Entertainment

New Tunes Volume 2

by Kelsey 

Greetings Kids —

I believe that the general consensus is that winter is the worst, but fear not, for a bountiful musical spring is forthcoming. Featuring new albums from a few of my favorite artists, including:

Death Cab for Cutie (Kintsugi, March 31st)

Sufjan Stevens (Carrie & Lowell, March 31st)

The Weepies (Sirens, April 28)

Purity Ring (Another Eternity, February 27th)

It’s going to be a great spring.

But without further ado, below are my current musical gems:

Wet – “I Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl”

I am obsessed with this band right now. Also check out their self-titled EP with other favorites “Dreams” and “No Lie.” Synth-themed, percussion heavy jams with ethereal vocals are kind of my digs. Check it out.

The Tree Ring – “Brushbloom Glow”

I found this artist through the 2013 gem Short Term 12. If you like Andrew Bird, you will probably like The Tree Ring.

Ella Eyre – “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off”

If you press play and think “huh, this is familiar.” Yes, this is in a Downy commercial. But it’s a really, really excellent cover. No hate.

TVÅ – “Keep Me A Secret”

A brother/sister duo from Stockholm. Also check out “Sensual.”

Panama Wedding – “Uma”

Good luck getting this song out of your head. But, trust, you won’t hate that it’s there.

Enjoy.

 

Serial Withdrawals

by Lindsey

It’s been months since Serial season one ended, and I’m still not over it. I realize the world probably doesn’t need another post about this blockbuster podcast…but that’s never stopped me before, friends. So, let’s talk about some suggestions for how to fill the void it’s left behind.

I’ve been a fan of true crime for a long time. That sounds creepy, and I promise I’m a generally pleasant, very non-violent person. Basically, I’m not a fan of crime itself. That’d be (literally) insane. However, if crimes happen – which they have/do/will – I like reading the stories about the mysterious incidents, people gone bad and even the trials that follow. I don’t mean to trivialize it. For me, crime writing is like a glimpse into a world I hope I never visit and minds I cannot understand.

If you, like me, are still a little sad when another Thursday comes around without additional layers of case detail, then this post is for you. I’ve complied a list of a few podcasts, articles and books that might entertain and/or horrify you. Maybe you’ll be inspired to become a detective. Maybe you’ll want to hide in your house and never leave. I waffle between the two. Mmmmm…waffles.

Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde from This American Life

Dr. Gilmer and Mr. HydeThis American Life

This is the particular podcast that made me a fan of both Sarah Koenig AND This American Life. It’s a heartbreaking and compelling story that includes a murder, a medical mystery, and overall great reporting. Start here.

The Psychopath TestThis American Life

I told you I was a fan of This American Life. This one is more light-hearted than it sounds, and it’s truly eye-opening, especially in regards to the prison system.

Animal InstinctsCriminal

It’s been suggested that I should check out the movie The Staircase about Kathleen Peterson’s murder. Since it’s not streaming, I listened to this short, alternative theory about the Michael Peterson case.

Serial Killer Archive – Longform.org

I love longform journalism, so I love Longform.org. Browse through their archives, and you’ll never be bored.

Crime Archive – Longform.org

See above, please.

Zodiac – Director David Fincher

It’s David Fincher, so you know the movie looks good. It will also creep you out and make you want to read everything you can about the Zodiac murders. Bonus: Jake Gyllenhaal!

Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

Did you know the Chicago World’s Fair housed a serial killer? Well, it totally did, and here’s the story. Plus, it goes into great detail about all the effort it took to make the Chicago World’s Fair happen. Fascinating stuff all around.

The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson

If the This American Life episode wasn’t enough, check out Jon Ronson’s book. He actually contributed one of the stories from his book to the podcast. I always find him funny in the typical dry, British way.

The Stranger Beside Me – Ann Rule

Ted Bundy, man. I don’t like to throw around the word psychopath/sociopath, but if anyone was – it’s him. Ann Rule tackled this story like a woman who knew him at his best, most charming self…because she did. Watch her ideas about him change over the course of the book.

Bonus NOT True Crime Shows: If you want the mystery without reality, stream one of these!

True Detective – HBO

True Detective is trippy, deep, and well-acted. Modeled like Serial‘s a-different-story-each-season, I can’t wait to see where they go with season two.

Luther – BBC America/Netflix

If you missed Luther on my former post about British mysteries, you may want to go check out that list, too. For now, I’ll just say two words: Idris Elba. Oh, and Alice Morgan (played amazingly smart/creepy by Ruth Wilson) is a great character to watch.

The Wire – HBO/Amazon Prime

I just finished season one, and I’m totally hooked. I’ve heard so many people say that this is their favorite show of all time that I had to give it a try. You should, too. (Also: Idris Elba.)

Pretty Little Liars – ABC Family/Netflix

Okay. Please stop laughing. My cousin and her husband were telling me over Christmas how much they loved this show, and I laughed. Honestly, I think it’s the name. Good show, dumb name. It’s the most brain-candy piece of media on this list, yes, but it is a show that will suck you in big time. Who is “A,” people?!

Anything you’d add to the list, readers?

 

 

Favorite Books on Art

by Lindsey

unnamedIf you know me, you know my love of art is deep and boundless. I can spend hours in a museum. I studied arts administration in grad school (because of aforementioned museum interest). I am fascinated by copyright law and appropriation and controversy. I get really fired up when people don’t like a piece simply because, “I could have done that.” [Insert angry eye roll here.]

What most people don’t know is that I didn’t major in art history at any point. My graduate degree was largely about nonprofit management (with an arts focus, but still). All that to say: I really don’t know that much about art. However, though love of something doesn’t necessarily equal knowledge about something, it typically translates into a desire to know more. Thus, I am an avid reader of books about art/artists/museums/your mom. (Just threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention.)

Here are my favorites for all you art history or should-have-been-art-history-majors out there:

The $12 Million Dollar Stuffed Shark     (Thompson)

This book offers an exciting look at art economics (artonomics?). Seriously. Why are you laughing? If you’ve ever wondered how, as the cover depicts, a stuffed shark might fetch $12 million, this is the book for you. It covers auctions, dealers, critics, museums, specific artists/sales, and so much more. One of my favorite sections is about how color relates to price/desire.

Seven Days in the Art World     (Thornton)

This title is pretty self-explanatory. Thornton dives head first into seven of the art world’s most well-known arenas, beginning with “The Auction” and ending with “The Biennale.” She offers a wide view of the art world at a specific span of time (the late 2000s) by running its bases for the reader’s benefit.

Lives of the Artists: Portraits of Ten Artists Whose Work and Lifestyles Embody the Future of Contemporary Art     (Tomkins)

Lives of the Artists seems like one of those books you might be assigned in grad school (in a good way). If you can’t tell from my list and a conspiculous lack of Renaissance and ancient art texts, I’m a modern/contemporary art fan. On top of that, I’m fascinated by how artists work, so vignettes into their lives really works for me.

The Rescue Artist     (Dolnick)

Art and crime are two of my favorite subjects. Add them together, and I am a happy, happy girl. Well, I mean, I don’t like crime, per se, but I like reading about crime. Do I wish the Scream had never been stolen? Yes. Do I want to read about it since it was stolen, as this book accounts? YES.

The Participatory Museum     (Simon)

 So, technically this is a book more about museums and less about art/artists…but this is my list, and I’ll put what I want on it.  If you want to get into my niche fascinations with the art/museum world, you’d land squarely into the museums as third places/participatory art experiences/audience cultivation and contribution, etc. So, when I found this book, I fell instantly in love. Nina Simon is my real life, present day hero.  (You should also check out her blog, and feel free to pass along job openings you find at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.)

On my nightstand:

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures     (Wittman)

 This book is in my purse right now, just waiting for lunchtime to roll around. I miss Serial and I need some intrigue in my cultural consumption.

33 Artists in 3 Acts     (Thornton)

Sarah Thornton’s follow up to the aforementioned Seven Days in the Art World gets an automatic spot on my reading list.

What Are You Looking At?: The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art     (Gompertz)

The description alone was enough for me to bite: “Every year, millions of museum and gallery visitors ponder the modern art on display and secretly ask themselves, ‘Is this art?’ A former director at London’s Tate Gallery and now the BBC arts editor, Will Gompertz made it his mission to bring modern art’s exciting history alive for everyone, explaining why an unmade bed or a pickled shark can be art—and why a five-year-old couldn’t really do it.” Yes, let’s all learn how a five-year-old really couldn’t do it, folks. Really, really. REALLY.

Happy reading, folks.

Author’s note: I sourced links from Amazon, but, if you want to buy independent, allow me to recommend Parnassus Books.

New Tunes Volume 1

by Kelsey
Greetings, All. I’m starting this “New Tunes” section of the Left/Right Blog in the hopes that we all might share in some mutual musical enjoyment.

And just because these artists/songs are new to me, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re brand new on the scene. And I’m a fan of multiple music genres, so you can expect some variety.

December Picks:

Laura Welsh – “Break the Fall”

I hear a touch of Florence + the Machine in this particular song, but her sound is uniquely her own. Check out her newest single Ghost here. Her debut album Soft Control is out January 19th, and I AM EXCITED.

Purity Ring – “Push Pull”

I have been a fan of Purity Ring for some time now, and they are absolutely my favorite driving music. For my favorite track, see Fineshrine. Their second LP record is anticipated for a 2015 release.

Years & Years – “Take Shelter”

This breakout band is feeling major love from their native England, with their spring UK tour already sold out. Sadly this track is not yet available in the US, but their other EPs (Real and Traps) should tide you over for now.

Ryn Weaver – “OctaHate”

Prepare to get this song stuck in your head. For some background on Ryn, check out Buzzfeed’s profile (from this past summer) here. Enjoy. Also check out Cashmere Cat’s remix of this tune here.

Imaginary Cities – “Where’d All The Living Go”

Let’s slow things down. 2010’s Temporary Resident is my favorite record of this great little band. Perfect for quiet winter evenings at home.

Binge-worthy: British Mysteries

by Lindsey

This week, the whole world’s atwitter about Gilmore Girls coming to Netflix in October. I’m looking forward to some quality time in Stars Hollow, too, but there are several weekends to fill between now and and then. Me? I want to fill my Saturday nights with all the British mysteries. Some of these are BBC and some are Netflix originals, but all are full of great accents, dry humor and lots of…murder. [Insert evil laugh here.]

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: For me, this is the gold standard British murder mystery. David Suchet is an adorable penguin of a Poirot whose third person references show just how smart he thinks he is. Then, he’ll solve an unsolvable murder and prove he’s right to think so highly of himself.

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 8.36.53 PM

So many mysteries, so little time.

Inspector Lewis: I’m a recent fan of this show, which is a continuation of the Inspector Morse series. I really like the dynamic between freshman and senior detective, especially when you get into the personal life of the younger Sergeant Hathaway. These are hearty shows, too, with 90 minutes of exciting twists.

The Fall: This is a great little Netflix Original series starring Gillian Anderson (X-Files!) and Jamie Dornan (yes, Mr. Grey). Dornan is a bad, bad man (not a spoiler – you learn that pretty quickly), and you’ll likely feel conflicted about your attraction to him. Join the club. Also, there’s one season so far, and it ends on a cliffhanger. Come on, Netflix!

Luther: Idris Elba is a commanding, conflicted detective, who works a little more on the fringes than those listed above. He’s more volatile than Poirot, for sure. I really love this series not only for Elba, but for the fantastic Alice Morgan (played by Ruth Wilson). She’s otherworldly and unsettling and they make a weird, wonderful “team.”

The Bletchley Circle: I love it when ladies join the detective game. This group of women – former code crackers – works outside of the law to solve crimes. For all the male detectives I feature on this list, this series really shows off the intellect of this secret society of friends. #girlpower

Sherlock: You’ve probably already watched this. If you haven’t, there’s probably nothing I can say to convince you to do so.

Others on my to-watch list:

  • Prime Suspect
  • Call the Midwife
  • Happy Valley
  • Midsomer Murders

That should keep us busy, eh? Pip pip cheerio and happy watching!

Lazy Sunday Links: Amazon Prime/Netflix Sept. Streaming

by Kelsey

With pumpkin season upon us once again, the days are growing shorter and darker, which means that lazy show bingeing is now more socially acceptable (for those socially conscience among us). Not that I’ve ever let this stop me. Peer pressure is for the weak, my friends.

That said, to aid in your antisocial activities:

  • Paste’s list of Netflix’s new releases
  • IGN‘s list  of Amazon Prime Streaming’s new releases
  • Huffington Post‘s canon of fall 2014 TV premieres

I have a feeling that this is going to be a great season.

The laziest of Sundays to you, readers.

 

WWU: Are You Afraid of the Dark – “The Tale of the Quiet Librarian”

by Lindsey (and Kelsey in video form)

We’ve finally made it, everyone. It’s Friday, and we’re all a little better for it. Whew.

To cap off this busy week, we’re giving you permission (or whatever) to watch another episode of old favorite with us: Are You Afraid of the Dark? Sometimes. Anyway, due to the popular demand of two readers, we’ve turned our usual read along format into an audio visual dream come true. Well, it’s a dream come true if you dream of watching us from unflattering angles yap to each other. We’re not judging your dream, so please have mercy on our first attempt at YouTube humor. Enjoy?

Are You Afraid of the Dark? – “The Tale of the Quiet Librarian”

P.S. If you don’t actually watch along, this video is probably a huge waste of your time. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.