The Awl's Fall Preview

Our guide to what you’ll eat, drink, read, see and hear this autumn.

Get ready for plenty of this in your feed. Photo: Boss Tweed

DINING: You will once again fall for outrageous hype that even people who are paid to act excited about these things don’t really believe. You will spend more money than you should on food that you will forget about a few days later and even the pictures you put on Instagram will fail to fill the emptiness you feel inside. A small insistent voice in a tiny corner of your brain will never let you live down how much you paid for carrots and cauliflower. Carrots and cauliflower. You will be right to be embarrassed.

BOOKS: Even though there are enough established classics of world literature that you have not yet read that were you to make a project of filling the gaps you would have a library of choices to last you the rest of your life, you will wind up reading another fucking story about hyper-literate people in Brooklyn confronting what it means to live in late capitalism and wondering why their emotional fluency is so inferior to the articulacy they display in every other aspect of their lives, although it is probably because of something that happened in their childhood and blah blah blah etc. You will also buy a book that is a highbrow popularization of a complicated scientific discipline, but you will get no further than the introduction and it will stay on your nightstand until the shame is too great or another highbrow popularization that you also won’t read replaces it.

THEATRE: Have you seen Hamilton yet? I know you haven’t, because if you had you already would have told me about it. I have come to the conclusion that the only way we can stop hearing about Hamilton is for all of us to see it so that the people who feel so superior because they bought a ticket to a musical no longer have that to lord over everyone else. So your mission this fall is to see Hamilton, otherwise you want to stay far away from Broadway, it is still a nightmare up there.

MOVIES: Did you know they’re making a sequel to Bad Santa? I mean, Bad Santa was perfectly adequate. I remember even chuckling at parts, back whenever it came out, which Google tells me was 2003. But has there really been a decade-long clamor for a further installment of this story? Were people so desperate to find out what the characters were doing now that production needed commence on the next chapter? Or is it just one more sign of the creative bankruptcy of Hollywood and its craven desire for marketability over any semblance of originality? To ask the question is to answer it, I guess. Anyway. You’ll see a bunch of movies but you’ll be looking at your phone most of the time. At least now that Woody Allen films come out in July, all the people who use them as an opportunity to tell the Internet just how they feel about Woody Allen will have exhausted themselves on the topic and found something else to share their very important opinions about.

TELEVISION: I tend to dismiss television since it’s mostly a lot of garbage and even though we should all know better we have decided that we are somehow living in a Golden Age because higher production values and actors who would have previously shunned the form in favor of film help disguise the essential soap-operaness of everything we are now comparing to Shakespeare. But whatever, what do I care? If you need to tell yourself that TV is the new literature to make yourself feel better about the fact that you spent eight hours of your Saturday watching something that would have no reason to exist if it hadn’t draped itself in ’80s nostalgia, go crazy. It’s not like you’re reading actual literature these days anyway. I mean, soon enough who is going to know what that word even meant before it was used to signal “classy”? The good news is the elf incest show doesn’t come back until the summer, so you’ve got a nice long stretch before people start going on about that again.

ARTS: You will go to whatever the most buzzed-about exhibit is. You won’t really get it, but you’ll go. You’ll pat yourself on the back for doing something cultural, and at least the pictures you put on Instagram to show your friends what an exciting life you lead will crowd out those pictures of expensive carrots and cauliflower you put up earlier. Do you ever feel like you’re some kind of terrible parody of urban sophistication? That you’re essentially a fraud, compelled to do things you don’t actually enjoy because all the prompts you pay attention to tell you that this is how you need to define yourself? Is it possible that the self-loathing you can barely keep at bay is at least in part a result of your inability to do anything different from what everyone you know does? Just a thought.

DRINK: Yeah you will.

MUSIC: There will actually only be two bright spots this year: music and the election being over. Even the end of the election will bring with it an ocean of unavoidable analysis and bloviation from a bunch of pasty guys in wrinkle-resistant khakis who think that their recapitulation of what everyone else is saying is somehow superior to that of their colleagues because it is coming out of their own doughy faces. So, really, music is all you’ve got. The new Angel Olsen album that comes out next Friday is terrific, in a better world it would be a number one hit. Lambchop’s FLOTUS, arriving November 4th, manages the amazing feat of going in a new direction while maintaining everything that is great about the band. And the brightest spot of every year, Kompakt’s Total compilation, is released this Friday, make sure you get it. Those are just three things to look forward to, but since the only way to get through fall will be with headphones on I recommend grabbing everything you can.