chats with black women fems & non-binary fam who’ve been there”. There are 20 episodes now available, and I recently listened to one with Dr Chelsea Bond, a Munanjahli and South Sea Islander woman and a Principal Research Fellow within the School of Social Science at The University of Queensland. Dr Bond spoke about her feminist upbringing, and how her ideas were shaped by her parents. Her views about the importance of intersectional feminism is vital listening.
Music: Julia Jacklin
If you reach for music to relax, you’ll find it from Julia Jacklin. If you reach for music to feel melancholic, she’s good for that too. If you reach for music to feel seen, felt, heard; yes, yes and yes. Jacklin’s tender, delicate voice is female yearning vocalised. Her tunes are dripped with melodious honey-jam-sweetness, as she sings about what it’s like to be in a female body, to be in love, to be hurt, to be wanting too much. This is a female philosopher, pondering the state of womanhood in 2020.
What to read:
Book: The Deviant’s War
I scroll through Instagram about once every fortnight because I have digital space anxiety. A few nights ago I was on there, bored, and I thumbed my phone screen and came across a picture of a devastatingly handsome young man. Strand Books in NYC had invited Eric Cervini to talk about his debut book “The Deviant’s War”, which is a long (just under 400 pages) historical look back at Frank Kameny; a young astronomer working for the U.S Department of Defence in the 1950s when he was fired without warning, because he was gay. On his gorgeous website, Cervini (who describes himself as “Author | Historian | Homosexual”, said the book tells the secret history of the fight for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall. I’ve begun to de-colonise my own reading over the last few months, and have been intentionally looking for histories written by historically marginalised persons. This one’s been described as “compelling work” by US Senator Tammy Baldwin and so far I have to agree.