Leslie's List: Music Festivals, Roast Chicken, and Astrophysics

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
Leslie's List-Recovered EDITTED

This to-do list is culled directly from my own calendar and interests. Most everything on the list can be done no matter where you live, but because I live in L.A., my "Do" each week will spotlight a unique L.A.-based event or activity. If you're inspired by any of these tips or have some of your own to add, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Now is the time to start planning for music festival season, which goes from April (with Coachella) through the rest of the summer. Here are some worth checking out:

If you were broken up about Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton: Stagecoach takes place on the polo fields the week after Coachella, but you can expect way more boots and plaid shirts than flower crowns, as well as performances by Dierks Bentley, Shania Twain, and Willie Nelson. Can I get a "Yee haw!"? 

If you call Bon Iver "Justin Vernon": The lineup for Bon Iver's Wisconsin music festival, Eaux Claire, was announced last Friday and it looks amazing. It includes Paul Simon (my personal favorite), Wilco, and Chance the Rapper—talk about a dream team.

If you wish you went to Woodstock: Pickathon is an Oregon-based festival held in the woods with a host of never-heard-of-them-but-very-cool bands. It's family-friendly, hippie-friendly, and honestly just looks friendly in general.

If you have unlimited funds and a great bikini: This interactive, all-inclusive music festival founded by Ja Rule (of all people) takes place on a private island and includes performances (by Disclosure and Major Lazer), a treasure hunt, access to the prettiest beaches, and a promotional video featuring Bella Hadid. As you probably guessed, it's expensive, but one thing to consider is that, while most music festivals are far cheaper, they can be pricey once you get there. Here, everything (airfare, accommodations, and meals for the weekend are included in the price), which makes it a little less crazy.

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Roast chicken is my ultimate comfort food. At the end of a tough day, there is nothing like sticking a chicken in the oven and waiting for it to cook with a glass of wine. In the past, I've used Ina Garten's simple roast chicken recipe as my gold standard, but that was before I discovered the "roast" chicken recipe to end all roast chicken recipes: Craig Claiborne's "Smothered Chicken." Technically, it's more of a braise than a roast since it doesn't even go in the oven—you cook the chicken in butter in a large, cast-iron pan, then allow it to simmer in a roux made from its own broth—but it yields the most consistently crispy skin and perfectly moist meat. The only seasoning it needs is salt. Clairborne, who was a food editor for the New York Times called the dish "a food that gives solace to the spirit when you dine on it." I couldn't agree more. P.S., The recipe calls for you to "spatchcock" the chicken, which essentially means removing the backbone from the bird so that it can lay flat, but I promise that sounds scarier than it actually is! It's surprisingly easy.

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I have always been fascinated by astronomy and often regret that I never took advantage of taking a class in college. Welcome to the Universe is my consolation prize. It’s a guided tour of our universe by three of the world’s leading astrophysicists (including Neil deGrasse Tyson!). Inspired by a class they taught together at Princeton, the book answers fascinating (read: terrifying) questions including, “How did the universe begin?” “Are we alone in the universe?” It gets a little jargony at some points, but it's incredibly interesting (and unapologetically nerdy, of course).

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Last fall, Refinery29 launched a series of twelve films in collaboration with Sundance about and directed by women (including Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart). The series, called the "Shatterbox Anthology" covers a range of issues—from a girl that dreams about becoming a kitten (that's Sevigny's) to an exploration of a man's imagination. You can watch their three most recent films—which each debuted at Sundance—here.

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One of the first things Emily and I bonded over when I started working here is our shared love of country music (which Alina and Geoffrey tolerate). One artist in particular I haven't been able to stop listening to since summer is Maren Morris—who, thanks to Bob Leftsetz's rave review of, I'm now dying to see live. (If you have no idea who Bob Leftsetz's is, you're with the vast majority of people reading this. He's a famous music critic who writes cult email newsletters that are worth subscribing to you if you're a hardcore music nerd). The way he wrote about seeing one of her live shows made it sound like a transformative experience, and lucky for us, she's touring through September—you can see if she's playing in your city here and listen to her on Spotify here.