Tom Hanks the writer is no Tom Hanks the actor, but his new book Uncommon Type is pretty good

It’s possible, but highly improbable, for one person to be so gifted they excel at everything they attempt. That’s the thing about polymaths; they’re exceedingly rare. While Tom Hanks’ debut short story collection Uncommon Type does not earn him a place next to Steve Martin or the late Sam Shepard on the dais of those…

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Kesha, The War On Drugs, and more music to expect in August

Every Friday, dozens of new records are released into the wild. Some make big splashes, and others sink almost immediately. For most music consumers, it’s almost too much information, and save for those precious few who spend their hours glued to review sites and release calendars, it’s hard to know what’s coming out

The Second(-Billed) City: 19 great Chicago character actors

Chicago is a “that guy” kind of town, its very history shaped by political machines and criminal syndicates whose leaders all resembled character actors of one type or another. It’s also home to venerable ensemble theater companies such as Steppenwolf and improv comedy institutions like Second City, which has made it…

“Thirteen” going on “30 Something”: Growing up according to pop music

Next to sex and death, there’s no more compelling subject for songwriters than the thing that happens in between those two endpoints on the cycle of life. Aging—and all the excitement, confusion, and existential dread that accompanies it—has long captivated the songwriter, whose work within a ruthlessly youth-focused…

What’s missing from our list of 2016’s best films?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d

“Confound it!”: 11 pop-culture moments that needed batteries

If there’s one constant every holiday season, it’s that something somewhere is going to need batteries. Maybe it’s that Nintendo 3DS that your nephew was demanding and finally received, or possibly that stupid singing fish on the wall everyone thought it would be so funny to get Grandpa Jerry. (Grandpa Jerry is…