Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Musical conjoined twins, cute kitten notecards, and a fangirl’s guide

Evelyn Evelyn, Evelyn Evelyn

There have been only two instances in which I purchased music based solely on the album art. Both times I was encouraged by my favorite record shopping partner, The A.V. Club’s digital manager, David Anthony. Though I fully expect this was some sort of mischievous act on his part, in 2010, I won out and walked away with an album that quickly became a favorite. Before American Horror Storys Bette and Dot Tattler, there was Evelyn and Evelyn, conjoined twins “inspired by their many eclectic influences—from ’80s music to show tunes…” singing songs about their depressing existence as a carnival act. It was a playfully macabre image (created by Cynthia Von Buhler) of the duo holding an accordion that caught my attention, but what endeared me to the album and its extensive concept is the sheer amount of imagination presented by Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls) and Jason Webley. Acting as the namesake performers, these musicians weave the twins’ harrowing backstory through the 12 song LP on tracks three (“The Tragic Events Of September Part I”), six (“Tragic Events Part II”), and 10 (“Tragic Events Part III.) Snippets include a detailed accounting of their shared limbs and organs, a bizarre tale about their father’s death, and the origin of their affection for chickens. Narrative highlights, however, come from “Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn?” and “You Only Want Me ’Cause You Want My Sister,” both of which allow listeners a bit of voyeuristic pleasure as they learn about the conjoined twins’ dating lives. The album also hosts an impressive list of 21 guest stars, such as “Weird Al” Yankovic, Frances Bean Cobain, Margaret Cho, and Andrew W.K., on penultimate track “My Space,” and ends with a ukulele-fueled cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” (The opener, “Evelyn Evelyn,” is just as enjoyably ’80s influenced, reminiscent of Yaz’s “Winter Kills.”) It’s a fantastical show from start to finish, and I suggest you get your ticket sooner rather than later. [Becca James]

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Kitten Advice Notecards

Tom Cox only needs 140 characters and a photo to craft wonderfully tiny stories about cats, creating sometimes existential, sometimes inane narratives with just a furry creature and his imagination. After A.V. Club editorial manager Laura M. Browning turned me on to his sad cat’s Twitter account, I also reviewed (and loved) Cox’s longer-form storytelling in his most recent novel, The Good, The Bad, And The Furry. So naturally I wasted no time getting my hands on his latest project. A few years ago Cox got a kitten, Roscoe, described in the book as “a living cartoon.” On Twitter, Cox paired Roscoe’s kitten photos with the hashtag #kittenadvice, giving silly, humorous advice to match whatever ridiculous thing Roscoe is doing in the photo. Now, those photos and blurbs are on notecards. Ten in all, each comes with an envelope, so the package is perfect for sending cards to cat lovers, or just appreciators of good writing and cute cats. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]

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The Fangirl’s Guide To The Galaxy

When I was growing up, there were no beginner’s manuals for geekdom. You just took a deep breath, marched right into the comic-book store, and picked up the latest issue of X-Men. The rest was all trial, error, and skeptical looks from the guy behind the counter. Of course, we didn’t have Twitter trolls then, either. That’s why I’m glad a book like Sam Maggs’ The Fangirl’s Guide To The Galaxy exists—while I may have aged out of the book’s target demographic, Maggs’ advice on navigating the vast, endlessly complicated, often intimidating world of fandom is invaluable for boosting the confidence of budding young nerds. Especially useful are her tips on how to be a fangirl on the internet and a collection of empowering mantras like, “I don’t have to prove my nerd cred to anyone, ever.” I could have used that advice when I was 13. [Katie Rife]

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