The Alien Trilogy
There have been more than a few film recommendations made over the past two months, recommendations made with the intent of reflecting our current situation through a camera's lens, and a visionary's eyes. And really, is there any more appropriate trilogy to our current moment than the three-film story of Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley? The Alien trilogy (now streaming, HBO Now/HBO Go, and yes, it's only a trilogy, there was never a part 4 or prequels, you must be thinking of Star Wars, sorry) is ultimately the story of a no-nonsense, brilliant, hyper-capable woman whose correct instincts to keep quarantine and prevent infection are ignored and overruled by corporate toadies and distracted, ineffectual "leaders"—thus leading to a completely preventable biological catastrophe she has to clean up herself through increasingly powerful acts of heroism and self-sacrifice, often with no real help from the powers-that-be (who are supposed to be in charge but are really only concerned with protecting the status quo and covering their own ass while profiting off widespread misery). ALL WE HAD TO DO WAS LISTEN TO RIPLEY.
The Back to the Future Trilogy
...okay, maybe there's another beloved trilogy new to streaming this month (Now available on Netflix!) that speaks directly to our current moment in a fairly eye-opening and retroactively disturbing way. You see, Once upon the 1980s, a young Republican in a life-vest, with the help of a way-too-old-to-be-hanging-out-with-teenagers science friend, traveled back in time where he had to prevent his mother’s sexual advances and instead steer her toward Crispin Glover’s dick. He succeeded in this fraught scenario, but accidentally transformed the future into Planet Las Vegas, which sounds cool, but was actually kinda shitty, because the president of Planet Las Vegas was Donald Trump—but in what dystopian hellscape of nuclear distraction would a populace ever elect that asshole, right? So our heroic young Republican then went all the way back to the Wild West, where Mary Steenburgen lives, and managed to set the timeline back on track and everyone learned that it’s never really a good idea to steal plutonium from angry Libyans. Co-starring Huey Lewis and Flea.
There are no lack of podcasts about The Internet being made right now—shows that cover the culture, politics, dark underbelly, and idiosyncrasies of being online are outnumbered only by mediocre true crime pods. Yet Rabbit Hole, the new weekly audio series from the New York Times (updates Thursdays) that explores the internet’s potential to radicalize its users, manages to stick out by pairing deep original reporting with a high degree of specificity. In the first two episodes alone, you will track the viewing history of a guy whose streaming habits went from Frozen parodies to right-wing YouTubers to outright white supremacists, and learn about the YouTube algorithm that favors the fringe. Episodes are kept at a succinct 30 minutes, leaving you wanting more each time. In a media landscape that’s oversaturated with hot takes about Twitter feuds and lacking in valuable reporting about the place where most Americans spend hours of their day, having a pod like Rabbit Hole is a good thing. BLAIR STENVICK
Take a Free OSU Class on Growing Vegetables
Oregon State University is looking to make education more delicious, and you can learn for yourself whether the food you grow and cook yourself really does taste better than any other food you'll eat by taking this free series of courses from the school's Master Gardener program, made up of 12 on-demand classes covering where to grow your food, how to grow your food, how to protect your food from pesky insects, and how to enact that protection without ruining your food or the soil its grown in.
There's more than a few alternate-history shows that have captured the pop-culture zeitgeist recently. Hulu had 11.22.63 (What if you could stop the Kennedy assasination?), Amazon had Man in the High Castle (what if the Axis won World War II?), and HBO had The Plot Against America (What if Charles Lindbergh ran for president in 1940, won, and America became openly fascist?). You'll note all these alternate histories are pretty serious and dark, almost like there's a rule that alternate histories have to be dystopias. Well, here comes Netflix, and Ryan Murphy, and Hollywood, an alternate history whose primary question is "What if the golden age of Hollywood wasn't so sexist, racist, 'phobic, and gross?" and whose primary answer seems to be "It'd be pretty fun and fabulous—look at all these amazingly pretty people swan around for a couple hours." Is there an important lesson to be learned here? Probably not. Is there an "important lesson" to be learned from drinking champagne 'til you're dizzy and making out with hot people all night? Who gives a shit! Hollywood!
WWOZ: Jazz-Festing in Place
Not to be outdone by Pickathon's throwing open the doors to their prized vault of amazing live performances, New Orleans' listener-supported radio station 90.7 WWOZ has dug into their own archive of amazing music and come up with "Jazz-Festing in Place," putting together a program spanning eight days made up of nothing but absolute classic performances from over 30 years of New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival concerts, starring legends like Aaron Neville, Roy Ayers, the Ohio Players, Charlie Musselwhite, Terence Blanchard, Bonnie Raitt, Toots & the Maytals, Ella Fitzgerald & Stevie Wonder from 1977, Hugh Masekela, Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, and many, many more. The streams start at 9am PST, stop at 5pm PST, and play every Thurs-Sun for the next two weeks.
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
Speaking of bayou brilliance getting unearthed this weekend: Every streaming service has its fair share of shining diamonds that are buried underneath more popular, more easily algorithm'd titles, and that goes double (or quadruple, really) when the title isn't a competitive reality show, or a buzzed-about drama, but a filmed stage play from 2014. But when that play is the Tony Award-winning Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, filmed at the Cafe Brasil in New Orleans and streaming on HBO Now? When it's starring Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday, singing and telling stories at a dive bar? You should take the time to use that app's search bar for the betterment of your weekend.
The Hollywood Theatre presents: Rififi
The centerpiece of Jules Dassin’s 1955 pitch-black noir is perhaps the greatest heist ever filmed. Without a single line of dialogue or note of music, the immaculately detailed sequence takes up nearly a half-hour of screentime. The fallout after the robbery is nearly as suspenseful; even with a musical number and a cute little kid, Rififi remains a bleak, black, unforgettable crime film. The Hollywood Theatre is partnering with Film Movement to make this available: Buy a $6.99 ticket that makes the movie available for 72 hours, and a portion of those proceeds helps support the Hollywood. NED LANNAMANN
Drake just dropped a brand new mixtape late last night. It's called Dark Lane Demo Tapes. He appears to be clad in traditional ninja garb on the cover. Either you're clicking on that or you're not. And if you're not? You probably should. Here: