A cooler blend of culture

The A-Z of Things We Love Right Now (Part II)

Cream continues its A-Z of things we love in popular culture, trending, entertainment and lifestyle, moving through the letters M to Z.

 

Muppets et al

M IS FOR MUPPETS, MUSIC & MAGIC

Goodness, it’s difficult to keep with the good folk at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (or ACMI, phew) since they have so many awesome exhibitions and screen festivals overlapping throughout the year. But we’re glad they do; it makes trips to Melbourne city all the more worth it. In September, ACMI present Muppets, Music & Magic: Jim Henson’s Legacy, a dive into the unique (and often insane) world of the greatest puppeteer of all time.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Henson’s passing, and Muppets… explores his many contributions to television, cinema and music – featuring experimental films, advertisements, animations, as well as his work on arguably the most famous and influential of all TV programs, Sesame Street (Don’t believe us? What’s the first TV show you remember watching as a kid?).

Explore the mastery of the Muppets and Co’s maker over 20 magical days.  Antonino Tati

 

‘Muppets, Music & Magic: Jim Henson’s Legacy’ screens at ACMI from Monday 21 September to Sunday 11 October 2015. For more information, session times and tickets, visit www.acmi.net.au/jim-hensons-legacy.  

 

M Sings @2x

M IS ALSO FOR MIRANDA SINGS’ NEW ‘SELP-HELF’ BOOK

Just in case you think you’re going through a bout of dyslexia, no, you haven’t read wrongly. That does indeed read SELP-HELF and not SELF-HELP. Brought to you by self-made Youtube star, Miranda Sings, is this coffee table book (yep, we’re calling it that) which upon first glance looks tackily put-together but at closer inspection is actually rather clever. Packed with social networking tips and more ironic listicles than you can poke a phallic symbol at (while also taking the complete piss out of the ‘self-help’ genre), this is one very easy read from a girl who’s perhaps not-so-easy on the eye. Then again, like the she says, “Haters Back Off”.  AT

 

‘Selp-Helf’ by Miranda Sings is available through Simon & Schuster Australia, RRP $29.99 in hardcopy, $10.99 in eBook.

 

Netflix

N IS FOR NETFLIX

We can’t get enough of this particular television/film streaming service. While Orange Is The New Black may be losing its hyped-up touch, there’s plenty more fresh great stuff where that came from. Recent fabulous Netflix finds include the funny (as in queer, and funny as in ha-ha) Tina Fey-produced Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, hilariously camp Wet Hot American Summer, oh-so-dramatic Bloodline starring Sissy Spacek and Ben Mendelsohn, and the soon-to-air Baz Luhrmann-directed urban musical series, The Get Down. All that plus TV series Lost, Mad Men and Heroes in their entirety – makes the $11 price tag per month a pittance to pay.  Michael Mastess

 

To subscribe, visit www.netflix.com.

 

Object Lessons

O IS FOR OBJECT LESSONS

Object Lessons is a series of short, well written and beautifully designed books about the extraordinary detail of ordinary things. The series delves into the hidden lives of objects we often take for granted – be they doorknobs, drivers’ licenses, or even now-commonplace drones. The series has been published globally since January this year (available through Bloomsbury in Australia) and is proving most popular with literary types, specialists in specific fields of employment, and trainspotters in general. Put it this way, if you worked in a library and wanted to know about the history of, say, bookshelves, this is the series you would turn to on said shelves. And, get this, there’s even a book dedicated to the subject (object?) of… Silence. Spooky, huh?  AT

 

Object Lessons are published through Bloomsbury Academic, RRP $19.99 per paperback.

 

Pixels Movie Poster

P IS FOR PIXELS

We all know what happens when you bring a bunch of comic book characters to life in the film world – you end up with a clash of the titans; cases in point: The Avengers or, to a tamer degree, the recent Lego Movie. But what happens when you drag an array of gaming icons into one big movie? Well, you’ll find out later in the year when Sony Pictures Entertainment releases its live-meets-animated comedy Pixels.

Classic gaming characters boasting a starring role in the retro-saturated flick include Donkey Kong, Pac-man, Centipede, Frogger, Q*bert and a whole bunch of Space Invaders. So retro are the aesthetics, that each of these characters are, yes, heavily pixelated.

The film co-stars Adam Sandler, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage and Brian Cox, and is was directed by Chris “I made Home Alone, Harry Potter, Gremlins and The Goonies, thank you very much” Columbus. Suffice to say, it’s sure to be a trip to watch. View the trailer here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p9yCvbe_mY AT

 

‘Pixels’ hits cinemas September 10.

 

Queer Radicalism

Q IS FOR QUEER CULTURE

Perhaps not so guerrilla in their political tactics but nonetheless intense in a digital sense, queer culture is proving that you can make waves without the brutality – heck, even without the placards. The recent assault by the LGBTI community on the digital world through simple ‘rainbow’ tinting of Facebook profiles went viral globally and sent the message out loud and clear that people – gay, bisexual, transsexual, straight, or otherwise – basically don’t give a toss about gays, bisexuals, trannies or straights marrying whomever/wherever/whenever. So long as folks are doing it for one good reason: love. Throw in a swag of celebrity (hello ‘Say Yes To Love’ compilation albums) and high political endorsement of marriage equality – from Uganda to the USA – and trend is sure to turn into something, well, normal. And with a cross-bench bill for marriage equality currently racing through Parliament, there’s a fairer process for discussion on the topic than OTT PM Tony Abbott might ever have hoped for.

Heck, even straight folk are getting in on the queer act, with Patrick Stewart and Conan O’Brien making out on camera this week, one critic stating that “heterosexual male kissing should totally be a thing”.  AT

 

Redbubble 01

R IS FOR REDBUBBLE

From stationery to home décor, street fashion to high tech, Redbubble has your love for iconic themes covered. It’s an online creative marketplace that provides artists and designers with a platform to exhibit their work (akin to diverse t-shirt site, Threadless). In turn, individuals can select their favourite independent designs, printed on a range of quality products, as a quirky and unique alternative to the mass-produced and mundane. Think: not as ubiquitous as Typo nor as individual as an original Van Gough and you get the idea. Visit www.redbubble.com and be blown away by the variety of design streamlining opportunities. With design ideas in equal doses of cute and kitsch, it’s like Hello Kitty and Frankie magazine were having a party and decided to redecorate the house.  AT

Redbubble 02

southbound-2016-dates-1

S IS FOR SOUTHBOUND FESTIVAL

Southbound Festival have dropped their line-up for 2015 and it’s pretty frigging awesome. The 12th edition of the much-loved music fest will feature such OMG acts as Art vs Science, Bloc Party, Foals, Soak, Disclosure, Hilltop Hoods, Birds Of Tokyo, Jarryd James and (roll the drums) Courtney Barnett and newly-announced Dead Letter Circus.

Happening from Friday January 8th until Sunday January 10th 2016, there are plenty fab additions to next year’s event including a brand new night to kick things off – Friday Night Fever – where it’s all about the fancy dress get-up, a dance-off comp, and other out-there surprises. More information and ticket pre-sales available at www.southboundfestival.com.auMichael Mastess

 

Sol Republic Punk Speakers

S IS ALSO FOR SOL REPUBLIC PUNK SPEAKER

A speaker that is ultra-portable, rugged and surprisingly loud for its small size, the Sol Republic Punk Speaker proves good things do come in small packages. Water, shock and dust resistant, the ‘Punk’ is tough enough to withstand whatever is thrown at it, with exceptional eight-hour battery life, and 60-foot wireless range, this Bluetooth speaker is a true pocket rocket.RRP $99.95, available from Vodafone stores and via www.solrepublicaustralia.com.au.  MM

 

Tic Tacs Banana

T IS FOR TIC-TACS

Especially the limited edition banana-flavoured ones designed to look like mini Minions. Yes, we know the film has been out for the better part of a month but we didn’t realise the rambunctious yellow pills had taken over Tic Tac packaging… until now. As for the flavour: bursting with tropical nyum nyum. Available from supermarkets and delis.  LA

 

repetitive strain injury

U IS FOR UNEXPECTED ELECTRONIC PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE

Anti-spam software, ‘hacktivists’, ‘burner phones’, stories of businesses using Facebook to make employment decisions – these are all products of unexpected electronic psychological warfare. We all started signing up for it years ago. Well, signing in for it, at least. A few log-in details here, a few secret questions and answers there wouldn’t hurt on the world wide web, we thought. Until those details were added up, we’d forgotten who we handed half of them over to, and now hackers are having a field day playing with our private information (or, in the case of Jennifer Lawrence vs The Cloud, private parts). It’s the kind of global paranoia every true hacker only dreams of. Whether to believe they’ve ‘got your number’ and be sceptical every time you go online, or feel comfortable in the notion that you’re not the only one (just talk to any of the government officials or police officers affected by the Ashley Madison scandal) is up to you. Next big buzz phrase to go viral on the net: Unexpected Electronic Psychological Warfare Protection, of course.

We’re calling it the War On Terrifying Consumers.  AT

 

Vavoom Roadie Mini Bar

V IS FOR VAVOOM EMPORIUM

Recycling and upcycling are nothing new but it’s the way artisans are upgrading their wares that we’re currently impressed with. Vavoom Emporium is a furniture and homewares business that loves to take old stuff and turn it into something altogether rustic and new. Like their ‘Roadie Mini Bar’, pictured (RRP $1691.00) – essentially a wooden trunk on wheels with shelving for all your precious beverages.

Vavoom focuses on sourcing unique, inspiring and heart-warming products for both the home and the commercial sector. With their regular restyling of products, adding that certain oomph to decor, it’s a must-visit outlet online (or check out their store in St Kilda, Melbourne). Go to www.vavoom.com.au.  MM

 

Wentworth S4 @2x

W IS FOR ‘WENTWORTH: SEASON 4’

The steam press is hissing, the dryers are tumbling and the cameras are rolling with production underway on season four of internationally acclaimed Aussie drama Wentworth. The cast and crew are settling in to a new location and studio in Melbourne’s western suburbs to shoot the 12-episode season which sees things truly hotting up.

While its US counterpart, the dark comedy that is Orange Is The New Black, is copping a bit of flak for its OTT sentiment, Wentworth is winning even more fans season on season.

Watch as the intertwined lives of Bea, Joan, Vera, Franky and Co get even more twisted and hardcore.  LA

 

Xperia e4g

X IS FOR XPERIA

The new Sony Xperia, that is. Whenever a new Sony Xperia smartphone is released, it promises an awesome technical experience. In the past, we’ve enjoyed the benefits of the Xperia ‘Z’, the ‘arc’, the ‘neo’ and the ‘PLAY’, and while each possesses a fancy name, two things they have in common are stunning form and practical function. The new Sony Xperia E4g is no exception. Forget the letters and digits stand for, we’ll just cut to the chase of how smart a smartphone this one really is.

At 135 grams, it feels lighter than its predecessors and yet its packed with more features. It boasts up to four fingers multi-touching, scratch-resistant glass, internal memory of 8 GB with a microSD card allowing up to 32 gigs more of data, a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, touch focus and geo-tagging (hello the best selfies you’ve ever taken), and high quality WAV ringtones (that’s a more robust sound than MP3, although these are compatible on the device, too).

In sum, the Xperia E4g is an inexpensive, unpretentious, practical phone of minimalist but sturdy design – thick, yes, but light, and pretty enough to whip out of your pocket to compete against all them bright-coloured gizmos.  Antonino Tati

 

For full specs and pricing, visit www.sonymobile.com/au.

 

YSL first option

Y IS FOR YVES SAINT LAURENT MUSIC PROJECT

The Yves Saint Laurent Music Project has been running for a couple of years now but suddenly has all manner of rock royalty wanting to jump on board. With photography by the brand’s creative director Hedi Slimane, the project boasts a host of rock icons wearing YSL head-to-toe. These include the veteran likes of Joni Mitchell and Keith Richards, alongside rock-deconstructionists such as Marilyn Manson and Ariel Pink. The project aims to reignite the brand’s relationship with rock music, recognising that collaborations like this have been at the core of the house since its earliest days, with Yves Saint Laurent himself dressing the likes of Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger way back when. It’s certainly keeping our music folk in finer threads than we’re used to seeing them in…  LA

 

Zinger Crisps

Z IS FOR ZINGER CRISPS

Smiths Crisps have teamed with Kentucky Fried Chicken to create a bigger, bolder, buzzier chip in the form of the Zinger Crisp. That’s right, just when you thought your cholesterol risk couldn’t get any higher, now there’s a crisp that’s full of the big C stuff – because all that paleo and gluten-free talk really has gotten out of hand of late. Smiths Limited Edition Zinger Crisps will be available from September 8 at Coles and KFCs country-wide.  MM

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