Cultural Hot List: Summer

Posted in Cultural Hot List on May 28, 2010

Top 5 ways to keep cool this summer:

1. Reading with your toes between the sand and your pages fluttering in an ocean breeze
2. Ducking into a dark movie theater
3. You. Your i-pod. A hammock.
4. Holding an icy cold beer at music festival
5. Clicker + ice cream

Suggestions to help you fulfill these goals…


Beach, mountain, park, roof…anywhere you are, these are some of summer’s hot titles:

Jennifer Weiner, Fly Away Home – July 13
Synopsis: A new novel from this #1 best-selling author, her new novel is “written with an irresistible blend of heartbreak and hilarity. Fly Away Home is an unforgettable story of a mother and two daughters who after a lifetime of distance finally learn to find refuge in one another.”
More at Simon and Schuster’s website

Jon Clinch, Kings of the Earth - July 6
Synopsis: Together since birth on a hardscrabble farm, the three Proctor brothers work and live side by side—until one morning, when only two of them wake up. In Kings of the Earth, the people of an upstate New York town raise their voices one by one—to sort out the differences between death by natural causes, mercy killing, and murder.
More at Jon’s website

Jon’s first book, Finn, was praised by everyone from Newsweek to USA Today to Entertainment Weekly. Jon will talk more about Kings of the Earth when he will be Mom Culture’s featured artist in July.

Margaret Dilloway, How to Be An American Housewife - August 5
Synopsis: The story of a Japanese mother and her American daughter (the father is an American GI.) The author was actually inspired to write this novel after finding a book her father had given to her mother called The American Way of Housekeeping (which was actually a book for maids, not wives…small difference back in those days, maybe!)
More at Margaret’s site.

Martha McPhee, Dear Money – early June
Synopsis: A modern-day Pygmalion-esque story about a writer-turned-trader after she meets a successful trader who offers to teach her everything about the business in 18 months. It’s a captivating story of misplaced priorities (misplaced priorities? paging my 20s.)
More at Martha’s website.


If you want to revisit your childhood, The Karate Kid and The A Team both open June 11 and Grease The Sing-a-Long opens July 8.

If you want to revisit someone else’s childhood (and current day reunion), see The Grown Ups starring Adam Sandler, Salma Hayek, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade.

If you want to make movie memories for your own kids’ childhood:
Ramona and Beezus, July 23 – based on the award-winning book series by Beverly Cleary. Rated G
Toy Story 3, June 18 – Rated G
Despicable Me, July 9 – animated with voices from Steve Carell and SNL’s Kristen Wiig. Rated PG.

For You:

The Kids Are All Right, July 9
Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play a couple, Mark Ruffalo the sperm donor who is contacted by the womens’ two teenage kids and the family dynamic gets re-defined. The New York Times says this film is a generous, nearly note-perfect portrait of a modern family.” (more at the film’s site)

The Concert, July 16
A once-famous former head of Russia’s Bolshoi Orchestra intercepts an invitation for the Bolshoi to play in Paris. He pretends he’s the head of the Orchestra, gathers his former musicians and heads to Paris. This foreign comedy of second chances promises to showcase some beautiful classical music.

In French and Russian, with English subtitles. (note: the trailer title says “in cinemas April 29″ but the wide release is actually July 16; it’s playing some film festivals prior to July 16)

Going the Distance, August 27
Cap off the summer with a light romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore and her real-life boyfriend Justin Long as a long distance couple.


The Roots, How I Got Over, June 8
The Roots have a unique and cool jazzy hip-hop sound.

Sting, Symphonicity, July 13
Sting sings his hits and Police hits accompanied by The Royal English Concert Orchestra. Here’s a video of him rehearsing with the “band.”

Sheryl Crow, 100 Miles From Memphis – July 20
The album title refers to her hometown in Missouri, which is located 100 miles from Memphis. The album is inspired by the soul music coming out of Memphis when she was growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s. She’s touring all summer, including a Central Park gig on Juy 23 for Good Morning America’s Summer Concert series.

Here’s a link to a brief clip featuring a song off her new album.


Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN – June 10-13
The line up includes Dave Matthew Band, Kings of Leon, Stevie Wonder, Conan O’Brien, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Jimmy Cliff, and so many more…unbelievable!

All Points West – end of July, New York (Liberty State Park)
Though exact dates and line-up are yet to be announced, last year’s acts included Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend and Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Lollapalooza, Grant Park, Chicago – August 6-8
First off, “Lollapalooza” didn’t even get spell-checked in Mac Pages, it’s that much a part of our vernacular. Line up includes Lady Gaga, Green Day, MGMT, The Strokes and more great bands.

Some good websites for festival listings:
Festival Finder


Summer tv is filled with repeats and reality shows, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist – Bravo, June 9
Sarah Jessica Parker is an executive producer on this reality competition show to find, as the title says, the next great artist. A melding of two of my favorite things: television and art!

What will the “you’re out” line be? Top Chef has “pack your knives,” Shear Genius (a hair competition) says “You just don’t make the cut.” Maybe Work of Art can go with “Your paint can is dry,” “The brush stops here,” “We see no strokes of genius,” “We’re giving you the brush off”…the possibilities are endless.

Kathy Griffin My Life on the D List, Season 6 – Bravo, June 15
Kathy Griffin: you either love her or you hate her, but I happen to be in the “love her” camp…so much so that I’ve seen her do her stand-up live. No one on television has this much chutzpah and it makes her show a raucous good time. After 5 seasons and an Emmy, I’m pretty sure she’s at least made it to the C- list.

Scoundrels – premiers on ABC, June 20
This new dramedy based on a series from New Zealand centers on a corrupted family trying to go straight. I haven’t yet seen a commercial, but Oscar-nominee Virginia Madsen stars and I like her (remember her from the film Sideways?) Plus, this past fall ABC launched one of the best new shows on television – Modern Family – so I kind of trust them right now.

  • 2 responses to "Cultural Hot List: Summer"

  • lenore
    9th June 2010 at 15:20

    i hear you, nicole – i’m trying to make it a goal to do at least one thing in each category!

  • Nicole Feliciano
    8th June 2010 at 19:30

    What a compelling list. I’m inspired! If only I can book a sitter and find time to read and attend some concerts. At least I can add some movies to my netflix queue.