Pop Culture Roundup, Week 5

In my last installment, I sang the praises of Amazon Prime’s music offerings. And it really is lovely. But even lovelier? Amazon Music Unlimited. I figured its cost was less than any other streaming service I had access to, so why not try it for a year? I’m loving it. Loving it even more now that Prince’s whole catalog was released last week. How many times have I listened to “7”? I’ll let you guess that.

I am still fighting my ever-full TiVo, but I’m all caught up on “Jane the Virgin,” and WHOA. If you’re not watching this delightful take on the telenovela genre, you are missing out. It is funny and smart and poignant, and more than worth your time. Seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix.

During a bout of Sudafed-induced insomnia this week, I watched the film “Clueless” again for the first time in years. I love that it holds up after all this time, and can still make me giggle. Though I’m more aware now that Cher hooking up with Josh, even though not blood-related, is a bit weird.

And if you are looking for a good podcast, I am finally catching up on This American Life, and this episode has some really great journalism.

What about you? What did I miss?

Pop Culture Roundup, Week 3

Here’s what’s making me happy this week:

Every Wednesday, I wake up happy because I get to listen to my favorite podcast (besides the one I do, anyway): The West Wing Weekly. It’s an episode-by-episode analysis of one of my favorite shows, but what sets this one apart from other TV podcasts I’ve listened to is its reach of guests–politicians, actors, writers, charity-runners–it’s fantastic.

And honestly, this past week, that’s about all the popular culture I’ve engaged with. I’m trying to find a balance of being horrified at the news, compelled to act in some way, but still allow myself to enjoy, you know, life.

So I’m hoping to catch a movie this weekend, and not get too down about how badly Gonzaga will destroy BYU tomorrow night, and get back to finding small pleasures in film and television and music.

Pop Culture Roundup, Week 2

Here’s what’s making me happy this week:

Hidden Figures. Have you seen it? WHY NOT? DO YOU HAVE A SOUL?

But seriously, go see it. It is wonderful, and really made me think about all the ways math is part of our everyday lives and I just never notice. Phenomenal, inspiring film.

On Netflix, check out Jim Gaffigan’s new stand-up special titled “Cinco.” While not as gut-busting as his previous specials, he still makes me laugh.

In television, I’m finally caught up on “This Is Us.” If you’re not watching this show, then I just assume you don’t like twists or family drama or crying. Which, now that I write that, I guess I can see why you might not be watching. But I love it, even if the character of Jack Pearson has to be ruining expectations for husbands everywhere. He’s a pretty tall order to fill.

Today on the way to church I listened to Faure’s Requiem. It calmed me and reminded me of the potential we humans have to create beautiful art. Yes, sometimes when I’m angry I need Pearl Jam or The Killers, but sometimes I need a good requiem. And Faure’s is one of the best.

And I do read: I’m halfway through Willa Cather’s Pulitzer Prize winning “One of Ours.” I am loving it, which surprises me, because I avoided teaching “My Antonia.”

What did I miss? What should I be listening to or watching?

Pop Culture Roundup, Week 1

For a couple of years, I attempted to track what I watched, read, and listened to: TV, movies, books, podcasts, and albums. Here’s what I learned.

I consume A LOT of media.

Tracking it became cumbersome and time consuming, and eventually, I just gave up. But since I teach Popular Culture, I think it’s important to somehow document what I’m watching and reading and listening to, and I think I’ve found a better way to do that.

Much like the podcast “Pop Culture Happy Hour,” every Wednesday I will post what is “making me happy.” That approach feels less intimidating than a day-by-day accounting of what I’m consuming.

What’s making me happy this week?

On Netflix, “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Once I learned Barry Sonnenfeld was the executive producer, I knew I’d be all in on this show–he helmed one of my favorite casualties of the WGA strike in 2007, “Pushing Daisies.” (That show ALWAYS makes me happy.) The writing is snappy, the production design is a delight, and the acting is spellbinding. Check it out.

In movies, I rewatched “West Side Story” for the first time in a while and was reminded of why that film and musical is a national treasure.

In TV, I recently caught up on “Black-ish.” I can’t underscore the importance of this show enough. Its treatment of race under the guise of comedy is everything America needs right now.

In music, I can’t get enough of The Chainsmokers’ song “Closer.” Not sure why I’m just now hopping on this bandwagon,┬ábut I’ve listened to it on YouTube at least a dozen times.

If you want to know what I’m listening to, check out my Twitter timeline–every Friday I listen to an album from start to finish, as opposed to the playlists I listen to throughout the week.

And that’s about it for this week. Anything I missed? What should I be watching and listening to?