In today's edition of The Atlantic Daily, join Jennifer Senior, a staff writer at The Atlantic and the recipient of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, as she shares her current cultural fascinations and timeless favorites.
Jennifer, known for her poignant writing on topics ranging from 9/11 aftermath to the complexities of adult friendships, takes us on a tour of her cultural landscape, revealing the gems that captivate her attention.
Theater Marvel: Daniel Radcliffe in Merrily We Roll Along Revival
The revival of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along takes center stage in Jennifer's cultural conversations. While Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez shine, it's Daniel Radcliffe who steals the show, shedding his Harry Potter persona to embody an angry, long-suffering writer with impeccable comic timing.
Anticipated Event: Here We Are - Sondheim's Final Musical
The upcoming event Jennifer eagerly awaits is "Here We Are," the yet-to-be-completed Sondheim musical staged posthumously at the Shed. As a fan of Sondheim's genius, she looks forward to this final masterpiece.
TV Picks: Ramy and Never Have I Ever
In the realm of television, Jennifer delves into "Ramy," applauding its exploration of self-righteousness pitfalls. She also confesses her weakness for high school-themed shows, expressing her enjoyment of "Never Have I Ever," especially if it involves nerds.
Actors to Admire: Carole Lombard and Living Legends
Jennifer pays homage to the late Carole Lombard, expressing her willingness to watch anything featuring this iconic actress. Among the living, her list includes David Strathairn, Wendell Pierce, and Sarah Lancashire, actors whose performances she finds irresistible.
Movie Favorites: To Be or Not to Be and Clueless
Shifting to movies, Jennifer breaks the mold by naming her favorite black-and-white and color films separately. Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be, starring Carole Lombard, represents her black-and-white choice. For color, she opts for Amy Heckerling's Clueless, a high school classic that captures her heart.
Literary Picks: The Sellout and Inside Story
In the realm of literature, Jennifer extols Paul Beatty's The Sellout, describing it as a fiction piece that turned her positively evangelical, despite being eight years late to the party. For nonfiction, she praises Martin Amis's Inside Story, appreciating its tenderness and insights into writing.
Favorite Author Dilemma: Anthony Trollope and Graham Greene
Asked to name an author she would read anything by, Jennifer playfully sidesteps the challenge by selecting Anthony Trollope, whose works she hopes to complete upon retirement. She acknowledges the impracticality of this choice and humorously suggests a more realistic option: Graham Greene.
Musical Tunes: "Angel From Montgomery" and "Superman"
Sharing her musical preferences, Jennifer reveals her love for Bonnie Raitt's rendition of "Angel From Montgomery" and R.E.M.'s energizing "Superman." The former, a quiet song, resonates with melancholy beauty, while the latter, a louder tune, serves as a great psych-up anthem when played at full blast.
Artistic Appreciation: Lucian Freud's Show at the Thyssen
Jennifer reminisces about the Lucian Freud show she experienced in Spain, particularly at the Thyssen museum. Artists like Freud, Schiele, and Bacon, with their pathos and darkness, captivate her, and she finds herself responsive to their unflinching gaze at the unlovely aspects of life.
Literary Reverie: Kenneth Tynan's Diaries
Revisiting literary figures, Jennifer confesses to a perpetual re-reading of Kenneth Tynan's works, especially his diaries. She shares a favorite line from Tynan's April 4, 1974 entry, describing his continuous struggle with productivity, capturing the essence of writing burdens.
Digital Pastime: The New York Times Puzzles
Jennifer admits that The New York Times puzzles, including Wordle, Connections, and the Spelling Bee, might be her undoing. The inclusion of a "Hints" link, revealed by a friend, adds a new dimension to her daily puzzle-solving mania.
Kid-Inspired Gem: Phineas and Ferb's Timeless Appeal
Introduced by her almost-16-year-old son, Jennifer expresses her admiration for Phineas and Ferb, highlighting its inspired brilliance comparable to The Simpsons. She proudly mentions her ability to sing the theme song in its entirety.
Debating Culture: Rachel Cusk's Allure
Jennifer recounts a recent cultural debate, seeking clarification from a friend about the buzz surrounding Rachel Cusk. Despite multiple attempts, she confesses her inability to love Cusk's work, turning the conversation into a personal confession and plea for understanding.
Recommended Listening: Zadie Smith's White Teeth Audiobook
A recent recommendation that delighted Jennifer is the audio version of Zadie Smith's White Teeth. Featuring four different readers, it transforms into a captivating radio play that marries material and narrators seamlessly.
Emotional Resonance: Merrily We Roll Along's Impact
Jennifer reveals that the last thing to make her cry was the experience of Merrily We Roll Along. She considers it one of the finest works about friendship and time, echoing the emotional depth akin to Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety.
Laughter Inducer: Bottoms
Ending on a light note, Jennifer humorously mentions "Bottoms," invoking her love for any movie or television show centered around high school settings.
In this cultural expedition with Jennifer Senior, we glimpse her diverse tastes, from the magic of Broadway revivals to the timeless
About the Creator
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