The Art Desk’s weekly picks for movies, music and more
By YASMEEN O’BRIEN — firstname.lastname@example.org
Book: “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed (2012)
This memoir is a profound recounting of the author’s struggles after the sudden death of her young mother when Strayed was only 22 years old. After an era of self-destruction in the wake of her mother’s death, including promiscuity and a bout of heroin use, Strayed makes the decision to solo hike 1,100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. She embarks on this journey from southern California to Oregon in an attempt to rediscover the parts of herself she lost after her mother’s passing. It’s a beautiful and brave story of survival, both in the wilderness and through deep pain. This story changed the way I think about grief and the inevitable ebbs and flows of life. It made me kinder to myself and to others. I want to scream from the rooftops how much I recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a new read.
Movie: “Almost Famous” dir. by Cameron Crowe (2000)
This is definitely an oldie, but a goodie, and one of my favorite movies. Set in the early 1970s, the film follows high school student and budding music journalist William Miller who is invited to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine. The film follows the writer as he accompanies the up-and-coming fictional rock band Stillwater across the country for their concert tour. Through spending time with the group of musicians and groupies, he quickly gains the respect and friendship of the much older band through his kindness. He has to grow up fast on tour and ends up learning a lot about the world — the good, the bad and the ugly. Starring Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup (whose character, Russell, is my all-time celebrity crush!) and Patrick Fugit, this movie is wildly funny, achingly heart-wrenching and downright educational. I’m a sucker for period pieces, especially ones set in the ‘70s, and “Almost Famous” does a wonderful job of making you feel like you were there too.
TV Show: “Girls” (2012)
Written and directed by Lena Dunham, “Girls” is a recent find of mine, despite it coming out over a decade ago. It has quickly come to hold a special place in my heart as it follows four friends post-college who are trying to make it in New York City. They’re broke, aimless and confused. Their love lives are freakish, their friendships are unsteady, their jobs are minimum wage and yet they manage to score great apartments somehow. It doesn’t shy away from the raunchy, awkward darkness that our 20s can be sometimes, which makes it all the more lovable. Much like in real life, the characters are constantly making the wrong decisions — though who’s to say they’re wrong, necessarily? — and life gets the best of them sometimes. As someone who is soon to graduate, it’s comforting to know you don’t have to have everything figured out, and that lots of good learning and laughing happens when you don’t. As cheesy as this all sounds, the show somehow doesn’t deliver it that way. Go watch!
Album: “The Babe Rainbow” by The Babe Rainbow (2017)
A band of Australian surfer dudes, The Babe Rainbow makes music that is many things all at once: it’s alternative, it’s psychedelic, it’s surf rock. You can’t help but groove to the dreamy bass and guitar riffs, drifting into a meditative state as the lead singer, Angus Dowling, takes you into a musical trance. While the lyrics are sometimes hard to understand due to their thick accents and breathy style, they do more than deliver with their talents on the guitar, bass, drums and tambourine. This album, their namesake, is their best one. A mixture of mellow and upbeat, it keeps me calm yet fired up and excited for the day. Not a lot of music can do both. My favorite songs on the album are “Losing Something,” “Johny Says Stay Cool” and “Peace Blossom Boogy.” If you’re looking for some groovy, down-to-earth music with a kick that is sure to put you in a good mood, listen to “The Babe Rainbow.”
Written By: Yasmeen O’Brien — email@example.com