Staff Picks: What the PRINT Team is Loving This Week

Posted inPrint Magazine

Somehow, 2023 is already careening to a close, but the year’s not over yet! There’s still plenty of compelling art coming out, and our staff is enjoying colorful exhibitions, ambitious bakeries, and must-see TV in our respective corners all over America. Below, we talk about what’s caught our attention in the recent past, including enlightening Hollywood documentaries, poetic indie rock, and shared excitement for Sunday’s White Lotus finale.

The White Lotus season two

As a big fan of White Lotus season one, I can confidently say that season two takes the cake. Everything from the stunning, thoughtful costume designs to the gorgeous Italian scenery to Jennifer Coolidge in general, it’s truly a whole vibe. And, on par with the show is the TikTok commentary that breaks down theories, easter eggs, and comparisons to other works of art. The algorithm has sucked me in, and I now can’t escape the hypnotically frantic theme song, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. —Chloe Gordon, Social Media Manager + Content Editor

I know I’m by no means unique in stating this. But: My god! White Lotus season two is so good. In fact, I like it better than season one, which I loved. However, I couldn’t tell you what makes the show so watchable if I tried. (I’m trying. And failing.) There’s just a certain element to the storytelling and underlying thematic explorations that is not just brilliant, but utterly addictive. Which makes its weekly cadence a crime. —Zachary Petit, Editor of The Daily Heller

Is That Black Enough for You!?! (2022)

This week, I watched the revelatory documentary Is That Black Enough for You!?!, produced and directed by my former New York Times colleague and film critic Elvis Mitchell. While focusing attention on the controversial, though profitable genre of “Blaxploitation films” like Shaft, Cleopatra Jones, and Superfly, this doc covers a wide scope. Through interviews with a host of famous crossover (i.e. Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and Diana Sands) and should’ve-been-more-widely-known actors, Mitchell addresses how pre and post-war Black film characterizations influenced the racial self-image— positive and negative. A large number of the films were unknown to me. That there was also an entire parallel world of non-Hollywood Black filmmaking (often underwritten by white investors, who earned back the lion’s share of profits) and exclusive Black theaters was a surprise. Mitchell provides an engaging narration that combines his engaging personal and professorial tone. Now playing on Netflix, Is That Black Enough for You!?! raises the curtain on a cultural chapter that, for the majority of white culture, has been purposely left in the dark. —Steven Heller, Editor-at-Large

Takes the Cake bakery in Pasadena, CA

For his birthday, our dear friend’s love of Pop Art was baked into this delicious cake. Based in Pasadena, Takes the Cake has been offering cake, cake, and more cake since 1983. Yum! —Deb Aldrich, Publisher

James Turrell’s The Color Inside installation in Austin, TX

What would happen if Josef Albers begat an artist? After experiencing The Color Inside, the 84th in James Turrell’s Skyspace series I’m convinced that Turrell is the child of painter, and author of Interaction of Color, Josef Albers. Albers believed that color was best studied through experience. He went on to characterize color as being passive, deceiving, and unstable. If Albers had a child, it would be Turrell, who took these concepts and translated those flat Albers paintings into a three-dimensional space using light technology to render a color filled experience that your eyes say is one thing even while knowing it is another. When I finally experienced The Color Inside installation on the University of Texas campus I immediately thought of Albers. This small oval building with a coffered ceiling is a 90-minute light show where in the building sides, ceiling and, open circle to the sky translate into a colorized experience. Or, in fact, similar to one of the other 80 Turrell installations. Since there are so many I suggest you add this to your travel research for an ever-evolving color experience. NOTE: Although hard to believe the circle in the middle of each image is open to the sky. —Laura Des Enfants, Publisher

Black Friday by Palehound

Earlier this week, I went for a picturesque walk around my neighborhood to take in the crisp air, colorful trees, and crunchy leaves of late fall, and Palehound’s 2019 album Black Friday was the perfect accompaniment. In just a little over half an hour, the Boston band plays poignant, funny, endearing songs about queer love, doomed lust, and the terrible decisions we only really seem to make in the wake of heartbreak. Bandleader Ellen Kempner has a knack for strong hooks and gut punch lyrics, and Bachelor, her band with Jay Som, made one of my favorite albums of 2021. Palehound has been around for a while and makes consistently great music that I don’t think gets enough love, so if you’re looking for something to enjoy with a hot drink and a brisk walk, give Black Friday a shot. —Sarah Fonder, Managing Editor