Picks of the Week: Buoyant musicals, body-positive media, art not worth your time

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Happy Monday, Berkeley!

As we begin to move slowly into spring the days will be at once longer as the year begins to bend to a close. Be sure to spend your extra hours with art worthy of your time, not on media that’s just hype.

I have been listening to nothing but the Waitress (Original Broadway Cast Recording) soundtrack for the past week because it is excellent and joyous. Start your week doing the same. My musical theater obsession has been a little dormant throughout my run as Picks of the Week columnist, but seeing “Waitress” live this past week really kicked it back into full gear. “When He Sees Me” and “It Only Takes a Taste” are my current favorites from the album — but only because I overplayed “She Used to Be Mine” to an absurd degree last semester. So check out all three tracks, and while you’re at it why not watch their Tony’s performance from a few years ago?

To branch out from endless recommendations, here are some things people have been buzzing about recently that you can comfortably miss. For one, Billie Eilish’s new song “wish you were gay” doesn’t bop the way some of her other songs do and the politics of it are definitely confusing. The “Leaving Neverland” documentary was released this past week on HBO and I would say it is nonessential viewing. Definitely read about it and understand both sides if Michael Jackson is important to you, but I found the documentary to mostly be very very long and exponentially more upsetting than I needed. Hulu released a trailer for a new series called “The Act” this past week. This will be a series in which each season focuses on a new “stranger-than-fiction” crime, with the first season focusing on Gypsy Rose Blanchard. This case is entirely fascinating but those who are interested in it should watch the documentary on HBO, “Mommy Dead and Dearest.” “Mommy Dead and Dearest” is free from not only the sensationalism a fictionalized account lends itself to, but also what looks to be a horrible performance by Joey King.

On the flip side of the same coin, there are some things I never even think to recommend because they are so integrated into my weekly routine I forget about them. Spend your Tuesday catching up on all my favorites. For example, “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” is a fantastic political commentary show on Netflix that releases a new episode every Sunday. This week the topic was hip-hop and streaming but past episodes have centered around everything from student loans to Supreme. I always think I’m going to burn out on political commentary shows but I never do! The podcast “Invisibilia” came back last week with an all-new season. The show focuses on the invisible forces that shape human behavior like behavior patterns, miscommunications and most recently, pain. My favorite episode to date is “The Callout” which truly changed the way I looked at the #MeToo movement when it came out last year.

This Thursday “The Suffers” will be bringing their big band mix of soul and rock to SF’s The Independent. When I first saw “The Suffers” they were opening for “Lake Street Dive” at The Masonic and truly brought something I’d never heard before to the space. In the meantime, or for those of you who aren’t 21+, check out their NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Or, just give their music a listen — “Peanuts” and “I Think I Love You” are two of my favorite songs by them.

The new comedy “Shrill” comes out on Hulu this Friday so be sure to check it out. The show promises to be the sort of body-positive representation the television landscape so desperately needs. SNL alum Aidy Bryant is at the helm of the show, which also features Patti Harrison and Joel Kim Booster, some of my favorite up-and-coming queer comedians. I have spent no shortage of my time dismissing the efforts of Hulu’s original content, but it has actually really been pulling through lately — most notably with the show “PEN15,” a comedy about middle school in 2000 starring two actresses in their 30s. Yes, it is very weird. Yes, it is still amazing. Yes, it is a perfect way to spend your Friday. It is also the focal point for the newest piece from our arts columnist Areyon Jolivette, if you want a more in-depth take.

Spend your Sunday reading through The Daily Californian’s weekly content. This past week some of the arts reporters back at The Daily Californian have put out three excellent profiles on three working directors. Our resident Marvel aficionado Harrison Tunggal highlighted the five “Captain Marvel” comics to read before seeing “Captain Marvel” (which was released this weekend FYI). Over at the Weekender, Sophie Kim published a piece for their newest edition about the landscape of anime television series, focusing on “The Promised Neverland.” Finally, the wonderful Shannon O’Hara, published a brilliant Cutting Room Floor about comedic timing, long-distance relationships and heartbreak.

Onwards,

Kate

Kate Tinney writes the picks of the week newsletter. Contact her at [email protected]. Tweet her at @katetinney.