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Arts & Culture

Culture Lust's August Arts Picks

Rafter Roberts of Rafter brings the promise of a full-on dance party to Soda Bar this Friday.
Asthmatic Kitty Records
Rafter Roberts of Rafter brings the promise of a full-on dance party to Soda Bar this Friday.

With Labor Day just around the corner and the heat at its pinnacle, it’s time to bid summer farewell. Though it disappeared in the blink of an eye, there’s no reason to fret. From new art and films, to a slew of concerts and music worth checking out, there’s never been a more exciting time to roll into the fall. Turning the leaf to a new season never looked so good.

Celeste and Jesse Forever

The notion of being friends with your ex has been the subject of countless discussions since the beginning of time. There have been songs, books, articles, films and Carrie Bradshaw-esque pieces written about this complicated topic. The Sundance-acclaimed film "Celeste and Jesse Forever,” starring Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones, follows a recently divorced couple who are trying to figure it out—the confusion and trickiness of maintaining a friendship while starting to see other people. I can’t wait for the chemistry between Jones and Samberg along with the script written by Jones and Will McCormack. We’ve all eaten our feelings and toxic Facebook sleuthed in moments of despair. Celeste and Jesse’s messy journey may just ring true. “Celeste and Jesse Forever” is playing now at the Landmark Hillcrest Cinemas.



Last summer, M83’s single “Midnight City” was played on repeat in dive bars and yoga classes alike. The opening moments of the song build up to what feels like an epic, cosmic dance number from a movie of the future. The French electronic band (named after the spiral galaxy Messier 83), was formed by Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau 11 years ago. The duo's latest album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,” was released last year and was an immediate hit. Amidst the echoes and synth work, emerges dream-like melodies. Don’t miss M83 at SOMA on Friday, August 31.

Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974

"Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974" at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles brings Land Art of the 1960s to the late-1970s into the interior institution of the museum. The large-scale exhibition showcases the historical background of this complicated art movement, where the earth was used as a medium by many artists. While each work is different, all works on display engage with sculptural and media practices, often with larger political and environmental issues in mind. John Baldessari and Edward Ruscha are among the artists showcased. There’s no doubt that many of these works cannot be contained within the museum walls, but they’ll sure come close. The exhibition runs through Monday, September 3.



Local musician and producer Rafter Roberts, who performs as Rafter, is memorable. It’s not just his glowing red hair, but rather his dance jams that leave a lasting memory. Part Talking Heads, part funk and part something else totally, Rafter is the ultimate erratic soundtrack for busting a move. He likened his last album “Quiet Storm” to a “human mind explosion.” With the melodic ruckus of his tunes, this may be the best mind melt yet. Rafter plays this Friday, August 24 at Soda Bar.

Arrested Development

Fans of “Arrested Development” mourned the cult-hit’s cancellation in 2006, after four all-too-short seasons. News of an “Arrested Development” movie was announced in 2009 and prompted many fans to wait anxiously. But with production lagging, Bluthies remained doubtful. Late last month, Jason Bateman tweeted a photo from the set of season four with a very grown-up looking George Michael Bluth (Michael Cera). With the show’s revival in full swing and a movie to follow, it looks like there is “always money in the banana stand.”

FYF Fest

Los Angeles’ FYF Fest returns for two days Labor Day weekend in L.A. State Historic Park. Last year’s one-day festival coincided with a heat wave, but was still a fantastic time with performances from indie rock bands including Girls, Cults, Future Islands and Broken Social Scene. This year’s festival promises to be nothing short with performances from big shots like Beirut and Sleigh Bells, along with local natives The Soft Pack and comedian David Cross. FYF Fest is the perfect way to bid au revoir to the summer.

2 Days in New York

Five years ago, French actress, writer and director Julie Delpy shared the film "2 Days in Paris" with the world. The film told the story of Julie and her neurotic New York boyfriend, Adam Goldberg, on a two-day trip to Paris to visit her family. What followed was a culture-clashing comedic misadventure. The sequel, "2 Days in New York," was released this month and stars Delpy with her new boyfriend, Chris Rock, in the Big Apple. If the film is anything like its predecessor, it will be filled with witty neurosis, real-life moments and the necessary surprises in between.


Omaha’s own Conor Oberst found recognition with Bright Eyes in all its guises, while his political punk side project Desaparecidos was often forgotten by many. The band only released one album, "Read Music/Speak Spanish," in 2002 and subsequently broke up quickly thereafter. Fast forward to earlier this year when the band announced that they would be reuniting for a tour. This month, the band's two-song EP, "MariKKKopa/Backsell," was released with greater angst and energy even a decade later. Here’s hoping that this is simply a preview of a larger album to follow.

Telegraph Avenue

Acclaimed author Michael Chabon will release his latest novel (his first in five years) on Tuesday, September 11. The appropriately titled, "Telegraph Avenue" is set in Berkeley and Oakland in 2004 and follows the story of three friends and owners of Brokeland Records, who must face off against a new record megastore. The book has prompted the building of a pop-up shop modeled after the fictitious Brokeland Records in Oakland. I’m looking forward to this novel, which will surely leave me missing Amoeba Records and the charm of Telegraph.

My Parents Know More Than You

Yasmine Kittles, one-half of the duo that is Tearist, is known for her haunting voice, crazed onstage antics and flowing brown locks. She recently debuted her new online column for Vice, “My Parents Know More Than You.” Born to an Iranian mother and a Southern father, Kittles has quite the eclectic background. Her first column “What Does Famous Mean?” recalls her parent’s own perceptions on fame—both her own, that of Lana Del Rey (“Donna Felgay”) and Lady Gaga (“The one that makes me mad: Gaga”). Everyone’s parents are unique, but Kittles presents her own distinctive parents in a refreshing and witty way.