Gook

Film by Justin Chon

 

Justin Chon’s directorial debut, which won an audience award at the Sundance Film Festival, is a riveting black and white drama that follows an unlikely friendship between two Korean American brothers and a young African American girl as they are forced to defend their struggling shoe store during the 1992 Rodney King riots. There is an electric energy to this biting debut, which tackles the prickly tension of race relations while paying obvious homage to the 90’s and Spike Lee’s seminal classic, Do The Right Thing. Starring writer-director Justin Chon, as well as David So, Curtiss Cook Jr. and Simone Baker, Gook artfully balances lighthearted moments against a backdrop of building racial unrest, ultimately evolving into a heartfelt exploration of the true meaning of family. (Samuel Goldwyn Films)

›› ISSUE Feature: Justin Chon x David So in conversation

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Reservoir

Album by Gordi

 

Singer-songwriter Sophie Payten, or “Gordi” as her family and fans know her, began writing music from a young age on her farm outside the small town of Canowindra, Australia. Her anticipated debut album Reservoir follows last year’s EP Clever Disguise, a favorite of critics like NPR. Gordi recorded Reservoir amidst studying for her medical degree and playing shows, including supporting label mate Bon Iver during performances of his recent album. The album is built on brooding layers of electronica and folk and captures feelings of loss, especially in friendship. (Jagjaguwar)

›› ISSUE Feature: Live performance and interview with Gordi

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Ingrid Goes West

Film by Matt Spicer

 

Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Ingrid Goes West showcases a stellar ensemble cast (Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell and Billy Magnussen) and through its unforgettable central duo of Plaza and Olsen, embraces the joy and horror of over-sharing in our hyper-connected age. In his breakout feature debut, writer-director Matt Spicer mines wicked comedy, dark psychodrama and scathing satire out of friendship and connection in the “like me” era – where loneliness, vulnerability and deception bubble just beneath the surface of our carefully constructed public personas. (Neon)

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The Glass Castle

Film by Destin Daniel Cretton

 

Adapted from the bestselling memoir by Jeannette Walls, this stirring and at times heartbreaking coming of age drama is helmed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) and stars Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Ella Anderson and Academy Award winner Brie Larson. It delves into the turbulent and poverty-ridden childhood of Jeannette Walls (played at different ages by Chandler Head, Ella Anderson and Brie Larson) and her three siblings, portraying through flashbacks the nomadic and neglectful disfunction they endured at the hands of their unstable parents: a charismatic alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother. The film follows the family as they move from the Arizona desert, to Las Vegas, to an Appalachian mining town, the children learning to fend for themselves as their parents outmaneuver bill collectors and the authorities, finding themselves both inspired and inhibited by their unconventional and reckless upbringing. Ultimately, this poignant drama unfolds as an inspiring story of success in the face of adversity, tapping into the power of imagination and the unshakable bonds of familial love. (Lionsgate)

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Some Freaks

Film by Ian MacAllister McDonald

 

Some Freaks is a beautiful and powerful indie film starring breakout Lily Mae Harrington and Thomas Mann. Lily Mae Harrington’s debut role has been dubbed as remarkable, winning awards across the festival circuit. The film, which is the directorial debut of Ian MacAllister McDonald, is hailed as a modern day interpretation inspired by the John Hughes teen classics, with characters that includes a plus-sized girl, a one-eyed guy and a closeted gay teen. (Good Deed Entertainment)

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Sour Heart

Book by Jenny Zhang

 

The seven short stories in Sour Heart are narrated by young Chinese immigrants—girls who, like author Jenny Zhang, are growing up between two cultures while dealing with belonging, girlhood, family and identity. A graduate of the acclaimed Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Zhang was born in Shanghai and raised in New York, where many of Sour Heart’s stories are based. Her prose is candid, blunt, sweet and unafraid to be gross about bodies—often mimicking the way young girls talk to one another or themselves. Underneath is a sharp clarity: Zhang is best at finding humor in the shame, confusion and strangeness of growing up, while speaking to the claustrophobic love of families with tenderness and irreverence.

Zhang has previously published two books of poetry, Hags and Dear Jenny, We Are All Find, and gained a following through her pieces in Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie magazine. Her debut book of prose, Sour Heart is also the first book published through Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s Lenny imprint at Random House, named for their newsletter and website that covers feminism, style, culture and friendship. (Penguin Random House)

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Bros & Brosephines

Book by Slava Mogutin

 

Over the past two decades, exiled Russian artist Slava Mogutin has become internationally renowned for his candid and courageous portrayal of disaffected youth and alternative urban subcultures, coupled with his writings, multimedia work, and political activism. Bros & Brosephines, his latest release from powerHouse Books, acts as a detailed survey of Siberian-born, New York-based Mogutin’s studio and fashion photography and commissioned portraits. Featuring previously unpublished images, the book dissects the conventions of beauty and masculinity through Mogutin’s provocative signature blend of art, fashion, and fetish. Featuring a preface by Zachary Drucker, an essay by David J. Getsy, and an epilogue by Bruce LaBruce, the monograph details Mogutin’s varied artistic collaborations, including Brian Kenny, Gio Black Peter, Audrey Bartenev, Asher Levine, Martin Elmasflaco, Sebastian Meunier, Francois Sagat, Jan Wandrag, and more. (powerHouse Books)

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›› ISSUE Feature: SUPERM: Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny

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Auto-Photo: Cars & Photography, 1900 to Now

Book by Xavier Barral

 

In a collection of over 500 works by 100 historical and contemporary artists, Auto-Photo: Cars and Photography, 1900 to Now documents the ongoing fascination of photographers with the form, impact and meaning surrounding the automobile. The invention of the automobile altered our landscapes, expanded our geographical horizons and drastically modified our appreciations of space and time. As well as exploring these paradigm shifts, photographers captured the automobile’s formal qualities, function and design, and the geometrics of city roads and rural highways. Contributors and renowned photographers include Robert Adams, Brassaï, Langdon Clay, Robert Doisneau, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Anthony Hernandez, Joel Meyerowitz, Daido Moriyama, Catherine Opie, Martin Parr, Ed Ruscha, Malick Sidibé and Stephen Shore. Other projects in Auto Photo shed fresh perspective on the automobile, such as a series of car models created by Alain Bublex for the Foundation Cartier show, as well as a comparative history of auto design and photography, scholarly essays and artist quotes.
(Fondation Cartier Pour L’Art Contemporain/ Editions Xavier Barral)

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