Watch, Listen and Read with Us

Another weekend has arrived, and we’re here with highlights from what we’ve been watching, reading and listening to. Mary’s had to sit this week out due to illness, but we know she’ll be back soon. Meanwhile we all wish her a speedy recovery (and you can leave your well wishes for her, too.) In the meantime, enjoy our recommendations, and if you see that one of us has been checking out something that you too love, let us know…and share your own suggestions with us in the comments or on any of our social media pages.

This week Andrew has been reading Dustin Friedman’s Before Queer Theory which he has been obsessively poring over (at local cafes and at the university). He is so excited to interview the author, Dustin Friedman today, and you all can listen to the podcast episode in a few weeks. For his teaching preparation, he has been rereading Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth and, as always, loves the Gilded Age soap opera narrative that truly takes a turn for the worse (but he won’t spoil it for all of you).

Andrew finished a motivational audiobook, The 4 Word Answer and recommends it to all, since it really has helped him stay grounded and in control of his authenticity. The quest is to focus on 4 words everyday that you can turn to for maintaining peace and happiness in your life. Andrew’s words are authenticity, empowerment, creativity, and kindness. What are your 4 words?

This week Andrew hasn’t been watching a lot of new shows due to a busy schedule, but he did start to watch the new season of The Morning Show (and enjoying it, so far). He does want to start watching the new season of Sex Education when he gets a chance (maybe as he starts Fall Break for Stony Brook University). 

Erika has been working with some difficult writing this week, and has had family visiting, so it’s been a week for some less serious media, in fact, mostly a return to old favorites. She escaped to the homophobia-free world of Schitt’s Creek a lot this week. Listening to Dan Levy’s David Rose explain that he likes “the wine not the label,” has helped her organize some thoughts

One of those difficult pieces may appear this week on the blog, and another later this month, so keep reading. Meanwhile, as Erika has done some reading and writing about LGBTQ history month and Orlando has gotten ready to celebrate Pride, this TEDx Talk by Misty Gedlinske has also helped Erika with some of the stumbles her writing has taken.

Hannah Gadsby’s stand up special Douglas and a lot of documentaries have also been on screen. And while the film itself isn’t an old favorite, the characters of Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan are, and Erika finally made time to watch the third installment of the Bill and Ted movie franchise, “Bill and Ted Face the Music” which was probably her favorite of the trilogy.   She also watched Baking Impossible, which gives The Great British Baking Show a nerdy upgrade by combining baking and engineering for some amazing outcomes.   This weekend will definitely feature the new episode of The Great British Baking Show, and possibly also the new season of Sex Education if she’s feeling up to it.

Not much on the classical end of Erika’s playlist this week–a little Mozart, a little Handel, a little Corelli here and there. Instead, Liz Phair made an appearance, along with Tori Amos, Sarah Maclachlan and Stella Donnelly’s Boys will be Boys ”Like a mower in the morning, I will never let you rest,” was a good phrase to hear this week. There’s been some space for Ani DiFranco and 10,000 Maniacs, too. 

The only new (to her, not newly published,) book on Erika’s list this week is by friend of the Ivory Tower Boiler Room, Lev Raphael. His collection Book Lust! Essays for Book Lovers has been a nice vacation for Erika, a space to read about other people’s writing instead of reading, revising and re-reading her own. Erika knew this one was for her when she opened the book, and saw the title of the very first essay, “Bad Sex Blues.” If you haven’t listened to the three part interview that she and Andrew did with Lev earlier this summer, in part 2, they talk about writing sex scenes, which Erika was struggling with (and may have finally begun to make some progress on in the last few weeks.) She’s still reading from Laurie Halse Anderson’s book Shout and The Great Gatsby and several other things she’s picked up and put down in the last few weeks. 

Adam finally finished The Powerbroker by Robert Caro. Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, what a long book! It is really beautifully written. Anyone who can make budget-meetings feel as immediate and exciting as tabloid romance is someone to learn from. Adam is also reading Roisin Campbell by J. P. Garland, a historical novel about 19th century Irish immigrants in New York. Stay tuned for news of collaboration between The Ivory Tower Boiler Room and author J. P. Garland.

And, with Adam being reunited at long last with his most dependable binge-watching partner, the new season of Sex Education was easily dispensed with, and Squid Games is well underway.

Adam has not been listening to much music this week, leastwise not on speakers, but a few pieces have been playing on repeat in his head:
Trumpet Concerto by Franz Josef Haydn (Thank you Squid Games)
“Time” by Tom Waits
Various songs by Tom Lehrer, including “Be Prepared” and “The Old Dope-Peddler”

Anyway, have a great week, everyone. Remember to come back tomorrow for some more Big Cat Little Cat and Monday for the new Big Think and the new episode of the podcast!


and Adam

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