Hello and welcome to a weekly rundown of popular culture detritus.
Here’s what I’m loving this week:
Television: I know this has been declared at least a dozen times since television began, but we really are in a golden age of television, so there are about half a dozen shows that astound me each week. But I’ll just keep it to one this week: “U.S. and the Holocaust” on PBS. This is Ken Burns’ latest docuseries, and while I am a bit of a fangirl when it comes to 6+ hour deep dives into an American topic, I really think this series is his most important yet. I thought I knew so much already about the Holocaust, and turns out, I really didn’t. I’ve heard Burns say in interviews, “History doesn’t repeat itself—it rhymes,” so if you are concerned about the current state of affairs in the United States (and elsewhere—if you haven’t seen what happened in Italy Sunday night, Google is free), watch this and make choices that will lead to a different outcome.
Podcasts: Every Sunday morning I listen to The Evolving Faith Podcast. If you find yourself in a bit of a faith wilderness, this podcast is for you. Hosted by Sarah Bessey and Jeff Chu, this podcast is comprised of sermons preached at previous Evolving Faith gatherings. Nearly every Sunday I feel less alone, called to action, and uplifted.
Friday Morning Soundtrack: This week’s album was Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox’s “Back When It Was Music.” For the uninitiated, Scott Bradley’s takes popular music and flips the genres to somewhere between the 1920s-1950s. It’s such fun to hear pop favorites crooned by a variety of talented singers.
Pop Culture Lesson of the Week: Speaking of covers, this week my students took a popular song and did their own Postmodern Jukebox treatment, albeit only about 30 seconds instead of an entire song. It’s a fun project that I learned at an online Apple Teacher conference, where students use the GarageBand app on their iPads and create a cover. It’s challenging to teach, and it’s challenging for some of my students. But I really do love the end product, and helping students step out of their comfort zones never fails to inspire me.
Have you ever done something you had no idea how to do, but did it anyway?
What are you watching and listening to that’s worth your time?
2 thoughts on “History, Faith, and Covers.”
Watching: Milestone Generations on HBOMax. A documentary about the first Black-owned comic book company. A wonderful part of American history that deserves more attention.
Listening: I often return to the music of Miss Jubilee, who sings and performs “Low-Down Blues, Hokum and Hot Jazz from the 1920s and 30s.” High-energy and infectious, I often find myself smiling while listening. https://youtu.be/GxsjQ0m4pqA
Reading: The Deadliest Man Alive: Count Dante, The Mob & the War for American Martial Arts by Benji Feldheim. A journalistic biography of martial arts teacher Count Dante (real name John Keehan) during the 1960s and 70s, it is bonkers how fully he embraced life. He attempted to blow up a rival dojo, would test his better students by manipulating bar fights with other patrons, and kept a tiger as a pet. Truly a gripping tale.
All very compelling! Thanks for the recommendations!