Some Foxes And A Grape, 1924 (Photo: The Print Collector/Getty Images)

Flapper by Joshua Zeitz

Flapper culture is all the rage now, with seemingly thousands of weddings, birthday parties, and bachelorette parties each year planned around a vague “flapper” or “let’s wear feather headbands” theme. But how did the trend start, and just what did it mean to actually be a flapper? Joshua Zeitz’s Flapper: A Madcap Story Of Sex, Style, Celebrity, And The Women Who Made America Modern attempts to answer that question through excellent historical reporting, looking at everyone from Zelda Fitzgerald to Louise Brooks. Did you know, for instance, that we only started really getting standardized (or bastardized, depending on who you ask) clothing sizes around the age of the flapper, in part because it helped sell more clothes to a culture that was increasingly more interested in consumption? The same goes for makeup. Prior to the flapper era, it was taboo to wear it, because there was a widely held belief that makeup wearers were hiding something. Also, Coco Chanel dated a Nazi during WWII and reportedly tried to get the United Kingdom to flip to the Axis. Flapper is full of fascinating facts and interesting firsthand detail. It’s an excellent reminder of just how young we are as both a nation and a species, and should help you really throw the hammer down next time you’re invited to a Great Gatsby-themed wedding. [Marah Eakin]

“Let Me Be Me” by Nite-Funk

As I tend to after the year’s come to a close and all the internet’s Best Of lists have reminded me how little new music I actually listened to, I’ve spent the last few weeks searching for material I missed. I’ve weaved in and out of a ton of great albums, but there’s one song that has held my ear captive for a while: “Let Me Be Me” by Nite-Funk. It comes from the Nite-Funk EP, a collaboration between Los Angeles-based producers-musicians Nite Jewel, who works in cold, electronic pop, and Dâm-Funk, who’s been pumping out spacey, viscous funk on Stones Throw Records since 2008. The two have collaborated before, but the true fruits of their partnership didn’t really take shape until 2016’s “Can U Read Me?,” a stellar R&B tune in its own right and a precursor to what their four-track EP would sound like. “Let Me Be Me” is a towering highlight, a throwback to synth-heavy Minneapolis-style disco-funk with Nite Jewel singing over an unrelenting Dâm-Funk jam starring a killer keyboard solo and a chilling breakdown in the back half. [Matt Gerardi]

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Herbie Archives comic

My brother continued his long and welcome tradition of getting me comics for Christmas last year with the second volume of the Herbie Archives, published by Dark Horse. The stories have the same zany tone as other ’60s post-Comics Code Authority comics like Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen: time travel, pirates, haunted houses, and any other genre that can be folded in to tell a loose, nonsensical story. The difference is anchored in the protagonist. A short, rotund child with drooping features and a utilitarian bowl cut, Herbie speaks in short, truncated sentences utterly bereft of affect, and he’s perpetually sucking a lollipop. The gag is, for all of his outward-seeming uselessness, Herbie possesses godlike powers. He’s incredibly strong, able to fly—or more accurately, walk through the air—and is known by the entire animal kingdom as someone not to fuck with. One of the book’s best gags is Herbie’s dad, Pincus, who’s the exact inverse of his son: a handsome, seemingly ideal mid-century man, whose actual ineptness constantly threatens to bankrupt his family until Herbie bails him out. It’s exceptionally bizarre stuff. Writer Richard Hughes never lets consistency get in the way of a surreal storyline and artist Ogden Whitney’s generic, workmanlike illustration heightens the sense of strangeness. [Nick Wanserski]

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