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The Report

Ten Things To Put A Spring In Your Step

Film and music from Messrs Noah Baumbach and Sufjan Stevens, plus the new app, book and cooks

It’s about this time of year we emerge from wintery hibernation, stretching, yawning and blinking in the sun, and start to get excited about what the spring can bring. (Or if we’re on the other side of the equator, we start looking for ways to eke out the summer just that little bit longer.) Happily for us all, there’s a bounty of interesting cultural, culinary and technological offerings coming our way. From director Mr Noah Baumbach’s brilliantly observed comedy about trying to hold on to youth, to former New York Times reporter Ms Judith Miller’s memoir about her thrilling (and divisive) life in journalism, to bewitching folk hero Mr Sufjan Stevens’ existentially enquiring new album, and a momentous global exhibition in Milan that will consider how the future will look (and taste), these are times of reflection, projection and meditative thought. Or, if you don’t feel much like thinking, why not perform your own rites of spring at an early festival in Malta, or make the most of the still warm(ish) nights at one of Melbourne’s hottest new restaurants? In short, here’s how to re-examine, refresh and start to feel alive again after the deep spiritual freeze of winter – or to keep the summer dream going, with MR PORTER’s highlights of the coming season.

FILM

While We’re Young

Mr Noah Baumbach makes movies that are unashamedly about people like him: smart, funny urbanites who know their worries are First World, but feel them anyway. In his latest, Mr Ben Stiller and Ms Naomi Watts star as a fortysomething couple who try to turn back the years by befriending a younger pair (Mr Adam Driver and Ms Amanda Seyfried). Not so simple, it turns out.

Out on 27 March in the US and 3 April in the UK while-were-young.com

ALBUM

Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens

The new album from everyone’s favourite indie-folk superstar is named after his late mother and his stepfather and contemplates the nature of existence in the way that only Mr Sufjan Stevens can: in delicate, magical folk songs that put the lyrical into the every day. You’ve never heard anyone sing the words “You checked your text while I masturbated” quite so sweetly.

Out on 31 March (Asthmatic Kitty).

EXHIBITION

Expo 2015

“What’s for dinner?” could be the subtitle for the Universal Exposition to be held in Milan this spring, if it didn’t risk making light of what will be a pretty serious business. This time the international ideas-sharing event will focus on feeding the planet, from diet and wellbeing to agricultural practices and new sources of sustenance (we’re guessing insects will be involved).

From 1 May to 31 October, Milan expo2015.org

TV SHOW

Happyish

Mr Philip Seymour Hoffman had just filmed the pilot for this comedy series, written by Mr Shalom Auslander, at the time of his death, so for a while its future looked understandably uncertain. However, Mr Steve Coogan has stepped in to portray the aptly named misery guts Thom Payne, a man on a quest for mental equilibrium in the tumult of 21st-century life.

Starts on 26 April in the US (Showtime) sho.com/sho/happyish/home

GADGET

Pono Player

No less an authority than Mr Neil Young is the CEO of this vaunted new personal music player – think Walkman, but shaped like a yellow Toblerone – that aims to bring master-recording quality sound direct to your ears and at a relatively affordable price. After a ludicrously successful Kickstarter campaign (it received pledges of more than $6m for a target of $800,000), the PonoPlayer is now available for public purchase. 

ponomusic.force.com

THEATRE

Skylight

Ms Carey Mulligan and Mr Bill Nighy reprise their roles in this Broadway transfer of Mr Stephen Daldry’s West End production of Skylight, written by playwright Mr David Hare in 1995. Ms Mulligan stars as Kyra Hollis, a schoolteacher who had a six-year affair with restaurateur Tom Sergeant, played by Mr Nighy, as the pair unpick their romance over a spaghetti supper.

Previews from 13 March, opens on 2 April, John Golden Theatre, New York shubert.nyc/theatres/golden

FESTIVAL

Lost & Found

It’s always festival season somewhere in the world, and in April you can find British DJ Ms Annie Mac hosting a three-day shindig in Malta, from the Mediterranean archipelago’s very own Café del Mar. In this endeavour she is ably assisted by a dance-heavy line-up that includes Carl Craig, Tiga and Duke Dumont and parties that run the gamut from pool to boat.

From 3 to 5 April, Malta lostandfoundfestival.co.uk

RESTAURANT

Lûmé

You’ll want to come hungry when you visit Messrs Shaun Quade and John Paul Fiechtner’s new Melbourne restaurant – the two chefs will be offering an 18-course tasting menu of which at least seven will be desserts. With CVs between them that include Bo Innovation and Quay, Lûmé should give temporary neighbour The Fat Duck a run for its money.

Opening in May, Melbourne restaurantlume.com

APP

WouldU

Got a spare ticket to the big game? Need a hand shifting a sofa? This recently released free app, the brainchild of Italian entrepreneur Mr Andrea Grande, enables you to make offers and ask favours of people you know at the push of a few buttons – and that’s people you actually know, not that guy you vaguely remember from high school.  

Available now at the App Store and Google Play wouldu.com

BOOK

The Story: A Reporter’s Journey by Judith Miller

This memoir from controversial New York Times reporter Ms Judith Miller is sure to be as headline-grabbing as her copy: she covered terrorism and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism for the paper, reported (erroneously) on the existence of weapons of mass destruction, and went to jail to protect her source in the 2003 Plame affair. Read all about it.

Out on 7 April in the US (Simon & Schuster).