Syllabus

You will be tested.

KLEAN READS

When we're not turning heads, we're turning pages. 

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Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl 

If you like food and care about good writing, consider your education incomplete until you pick up Ruth Reichl's TENDER AT THE BONE: Growing Up at the Table. While her subsequent memoirs of her days as an NYT food critic (Garlic & Sapphires and Comfort Me With Apples) are both extraordinary and compelling reads, you can't fully appreciate them until you've devoured this, Reichl's first installment. The book is a beautifully written ode not only to food, but to the memories and relationships that gather around it. @smuntchie's copy, pictured here, tea-stained and dog-eared, is among her most prized possessions, and remains, miraculously, in one piece despite countless re-readings.

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The Dud Avocado by Eliane Dundy

THE DUD AVOCADO by Eliane Dundy is a hilarious book about a woman’s post-grad life in 50s Paris. Throughout various capers, wildly drunken nights, and several madcap rendezvous, you’ll fall in love and laugh with Sally Jay Gorce. Imagine something out of GIRLS, but with far more elegant clothing, more effervescence and (somehow) worse men. 🥑

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Widow Basquiat: A Love Story by Jennifer Clement

WIDOW BASQUIAT is, of course, a must-read for fans of Jean-Michel’s work, or anyone obsessed with 80s NYC. But it’s also magnificently written, heartbreaking and uplifting. Suzanne Mallouk is a captivating and badass woman whose story is both totally emblematic of another time and relevant to our world today.

 

Cinema

watch this

Raise the Red Lantern

Directed by Zhang Yimou 1991

The film, set in 1920s China, overflows with rich colors and sensuous muse-en-scène. It offers commentary on the complexity of the female position in subservient relationships with men, in competition with other women, and was banned in China for a period of time due to its socially critical message.

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Pariah Directed by Dee Rees

Starring Adepero Oduye,  Pariah tells the story of an African American teen girl struggling to find a way to reconcile her own sexual identity with her family's expectations. 

We are the Best! Directed by Lukas Moodysson

If Lukas Moodysson's "We Are the Best!" (Vi är bäst!) won't convince you that punk is not dead, we don't know what will.

 

Sounds

Helen America's Songs You Should Know

Shut Up and Listen

 
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Garbage, “Queer” (1995)

“Queer” was one of the first songs that Garbage wrote with Shirley Manson, and one of their first hits - it’s grungy and trippy and perfect, and my personal favorite song of theirs (and I am a HUGE FAN). Shirley Manson is one of the coolest women to grace a stage - and even cooler is that she rewrote some of the early lyrics to be sexually ambiguous. If that’s not enough Garbage for you, then you should check out This Is The Noise That Keeps Me Awake, a newly published book documenting their 20+ year history. 

 
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Cocteau Twins, “Cherry Coloured Funk” (1990)

Fun fact: singer Elizabeth Fraser’s lyrics on this song are considered to be some of the more intelligible that she’s sung. She has been called “the voice of God,” and this song is one of her brightest moments. The Cocteau Twins are your go-to for classic late-80s, ethereal, goth music.

 
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Kelis, “22nd Century” (2010)

“22nd Century” is a masterpiece of afrofuturist music, off of Kelis’s criminally underrated 2010 record Flesh Tone. It’s a gorgeous piece of EDM and will guaranteed get you strutting to the subway, floating through your traffic jam or just plain dancing, as the OG Bossy lady commands…