Good afternoon sweet email recipients, we hand-picked this newsletter just for you (as always). First up, teen girls who were gifted The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing stand UP. Melissa Bank, the book’s author, passed away last week, and she was better than most gave her credit for (except us, who have always loved her). We also have a hot tip for all you cinephiles looking for new and interesting cinematic experiences: The Hagi Method. This is guaranteed to give you a new relationship with whichever movie you pursue. Also embarking on a new relationship: Lea Michele with her Funny Girl role, Fanny Brice. COUNTDOWN CLOCK: 27 DAYS. Jane Lynch wants us very much to know there’s nothing to see here, folks. Surely there’s no drama between them, at least less than the Royal Family, who has taken to the United Nations to settle their family squabbles. It might be cheaper (for them) than a family therapist, and at least the U.N. has some background on their family history. If they can’t get another session there maybe they can book time with someone else who could give them some perspective: Rage Against the Machine, who have been very correct for a very long time, and who are finally getting their due. Speaking of which, I bid you adieu.
Melissa Bank Deserved More
By Cara Blue Adams
The author of the 'Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing' was a deft stylist whose work transcended chick lit
I first read Melissa Bank’s debut smash hit The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing in the early 2000s, and it was like a shot of pure pleasure and recognition. I’d majored in English at Smith College and, not knowing what to do with my degree, had accepted a job at a Boston law firm, the one sort of job that seemed on offer, though I did not want to continue on to law school. On my lunch breaks, I’d sneak off with a story collection or novel and try to puzzle out my place in the world.
Bank died last week from cancer at the age of 61, leaving an interesting legacy. She grew up outside of Philadelphia, earned an MFA from Cornell, worked in advertising, and spent 12 years writing her debut, which received an enormous advance. Though critically praised as well as popular, her books became regarded as light women’s fiction, when in reality they are anything but. There are many lessons to be gleaned from her writing: Painful experiences aren’t all of life, and as such, they aren’t all that’s worth capturing in literature. Funny doesn’t mean shallow. Courtship is a legitimate subject for serious fiction, even if we struggle to see that sometimes when a woman chooses it, as Bank did. It would be enough if that was her only subject, but she tackles much more. Bank’s themes include the complexities of family life, mortality, grief, and, crucially, loneliness. She explores the strictures of gender and how they might estrange us from ourselves and prevent us from finding real recognition and love; what it means to love a person who can never stop hurting you, a person you have to leave, though you don’t want to; what it means to try to create something of your own.
The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing — an interlinked story collection set mostly in New York City — spoke to me. Bank wrote about the struggles of being a girl and young woman, and she was funny. Her main character, Jane Rosenal, loved books, too, and she grew up to live in Manhattan and work in publishing, a dream that I hadn’t really let myself dream until reading the book. (I promptly gave it up for reasons of social class, but that’s another story.) Reading those stories, I remember, broke a slump: it was hard to find new writers I loved after graduating from college, and Bank was a welcome surprise. Continue reading
Some Movies Are Best Watched 5 Minutes at a Time
By Sarah Hagi
Introducing the Sarah Hagi Method
There are so many movies and TV shows to keep up these days, it can be hard to feel like you have your finger on the pulse of culture while still managing to live a rich and fulfilling life. And yet, I manage it. Awed by my power, friends sometimes ask how I have the time to consume all the media I do and no, it’s not because I am lonely and lead a meaningless existence. It’s all thanks to one special trick I adopted, one that makes watching anything very long or somewhat boring more enjoyable. Watch a movie over the course of months rather than in one sitting.
I discovered this technique while trying to watch Alita: Battle Angel, a mega blockbuster that came out in 2019 and has not been spoken of since. The film itself is too overwhelming, and I was only able to watch the first 45 minutes before turning it off to scroll through Twitter and fall asleep.
I thought that was the end of my Alita: Battle Angel experience, but the next morning I found myself looking for something to watch while eating lunch (boiled egg) and thought, may as well see what Alita does next. Surprisingly, I found I really enjoyed watching five minutes of this movie while eating an egg. So, for the next two months or so, I watched Alita: Battle Angel whenever I had a few minutes to kill, and I loved it. Crucially, knowing I could put it on while making a sandwich or waiting for a friend to pick me up meant I could spend those minutes watching something instead of trying to decide what to watch. Continue reading
28 Days Until Lea Michele Starts 'Funny Girl'
By Olivia Craighead
She’s keeping very busy
We are only one February away from Lea Michele taking the stage at the August Wilson Theatre to step into the role of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. That is so much time, but also so little time. It’s hard to tell in the summer.
To catch you up to speed: Beanie is out, Standby Julie is in (for the month of August), and Lea canceled her remaining City Winery shows to focus on rehearsing for Funny Girl. There are a lot of moving parts to this operation, but here at Gawker we only really care what Lea is up to. (But props to Julie for her New York Times profile!)
So what is Lea up to? Well I’m so glad you asked.
Two days ago she posted a photo of herself in front of the Funny Girl marquee wearing the black slip dress she has not taken off since the Spring Awakening cast reunited. Continue reading
The U.N. Reduced to a Royal Family Grievance-Airing Forum
By Claire Carusillo
Sort this out in a family group chat please
Prince Wombat and his estranged world poker champ brother Harry are waging war against each other again, though this time it’s under the guise of peace, love, and climate-change prevention at the United Nations.
As you may remember, last month Hague survivor Harry moved foreign dignitaries to tears with a groundbreaking U.N. speech about Meghan Markle’s bermuda shorts on Nelson Mandela Day. You may also remember that Meghan was the real “hero” of the General Assembly for handing a coughing lady a bottle of water. Mayor Eric Adams, a superstar D.J. who was emceeing the event, declared it Goody Markle Day at the U.N., and the entire city pinned bodega carnations to their lapels and wept into their Mets and/or Yankees hats, followed by lunch at Just Salad and karaoke at a place on 48th St.
It was a magickal night of peace-brokering that couldn’t be replicated. Unless…The Duke of Cambridge gives it a whirl. According to the Daily Mail, Prince William is traveling to New York in September and his trip will likely include a stop at the U.N. General Assembly to raise awareness about climate change. Honey, we know about it already, but OK, do your thing, make your little brother flaming-hot pissed again if you must.
The Mail reported, “During the trip, Prince William plans to meet Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City Mayor and American philanthropist who sits on the board of the Duke’s Earthshot Prize.” Continue reading
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