Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 245 with Dana Stevens, June Thomas, and David Haglund with the audio player below.
And join the lively conversation on the Culturefest Facebook page here:
The sponsors of today’s show are 23andme.com and Warbyparker.com. Go to 23andme.com/Slate for your $99 personal genetic profile. Warby Parker, an easy way to buy prescription glasses and sunglasses online. Visit WarbyParker.com for the “Home Try-On Program.” And when you’re ready to purchase your favorite glasses, enter the promo code “Cultural” during the final check out for free two-day shipping.
Culturefest is on the radio! “Gabfest Radio” combines Slate’s Culture and Political Gabfests in one show—listen on Saturdays at 7 a.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. on WNYC’s AM820.
On this week’s episode, our critics chat about Before Midnight, the third installment of Richard Linklater’s ongoing chronicle of a fictional love affair. They also discuss HBO’s new Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, which is directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. Lastly, the Gabbers take on the topic of character likability in fiction: How important is it to you that characters in literature be likable?
Here are links to some of the things we discussed this week:
- The first two films in Richard Linklater’s Before series: Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.
- My Dinner With Andre, directed by Louis Malle.
- Michael Apted’s The Up Series.
- Filmmaker Whit Stillman.
- Travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor.
- Dana Stevens reviews Before Midnight for Slate.
- Richard Brody on Before Midnight for the New Yorker.
- “Before Midnight Isn’t About Us, but It Sure Feels That Way” by David Haglund for Slate.
- Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace, by Scott Thorson and Alex Thorleifson.
- “Was Liberace a Good Pianist?” by Bryan Lowder for Slate.
- Dana Stevens reviews Behind the Candelabra for Slate.
- Slate’s Spoiler Special on the film.
- Author Claire Messud’s interview with Publishers Weekly.
- The New Yorker’s forum on character likability.
- “I Like Likable Characters,” by Jennifer Weiner for Slate.
- Boris Kachka’s interview with Messud in New York.
- Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children and The Woman Upstairs.
- Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth and The Custom of the Country.
June: This blog post by Marc Shaiman, on writing songs for the now-canceled TV series Smash and the inner workings of a TV show.
David: I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era, by William Knoedelseder.
Outro: “Ana Ng,” by They Might Be Giants.
TODAY IN SLATE
Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.
The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly
How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.
A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently
How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully
On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.