Prisoner, Prisoner

I said what I said.

The SuperBowl! That Scientology ad! Other things I won’t be talking about during this newsletter! We’re entering our second week of the most square-perfect February we’ve ever had and I’m making a conscious effort to get the fuck off Twitter because — as it turns out — everyone in your life will deliver you the highlights, anyway (yes, yes I know. Wow Julia. What a groundbreakingly original thought).

I’ve been mixing and matching a ton of recent Picks and “late to the party” Picks — and if you got a problem with that:

We’re still in the pando and the vaccine is still only swirling in Boomer blood. I’m doing what I gotta do to make it through! And I suggest you do, too. No, I’m not steamed to hear my friends’ 65+ parents already planning their post-vaccine trip to Orlando when I’m still sitting here watching nauseating Disney World POV videos, YOU ARE. Okay, let’s go—

Podcast to Listen To

  1. Reply All: The Test Kitchen - “Chapter 1”

Say it with me: fuck yes we’re at a time where podcasts have evolved to include MINI-SERIES that A. Don’t disturb the subscribe stream and B. Fit in so effortlessly to the show’s general reporting stories that it’s like you’ve been dropped through a deliciously-interesting audio trap door. Reply All is truly best when they invest in multi-part arcs and this series seems like no exception. I’m gonna butcher the description, so let’s take it direct from the source:

In the summer of 2020, Bon Appétit faced an online reckoning. It imploded, seemingly overnight, former employees calling it a racist and toxic workplace. But the story of what actually happened there started ten years earlier. This is Chapter One, “Original Sin,” of our series The Test Kitchen.

It’s good. And anger-inducing. And good. Subscribe now and don’t miss a week.

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Show to Watch

  1. Search Party Season 4

We RAN not walked to finish Search Party in time for its recent Season 4 finale, binging at peak binge experience — racing through 3-4 episodes a night, heart pumping, adrenaline rushing, never wanting the experience to end. Now, like all great TV binges, Mike and I are wandering aimlessly, searching for TV content purpose.

What was our favorite part? Was it Cole Escola’s absolutely barn-burner of a performance in a seasonal arc? Was it the Art Department’s construction of insanely life-like dolls of each of its main characters? Was it the simple fact that every character had their own earned story arc that both humanized them and amped up their absurd comedy?

Search Party should have and would have thrived being on HBO on Day 1, and I’m sure there’s a long boring development story for why it wasn’t until now. I wished it was on the same watercooler night of TV next to Succession and Euphoria. I wished we’d all devoured each episode week by week and then escaped to Twitter to debate our takes. I’m glad we have it now. It’s — no hyperbole — one of the best TV experiences I’ve ever had. And now, to stare vacuously until another season is announced…

Book to Read

  1. “Just Us” by Claudia Rankine

Difficult and deep. Challenging and curated, featuring fact-checking I’ve never quite experienced in a book that’s also a soulful anti-autobio. You get a sense Claudia doesn’t necessarily want to write this book but has to. I loved it.

Clip to Play on a Loop

  1. Miley Cyrus Tiny Desk (at Home) Series

Thank fucking god we’re here for this era of Miley. I love this bitch. I love how hard she’s going in whatever the fuck direction she wants to go in. I love how much she loves her mother. I love how much she loves her father. I love how her current lewk is straight-up overpriced mothball Fairfax High Swap Meet fashion (a word salad of a sentence, but if ya know ya know). I loved her new album and love this stripped-down set. My favorite is “Prisoner”, but really all of them are jammers, even if she’s just playing karaoke — and if she’s the only one that gets to in the pando, she’s earned it.

Thing to Buy

  1. Tamisha Iman “I Said What I Said” High Top Sneakers

Thank god for Drag Race, a place that makes me feel warm, comforted and seen. A show that has facilitated countless phone convos in which my sister and I rank the queens who “stepped their pussies up” (and that alone is more valuable than therapy).

Thank god most importantly — for the brazenness and creativity of Drag Race merch. Like this Tamisha Iman pair of high-top sneaks that perfectly punctuate a week in which she “said what she said” to the salty Kandy Muse (who had a slapping coming to her for simply disrespecting her drag elder). And if none of what I just wrote made any damn sense to you, no sweat. Drag Race is a show you can drop in fresh, where the learning curve is not nearly as steep as a stilletto.

These pair of sneaks are particularly great (not just because they put that recent Vans Simpsons collab to slight shame — sorry guys!) but because they’re DIY-as-fuck and they come from a Queen who’s been doing this longer, better, and badder than you. They come from a Queen who got cast in the last season of Drag Race and then had to drop out last minute because she HAD CANCER and then BEAT CANCER and then came back to the show like it was not a thing (and as was revealed in this past week, had plenty of health issues she was keeping below the belt so as to not curry pity from the other contestants and the judges!!). I love her. I love these. Buy them.