What to do this week(end): March 26-April 1


Hallelujah, it’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday! (NB: If you have never listened to Decoder Ring’s episode from last year about the much maligned Rebecca Black and her earworm from hell, it’s pretty interesting to hear her take on that debacle a decade after the fact.)

ANYhoo, Happy Pesach to all those who are celebrating this year, and this gentile can add not getting invited to any seder this year to the long list of crappy, indirect pandemic side effects. Perhaps I will mark the occasion on my own by continuing my quest to find good delivery matzo ball soup in Brooklyn, which is somehow harder than one would reasonably expect. The last time I ordered it I paid about $15 for a plastic container filled with broth and nary a mazto ball and I’m still mad about it, but I digress. 

I’m still very much in lockdown mode, and trying to ignore the irresistible pull of movie theaters and indoor restaurants and bars, so my weekend will likely involve lots of socializing outside (weather permitting). On Saturday evening, I’m planning an early dinner in Gowanus so I can check out  Erin Johnson’s Lake digital art exhibit, which will be projected on the shores of the canal starting at 7pm, followed by refreshments at the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club Boathouse. It’s free to register as a walker, but you can also reserve a spot in a canoe for $10 if you don’t have recurring night terrors about somehow falling into that particular body of water. Alternatively, you can stay home and tune in to Alamo Drafthouse’s live String Quartet Smackdown, a March Madness-style bracket tournament that pits four-minute long string compositions against each other; or see Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman in The Father, which is now virtually streaming through BAM. 

Industry City has a new record shop, HiFi Provisions, that might be a good stop if you’re headed there for some live outdoor music in one of the courtyards this weekend; and Parklife continues its outdoor movie schedule with a screening of Mean Girls on Sunday night. Later in the week, writer and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib will be discussing his new book, A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance, as part of BAM’s virtual reimagining of its perennially popular Unbound literary series. And the rain in the forecast creates a great opportunity to curl up on the couch with Genius: Aretha, NatGeo’s 4-part documentary series about the Queen of Soul. 

Our own Meredith Craig de Pietro wrote about the books that finally got people to start reading again, which made me incredibly jealous and a little bit pathetic, as we are now looking at a full year since I finished my last novel. I was especially discouraged that Meredith cited The Searcher as the book that snapped her out of her pandemic reading slump, because I couldn’t get into it, a worrying sign for someone who has devoured everything else Tana French has ever written.

What I did manage to get all the way through is this fascinating story about Water For Elephants writer Sara Gruen and her quest to free a man who first wrote her from prison six years ago, and this about the improbable popularity of classic Tetris tournaments among a certain set of gamer teenagers.  About 50 people have sent me this article about shrimp tails and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and I for one think enough is enough about this story, but I did read it from beginning to end, so baby steps I guess. If I still don’t have the attention span to read a book, I do know that Operation Varsity Blues, the Netflix documentary about the college admissions scandal, will keep me interested, and I’m also eyeing The Courier, a Cold War-era spy thriller with Benedict Cumberbatch that’s available on Hulu. To be honest though, I will probably rewatch some old Arrested Development episodes in honor of the late great Jessica Walter, whose iconic Gangy character is quoted by me or my sister at least once every time we speak to each other. 

The best thing I did for myself this week was to buy fresh cut flowers and put them in vases throughout my apartment. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to feel decadent, which is increasingly tough given what my hair looks like these days. Here’s hoping you all are able to treat yourself to a similar small luxury this week, and enjoy some time outside and away from screens as well. Happy weekend all! 

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