Culture Call Sheet

August's Pop Culture Watch: What We're Really into Right Now

From Orange Is the New Black to Tegan and Sara's Love You to Death, Portland Monthly staffers reveal their current pop culture obsessions.

By Portland Monthly Staff June 23, 2016

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Piper returns with some old friends in the fourth season of Orange is the New Black.

Image: Netflix

Rebecca Jacobson, Digital Editor

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Sure, sure: Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (with exclamation point!) was heralded as the song of the summer the day it was released. But as much as I was tickled to see former Portland boy Ron Funches in that first star-spangled video, my summer will be soundtracked by Tegan and Sara’s infectious new album Love You to Death. Full of shimmer, bounce, and some legitimate emotional ache, it proves the Canadian sisters can do giddy dance-pop as well as anyone. Taylor who?

I’m also slowly (very slowly) making my way through The Story of the Lost Child, the last of Elena Ferrante’s four Neapolitan Novels. Why so slowly? Because Ferrante’s descriptions of competition, envy, and female friendship are like a stiletto to the heart, and sometimes I need a break. But just a short one—and after boogieing to a little Tegan and Sara, I’m ready to return.

Marty Patail, Associate Editor

Uncharted 4: When I got to the end, a single tear rolled down my cheek and onto my PS4 controller. No more treasure hunts. No more on-and-off-again flirtations with equally badass Elena. No more jokes with your cigar-waving father figure Sully. No more hanging on ledges by the tips of your fingers or swinging from conveniently placed ropes and vines. No more shooting down waves upon waves of nameless henchmen in impossibly exotic tombs. A bittersweet ending to a joyful nine-year adventure. Thanks for the memories, Nathan Drake.

Eden Dawn, Style Editor

I am OBSESSED WITH PERFUME GENIUS. That boy is the most amazing thing on the planet and helps the hole in my heart left by Bowie hurt a tiny bit less. Watch his video for "Queen" right now!!

Zach Dundas, Editor in Chief

It’s not brand-new, but has been showing recently: the ESPN 30 for 30 on Diego Maradona’s 1986 World Cup performance is a mesmerizing, portentous pop-historical counterpoint to all the live soccer on TV this summer, incidentally showcasing some amazing ‘80s Lat-Am street fashion and tech alongside some of the most mind boggling soccer ever played.

Samala Coffey, Web Producer

I spent a whole evening obsessively reading articles that recap Season 3 of Orange is the New Black before I dug in, only to find out that Netflix had graciously created a video recap for me. It’s got love, murder, corruption and sex… everything I look for in good TV. All of our favorites come back (Piper, of course, and Poussey, and Red, and Taystee) plus a whole slew of new characters. I’m dying through this last hour of work so I can race home and hole up with my laptop.

Kelly Clarke, Senior Editor

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Drought, bad. Amirite? Writer Paolo Bacigalupi take the American Southwest's troubling water issues to their apocalyptic crescendo in his smart sci-fi-ish thriller, The Water Knife, which cherry-picks the best bits from Chinatown, Mexican narco trade horror stories, and loud, bloody-fun action movie sequences.There's some Blade Runner in there too. (In other words, all my favorite things.) In Bacigalupi 's near future,Texas is a dusty wasteland, Las Vegas funds hillbilly border militias to mount attacks on dams and secure waterways. Phoenix's rich hide in towering, Chinese-made eco-luxe "archologies" while water engineers hoard first edition copies of Cadillac Desert on their bookshelves and pick up destitute Texas refugees on the streets for sex and/or murder. (California's closed its borders and basically become a sovereign nation, of course.) The plot centers on a conflicted hitman and a shell-shocked journo, but it's the fabulously vivid, brutal world-building here that really captures attention. I'm somewhat scarred after reading it: wincing every time my family leaves the water running while brushing their teeth and seriously considering mounting one of those framed "If It's Yellow, Let It Mellow" cross stitch signs above our toilet. Oh, the (entirely plausible) horror.

Fiona McCann, Arts Editor

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If winter is coming, one should clearly dress for it.

Image: HBO

It’s like TV’s Pringles: I know it’s bad for me, and I probably should close the box and find some more edifying consumables, but when it comes to Game of Thrones, I just can’t stop. But what’s not to love? A dragon queen, a charming dwarf, a Machiavellian with an Irish accent (looking at you, Little Finger), wild-haired wildlings and the unassailable Jon Snow: GoT is addictive stuff. After season’s end this week, I’ll be cocooned for the cruel, joyless months until they bring us Season 7. Winter, my friends, is coming.

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