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Culture Index: George Orwell on Stage, Daniel Day-Lewis Binge Fest, ‘The Big Sick’

Seven things you should check out this week

Culture Index

Summer is officially here. Sure, you want to soak it up and enjoy the fact that it’s not winter or fall (we’re cool with spring). But do you really? There’s just so much to do indoors these days, including watching all the movies made by an iconic actor who just retired from the game, a Netflix show about women wrestlers in the 1980s and George Orwell’s most famous book brought to a Broadway stage. 

Kumail (Kumail Najiani) in THE BIG SICK.

Amazon Studios

‘The Big Sick’

Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani gets his star turn in what Peter Travers exclaims is the funniest date movie of the year in his 3 1/2 star review. If you’re a fan of rom-coms, Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan have made one that stands up (really!) to anything staring Julia Roberts in the Nineties or written/directed by Nora Ephron. 

‘The Beguiled’

Sofia Coppola’s Southern Gothic piece is a remake of Don Siegel’s 1971 film of the same name that starred Clint Eastwood. A semi-naked Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning make up the cast in what is described as “a female-gaze revenge story.” And while some critics like it, and others see some pretty serious problems, it’s safe to say if you’re a fan of Coppola’s work, you need to spend an afternoon or night in the theatre real soon. 

Netflix

‘GLOW’

You’ll want to consult our handy little guide to the new show created by Nurse Jackie alums Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, and Jenji Kohan, who helped birth the whole Netflix binge thing with Orange is the New Black. Then just jump into the spandex-clad series about women wrestlers in the Eighties starring Alison Brie and Marc Maron. 

REX

Daniel Day-Lewis

Say it ain’t so, Daniel Day-Lewis. 

The guy with the chops to play Bill the Butcher, Newland Archer and Abraham Lincoln and win an Oscar (one of three) for a performance with the line, “I drink your milkshake,” is walking away from acting. And, to be honest, we’re all a little worse off for it. It’s a major loss to the movies, that’s for sure. But, to pay tribute this weekend, look around for There Will be Blood, The Last of the Mohicans, Gangs of New York, Lincoln, The Age of Innocence, My Left Foot and much more on various streaming services and binge the hell out of some D.D.L. 

Jonathan Muzikar

Frank Lloyd Wright at MoMA

It’s summer, the time when a lot of people travel. There’s a chance that you, the person reading this, might be going out of town soon and you’re planning on going to New York City. If that’s the case, you’ll no doubt want to check out the sights, eat a slice and avoid taking the trains because they’re a mess. 

If the Big Apple is indeed in your plans, “Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive” at MoMA is one of those museum exhibits you can’t miss. The retrospective looking at the life and work of one of the 20th century’s most important architects includes drawings, models, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, scrapbooks and a number of works that have never been shown to the public. 

‘Feel the Music: The Psychedelic Worlds of Paul Major’

This book is the story of a freak, the old school kind of weird dude who you could say was a very early adapter to punk rock even before the media knew what to call it. Paul Major made the move to New York City in 1978, but long before that he was having his mind blown by any fuzzy, garage, psychedelic or whatever weird sounds he could dig up. In time, he became King of the Crate Diggers, a record obsessive god, the kind the equally obsessive folks over at Anthology Editions felt they needed to pay tribute to with this comprehensive and impeccably laid out scrap book of a life spent loving music made by and for outsiders. 

A scene from the stage adaptation of George Orwell's '1984' at Hudson Theater in New York City.

Sara Krulwich/Redux

George Orwell’s ‘1984’ on Broadway

Since Donald Trump won the election, e-book sales of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 have spiked. Two days after his inauguration, Kellyanne Conway coined the phrase “alternative facts” – and the book shot to the No. 1 spot on Amazon. Now audiences who are chilled by how relevant the book (originally published in 1949) feels in our current age – when Google can track your movements and Facebook knows everything (and everyone) you like because we give that information away, willingly – can experience the creepy reality predicted last century in a visceral Broadway production. The adaption features Winston, Julia and O’Brien played, respectively, by the stunning trio of Tom Sturridge, Olivia Wilde and Tony Award-winner Reed Birney. And the fact that the producers recently instituted an age restriction policy (no theatergoers born after 2004 will be admitted), is not a publicity stunt but a response to the graphic, bloody violence and imagery of the production.