Friday Media Prep: Viola Davis is Basically My Religion Now

I’m not even going to waste your time with a flashy-pants intro, because it’s Friday and we need to jump right into the goods and the celebration!

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Movies: Widows

At a very young age I was taught that it’s wrong to idolize people. As humans, we’re doomed to let one another down, ideals of what makes a good person are constantly changing and we all eventually fade away. More than anything, though, I think my parents were just afraid I would join a cult. Sadly (for them) I officially belong to the cult of Viola Davis, but can you blame me?! She’s brilliant, talented, kind, and emulates the kind of beauty I’ve spent most of my adult life chasing. So, you can bet your sweet booty that I’m running out to see Widows this weekend. The film, starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriquez, Liam Neeson, and Daniel Kaluuya, is about a group of widows to bank robbers who must take up their husbands’ failed heist to save themselves. I’m so there. Here’s the trailer if you need a little more of a push:

 

Reading: “A Toy Monkey That Escaped Nazi Germany And Reunited  A Family”

Gert Berliner by Claire Harbage/NPR

I was fortunate to read some quality works this week, but this piece from NPR about a man who escaped Nazi Germany with only a toy monkey for comfort and how that toy changed his life really punched me in the gut – in a good way. I highly recommend reading and giving in to some therapeutic crying. Read it [here]

Bonus: The School of Life

It always seems like The School of Life knows what silent battles are being waged in the back corners of my heart, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when they posted this video on how to stop worrying about being liked. It’s been one of the hardest lessons of my life, but I’m close to getting to a place where I’m not broken by every rejection, or burning for approval from the people I come into contact with. This video is a great reminder that deep, genuine connections are often rare, but always worth the vulnerability.

That’s all for me this Friday! Go out and live like you’re meant to.

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Friday Media Prep: We Deserve A Break

Happy Friday, my friends! If you’re living in the US, or happen to been a masochist who likes to follow our news, I’m guessing you’re just as in need of some positive diversions as I am. It’s good to be involved in the world around you, and I think it’s great to allow yourself to get mad as hell – but today I’m championing things that make us feel light.

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Me, all week

So, in honor of surviving the week, enduring horrendous displays of human indecency (cough*Kavanaugh* cough), and getting through anything that made you want to scream, I’ve got some music, videos, and articles that helped me get through it all. Enjoy!

The Jezebel Staff Tried CBD Gummies and Made My Life Whole

I stumbled upon this video, released one month ago, when I was angrily scrolling through Jezebel looking for someone who got my rage. They did, but better yet, they also provided a hilarious salve. The staff approached the trial very professionally, which was half the fun of it all, so I couldn’t pass up sharing this one. You can watch it [here]

Self-Care Strategies for the Freelancer

Freelancers Union popped up on my Twitter account a few years back and I have been so happy with my choice to follow them. I’ve recently decided to actively pursue freelancing once again, so their job posts and advice have done wonders for my confidence. This article lists some great suggestions for not only freelancers, but anyone who works in a “creative” field. I’ll definitely be applying these tips. You can read them [here]

Plug in a (Bad) Movie

In my humble opinion, there’s no better way to spend a Friday night than with a movie, good or bad. Tonight, I’ve opted for the particularly bad: J-Lo’s treasure trove of corny Anaconda. It’s one of those movies I will always watch when it comes on TV or if someone wants to see it, because it’s so ridiculous that I can’t help but forget the world around me. What’s better than that?

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MUUUUUUUUUUSIC!!!!

The salve that has transcended time, my truest love, the one my heart beats for: good tunes. Lately, I’ve been jamming to the Active Child playlist on Pandora, which led me to these songs that I can’t get out of my head! When movies fail, music is always there to inspire tears or twerking, whichever you need. Here are my faves right now:

That’s it from me this week, folks! I hope you are inspired to take good care of yourselves and relax over the weekend. Take care!

Friday Media Prep: The Human Spirit is Unstoppable

Every Friday we will feature the inspiring books, movies, TV shows, and other works of art you have to check out. Please share your suggestions below!

This week’s media prep is all about the beauty and power of the human spirit. Whether it be saving your soccer team, making music meant to encourage social change, or merely wrestling with concepts through art, we are a sight to behold. Let’s jump right in with this week’s good stuff!

 

Music

Mavis Staples. If you need more than that, you’re on your own. Google her!

TV

The World Cup Finals

In all honesty, I don’t even really like soccer. My husband used to play, so my propensity for making fun of all the flopping was an early point of contention in our relationship. Sure, I played for a few years as well, but every single person who has ever sported was thrown onto a soccer field by their parents as a five-year-old to learn how to follow a ball around. However, it is my rule that if there are black folks doing something, I’m going to cheer. Whether it be tennis or a spelling bee, I’m here for the melanin. Now that France (a team that’s black as hell) is heading to the final against Croatia (a team that is the complete opposite of black as hell) you might as well just call me a fan until Monday. Don’t hate. You can catch the battle for the gold? Gilded boot? Trophy! on Sunday. Belgium and England will be playing for 3rd place on Saturday.

Movies

Skyscraper

My stance on cheering for black people regardless of the event is the exact same for The Rock. Along with my brother and father, I used to watch with the elation of someone who just discovered processed sugar as Dwayne Johnson tore up the wrestling ring. I’ve seen all of his movies (even Baywatch), because he represents such a carefree time in my life, when pain would stop and I could laugh with my family like a normal kid. What I love about his movies – that seem to come out every 3 months – is how lighthearted I leave feeling. It might be a guilty pleasure to  some, but not for this girl. In his newest film he plays the a guy saving the day like always, so why not?

Articles

“What Marilynne Robinson’s and Margaret Atwood’s Gileads Can Teach Us” by Alissa Wilkinson

I borrowed my mother’s copy of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson a few years ago, when I was looking for a change of pace from mystery novels, comics and Marvel movies. I picked up the book expecting to a gentle mental push, but got more than I bargained for in this exploration of humanity, love, loyalty, and religion in the Iowa town that bears the book’s name. After reading Robinson’s take on the concept of Gilead, I picked up The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for a book club. Only two of us could finish it, and I’m so glad I did. Sometimes being shaken to the core is what the doctor ordered.

I love how Alissa Wilkinson explores the nature of paradise through these two works. Our “promised land” , whatever you choose it to be, is more than a place. A promise and a curse, an end to pain or the discovery of frightful new depths; perspective is everything in this world, no less so than in the arts we love.

You can Read Alissa’s piece for Vox here

“Thai cave soccer team: how Buddhist meditation kept them calm ” by Eliza Barclay

Self-care is very often a means of survival, as we have seen in the harrowing story of the young Thai boys trapped in a cave with their soccer coach for two weeks. Their coach , Ekapol Chanthawong, lived and trained in a monastery for ten years, beginning at the age of 12, when he was left orphaned. He learned to meditate as part of that training, and taught the young boys to as well, to keep them calm during the ordeal.

There are so many messages to take away from this moment in history, from altruism to the wonder of modern technology, however what will stay with me is the knowledge that the human spirit is durable beyond measure. I highly recommend this article by Eliza Barclay if you want to feel better about the world, learn more about the remarkable young man who kept his team alive, or need a reminder of your own potential for survival.

Read it here

That’s all for this week! Enjoy your weekend (and life) the best way you can!

Media Prep

Every Friday we will feature the inspiring books, movies, TV shows, and other works of art you have to check out. Please share your suggestions below!

We’ve been granted another weekend to celebrate, so let’s do it! This week we’ve rounded up some of the best pieces of music, literature, and commentary for you to explore, as well as the movies hitting the scene. From Scarlett Johansson to mermaids, this list is a doozy. Enjoy!

Movies

Sorry to Bother You premiers this week and we can’t wait to see it. The film debut of musician Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You has been highly anticipated since it was first screened at Sundance in January. Lakeith Stanfield leads a cast of Danny Glover, Tessa Thompson, Terry Crews and Armie Hammer in a look at race, wealth, identity and perception through the lens of a young black man. If nothing else this film is definitely timely.

Ant Man and the Wasp

This is the 8 millionth Marvel movie to hit the cinemas in their 10 year dominiation streak, but we can’t stop running to the theaters to check out the films. Ant Man and the Wasp is the sequel to Ant Man (2015), which followed thief Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) as he teamed with Hank Pym and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly) to save the day by shrinking to the size of an insect. Sounds crazy, but was so good! The sequel promises just as much of a fun ride, so you should check it out with the rest of us nerds.

Music

High as Hope by Florence + The Machine

This is the band’s fourth album and it arguably goes deeper than ever before. Florence Welch has opened up about her struggles with alcoholism, disordered eating, family relationships, and aging. Her voice soars and swells, stripped down to the essentials to deliver something beautiful. You can catch videos of the band’s recent performance here .

Books

The Seas by Samantha Hunt

Samantha Hunt’s novel is being reissued , and we highly recommend giving it a look if you’re interested in thinking about the nature of reality and identity through the eyes of a young girl. Narrated by a young girl who doesn’t reveal her name, the story explores her isolation with her mother in a small town and her belief she is a mermaid. We suspect the novel will stick with you long after you’ve put it down.

Articles

It was recently announced that Scarlett Johansson would be playing a trans man in her upcoming flick “Rub and Tug”. Writing for Slate, Evan Urquhart explains why it’s not only inappropriate, but downright offensive.  If you’re struggling to understand what all the commotion is about, Evan makes it quite clear. At a time when there is push back from marginalized groups about who gets to tell their stories, this misstep is particularly frustrating. Read Evan’s article here.

(If you already knew about Scarlett’s nonsense and just want to laugh at the burns she received, go here.)

In not so great news, the Trump administration is working to undo an Obama-era protection for diversity on college campuses, essentially creating a timeline for the revocation of Affirmative Action. You can read more about the process here.

Finally, in news that gives us hope for the future: on the 4th of July activist Therese Patricia Okoumou climbed the Statue of Liberty to protest the separation of children from their parents by I.C.E and the administration’s treatment of immigrants in general. Upon her release she had this to say,

“Michelle Obama, our beloved First Lady that I care about so much, said when they go low, we go high. And I went as high as I could.”

Please have that printed on a shirt for me IMMEDIATELY.

You can read more about Therese and view her press conference here.

That’s all for this week, folks! Take care of yourself out there!

 

 

 

 

Friday Media Prep: My Dad is Still the Greatest Hero

Happy Friday, kids! Today’s post is in honor of the person who was my first hero and the baddest guy on the block, my father. This weekend we’re supposed to be exalting his name, buying expensive and shiny cards, and eating whatever he wants, because Sunday is Father’s Day, but I wouldn’t have a problem bragging about my Pop any day of the week.

My father was 26-years-old when I was born – a kid himself – yet, I think he was born ready to raise babies into halfway decent people. We spent our days together while my mother completed nursing school, playing with Barbies, going to the park, and exploring the world. In fact, most of my traits are mirrors of the behaviors I picked up from him in those early imprinting years; from the way I walk, to how I look, his DNA is ever-present.

My dad’s – and most heroes – greatest strength is his capacity for caring and the bravery to do what is difficult yet right. Over the years I have watched my dad inspire children in his classroom to be whomever the want to be. I’ve seen them return after graduation to hug him, thank him for his ability to make school fun, then go off and achieve their dreams. He’s coached athletes (including my brother) to championships. He’s made young people without an ally feel seen. Then, at the end of his long days, he goes home to be a regular guy and cook for the family he loves.

There’s surely no greater hero than my dad, but I’ve prepared a list of some characters who come mighty close to his standard. Below you’ll find my weekend media recommendations if you’re feeling like you need to get a heroic boost for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

 

Incredibles 2

Image via the Hollywood Reporter

It’s an exciting time to be alive, because the stars aligned for us to (finally) get the sequel I’ve personally been dying for – Incredibles 2. Since we might have to accept that a third one won’t be on the horizon for another 300 years, I highly recommend clearing time on your schedule to go see it. We went as a family of adults last night, and it was quite the event. I can safely say 90% of the audience was over 21, yet no one was too caught up in adulthood to sit silently at the best moments. The sequel begins where The Incredibles left us with the family battling the Underminer. From there on it’s a family adventure that the world needs right now. I couldn’t help but laugh at Mr. Incredible’s struggle to maintain the home while his wife, Elastigirl, moves to the fore to fight crime. My dad never let on that being the daytime caregiver was difficult, beyond how much he hated cutting the crust off all my sandwiches. (Honestly? I still hate the crust.) However, in Mr. Incredible’s devotion to be above all things a good father I saw my own. Rest assured that both succeeded.

 

Origin (Wolverine)

 

Via Marvel

When my dad was a kid he collected comics like candy. He only had to pay 25 cents to read about Spider-Man’s exploits, or to imagine he was one of the X-Men. Growing up in small town Western Kansas only offers so much entertainment, but with his comicbooks he could imagine he was anywhere else. Sadly, after college he gave away or threw out most of his originals. However, by the time my brother and I came along he’d amassed quite the impressive collection. Let me put it like this: Kevin Smith was able to finance his first film with the proceeds of his comic collection. My dad calculated that he has more. His is a treasure trove of tales that formed many of my favorite childhood memories. I’m quite certain my brother and I can thank the afternoons of reading with my dad for our love of storytelling and adventure. The above comic is Origin, the tale of Wolverine’s life that was unknown to his comrades in the X-Men. I remember when this 6-part series came out, because we were dying to know more about our favorite member of the team. Wolverine was gruff around the edges, yet always seemed loving and misunderstood to me. I got a little of that tough love in my younger years. I highly recommend checking up on this story in your free time.

 

Castelvania

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Last, but certainly not least, is the Netflix show Castlevania! We all just discovered this series on the streaming service, and I had no idea it was a video game back in the day. My brother and husband played it when they were kids, but I was too busy being cool and having friends. Luckily, it’s been revived in the form of an animated powerhouse that seriously delivers on the fights and gore. My brother and I were early lovers of anime and East Asian cinema, thanks to my Dad. We regularly snatched up Studio Ghibli films from Blockbuster, tried to imitate Bruce Lee, and desperately waned to be like the Samurai of Kurosawa’s films. Watching Castlevania takes me back to those days of my youth in a delightfully ridiculous way. The show is all about the fight to stop Dracula from destroying Wallachia through his horde of demons. Enter a drunken badass named Trevor, and you’ve got yourself the kind of show anyone could eat up. Season 1 of Castlevania is available to watch in its entirety and it’s only 4 episodes long. You have no excuse to avoid it!

 

There you have it! I wish I could list more, but then you would be here all day, instead of celebrating the heroes in your life. One of the many things I love about my dad is how he tried to show my brother and I that heroes aren’t one thing. It’s not about your size, gender, sexuality, race, or ability, but about calling on the strength to be good in the face of hardship. My dad isn’t the kind of man who will gravitate naturally to the limelight, but he’s exactly the kind of person who deserves it. Above all things, I hope my dad knows I’ve survived this wild life with a smile due to being imbued with the confidence of his love.

Stay strong out there. Be the hero of your story today.

 

 

Friday Media Prep

We did the damn thing, guys. As Friday blooms around us, with promises of a beautiful weekend in my neck of the woods, I want to share the things I’m going to be enjoying over the break! Below you will find my suggestions for entertainment as you unwind from the restrictions of the work week.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

I mean…. it’s Star Wars, so I’m in. When news of this movie first dropped my immediate reaction was a soft meh. A few months later, there were the reports that the directors, Lord and Miller, were being fired from the production due to clashing with the studio, and I was just about over it all. After the first trailer, my disdain whittled to an eyebrow raise, then the final trailer had me reconsidering my doubt. I’m now looking forward to giving the movie a chance, in no small part due to my appreciation of Donald Glover and Thandie Newton.

 

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Image via https://letterboxd.com/film/solo-a-star-wars-story/

Westworld

I have to thank Jesse Kadjo for forcing me to watch this show while she was in town for my bachelorette party last year. We were supposed  to be working on blog posts and site development, but the HBO gods wouldn’t let us live. I was a fan of the original film starring Yul Brenner (thanks to AMC marathons on the weekends), so I thought I had an idea what to expect; oh how wrong I was! The show is a masterclass is storytelling, drama, action and development and I highly recommend it to anyone with the patience to experience the unfolding of a world. Season 2 is underway, but season 1 is still available on HBO apps.

Potential triggers: sexual violence (not like Game of Thrones), murder, abuse, explosions.

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Active Child

When I like a song I will listen to it on repeat until I know every word (and start to hate it). I have been *loving* listening to Active Child for a few weeks now, without getting tired of his impressive range. “1999” and “Stranger” are the two tracks I’ve played to death thus far. I absolutely love watching the music videos due to Ashley Eva Brock’s beautiful costume design. It all reminds me of a Miyazaki movie, which will never be a bad thing.

 

 

That’s all I’ve got for today! Next week I’ll include my book selections as well, so stay tuned. As always, thank you for joining me and stay safe this weekend!

My Favorite Movies For Mother’s Day

Every Friday I will feature the books, movies, TV shows, and other works of art that have been inspiring me, or that I’m looking forward to experiencing. Please share your suggestions below!

 

Let’s just clear this up: no one has a cooler Mom than I do. Charlotte (Mrs. Perry if you’re nasty) was born to improve lives and laugh, which is what she’s been doing since 1964. She’s so cool that she doesn’t even care if you all know she was born in 1964, because, to her, getting older is a gift. My mother is a rare gem and I am so happy to get the chance to gush over her before her birthday. We have traveled together, grown from hormonal sparring partners into beloved friends, learning wonderful lessons along the way. She never ceases to amaze me in her dedication to her family, her zeal for life and stiff upper lip in troubling times.

Besides travel, my favorite thing to do with my Mom is watching movies! Today I’m going to share our favorite movies to watch together, ones I think perfectly capture the spirit of motherhood, growth, and love.  They’re not what you might expect us to watch, so check out the list below for some surprises!

Note: Don’t worry Dad, you’ll get your shine on Father’s Day!

 

Muriel’s Wedding

Mom and I first watched this Australian film starring Toni Collette when Blockbuster was your best option for grabbing a stack of weekend movies. The story revolves around a young Australian woman named Mariel who is positively obsessed with getting married. After stealing money from her father – a local politician – Mariel moves to Sydney with her best friend and changes her name to Muriel for a fresh start. Along the way, she lands a husband, but realizes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

This flick is our favorite one, because I think we both see a little bit of ourselves in Muriel. Neither of us are thieves, nor have we changed our names, but Muriel has this pure fascination with love and romance that Mom and I share. We’ve both read our fair share of romance novels. Also, the Abba soundtrack is fire!

Channel 9 channel 9 muriel's wedding 9murielswedding GIF

 

The Dark Crystal

There’s something so weirdly lovable about this Jim Henson puppet production that keeps us fawning over the Gelflings and Mystics. The film is a fantasy extravaganza about a Gelfling boy named Jen who must travel across his world to heal the mysterious dark crystal to restore peace and balance to the land. There’s no way I could ever write enough to convey how straight up strange this film is, but we love it! Mom always giggles at a particular scene – a flashback – of a baby Jen splashing in a tub.

The journey Jen takes leads him to so many outrageous characters and locales that really suck you into the world, which is why we love this one. Jen’s journey is all about strength, love and sacrifice – qualities we try to emulate in our lives.

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To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar

This is one of the very first movies that Mom and I went to by ourselves, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Honestly, what’s not to love about this film? Not only does it manage to capture the 90’s in a perfectly problematic snapshot, but you also get to watch Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo work it in outfits I could never pull off. The trio play drag queens traveling from NYC to California to compete for the title of Drag Queen of The Year, but get stranded in the middle of the country in a small town that is in desperate need of their magic.

This movie, above all else, is about the bonds of friendship that help us to transform our lives for ourselves. Every character grows to claim ownership of their identities, their lives, and their inherent power; it’s a film I always cry over. I’m so thankful my Mom didn’t think I was too young to learn lessons from a picture others might have shied away from.

 

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That’s it for today, folks! Have you seen these films? Let me know in the comments what movies you love to watch with your mother or mother-figure!