"Oh, I'm a heathen."
Here's what's shakin' this week, bacon.
A not a day over twenty-something lass working the register at Otto’s Bookstore stopped me as I headed for the door to tell me she saw me do stand-up at this April 1st show at The Pajama Factory in Williamsport, PA. And she thought I was :::checks notes::: “so funny and smart and cool. Thanks for coming to our little town.” I have not recovered and will dine out on the magic trick of impressing a #youngun for a long time.
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Alive on Arrival
I once lost out on a perfect South Philadelphia apartment rental by chuckling, “Oh, I’m a heathen,” when the landlord said I was a lovely person and asked which church I belonged to. I’m still sad/mad about it.
And while I may not be the target audience for religious media, I’m a technicolor dreamboat who likes what she likes. And I’m really digging a new-to-me archival episode of the Young Adult Movie Ministry, “a podcast by Alissa Wilkinson and Sam Thielman (and assorted awesome guests) about Christianity and the movies -- all kinds of movies.” Movies like Arrival, which I consider a seminal text.
This week’s guest is Meg Conley, the terrific writer of homeculture, a newsletter about, uh, home culture! It’s very good and you may have seen it around as Meg’s work often attracts the kind of attention that elevates thoughtful writing into the general discourse. Meg was incredibly forthright and insightful about this week’s movie, Arrival, one of our favorites, and very open and honest about her own life in the Mormon church, as well. We thank her for it.
We Should Hang Out
“But nowadays, though hanging out with friends still happens—around living rooms and fire pits, on scheduled and rescheduled college-friend weekends—it’s an effortful pastime that requires coordination of calendars and a flurry of planning texts. I remember once, when I was in college, wandering over to my friend Ehren’s apartment, letting myself in, and watching whatever he had going on the TV. I knew he was there; I could hear him peeing in the bathroom. When he came out, he exhibited zero surprise to find me on the couch. It’s impossible to imagine doing such a thing now, even with my closest friends.”
— The Case for Hanging Out by Slate’s Dan Kois, who spent some time shooting the shit with Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time author Sheila Liming and her hubs in Burlington, Vermont
The (Screen)Play’s the Thing
The best part of my day job is reading through the unfortunately named slush pile of one-act plays we might want to produce. But one of my very first day jobs as a Young Yvie was reading and writing coverage of screenplays sent to the most irritating member of The Talking Heads, just in case he’d consent to the film production licensing the use of his music.
Later, I read tons of screenplays for the film commission and film festivals I toiled for and loved it, even when some of the scripts were hot garbage. I think the Final Draft blog’s Confessions of a Screenplay Contest Reader didn’t have nearly enough fun with the topic, but I read it twice nonetheless because :::gestures vaguely::: nostalgia.
Variety’s Nick Vivarelli wrote about Jada Pinkett Smith’s controversial Queen Cleopatra documentary (Cleopatra’s African Heritage in Netflix Docudrama Sparks Uproar in Egypt), and all I can say is that I will be queueing it up on Netflix on May 10th because.…
Ear Gummi Worm
My tamest toxic trait is occasionally falling so hard for a song that I listen to it 20+ times a day for weeks before gently tucking it into steady rotation on my playlist. This month, thanks to its use in a slew of wholesome 30-second Instagram Reels, I was almost a decade late to discovering a sweet little Robbie Williams banger, Candy. You’ve been warned.
Another New Book My To Be Read Pile Doesn’t Want Me to Buy or Even Borrow
Ramona Ausubel’s The Last Animal is a wild yet cozy tale inspired by some a Harvard geneticist’s 1:00 am fever dream a few years back. It follows Jane, a recently widowed mother, and her two teenage daughters, Vera and Eve, as they discover and attempt to resurrect a 4,000-years-gone woolly mammoth by combining DNA from a frozen mammoth specimen and Asian-elephant genes. You know, as one does on summer vacation with your mom.
Read an excerpt or listen to a sample while I place a hold on it with the Free Library of Philadelphia because I am destined to die crushed under a Jenga tower of some-read and unread books.
What Did She Do? That.
An exasperating current day job task that’s taking me the proverbial forever is changing the company’s mailing address with every organization we deal with. As for me, well, I live in this chef’s kiss Variety profile of comedian and actress Janelle James now. Please forward my mail.