From the gritty to the glamorous, and the nostalgic to the futuristic, there’s something for everyone in this week’s pop culture highlights. Even — we promise — if you have a hidden punk rock side.
1. WHAT TO WATCH WHEN YOUR WEEK IS LOOKING KIND OF GRAY AND DULL
How to describe RuPaul’s Drag Race? It’s a bit like American Idol for drag queens, except the contestants don’t just sing, they also lip sync, deliver comedy skits, impersonate celebrities, and create outrageous outfits from scratch. The show’s popularity has grown so much that host RuPaul now has an Emmy, and this ninth season will be the first to air on VH1 after previous runs went out on LOGO. Oh, and Friday’s (March 24) season premiere boasts a very special guest judge: Lady Gaga, a woman who knows a thing about the art of dressing up.
2. WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR “GETTING READY” PLAYLIST
Though she remains best-known for co-writing and singing on Iggy Azalea‘s 2014 hit “Fancy,” Charli XCX is a prolific and consistently interesting pop artist. On this highlight from her new mixtape Number 1 Angel, she joins forces with cult electro siren Uffie for an instantly infectious pop confection. “Babygirl” channels ’80s Madonna and candy-sweet ’90s R&B, but the finished product feels as shiny and modern as a smartphone. Don’t be surprised to find yourself playing it on loop.
3. WHAT TO BINGE-WATCH IF YOU’RE HAVING A LAZY WEEKEND
This Netflix sitcom co-created by Friends‘ Marta Kauffman has a clever premise: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin play longtime “frenemies” forced together when their respective husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) reveal they are in love with one another. Last year’s sparkling second season was a marked improvement on the patchier first, so let’s hope Grace and Frankie continues to flourish in season three. All 13 episodes hit Netflix Friday; keep your fingers crossed for a cameo from Fonda and Tomlin’s old 9 to 5 cast-mate Dolly Parton.
4. WHAT TO WATCH WHEN YOU’RE AFTER SOME REAL-LIFE DRAMA
That’s quite a title, isn’t it (see above caption)? But back in 1964, Life magazine gave it to Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an atheist campaigner who had helped to end official Bible readings in American public schools. Hitting Netflix Friday, this biopic assembles a heavyweight cast to tell her story: Oscar winner Melissa Leo stars as Murray O’Hair, with support from Peter Fonda, Anna Camp, Adam Scott, and Sally Kirkland. Murray O’Hair was an extremely polarizing figure whose life ended in tragic circumstances, so this film has no excuse whatsoever to be boring.
5. WHO TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM FOR A DAILY DOSE OF CLASSIC NYC COOL
Blondie’s legendary co-founder and guitarist, Chris Stein, is also an acclaimed photographer who documented New York City’s ’70s punk scene from the inside. He regularly shares snaps from the era on his Instagram, alongside new and equally stylish pictures of bandmate Debbie Harry and pop contemporaries like Sky Ferreira and Beth Ditto. Whether you like pogoing to punk rock or not, Stein’s pictures will be a chic and evocative addition to your feed.
6. WHAT TO READ FOR A FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON A FAMILIAR FACE
We all know Katey Sagal from Married… with Children and Sons of Anarchy, but her resume is more varied than you might realize. Earlier in her career, she worked as a backing singer for Bob Dylan and Bette Midler; she’s also released two soft rock albums of her own. Grace Notes isn’t a traditional memoir, but a collection of essays — often funny, sometimes very sad — which come together to tell her life story. If you’ve ever enjoyed her on TV (and let’s face it, you probably have), it’s a lovely and revealing read.
7. WHAT TO WATCH WHEN YOU’RE NOT FEELING TOO IMPATIENT
Premiering Wednesday (March 22) on Fox, this event series explores the fall-out from a racially-motivated shooting in a fictional North Carolina town. Though the central murder investigation feels a little strung out, especially if you’re a fan of snappier police procedurals, Shots Fired raises important issues about race, class and police discrimination. It also benefits from some forceful performances. The Cleveland Show‘s Saana Lathan impresses as a sensitive but tenacious detective, while Helen Hunt delivers a gutsy turn as the state’s iron-tough and potentially corrupt governor.
8. WHAT TO LISTEN TO WHILE YOU’RE DOING YOUR SPRING CLEAN
This likeable Aussie singer recently scored a big club hit with a cover of Donna Lewis‘ ’90s chestnut “I Love You Always Forever.” It’s a definite highlight on her charming second album, out Friday, but many of Betty Who‘s own songs are keepers, too. The likes of “Some Kinda Wonderful” and “Human Touch” are warm, hooky pop tunes with more exuberance than a playful puppy. If you like the idea of a Katy Perry album with a little less polish and a little more heart, you’ll probably enjoy The Valley a lot.
9. WHICH TWITTER ACCOUNT TO FOLLOW IF YOU STILL LOVE THE GOLDEN GIRLS
OK, so the classic ’80s sitcom never really went away: it’s been syndicated on cable for the last 25 years. But 2017 has definitely brought a revival: Hulu has recently acquired every episode, meaning Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia are streaming online for the first time, and a Golden Girls-themed cafe has opened in New York City. There are several competing fan accounts on Twitter, but this one is the most prolific and the most fun. Just don’t complain when its nostalgic pics, clips and GIFs leave you craving cheesecake.
10. AND FINALLY, WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU FANCY AN INTERGALACTIC TRIP TO THE MOVIES THIS WEEKEND
This glossy sci-fi film from the writers of Deadpool certainly looks promising. Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and rising star Rebecca Ferguson play astronauts who uncover the first signs of extraterrestrial life while posted on the International Space Station. But when they begin to study the sample, the mysterious organism rapidly gains intelligence and begins to turn on them. It might not match last year’s sci-fi hit, Arrival, but it’s got to beat December’s problematic Jennifer Lawrence/Chris Pratt blockbuster, Passengers.
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