My friend Chris Wei has a lot of good suggestions.
For years, he applied his psychology degree to a career working with teenagers in treatment centers. Now he’s finishing up a master’s degree in film studies, and he happens to own one of the largest media collections I’ve ever seen. He’s released albums of original music, and I have personally been grateful to consult his expertise during my slow quest to become familiar with video games.
Fortunately for the rest of us, now Chris has a video series where he is doling out some of his good ideas in highly-produced video form. In his first video, Chris recommends a ton of different video games, and his second video is about porgs! That’s right: porgs.
I have enjoyed the series very much so far and look forward to more.
See for yourself (and subscribe) at chriswei.com/videos.
PS I found out this week that my podcast Mosaic has been nominated for a 2018 Brodie Award! The category for the award is Best Discussion on Polygamy and/or Sexual Abuse within Mormonism, and the recognition is for two audio documentary episodes I created. Voting is open at this link until Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 @ 4 a.m. Eastern time. I am grateful for every vote clicked, as well as for everyone who has listened so far. Thank you!
On my radar: Feb. 8-14, 2019
To put something good on my radar, please get in touch.
Friday, Feb. 8
📺 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (New episode @ 9 p.m., CW) -- The final season continues!
🎬 The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (Opens Feb. 8) -- I am ready for more anarchic, meta joy that only Lego movies can bring.
🎬 What Men Want (Opens Feb. 8) -- Never saw the Mel Gibson version (and never will), but this gender-swapped remake starring Taraji P. Henson looks like much more my thing.
Monday, Feb. 11
🎬 New SparkShorts program from Pixar shorts on YouTube -- Pixar is expanding its short film program with a series of upcoming shorts that will play on the Disney•Pixar YouTube channel. Purl is available now. The next up, Smash and Grab will debut on Feb. 11, with Kitbull arriving on Feb. 18.
Wednesday, Feb. 13
🎭 Be More Chill (Broadway, previews begin Feb. 13) — I really like new musicals, and while I don’t know much about this one yet, my interest is piqued by the description printed in The New Yorker: “If you fed Dear Evan Hansen and Mean Girls to the Little Shop of Horrors plant, with a few Xbox games as a digestif, Be More Chill is probably what you would get.” More info.
Thursday, Feb. 14
📺 Brooklyn Nine-Nine (New episode @ 9 p.m., NBC) -- I finally caught up last summer after falling behind, and I am really enjoying the new season.
📺 Broad City (New episode @ 10 p.m., Comedy Central) -- The final season continues! I have only recently (finally!) started watching this show... and it's AMAHZING. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson have created a comedy masterpiece. Their depiction of city life and friendship is insightful and hilarious. I am so glad I get to take in this (final!) season as it airs, and I already know that whatever projects either of them do in the future will automatically be On My Radar™.
🎬 Catching up on Oscar noms -- By my count, there are 52 Oscar-nominated films this year, and so far, I've seen half of them. I've got some work to do.
🎬 They Shall Not Grow Old (Now playing) -- Peter Jackson has made a documentary based on old World War I footage.
Visit the full list for my complete listing of upcoming movies, TV shows and more.
ADDED THIS WEEK:
📺 Barry (Returns spring 2019, HBO) -- The first season of Barry was a comedy about what it means to kill (both people and onstage). I can't wait for more. New trailer.
🎭 Hercules (Public Works’ Shakespeare in the Park, plays Aug. 31-Sept. 8) -- I was not surprised to see that Disney’s Hercules would make the leap from screen to stage, but I was very surprised to see where the new musical adaptation will make its debut: the Delacorte Theater in Central Park as part of the Public Works' Shakespeare in the Park program. Free tickets for a brand new Disney musical? Wow! I will definitely be standing in line early in the morning for this. More info.
At the end of each newsletter, I look to -- the past! -- to mention the most most notable pieces of culture I've been paying attention to, whether they were previously on my radar or not.
🎮 Firewatch — Speaking of Chris Wei’s recommendations, I have him to thank for putting this indie game on my radar. It’s a first-person game without any guns! You walk around a national park in Wyoming and experience a sad story about loss and love. After I finished this (short) narrative game, I was also excited to discover the creators’ Audio Tour mode, which is an interactive audio commentary for the game. The speakers get really honest about the process of making the game, even where they feel they fell short. The game is definitely worth seeking out.
🎬 Free Solo (Now playing) — I caught up with this Oscar-nominated documentary this week in the best and worst way possible: on true IMAX. The footage of a man “free soloing,” or climbing a mountain without ropes, is disorienting and terrifying, and the story is compelling. I really enjoyed this doc.
🎧 A Piece of Work — Continuing in my journey to catch up on years-long podcasts, this is another excellent one starring Broad City co-creator Abbi Jacobson, who also happens to have an art background. On this podcast, she walks around the MoMA and talks about the art there. What’s most surprising is not that she makes a subject as difficult to tackle as modern art extremely digestible and fun, but that she manages to make incredibly compelling audio on subject matter that is inherently visual. I strongly recommend everyone give it a listen, even if it doesn’t sound like the kind of think you’d normally want to listen to. After blasting through all ten episodes, I want to go look at some modern art (and I feel a lot more empowered to enjoy the experience). Listen.
Thanks for reading! What's on your radar? Get in touch to let me know! And look for my next letter to go out on Feb. 8.