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Passin' Time with Pop Culture

collage of Chad's pop culture picks with photos from V-Cat/Content Cafe and Pixabay

March 27, 2020

First, I feel fortunate as a library employee that I’m able to continue working during a pandemic – albeit with adjustments big and small – while friends, family and millions of others across the world are unable to work or face worse predicaments.

Regardless of what you’re doing or not doing, we’re all going through a very strange and stressful time at the moment, and so it’s a natural response that we turn to movies, books, music and other pop culture pursuits; not only because many of us find ourselves with more time, but also for comfort, education and information, and entertainment.

With that, in a mostly random order, here is a list of things I’ve enjoyed for various reasons. Links included if it’s available through the library.

  1. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars” – David Bowie: We all know about this one, but when’s the last time you listened to it from start to finish? I have a 90-minute round trip commute and this hasn’t left my CD player in at least 3 days. Everything you could want in a rock ‘n’ roll record.
  2. High Fidelity” on Hulu: An adaptation of the John Cusack movie of the same name, spread out over 10 episodes (so far.) The TV version has Zoe Kravitz in the lead role as Rob Gordon, the hip, strong – and sometimes not too strong – owner of a New York City record store. Da’Vine Joy Randolph and David H. Holmes are a solid supporting duo as her “employees” and executive music producer Questlove had a huge palette to work with to create the soundtrack.
  3. The Essential Kinks” – The Kinks: Variety is necessary these days, and this two-disc collection shows how diverse The Kinks’ could be. From the slow and mellow “Nothing in This World Can Stop Me Worryin’ Bout that Girl” (with lyrics sharp as a spear) to one of my favorite uptempo rockers, “Here Comes Yet Another Day,” you can find a song to fit any mood swing. Extra plug for my favorite album of theirs, “Arthur, or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire,” not available through V-Cat but can be requested through WISCAT interlibrary loan.
  4. Boiler Room Tulum x Comunite Live Set” – Nicola Cruz (via YouTube): A 1-hr slow burner of electronic music from a 2016 set in Mexico. Soothing and will have you nodding your head, especially through headphones. This guy I know cleaned his house to it and said that works, too.
  5. Community”: Because many of us miss the classroom – any classroom – and because we need some laughs. This television series ran from 2009-2015 on NBC and features a great mix among the seven main characters and awesome side characters. The show has layers, and rewards the viewer who puts the time in to watch multiple seasons. I can only imagine what Dean Craig Pelton’s response would be to the coronavirus epidemic. Several seasons are available through V-Cat and all six seasons are available on Hulu. (I’m not plugging Hulu over any other streaming service, it’s just a coincidence.)
  6. Sub Pop USA: The Subterranean Pop Music Anthology, 1980-1988” – Bruce Pavitt: A collection of Seattle-area zines and newsletter columns that celebrate all things indie – music, film, music, record labels, scenes and other zines, more music. Enough songs and albums for five more pandemics so keep a notepad close.
  7. Underland: A Deep Time Journey” – Robert Macfarlane: Speaking of subterranean … Really well-written and well-researched. Technically I read this last year, but when you’re dealing with mines, caves, tunnels and other worlds that exist below our feet, time becomes relative. A perfect companion to Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Overstory.”

Library Staff Reading Recommendations

image credit: Pixabay/Content cafe