Dan McFadden / Hulu
This week, Mishael Morgan became the first black actor to win a main category at the Daytime Emmys, NYC Pride walked, and NPR celebrated the best books of 2022 so far.
Here’s what NPR’s pop culture happy hour team was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
Watch Pro Wrestling
My last month and a half allowed me to dive deep into the professional world of wrestling. All Elite Wrestling came to LA, and I decided to stop by to see what the fuss was about, since I was never a kid watching wrestling. I went to see it live, and my life was changed forever. I’m completely stuffed with wrestling and in the deep end.
I watch old episodes of Raw on Peacock and I really like it because it feels like camaraderie. All of the wrestling matches I enjoy seem consensual, unlike MMA or other forms of fighting. You see them preparing for dives and playing against each other. The injuries are real, but every time someone gets hit with a chair over their head, they’ve given their consent first. I feel like I’m watching a community interact with each other.
On the other side of that, there are storylines and character arcs to follow. When I get out of work at the end of the day, I started to struggle and fell asleep for a few hours. And I find that very calming. —Reanna Cruz
The valet on Hulu
My pick this week is The valet on Hulu, a new film directed by Richard Wong starring Samara Weaving. She plays this Margot Robbie/Dakota Johnson type actress who has a big movie coming out. She finds herself embroiled in a scandalous affair, so to tame the tabloids, Eugenio Derbez, who plays a valet in Beverly Hills, is hired to have a fake relationship with her.
It’s a very fun little hijinks movie, but what I really enjoyed is that it’s about LA when you drive east on Wilshire – there’s Pico, Koreatown, Westlake, MacArthur Park – those neighborhoods that really are LA.
But the film is also marketed as a kind of romantic comedy. In this very nice twist, the “rom” doesn’t actually happen between tracks, and it builds up to that emotional climax that brought me to tears on a Saturday night. I completely sobbed and that alone was worth it. —Candice Lim
Shy: The alarmingly outspoken memoir of Mary Rodgers
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
I spent weeks reading a thousand pages of letters from Oscar Hammerstein for an article I did on NPR’s All Things Considered a few weeks ago. In the middle of it, I became so interested in 1950s and 1960s musicals that I picked up another book sent to me called Shy: The alarmingly outspoken memoir of Mary Rodgers. Mary Rodgers is the daughter of Richard Rodgers, who wrote South Pacific, Oklahoma!and all sorts of other things.
Mary Rodgers wrote a show called Once upon a time there was a mattress, and the great song that comes out of it is called “Shy”. But this woman is not shy. “Outspoken” is a good word for his memoirs, co-written by New York Times theater critic Jesse Green. You just can’t imagine anyone saying the things she says about her dad in polite conversation, and she’s jaw-dropping in her takedowns of absolutely everyone you consider vaguely famous. of this time.
And about a third of the book is made up of footnotes. Jesse Green sat with her for months discussing it all and writing it all down in the most acerbic way possible. It’s hilarious, for 400 pages. —Bob Mondello
Rosewave by NPR Music
We’ve just launched season six of Roséwave, NPR Music’s summer series celebrating the best in music for hobbies, backyard patios, and reveling in the simple joys in life. You can stream it through four different services, and our colleague Lars Gotrich was even kind enough to create a clean version of this playlist that families can enjoy together, perhaps on long road trips.
Lars oversaw the assembly of this season, which is more diverse than ever. And with that comes this wonderful essay in which he sets the scene for you to enjoy the seven-hour playlist. He writes: “You are ready to make Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie your whole personality.” What could be better than having us all try to conjure up the feelings of Ryan Gosling as Ken? It’s life-changing and, for me, the total spirit of Roséwave.
It’s a wonderful playlist, and all of these packages have been wonderful. These are tough times, and Roséwave always brings such a smile to my face. —Stephen Thompson
More Recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour Newsletter
Paul Crock/AFP via Getty Images
It’s time to tear down your bright red dresses and mark your calendars for The most tormented day ever, the glorious tradition in which people gather in flash mobs to reenact Bush’s 1978 video for “Wuthering Heights.” This year’s big event – events, really – will take place all over the world on and around July 30, which happens to be the singer’s 64th birthday. Check the internet to find a Wuthering Heights day near you, and don’t be afraid to gather some friends and create your own.
Amelia Meath is one-third Mountain Man and one-half Sylvan Esso. Alexandra Sauser-Monnig is one-third of Mountain Man and all of Daughter of Swords. Together they have recently formed The A’s and released a pair of beautiful alternate covers: “He Needs Me” (a Harry Nilsson track from the 1980s popeye soundtrack) and the traditional “wedding dress”. A complete album, Fruitis due out later this year.
We’re still tinkering with it around the old Thompsley house, but we’re having fun with it. a new social media app called Be real, in which you post exactly once a day. When prompted by the app, you press a single button to take 1) a selfie; and 2) the world as it exists in front of your phone at that moment. Maybe you’re petting a cat, gazing at the splendor of Niagara Falls, or doing the dishes? banality and unpredictability are part of the charm. It’s a small Wordle-level time commitment; it’s a way to share your world without feeling like it has to look scenic and perfect (ahem, Instagram); and you can offer it to a small circle of friends so that you feel present and connected. I like it. —Stephen Thompson
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