How are you? When I’m away from the blog for a little bit, I like to return with some sort of update, like a High Five or, like today, a Currently post! I’ve done them a few times over the past year or so, and I like that it presents the perfect opportunity to share all that’s brightened my world. What’s new on your end?
Listening: “A Piece of Work” podcast | To kick things off, I’m loving the new podcast, “A Piece of Work.” A collaboration between actress Abbi Jacobson and the Museum of Modern Art, it explores and explains some of the most popular pieces of contemporary art, from Jackson Pollock drip paintings to Meret Oppenheim’s fur-covered teacup. Host Jacobson knows her stuff – she studied fine arts at MICA before hitting the comedy scene – and yet, her sense of humor and lineup of friendly and relatable guests make the podcast accessible to even those who know next to nothing about art. My favorite episode thus far has been Questlove’s reflection on slowing down and the use of monochromatic art to do so, but there’s still more to be heard: new episodes will continue to roll out on Monday and Wednesday over the next few weeks (but in the meantime, perhaps I should check out Broad City for myself!).
Reading: Love, Hate, and Other Filters | My recent nights have been booked with work, rehearsals, or outings with friends, so I’ve been using my afternoons, quieter in comparison, to make a sizeable dent in my reading pile. I have reviews planned for several of these novels – thank goodness that the summertime allows for so much reading and writing – but given that Samira Ahmed’s debut Love, Hate, and Other Filters doesn’t hit shelves until January, I think it deserves a small shout-out now. The protagonist Maya is as realistically drawn as they come; the romances are sweet and well-explored, and Ahmed doesn’t back down from writing about the Islamophobia that hurts so many families today. Needless to say, if this book is any indication, 2018 is looking bright in the YA publishing world (and a HUGE thank you to Emily and Tamara, who both organized the ARC tour!).
Eating: Zucchini Bread | I’ve said it before here on Ciao Bella, but my baking habits are largely shaped by what fruits and vegetables are in season, and with a farmer’s market right down my street, picking up fresh ingredients to use is a breeze. A summer favorite? Zucchini! Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for zucchini bread couldn’t be any easier to whip up, and it makes the perfect breakfast treat or afternoon snack. Feel free to have it twice in a day – your secret will be safe with me.
Watching: The Beautiful Fantastic | It isn’t summer vacation without a slew of movie nights, and thankfully, this past month has been full of them. While I’ve enjoyed them all, my favorite of the bunch thus far is a film I imagine few have heard about: The Beautiful Fantastic, a charming British comedy that employs the talents of Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, and Tom Wilkinson. Described as “a contemporary fairy tale,” it follows the friendship that blossoms between the main character Bella and her elderly, rich neighbor as she tends to her overgrown garden. It’s heavy on the twee, quirky, and whimsical, but with a stellar cast and shots of gorgeous gardens, who’s to say that’s a bad thing?
Going: Trinity Rep’s Shakespeare en El Verano | One of the best parts about attending Brown next year, in my book anyways, is the city: Providence is bursting with plenty of fun restaurants, stores, and cultural events! Case in point? Trinity Rep’s Shakespeare en El Verano, a summer-long series that takes a cue from The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park by presenting free performances of Romeo and Juliet across Rhode Island; it furthers the mission of accessibility by blending Spanish into the actors’ dialogue. I saw a recent performance at Waterfire and left thoroughly impressed with the use of the space and diction to tell the story we all know well. It has me excited to return for Trinity Rep’s 2017-18 season – those student discounts will come in handy :)
Loving: Girls at Library | Though they’ve been active since 2015, it was only just recently that I stumbled upon the website Girls at Library, an online journal devoted to celebrating the power of literature. I was quickly drawn in by the stunning, minimalistic design, but stayed when I read more into their aim: “[promoting] reading as a constructive and enriching act for everyone,” a goal they complete by interviewing a wide range of readers, from a fashion designer to a singer and songwriter, for their book recommendations. There’s no better combination than stunning photography, candid articles, and women who like to read, if you ask me.
Excited for: Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 | Finally, I can’t wait for the coming weekend, as my mom, sister, and I have tickets to see Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812! The show has been praised by audiences and critics alike, and for good reason: Dave Malloy’s score takes inspiration from War and Peace to create a unique musical experience of love and growing old (the cast’s lively and energetic performance at the Tony’s provides quite the glimpse). I’ve had the cast recording on repeat all week, to the point that you might say I’m a tad obsessed, but then again, can you blame me? Saturday couldn’t come soon enough.
Wishing you all a wonderful day!