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Review: Director Jim Jarmusch puts his deadpan stamp on The Dead Don’t Die

Review: Director Jim Jarmusch puts his deadpan stamp on The Dead Don’t Die

“This is gonna end badly.” —

A wryly ironic zombie comedy featuring a katana-wielding Tilda Swinton? Yes please.

Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny, and Adam Driver star in Director Jim Jarmusch's <em>The Dead Don’t Die</em>.” src=”×522.jpg”></img><figcaption>
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Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny, and Adam Driver star in Director Jim Jarmusch’s

The Dead Don’t Die


With The Dead Don’t Die, auteur director Jim Jarmusch puts his unique, deadpan stamp on this staple of the horror genre. As one might expect, Jarmusch’s vision is more ironically cerebral than your typical zombie fare and a bit less viscerally horrifying—even when the aforementioned dead are chowing down on their victims’ viscera. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s got Tilda Swinton brandishing a katana with deadly accuracy against the undead. What’s not to love?

(Some spoilers below.)

Zombies might seem an odd choice of subject matter for this longtime darling of the Cannes Film Festival crowd. Jarmusch’s career took off in 1984 with his first major film, Stranger Than Paradise. Shot entirely in black-and-white (a signature of the director’s early work), the film won the Caméra D’Or at Cannes that year and established the director as a rising creative force in arthouse cinema.

Movies like Dead Man, Mystery Train, Down by Law, Night on Earth, and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai further cemented his auteur status. In 2005, Jarmusch won the Grand Prix at Cannes for Broken Flowers, which starred Bill Murray as a middle-aged man searching for the mother of the son he never met. And Jarmusch is no stranger to unusual takes on traditional horror stories, as evidenced by his 2013 “crypto-vampire love story,” Only Lovers Left Alive.

The trailer dropped in April, raising hopes that the genre might be tailor-made for Jarmusch’s idiosyncratic style and ultra-dry wit—especially given the rise in zombie-themed comic horror over the last 15 years, starting with 2004’s Shaun of the Dead. The director’s vision harkens back to classic George Romero zombies (Romero originally called them “ghouls”): they’re slow, shuffling, barely sentient creatures who aren’t particularly discriminating in their diet, in that they’ll eat any part of the human body, not just brains. And they’re easily offed by destroying the head—at least until their numbers grow so large that they simply outnumber and overpower any humans in their way.

The humans in this case are the residents of a small rural town called Centerville. They start to notice some strange phenomena, possibly due to fracking at the polar ice caps knocking the Earth off its axis. Somehow (Jarmusch wisely doesn’t bother coming up with a better explanation) this serves to reanimate the dead, with predictably terrible consequences for the people of Centerville. It’s up to Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and Officer Ronald “Ronnie” Peterson (Adam Driver) to keep the town safe from the growing zombie horde—a task for which they are woefully unprepared, despite Ronnie’s handy knowledge of zombie lore.

  • Centerville looks like such a pleasant town.

  • Zombies attack a diner waitress

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  • “I’m thinking zombies. You know, the undead. Ghouls.”

  • Hank Thompson (Danny Glover) tells Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) what he knows.

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  • Chloë Sevigny plays a police officer.

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  • Farmer Miller (Steve Buscemi) wonders what all the fuss is about.

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  • A fresh empty grave is not a good sign.

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  • Why yes, that’s Iggy Pop as a zombie in search of cuppa joe.

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  • Zombified Carol Kane could use a nice glass of Chardonnay. And braiiiins.

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  • Zombies converge on the local hardware store

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  • Bobby (Caleb Landry Jones) and Hank are ready for them.

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  • Don’t let the zombie bite you, Hank!

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  • When your first day as a zombie starts out with the makeup job from hell.

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  • Tilda Swinton’s Scottish morgue expert is better with a katana than she is with makeup

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  • Officer Ronald Peterson (Adam Driver) prepares to take out a zombie

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  • Classic shot of a zombie horde eager to feed on the residents of Centerville.

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The all-star cast—many of whom, like Murray, have worked with Jarmusch on prior projects—also includes Chloë Sevigny as Officer Minerva “Mindy” Morrison; Steve Buscemi as Farmer Miller, who sports a Make America White Again hat; Tom Waits as Hermit Bob, who serves as the film’s social conscience; and Danny Glover and Caleb Landry Jones as Hank Thompson and Bobby Wiggins, who own a hardware store and gas station/convenience store, respectively.

Tilda Swinton particularly shines as Scottish morgue attendant Zelda Winston, who is not that good at makeup; her bodies end up looking like escapees from a 1980s Culture Club music video. But she has a passion for Japanese swordplay—”I’m quite confident in my ability to defend myself against the undead”—and a secret she’s been assiduously hiding from the town.

They’re joined by Rosie Perez, Selena Gomez, Sara Driver, and RZA in supporting roles. Hardcore Jarmusch fans will appreciate the appearance of Eszter Balint as ill-fated diner waitress Fern. The Hungarian-born Balint co-starred as Eva in Stranger Than Paradise (uttering the classic line, “It’s Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and he’s a wild man, so bug off”). Iggy Pop and Carol Kane make cameos as zombies seeking out coffee and a glass of chardonnay with a side of yummy entrails, respectively. These zombies are obsessed not with brains or eating humans—although they certainly do eat humans—but with the things they were most keen on in life. The undead wander through the town, moaning for “candy” or trying to play tennis or soccer. Several walk around with smartphones, moaning “Wi-Fi” and “Bluetooth.” My personal favorite was a young female zombie who struck a modeling pose and moaned “Fashion.”

All the performances are terrific; one would expect no less from this uber-talented cast. Jarmusch pays tribute to all the best-known zombie tropes, and there are some genuinely funny and genuinely horrifying moments. Whether or not you ultimately like The Dead Don’t Die might come down to how you feel about Jarmusch’s classic deadpan, meandering style of storytelling. It either works for you in this context, or it doesn’t. It mostly worked for me.

Whether or not you like the film might come down to how you feel about Jarmusch’s deadpan, meandering style of storytelling.

If I have a critique, it’s that The Dead is a little too clever for its own good at times. Jarmusch doesn’t quite break the fourth wall, but Driver and Murray do occasionally break character to openly acknowledge that they are in a movie. For instance, country singer/songwriter Sturgill Simpson‘s song “The Dead Don’t Die” plays during the opening credits and pops up again on the radio when we first meet Cliff and Ronnie. Cliff thinks he’s experiencing déjà vu, but Ronnie explains it’s just the theme song of the movie. (You’ll hear it a lot throughout, and Sturgill has a brief cameo as a zombie obsessed with an old guitar.) Driver breaks character again toward the end of the film to to admit he has read the full script; Murray gripes that he only received his own scenes. Neither were prepared for the supposedly unscripted reveal of Zelda Winston’s secret.

Those brief breaks might be chalked up to Jarmusch’s auteur sensibilities and shrugged off, but his heavy-handed moralizing at the very end is not so easily dismissed. He clearly envisions zombies as a metaphor for crass, rampant materialism. That’s why his zombies pursue the material objects they most valued in life rather than just ravenously consuming flesh. (They typically attack if a living human somehow draws their attention.) If Jarmusch had stopped at that, the movie would have been fine. But in the final moments, he has to drive the point home by making Hermit Bob his moral mouthpiece, offering a rasping soliloquy on the tragedy of our soulless, insatiable hunger for all the things, at the expense (one assumes) of what Really Matters. Jarmusch weakens the impact of his own message by making it so explicit.

From the outset, Ronnie tells us repeatedly, “This isn’t going to end well.” It’s certainly a morbidly haunting ending for an ostensible zombie comedy. But Jarmusch’s choice to go dark in the end ultimately works. Shaun of the Dead creator Simon Pegg has called zombies “the most potent metaphorical monsters,” seeing them as representing the slow, steady approach of death: “weak, clumsy, often absurd, the zombie relentlessly closes in, unstoppable, intractable.” Jarmusch seems to share that sensibility. And the theme song’s lyrics reinforce that, reminding the viewer, “After life is over / The afterlife goes on.” Apparently we’ll still long for our coffee and chardonnay.

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Erika Jayne Thinks We Should All be Mowing the Lawn in 5-Inch Pumps

Erika Jayne Thinks We Should All be Mowing the Lawn in 5-Inch Pumps

Erika Jayne for ShoeDazzle. Photo: Courtesy ShoeDazzle

Erika Jayne for ShoeDazzle. Photo: Courtesy ShoeDazzle

Erika Girardi — better known as Erika Jayne — wears many, many hats in her life, but most of the time, she’s juggling between her two major personas. There’s Erika Girardi, the super-glam wife, mom and star of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and Erika Jayne, the super-sexy, take-no-prisoners dance artist.

No matter what role she’s filling, though, she’s always doing it with killer style, and now, she’s partnering with ShoeDazzle to bring her fashion sensibilities to the masses. The collection is divided into two categories: Erika Girardi, styles fit for a CEO ruling the boardroom — think bedazzled pumps and snakeskin sandals — and Erika Jayne, shoes perfect for hitting the stage at your favorite club, like neon green platforms and pool slides emblazoned with “Pretty Mess,” one of Jayne’s signature slogans. And the accompanying campaign aims to show that you can live out either fantasy in your every day life, too. 

We hopped on the phone with Jayne to get the story behind the shoes and why we should all be mowing the lawn in five-inch pumps. I told her I’d need to channel my inner Erika Jayne to pull it off, and her advice? “You should be doing that every day, honey!” Truly, words to live by.

How did this partnership come about?

ShoeDazzle recognized that pumps [are so important] in my life — I have a billion pairs. It’s just the perfect collaboration, quite honestly, and I’m so excited. They look incredible — I’ve worn them, I’ve tested them, I believe in them and we get to see one or two pairs on ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ this year.

You are such a collector of shoes; why did you want to design your own?

I think it’s great to offer people a little bit of what I’m so fortunate to have, you know? I’ve collected for a long time; I have the best of the best stuff, and I want to be able to offer all of that fun, incredible design and imagination and creativity to people at a great price point, and I think that that’s what we’ve been able to do.

We’re offering Erika Girardi, who is a boss in the board room and kicking ass at work, and then we’re offering Erika Jayne, who’s kicking ass in your fantasy performance life. It’s a really fun collection, and it goes a lot of ways.

I was going to ask why you wanted to do collections inspired by Erika Girardi and Erika Jayne.

Well, listen, I believe that we are several people in one throughout the day. The way I interact at work is not who I am at home, and it’s not who I am at nighttime having a great time, so you need to have shoes that represent each side of your personality and each side of your being.

What was the process of working on the collection like?

I was so excited to be able to go down to ShoeDazzle’s fabulous campus in El Segundo — they have their shit so together, it’s incredible. They let me look through all of their products and all of the shoes. It was like a dream. I sat down with the design team and really talked about, ‘What do you like? What do you wear? What is happening? Is it sandals? Is it booties? Is it pumps? Is it 120s?’ 

We were able to come together with this great collection. When they explained the ShoeDazzle customer to me, it was exactly who Erika Girardi is and Erika Jayne is, and it just fit so seamlessly. We had lots of meetings. We have a beautiful video that showcases all of that.

Erika Jayne for ShoeDazzle. Photo: Courtesy ShoeDazzle

Erika Jayne for ShoeDazzle. Photo: Courtesy ShoeDazzle

Do you have a favorite style?

I have to be honest: We have this pump that is white with black graffiti and it says ‘Pretty Mess’ all over it. Now, I’m being biased because ‘Pretty Mess’ is my baby, right? But to see that in a shoe, and I wear it — I feel fucking badass, is what I feel. It’s great. I love the highlighter mesh bootie, because highlighter’s so big for spring; it’s in the campaign. 

I have every shoe. There’s a lot of fun stuff in here. The gold Erika Girardi pump is snakeskin — it just looks so rich and so luxurious. That’s what people need to understand: The products, they look wonderful and you’re going to have great wear out of them. I’m wearing them and I’m proud to wear them.

What was the inspiration behind the campaign?

We wanted to show two separate lifestyles. It’s really true and you can look good doing it all from day to night. You can mow the lawn in gold snakeskin pumps. Okay? You just can. You can clean the pool in leopard, clear, plastic sandals, alright? It can be done.

You’ve done this collaboration, and the collaboration with Too Faced — do you have the design bug now?

Yeah, actually I do! I love lifestyle and I spend a lot of money on lifestyle, whether it be makeup and clothes, shoes and hair — all of it. I would love to continue in that area.

See the complete Erika Jayne for ShoeDazzle campaign below:

Erika Jayne for ShoeDazzle. Photo: Courtesy ShoeDazzle

” data-full-height=”800″ data-full-src=”” data-full-width=”529″ data-image-id=”ci02406eb43000269e” data-image-slug=”erika-jayne-shoedazzle-collaboration-collection-2″ data-public-id=”MTYyMjUxMzA1OTU4NTgxOTE4″>Erika Jayne for ShoeDazzle. Photo: Courtesy ShoeDazzle

” data-full-height=”800″ data-full-src=”” data-full-width=”536″ data-image-id=”ci02406eb45000270a” data-image-slug=”erika-jayne-shoedazzle-collaboration-collection-4″ data-public-id=”MTYyMjUxMzA2MjI3MDE3NDgy”>Erika Jayne for ShoeDazzle. Photo: Courtesy ShoeDazzle

” data-full-height=”800″ data-full-src=”” data-full-width=”529″ data-image-id=”ci02406eb46000270a” data-image-slug=”erika-jayne-shoedazzle-collaboration-collection-6″ data-public-id=”MTYyMjUxMzA2MjI3MDgzMDE4″>Erika Jayne for ShoeDazzle. Photo: Courtesy ShoeDazzle

” data-full-height=”531″ data-full-src=”” data-full-width=”800″ data-image-id=”ci02406eb46000269e” data-image-slug=”erika-jayne-shoedazzle-collaboration-collection-8″ data-public-id=”MTYyMjUxMzA2MjI3MjE0MDkw”>


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This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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The Beer Battle Continues as MillerCoors Sues Anheuser-Busch for Its Super Bowl Ad

The Beer Battle Continues as MillerCoors Sues Anheuser-Busch for Its Super Bowl Ad

Lawsuit claims spot deliberately misled consumers

A still from Bud Light’s Super Bowl spot.

Bud Light

MillerCoors is suing Anheuser-Busch, alleging that the latter misguided consumers about the makeup of MillerCoors’ products with its recent campaign in the Big Game.

Set in the Bud Light “Dilly Dilly” universe, one of Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl ads this year featured the Bud Knight arriving at the Miller Lite and Coors castles with a massive barrel of corn syrup, which he claimed had been mistakenly delivered to the Bud Light castle. The Bud Knight and the rest of his medieval crew then venture to their competitors’s castles, who both confirm that yes, they brew their respective beers with corn syrup.

The spot set off a beer battle of sorts. MillerCoors ran a full-page ad in the New York Times addressing the spot within days of the Big Game. (It also drew ire from other sectors: One of the vice presidents of the National Corn Growers Association, Kevin Ross, shared a video of himself pouring Bud Light down the drain.)

Now, MillerCoors is taking more serious measures to fight Bud Light’s claims. Dubbing the spot “false and misleading,” it filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, asking for an injunction to keep Anheuser-Busch from airing the ad again. Though MillerCoors’s beers are indeed brewed with corn syrup—a fact the company confirmed in the aforementioned New York Times ad—the yeast used in the fermentation breaks down the corn syrup so that none actually ends up in the final product.

MillerCoors is also accusing Anheuser-Busch of failure to distinguish between corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup in an effort to “frighten consumers.” (The latter has been linked to obesity; the former has not.)

“We have always believed in transparency, which is why we were the first major brewer to put nutritional information and all of our ingredients online,” said Marty Maloney, manager of media relations at MillerCoors, told Adweek in a statement. “But while its Bud Light brand is talking all about transparency, Anheuser-Busch has admitted that its campaign was designed to mislead the public. Anheuser-Busch is fearmongering over a common beer ingredient it uses in many of its own beers, as a fermentation aid that is not even present in the final product.  This deliberate deception is bad for the entire beer category. We are showing the world the truth.”

Bud Light is taking the lawsuit in stride and not backing down from its corn syrup-filled campaign.

“MillerCoors’ lawsuit is baseless and will not deter Bud Light from providing consumers with the transparency they demand,” Gemma Hart, vp of communications for Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement shared with Adweek. “We stand behind the Bud Light transparency campaign and have no plans to change the advertising.”

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Kris Jenner Has Never Worn This Hairstyle Before

Kris Jenner Has Never Worn This Hairstyle Before

No Kardashian is dedicated to a single #lewk as much as Kris Jenner. The momager’s relationship with her signature pixie haircut spans decades and has become so iconic, that it even has its own name: the “boss pixie.” In fact, her pixie is so inspiring, her own children have even tried to copy it.  

Keeping up with the rest of the Kardashians’ haircut and color changes are practically a full-time job, but Jenner keeps her hair relatively the same. However, when the she does try a new look, it’s always epic. 

RELATED: Kris Jenner’s Hair Isn’t Just Hair — It’s a Job Title 

Last year, Jenner broke the internet when she wore a blonde wig and was mistaken for Kim when she tried curtain bangs and top knot. Now, she’s proving yet again that she’s not a “regular mom” with her bob hairstyle. 

The star’s makeup artist Ash K Holm debuted Jenner’s hairstyle in an Instagram Story she posted from behind-the-scenes at a shoot. In the photo, Jenner’s hair is bob length with choppy bangs and styled in very loose, messy, waves. She tagged Jenner’s longtime hairstylist, Jorge Serrano in the Story, so odds are he’s the one behind Jenner’s dramatically different look. 

Wavy or straight, blunt or choppy, the bob, in its many variations has been the most popular haircut of the past year. Jenner Take Jenner trying the cut as a sign that the trend isn’t going anywhere. The woman is responsible for the Kardashians making daily headlines and turning all of their business ventures turn to gold after all.  

All we have to say is: you’re doing amazing with this new hairstyle sweetie.

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Kacey Musgraves Has Been an LGBTQ Ally Since Her Career Began

Kacey Musgraves Has Been an LGBTQ Ally Since Her Career Began

Sunday evening’s Grammys telecast was a pretty queer one. Not only did several queer women rock the stage and take home awards, country singer Kacey Musgraves was the queen of the night. She performed her certified queer ballad “Rainbow” from her album Golden Hour, which ended up winning album of the year, the night’s top prize. Musgraves also joined Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and others to pay tribute to iconic country singer and gay icon Dolly Parton.

Musgraves and Parton have much more in common than their country roots. Much like Parton, Musgraves is also a vocal LGBTQ+ ally in the country music community.

Musgraves’ first album, Same Trailer, Different Park, released in 2013, featured the song “Follow Your Arrow,” which called for LGBTQ+ acceptance and ended up raising conservative ire. The song features lyrics like, “Make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls, if that’s something that you’re into” and prompted Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson to say that the singer “would not have made it out of town” if she performed that song in a bar in the 1920s in Denver, Colorado. “Somebody would’ve called for a rope,” he said. Musgraves ended up performing the song at the 2014 GLAAD Media Awards.

The singer told Billboard writing the song was “redeeming” for her, as she felt guilt for once shunning gay people. She said that, growing up in a small-town high school, if she “[saw] a gay guy get made fun of, I’d like, laugh along and not really think much about it.” She later said that when a best friend came out to her, her perspective “completely changed” and when she moved to Nashville, she began to hang out at a gay club and make gay friends.

“It really hurt my heart that I had ever even been close to being the opposite of that,” she said. “Part of me felt a little guilty that I was the ‘Arrow’ girl and a long time ago … it has not always been my viewpoint. But I guess people can change.”

Since her debut, the Texas-born singer has worked to make country music a more queer-friendly space. In 2018, at the New Yorker Festival, when asked about having such a huge LGBTQ+ fanbase as a country artist, the singer responded:

“What I think it is — someone told me this recently and it broke my heart — they said, ‘I’ve grown up loving country music and I grew up gay in a small town, and country music has always felt like a big party that I wasn’t invited to.’ Oh my god, you’re invited to my party.

She continued, “It’s crazy that a certain kind of a person could feel excluded from a genre that’s so real — or supposed to be so real. That has always really pissed me off. Because I love the genre so much, I felt, ‘Well fine, maybe I’ll just have an all-gay audience.’”

While she recognizes that she has a gay fanbase, she also hopes that one day country music can produce an actually gay star to sing of what it means to be queer with life experience.

“I keep dreaming of the day when we have a gay country music icon, that is loud and proud and really, like, a hero for country music fans, especially in these small towns where [LGBTQ+ people] are terrified of being themselves and feel like they have to hide,” Musgraves told the Huffington Post in 2018. As the Post pointed out, while country singers like Chely Wright and Ty Herndon have come out, they did so a long time after their height of fame.

Musgraves is also a huge fan of drag culture. When her second album Pageant Material dropped in 2015, she hosted a drag queen show at Nashville’s gay club Play where queens lip synced to some of the songs from the album. In December 2018, Musgraves — who, like Parton, said that she feels as if she is a drag queen — appeared as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. She sashayed down the runway in a denim-and-diamonds inspired look, complete with a very long hairpiece and whip.

It’s time to giddy-up and level up, henny! @ciara and @KaceyMusgraves join the judges’ panel this Friday on a new #AllStars4 at 8/7c on @VH1!

— RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) December 19, 2018

Musgraves’ ally bona fides are so well-known that when she took a gig performing at 2019’s Coachella, she received blowback, given that the owner, Philip Anschultz, of the festival’s parent company has donated to several anti-LGBTQ+ causes. When asked about her appearance at the annual flower crown festival, Musgraves spoke about the importance of her voice being there, especially in a festival that still has trouble representing women.

“There’s always going to be people with vastly different viewpoints than me,” she said on Instagram. “And what’s stronger than NOT playing it? Being one of not many females to play it and use the opportunity to shine light on my own perspective.”

Musgraves followed up her album of the year win by releasing a video for her song, “Rainbow,” which she performed in stage against a rainbow-lit background.

In one of the video’s sequences, a young boy is seen putting on makeup and, a few moments later, his parents argue about him at the dinner table. As the argument rages on, Musgraves sings that there’s “always been a rainbow over your head.” No wonder the song has been adopted as a gay anthem since its debut.

So, if you’re looking for a guilt-free way to spend a golden hour — er, 45 minutes — check out budding LGBTQ+ icon Musgraves’ now Grammy-winning album Golden Hour.

RELATED | Kacey Musgraves, You’re a Winner Baby

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