Summer Lovin’

Hey there, fellow conquerors! Here are some things that will surely spice up your summer. They’re already doing a number on mine.

TO EAT:

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BLACKSEED BAGELS

170 ELIZABETH STREET

TO DRINK:

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DEL’S SHANDY / ALLAGASH GINGER

GET THE SHANDY AT PROFESSOR THOM’S AND THE GINGER AT HARLEM PUBLIC

TO READ:

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LUCKY PEACH MAGAZINE

TO SEE:

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“CHEF” THE FILM

TO WATCH:

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“SILICON VALLEY” ON HBO

TO WEAR:

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DRESS AVAILABLE AT ANN TAYLOR LOFT

TO LISTEN:

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THE BLACK KEYS “TURN BLUE” / YOUNG THE GIANT “MIND OVER MATTER”

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Eff yeah, television!

2013 has so far brought me a crazy-ass allergy attack, an all senses-numbing cold, and the stomach flu. Also, somewhere in there I threw out my back while blowing my nose. Sexy, right? Luckily my time under resulted in some major sweet abs and the watching of way too much television. And because I love you all so much, here for you now are some of the gems I found while I was laid up, curled up, and not fit for public viewing.

WARPED ROADIES (Fuse)

Warped Tour! Roadies! Behind the scenes action! All these things were promised in the millions of subway ads for Warped Roadies, and that is exactly what this kick ass Fuse reality show delivers.Viewers get to follow the crew that makes the punk rock summer institution possible and each episode covers a stop on their journey. Between the crazy storm in Toronto and the deathly heat in Vegas, this rag tag group of roadies have to fight tooth and nail to bring their emo kid audience together, while battling demons of their own. Each crew member has a checkered past that only enhances your desire for them to succeed. Also, the inside look into what it takes to make Warped Tour happen is beyond interesting. Little things like managing credentials, coordinating buses, and call times are like candy for my young producer brain. That said, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a spin off show all about stage manager Kenny, as I think his Warped Roadie experience is probs the most interesting of them all.

 

Vanderpump Rules (Bravo)

The fact that I love this show makes me worried on a deep psychiatric level. I don’t watch Housewives, I don’t know who Miss Vanderpump is, and I’m not fully convinced that any of the characters on the show worked at her restaurant Sur before filming. All that said, I was drawn into every single story line right out of the gate. There are no good guys on Vanderpump Rules, an hour-long “reality” show about a group of Maxim/GQ level hotties who spend their time working for a British lady at a Los Angeles restaurant, dating each other, and fighting when the dating doesn’t go well. It’s basically a real-life, almost R-rated version of mean girls, with Queen Bee Stassi as Regina George and Sur new-comer Scheana as Kady. Between the sequins they wear, everyone’s giant eyes, and the copious cutaways of technicolor cocktails, I wouldn’t be surprised if my infatuation with Vanderpump Rules is a result of visual hypnosis… Or maybe it just feels good to see how “the other side” lives. Either way, I’m going to keep watching.

 

GIRLS (HBO)

This one will surely be met by a collective DUH by all of you lovely readers, however I know that the reactions to this HBO comedy are very mixed. My reactions though, couldn’t be more steadfastly positive. This show is so well-written that they have conservative, Ann Taylor-wearing Marni carry a Blackberry. Every. Last. Detail. Is thought out and executed in the best way possible. I watch each episode twice just to catch them all. Hannah and co. are coming of age in a really authentic way full of bad choices, and I love how you spend a lot of time yelling “really” at the tv and being disappointed in them. That level of investment is a sign of good writing/acting/directing/producing/and every last part of Girls.  Based on the guest stars alone… Donald Glover, Miriam Tolan, John Glaser, et al, you can tell Lena has a respect for the comedy world that makes it realistic to assume she probably went to her fair share of 9:30 Asssscats. Probably getting in line at 6pm to do so. This respect makes Girls great, and she is only adding to the canon of what future Lena Dunhams will be watching.

In the end, I feel we are in a golden tv resurgence right now. There are SO MANY great shows, and I’ve never had so much to keep up with. Favs include 30 Rock, Mindy Project, New Normal, Top Chef, and New Girl, but it seems across the board, everyone’s bringing their A-Game. And hopefully, my health will follow suit.

Spin

In true conquering fashion I watched the entirety of Newsroom in one very recent weekend. I had heard glowing reviews and Breaking Bad-level enthusiasm about HBO’s recent addition and was very eager to see if the show was buzzworthy or just buzzZzzZzz. (As in boring and making you want to fall asleep. Get it? Did you see all the “ZzzzzZ”?)

ANYWAY, I was floored. This was my first taste of Aaron Sorkin and it was almost better than the Cumin Lamb Noodles at Xi’an. Almost. The level of writing and acting going on would give the fab five Olympic gymnasts a run for their money if the fab five olympic gymnasts were actors and writers.

Sorry Mckayla

I got completely sucked into the world of ACN and was one hundred percent invested in the ups and downs of News Night 2.0. That said from episode numero uno, there’s been something that’s bothered me: The Jim and Maggie sitch.

Now, I love a good romantic comedy as much as the next gal. I, like The Darkness, believe in a thing called love. But while I’m not sure about The Darkness’s take on Jim and Maggie, I don’t believe in it so much.

All shows need some sort of romantic pairing to keep people interested, and Sorkin wasted no time in introducing the characters on Newsroom that would fill those shoes. Almost as soon as we met Jim, his boss Mac was pulling him aside and ordering him to like Maggie the same way she’d order him to research nuclear waste drops in Tunisian JC Penny’s. So, with one shot of Maggie’s blond locks flitting around, some romantic music, and a close up on Jim, we as the audience were supposed to assume the two were in love. We were also supposed to be invested in their love working out for the whole season. Just like that.

I’ve been in love, I know what it is, and I didn’t need Sorkin to show me. Not sure if that Foreigner reference worked out, but what I do know is while all aspects of Newsroom are brilliantly crafted and earn every ounce of my unwavering mental and emotional attention, this one could have used more work. Love isn’t something that happens just cause someone else tells you to feel it, and I as a viewer have a hard time believing that Jim and Maggie would be so into each other so quickly.

Subsequent episodes do a great job of fleshing out and supporting their attraction to one another, however this is a smart show for smart people and I think there could have been a less ham-fisted way to exhibit their romance’s beginning. I would kill for the chance to see a scene highlighting their first flirtation, cause I’m sure like the rest of the show, it would knock my socks off. Unfortunately, what we got instead was an unsatisfying act of exposition delivered by a character who isn’t Jim or Maggie.

Needless to say, I’m excited for Newsroom 2.0 and where it takes these two crazy kids. The rest of the first season handled their relationship in a real life way where they were never available at the same time, even though they both wanted to ditch their zeros to get with each other. The scene where Jim is talking Maggie out of her anxiety attack is so good in so many ways. More of this please! More where you build the understanding in me of what they feel for one another without saying, “Jim. Boy. Maggie. Girl. Boy like girl. Go!”

But ultimately, what do I know? Other than I’ll be a loyal viewer of season two and Tunisia probably doesn’t have any JC Penny’s.