We’d like to introduce our new contributor, ✨Mackie Raymond✨! She put together such a great Weekend Mix! Expect more cool stuff from her later!
If you’re like me, you’ve had a mega exhausting week, and you’re ready to either kick back or kick into high gear. Raleigh pals looking for plans, hit up SparkCon! With acrobatic performances, stand-up showcases, pop-up theatre, walking tours, film screenings, food trucks, trivia, and more, there’ll be plenty to keep you movin’ and shakin’ from dawn to dusk. My top picks? Psychedelic Circus Show tonight, Zine Making Station and Street Jazz Dance Workshop tomorrow, and 7 Stories: LitSpark Open Mic Sunday. Take all that workweek stress and art it out.
Let’s get into it!
What to Watch
Where does heteronormativity go to die? Chris Fleming’s channel. (“I’m Afraid to Talk to Men” was the anthem that defined a generation. Dissertation forthcoming.) This week, I’m highlighting My Dad and My Soccer Coach, an ode to awkward slips of the tongue.
- Now streaming: Portlandia season 7 on Netflix. Grab a bowl of Tuscan popcorn and settle in for a weekend binge.
- Elsewhere online: Gravity Falls. After a 40-episode run on Disney Channel that ended in 2016, this silly, character-driven cartoon has cemented itself as a cult hit, with a devoted online fan base. It hits a few of my sweet spots: conspiracy theories, strong continuity, complex mythology, redemption arcs, and, oh yeah… set in Oregon. Moody. Downsides: major issues with race and gender representation. But we’ll save that tea for later.
- Fun with schadenfreude! Musical Theatre Cringe of the Week: “It’s a gift from me to Elle,” from Legally Blonde. No, it’s not the video you’re thinking of.
What to Listen to
- Podcast: Let me go ahead and disclose my audio allegiances. I’m a huge podcast fan. Like, sit-on-the-couch-listening-to-podcasts-instead-of-watching-TV fan. This week’s top rec? Rookie. I don’t usually go for interview podcasts, and Tavi Gevinson is by no means a perfect interviewer, but this show feels like a slumber party with your closest, up-to-the-minute trendy gal pals. I devoured the entire podcast over the summer and walked away feeling a little more creatively emboldened.
- Album: Last Saturday marked my first visit to The Pinhook, where I inadvertently stumbled into a Real Dad concert. Based out of Durham, Real Dad “mixes Batman Forever and Twin Peaks atmosphere with an empowering performance of dusky, but danceable love songs.” The result? Moody synthwave that is sometimes foggy, sometimes fizzy, and always intriguing. (Also, have you heard Kesha’s new album yet? Yeah, she’s, like, actually good now. Or maybe she was always good?)
What to Read
- A Good Ole Book: I’m not even close to being the first to recommend this 1990 fantasy novel, but my pick this week is Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Encouraged by fellow ex-Supernatural fans, I picked this book up years ago, but wasn’t quite sharp enough to appreciate it yet. It’s a doozy, but worth the read if you’re willing to follow Gaiman and Pratchett down some rabbit holes. Oh, and it’s laugh-out-loud funny, which is rare praise from me. (Bonus: angel/demon homoerotic tension. Fight me on this.)
- Comics are for grown-ups too!: I love to get my sweaty fangirl hands on any and all Bubbline-related content, so I’ve recently been working my way through Meredith Gran’s Adventure Time spinoff comic series, Marceline and the Scream Queens. Lady punk rockers, candy courtiers, and the always colorful Land of Ooo make for the perfect backdrop to some sweet ‘n sour Sapphic tension. No, the comics aren’t part of the canon (sigh), but they’ll still make that little scene-adjacent hipster that lives inside you smile.
- Food for Thought: How to Tell the Difference Between Real Solidarity and ‘Ally Theater’. Mia Mckenzie’s expert breakdown-takedown of performative allyship is required reading in an age of civil rights rollbacks.
- Recommending recommendations: When it comes to unique, critical pop culture analysis with an eye for women and LGBTQIA+ folks, few internet voices deliver like Lady Geek Girl and Friends. Committed to “analyzing geekdom from a religious, feminist, and queer perspective,” secular theologist LGG and company serve up a rad mix of smart and savvy anime, film, video game, etc. reviews on the weekly.
What to Play
- VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action. Katy recommended this nonlinear bartender simulation game to me, and it’s awesome. Cyberpunkers, aesthetic bloggers, and fans of dystopia, this one’s for you.
- Quick play: Try Cibele for something you can finish in a single night. But know this before you dive in: the multiplayer game-within-the-game is ancillary to the relationship between the playable character, Nina, and her online companion, Blake. You’ll laugh, you’ll seethe, and, if you’ve ever been a lonely nerd girl on the Internet, you’ll recognize Nina’s story like the back of your (hand-drawn fanart-mottled) hand.