The Arts Desks’ weekly picks for movies, books, music and television shows.
Book: “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
As COVID-19 takes over our lives, all we want is to get the hell out of our houses, but unfortunately that’s not a possibility right now. This book may torture you with its adventure and outdoorsiness, or perhaps it will ignite a spirit for future adventure and exploration when the pandemic is over. Based on a true story, “Wild” follows Cheryl Strayed’s spontaneous (and underprepared) solo journey on the Pacific Crest Trail after multiple traumatic life experiences. The linguistic flow of the author’s story is so captivating that it’s hard to put the book down — and that’s not something I say often. So, if you’re an outdoors enthusiast forced to temporarily live a couch potato’s life during shelter-in-place, or if you’re seeking a rainbow after this rain, pick up this book to vicariously experience a rigorous, yet rewarding, journey of the body and soul.
Movie: “Lords of Dogtown” dir. by Catherine Hardwicke
If you’re a California kid with a heart stuck in the ‘70s, this one’s for you. Based on a true story, this movie captures the evolution of the “Z-Boys” skate team comprised of a bunch of rebellious teens from Venice Beach (“the ghetto by the sea”). The boys’ lives revolve around skating and surfing, which eventually takes them pro. Vintage-looking cinematography captures gnarly rides on the board while rock classics such as Jimi Hendrix and Rod Stewart play in the background. This film makes you crave living on the edge and doing something spontaneously rebellious like throwing a glass bottle on the street. As a native Northern Californian, my secret desire is to live the carefree life of waves and sunshine. This movie does a brilliant job capturing the spirit of Southern California back in the days of long hair and hippies.
TV: “Dark Tourist”
My picks carry a common theme: a burning desire to get out of the house. That being said, this quirky documentary series goes around the globe exploring hot spots of dark tourism. Since we can’t get on an airplane, we might as well explore the darkest parts of the world virtually. Even if documentary series aren’t your cup of tea, this Netflix series may change your mind. Not only is it informational, but it’s also witty and sarcastic. l guarantee a good chuckle and a gasp here and there. Ranging from voodoo festivals in Africa to attending a cleansing ceremony of mummified bodies in Southeast Asia, this show is like watching a car crash — you want to look away, but you just can’t.
Album: “The Babe Rainbow (AUS)” by Babe Rainbow
Just like there’s no real way to describe the band’s name, there is no real way to describe their sound. It’s almost like the Beatles’s “Yellow Submarine” movie made into music — erratic, unorthodox and definitely influenced by drugs. While listening to it, it’s as though life is a fluffy cumulus cloud hovering over all the chaos — undisturbed and at peace, coexisting with its eccentricity. It’s psychedelic, satisfying and makes you want to roll down all the windows in your car while your hand creates a wave from the passing wind. It’s a feel-good album. “The Babe Rainbow (AUS)” is a perfect accumulation of a carefree outlook on life: simple and one-of-a-kind. As the spring rains turn into summer sunshine, this album embodies the soul of an indie-kid summer.
Written by: Sierra Jimenez — firstname.lastname@example.org