Stuff You Should #5

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A soothing Sunday evening commute to Brooklyn with Amanda back in March

A soothing Sunday evening commute to Brooklyn with Amanda back in March

Hi pals! Been a while. Since last we spoke a LOT has happened in the world, too much of it tinged with perpetual low-grade existential terror thanks to our grossly inept new commander in chief, but thankfully this newsletter is not about that! This newsletter is about ME, and I am doing just fine. Between work, freelance opportunities, and adjusting to daily life with a feline roommate who is cute to the point of distraction, the first few months of the year have flown by. I've also read, listened to, and watched some great stuff, and since this newsletter is ALSO about THAT, let's get to it.


Q&A: Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole - I got to chat with two of theater's finest about their roles as dueling cosmetics titans in Broadway's War Paint for Time Out New York.

Amazing Riders [2013] - I love this slideshow of still-life arrangements of the bizarre requests outlined by rock stars in their tour riders, photographed by Henry Hargreaves. Busta Rhymes: 24 piece Fried Chicken, Rough Rider condoms, Guinness.

When Things Go Missing - Kathryn Schulz on the range of things we lose, from car keys to parents, and why impermanence is precious.

To Obama with Love, Hate, and Desperation - At the beginning of his first term, President Obama said he wanted to read his mail. He said he would like to see 10 letters a day. An unexpectedly moving piece about the care, keeping, and curation of communication from the public to the 44th president.

Extraordinary Machines [2012] - Steve Hyland discusses Paul Thomas Anderson and Fiona Apple - each "unknowable and untouchable" - and the moment when they were, as a unit, at the height of their "'it'-ness."

Operation London Bridge - There are a lot of unknowns in Britain's future, but as far as the Queen's death is concerned, every detail has been meticulously planned in advance. Like...literally every detail.



"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead - An intricate, time-jumping, soul-crushing web is spun from one idea: What if the underground railroad that conveyed slaves to freedom was an actual subterranean train? Copies of this one are easy to find - it just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

"Another Brooklyn" by Jacqueline Woodson - In '70s Brooklyn, a quartet of teen girls navigate the liminal space between childhood and everything that awaits. A quick read bursting with vibrant imagery. Grab a copy for yr first proper beach day of the season.

Artist Alexey Kondakov slips Renaissance figures into daily life.  His Instagram  is definitely worth a follow.

Artist Alexey Kondakov slips Renaissance figures into daily life. His Instagram is definitely worth a follow.


One Day at a Time I can't remember the last time I willfully watched a multicamera laugh-tracked comedy made after 2010, but a few gifsets on Tumblr piqued my interest, and suddenly I was laughing thru tears at the season finale of this wonderful lil show about a Cuban-American family helmed by a single mom (Vanessa Machado, luminous, wonderful). It's been renewed for a second season, so do yourself a favor and binge the first on Netflix during your next rainy weekend.

VULFPECK, "Back Pocket"The perfect music video for spring. I mean it.

Mustang (2015) - I was totally swept up in this Turkish-language French film about five sisters struggling to escape the physical and emotional constraints placed on them by their staunchly conservative elders. It's streaming on Netflix now.

Technique Critique: Movie Accent Expert - A rare video that feels too short: WIRED asked a professional dialect coach to critique the fake accents of dozens of movie stars. The results are often embarrassing (Tom Cruise doing a Belfast accent, good god) but always fascinating.

On the subway, you can often tell who lives in New York and who doesn’t by how casually they sit and with what degree of paranoia they clutch their belongings. Subway nappers are clearly at home: their commute is worn so deeply into them that, typically, their bodies jerk awake before they miss their stops; they seem to sense, somewhere within their half-sleep, when they should start readying themselves to exit the train. There is no romance or performance to these everyday moments, but there is a very real intimacy. In a place as daunting and enormous as New York, it is striking, and even a little comforting, that a city can be within a body this way.
— Kristen Radtke, "The Loneliness of the Subway Nap"


Busted: America's Poverty Myths - Having any kind of productive conversation about poverty in this country can seem impossible in the face of our many ingrained assumptions and misguided beliefs about what it is to be poor. On the Media's five-parter about these "poverty myths" presents facts, research, personal stories, and a valuable dose of #realtalk.

S-Town - For the three of you who haven't listened yet, the best spoiler-free way I can summarize this exceptionally good longform podcast (from the producers of This American Life and Serial) is the phrase "unexpectedly life-affirming Southern gothic novella."

The political podcast diet helping me to survive in Trump's America: NPR Politics for comprehensive, even-handed news briefs + Pod Save America for cathartic, horrified liberal yelling.

MILK Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Everyone lauds Elfman's music from Tim Burton's films but I think the bright strings and wistful saxophone in this score is some of his best work. At the very least, it's A+ background music for afternoon writing. It's streaming on Spotify now.

We did not watch the Oscars.

We did not watch the Oscars.

Forecast for spring:

Hopefully breaking free from my rotation of light- and middle-weight jackets; definitely breaking free from NYC for a three-city tour of the UK.

Until next time,

xo Laura