May 2018: I'm A Fan Of

1. My Favorite Murder: Golden State Killer Caught!

512.jpg

The two women who run this podcast are obsessed with serial killers and cover a different one with each episode. I respect people who can admit that they’re into weird shit. Its' a beautiful thing to hear someone talking about the thing they are most passionate about, and these women own their weirdness when it comes to their passion.

The Golden State Killer, the first murderer they highlighted in their podcast was finally caught after 40 years, and I loved hearing them freaking out together about it. Like they said, “this is my Thunderdome”. Let your freak flag fly, Karen and Georgia (and anyone who says they’re not fascinated by serial killers as well are probably the serial killers themselves).

2. High School Plays

I saw a high school production of "Pippin" this month. I love seeing school plays. I was Thespian Club Vice President in high school, and as a teacher now, am genuinely moved by young people being brave on stage. Even better when all those high schoolers are in their blacks-and-jewel-tones, doing noodle-jazz hands and half-crawling on the ground during “Magic To Do” and taking their jobs very seriously. Because performing is serious business!! When did I get so cynical about looking dumb?! 

Pippin is a sort of problematic and dated play, and it was fascinating and hilarious seeing teenagers navigate that. The joke about pillaging a village did not go over well. The orgy-scene where they all danced with scarves (?) was the best-most-awkward-thing I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Pippin is also a very moving story about a young man almost killing himself in his quest to prove that he is special, and being serious for a second, the students were so talented. And the music is great! The after-show people watching is top-notch, too. I saw the Lead Player hugging her mom afterward and crying because it was her last musical in high school and I burst into tears. There were a lot of feelings flying around, so my friend Mary Tilden and I recorded a review. Click on the image to see. 

 

3. Mexico City

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 9.55.32 PM.png

This month I travelled to Mexico City for a very short three-day trip and joined six of my best friends for a whirl-wind, truly excellent weekend. The first thing I did when we finally reached our airbnb at 2:30 AM was find a street taco, and from that moment on I was in heaven. We did a lot- a tour of Teotihuacan, a 14-course meal, Frida Kahlo Museum (her home, and one of the most inspirational places I have ever been), lunch in a cave, a late night dance party when our plans got rained out... I'm just now recovering. 

Mexico City is full of color and life, and full of beautiful people. It is legitimately cheaper to fly there than lots of cities in the United States, and after visiting, I can't believe more people don't flock to this place. There was a lot I didn't get to experience due to the short time we had, and I cannot wait to go back. The churros and hills of painted buildings are calling my name. I made maybe the best insta-story of our trip in my long history of instagramming- check it out here.

 

April 2018: I'm Obsessed With

I love a lot of things. Then there are things I REALLY OBSESSIVELY love. So instead of subjecting those around me to an endless conversation about these things that is actually mostly me talking, I'll post them here. 

1. REVAMP: THE SONGS OF ELTON JOHN & BERNIE TAUPIN

A bunch of musicians cover the hits of Elton John and it is the most glorious thing I've heard in awhile. Specifically, Florence Welch's cover of Tiny Dancer and Mumford & Sons cover of Someone Saved My Life Tonight both brought me to tears. Other highlights include P!nk's take on Bennie And The Jets and Alessia Cara's I Guess Thats' Why They Call It The Blues. I've loved Elton John's music since I got his Best Of CD for Christmas when I was twelve. The covers on this album both honor the beautiful simplicity of his music and use the complexity in his words and narratives to create something new and exciting. Apparently he's retiring next year and I may have a breakdown over it, but he's given more than enough so good for him. What a gift he is. 

2. MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE, BY BRANDON SANDERSON

mistborn

A 16 year old street urchin named Vin joins an underground criminal ring in a master plan to take down the Lord Ruler (who is both a god and the political leader of the land) and realizes she has magical powers and might be the next messiah. Its' His Dark Materials meets Shanghai Noon meets That Religious Studies Minor I Acquired at University and I am HERE FOR IT.

Mistborn was assigned to me to read by a new book club I recently joined, and when we met up to talk about the book they pointed out a bunch of issues that I honestly hadn't noticed before because I was having so much fun just reading it. In some cases they were right- do the training sequences get a bit repetitive and predictable? Sure, if you want to focus on that. Will someone find her makeover in order to go undercover at fancy balls lame and unoriginal? Perhaps. I DON'T CARE. While there may be some tropes that are overused (I mean come on, this is YA fantasy), it feels more like a candy treat than a chore. I take Comfort In The Tropes (a future name for a blog, don't steal it from me). I've got the next book in the trilogy, The Well of Ascension, sitting on my coffee table ready to go and I can't wait to see what sort of society Vin, Marsh and the rest build now that they can.

3. PODCAST: WHERE SHOULD WE BEGIN? WITH ESTHER PEREL

Screen Shot 2018-04-12 at 9.17.47 PM.png

This podcast gives a bird's eye view to couple's consultation sessions with Esther. As my friend Jan put it, "she hovers over the couple, observes them interacting, and finds the one route or entry-point to their relationship that hadn't occurred to either of them yet". Esther's empathy and truth-telling honors the vulnerability and bravery these couples bring to the table in their frank conversations with her. 

I was especially moved by the third episode, "Speak French To Me", where a couple who married during the Christian purity movement come to terms with the late realization that the wife actually loves sex, she just doesn't love it with her husband. He has his own hang ups that won't allow him to be free with her the way he desperately wants to- until he takes on the alter ego of Jean Claude, a sexy frenchman. If that sounds click-baity, please don't be deterred. Its' actually incredibly moving to witness (hear) two people at a crossroads in their relationship going to uncomfortable places in the fight for each other, which we see in some form every episode.