Charlie Brooker

Ryan Duggan, Artist and printmaker, is really getting into:

Comedian Charlie Brooker

For the last week or so I’ve been nurturing a hearty obsession with British comedian Charlie Brooker. My first viewing of his series How TV Ruined Your Life was borderline cathartic. This guy says all the things I’m thinking, but his excessive swearing and dry British wit makes it far more hilarious than I ever could. The series touches on romance, entitlement, money, aging, and a number of other facets forever harshed by our relationship with the tube. I proceeded to watch nearly everything I could find tagged with his name, and from what I found it almost exclusively centers on television, advertising, pop culture, and his disgust with all of it. In this day in age it ain’t easy to make a philosophical venture entertaining but goddamn it if Brooker doesn’t do just that. Find it on the Internet or on your television if you own one of the “horrible little shitboxes.”

Xan Aranda, Film director and producer, couldn’t put down:

Shipwrecks of Lake Michigan by Benjamin J. Shelak

Benjamin J. Shelak’s Shipwrecks of Lake Michigan provides much-needed perspective during rigorous times! It’s not an intentionally funny book, but whenever I turn to a random passage during business difficulties, Shelak provides a perfect old-timey match to what I’m experiencing: a big ship that unexpectedly goes up in flames, or a captain who’s killed when his schooner’s towline to shore snaps after he’s survived a stormy day on the lake. When I returned to Chicago after ten years in California, I was sure the Pacific ruled supreme. Nowadays I love to watch the sunrise over Lake Michigan with Chicago at my back, then drive to the eastern shore in Indiana or Michigan. I stop at Calumet Fisheries on the way for amazing smoked trout. After a day of swimming, there’s nothing like watching the sunset over the lake knowing Chicago is in the near distance. You can’t do that with the Pacific.

Sarah Mikayla Brown, Executive director of next week’s Fringe Festival, stays up for:

Louie (FX)

Louie C.K.

I’ve watched it since the very beginning, and I’ve been a fan of Louis C.K. for some time. I’ve seen him live. The first sesason was definitely very avant-garde and funny, but the second season is taking bigger risks, not always going for the laughs. In some cases it’s nonnarrative—it’ll be two different pieces. The first section of this one episode is this silent scene of Louie watching this man playing the violin in the New York City subway, and it had to be seven, eight minutes, like really long. Then behind them, slowly, you see coming down the stairs the type of homeless man who has what seems like 100 bags, and he sits down right behind the violinist and starts washing himself with water. He’s washing his ass while Louie is trying to be moved by the violin. It’s pretty clear to me that that’s what it’s like to be in the city.