Sarah Abdurrahman is a producer for On the Media
OTM Staff Picks: September 6th, 2011
Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - 02:04 PM
It's that time again, when the staff at On the Media recommends some of our favorite things. Feel free to offer us feedback in the comments section, and enjoy!
Sarah Abdurrahman: In a shout out to NPR, my pick this week is the video "The Voice," starring the comedian Liam Kyle Sullivan. I won't ruin it for anyone who hasn't already seen it, but trust me, watch it all the way through. It is hilarious.
Bob Garfield: "Dumbstruck" (Mark Goffman, 2010) is a doc about five ventriloquists. Among them, they embrace pretty much all of the drama of human existence. Excuse the expression, but the movie is jaw-dropping.
Brooke Gladstone: Another great read! Sons and Other Flammable Objects by Porochista Khakpour, is the kind of penetrating read about the utter impossibility of family that you expect from the likes of Jonathan Franzen, though Khakpor usually is compared to Zadie Smith. This story features two Iranian parents and one Iranian American son, all of whom drive each other crazy. This debut novel has that rare quality of being funniest when it’s sad and saddest when it’s funny. And it leaves every home-grown American with genuine insight into the challenges (sense of the absurd) that stalks every immigrant trying to make a place for himself in America.
Alex Goldman: I’m about four years late on this one, but over the past week, I have become unhealthily obsessed with the game Team Fortress 2. Now, the On the Media team is well known for loving games developed by Valve software (I recommended Half-Life 2 in my first staff pick, and we even interviewed Valve’s Robin Walker on the show in April) but this game allows for a whole new level of preoccupation. I won’t even attempt to describe its appeal here, as I’ve already failed trying to describe it to my wife over the course of the past week, but if you are even passingly interested in gaming, I can’t recommend this game strongly enough. My advice? Play as the spy.
If video games aren’t your thing but you’re still a geek, I am reading Bruce Sterling’s The Hacker Crackdown, a book about coordinated efforts to arrest hackers in the early 90’s, which is conveniently available online for free in just about any format you can imagine.
Lastly, I'd like to recommend this hypnotic short film without comment.
Chris Neary: My staff pick this week is Shorpy.com, a website that’s collected thousands of vintage photographs. The site is named after a teenage coal minor that lived a century ago named Shorpy Higginbotham. It’s remarkable how many photographs are on the site and how many are informative about the way people used to live or beautiful or both. Here are a few of my favorites: Trucks Akimbo (1939), Oxydol (1942), and, because we’re a media show, Read All About It (1903).
Katya Rogers: My staff pick this week is season 8 of "Curb Your Enthusiasm". I wasn’t even going to bother with it because seasons 6 and 7 sucked so bad (although 7 was almost saved by the Seinfeld reunion show), but after hearing my husband cracking up so much through the first episode I decided to see if it was really funny or if he’d just lost it. Turns out that this is most definitely the funniest that Larry has been in years: I credit the move to New York, (enough already with that tired LA-famous-people scene), and also the fact that my favorite character Suzie has taken a bigger role. Here’s a montage of her best cursing.
PJ Vogt: My staff pick this week is the film "The Talented Mr. Ripley". It feels Hitchcockian and manages to toe the line between genuinely taut (the boat scene) and unintentionally hilarious (the Jude Law dressed all in white and mournfully playing a saxophone scene.) If you were too busy to watch this movie between 1999 and 2011, now would be a great time to correct that mistake.