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The Arts Desk’s weekly picks for television, movies, books and music
Album: “This Time” by Donna Missal
Donna Missal is a powerhouse singer known for her sultry sound. Her album “This Time” captures her raw yet soothing voice and showcases her flexible vocal range. From growing up in New Jersey to becoming more of her own artist in Los Angeles, Missal brings a new sound to our generation by integrating her music with more artistry and significance in her moving lyrics. Her voice is intense, but soothing; it doesn’t overpower. The album features sultry and soulful rhythm & blues vibes. Her talent shines through in her restraint. “Keep Lying” allows her raspy sound to emerge. Comparable to Amy Winehouse, this album is perfect for summer nights.
Television: “One Day at a Time”
Given today’s political disarray, Netflix’s remake of “One Day at a Time” is a welcoming show where societal issues — including ethnicity, racism and sexuality — are brought to light, yet are portrayed with a comic air. This family sitcom, which focuses on a tight-knit Cuban-American family, is filled with witty banter and touching moments of support. Justina Machado, who plays Penelope the mother and an Army veteran, and Rita Moreno, who plays Lydia, the sassy, sexy grandma, bring such vibrancy and strength to their characters. The family learns to view all aspects of life, whether positive or negative, as an opportunity to reflect on their moral values with an open and humorous perspective.
Movie: “Instructions Not Included”
If you grew up watching Eugenio Derbez’s comedy skits, you know the immense potential that his film “Instructions Not Included” has. This movie focuses on bachelor Valentin, who is left to take care of his child on his own when his past lover goes to pay the taxi fare and never returns. He is forced to sacrifice his old lifestyle to take care of his daughter while dealing with a serious medical issue that threatens the time he has left with his daughter. The film’s smart knee-slapping comedy pairs well with his desire to make sure that both of their lives are filled with life. Extremely well-written, the movie has a twist ending for the audience, providing the chance to reflect on their own lives.
Book: “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi
When faced with the question of one’s identity and own mortality, it’s hard for us to grasp, but it’s especially difficult for neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi. When finally gaining the medical prestige he has worked so hard for, he is forced to shift roles and become the patient himself. In his autobiography, we experience Kalanithi’s personal turmoil as he navigates Stage IV lung cancer. While reading his autobiography, the reader feels close to Kalanithi and his struggle and journey, as it’s easy to relate his personal thoughts on the uncertainty of the future.
Written by: Gabriela Hernandez — firstname.lastname@example.org