Your Weekly Pop Culture Mandate: Oct 4

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Five things you must not miss this week, including new albums from Clinic and Marnie Stern and Zach Galifianakis as a wise and friendly nutcase.

MUSIC Marnie Stern, Marnie Stern

Marnie Stern, Marnie Stern

Marnie Stern has always been known for her ferocious technical prowess; after the release of her first album, 2007's In Advance of the Broken Arm, she was widely heralded as one of the best female guitarists of all time.  In this album, her third, she's more reflective and introspective than before (the album is self-titled, after all), but her playing remains as progressive and experimental as ever. October 5

MOVIES Inside Job, Charles Ferguson

Inside Job, Charles Ferguson

In a film that’s likely to be enlightening and enraging, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Charles Ferguson (No End in Sight) tackles the recent economic crisis. Featuring interviews with major financial insiders and narrated by Matt Damon, Inside Job examines the complicated relationship between industry, government, and regulation. Based on all the corporate scandals as of late, we're guessing it exposes corruption all over the place – but we'll watch it to find exactly how much. October 8

BOOKS Celebrity Chekhov, Ben Greenman

Celebrity Chekhov, Ben Greenman

Ever wonder what would happen if you infused classic Russian literature with low-brow pop culture icons? Neither did we, but we’re glad Ben Greenman did. In Celebrity Chekhov, the author and New Yorker editor reimagines Chekhov’s stories with tabloid stars as their protagonists. The prose is beautiful, and the stories are compelling. We'll let you decide whether they're improved by the presence of celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Sarah Palin. Read an excerpt here. October 5

MUSIC Bubblegum, Clinic

Bubblegum, Clinic

Bubblegum, Clinic’s sixth full-length album might be their most appropriately titled yet — and that’s part of why we like it. The Liverpool art-rockers return with what’s probably the gentlest music they've put out so far. Here’s to forty lovely minutes of autumnal chamber pop that’s as catchy as it is sweet. October 5

MOVIES It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Beneath his sweet exterior, Zach Galifianakis has always seemed like a bit of a nutcase (perhaps it’s the beard), and in this film, he's finally playing one. In It’s Kind of a Funny Story, his character befriends troubled sixteen-year-old, Keir Gilchrist, and in a sweet (but not sentimental) story about the kind of relationship with a mentor we all wish we had in high school. Without the mental-institution part. October 8