Hot Stuff: cultural picks for August from five local luminaries

Hot Stuff: cultural picks for August from five local luminaries

Hot Stuff

August is peak season for beach reads, Netflix binges and patio playlists. We asked five local luminaries to share their cultural picks for a summer heat wave.

Summer Obsessions: Daniel MacIvor

HBO’s The Comeback

“I’m re-watching this brilliant comedy in anticipation of its much-delayed second season this fall. It’s hilarious, with a hide-behind-your-hands cringe factor.”

CBC’s The Signal

“In the summer I like to work late and listen to Laurie Brown’s radio show. Her tastes—from indie emo-drone to rousing digital anthems—are, for me, perfect.”

Billy Collins’s “On Turning Ten”

“A friend introduced me to Collins, a former American poet laureate. This poem is wise and heartbreaking.”

Trooper’s Hot Shots

“I rediscovered this album while writing a screenplay for Bruce McDonald set in the summer of ’76. Each song feels like the kind that would play in the car on the way home from the beach.”

Summer Obsessions: Sarah Gadon

Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law

“This summer, the Lightbox is screening a dozen films by the British director Jim Jarmusch. I’ve never seen Stranger Than Paradise, so I’m looking forward to that one, as well as Down by Law, one of my favourites.”

The Roots’ And Then You Shoot Your Cousin

“I’ve kept their track ‘Understand’ on repeat while shuffling through airports and train stations. It helps me get into my own head.”

David Cronenberg’s Consumed

“His first novel, out in September, is all about STDs, Paris, sex and cannibalism. What’s not to love? He’s a genius, and it’s wonderful to see that intellect extend out beyond filmmaking.”

Badbadnotgood’s III

“My boyfriend turned me on to this Toronto band when we were in Europe recently. It’s contemporary jazz, with lots of texture in the sound.”

Summer Obsessions: Emma Donoghue

CBS’s The Good Wife

“I’m years late to this, but I’m currently bingeing the latest season. Julianna Margulies’s gothic features are endlessly watchable.”

Lee Child’s Jack Reacher

“Having tracked down copies of every last Lee Child thriller online, I simply have to wait for him to publish the next, but sometimes I wake up needing him like coffee.”

St. Vincent’s Strange Mercy

“I was lucky enough to hear St. Vincent at the Sydney Opera House earlier this year. Now I have two of her albums on repeat, full of fierce electronics and angelic vocals.”

Amma Asante’s Belle

“I can’t wait to see the new film about Dido Elizabeth Belle, the mixed-race grandniece of Lord Mansfield, who grew up in his stately home in London’s Hampstead Heath. I published a story about Dido in 2002, so it’s a real thrill to see her get the big-screen treatment.”

Summer Obsessions: Shad

NBC’s Community

“Sad to see this show go [from network TV, at any rate] after five seasons. I’m a big fan of sitcoms, and Community is one of the best ever. Super clever but with so much heart.”

The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs

“I guess it’s a stretch to call basketball culture, but man, the Spurs play the most beautiful ball since the Lakers and Celtics of the ’80s. Watching those guys play is like going to the Louvre.”

Coldplay’s “Magic”

“Coldplay are generally considered uncool, but they’re perennially good at what they do. ‘Magic’ took me by surprise—it’s the song of the year so far to me. Smooth production, soulful vocal performance and just a great song about hope.”

John K. Samson’s Lyrics and Poems, 1997–2012

“Samson, the front man for The Weakerthans, is a terrific songwriter. I pick up this book every couple of days to admire the precision of his words.”

Summer Obsessions: Emily Haines

George Saunders’ Tenth of December

“Each story is its own world. I find myself rereading it again and again, the way you want to keep listening to a great song.”

Michael Kiwanuka’s Home Again

“It’s introspective and melancholic without being precious or mopey, with a horn section worthy of Otis Redding.”

HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

“Fake news has become one of the best cultural outlets for irreverent journalism. The show is in reruns through the summer, so it’s a great time to look back at earlier episodes you might have missed.”

Slavoj ŽiŽek’s The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

“Žižek, a Slovenian philosopher, is sometimes referred to as the Elvis of cultural theory because he is so damn entertaining. In this film, he parses classic Hollywood movies for deeper meaning—it’s that magical mix of high and low brow.”