The Arts Desk’s weekly picks for television, movies, books and music
Television: “It’s Alive! With Brad”
Diverging from the norm, I recommend a Bon Appétit YouTube series instead of a television show. The love child of Tasty videos and Food Network cooking shows, this series hosted by the large personality Brad Leone explores the world of cultures, fermentation and bacteria in food. In the test kitchen, Brad semi-scientifically teaches you how to make classic fermented foods from kombucha and sourdough bread to the more unusual like pickled fermented eggs and beet kvass. Apart from the mouth-watering creations and Brad’s charming mannerisms, these roughly ten-minute cooking shows are enhanced with comedic video editing and graphics that dance in the background. Thriving in its third season, this series is guaranteed to satisfy that millennial food lust.
Based on a true story, “Tag” is a lighthearted tale about a group of five childhood friends who carry on an annual tradition of playing tag through their adult years. Not just any game of tag, the group designates the month of May to play — even showing up at each other’s places of work and flying across the country unannounced to continue their game, which is 23 years running. The last person to be tagged in the month loses. This star packed comedy — Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher, and Jake Johnson, to name a few — is a heartfelt depiction of friendship and serves as a reminder to never ignore your childness at heart.
Book: “Born A Crime” by Trevor Noah
This memoir is a riveting account of “The Daily Show” host’s anguished upbringing. Born in South Africa under Apartheid to a Xhosa mother and Swiss-German father, Noah’s light skin — his mere existence — was criminal. Noah lead an anomalous childhood to that of his cousins and neighbors, not being allowed out in public with either of his parents for fear of incarceration. Language became his social currency, switching tongues for social acceptance. The memoir is a mind-expanding view of the world and an inspiring rags-to-riches story filled with anecdotes — both charming and outlandish — with a jaw-dropping ending. And if you are a fan of audio books, Noah narrates it himself on Audible which adds another dimension to his story — plus, hearing the accents and dialects in his voice are entertaining too.
Album: “Ventura” by Anderson .Paak
With “Venice”, “Malibu”, “Oxnard” and now “Ventura,” Anderson .Paak makes his way up the SoCal coast with groovy, feel-good jams. His caramel-like voice accompanied by a strong beat and a funky horn section induces an uncontrollable foot-tapping, finger-snapping response. I’ve been a diehard Andy fan ever since his NPR Tiny Desk Concert graced the internet in 2016. With his suave smile, unique sense of style and immense talent, Anderson .Paak is the whole package. Top songs from the album include: “King James,” the hard hitter with a political message; “Make it Better,” the heart-warming love song; and “Jet Black (feat. Brandy),” the ultimate summer car jam. But the album as a whole has a wavy flow from beginning to end. Truly, you can’t go wrong with any of the infectious beats on “Ventura.”
Written by: Grace Simmons — firstname.lastname@example.org