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Pattie's Top Ten Cultural Hits of March 2019

(In no particular order.)

1. Agnès Varda. Read my blog post about her here: My Public Library from 5 to 7

2. Sally Rooney’s novel, Conversation with Friends. Rooney is called the millennial Irish Salinger. The plot is pure soap opera, but it is jarred by Rooney’s narrator explaining every sensory minutia moment by moment as if she is trapped in a room on a sinking ship searching for something to hang on to.

“I had the sense that something in my life had ended, my image of myself as a whole or normal person maybe. I realized my life would be full of mundane physical suffering, and that there was nothing special about it. Suffering wouldn’t make me special, and pretending not to suffer wouldn’t make me special. Talking about it, or even writing about it, would not transform the suffering into something useful. Nothing would. I thanked my mother for the lift to the station and got out of the car.”

3. Jordon Peele’s film Us. This film is a blast, and I wish it had been released over the summer season. I associate summer, drive-ins, and being out of school with horror movies. Peele is not trying to make any political statement with the film. It is horror for horror’s sake. It did not ring of auteurism the way many are saying. It felt more like Coma rather than The Shining or Rosemary’s Baby. Get Out was an auteur in full. I’m looking forward to seeing Peele's Twilight Zone and hoping all his strengths are present.

4. Reading outside with tea and sunshine. After winter in the Pacific Northwest sitting outside reading in the sunlight feels very, very productive. I captured the experience in this photo from a couple of years ago:

5. St. Patrick’s Day with my siblings and cousins and their kids. I’m three parts Irish and one part Dutch. All the family of my parents' generation have passed, and it is up to us cousins to keep in touch and get together when we can. My brother was out from Virginia for the week so St. Patrick's Day it was. There were a lot of laughs and crazy stories.

One story: I won’t name names but it involves a burial at sea, the coffin floating instead of sinking, and someone having a shotgun on hand to shoot holes in the coffin, so it does sink.

6. The film What’s in a Name? A French-Belgian comedy film, written and directed by Alexandre Dubois de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte adapted from the play by the same writers. It takes place at a dinner party where a series of lies are told to family and friends in an attempt to get to the truth of their relationships. It’s like a very smart whodunit but rather than murder there are character assassinations.

7. A beautiful Sunday in Seattle. Café Presse + Elliot Bay Bookstore + The Panama Hotel Tea House and a stunning ferry ride both ways.

8. The Lynne Ramsay film You Were Never Really There. Ramsay is excellent at social realism and holding a shot for an uncomfortable amount of time on an empty diner. Transgressive, violent, and captivating in its poetry YWNRT is a thriller about a hired hitman (ala Jean Reno) with a predictable past. He saves a young girl who has her own demons to reckon with.

9. The final season of Catastrophe. Dark, spiky, romantic, hilarious, and snappy. If you haven’t seen the excellent series created by American comedian Rob Delaney and Irish comedian Sharon Hogan, sparing as husband and wife in a love affair that started as a one night stand, you have found yourself a binge-worthy weekend of excellent comic writing. My friends with kids have told me they find it refreshing.

10. The 35th anniversary show of the original rock and roll band Girl Trouble at Tacoma’s Alma Mater. Here’s my blog post about the show: Girl Trouble Will Not Be Told

Thanks for reading and I appreciate that you are not an asshole.

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