Best of the Beast Summer ’18 Preview
Ahh, summer is back and as the kids get out of school and the adults pray for the merciful end of Stormy weather, we all have lots to look forward to in the world of cultural distractions. But, you ask, what are my friends at Pop Culture Beast planning? Well, here is the Best of the Beast
This summer it looks like you’ll find us enjoying some horror flicks, or maybe sucking up the air-con at Marvel movie or two, dipping into some vinyl and a new music from a band that ruled the ’90s, going to a smaller and better Sci Fi con, reading a book with a kid (reading Is fundamental, remember?) or we might take that young pal onto the frustrating and addictive virtual “Oregon Trail” for the first time and blow their mind with how video games used to look.
We’ve got you covered, Beasts, and as always, we want your suggestions as well. Tweet to us using the hashtag #BestoftheBeast, or leave comments below. You show us yours, as we’ve shown you ours. Now without further ado, it’s the Best of the Beast Summer Preview ’18.
Troye Sivan – Bloom Troye’s first album, Blue Neighbourhood, topped my Best of the Year list when it was released in 2015, so you can imagine how high my hopes are for this follow-up. Already the three singles he’s released are among the best songs I’ve heard this year so I’m at peak excitement for Bloom’s release this August. www.troyesivan.com
Years and Years – Palo Santo At last the UK band is back with their second album. Already dropping preview bops that are addicting and excellent, Olly and friends are releasing the new LP in July, and I for one and totally stoked to hear it. Heck, I’ve already pre-ordered the vinyl. www.yearsandyears.com
Hotel Artemis It looks like it’s straight out of the John Wick universe, but, it isn’t. This star-studded action-packed extravaganza looks like a blast of a movie that I can’t wait to see. Jodie Foster? Yes. Jeff Goldblum? Yes. Sterling K. Brown? Yes. I can’t wait to see this one.
Hereditary I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers and even trailers on this release. I’ve heard it’s one of the scariest movies in years and I can’t wait to see it. In fact, I have my tickets already for opening night. I only know that Toni Colette is in it and there is a girl who makes clicking noises. Can’t wait! www.hereditary.movie
Stephen King – The Outsider My favorite author is back with a brand new book that has received raves already. I’ve got it in my hands and am reading it as I type this, and I am loving it. Fans of King will eat this one up.
Josiah and the Bonnevilles – On Trial You might think that the best thing to come out of American Idol is Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood — well, they’re both great, but for my money, it’s Josiah Leming. This Tennessee kid brings a fresh take to classic Americana rock/folk sounds and has a string of excellent solo albums that highligh his unique voice and talents. He’s finally back with his band The Bonnevilles and they’ve dropped their debut album On Trial. Give it a listen. It’s fantastic. www.josiahandthe.com
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. With summer fast approaching, and a ton of things coming out and so, so many things to look forward to, I’m starting my short list with the new Jurassic World. Seriously, I love this series, and getting to see Chris Pratt & Bryce Dallas Howard together again – !! Fallen Kingdom opens in the US on June 22nd.
Inkcarceration Festival For popular music and much more, there’s an incredible festival coming up July 13, 14, and 15, at Mansfield State Reformatory. Yes, that Mansfield, in Ohio, the super haunted one. With 30+ bands on two stages, 70+ tattoo artists, camping, and self-guided tours of the Reformatory, what else are you going to do?? www.inkcarceration.com
Westercon 71 right here in Denver we are having a huge event: MaLCon is presenting Westercon 71 this year. There will be scientists, screen writers and novelists, editors, musicians, vendors with amazing wares, and all kinds of games being played almost nonstop from Wednesday July 4th all the way through Sunday July 8th (and as a shameless plug, I’ll be there helping the safety team supporting Freedom Squadron.) So make sure to take some time for this traveling sci-fi/literary convention! www.westercon71.org
The Cabin at the End of the World – Paul Tremblay Tremblay has already staked out a place as one of the most exciting supernatural horror writers of recent years with his books Disappearance at Devil’s Rock and A Head Full of Ghosts. Now he has crafted a thriller (due out June 26) in the home-invasion subgenre that is already being touted by high-profile fan Stephen King as “Tremblay’s personal best.” I can’t think of more exciting news than that. www.paultremblay.net
The Complete Sartana Box Set: Arrow Video is currently one of the best home video companies in the world. They’ve recently branched out into highbrow and art-house releases through their Arrow Academy label, but one of their most exciting releases this summer goes back to their exploitation roots. It’s a loaded five-film limited-edition box set of the late ’60s/early ’70s Sartana spaghetti western series. Inspired (like most films of the time) by the “Man with No Name” flicks that starred Clint Eastwood, the Sartana films feature a mystical anti-hero with a fondness for cards and James Bond-style gadgets. The series is supposedly a giddy (and sometimes incomprehensible) genre mash-up that I can’t wait to experience when the box set is released July 3. www.arrowfilms.com
BlacKkKlansman Director Spike Lee teams up with Get Out producers Jordan Peele and Jason Blum for this fact-based comedy about an African-American rookie cop who infiltrates the Colorado Ku Klux Klan. John David Washington, who appears on HBO’s Ballers, and just so happens to be the son of frequent Spike Lee collaborator Denzel Washington, stars as Ron Stallworth (whose memoir serves as the film’s basis). Adam Driver plays Stallworth’s Jewish partner. Early word has it that Spike is at his button-pushing best here. Can’t wait for the August 10 release.
Tragedy + Time: A Tragi-Comic Memoir — Adam Cayton-Holland Cayton-Holland is one of the best joke-tellers in stand-up comedy right now, so hearing that he had a memoir coming out (August 21) was enticement enough. But this one sounds like more than the usual awkward childhood anecdotes and shoehorned bits out of the stand-up act. It recounts Cayton-Holland’s relationship with his family, and especially his sisters, one of whom fought an ultimately losing battle with mental illness. As the book’s title suggests, comedy is often used a coping mechanism to deal with life’s traumas. This seems like the perfect bittersweet read for when it’s time to put the beach books away. www.adamcaytonholland.com
Reggie Watts: I’m in Europe Tour Beatboxing funny person Reggie Watts is someone you all might know better than me – right now he is falling into the category of “everytime I see his stuff I am at attention, who IS ths guy?”, and then I mention him to someone, and I’m the idiot for not already being a huge fan. So finding out he was coming to London and was going to join the fantastically mental lineup of the Underbelly Festival, hurrah, time to find out more. He’s on stage June 23rd., and I will report back. www.reggiewatts.com
Jack White – No Phones Tour (note: might have another name) The 12-time Grammy Award-winner will kick-off the UK leg of his tour in Brighton before heading to Birmingham, Hull, Liverpool and Edinburgh later this year. Okay, I’m cheating with the “summer” bit of this as he won’t be over here til technically the autumn, but in my defense, first, define “summer” in London; second, the buying of the tickets is now, so that works on our calendar; and most importantly, White’s “please, no phones at the show” mandate is big enough to make this a special tip. Will this please catch on? Good. Lighters up!
Courage – Barbara Binns This one is off the beaten path for you grown-up Beasts. Courage is a kid’s novel about taking up a sport – here, diving – to distract one’s self from a family that isn’t working. The reason I’m looking forward to Courage, out July 31st from HarperCollins, is because one of the 8 year olds in my life is needing a book like this, and I look forward to sharing this with him. Being a kid can be tough, and Judy Blume can’t cover everything. Summer reads should be one of the pleasures of both childhood and adulthood.
Festibowl Though I’m in London, I’m a Chicago girl, so by law, I’ve been bowling. But what is that other thing – bowls? I think it’s the French/Italian sport favoured by people in canvas hats, holding wine glasses? I need to try this. Festibowl, London’s original Lawn Bowls pop-up, is the best way to shake off a workday. Freshly cut grass beneath your feet in the heart of the City (Finsbury Square to be specific) is a treat and from June 14 to August 3, on Thursdays and Fridays, you can be European and drink and bowl. No rental shoes required. www.festibowl.co.uk
Gin Blossoms – Mixed Reality For jangly pop rock at it’s best you can never go wrong with the Gin Blossoms. This is sure to be the “roll your windows down and turn up the sound” album of Summer ’18. www.ginblossoms.net
Mission: Impossible – Fallout I’m looking forward to Tom Cruise’s 6th outing as super spy Ethan Hunt in M:I Fallout. Forget The Rock, and old-timers like Stallone and Schwarzenegger, because for my money Cruise is the best action star of all time. By doing his own stunts Cruise brings a realism to the M:I franchise that is lacking from most brain dead, CGI, green screen action movies. Plus every M:I movie since 2006 has been a grand slam!
Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee This summer will be the 10th season of Jerry Seinfeld’s shorts series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, depending on how a season is counted these days. This series brings the laughs every episode and I love when the guests make Jerry laugh as hard as Jerry has made me laugh all these years. The comedy is not forced which is the way I like it…just a natural flow with the laughs coming organically through comedians chatting, in cars… with coffee! comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com
Zoo – a movie being released here in Blighty on June 29, directed by Colin McIvor who did a movie ages ago called Cupcake, and starring a bunch of Brits who are used to doing stage work. Why am I onto it? This movie is a true story about an Irish lady who saved a baby elephant from the Nazis during WW2 by taking him home from the bloody zoo each night! McIvor crowdfunded parts of it through the real townspeople involved. Beat that Hollywood. @zoothefilm
Watermelon Water can we look forward to a product? I think this is available in America but not here yet – Beyonce has a water, and I want to try a bottle immediately- but especially if and when it gets hot here. Who’s flying over with an empty carryon then?
Hobo Johnson & the Lovemakers live in Ireland and the UK in July. Not sure if rapper Frank Lopes aka Hobo Johnson really did live rough – man, hope it’s not as bad as it sounds – but his stories relate, his groove is cool and we are looking forward to his visit. I’ll be seeing him at Manchester Gorilla in August. www.hobojohnson.com
Ghost – Prequelle The 4th album from the mysterious band, Ghost, is out now! Prequelle really rocks and has all of the theatrics Ghost fans have come to love. My personal favorite is “Danse Macabre.” Listen to it here and try getting it out of your head.
Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch Back in 2016, Trent Reznor promised fans three new NIN releases. The first two EPs, Not the Actual Events and Add Violence were released in 2016 and 2017. After almost a year, the third release Bad Witch is coming on June 22nd. Listen to the first single “God Break Down the Door” here.
Ant-Man and The Wasp The first Marvel film to follow the heavy Avengers: Infinity War is the action/comedy sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp, out July 6th. Many people have speculated how it will tie in with Infinity War and we’ll soon have that answer.
Video Games: Rampage, Joust, and Oregon Trail Mini Arcade Games From Basic Fun comes your favorite arcade classics! These portable arcade games are housed in a miniature replica cabinet, proving that good things come in small packages. They’re perfect for summer road trips, rainy days, and grandma’s house with no wifi. www.BasicFun.com
Are we right? Optimistic? Crazy? Leave your thoughts and tips for what we should check out this summer below in the comments.
And thanks to Chicago artist @MauxBoyle for (graphically) buying our Beast a cocktail.