Category: Culture

The Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (May 2019)

Last Updated: May 2, 2019

When it comes to streaming TV and films, Netflix has got you covered. In May 2019, lots of exciting new movies and TV shows are coming to the streaming platform, across a variety of genres. Whether you’re into romantic comediesdocumentaries, crime thrillers, prestige dramas, or horror movies, there’s something for everyone. And speaking of documentaries, Beyoncé’s Homecoming is officially available to stream, so you can relive the magic of Beychella, and then relive it again with her live concert album of the Coachella performance. We stan a generous queen!

Recent blockbusters like Avengers: Infinity War and the Oscar-nominated Black Panther and Coco, are also available. Barry Jenkins’ stunning 2017 Best Picture winner, Moonlight, his adaptation of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unproduced play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” is also coming to Netflix, along with some lighter comedy fare, including Zombieland and Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj. So what are you waiting for? Here are the best movies on Netflix right now.

Director: Lee Chang-dong
Starring: Ah-in Yoo, Jong-seo Jun, Steven Yeun

One of the most acclaimed non-English movies of last year, Burning is the latest film from acclaimed South Korean director Lee Chang-dong. Based on the short story “Barn Burning” by Haruki Murakami, Burning follows Jong-su (Ah-in Yoo), as he watches former neighbor Hae-mi’s (Jong-seo Jun) cat while she goes on a trip. When Hae-mi returns, she introduces Jong-su to Ben (Steven Yeun), a man she met while abroad. While the plot may seem simple, Burning has a mysterious and tense atmosphere as we learn more about the mysterious Ben, played wonderfully by former Walking Dead star Yeun. At two and a half hours, Burning is a slow burn (no pun intended) that will keep you hypnotized from beginning to end with its elusive stories and well drawn characters. Despite wide critical acclaim, Burning was not nominated for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award, but became the first Korean film in history to make the nine-film shortlist for nomination.

Director: Andrea Arnold
Starring: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough

Actress Sasha Lane has steadily made a name for herself with eye-catching roles in indies such as The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Hearts Beat Loud, but her career started when director Andrea Arnold discovered her and cast her in the lead role of American Honey. Lane plays Star, a young woman who runs away from home to join a traveling sales crew that sells magazine subscriptions door to door across the Midwest. She soon gets sucked into their lifestyle when she becomes close to crew member Jake (Shia LaBeouf). Arnold is known for her realistic depictions of young women, and she’s in top form here, creating an unconventional coming of age drama around Star. Lane is remarkable in the lead role, and her performance is made all the more astonishing when considering that it’s her first performance. All of that, combined with a perfect soundtrack (Rihanna and Calvin Harris’ “We Found Love” is put to perfect use), makes American Honey a coming of age road movie classic.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Andre Holland, Melvin Gregg, Zazie Beetz

One of Netflix’s latest originals is also one of the most critically-acclaimed movies of 2019 so far. Based on the real-life 2011 NBA lockout, High Flying Bird follows sports agent Ray Burke (Andre Holland) as he advises his rookie client (Melvin Gregg) on a controversial business opportunity that might just end the lockout and change the game forever. Logan Lucky director Steven Soderbergh is known for his flawless directing and uncanny ability to capture institutions, and High Flying Bird is further proof of this, boasting stunning iPhone-exclusive cinematography and sketching an efficient portrait of the (slightly fictionalized) NBA. Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney’s script crackles as well, featuring scenes filled with wall-to-wall fast-paced dialogue. McCraney and Soderbergh manage to make High Flying Bird so much more than just a typical sports drama: it’s also a deep look into the racism ingrained in the NBA and how one can be an activist within the institution itself. High Flying Bird is an intelligent and riveting watch.

READ MORE: https://www.complex.com/pop-culture/best-movies-on-netflix/high-flying-bird

Moe Greens Is S.F.’s Most Deluxe New Dispensary

Its smoking lounge cements San Francisco’s place as America’s leading recreational-cannabis destination.

There are more legal cannabis smoking lounges in San Francisco than in the rest of the U.S. combined. We now have nine such lounges at dispensaries citywide, whereas Denver just licensed only its second, Oakland has one, and the rest of America does not have any.

Hell, a single block in SoMa has as many marijuana lounges as the entire country outside San Francisco does. The corner of Ninth and Mission streets is home to smoking lounges at the Vapor Room, SPARC, and ReLeaf.

Some of these lounges consist solely of patio furniture thrown in a corner, while others are elaborate, baroque parlors with chandeliers, flocked velvet wallpaper, and widescreen TVs. The newest cannabis smoking lounge is the city’s most opulent yet, the luxe lounge of the just-opened Market Street dispensary Moe Greens.

“It’s Lounge 2.0,” Moe Greens founder and CEO Nate Haas tells SF Evergreen. “We wanted Moe Greens to be a throwback to the San Francisco our grandparents and great-grandparents lived in, the San Francisco where you’d get dressed up on a Saturday night and go to a place like Joe’s or Alfred’s Steakhouse for a drink.”

Despite the Las Vegas-inspired logo, the name “Moe Greens” is not a reference to the casino mogul from The Godfather.

“One day, I was holding some cannabis and my partner, who sometimes calls me Moe, said, ‘That’s a lot of green, Moe,’ ” Haas remembers. “That was the light bulb moment. Now we provide ‘mo green at Moe Greens.’ ”

It has by far the largest legal consumption lounge in the city, with separate, dedicated rooms for vaping, smoking, and dabbing. Its swanky aesthetic is similar to that of the Barbary Coast dispensary, which is run by the same management team.

“Lounges are very important for us,” Haas says. “When recreational cannabis passed, it increased competition. Building lounges that are unique, and that embody the San Francisco we and our families grew up in helps to differentiate our dispensary from all others.”

Shockingly affordable prices also differentiate Moe Greens from the pack. House grams are available for just $8, a price not seen in the city in years.

Smoking lounges might look like they’re only for big spenders, but they’re not. The steampunk-inspired lounge at Urban Pharm, one of the few that allow vaping and smoking indoors, sells individual dabs for as low as $5 — and Dollar Dabs for just a buck during Friday happy hour.

Whether a lounge allows you to just vape, or to dab, or to smoke raw flower is up to the dispensary itself. Most only allow vaping, but provide Volcano vaporizers and clear plastic huff bags free of charge. Others provide loaner bongs and dab rigs, but none of them allow alcohol or tobacco. 

The license to smoke pot legally indoors is not granted by the San Francisco Office of Cannabis, which generally handles marijuana permit approvals. The license to smoke — technically, a “Cannabis Consumption Permit” — is actually awarded by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH).

Yep, the Department of Health gives permission to smoke weed.

“The health department has taken a harm reduction approach to cannabis consumption,” DPH spokesperson Veronica Vien tells SF Evergreen. “Rules and regulations allow consumption to occur, but limit youth exposure and underage access,” and “mitigate overexposure to indoor smoke through enhanced engineering controls.”

The department’s cannabis consumption laws describe these engineering controls as “a ventilation system capable of removing all detectable odors, smoke, and byproducts of combustion.”

Lounge owners say these ventilation requirements are actually among the easier regulations to comply with.

“These hurdles are minimal for existing dispensaries,” according to SPARC CEO and chairman Erich Pearson. “The process with DPH has been smooth.”

SPARC’s lounge is one of those Volcano vape-only facilities, but customers are allowed to light up and smoke flower on Fridays and Saturdays, beginning at 4:20 p.m.

Right around the block from SPARC, the Vapor Room has the most noticeable pot smoking lounge in town. That’s because it’s right smack dab in their giant front window, for every passerby to see.

“Our lounge is integrated into our retail experience and is prominently displayed by our front window,” says Vapor Room owner Martin Olive. “We believe this helps remove the unnecessary stigma of feeling like one ought to hide their cannabis use in dark corners.”

Most San Francisco cannabis lounges are concentrated on a four-block strip in SoMa. But two of them are outliers — literally.

Way out in the Richmond and deep in the Mission, the Harvest dispensaries provide conference room-style lounges with giant TVs. Both act as co-working spaces, cannabis farmers markets and event venues, or host infuse dinner meetups like Dim Sum and Dabs or Fried Chicken and Dabs.

“Our lounges provide a cannabis-friendly workplace, a utopian gathering place, a remarkable educational facility or the most beautiful space to consume,” says Harvest guest services manager Tom Powers.

Sure, it’s all fun and dabs at these stylish and hip cannabis lounges that cater to convention-hoppers and the new SoMa tech set. But for many San Franciscans, the lounges really do provide a crucial public resource.

“Elderly, disabled, and ill folks can and do experience isolation from medicating with cannabis alone in their homes,” the Vapor Room’s Olive points out. “Everyone else may be forced to use cannabis in parks, on the street, or in their car when medicating, all of which can expose them to unnecessary and illegal risks.”

SPARC’s Pearson adds, “The lounges are critical for the many medical cannabis patients that live in government-subsidized housing that does not allow cannabis consumption.”

San Francisco will not remain home to the nation’s largest number of cannabis lounges for much longer. West Hollywood just awarded 16 consumption lounge permits for onsite smoking or edibles. These permits are contingent on the businesses getting fully licensed, but WeHo is well-positioned to surpass our cannabis lounge count. 

Las Vegas will be getting them soon too, possibly this year. But San Francisco’s lounges served as the basis for Las Vegas’ framework. Expect other cities to continue following our lead as legal cannabis spreads across the U.S.

Our cannabis lounges really are a wonderful airport bar-type social space where you find yourself mingling with tourists, veterans, SSI recipients, or CEOs. And San Francisco has set the trailblazing standard that dispensaries across the world will look to when they want to fire up.

Moe Greens, 1276 Market St., 415-762-4255 or moegreens.com

 

Legalizing Marijuana, With a Focus on Social Justice, Unites 2020 Democrats

People in Colorado still remember John Hickenlooper’s crack after the state legalized marijuana, a move he opposed: “Don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”

But Mr. Hickenlooper, the governor at the time of the 2012 initiative allowing recreational use of cannabis, eventually changed his mind. He acknowledged that fears of increased use by children did not materialize, and he boasted of the tax revenues for social programs that regulated sales delivered.

Entering the Democratic presidential race this month, Mr. Hickenlooper joined a field already jammed with pro-legalization candidates, a reflection of swiftly changing public opinion since Colorado became one of the first of 10 states with legal recreational marijuana.

The issue today is a pillar of progressive politics, but not because of graying hippies who like their Rocky Mountain High. Rather, for many Democrats, legalization has become a litmus test for candidates’ commitment to equal treatment for all races in policing and criminal justice as well as fighting economic inequality.

A Democrat who is not on board with legalization or addressing it in terms of repairing harms brought by prohibition for decades is going to have a tough time convincing any voter they’re serious about racial justice,” said Vincent M. Southerland, executive director of the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law at New York University Law School.

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey last month introduced the pointedly named Marijuana Justice Act, which would remove the drug from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge past convictions. Supporters note that African-Americans are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, even though rates of use are similar.

“It’s not enough to legalize marijuana at the federal level — we should also help those who have suffered due to its prohibition,” Mr. Booker said in a tweet.

Other 2020 candidates in the Senate quickly signed on as sponsors, including Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/17/us/politics/marijuana-legalize-democrats.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

HOW TO LOOK GREAT IN THE GYM, EVEN WHEN YOU’RE A MEDIOCRE ATHLETE

Gyms don’t exactly lend themselves to chic dress codes. Mirrors, sweat and suspect protein shakes are a fairly potent cocktail in the first place – add in subpar active wear and you’d be forgiven for never stepping foot in one again.

Be that as it may, those guns aren’t going to sculpt themselves. Recognising that the gym is a necessary evil, we’ll delve into the best way to wear gym gear so that you stay fresh even if you’re feeling anything but.

The most basic of gym kits, everything you need for sweating it out rotates around the standard singlet and shorts. But with such a surplus of options, it can be a little daunting knowing where to start. For me, it’s all about finding a style that fits well. And remember, regardless of what size your pecs are, no one wants to see them spilling out of a stringlet.

When it comes to finding a top that’s appropriate and chic, look at the likes of Lululemon and Under Armour for interesting colours and weaves. A personal favourite is grey blues – they’re forgiving on sweat patches and are easy to pair with dark shorts.

Speaking of shorts, this is one of those times where less is more. And when I say less, I’m referring to less of your upper thighs. No one wants to see more than they bargained for when you’re doing a deadlift, so look at mid length options that have a boy leg liner built in.

It’s a truly brave chap that dons a pair of compression tights sans cover up. However, for those that are a little more, ahem, demure, there is a way they can be worn that won’t cause offence to the rest of the weights room. Cue the classic jogging short. These fellas are a great way to feel all the freedom of tights without some of the unfortunate side effects.

When it comes to styling, build off a base of black 2XUcompression tights, jogging shorts and a lightweight singlet. Make sure you choose slim fits that are in keeping with the streamlined nature of the look and prioritise dark block colours like black and navy. Pictured above are good points of reference.

It’s a truly brave chap that dons a pair of compression tights sans cover up. However, for those that are a little more, ahem, demure, there is a way they can be worn that won’t cause offence to the rest of the weights room. Cue the classic jogging short. These fellas are a great way to feel all the freedom of tights without some of the unfortunate side effects.

When it comes to styling, build off a base of black 2XUcompression tights, jogging shorts and a lightweight singlet. Make sure you choose slim fits that are in keeping with the streamlined nature of the look and prioritise dark block colours like black and navy. Pictured above are good points of reference.

Runners can make or break your gym ensemble – choose a pair of chunky dad runners and you risk throwing off the equilibrium of your outfit; choose something with not enough support and you risk spraining an ankle. It’s a tricky trade off.

Given that the bulk of gym activity doesn’t require long distance running (at least, it shouldn’t) most cross training sneakers from the likes of Adidas and Nike should fit the bill. Look for versatile colours like black and grey that can be paired with most of your kits to optimise wears.

On the flipside, if you’re a little more flamboyantly persuaded, the sneaker is a great way to show some flare. Whether it be a pair of monogrammed kicks or a splash of colour and print – Epic Reacts with hot pink detailing, I’m looking at you – sneakers are a great way to put a spring in your step, both literally and style wise.

Sports socks have come a hell of a long way in the past few years. Whereas once, the chunky white tube sock was the ultimate sporty statement, recent style dictates a move to more streamlined, thinner equivalents.

When you’re shopping around, there are two versions worth considering. One is the standard ankle sock which will ideally sit below the top of your sneaker. These are great if you fancy getting your pegs out as they elongate your leg. Alternatively, the likes of Nike make a strong case for statement compression socks. Our preference are black socks as their less likely to show dirt.

READ MORE: https://www.dmarge.com/2019/02/what-to-wear-in-gym.html

Gumbo, the Classic New Orleans Dish, Is Dead. Long Live Gumbo.

Rich in flavor and history, the dish is no longer a fixture of local restaurants. Some chefs see that as a chance to reinvent it.

NEW ORLEANS — Decades ago, soon after moving to this city from India, Arvinder Vilkhu began telling his wife and children, “If we ever have a restaurant, we must have a curried gumbo.”

Mr. Vilkhu had tasted his first gumbo in 1984 during a job interview at a New Orleans hotel. “I was so much in love,” he said of the rich dish, something between a soup and a stew. He began developing his own distinctive version after immigrating here later that year.

But it wasn’t until 2017, when the family opened their Indian restaurant, Saffron Nola, on a restaurant-dense stretch of this city’s Uptown neighborhood, that he began serving his gumbo, bright with ginger, turmeric and cilantro. 

“New Orleans wasn’t ready for Indian gumbo,” said Mr. Vilkhu’s son, Ashwin, the restaurant’s general manager. “It is now.” This is an extraordinary time for the city’s signature dish. Gumbo, long a fixture in restaurants here, has disappeared from many menus as new chefs arrive with different cuisines and ideas, catering to a population remade by the transplants who settled in the city after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in 2005.

But the chefs who have stuck by the dish are using the moment to stretch its boundaries by adding ingredients that defy tradition, bringing it fresh relevance. Many of the innovations reflect global influences on New Orleans cooking, particularly from South and Southeast Asia. This time of year, with the cooler weather and the start of the Mardi Gras season, may be the best time to sample them — and to appreciate gumbo’s long and continuing evolution.

Michael Gulotta, a New Orleans native, has resumed cooking the seasonal seafood gumbo he introduced as a lunch special last year at Maypop, his modern restaurant in the Warehouse district. It’s seasoned with lime leaf, fermented black beans and black cardamom, in homage to the Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants that have long flourished on the city’s outskirts.

“I served that gumbo all last winter,” Mr. Gulotta said. “People went crazy for it.”

Gumbo has existed in various forms across south Louisiana for centuries. It can contain any number of ingredients, depending on the chef and the season. But until recently it was rare to find gumbo that incorporated ingredients beyond a fixed list of proteins (fowl, sausage, local shellfish), aromatics (onion, bell pepper, celery — known locally as the holy trinity) and spices (cayenne, thyme, white pepper). Gumbo’s flavor is further influenced by roux, the blend of fat and flour used to thicken the broth. It’s a French technique adopted by Louisianians, who often cook the roux so long that it darkens and takes on bitter notes reminiscent of Mexican mole. Sliced okra and the sassafras powder known as filé, a Native American contribution to Louisiana cooking, are also used as gumbo thickeners, either in combination or in place of roux.
READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/dining/gumbo-recipes-new-orleans.html

It’s Just a Matter of Time Till Everybody Loves Lizzo

As much as she loves herself.

Under no circumstances will Lizzo play “Flight of the Bumblebee” tonight. Don’t get her wrong. She’s a classically trained flautist, in addition to a singer and rapper, and could twerk circles while playing it (that’s a trademark). But as far as songs go, “ ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ is for basic bitches,” declares Lizzo, and tonight she needs a show-off song.

Crystal halter and skirt by Kelsey Randall at kelseyrandall.com.
Earrings by Lynn Ban at lynnban.com. Ring by Fred Leighton at fredleighton.com.
Ring by Tiffany & Co. at tiffany.com. Photo: Pari Dukovic

It’s two hours before a live taping of 2 Dope Queens’ HBO special, and hosts Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson have asked her to perform her signature move, but the stakes — HBO, the 3,000-person-deep audience at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre — call for the kind of song that will make eyes widen, jaws drop. Normally, the trill-filled missile in Lizzo’s arsenal is 19th-century French composer Jean-Baptiste Arban’s “Carnival of Venice,” a song that requires the lung capacity of a runner trained at high altitude and the ability to double-, sometimes triple-, tongue. Except a producer just apologetically entered the dressing room to tell her she’s so so sorry, but she can’t play that particular song. Something about legal. Clearance. Rights.

What to play? she wonders aloud in a mild panic to the eight or so people milling about. The producer helpfully starts suggesting other legally cleared songs. “How about ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’?”

Dress by Sally Lapointe at 11honore.com. Earrings by Area
at Barneys New York. Photo: Pari Dukovic

People are often surprised that Lizzo can actually play the flute. At 30, she’s been playing for 20 years, since she was a preteen in her Houston junior high school’s marching band and people would tell her “that shit is corny!” She went to the University of Houston on a music scholarship. She practices four hours a day when her schedule permits. The flute even has its own Instagram account, @sashabefluting (it follows no one). She’s played on most of her albums, starting with 2015’s Big GRRRL Small World, and does so again on her forthcoming major-label release, Cuz I Love You, which drops this spring.

The junior-high punks might have called her corny, but like most hobbies people mock you for in adolescence, it’s now one of her greatest assets. The flute is earning her Shade Room–blessed viral fame, especially after one particularly notable moment from a performance at the University of Iowa’s homecoming. As she tells it, that video was born out of a direct challenge to her ability to play the flute — or to perform at all. During sound check, a professor threatened to report her to campus police unless she showed permits. “The privilege that you have to have to walk up to young women, brown women, black women, and yell, ‘Do you have a permit to be here?’ While we’re clearly onstage with microphones singing and dancing,” says Lizzo, shaking off phantom pangs of annoyance. She was so fired up that night, she told the audience the story, then ripped into a flute reworking of “Big Shot,” from Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther soundtrack, while she and her two dancers, dubbed the Big GRRRLS, hit the shoot with more ferocious joy than BlocBoy JB ever had, even though he invented the dance. She ended by lobbing her trademark “Bitch!”

“That ‘Bitch!’ was from the bottom of my heart,” Lizzo tells me. “That was for anybody who tries to stop my shine and tries to challenge my existence. Don’t challenge my motherfucking right to be here, bitch.” She posted a video with the caption “have u ever seen a bitch play flute then hit the shoot?” And since nobody had, it got half a million views. People started making Lizzo flute YouTube mash-up videos. She released a single version of it called “Bye Bitch.”

When Lizzo plays the flute, it’s a gentle “Fuck you, yes I can,” to everyone who is surprised to see her take the stage in a spandex bodysuit and play a song by an old Frenchman. She knows she’s doing something with the instrument that nobody’s ever done (please see: recent Instagram videos from her album-listening party in an L.A. strip club — a singular moment in flute-performance history). Her career has been full of those kinds of expectation-defying swerves, ones that shock, delight, and challenge preconceptions. And not just ours, but her own. “I’ve said it before, but me just existing is revolutionary,” she says again. People think they know what to expect from a pop star, but then they meet Lizzo.

She pulls out her beloved Sasha Flute (so named for Beyoncé’s third album, Sasha Fierce) and begins to run scales. “I could play some fake jazz shit, but that’s boring.” She improvises some exaggerated riffs in the key of Anchorman. Finally she decides to play “Bye Bitch,” in tribute to her viral moment. She tests a few bars, making sure she can play and clap cheeks at the same time. She can.

Sunglasses by Givenchy, similar styles at 747 Madison Ave. Fishnet bodysuit by Dreamgirl at trashy.com. Bodysuit (underneath) by Christian Siriano. Photo: Pari Dukovic
Bodysuit by LemonGirl at amazon.com. Rings (left to right): Pearl ring by Mikimoto at 730 Fifth Ave. Ring by Tiffany & Co. at tiffany.com. Ring by Kwiat at kwiat.com.
Ring by Bulgari at bulgari.com. Photo: Pari Dukovic

In January, Lizzo released “Juice,” an energetic funk affirmation that should have Bruno Mars watching his throne. When she sings, “If I’m shinin’, everybody gonna shine,” in the song’s bridge, it’s both an earworm and a mission statement. By her own declaration, Lizzo has been at the forefront of the positive movement. Which positive movement? All of them. She’s sex positive, body positive (hers and yours), vocally practices self-love and self-care. “I am a pioneer in creating modern self-love, body-positive music,” she explains, which could ring cheesy — or, worse, totally disingenuous. But it isn’t just the modern twists she puts on old self-help sentiment (e.g., “I just took a DNA test; turns out I’m 100 percent that bitch”) that keep it from teetering over the line. It’s the fact that Lizzo has been teaching herself to be 100 percent that bitch since she was Melissa Jefferson, a self-described dorky, overweight preteen.

Lizzo’s family moved to Houston from Detroit when she was 9. Her parents worked long hours building a succession of businesses, and her two older siblings were often doing their own thing, so music was an early babysitter. In sixth grade, “the flute chose her,” when her school’s band director asked Lizzo if she wanted to learn the instrument. At 14, she formed her first rap group, the Cornrow Clique, with two of her classmates and got her nickname, Lizzo. (She was originally Lissa, but Jay-Z’s “Izzo” was a popular song at the time.) She could rap — which should have made her popular — but she was in marching band, so she wasn’t. Also she smiled too much and laughed too loud. Sometimes she wore hippie clothes, like flowing shirts and bell-bottom jeans. She listened to Radiohead and Death Cab for Cutie because her older sister did. She wore Uggs, the tipping point. Her classmates said she was “too white.” “But like, Lil Wayne also wore Uggs,” she points out.

She started college in 2005, but by her junior year, she felt trapped by all of the boxes she was trying to fit herself into. Was she an AKA, making the rounds at all the historically black sorority and fraternity parties? Was she the rapper performing at late-night shows? Was she pursuing the flute professionally and committing to 7 a.m. master classes? She couldn’t make all those identities fit together, so she dropped out. Her parents had moved to Denver, and without the dorms, she often slept in her car, a T-boned 1990s Subaru. But the universe always offers another weird portal — and a floor to sleep on. In 2008, she joined her first real band, playing the flute in the prog-rock-inflected Ellypseas. “I dead-ass asked them if they wanted to get on MTV.” They did not. She didn’t realize it then — or maybe she was afraid to admit it — but those were her ambitions. The band never made it to TRL, but it was good enough to book shows at South by Southwest.

She slept at the band’s rehearsal space, sometimes on the drummer’s floor. “I would drive around to my friends’ houses, and if they were having dinner, I’d be like, ‘Hey, come hang out! You got some food? Let’s kick it!’ And just eat the chicken and rice. Actually, I was a vegetarian. So I would eat the chicken-juice-soaked rice.” She shrugs. “I was like, ‘I’m too broke to have morals.’ ”

In 2010, the band retired, and her father passed away. She communicates with him now, through a psychic medium she frequently visits in L.A., but at the time, it sank her into a depression. She finally answered her mother’s pleas and joined her in Denver. Ten months later, restless, she moved to Edina, a suburb of Minneapolis, at the behest of a friend who thought she’d like the music scene there. She did. Aaron Mader, a.k.a. Lazerbeak, a local producer and member of rap collective Doomtree, describes the Minneapolis scene as a collaborative utopia. One night Lizzo could open for a punk band; the next, she could collaborate with an electronic band. She lent backup vocals for a rock-soul group and performed at the legendary First Ave, the venue made famous by Prince. To prepare, she watched Purple Rain, took a rowboat into the middle of Lake Minnetonka, and purified herself, just like Prince did in the movie.

For all the diversity of genres, though, the scene was still dominated by white dudes. Younger acts — especially women and women of color — found it difficult to break through, but it also meant that people noticed Lizzo a lot faster. “When someone is a force and has an energy about her that is pretty magnetic, it didn’t take her long for people to pay attention,” says Mader.

Lizzo formed two bands. First, the Chalice, which made melodic pop with a little bit of rap like the Spice Girls. Later, she and the Chalice’s Sophia Eris started GRRRL PRTY and went full N.W.A, explains Lizzo. “We were crazy,” recalls Eris. “It was like a riot onstage. Women just like drinking, cussing, and rapping and singing.” GRRRL PRTY became a local darling. Even Prince took notice, asking them to record a song, “Boytrouble,” and inviting them to play a show at Paisley Park. They couldn’t curse or drink onstage, but they did get to play in front of a projection of Finding Nemo.

On the side, Lizzo was also working on solo material. She felt a lot of anger and sometimes a crisis of confidence. She needed an outlet. “There’s one line on my first album where I say, ‘I got a lot on my chest, so here’s my breast reduction.’ ” She’s referring to a line from “Hot Dish,” off Lizzobangers, which she worked on with Lazerbeak. They met when she tweeted, “I wish I could afford a Lazerbeak beat,” and he responded, “Just give me a case Mike’s Hard Lemonade.” After Lizzobangers, she entered what she calls her artsy-fartsy phase, which, like any good indie musicians in 2015, included bangs, a visit to Bon Iver’s Wisconsin studio, April Base, and a Pitchfork mention. The album that resulted, Big GRRRL Small World, persuaded Atlantic to sign her, and she moved to L.A., taking as much of her Minneapolis crew as she could. Next thing she knew, she was opening for acts like Sleater-Kinney, Florence + the Machine, and Haim.

READ MORE:https://www.thecut.com/2019/02/lizzo-flute-pop-star.html#_ga=2.63061932.287947512.1549715447-494555555.1549456758

Thanks to Netflix, ‘YOU,’ a Show From 2018, Is 2019’s First Hit

In 2018, YOU was one of the most slept on—and most fun—shows of the year. It premiered in September, on a regular degular cable channel, Lifetime, and the season one finale aired a staggering nine weeks later in mid-November, a release and rollout straight out of 2011. One short week into 2019, though, anyone who wasn’t privy before would be forgiven to think YOU is a brand-new Netflix original that dropped over the holidays somewhere in between Bird Box and Bandersnatch. If a series airs anywhere outside of the Big Five (HBO, AMC, FX, Showtime and, um, NBC?) does it even truly exist until Netflix? Apparently not.

A series taking on a new and ultimately more fulfilling life after hitting home video is hardly a new concept. Newer shows drifting unnoticed at large until they hit a common denominator streaming service is how most of them gain legs in this post-apocalyptic TV dystopia we’re living in, and as for classic shows that a new generation is warming to, well, did you hear Netflix almost lost Friends?!

Still, it’s curious to watch a majority of my timeline react to YOU not as if they’re just discovering it, but like it didn’t exist until now, with the common descriptor being “that new Netflix show” (not unlike Black Mirror’s Channel 4 to Netflix path before it.) Granted, some of the confusion probably stems from the fact that You is a Netflix show now. A second season was initially renewed by Lifetime before being dropped and then picked up by Netflix, where it was already an original internationally to begin with. This is a good thing, mostly. For one, the show’s pulpy and propulsive narrative is built for binging, (this coming from a guy who sticks to a two-three episode per sitting restraint—anything more just becomes narrative soup and impossible to distinguish episodically in my opinion but that’s my idiosyncrasy to bear). Amidst the trappings of an airport potboiler, YOU cleverly weaponizes expectations, casting proto-internet boyfriend Dan Humphrey as Joe, a toxic lecherous creep who preys on a cast of narcissists so loathsome no one is really “good.” The show’s whole aesthetic is being self-awarely over-the-top and soapy, but it’s that self-awareness that also makes room for sharp dialog and moments so in on the joke that they’re hilarious to laugh both with and at (Joe’s tweets as a rich bro he’s kidnapped, for one). The commentary on contemporary social media and the way it has informed our personas is actually incisive; Peach Salinger is the MVP of course but everything about, say, Beck’s influencer friend Anikka, is remarkably dead-on. We all know a few Becks who curate a more fulfilled life on IG, as well as entitled, monied douches who harp about bullshit like artisanal soda. What’s more, in some fleeting moments, it’s actually deceptively sweet. On the surface, the turns Beck and Joe’s relationship take in episodes seven through nine would actually provide the spine for a very solid rom-com if those turns weren’t, you know, borne out of deception, manipulation and murder. Part of the genius of the show is the way it doesn’t shortchange building these two into an actual relationship (or at least, explaining how and why Beck could be so blinded) in service of all the murder, frame-jobs and ridiculous book cages.