This week we’ve got Asian Americans, a rolling festival, angsty Canadians and Texas hold ’em.. To make a suggestion for a future issue, send an email to [email protected]
“Never Have I Ever” (Netflix)
So it’s apparently National Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month which means that Netflix is flush with content featuring Asian characters. Much like “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” this Netflix show follows a teenage girl, an Indian named Devi, as she navigates the awkward waters of high school. Unlike Lara Jean Covey from “To All the Boys” however, Devi is loud, brash and sarcastic. She cusses and is never afraid to make a scene. Based loosely on creator Mindy Kaling’s life as a teen, the show covers topics like sex, LGBTQ+ identity and more. Almost all of the characters are people of color, including the main love interest, who is half Japanese. It’s pretty much exactly the kind of show I wished I had when I was an awkward 16-year-old. Just one season is out right now but knowing Netflix, I’d be willing to bet another season is just around the corner. — Sayaka
“Asian Americans” (PBS)
We’re sticking with a theme here. On Monday, PBS unveiled what they call a “groundbreaking” documentary series about the history of Asian Americans in this country. The five-part series covers everything from the first arrival of Chinese immigrants during the Gold Rush to Japanese internment to the killing of Vincent Chin. It’s all of the stuff we never learned in school plus some. It’s free. It’s important. It’s timely. First episode is out on the PBS website now. — Sayaka
“Working Moms” (Netflix)
A new season of “Working Moms,” the Canadian sitcom that explores the complexities of urban family life, dropped on Netflix last week. We love this show for its honesty — all the characters are flawed, funny and trying to do the right thing when it isn’t always so clear. And all the best roles are for women, still rare enough to be noteworthy. Sure, everybody is white, wealthy and attractive. But hey… it’s Canada! Show creator and star Catherine Reitman — daughter of director Ivan Reitman, who knows something about comedy — walks a wonderful line between success and failure, happiness and angst, aspiration and acceptance. The shows are quick, too — 25 minutes apiece. My wife and I devoured Season 4 in a single night. — Brian
Festival Express (YouTube)
I’m saving this 2003 documentary for the darkest days of the quarantine, when I truly need a circuit to joy (and hopefully I’ll have a tallboy of Foothills Brewing’s honorary Festival Express IPA for the occasion). In the summer of 1970, a promoter chartered a train to carry several of rock’s biggest acts, including Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, the Band, Ian & Sylvia and Buddy Guy, across Canada for a festival tour. Considering the period and the Dead’s involvement, Festival Express works as both a sequel and antidote to Gimme Shelter, the Maysles brothers documentary about the disastrous Altamont Free Concert in December 1969. It wasn’t all love and kindness the following summer, however: Fans angry at being charged admission broke down fencing and clashed with police in Toronto, prompting this square denunciation from the Dead’s Bob Weir: “Is that worth $16 — nearly killing some cop? Nearly killing a person! And those cops out there, I talked to a lot of ’em…. They were all good people.” Aside from spectacular performances by the Band and Janis Joplin, the film is notable for the jam sessions and partying by the musicians on the train between engagements, especially a loose and joyous rendition of “Ain’t No More Cane on the Brazos” by the Band’s Rick Danko, Weir and Jerry Garcia from the Dead, and Joplin. Knowing that Joplin would be dead from a heroin overdose less than four months later, it’s all the more poignant to hear Garcia say, “Janis, I’ve loved you ever since the day I saw ya.” — Jordan
(Greensboro and High Point libraries are closed but Scuppernong Books is still taking orders. Forsyth County Public Libraries are still open for pick-up. Readers can also check out e-books using the Libby app if they have a library card)
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I have to admit, I’m a little late to the party on this one. Celeste Ng, who also penned Everything I Never Told You in 2014, released Little Fires Everywhere in 2017 but it wasn’t really until a few weeks ago, when the book was turned into a Hulu series starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, that the novel really took off. In April, the book held the No. 1 slot on the New York Times’ bestseller list for three weeks. The story starts off strangely. A woman stands in her lawn as she watches her house burn down. Set in Shaker Heights, Ohio where Ng grew up, the story follows the lives of the individuals of two families: the perfect, white Richardsons and the black, transient Warrens who move into an apartment that the Richardsons’ own. Complicated storylines that touch on race, class and identity ensue as the families weave in and out of each other’s lives. — Sayaka
Games (board games, virtual games, video games):
Family poker night
We’ve been holding a family poker night every Friday since the stay-at-home order came out in March. My wife and I have been playing for years, and we’d taught the kids the basics long ago. I think poker is a great game, full of strategy, allegory and soft-skill application, with some math and statistics thrown in. We started off with Texas hold ’em — that’s the most practical application right now, and the best for a five-handed table — but last week I introduced them to draw poker, and this week we’ll explore some other stud games. It’s the kind of thing the kids, all teenagers, would never have gone for before the shutdown, but now they look forward to it and it gives them some stability in their lives. Plus, they’re always trying to fill their inside straights, which makes them prime suckers. The first buy-in is free. To re-up, you have to do a couple chin-ups. House rules. — Brian
Live Music Stream: Mac Walker @ Joymongers Brewing (GSO) Thursday, May 14th @ 8 p.m.
Formed in Winston-Salem, band members of Camel City Blues, Mac Walker AKA Freddie Clapton, will be performing live on Joymongers Facebook page. Enjoy listening to the sounds of country rock and classic rock while having a drink at home. Find the event on Facebook for more information.
Virtual Pub Trivia (GSO) Thursday, May 14th @ 7:30 p.m.
With social distancing still advised, this tavern will host an online game of trivia. Each game will consist of five categories along with a physical challenge, as well as special bonuses. Players must have a computer with a camera, including access to Zoom, and a smartphone. Participants will pay a small fee of $3 to join the game this Thursday night and $1 that will go towards special live performers that will also be part of the show. Find the event on Facebook for more information.
New Members Show 2020 Online Exhibit (WS) Friday, May 11th -16th @ 5 p.m.
Enjoy gazing and analyzing breathtaking works of art. The Piedmont Craftsmen, an organization that was created by collectors and artists to honor creativity, will be featuring the artwork of 12 new artists who have been invited into the guild. Exhibits include crafted jewelry by Cindy Miller and Hsiang-Ting Yen along with clay artists, Christina Bendo, Douglass Bringle, Alya Mullen as well as Wendy Werstlein and many more artists. All items shown in this exhibit will be available for purchase. Check out the event on Facebook for more information.
Romance Book Club (W-S) Tuesday, May 19th @ 6:30 p.m.
Calling all hopeless romantic readers, Bookmarks, a literary non-profit organization that connects authors with readers, will be hosting a book club focusing primarily on reading and analyzing romance novels. This coming Tuesday, members will be diving into Sarah Maclean’s Wicked and the Wallflower. The online book meeting will be featured on Zoom, be sure to register in advance. Find the event on Facebook for more information.
Readers Guild Book Club (HP) Tuesday, May 19th @ 6:30 p.m.
High Point Library will be hosting a livestream sci-fi/fantasy book gathering on Zoom. This week members will be reading and discussing the Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Dealing with Dragons book 1 and Searching for Dragons book 2 by Patricia C. Wrede. Enjoy a more medieval book filled with magic and creatures of fantasy. Find the event on Facebook for more information.