My essentials: Karl Bartolo’s cultural picks

No 42 | Karl Bartolo, 24, Musical Theatre Performer

Karl Bartolo as Adolfo Pirelli in Manoel Theatre's production of Sweeney Todd
Karl Bartolo as Adolfo Pirelli in Manoel Theatre's production of Sweeney Todd

1. Book

Homestuck. It’s less a book and more a very long webcomic which happens to have portions of it in print. The plot is essentially about four kids playing a world-ending video game which goes off the rails, surprisingly beyond ending the world. In my opinion, one of the most absolute timeless pieces of literature ever written, and one which changed my life back when I was still a closeted teenager coming to terms with myself.

2. Film

‘Death Becomes Her’. It is so unbelievably stupid in so many ways it makes for a very timeless dark comedy film and, seeing as I am a fan of unbelievable stupidity and dark comedy, is one of the movies I thoroughly enjoy watching. In particular what sticks out to me is Meryl Streep sending Goldie Hawn flying into a fountain with a shotgun blast, purely because of how silly and stupid it is.

3. Internet/TV

Arcane/Wandavision/Fleabag – Can I have a three-way tie between these TV shows? How can I decide between one of the absolute best animated video-game series of all time, a show containing a stunning and visceral portrayal of one of my favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe characters, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s perfect mix of grief, trauma and comedy?

4. Music

ШУМ/Babylon – What I particularly love music-wise is when different genres of music mesh together to create something absolutely spectacular. Two particular examples of such a successful interaction of genres I would like to mention are ШУМ by Go_A and Babylon from Lady Gaga’s album Chromatica. I could honestly never tire from endlessly listening to these particular two.

5. Place

Austria – I remember a few years back, prior to the pandemic, I had taken a trip to Austria with my family, and we had stayed in a lodge with a view of grassy plains in between two hilled forests. If the temperature and humidity are just right, you could see dense clouds of fog rolling through the trees and the hills á la Silent Hill. It was eerie but I found it to be extremely serene. I would like to experience that one more time.