In Staff Picks, Koffler staff lovingly and carefully select the things that mean the most to them at any given moment. From inspiring wedding vows to changing someone’s perspective, these are the things and ideas that we think are worth sharing with the people that matter to us. From around the world, to our hearts, to your eyeballs.
Share your #StaffPicks at @KofflerArts.
Graphic Novel: Saga
Picked by Alex. “An ‘epic space opera’. Detailed, gorgeous. Complicated, human. You can burn through these stories in a delicious afternoon.” Find out more.
Book: Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose
Picked by Emma. “A work of historical fiction that seeks to question the origins and banality of evil, Francine Prose’s epic novel takes the viewer on a journey spanning 1920’s Paris to the end of the Second World War. Told through a multiplicity of perspectives, from a cast of characters whose lives intertwine within an infamous Parisian jazz venue known for its cross-dressing performers, Prose challenges the reliability of historical writing, first-person observations, and photography in creating historical narrative.” Find out more on Goodreads.
Book: Native Son by Richard Wright
Picked by Letticia. “Originally published in 1940 in response to race relations in urban Chicago, Native Son is uncannily poignant amidst today’s political and social climate. You’ll wince as you read the inner dialogue of Bigger Thomas, the novel’s protagonist, regarding his status as a Black man in a White world. And there’s a scene which will parallel the recent treatment of Standing Rock protestors which will make your hair raise. If you can, get your hands on the version with a forward written by Richard Wright, it’s anachronistic 2016 political theory.” Find out more.
Book: Friend or Foe by John Sobol, Illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova
Picked by Jess. “Dasha was our artist-in-residence in the spring of 2016 and her work continues to be thoughtful, emotional, and entertaining.” Find out more.
Writer: Caitlin Moran. Literally anything by Caitlin Moran
Picked by Alex. “My bestie gave me Moran’s “How to Be a Woman”. At that point she had loaned it to so many women that the book was in tatters. It should be passed from woman to woman, read by anybody who knows a woman, and celebrated for its fierce vision of how womanhood can mean any damn thing we want it to mean. Her blog picks up where “How to Be a Woman” leaves off, and is just as good.” Read Caitlin's blog.
Book: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Picked by Cathy. “This book should be gut wrenching, but, instead, it is a thoughtful, poignant attempt to try to make sense of dying at 37.” Learn more at Goodreads.
Picked by Alex. “Natalie and I discovered LitHub at Book Expo in New York City last year. They were giving out the best tote bags. But besides that, the site features well-curated, gorgeous content for book lovers including interviews, elegant listicles, a great sense of humour, and long form essays about writing and writers.” Head to LitHub.
Short Film: Father John Misty's Pure Comedy (the Film)
Picked by Alex. “FJM releases a new album. Awesome. But then he also releases a free YouTube-able film with it????!? Even awesomer. It’s trippy, it’s dark, it’s everything we’ve come to expect from our favourite folksy depressive.” Watch on YouTube.
Multimedia Project: The Secret Path
Picked by Mary. “A record, graphic novel, animated film, and most importantly a real life story that every Canadian should know about.” Discover more.
Animated Short: "What Can Fear Teach Us About Love" (8 minutes)
Picked by Alex. “An animated conversation between the artist and his parents, in which his parents drop a truth bomb about fear and love. Helped me write my wedding vows.”
Film: RAMS (2 hours)
Picked by Cathy. “A beautiful, odd film whose subject concerns two brothers who haven’t spoken for 40 years. What reunites them, is likely something that probably only makes sense in Iceland.”
Documentary: Los Angeles Plays Itself (2 hours)
Picked by Tony. “An utterly captivating documentary for any film-lover, Hollywood history buff, or west coast/urban/American enthusiast. Digs deep into the history of film in America and the construction of the history and ethos of Los Angeles – the city, the geographic place, the celluloid invention, the myth, the movie set, and the style of life.”
Podcast: Still Processing (a Cultural Conversation)
Picked by Letticia. “What I love most about this podcast is how much Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris, both writers for the NYT, love each other and are not afraid to proclaim said love throughout these 45 mins- one hour long episodes. I don’t think there’s a single podcast out there that showcases two talented, black, queer, highly successful journalists (well, maybe Another Round, which is also awesome), and I’m here for it.” Listen.
Musician: Andy Shauf
Picked by Mary. “A Saskatchewan singer/songwriter who is quite happy being a one-man band in the studio, thank you very much! A must listen for those who appreciate thoughtful, brilliant songwriting.” Discover more.
Podcast: The Globe and Mail's Colour Code
Picked by Jess. A podcast about race in Canada. Listen at TheGlobeandMail.com
Song: Aretha Franklin's Cover of "A Change is Gonna Come"
Picked by Jess. “A classic cover, and a much needed listen during these distressing days.”
Podcast: Lin-Manuel Miranda on WTF with Marc Maron (1 hour, 40 minutes)
Picked by Alex. “Two of my favourite people in one room. Talking for ninety minutes. Talking about the election with hope, kindness, and optimism. Dishing dirt about the cast of Hamilton. Yes please.” Listen on iTunes.
Musician: Molly Drake
Picked by Mona. “I’m in love with this music these days. It’s Nick Drake’s mother, her old unknown recordings from the ’50s.” Listen on Bandcamp.