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Culture Lust’s February Finds

Selected drawings by David Shrigley from The Guardian's Saturday Magazine, 20...

Credit: David Shrigley

Above: Selected drawings by David Shrigley from The Guardian's Saturday Magazine, 2004/2005.

With the new year in full order, so too comes a chance to turn a new page. The first month of this buzz-worthy year has already crept by in a foggy way, but there’s still so much more to come. Whether you’re still waking up to the new year or are already full-speed ahead, consider embracing the chaos of change. Here’s hoping that some of these arts and culture picks will give you something to smile about.

Mona Lisa Mystery

Mona Lisa’s twin painting was recently discovered at Madrid's Museo del Prado, with conservators speculating that it was painted at the same time as the original. Though the painter of the replica remains a mystery, what’s interesting is how electric this new Mona Lisa looks. Perhaps this will prompt museum-goers and art historians to give the famous icon a new once over.

Jason Wu for Target

Target has been teaming up with different high-end fashion designers to create affordable clothing for over five years now. Standout names have included Proenza Schouler, Anna Sui and Rodarte. It’s incredible how quickly these collections sell out. The latest collaboration is with Jason Wu, a notable ready-to-wear designer who counts Michelle Obama as one of his fans. His collection debuted in stores on February 5, with something for those particularly keen on cats.

Quirky Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine’s Day means different things for different people. It didn’t mean a lot to me, but this might change. After stumbling upon someone named Beth’s Tumblr page, I discovered fantastic pop-culture themed Valentine’s Day cards. Her quirky sketches range from 30 Rock to Twin Peaks to Arrested Development. One of my favorites is the Gob Bluth Valentine: “It’s No Illusion—I Like You!”

Gardens & Villa

I was first introduced to Gardens & Villa two months ago when I produced a Midday Edition segment featuring local musicians' album picks for 2011. The Southern California band creates dream-like sounds that seem deeply tied to nature in one way or another. Listening to “Neon Dove” makes me want to live off the grid and make daisy chains. Gardens & Villa plays at The Casbah February 17.

Shrigley's Sketches

David Shrigley is a British conceptual artist who creates works in many mediums, but might be best known for his humorous and bizarre sketch drawings. These sketches somewhat recall the drawings that Ewan McGregor’s character created in the film “Beginners.” His strange twist on the mundane, everyday non-events are borderline creepy, but also refreshing.

The Layover

Anthony Bourdain is like the Keith Richards of the culinary world. After watching countless episodes of “No Reservations,” I was enamored by his fearlessness, especially during one episode where he ate live octopus. His newest show “The Layover” premiered late last year, where he spends 24 to 48 hours in a city—from Singapore to San Francisco—on the lookout for adventurous food and local haunts.

An Oscars Offering

The Oscars return on February 26 and I’m particularly excited that “Bridesmaids” was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Though it’s up against strong contender “The Artist,” it’s no silent movie. It would be equally incredible if Kristen Wiig gave a "Bridesmaids"-worthy acceptance speech to the Oscars crowd. Might a sing-off ensue?

Sh-t (Fill in the Blank) Say Series

The “Sh-t (fill in the blank) Say” Internet and YouTube phenomenon emerged with “Sh-t Girls Say” and was suddenly embraced, evolving into many different forms. While some versions are certainly better than others, one of my favorites is “Sh-t Nobody Says” with mention of wanting to move to Oakland. Who knows how long these will last...for now they seem to be taking on a life of their own.

The Comedy?

The upcoming film “The Comedy” has already generated much buzz after it prompted many at Sundance to walk out. Featuring Tim Heidecker of the bizarre sketch-comedy show “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” the film is categorized as a drama with an extremely unlikable character—but is it really? All the negative reviews make me want to see it even more, especially after seeing a leaked clip complete with aggressive and incessant taxi-cab sing-alongs.

M.I.A.'s Bad Girls

M.I.A.'s latest single "Bad Girls," taken from her 2010 Vicki Leekx mixtape, was released this month, prompting dance parties everywhere. The “Live fast, die young” chorus line along with the mid-tempo beats almost make it feel like an upbeat apocalyptic anthem. It’s got so much sass and sort of says “I’m back” in a charmingly catchy way. Don't miss out on the flashy video complete with enough sequins and fast car tricks to outdo Kayne West's "Otis."

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