Staff Picks: Crime, culture and poverty in the city


Image courtesy of FX

By Aleea Evangelista


Watch this! – The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Image courtesy of FX
Image courtesy of FX

Gianni Versace was murdered by serial killer Andrew Cunanan on July 1997 in Miami Beach, Florida. “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is a nine-episode television series following the life of Cunanan and the events that led to the murder. From the costuming to the lighting, every aspect of this series is meticulously decadent.

As the founder of the fashion house Versace, Gianni Versace was a fashion icon and built the brand’s empire. Versace’s life was tragically ended by Cunanan and the series explores Cunanan’s motive, childhood and the month that he spends in hiding from the FBI.

The series balances heavy topics with impeccable cinematography and an immaculate soundtrack of a talented orchestra.

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace” explores elements of celebrity, the AIDS crisis and intolerance. The series paints Versace’s lively spirit and how devastating his murder was to his family and the world.

Darren Criss stars as Andrew Cunanan in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” and won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series for the role at the Emmy’s in 2018. A glamorous cast accompanies Criss with Edgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace, Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace and Ricky Martin as Antonio D’Amico.

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace” is the second season in FX’s American Crime Story series, and is available on Netflix.

Listen to this! – Dissect

Image coutsty
Image courtesy of Dissect

Cole Cuchna’s “Dissect” podcast breaks down iconic albums from hip-hop and R&B artists.

Each season, Cuchna dissects the tracklist, lyrics and messages of a single album. Within the season, each song is explored in its own 45-minute podcast episode. The host discusses everything from the artist’s personal background and influences to a song’s percussion.

With a degree in music composition and theory, Cuchna examined Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” in season one of “Dissect.” Then in season two, the host dissected Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and the podcast gained a massive following.

The New York Times named “Dissect” as their “Best Podcast of 2018”.

“Dissect” has covered artists such as Frank Ocean, Lauryn Hill and Tyler the Creator.

Now on its’ seventh season, Cuchna is examining Childish Gambino’s iconic studio album “Because The Internet.”

“Dissect” is the perfect crash course in current hip-hop and R&B and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.

Read this! – Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Image Courtesy of Crown Books/Matthew Desmond
Image Courtesy of Crown Books/Matthew Desmond

Sociologist Matthew Desmond’s “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” follows eight different families in Milwaukee as they navigate the housing crisis in 2008.

This non-fiction book tackles how race, class and gender play into the discrimination and prejudice that renters face.

Desmond explores the grim reality of securing housing in the midst of poverty and the possibility of eviction. The author attributes Arleen, a Black mother of two young boys and one of the books’ subjects, as the inspiration for “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.”

Desmond follows Arleen’s story through periods of housing instability as she tries to find a home for her and her sons.

“Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” outlines how the housing process is deeply racist and rooted in discriminatory practices and poverty, illustrating its’ points with the heartbreaking stories of renters looking for stable housing.

Desmond notes how housing insecurity impacts nearly all aspects of life such as education, mental health and employment.

“Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” describes poverty in tragic detail and enlightens audiences on the systemic inequities in housing, while detailing a hopeful path to a future without evictions.

“Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” can be found on Amazon, Audible and more.