Nov. 23 2016 01:59 PM

Our favorite new books, apps, shows and other cultural tidbits to get you through the holiday


    Nothing spoils civilized quiet at the Thanksgiving dinner table more than a heaping helping of generational politics. For those who can’t bite their tongues there’s a collection of Doonesbury comic strips out that’d be great reading while spending time on the porcelain throne. Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau had been trying to warn us for three decades. Since 1987, his comic strip has lampooned the president-elect, and even foretold of the billionaire’s then (and still now) farfetched notion of claiming the presidency. If your memory fails you, or you’re too young to recall the ’80s, check out Yuge! 30 years of Doonesbury on Trump (Andrews McMeel Publishing). It’s essentially a 112-page satirical yearbook that chronicles all the narcissism, misogyny and general buffoonery we’ve come to expect in a modern resident of the White House. If you want review-type comments from the subject himself, The Donald has called Trudeau a “sleazeball,” “a third-rate talent” and an “over-rated” artist who “very few people read.” That equates to a rave for most of us.

    —Ron Donoho


    This Thanksgiving, there will be blood. Not just the post-Friendsgiving Bloody Marys or the red rushing to Aunt Martha’s face when cranberry sauce stains the new carpet. But a full-fledged massacre of political values reminiscent of the holiday’s origins. In my white, largely-Catholic, Orange County family, I am guaranteed rah-rah Trump commentary. Inhale, exhale. I’m not the only one who should prepare exit strategies. Arm yourself with NPR’s Radiolab spin-off More Perfect, a podcast series that separates itself from the 24/7 presidential banter by focusing on the U.S. Supreme Court. Host Jad Abumrad uses interviews and audio clips to map out how past justices have arrived at major decisions on affirmative action, gay rights, capital punishment and more. While it will surely elicit fiery discussion, it’s a nice transition into thoughtful discussions about filling the ninth seat. In case the conversation gets too tense, wave around Obama-Biden memes like a white flag. Season two of More Perfect is set to release in 2017. Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!

    —Torrey Bailey


    Nothing says gluttonous family fun like watching an animated short film about Nazi war criminals, amirite? No? OK, well, you should still make it a point to watch local artist and animator Randall Christopher’s bone-chilling 14-minute film, I Watched Ricardo Klement Get Off the Bus. Using stop-action animation to tell the story while the drawing is pieced together bit by bit, Christopher recounts the true story of an Israeli Mossad agent’s attempts to track down the notorious Nazi Adolph Eichmann in 1960s Argentina. The result is a magnificently paced thriller that deals in themes of justice, espionage and the concept that those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it. Christopher is attempting to raise money via crowdfunding site IndieGoGo (where you can also watch the film) to complete the score and add sound effects, and he’s already in the process of entering the short into film fests. I tweeted a few months ago that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Christopher accept an Oscar in a few years. I stand by that statement.

    —Seth Combs


    It’s easy to look at the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving, as a non-stop orgy of feasts and football, with a welcoming family couch to crash on around 4 p.m. or so. (I know I’ll be nursing a Tryptophan low around that time at my folks’ house.) But not every family’s history is so warm and fuzzy. Anagnorisisnew album Peripeteia (Vendetta) is proof of the kind of torment that family can cause, in a black metal package. After frontman Zachary Kerr’s father died, he discovered a series of tapes his dad made when he was a kid, painting a portrait of an idyllic childhood that was anything but. He channeled that fraught relationship into this epic, intense and beautiful black metal album interspersed with samples of those childhood tapes. It’s a lot to take in, but it’s a powerful case of personal torment made into something greater.

    —Jeff Terich


    As college students will attest, it can be hard to cook a turkey when you aren’t going home for Thanksgiving. Even many people beyond college can relate to struggling to make something as simple as pasta, so cooking a big bird might be out of the question. But don’t get discouraged, Spoon University is a website that provides recipes, articles and food advice for college students and the greater community. The website not only gives Thanksgiving recipes—such as how to make a turkey dinner out of fast food or solely out of Trader Joe’s premade dishes—but also allows you to select recipes based on your current mood, if its hung-over, sad about the election or healthy. Additionally, Spoon University has chapters where University of San Diego and UC San Diego students write articles that pertain to dining on campus. So whether it’s for someone who’s sticking around campus or someone just looking for easy recipes, thanks to Spoon, it’s entirely possible to make a successful Thanksgiving on the cheap.

    —Jordan Packer


    Oh man, this Thanksgiving is going to be bad. Your racist uncles are going to have a field day squealing about the election before farting themselves to sleep. Kind of makes you shudder, right? But hey, if you’re going to dwell in existential dread, you might as well be entertained by it, and Syfy’s Channel Zero is the most dread-filled TV show I’ve seen since Twin Peaks. Based on Internet urban legends, or creepypastas (a wordplay on the “copy/paste” method of how lore evolves in the virtual realm), Channel Zero’s first season follows Kris Straub’s “Candle Cove” story, which was originally formatted as a comment board where users shared troubling memories of a short-lived children’s TV show. The Syfy show fleshes out this plot in remarkable ways, turning what is essentially a fiction meme into a rich and terrifying meditation on memory, submission and the horrors of youth. Oh, and there’s also a monster with skin made of teeth, just in case you’re not shuddering enough during the holiday.

    —Ryan Bradford


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