Long Weekend To-Do List: Wherein My Maniacally Ferocious Recommendations Turn Me Into a Fancy Culture Writer, Right?
|Amy Widdowson||May 24, 2019|
Darlings, what started as an extended reading list for the long weekend turned into a deep dive into all of the content I’m consuming (TL;DR: Carly Rae Jepson, Warhol, Fleabag, longreads on opiate-generated philanthropy,) so buckle up Mischevians, this one’s a doozy. And btw, since it’s Memorial Day on Monday, I’m going to try and stay off the internet, so expect not a Missive in your inbox.
But first, over on Twitter, there’s a woman delightfully chronicling the local roadrunner (yes, the bird) trying to court her by bringing dead lizards to her door everyday and dancing around, and I very much appreciate her observations on all the things.
Carly Rae Jepson: Dedicated - All y’all know I’m a ferocious defender of good pop music, and have previously interrupted otherwise-normal brunches to go on a tirade about the merits of pop as a genre. You might NOT know (I mean, you probably can guess) that the artist I consistently point any pop-hater to is Carly Rae Jepson, whose 2015 opus E•MO•TION spans so many niche corners of pop style over the past three decades and remains one of my favorite albums of all time. Needless to say, I was SUPER PUMPED when her latest album dropped.
And while I wasn’t as immediately taken with Dedicated, it’s now my go-to walking to work soundtrack. Whereas E•MO•TION stands as a tight compilation of sweeping, aggressive and cheeky pop anthems, Dedicated is a gentle ear worm of an album that didn’t wow on first listen, but promptly penetrate your dreams after a spin or two (for real: woke up with one of the repetitive samples stuck in my head yesterday morning.) Anyway, go listen to CRJ because being a fan of hers may soon become a pre-requisite of subscribing to this newsletter.
To Visit IRL:
Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again (SFMoMA) - I haven’t been the biggest Warhol Stan, though I was a wee bit obsessed for a bit in high school when I learned how to screenprint, so I didn’t have crazy expectations for this new exhibit at SFMoMA. But when I found myself there on the Thursday preview evening and learned that buying a membership would allow me to see it that night, I naturally told them to take my money (support locals arts, y’all.) What I didn’t realize having never seen a metric craptonne of Warhols all together is how larger-than-life everything is, and how truly mesmerizing his repetition it is. It also includes a good selection of his more political work, and outside the main exhibit, the entire museum is littered with smaller showcases, including his sketches and photography. It’s a really well-curated and enjoyable presentation, and I look forward to wandering around again on a lunch break.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag (Amazon Prime - series mosdef is 100 percent NSFW, depending on how sexy your work is, but I wouldn’t risk it tbh and accept no liability for you clicking that link). By this point, if you’re on the internet and follow more than one female writer of my age, or if you’re a human being who has more than one female friend of my age whose opinion you listen to, you’ve probably heard that season two of the Prime/BBC show Fleabag has dropped.
For those who haven’t heard of it, Fleabag is described on Wikipedia as “a British comedy-drama television series set in London” focused on a “an angry, confused and sexually voracious young woman.” So many people recommended it to me that I watched the first season this week. I started the second season last night after yoga thinking I’d watch one or two, but then proceeded to bingewatch the entire thing into the wee hours of the morning.
Look, I’m prone to hyperbole, but trust me when I say that holy hell (pun intended) this show is so so so important and good and and nihilist and hopeful and sexy and romantic and devastating and stupidly well-written-and-acted-and-shot, and you need to just watch the entire damned thing this weekend, ok? Take the confessional scene in season 2, episode 4 (spoilers!) which contains one of the most personally specifically/impactful monologues I’ve ever seen on screen, as the title character sits in confession with a priest she fancies. I was bawling two sentences in.
"I want someone to tell me what to wear in the morning. I want someone to tell me what to wear every morning. I want someone to tell me what to eat. What to like, what to hate, what to rage about, what to listen to, what band to like, what to buy tickets for, what to joke about, what not to joke about. I want someone to tell me what to believe in, who to vote for, who to love and how to tell them.
"I just think I want someone to tell me how to live my life, Father, because so far I think I’ve been getting it wrong, and I know that’s why people want people like you in their lives, because you just tell them how to do it. You just tell them what to do and what they’ll get out at the end of it, and even though I don’t believe your bullsh!t, and I know that scientifically nothing I do makes any difference in the end anyway, I’m still scared. Why am I still scared?"
Just watch it, and laugh and cry and laugh and cry, and then email me about how you laughed and cried.
Here are the long reads I had queued up. Honestly haven’t read them all, because I was too busy laughing and crying over Fleabag.
Hannah Goldfield, Joe Beef and the Excesses of Restaurant Culture (The New Yorker)
Norman Vanamee, How Sackler Became the Most Toxic Name in Philanthropy (Town and Country)
Liza Gross, Embracing Ecstasy (The Verge)
Woof. This turned our longer than I’d anticipated. I love you all. Have a restful weekend, be kind to each other, and I’ll see your sweet faces bright and early Tuesday morning.