Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A freaky documentary, a slow-moving LP, and Heartburn

A still from The History Of Future Folk
A still from The History Of Future Folk

The History Of Future Folk

Here’s a thing you probably don’t know about me: I love aliens and folk music. Which is why when my boyfriend suggested I watch The History Of Future Folk, a film about an alien folk band, I was 100 percent on board. Plenty of films have been made about outer space and the wacky adventures its inhabitants face when traveling to Earth, but no film about extraterrestrials is quite like Future Folk. Set in the smoky bars of New York City, Future Folk tells the possibly real, probably exaggerated tale of the first alien bluegrass band on Earth. When planet Hondo is faced with destruction, its citizens elect to send their most fearsome warrior General Trius—played by the soft spoken Nils D’Aulaire—to overthrow Earth and claim the land for his people. Everything is going according to plan, until he hears music for the first time and is overtaken by the urge to abandon his mission and protect Earth and music along with it. The incredibly charming, incredibly absurd comedy was directed by J. Anderson Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker and is accompanied by one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in years. Each song is performed live in front of an ever-growing crowd of devoted Future Folk fans all donning the group’s signature red helmets. The twang of the banjo and vocals from lead singer Mighty Kevin, give the entire film a down home charm that you rarely find in a movie about an alien invasion. Also, Dee Snider has a minor role! The whole movie can be watched on Netflix. Hondo. [Ali Bridges]

Trampled By Turtles, Wild Animals
Trampled By Turtles have been making their way out of a self-created pigeonhole for the past few years, having been defined as Duluth’s best bluegrass band. (“Best” only works if you’re into the bluegrass part.) The band’s excellent new Wild Animals plays more like an arid folk album for the most part, with the stringed joy of past albums giving way to more melancholy moments. (It makes sense, perhaps, that Alan Sparhawk of Low produced it.) The best songs, particularly the epic title track, recall Band Of Horses—there’s a patience and simplicity here that you wouldn’t expect from guys who came up playing fast and hard on fiddles and banjos. There are still moments of that, too, and they’re welcome: “Come Back Home” is an old-style rave-up that sounds that much sweeter in this new company. [Josh Modell]


Heartburn by Nora Ephron

I picked this up on a whim at Powell’s in Hyde Park, because I’d heard so much about it—less as a groundbreaking story about heartbreak and more as a groundbreaking story about food. For fans who know Nora Ephron mostly through her romantic comedies, it may come as a surprise to learn that she was instrumental in bringing food writing into vogue—and to the well-heeled masses—writing for New York Magazine. (I learned all of that from The United States Of Arugula, in another life where I had time to read nonfiction books.) I wasn’t expecting a neat little novella that is almost too insightful, delving into the many minor betrayals and major despairs that go down in a big breakup. Heartburn is a thinly veiled memoir—Ephron’s main character Rachel is in the exact same situation Ephron found herself in at the end of her first marriage—seven months pregnant, holding a two-year-old by the hand, and discovering that her husband, a prominent Washington Post journalist, had been cheating on her for months. (The journalist was Carl Bernstein, of Woodward and Bernstein—the team that broke Watergate. Ephron is depicted in All The President’s Men for a few short moments.) It’s the stuff of legend, or at least, the stuff of ’70s arcana, which is almost the same thing. The story is broken up with recipes and humor that skewers what her protagonist terms “Jewish princes.” Through it all is Ephron’s signature dry wit, part amused, part disgusted with how her life—and everyone else’s—is turning out. [Sonia Saraiya]

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