Staying Current
January 12, 2005 12:17 PM   Subscribe

KeepingUpWithTheKidsFilter: How do you keep up with new books, music, films, etc.? More inside.

I seem to have a hard time staying current when it comes to interesting books, cool bands, good films, stuff like that. I think it's because I'm a bit indecisive and I find it hard to deal with huge amounts of information and choices, so I'd like to find some sort of resource that would make it easy to see what's new and interesting and worth checking out without being totally overwhelming. Any suggestions?
posted by eatcherry to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer:
posted by ludwig_van at 12:18 PM on January 12, 2005

Best answer: Metacritic is my saviour when it comes to this.
posted by shawnj at 12:19 PM on January 12, 2005

I use book blogs to keep up with books. Bookninja is one of my favorites. This post from a different web site is a great overview of important fiction coming out in the next half year.
posted by painquale at 12:22 PM on January 12, 2005

It has a lot of fluff and will only point you to the more mainstream trends, but if I didn't have an Entertainment Weekly subscription, I'd be lost. It has Movie, Music, TV, DVD and Book sections every week.
posted by FreezBoy at 12:26 PM on January 12, 2005

Not exactly a solution, but I no longer read/watch/listen to all of a work if it doesn't interest me enough. Where I used to finish a B- novel (like, say, Crossing California) because it was interesting if nothing special, I now give it a hundred pages or so and then drop it for something else, hopefully something much much better (like, say, The Shadow of the Wind).

(This post contains a sneaky cool kid recommendation. Can you spot it?)
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:27 PM on January 12, 2005

Best answer: For music with an elitist, indie-rock bias, Pitchfork will do, at least because there will be stuff nobody's ever heard of on there, and its limited to a few reviews a day. I don't even read the reviews anymore, I just look up the bands they review online and listen to see if I like 'em. Bandoppler was cool but its not going to be updated anymore.

For movies I check out CHUD, or the delightfully insane Armond White (who I disagree with but forces me to think about movies from a different perspective). Aggregate ratings don't really do anything for me. You have to sift through less if you just pick an interesting reviewer that you agree or disagree with, and see how their opinions about a film coincide with yours. I've seen plenty of films on Rotten Tomatoes that got GREAT aggregate numbers, such as Hero, that I utterly hated.

In the way of books/essays/excerpts, etc... Try checking out Granta, and their book list is pretty interesting.
posted by tweak at 12:39 PM on January 12, 2005

Response by poster: Heh, PST, that's my current read.

(Honest, it is. You can even check my blog. They never lie!)
posted by eatcherry at 12:44 PM on January 12, 2005

Also, if you *really* want to keep up on movies, you could play HSX (aka Hollywood Stock Exchange). In no time you'll have release dates memorized and future projects scouted out.
posted by shawnj at 12:45 PM on January 12, 2005

Heh, PST, that's my current read.

Well there you go : outside validation that you are totally hip and with it and current (at least as much as I am, and that's all that truly matters). Problem solved!

posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:48 PM on January 12, 2005

Bookslut (be sure to check out the bookslut blog), Beatrice, and The Complete Review
posted by mlis at 12:48 PM on January 12, 2005

Response by poster: I'm already a big Bookslut fan, but lots of other v. interesting links here. Thanks!
posted by eatcherry at 12:54 PM on January 12, 2005

Best answer: for music, if you're in a hurry you really can't beat 75 or less.
posted by msconduct at 1:02 PM on January 12, 2005

Book-wise, subscribing to the New York Review of Books is totally worth it. Better than the book blogs, IMO, because a) the writers are Real People (novelists, professors, scientists, experts), b) there is no 'industry gossip,' and c) you'll be exposed to a lot of history, politics, science, poetry, and so on--the whole range of what's out there. It's absolutely great.
posted by josh at 1:18 PM on January 12, 2005

Does the HSX still have a scrolling ticker across from Koo Koo Roo? or whatever that chicken resturant is called in Hollywood?
posted by Lizc at 3:11 PM on January 12, 2005

Best answer: Audioscrobbler for music, along with the usual suspects like Pitchfork, indietorrents and a few hipster pals who know much more than I do. Sometimes listen to John in the Morning on KEXP, he tends to play a lot of new and interesting stuff. For books it's a combination of the library magazines I read, the librarians I talk to, and the booklists of some friends of mine. Movies I'm hopeless at. I try to get to the Vermont Film Festival and other than that I'm waiting til it's on video.
posted by jessamyn at 3:38 PM on January 12, 2005

Best answer: Music: Pitchfork and 75 or Less are key. Also, Slatch lists new releases most weeks, which is super-useful.
I also generally read the music review columns in both Bust and Bitch magazine pretty thoroughly.

Books: Bookslut, But I really don't keep up that well. I have to do enough reading as it is.

Movies: I don't even know. I go to a lot of movies and so I see a lot of trailers. I also read my local free weekly, so I know what's coming out and I see reviews.

General: If your city has a free weekly arts and life style paper, pick it up, because it will list concerts, movies and other events as well as having current CD reviews. That, and talk to people who are cooler than you.
posted by SoftRain at 5:05 PM on January 12, 2005

Best answer: This thread could not be any better.

I would also add the Salon's Wednesday Morning Download and maybe Epitonic for music browsing.

In addition to the NYRB, I'd also recommend (and recommend subscribing to) the London Review of Books and Book Forum.

Stick with magazines for art, notably Art in America and Art Papers.

Lastly, if you can stand Jason Cambell, he does a newsletter for Fashion, Books, Music, and the Scene.
posted by orange clock at 6:43 PM on January 12, 2005

From epitonic: Math Rock (Math Rock?): "Take the intricacy and complexity of classic weirdo hard rock bands like Rush and Voivod, then add some of punk's hyperspasmodic schizophrenia, and you'll have a legitimate math rock contender." Whoa - great site!

Good piece from NYT Book Review from October 2004 reviewing book blogs.
posted by mlis at 7:28 PM on January 12, 2005

Best answer: has a mailing list sent out every monday and tuesday that lists CDs released that day. I find it indispensible. Second slatch (hi Jon!) + 75orless (run by the same people), and the usual blog suspects.
posted by softlord at 5:05 PM on January 13, 2005

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