My focus: Cultural picks from Jake Shears

My focus: Cultural picks from Jake Shears


Jason Sellards, also known as Jake Shears, was born in Arizona in 1978 and grew up in Washington. He later moved to New York, where he studied fiction writing at the New School. Shears is most famous for being the co-lead singer of the band Scissor Sisters, with whom he released four albums between 2004 and 2012. Last year, he released his second solo album, titled “Last Man Dancing.” From September to March, Shears has been playing the role of the Emcee in the play Cabaret at the Playhouse in London. On January 30th, his debut podcast called “Queer the Music” will launch, featuring discussions about influential queer anthems with guests such as Rufus Wainwright and Self Esteem.

1. Album

“Mega Bog’s latest album, The End of Everything, explores the themes of mortality and impermanence through dreamy, experimental pop music.”

Mega Bog’s newest record, The End of Everything, delves into the concepts of death and transience using ethereal and unconventional pop melodies.

Erin Birgy smoking a cigarette in front of red flowers

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For the past six months, I have been continuously listening to this album. The artist behind it is Mega Bog, whose real name is Erin Birgy. This is the first of her seven albums that I have given proper attention to. It has a unique and progressive sound with a hint of witchiness. I am reminded of Laurie Anderson when I hear her voice. The album consists of eight tracks, which is a length that I particularly enjoy. My favorite track is “Complete Book of Roses.” This is one of those albums that I will play in my dressing room before a show and people will ask about it. There is a certain magic within this record.

2. Video game


Collage of images from Immortality’s film footage

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I am an avid video game enthusiast and this is hands down one of the most immersive gaming experiences I have ever had. The game features real actors portraying characters in a film-making setting. The main challenge is piecing together a puzzle by observing an actress in three separate movies, which includes behind-the-scenes footage and actual scenes. It is a gripping, suspenseful, enigmatic, and alluring game that also has elements of horror. There were moments that genuinely frightened me and I have never encountered anything quite like it in my gaming experience.

3. Film

Nosferatu (Dir Robert Eggers, 2024)

Willem Dafoe in Nosferatu as Prof Albin Eberhart Von Franz in a church as flames rise around him

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I am eagerly anticipating the release of Robert Eggers’ remake of Nosferatu, scheduled for later this year. Eggers is a highly acclaimed director and I have always been a huge admirer of Werner Herzog’s previous version, which I believe will influence this new adaptation. I am eager to see Eggers’ take on the story. His previous film, The Northman, completely captivated me with its blend of brutality and humor, and the inclusion of Björk and Nicole Kidman as compelling characters. I have a deep appreciation for slow-paced, eerie tales.

4. Podcast

Please remember this.

Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, directed by Adrian Lyne, which features in You Must Remember This.View image in fullscreen

Karina Longworth’s podcast series on cinema history is excellent. The last two installments focused on the portrayal of sex in Hollywood films during the 1980s and 1990s. It delves into the intricacies of the meaning of sex, what was considered acceptable and unacceptable, the perspectives of the actors, and who was advocating for certain portrayals, all in thorough detail. As I listened, I made a point to either watch or rewatch all the movies she discussed, including Flashdance, which I had never seen before (it was stunning). Listening to this podcast was like attending a comprehensive film studies course.

The Librarianist ( Hardcover – 6 July 2023) by Patrick deWitt

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5. Book

The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt

This is one of my preferred books from the previous year, written by one of my beloved authors. All of deWitt’s works are distinct – he gained recognition for his gold rush western, The Sisters Brothers. I become completely immersed in the worlds he creates. The story follows a librarian with a mundane life and delves into a love triangle involving him, his wife, and a friend from his past. It’s a mix of humor, sorrow, and beauty that had me hooked until the end.

6. Website

All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office

An image of a UAP (or UFO) from the 1960s released by the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Club of America.

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A few months ago, the US government launched a website featuring declassified reports and videos of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). I am surprised by how unfazed the general public seems to be, given the strange and unexplained occurrences captured in the footage. The site includes eight videos showcasing orbs moving in formation and exhibiting unusual behavior in the air, defying normal laws of physics. The government has admitted to being clueless about these phenomena in some cases. Personally, I am intrigued and eager to learn more about them.