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The Stranger's Silent Reading Party
Every Wednesday at 6 pm we're going to throw these parties, at least until stay-at-home is over. Attendees at the first Zoom silent-reading party included famous actors, writers, composers, artists, families, teenagers doing their homework, people staring into space listening to the music because it was just so beautiful, cats, and even one household on Orcas Island that was eating dinner and decided to broadcast the reading party as their background music. (What a brilliant idea!) It wasn't just a great party to be at. Behind the scenes, this was a roaring success as well. Our musician Paul Matthew Moore made ten times more on Venmo tips than he's ever made in the tip jar at the Sorrento (thank you for your generosity—he deserves it!), and hundreds of people at the party have written us emails, clamoring for more. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

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The Talisman
Looking for a good book to read while you're enjoying that Silent Reading ambiance? Why not go big, go pop, go KING: Stephen King, that is, one of the most well-read human beings on Earth, and also one of the most well-watched since practically everything he's ever imagined has been turned into a movie or a TV show. One of the few he's written that hasn't? His fantasy epic The Talisman, co-written with Peter Straub (ebook available at MultCo Library w/ card, physical copies avail at Powell's, $19.99). The story has almost been adapted by Steven Spielberg three or four times by now, but until that happens, the universe those two masters of horror spin out in the pages of The Talisman can only be visited in your mind, and it's a pretty damned wondrous (and scary) place to go.

The Kingcast
Speaking of those multitudes of adapted King titles: There's a podcast for that now! For a ton of people, Stephen King is more like a name-brand than an author, and their first exposure to him has been via film or tv, not his plain-spoken prose. The quality of those adaptations varies a little more wildly than the quality of the source material, and Birth.Movies.Death EIC Scott Wampler has teamed up with film critic Eric Vespe to provide a podcast guide to the best and worst of King's catalog. The Kingcast is opening strong with special guest Kumail Nanjiani helping them take a look at The Running Man, a movie that doesn't have much to do with the short story it sprang from, but does feature Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Richard Dawson as directed by one half of Starsky & Hutch.

The Kingcast
Speaking of those multitudes of adapted King titles: There's a podcast for that now! For a ton of people, Stephen King is more like a name-brand than an author, and their first exposure to him has been via film or tv, not his plain-spoken prose. The quality of those adaptations varies a little more wildly than the quality of the source material, and Birth.Movies.Death EIC Scott Wampler has teamed up with film critic Eric Vespe to provide a podcast guide to the best and worst of King's catalog. The Kingcast is opening strong with special guest Kumail Nanjiani helping them take a look at The Running Man, a movie that doesn't have much to do with the short story it sprang from, but does feature Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Richard Dawson as directed by one half of Starsky & Hutch.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (now streaming, Netflix) is a sweet, sad movie that hinges on the topic of mental illness in young men, and sets his mental health issues amid the fashion, mixtapes, and Rocky Horror Picture Show-screenings of teenagers dabbling in the counterculture in the late-'90s; the whole thing is one hell of a nostalgia trip. (Cracker is on the soundtrack, for chrissakes.) It's a great little movie, one that stands right next to Dazed and Confused for perfectly capturing an accurate decade-in-a-bottle snapshot of suburban American teenagers. ALISON HALLETT

Ben Platt: Live from Radio City Music Hall
On the subject of of acclaimed portrayals of teen anxiety: Ben Platt achieved bonafide Broadway stardom in Dear Evan Hansen, and followed that up by joining Ryan Murphy's gleefully dysfunctional TV family, anchoring Netflix's satire The Politician. Now he's leveraging that Netflix power to get his own hourlong special on the platform, called Ben Platt: Live from Radio City Music Hall. He's got a band, he's got some personal songs to sing, some personal stories to share, and one amazing floral-pattern shirt to sweat through all night long.

Set My Heart on Fire Immediately
Perfume Genius is the project of singer/songwriter Mike Hadreas, whose albums tend to revolve around themes of sexuality, addiction, chronic illness, abuse, and homophobia. He sings about being gay and the frustration of being punished for something he can’t control, but he greets pain with sardonic wit, imagining his own transcendence in grand, sweeping protest music. This is reflected in fluid movements between genres, from glam rock to the magic of Angelo Badalamenti’s piano ballads to stringed chamber folk to TLC-inspired R&B grooves to volcanic pop anthems. They’re all united by Hadreas’ androgynous voice—he’s always commanding the center, through explosive moments of catharsis and lighter-treading hymns. CIARA DOLAN

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