Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest “Steampunk Deer” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on If Beale Street Could Talk, The Masked Singer, and viral recipes.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 542 with Dana Stevens, Julia Turner, and Stephen Metcalf with the audio player below.

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This week, the critics discuss If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of the James Baldwin novel of the same name, and the contrast between its gorgeous, empathetic cinematography and harsh subject matter. Next, they’re joined by Mike Pesca to take on The Masked Singer, a bizarre (and so far wildly successful) series in which C-list celebrities perform anonymously for a panel of judges tasked with guessing their identity. Together, they work toward a theory of reality competition shows. Finally, the gabbers unpack what makes a recipe go viral, reflecting on their own attempts to make Alison Roman’s highly Instagrammable stew and how the internet has changed their approach to cooking generally.


Links to some of the things we discussed this week:

• Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk
• Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
• “The Culture Gabfest ‘New Theme Song’ Edition” by Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner in Slate
• “Barry Jenkins’ ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ is a gorgeous, radically empathetic follow-up to ‘Moonlight’” by Justin Chang in the Los Angeles Times
• “The Culture Gabfest ‘Epistemological Meltdown’ Edition” by Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner in Slate
The Masked Singer
• “Those Wild ‘Masked Singer’ Costumes? She Designed Them” by Lara Zarum in the New York Times
Lip Sync Battle
• “Who Are the Thirsty Celebs on The Masked Singer? An Investigation” by Lindsey Weber in Vulture
• “Spiced Chickpea Stew With Coconut and Turmeric” by Alison Roman in the New York Times
• “Is #TheStew Actually That Good?” by Bryan Lowder in Slate
• “The Joy of #Cooking” by Nikita Richardson in Grub Street
• “Crunchy Granola” by Mark Bittman in the New York Times
• “Pasta with Sardines, Bread Crumbs and Capers” by Mark Bittman in the New York Times


Dana: Maple Cheerios

Julia:Have a Heart” by Cymbals Eat Guitars

Steve: Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist

Mike: Taxi (specifically the episodes “Arnie Meets the Kids” and “Reverend Jim: A Space Odyssey”)

Outro: “Angela” by Bob James

This podcast was produced by Benjamin Frisch. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

Feel free to email us at or interact with us at @SlateCultFest on Twitter. And you can follow all of Slate’s culture podcasts by liking our Facebook page.