LISTENING

I’m an audio drama addict, so I’m surprised it took me so long to learn about Bronzeville, a fictional podcast set in post-WWII Chicago’s black metropolis neighborhood of Bronzeville. It’s great for a number of reasons. The script is well-written and wonderfully acted, and the sound design places us in the 1940s. The plot revolves a young, smart black man named Jimmy Tillman working his way up through a less-than-legal organization run by the Copeland family. The Copeland brothers are all involved with illegal activity, but their sister Lisa is straight-edge. She’s incredibly smart, conventionally and on the street, and ridiculously brave. The series follows the cast of characters as they try to adjust to a rival boss from St. Louis popping up in town and white authorities trying to stifle the growth of the neighborhood.

I haven’t finished it yet, but I hope they do another season, or make it into an anthology where they do another part of history through the perspective of black folks. It’s so rare to see (or in this case, hear) black period pieces! And in audio fiction I’ve rarely heard minorities or POC issues being raised. I hope they keep it going!

 

WATCHING

Woke up Sunday morning and had a list of things I should’ve done, but the mood I was in was such that I didn’t want to do anything, so I binge-watched Westworld.

It’s pretty good, but I think I went into it expecting it to be AMAZING because of all the hype I’ve heard about it. And in the end it was just very good, not the AMAZING I was expecting. However, it wasn’t a bad way to spend 10+ hours on a lazy Sunday.

If you haven’t watched Westworld yet and feel like you’re missing out, you are. It’s loosely adapted from the film written and directed by Michael Crichton (so think Jurassic Park but instead of dinosaurs they’re wild west life-like robots programmed to fulfill your every fantasy). Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan (husband to Lisa Joy and brother / collaborator to  Christopher Nolan). My only quibble with it was how it felt a little Nolan-gimmicky sometimes near the end. Nolan-gimmicky is a term I’ve just created to describe the ending to films like InceptionInterstellarMementoFollowing, and pretty much every Christopher Nolan film! Basically there’s some twist at the end that makes you go “OH SHIT NO WAY!” and it’s really exciting but then it makes repeated watches of the film loose their luster. Not to say these films aren’t wonderful, because they are.

Westworld is also great. Amazing acting. Some really intriguing thoughts being suggested, (going beyond the Blade Runner-esque discussion of what it means to be human vs. robot and suggesting things about cognition/consciousness). But the ending, when the twist hits, I was just like… “this Nolan-gimmick again.”

All that being said, I’m super excited for season 2.

 

READING

Still chugging away on Lab Girl, which is still great! It’s just hard to read when you’re binge-watching over ten hours of TV in one day.

Regardless, I’ve gotten into the part of Lab Girl where author Hope Jahren begins relating her experience with mental illness and I did not imagine this book to contain anything like that and I’m so happy it does (not happy she had to experience these things, but happy that she was able to share them so openly with the world).

10/10, I continue to highly recommend this book!

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