Our fearless Arkansas Times Recommends leader, Will Stephenson, took off for New Orleans for the weekend, which the Arkansas Times wholeheartedly recommends, though not when "Beverly Hills Cop," the Craft Beer Fest and the Cheese Dip Championship is going on!
My friend Derek Jenkins
, a former frequent Times
contributor and columnist, knows more about everything than anyone else I know. He lives in Canada now, so we only see each other once a year at most. Mostly, I talk to him on Gchat, and I ask him what he's reading and listening to, he tells me and my world is broadened. Also, I listen to his monthly mix series, which he posts on Mixcloud
, which is a pretty fun site to play on when you grow tired of Spotify or YouTube or however you listen to music. Dig his latest, above. With songs from Faust, George Harrison, Girlpool and all kinds of other folks I don't recognize.
If you've got Netflix Instant, I'd like to put in a hearty, Halloween-month vote for "Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror,"
director F.W. Murnau's
Expressionist masterpiece, based on Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula." The version that's on Netflix Instant is goddamn beautiful: A crystal clear 2007 restoration by Germany's Murnau Foundation that uses tinted footage and titles from several rare original prints scattered all over the world, accompanied by a restored and newly-recorded orchestral score. Now, I know what you're thinking: A) It's an old movie, B) It's a foreign movie, C) It's a GERMAN movie, D) It has subtitles and E) It's silent. But give it a chance. Take off your jaded 2014 goggles, turn down the lights, and try to imagine what it was like to see this film in a dim European movie house in 1922, before almost anyone else in the world had seen a horror movie. While some of the acting is Vaudeville goofy, Max Schreck as Count Orlock is one of the creepiest villains ever seen on film, and his portrayal still packs some uneasy scares, even after all these years. Give it an honest shot in a dark room, and "Nosferatu" will have even a future dweller checking behind the couch before the credits roll, guaranteed.
If I could write like anybody, it'd probably be Patrick Radden Keefe. Each of his longform pieces for the New Yorker are simultaneously primers on underreported issues and studies in human nature. Take Keefe's 2013 story about an Israeli billionaire
who's established ownership over what may be the world's largest iron reserves, in Guinea, and that country's struggle to wrest back control of the ore. (Getting insight into the economic interests at play in impoverished Guinea should be of particular interest now that it's entered the American imagination as the epicenter of the West African Ebola outbreak.) Or his exploration of the very real policy complications facing states that legalize recreational marijuana
. Or his account this May of the recent capture of Joaquín Guzmán
, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico, which may be the world's largest criminal organization. Most recently, he wrote about the fall of a hedge fund embroiled in financial scandal
Keefe's stories are bolstered in equal measures by moral outrage and moral ambiguity. They contain an implicit conviction that you get at the truth of a situation by delving into its complexities rather than simplifying it. And, they're absolutely fascinating. Read them.