Damn Joan Recommends
By Keryce Chelsi Henry
In search of rebirth? Vibe out (we say things like that) to the books, shows, and tunes we're loving right now. They work even if you've already broken every resolution.
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The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, by Margareta Magnusson
Don’t leave a mess before you die, goes the Swedish practice of döstädning. But this self-help book suggests there’s no time like the present to get your life in order. Magnusson’s graceful, low-pressure approach to decluttering reads less “shouty life coach” and more “accidentally funny grandma,” which makes her book the perfect first step (or first procrastination) of that 2018 resolution to tidy up your space.
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The Official Body, by Shopping
London-based post-punk trio Shopping have the cure for your winter blues. They’ve promised to “up the party vibe” on their third album, The Official Body, out January 19, and if the twangy, funky single “The Hype,” with its poolside banger of a video, is any indication, they’ve kept their word. Still, in true form, the band injects deeper messages, such as guitarist/vocalist Rachel Aggs’ reflections on feeling undervalued as a PoC in the creative space, underneath the jubilation, proving once again that the dance floor is as good a place as any to start a revolution.
Like Water for Chocolate
New to Netflix this month is the critically acclaimed 1992 Mexican film about Tita, a young woman tasked with caring for her ailing—and abusive—mother and forbidden from marrying. As the movie progresses, the timid girl slowly transforms into an independent woman, disobeying her mother’s tyrannical orders and declaring her autonomy. Shot with a soft focus, the film’s more graphic moments and occasional bits of matter-of-fact magical realism come as a surprise—Tita cooks a dish that makes one of her sisters orgasm so hard she runs away to work in a brothel, and her other sister essentially winds up dying from bad gas. Underneath it all is an allegory of the 1910–1920 Mexican Revolution. The film’s genius is in the neatness with which these seemingly disparate elements fit together.
Clown in Residence, by Grey...
Twenty-one-year-old artist Grey... had no intentions of breaking any records with their latest EP, Clown in Residence. “I wanted it to save a life,” they told Out. “I wanted some queer kid somewhere out there to find it and know that sometimes it’s OK to be a sad song.” The punk singer, writer, plus-size model, and cocreator of trans youth support platform Arts Not Parts knows firsthand the emotional turmoil of being othered by society, and Clown in Residence is the perfect companion for isolation. You may be alone, but you don’t have to feel lonely.