The Weekly Edit #1: Obscura Day, Greek Food, and Rick and Morty
There is nothing I love more than planning. Even when I am home, in addition to meticulously plotting travel itineraries, I spend tons of time researching new restaurants, intriguing events, and just-announced exhibitions to drag my friends and family along to. I am always on the lookout for a stimulating read, a must-listen podcast, and a new work-out to try. So, I figured I may as well put all those hours of research to use and share these things with you as well.
The Weekly Edit will be a to-do list of sorts selected directly from my own calendar and personal interests.
Because I am based in LA, there will always be one “Do” and one “See” for LA, as well as a couple of other events from places I am in or have recently traveled to. The other categories of eat, read, watch, listen, move, and buy will normally be applicable wherever in the world you are (hey international and east coast readers!). I really hope you enjoy this new series and let me know what you are getting up to this up-coming week!
There is a lot of exciting stuff happening in LA this week (even when I am traveling I always get slightly jealous of the incredible things the city has going on!). Lucha VaVOOM’s Cinco de Mayo performance is always popular. Here you can see good vs. evil played out in a sinful circus of masked Mexican wrestling, burlesque stripteasing and comedic commentating. In addition, May 6th is Obscura Day (courtesy of one of my favourite websites Atlas Obscura). Last year Tristan and I participated in it with a guided hike to the ruins of the “White City”, a sprawling alpine resort that operated from 1893 to 1938 on top of Echo Mountain. This year there are events going on all over the world, as well as the continental U.S. L.A. highlights include a kitsch tour of Los Feliz, a jeepney tour of Historic Filipinotown, an Echo Park funhouse and a museum full of decommissioned airliner parts. No joke, it is one of my favourite days of the year.
LA: Mouche Gallery in Beverly Hills currently has an exhibition of Douglas Kirkland’s photographs entitled Douglas Kirkland: Life Beyond the Lens. In his half-decade career Kirkland has captured intimate portraits of some of Hollywood’s most iconic stars, from Charlie Chaplin to Audrey Hepburn to Meryl Streep to Marilyn Monroe. The exhibition showcases a series of these photos and runs until May 10th.
London: The newest gallery to open in London is the West Contemporary in Fitzrovia. It’s inaugural exhibition, Morphosis, brings together sculpture, painting, mixed media, photography and light art by established and emerging artists, who have all created new pieces “interpreting a state of dreamy meditation as a basis for exploring ideas and composition”. Intrigued? You can check out the show catalogue here.
Athens: The German art exhibition Documenta has taken place for 100 days every five years in Kassel since 1955. It has historically always taken place at the Fridericianum—the first museum in mainland Europe, established in 1779—later adding other locations around the city of Kassel, which was heavily bombed in World War II. This year, for the first time, the show has been split between Kassel and Athens, with an exhibition entitled “Learning From Athens”. Featuring works by around 160 artists, most of which touch on issues of value, identity, and migration, the show spans multiple venues including the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, as well as an exhibition hall, the modern extension of the Benaki Museum, and other smaller venues. There are a lot of critics of this idea (you can read a very interesting article about it from the NY Times) as many see the move as “the most vivid manifestation of German soft power in Europe since the debt crisis began around 2010”. There are posters advertising it all around the city, yet the design is so abstract that only those who would know about it would know what they are advertising. Even so, it is interesting to reflect on the ways that art and the space of art exhibitions can be tied up in politics. The show runs in Athens until July 16 and in Kassel from June 10 until Sept. 17.
As I am still in Athens, I am taking advantage of eating all my favourite Greek dishes. This gluten-free guide to Greece has been absolutely amazing when it comes to figuring out which dishes I can eat and which I should stay away from. Greek stuffed grape leaves are my absolute favourite appetiser and I definitely want to try making this recipe when I am back in LA this summer. Currently my favourite restaurant in Athens is Black Sheep, and I also have been loving grabbing greek yogurt at Fresko Yogurt Bar, coffee at Cafe Taf, and breakfast at The It Place.
LA isn’t known for having a lot of Greek food (obviously not withstanding The Mad Greek on the way to Vegas!), but I did some research and found that Inotheke in Santa Monica is supposed to be fabulous.
During my travels I have been making full use of my Audible subscription. I never thought I would be an audiobook kind of gal (I love actually reading too much), but I find that while on the move it is just so convenient to have books in audio form. I listen to audiobooks while walking around new cities, while waiting at endless airport lines, and really any other opportunity when I can’t have my nose in a book. I tend to have an audiobook and a “real” book on-the-go at the same time, but currently I am ignoring my paperback for The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds”, a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. The book won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, something I have never before taken too seriously, but I am absolutely blown away with how incredible this book is. In addition to a gripping espionage plot and a blistering exploration of identity and America, the writing is also breathtakingly beautiful. I can’t recommend it enough. As soon as I am finished I am looking forward to reading (or listening to) Thanh Nguyen’s latest short-story collection The Refugees and Nothing Ever Dies.
Tristan finally convinced me to give Rick and Morty a chance, and I have to admit I am obsessed. The animated science fiction sitcom originally premiered in 2013, so I am rather behind, but to be honest I never thought it would really be up my alley. The series follows the adventures of Rick, a mad scientist, and his grandson Morty, as they split their time between domestic family life and interdimensional adventures. I am half-way through Season One and things are starting to get rather brilliantly deranged, although I have been warned that things start to get really deep in Season Two. This year, on April Fool’s Day, Adult Swim surprised fans with the first episode of Season Three, almost a year-and-a-half after the Season Two finale. The rest of Season Three is supposed to come this summer, so I should have just enough time to get caught up with the 20-minute episodes.
Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Matthew E. White, an American singer-songwriter from Virginia. At the beginning of this year he released Gentlewoman, Ruby Man, a duets album with Flo Morrissey, filled with lushly soulful covers of everyone from Leonard Cohen to James Blake, Frankie Valli to The Velvet Underground. My favourite is their cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You”, but their cover of the classic Bee Gees “Grease” is also (rather unexpectedly) fantastic. There is a short Youtube video about the making of their album, which paints the whole 10-day recording process as the most dreamlike experience imaginable. It sounds like the summer evenings on which it was recorded and has me longing for chilled-out summer nights.
This past week I finally pushed myself out of my comfort zone at the gym and reached for a foam roller. Foam rollers are a way to self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. By applying pressure to specific points on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Rolling improves circulation, which gets the body ready for a workout and helps it recover afterwards. Here are the 7 foam-rolling moves I have added to my post-running routine!
In addition to all the blue stuff I have been lusting over, I also have been adding some pink items to my summer closet! I have always been a massive fan of pink, so I am wildly excited that it is one of the main colours of this season. This week I picked up this pink Zara minidress to wear for a date night in Athens, and paired it with these pompom earrings and these Mango ankle-cuffed sandals. I love how sexy yet wearable these sandals are and can imagine wearing them with lots of different outfits throughout the summer!