This week's Culture Vultures recommend: 

House of Cards, There Is a Happiness That Morning Is, The Boy Detective Fails, and Chicago Whispers

AP
  • AP

Oline Eaton, biographer and pop-culture aficionado, indulges her straight-to-streaming needs with:

House of Cards I'm of a generation that has been spoiled by TV on DVD, powering through shows as though there were a medal to be earned upon completion. Netflix totally indulged this impulse when it gifted us the entirety of its new straight-to-streaming show, House of Cards. The 13 hours of this Othello-esque drama pass—increasingly chilling, increasingly cynical—as a blur. The last three episodes in particular are so intense that I had to remind myself to breathe. House of Cards is a political drama not unlike The West Wing in that it's about politics, and totally unlike The West Wing in that it's unrelentingly distrustful of human ambition and full of, in the words of one reviewer, "sleek, oily pools of darkness." But it's not just the plot twists that compel; the characters in House of Cards are extraordinary. Power may be corrupting but, given a southern accent, it goes down smooth as gin.

JOHN SISSON
  • John Sisson

Joe Giovannetti, artistic director of Bartleby Productions, feels a broad array of emotions with:

There Is a Happiness That Morning Is It is a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night before April 7. You wonder: Where am I going tonight? Will it be really hard to park? Is it expensive? Fortunately, I have answers for all of those questions, and they are: Victory Gardens Biograph's upstairs studio theater to see Theater Oobleck's There Is a Happiness That Morning Is; it will be so easy to park because you can park in the Children's Memorial lot just down the street or just take the Brown or Red Line to Fullerton; and the show is pay-what-you-can. There Is a Happiness is a sexy, ludicrous, enchanting, romantic, hysterical, aching, rapturous play about (among other things) public sex, Romantic literature generally, William Blake specifically, folk-music groupies, the state of liberal arts education in America, and general roughhousing. It is brilliant. I saw it twice. You should see it at least once.

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Stephanie Weber, actress with the Chicago Theatre is brimming with pride after reading:

The Boy Detective Fails There’s nothing else quite like this book by Joe Meno. It is about what happens to a boy detective and his friends (think the Hardy Boys or Scooby Doo) when they grow up. The boy detective, Billy Argo, has not had an easy time adjusting to adulthood as he yearns to reclaim his former glory as a great detective. This book had me laughing out loud and smiling while I read it. One of the coolest little treats about The Boy Detective Fails is that on each page there is a code that you can decipher. It tells you a tangential story, not essential to the plot, but related. Cracking the code was one of my proudest moments in book reading and code cracking.

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Jacob Wittich, blogger for Crabby Golightly, saw another side of history with:

Chicago Whispers This book, written by St. Sukie de la Croix, provides an engaging and fun-to-read history of LGBT people living in Chicago spanning from the city's birth through the 1960s. De la Croix's own passionate research of personal interviews connect the Chicago LGBT community to many well-known historic events. Chicago Whispers reclaims the LGBT history of Chicago that is often overlooked and forgotten in our history lessons. The immense amount of historic detail and documentation provided within the book demonstrate de la Croix's dedication to both the LGBT and Chicago communities and will leave readers inspired by the years of labor that went into the making of the book. This innovative work pioneers a thorough approach that examines the roles the LGBT community played in the formation of history.

Correction: This has been updated to reflect the correct closing date of There Is a Happiness That Morning Is.

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