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Welcome back!

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who's supporting this newsletter on Patreon! Saunter over there if you haven't already; I've created several levels with rewards, and I'm even posting exclusive videos and stuff. 

Ready? Let's fire up this baby ...
What I'm into right now:

A few things threading my needle:

COMICS: As expected, Free Comic Book Day was a blast. My daughter grabbed a huge stack and ranks Jeffrey Brown's LUCY & ANDY NEANDERTHAL as her fave FCBD exclusive. (I'm a longtime fan of Jeff's work, and his Lucy & Andy series is perfect for middle-grade readers.) As for my haul, I loved Emil Ferris' MY FAVORITE THING IS MONSTERS exclusive from Fantagraphics. Even if you weren't able to get out last weekend, you can still preview most of the books on (Also, some comics shops may have leftovers. It doesn't hurt to ask!)

YOUTUBE: GAY OF THRONES is the only GoT recap worth absorbing. In the latest ep (which recaps the May 5 episode), Jonathan Van Ness is joined by Kumail Nanjiani to talk video games, dragons and "Evil, No Volume Carol Brady" (aka Cersei).

TRAILERS: "Everybody's busy being somebody." The Ram Dass documentary BECOMING NOBODY looks intriguing and arrives this fall. ... I'm also so ready for VIDA to return. The sexy/funny/sad/cool Starz series comes back May 26, though folks with the Starz app can steam all 10 episodes starting May 23.

MUSIC: I saw the Meat Puppets on Wednesday, and I'm still in awe over their incredible "Lake of Fire" performance. This band has been together almost 40 years and has been through just about everything a band/family can go through — and they still sound incredible. Dip into the classics if you haven't in awhile (MEAT PUPPETS II is a perfect album), and/or check out the new record, which includes a lovely cover of "Sea of Heartbreak."

COMEDY: On Sunday I saw ASSSSCAT, UCB Theatre's beloved improv show. I'm always amazed by the talent they cram onto one stage; that night it included Ashlie Atkinson, Tami Sagher, Shannon O'Neill and Jeff Hiller. (Last year Jeff delighted me in the one-man show BRIGHT COLORS AND BOLD PATTERNS. Do any of you subscribe to BroadwayHD? Lately I've been tempted to get it ...)

HELP A READER: On a more serious note, Oklahoma-based reader Joey L. has been battling severe depression, and this week he set up a GoFundMe to help him afford medical treatment and a temporary leave from work. If you'd like to donate, I know he'd appreciate it. I'm so glad Joey is taking steps to get better, and let's all send some positive thoughts his way.

Last weekend I attended a 25th anniversary screening of REALITY BITES and reached a higher level of consciousness during the Q&A, in which Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, screenwriter Helen Childress and others gathered to reminisce.

11 things I learned/loved about this event:
1. Apparently, before REALITY BITES got its title, it was called, um, BABY BUSTERS;
2. Janeane says she was fired from the film for disrespectful behavior but then rehired ... 
and a similar thing happened again when she was cast in THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS & DOGS; 
3. Originally, writer Helen Childress ended the film with Lelaina's BMW literally bursting into flames; 
4. Winona made Ethan watch eps of THE BEN STILLER SHOW to convince him Stiller had the acting/directing chops for the job;
5. When asked how Ethan got his hair so greasy for the film, he exclaimed, "That was my look, baby!";
6. Ben said that during the shoot they were always on the lookout for continuity errors with Winona's floppy hairstyle;
7. Janeane cut her Bettie Page bangs right before filming. After Ben Stiller saw them, he asked if they could be undone;
8. Ben regrets the way the film fetishizes smoking, but Winona noted her character wears a nicotine patch in the final scene;
9. Lisa Loeb surprised us by performing "Stay" during the closing credits;
10. Originally, Stiller and the producers desperately wanted a Lemonheads song in the movie, but the band/label declined because "selling out" was so uncool in the '90s; and 
11. Because Ethan quotes a Gregory Corso poem in the movie, Corso received residual checks for years. Ethan later learned that the money paid for Corso's medical bills at the end of his life.

After this event, my friend Wes and I spotted Helen Childress walking down the street. We raced after her to tell her how much the movie meant to us, and she seemed genuinely touched. It's hard to believe Helen wrote the screenplay in her early 20's; today, she still works in the film industry and has a daughter in high school.
And YOU recommend:

TV: Mike in Jersey City says he blazed through all 10 episodes of Netflix's DEAD TO ME and that the show includes some unexpected twists. Guess I need to finish watching now!

MUSIC: "Everyone's talking about Vampire Weekend (
and they should be, I really like the album), but I want to recommend something similar-but-different," Jeff tells us. "'Dracula School Night' is a track by Brooklyn's Little Hustle, and just as a concept (a rant seemingly left over from 2010, a brilliant title, spot-on cover art) but it turns out to be a pretty great song, too. ... Also, Herman says he's into the band whenyoung, which he describes as "echoes of '90s bands The Sundays and The Cranberries. They're based out of the UK and from Ireland, and have an LP out later this month." He recommends the new song "Future," along with the track "Given Up" and their cover of The Cranberries' "Dreams." 

MERCH: Shout-out to Carla, who pointed me to a bunch of cool WFMU merch. Proceeds support the independent radio station, which is among the last of its kind. You can stream WFMU from wherever you are, and I guarantee you'll hear something interesting. 

THANKS: Thanks to longtime reader Bob S. for saying nice things about this newsletter on his website. If you spread the word, let me know and/or tag me on social media.

AND YOU? OK, so what are you watching/hearing/doing? Share via email or text/voicemail at 929-515-1988. I'll put you in a future newsletter!

Cool recs from ... ABBY DENSON!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned Abby Denson's wonderful, kid-friendly graphic travel guide, COOL GUIDE TO JAPAN. This week the talented cartoonist shares a few things she's into: 

- I recently watched the Mudhoney documentary I'M NOW: THE STORY OF MUDHONEY. It covers Mudhoney's history, and I learned a lot about Sub Pop records and Seattle's '90s music scene. Check out their latest album, Digital Garbage, too! 

- Another great album people should check out is Alice Bag's Blueprint, which came out last year. The video for 77 (a punk protest song about wage inequality) has cameos by Kathleen Hanna, Seth Bogart, Allison Wolfe and Shirley Manson, and it's a parody of the classic movie NINE TO FIVE. I love this song and video!

- For comics, I recommend YOU DON'T GET THERE FROM HERE, a long-running diary comic by Carrie McNinch. Carrie just started a Patreon and has already posted some great content. Music, cats, aging and travels to Japan are some topics in the comic, which I enjoy a lot.

- Another comic I'd like to draw attention to is BAND VS. BAND by Kathleen Jacques. It's a fun story of two local rock bands: one plays happy bubblegum rock, the other band has a dark and edgy style. The female singers of the bands have an intense rivalry, but what are their true feelings? Cute, funny, romantic, and for fans of punk and indie rock this hits a lot of fun buttons.

Thanks for the killer recs, Abby! To learn more about her work, head to and follow her on Medium, where she posts comics. 

THE WEEK AHEAD: New shows/books/cool stuff

- Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and 9,000 other funny folks star in WINE COUNTRY (Netflix, May 10);
- A new season of Joe Swanberg's EASY anthology series debuts (Netflix, May 10);
- Don't miss the docuseries WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN (Showtime, May 10)
- JAILBIRDS is like a reality-show version of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (Netflix, May 10);
- SNEAKY PETE returns (Amazon, May 10);
- The podcast MY DAD WROTE A PORNO becomes a comedy special (HBO, May 11);
- VEEP airs its series finale (HBO, May 12);
- Lifetime is airing a nutty-looking movie called KILLER GRANDMA (May 12);
- Netflix debuts STILL LAUGH-IN: THE STARS CELEBRATE (May 14);
- Antoine Fuqua directs the doc WHAT'S MY NAME: MUHAMMAD ALI (HBO, May 14);
- RIVERDALE ends its bananas, cult-y season (May 15);
- BIG BANG THEORY wraps its 12-season run (CBS, May 16).

- Diane Keaton leads the comedy POMS;
- Nicholas Hoult stars as TOLKIEN;
- ASK DR. RUTH gives the sexpert the documentary treatment;  
- I may take my daughter to see THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM;
- Kulap Vilaysack's personal doc ORIGIN STORY lands in select theaters and on Amazon;
- Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson do THE HUSTLE;
- The doc GENERAL MAGIC tells a retro tech story; 
- Willem Dafoe plays filmmaker/ PASOLINI;
- Sean Penn and Mel Gibson star in the dictionary-themed film THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN;
- Mary Harron directs the Manson flick CHARLIE SAYS;
- And while I'm typing the words POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU, please don't ask me to explain it!


- Mac DeMarco has a new record out today, as do The Get Up Kids, Maps and Hælos.

- I'm eager to see Robert Dean Lurie's BEGIN THE BEGIN: R.E.M.'S EARLY YEARS;
- Howard Stern releases his memoir, HOWARD STERN COMES AGAIN;
- Pete Holmes releases his memoir, COMEDY SEX GOD;
- David Itzkoff's Robin Williams bio, ROBIN, comes out in paperback;
- Mark Howard and Chris Howard pen LISTEN UP!: RECORDING MUSIC WITH BOB DYLAN, NEIL YOUNG, U2, R.E.M. ...;
- And check out John Donohue's drawings of ALL THE RESTAURANTS IN NEW YORK.

May 10: Donovan, Bono, Kenan Thompson
May 11: Eric Burdon, Greg Dulli
May 12: Burt Bacharach, Frank Stella, Tony Hawk, Kim Fields, Samantha Mathis, Rami Malek
May 13: Francine Pascal, Armistead Maupin, Marv Wolfman, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Morton, Robert Pattinson 
May 14: George Lucas, David Byrne (pictured), Ian Astbury, Cate Blanchett, Sofia Coppola
May 15: Jasper Johns, Ralph Steadman, Brian Eno, Ahmet Zappa
May 16: Danny Trejo, Robert Fripp, Jonathan Richman, Debra Winger, Krist Novoselic, Janet Jackson, David Boreanaz, Melanie Lynskey (and Liberace would've been 100)
Support me on Patreon at the $20+ level, and I'll send ya THREE pop-culture pinback buttons designed by artist Jeff Dionise! This one makes all of my teen dreams come alive.
Why? Because we like you ...

That's all for this week! Your messages make me super-happy, so drop me a line anytime via email (just hit reply) or text/call me at 929-515-1988. Also email if you wanna send me things, advertise or hire me as a freelance writer/editor/speaker. Subscribe to this newsletter here, and follow/tag me on Twitter and Instagram.

Your bull in the heather,
Jenny Calendar

"When my reviews are bad, I tell my staff that they can join me as I cry all the way to the bank."
- Liberace

"You know that bank I used to cry all the way to? I bought it." 
- (also Liberace)

Copyright ©2018 Whitney Matheson. All rights reserved.

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