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Debra Graniks cultural highlights

The Winters Bone director on Kate McKinnons Rudy Giuliani impressions, the breadmakers art and her favourite cinema

Film director Debra Granik was born in 1963 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her first film, Snake Feed, made while she was still a student at New York University, won the award for best short at Sundance in 1998. She has since made two feature films, including 2010s Winters Bone, which launched lead actor Jennifer Lawrences career and earned her an Academy Award nomination. Her follow-up, Leave No Trace, is adapted from Peter Rocks novel, MyAbandonment, which tells the story of an army veteran father and his daughter and their survivalist existence in the rural outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Its out now.

1. Comedy

Kate McKinnons impressions of Rudy Giuliani

Uncanny precision: Kate McKinnon impersonates former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. Photograph: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Political comedians have been helping me crack a laugh recently when some events have been too hard to digest. Theyve been able to lay bare some of the bizarre and blatant ironies of rightwing thinking now, calling it out in an efficient and incisive way. Its been a pleasure to see female comedians be prominent and flourish like Kate McKinnons Rudy Giuliani impressions, which are uncanny in their precision. It makes us keener listeners on some level, isolating things that dont hold up and making sure we dont miss them.

2. Food

Bread from She Wolf Bakery, New York

So fundamentally different from what wed eaten before: bread from the She Wolf Bakery in Brooklyn. Photograph: instagram.com/shewolfbakery/

My colleagues just brought back some bread from a farmers market made by a local bakery, She Wolf, and it tasted so fundamentally different from what wed eaten before. We ate this bread and we were very fired up to do some important work in the office that day. Theres been all this research done by food critics, journalists and historians to understand why it is that some things we were doing in food were amazing and why we shouldnt lose them, like the traditional way of making bread using long fermentations in service to keeping humans both happy and healthy.

3. Art

Mierle Ukeles, Touch Sanitation

Honouring the hard work of everyday New Yorkers: artist Mierle Ukeles shakes hands with a sanitation worker. Photograph: Courtesy the artist/Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

Ive loved Mierles work for many years. In 2016 there was finally a beautiful exhibition of her work in the Queens Museum, New York. She made this piece in the late 1970s that really affected me, Touch Sanitation, where she shook the hands of over 8,000 New York sanitation workers to show how citizens relate to the infrastructure of the city. The work is photographic evidence of her meeting the workers, as well as chronicling what happened when they came to the first exhibition and how she then stayed in touch with some of them. It was a Herculean effort, honouring the hard work of everyday New Yorkers.

4. Venue

Picturehouse Central, London

A space for ingestion as well as digestion: Londons Picturehouse Central cinema. Photograph: Claire Zaffin / Alamy Stock Phot/Alamy Stock Photo

I was recently in London for the Sundance festival and I went to Picturehouse Central for the first time and spent the better part of a week with my jaw in my lap. I was amazed to see something thats so robust and thriving and that also feels like a cultural space to gather in with pleasure. I was able to have interesting discussions after each screening, and I was on a high. It was a rare space to reflect on the films Id just seen a space for ingestion as well as digestion.

5. Book

We Are All Fast Food Workers Now by Annelise Orleck

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jul/01/radar-debra-granik-winters-bone-kate-mckinnon-mierle-ukeles-fast-food-rbg

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