It turns out "making social plans" is a muscle, and I've completely lost mine. In the excitement of more friends becoming fully vaccinated, I made plans every single night last week. Pre-pandemic, this was par for the course. Post-spending an entire year in my house, it was a rookie mistake. Over the course of five days, I met a new friend for coffee, hosted two dinner parties, went paddle boarding with a friend after work, met another for beers, and attended a house-warming party. By the time Friday rolled around, I felt full from seeing friends but also wrecked. Jonah and I hobbled into our weekend, vowing to see as few humans as possible. Heading into quarantine in March of 2020 was a huge adjustment, and I've learned that coming out of it requires its own grace period, too. For the next few weeks, I've added repeating blocks on my calendar for Monday and Thursday night that say, in aggressive caps, "KEEP FREE." I'm making an effort to keep weekends a little less structured, and learning how to say "No" to plans, and be far more selective with the plans I do agree to. Finding balance is never easy, but I'm learning to carve out my own. Here are a few things I loved this week:
On Sunday, Jonah and I saw In The Heights in theaters, to get the most out of Christopher Scott's epic choreographed dance sequences, directed by Jon M. Chu. You guys. I cried watching the trailer, so I don't even need to tell you how much I loved the movie and the performances: Anthony Ramos is a movie-star (as Chu says in this recent feature on Ramos, "...what does the new leading man look and feel like? Anthony Ramos fills every box."), as are Melissa Barrera and Leslie Grace. I loved the musical on stage, so seeing it reimagined on screen, filmed where it takes place ("farther than Harlem to northern Manhattan") was so beautiful to watch. Jonah may be reconsidering our marriage, considering the number of times I've broken into the opening song over the past 24 hours, but even he's floating the idea of going to see it a second time with me...
In the Switched On Pop episode about Julia Michaels, the co-hosts talk about how you can always identify one of Michaels's songs by the creative rhyming structures and memorable hooks she builds from vulnerable lyrics (think: Selena Gomez’s “Lose You to Love Me" and Justin Bieber’s “Sorry”). She recently released her first own full-length album, "Not In Chronological Order," which I've been waiting for since 2017. It's everything I could have wanted—with cutting lyrics and rock-out-in-your-car choruses. Take, "All Your Exes:" I want to live in a world/where all your exes are dead./ I want to kill all the memories that you save in your head./ Be the only girl that's ever been in your bed." Listen to the album here!
Yes, I'm approximately six weeks and three issues of "Hung Up" behind with this recommendation, but I just couldn't bring myself to watch a moody, detective thriller when the sunny weather stood in such stark contrast. Luckily, it rained this weekend so I dove deep into "Mare of Easttown" and loved every second. The show's backdrop of a small town is so perfectly suited to the huge cliff-hangers and twists that come every episode. While it starts slow, the pace takes off at a clip by the end of episode one, as true characters and the town's secrets are revealed.
Frances Price, the scandal-embroiled society woman at the heart of Patrick DeWitt's French Exit is full of intrigue and zingers. "I ran from one brightly burning disaster to the next pal," she tells her uninteresting but devoted son Malcolm, "That's the way I was. Possibly you won't like to think of your mother as one who lived, but I'll tell you something: it's fun to run from one brightly burning disaster to the next." When Frances burns through a wealth that should have lasted generations, after possibly killing her husband, she and Malcolm move to a friend's apartment in Paris, where she sets her "two-part plan" into action. It's fun, it's short, and made me laugh—what more could you ask for? I'm looking forward to renting the movie soon, which stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges.
P.S. If you're ever looking for book recs, I've been keeping my Bookshop page up-to-date with recommendations by category!
1. Something a little different, but poignant and so sad, but beautiful, if you give it a chance: A short film Opera, 'They Still Want to Kill Us' about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre is playing online until July 31st.
2. How to make a room feel lighter and brighter.
3. Signs you need to set stronger boundaries.
4. Well, shit.