Sign O' The Times
Last Tuesday, CBS aired a special on the fourth anniversary of Prince's death, "The GRAMMY Salute to Prince," a concert taped in January, hosted by Maya Rudolph, and featuring a whole mess of accomplished artists putting their spin on the Purple Majesty's most memorable songs. I'm sure it was good, and many feelings were caught over the course of the concert—that's just how his music works. But no matter how great the cover, there's never been a time I've wanted to hear someone else doing a Prince song when I could hear PRINCE doing it. And so: If you're feeling like watching a Prince concert, (and that's a feeling worth having literally every day of the week) I suggest loading up Sign o' the Times on Amazon Prime. Is it the best concert film ever made? That can be argued, but it definitely belongs in any conversation on the topic. Is it a better movie than Purple Rain? Unquestionably. Will it make you feel alive and uplifted within minutes? Most definitely.
(Now Available, Prime Video)
The Beautiful Ones
Hey, while you're feeling all purple and gold on this Sunday morning, why not seek out the autobiography Prince was working on with author Dan Piepenbring before his untimely, unfortunate, and unfair death. The Beautiful Ones is an amazing look into Prince's life before he was PRINCE, starting in his early childhood and ending with his 11-page film treatment for Purple Rain. The print version features never-before-seen photos next to handwritten lyrics, scrapbooked notes, and recollections of his personal history. The Audiobook takes many of those anecdotes, and has Esperanza Spalding and Adepero Oduye read them aloud.
(Now Available, ebook and audiobook, MultCo Library w/ Card; Hardcover, Powell's.com, $30)
The Last Dance
The ESPN 10-part documentary returns with another set of back-to-back chapters in the engrossing drama of the Chicago Bulls' final championship season. After establishing the series' main villain in episode one (Bulls GM Jerry Krause, who basically was to the team what Jerry Heller was to N.W.A.), and revealing just how dirty the team did Scottie Pippen in episode two, episodes three and four will focus on one of the Bulls' worst mini-bosses(the Bad Boys-era Detroit Pistons) and the unexpected hero who used to play for them (Dennis Rodman). Still sort of shocked and titillated at hearing a cigar-smoking, cognac-sipping Michael Jordan drop f-bombs like he dropped three-pointers on the Blazers? There's more where that came from, tonight!
(Sun April 26, 8pm, ESPN and ESPN.com)
Self-quarantine has led a lot of people to binge-watching their favorite televisual comfort foods, which translates to a ton of Parks and Recreation, The Office, Cheers, etc. But if you haven't revisited Scrubs—or worse, have never visited it at all—the last weekend of April is as good a time as any to head back to Sacred Heart. Initially it was written off as a sort of spoof of ER and Chicago Hope, but ended up becoming just as good as those shows, if not better, at essaying what life is really like when you work at a hospital. Scrubs combined whimsy, slapstick, and legitimate drama like nothing else during its on-air run, and if you are jumping in fresh, you should probably subscribe to the Fake Doctors, Real Friends podcast, an episode-by-episode guide to the show hosted by its stars, Zach Braff (Dr John J.D. Dorian) and Donald Faison (Dr. Turk Turkleton, lip-sync star and keeper of silverware in the pancake drawer, whuh-thuuu)
(Now Streaming, Hulu; Fake Doctors, Real Friends now available, iHeart, Spotify, Apple Podcasts)
Under One Roof Music Festival: A Benefit for North Carolina Artists
You look at the lineup for this festival and... damn, North Carolina has turned out a lot of musical talent over the years, and that talent is getting together to help raise funds for the North Carolina Arts Foundation. Performers include Ben Folds, Petey Pablo, the Steep Canyon Rangers, Anthony Hamilton, Chatham County Line, 9th Wonder, and more.
(Sun April 26, 5 pm)
Did you forget that this landmark series, the first anime to be broadcast on Adult Swim way back in 2001, is just available, for free, on AdultSwim.com? That this visually stunning, musically amazing testament to style and sneakily substantial storytelling is just sitting there, waiting for you to (re)discover it with limited commercial interruption on Tubi? Did you like Firefly? Is Guardians of the Galaxy your favorite Marvel movie series? Have you ever sat around and wondered "Man, what if Elmore Leonard wrote a sci-fi series about bounty hunters?" That's this show! Comedy! Drama! Guns! Corgis! Get everybody and the stuff together already, and let's jam.
(Now Streaming, free w/ ads, Tubi, AdultSwim.com; commercial-free, Hulu, YouTube TV)
Restore Some Old Furniture
Okay, maybe you won't be heading out to your garage (if you even have one), getting all coverall'd up and sawing/sanding/lacquering old furniture until it's shiny and new again. But you can watch someone do just that on YouTube all day, and marvel at how goddamn relaxing it is. It's not technically ASMR-type-stuff, but the sounds of the sanding and re-finishing, and the NPR-esque voiceover describing what's happening and why certainly pushes a lot of the same buttons. Dashner Design & Restoration is a Minneapolis-based vintage furniture company, and their YouTube channel steps viewers through their efforts in taking thrift store finds and turning them into vintage furniture gold. There's some how-to knowledge in here too, but even if you never have—or never will—pick up a single scrap of sandpaper, these videos are a winning combination of soothing and fascinating, perfect for a lazy Sunday.
(Now Streaming, YouTube)