This week we’ve got a David Spade cameo, a board game that’s perfect for Tetris fans and a new TV series by the creator of “The Office” and “Parks and Rec” about uploading your social consciousness into digital avatars. To make a suggestion for a future issue, send an email to [email protected]
The Linguists (Vimeo)
Recommended by local vocalist Quilla, aka Anna Lazuli, this 2008 documentary follows two scientists as they work to document languages that are on the verge of extinction. Lazuli, who works at the Living Tongues Institute with the researchers David Harrison and Greg Anderson, said that the film was nominated for an Emmy in 2010 for Outstanding Science and Technology Programming. According to Lazuli, half the proceeds from the film streaming will be donated to the Living Tongues Institute, which supports endangered languages. Learn more here. — Sayaka
At this point in the quarantine I’m sure most of us have dealt with people making false equivalencies of the current pandemic to past events in history on social media. While searching for decent videos and resources for me to brush up on my knowledge of history, I discovered the Biographics YouTube page. They have videos on topics ranging from The Spanish Flu, the rise of evil leaders like Hitler and Stalin to modern pop-culture icons like Bob Ross and The Rock. The videos are 20 to 30 minute overviews of historical figures, their lives, their accomplishments and their impact on the modern world, both good and bad. Whether you would like a refresher on historical events or just quick blasts of info that will beef up your trivia knowledge, this channel is awesome for that. — Rob
The Wrong Missy (Netflix)
David Spade is one of the more forgettable cast members of 1990s-era “Saturday Night Live,” not to mention his 33-year film career, and I had to google Lauren Lapkus to recall exactly which corrections officer she played in “Orange Is the New Black.” But go into The Wrong Missy with low expectations, and you won’t be disappointed. As quarantine escapism goes, sometimes this is exactly what the doctor ordered: light comedy with zero social conscience. And despite repeatedly telling myself this movie was beneath me, I found myself convulsed in laughter during several scenes. The film’s reliance on the binary of perfect soulmate versus nightmare blind date would be misogynist if it weren’t so over-the-top and delivered with so much self-awareness. Just when viewers might be feeling remorse for delighting in the cringe-inducing behavior of “Missy” (Lapkus), she hypnotizes Tim’s (Spade) shallow, self-absorbed boss during the work retreat in Hawaii and helps him become a better person. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds, but that’s the film’s redemptive arc. — Jordan
“Upload” (Amazon Prime)
There’s a lot of really good television — and even some great television — dropping during the pandemic. One such show is “Upload,” from veteran producer Greg Daniels, otherwise known as the guy who made “The Office” and “Parks and Rec.” This one’s set in the not-too-distant future, where instead of simply dying, people have the option of uploading their consciousnesses into realistic avatars and living digital afterlives in lush resorts. It’s not even all that far-fetched. But it’s fertile ground for satire, strange romantic possibilities — the digitally deceased can interact with the living on their handheld screens, and even have intercourse through the use of sensory suits — and deep questions on the nature of existence. We’re only four or five episodes in, so I’m not ready to call it great, yet. But we’re willing to go the distance to find out. — Brian
(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)
“My South May Not Be What You Think It Is” by Gwen Frisbie-Fulton (Medium)
You’d be hard pressed to find a more eloquent local writer these days. After last weekend when a drag show-turned block party took over a part of the Glenwood neighborhood, local activist and writer Gwen Frisbie-Fulton took pen to paper, or keys to word processor rather, and wrote down her personal thoughts about her home in the South. Posted on her Facebook, where I initially found it, and also on her Medium page, the piece is short but deeply poignant and expresses a love and fondness for the area where I grew up in words that only she could choose and images that only she could conjure. It’s a love letter, it’s an explanation and it’s important. Give it a read if you have time. — Sayaka
Games (board games, virtual games, video games):
It’s kind of like Tetris meets Mahjong meets Connect Four. When this board game was first released in 2017, it awed both longtime players and newbies alike with its beautiful aesthetic and tactile game pieces. It quickly garnered much-deserved attention and swept up multiple game awards in 2017 and 2018. Played in rounds, the objective of the game is to use a community pool of tiles with varying patterns to create cohesive rows and columns on your individual board. There’s a fair amount of competitiveness built into the game because players take turns grabbing pieces from the center pile to add to their board, preventing others from using the tiles they may need. At about 30 to 45 minutes of gameplay, Azul is quick and easy to learn and is enjoyable for all ages and experience levels. It’s also one of the cheaper board games out there and can be found at large retailers like Target. The best part is you can play with just two players, which is great for quarantine, but it can be scaled up to four as well. Learn more here. — Sayaka
Mark of the Ninja Remastered (PS4, Steam)
I first played this platformer when it was initially released in 2012. Recently on sale on the PS4 network, this stylish indie game has been remastered in stunning 4K graphics. The hand-drawn art and animation resembles the style of the cartoon “Samurai Jack.” In this remastered version, the gameplay animations have really been smoothed out. Even though it is a 2-D side scrolling game, “Mark of the Ninja” manages to implement stealth gameplay mainly seen in 3-D games like the “Metal Gear,” “Tenchu” and “Hitman” series. If you like a hefty amount of stealth and puzzles mixed into your action games, I highly recommend this re-release. — Rob
Virtual Dance Classes by Dance Project, Everyday @ 5:45 p.m.
Interested in learning how to dance? Greensboro’s Dance Project has been holding online dance classes since the end of March for those that want to find a creative outlet at home. The classes range from tap to jazz to ballet and participants can buy a class pass or pay per session. Learn more about how you can show off your moves on their website.
Ed E. Ruger x Ty Bru x Phille Phr3sh virtual concert, Thursday @ 8:30 p.m.
These Greensboro hip-hop artists will each be performing solo live on Facebook. Best known for their music that was featured on the hit TV show “Breaking Bad,” the group’s music has been described as “experimental” or “insanely trippy.” The show is free for all music lovers interested in watching the trio bring a unique sound to viewers. Find the event on Facebook for more information.
Weatherspoon’s Virtual Conversation with Artist Maria Molteni, Thursday @ 4 p.m.
Multimedia artist, educator and organizer Maria Molteni will be chatting about her works of art with Weatherspoon Curator of Exhibitions Emily Stamey. Molteni studied painting and printmaking at Boston University, and is the founder of New Craft Artists in Action, an organization that invites individuals to help replace overlooked or underused basketball hoops at public courts by knitting or crochet new ones. Join the conversation this Thursday to watch them discuss the creative process that goes into each piece on Zoom. Registration is required. More information on the event here.
Live-streaming Montgomery Gentry (W-S), Friday @ 7:30 p.m.
This Friday, check out American country duo Montgomery Gentry, initially scheduled to perform at the Winston-Salem State Fairgrounds this weekend. Founded by singers Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, the two musicians started playing back in the 1990s and are known for their Southern-rock influences. The pair have even collaborated with other artists Charlie Daniels, Toby Keith, Five for Fighting, and members of the Allman Brothers Band. Be sure to watch the online event if you’re a big fan of country rock. Find the event on Facebook for more information.
Farmers Market Open, Saturday @ High Point Farmers Market 8:30 a.m.
With the state slowly progressing towards reopening and the weather getting warmer, it’s the perfect time to get fresh fruits and vegetables at an en plein air market. Instead of taking a trip to the grocery store, shoppers can get fresh food products from local farms as well as try different dishes that vendors serve. Find the event on Facebook for more information.
Book Trivia, Monday @ 7 p.m.
Reading is a great way to pass the time right now. And this Monday, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem will be hosting an online book trivia event. Participants will be able to compete in teams or individually in five rounds on questions that focus on literature from the past to present. To be added to the list of competitors email [email protected] and then use the link to join the virtual game. Find the event on Facebook for more information.