About the DJ: I am an aspiring playwright, novelist, chef, computer scientist, screenwriter, and now art critic. My special talents include puns, procrastination, and cupcake frosting. My special talents do not include painting, playing trumpet, or understanding intermolecular forces, but I make frequent attempts anyway. I live by the phrase, “A sloth is just a koala doing tai-chi.”
1. Emma Approved
This webseries is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, as told through the YouTube channel and Twitter account of Emma Woodhouse, a 20-something SoCal socialite and lifestyle excellence specialist. It’s a radical immersion into literature as the thick volume published in 1815 is condensed into a collection of 4-minute vlogs. (See its predecessor, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, as well.) So maybe there aren’t any cravats or Colin Firths in ponds, but take it from an Austen devotee: Emma Approved is proof that classic period dramas are much more than a practical cure for insomnia. They can be funny. Fresh. Exciting. They just need a good lens.
2. Eric Hutchinson
Eric’s music isn’t the most raw or technical or profound. It’s just plain fun. On those days this year when I’ve had hours of homework and the sky was crying buckets and college acceptance letters seemed like they would never reach my mailbox, this is who I listened to. His music is lively without being superficial, heart-felt without any dramatic angst, and universally danceable without sounding too generic. As if bopping around my house wasn’t good enough, he’ll be live at the Neptune Theatre on May 4th playing from his latest album, “Pure Fiction.”
3. Rookie Mag
This bombshell magazine is Seventeen meets Susan B. Anthony. In the words of its prolific, 17-year-old creator, Tavi Gevinson, “you can be a feminist and still like stuff.” My favorite articles from this month’s issue include DIY pizza nails and a list of 10 Miss America pageant winners with truly remarkable lives and careers. For all those young ladies out there with an interest in empowerment and epaulets alike, this is for you.
4. Blank on Blank
“Blank on Blank” is a series of animated interviews with celebrities found on forgotten tape. Bear with me! The collection ranges from Fidel Castro on communism to Kurt Cobain on identity to Maurice Sendak on childhood. It’s absolutely wild to hear their voices, preserved pristinely in unusually intimate interviews. I laughed at Farrah Fawcett’s story about holding a criminal at stiletto-point, I held back tears when Grace Kelly sought meaning in the death of JFK, and I experienced a loss for words when James Brown described his relationship to his signature shades.
It’s been 34 years since Carl Sagan’s groundbreaking astronomy show was first broadcast, and now Neil deGrasse Tyson, a leader in modern astrophysics, is returning with a modern update of the classic series in a primetime slot. While the overdramatic writing leaves something to be desired, the show is as breath-taking and bewildering and humbling as ever. If you have ever wondered about the nature of our universe and the marvels it contains, this is a must-see.