Funny how having this little thing called "free time" has enabled me to stay sooo much more up-to-date on what's happening in the music/movies/TV/literature scene lately. Previously, every January I'd go into a pop-culture cave and basically, if I hadn't heard of it by New Year's, I wasn't going to pay attention til the end of April. These days, I have a list of books to read that fills a notebook page, have been adding to my Spotify playlists like a crazy fiend, and want to see like...every single one of the films up for awards. So loving this season of life...and that's saying something!
Here's a few faves on my radar lately:
Smallpools: Reminds me a bit of Passion Pit. My sister Emily turned me on to them and they've been looping on my workday rotation pretty heavily.
WE ARE TWIN: Another Emily find, corroborated by Kaitlin. Since they are the two coolest people I know when it comes to the best music, I think I can call this a win. I love the lead singer's raspy, soulful voice.
Janelle Monae/Prince: Their collab on "Give'em What They Love" is sexy and sultry and bad-ass. Individually, Prince's "7" is the Man at his BEST, and I love Janelle's collabs with just about everyone on her album (Erykah Badu and Solange Knowles, hellOH).
Currently slogging my way through Khaled Hosseini's "And The Mountains Echoed," which was my book club's January pick. And which I totally did not finish in time for the club itself. It's so beautifully written...the prose just sucks you in and the descriptive imagery is lush in a big way...but the subject matter (Afghanistan from the latter half of the 20th century to present) is a bit depressing for Minnesota in January, which is already depressing enough for me.
On the upcoming reads list: "Life after Life," "the curious incident of the dog in the night-time," and "Someone." Reports to follow.
Downton Abbey is back, and the world is a wonderful place as a result. Contrary to some "highbrow" people I know who claim Downton's jumped the shark, I think life after Matthew and Sybil is looking pretty good so far...just very different. Although the last 10 minutes of this week's episode had me "WTF"-ing hard and totally in frustrated tears, I'm a huge fan of Edith's storyline with her future Nazi and Lady Mary's climb back to the top.
Aaaand swinging from highbrow to about as lowbrow as it gets, the Bachelor premiered a couple weeks ago featuring Juan Pablo and, ladies and gentlemen, it is the trashiest trash in the history of this trashy franchise. And I am soooo repulsed. Usually I can enjoy the show for the show's sake and find someone to root for. This season? It's just...dreck. I don't even know if I can hate-watch the horrible English, contrived dates, manufactured drama and no-shot-in-hell-does-he-succeed "journey to love" with him. But I'll persevere, for the sake of lampooning/lambasting it on Twitter and so I know what the deal is with the next Bachelorette. Yikes.
So far this season, I'm woefully behind on the Oscar nominees. The only one I've seen so far is "Wolf of Wall Street," which took decadence and excess to a whole new, pastel-and-neon-and-nude level. I really enjoyed it, even though the 3-hour run time felt bloated and the debauchery got a little redundant. Leo definitely deserves the buzz...amazing acting.
As far as upcoming films, I can't wait to see "Monuments Men" and "August, Osage County." Love me some Meryl and Julia, and "MM" plays right into my love of all things World War II/art-related, and heartwarming.
I'm also thrilled with the buzz that "Blackfish" is getting. I know it's been surrounded by some controversy lately, but Jon and I saw it when it was in theaters last summer and I can honestly say it's one of the most sobering, faith-in-humanity-challenging documentaries I've ever seen. If you are even remotely interested in animals, theme parks, big business, activism of any kind, or documentaries, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Even if you're not…you should watch it just so you have something to contribute to the conversation surrounding it.