It's that time of the year to dust off (on second thought, let's leave the dust on) all your creepy candles, haunted house-mats and spooky spider-webs ...
If you have kiddos running around the house and want something (slightly) spooky to do, feel free to download the Spooky Treasure Hunt I created last year when the pandemic was bearing down on all of us (and I felt the overwhelming need to just build something fun with my hands).
Beyond decorations & wee scavenger hunts — are you doing anything cool for Halloween? I doubt trick or treating will be back in full-force this year, but the idea of a new costume is kinda tempting …
Stay safe (but keep it spooky!) 🕸️
🧠 Muse From Around The Way
I’m very much on a “ghost town” kick right now. 🧚♀️
If you like DC, Marvel or Star Wars, you should check this one out. ✂️
Diggin’ hearing about Indigenous and Native American artists rising up. ⛰️
🎧 On Repeat
I'm a little late to the Allen Stone party, but better late than never (thanks Laura for the recommendation)!
There's something silky smooth about Mister Stone, like dumping a bucket of kittens onto a crushed velvet rug. I wouldn't necessarily say he's ahead (or behind) his time, but there is a sharp wave of funk that trails behind him.
sniffs album, swirls it around in glass
Hmmm, yes … I'm getting notes of Stevie Wonder, some ripe hints of D'Angelo, perhaps with a more modern Maroon Five or John Mayer finish. No doubt, this is a well-blended affair that pairs well with any meal. Since it's hard to peg its vintage, I'm gonna go ahead and say it's one to keep in your cellar, not necessarily for special occasions or to impress people — but rather something to pop open and sip around the house when you need a little sumthin' sumthin'🍷
Common's latest outing is a confident & chill exploration of world beats, soul & hip hop all whipped up to some stiff peaks. Whether or not you're into his "spoken word" vibe, it can't be denied that Common is a versatile rapper who doesn't need to hide behind a childish autotune slider. There's something so clear and brassy about his old-school pure style, and if we're being honest — some of the finer moments on the album come from his classy vocal collaborators: talented female and male vocalists in their own right, given meaty supporting roles instead of being relegated as background extras. Common has an effortless way of straddling the chasm of both timeliness and timelessness — and this album certainly brings the goods. 🌐
🥧 Stick It In Your Pie Hole
Have you ever been to Pie ‘N Burger in Pasadena? This place is (straight-up) a 60’s time warp (in a very good way).
You’ll be shocked to learn they excel in the dark arts of (ahem) pies and burgers … We’re talking old-school: nothing granola or hippy-dippy, they’re pulling zero punches here, just like they did back in ‘63 (when this place opened).
The burgers are classic thin-patty style (with snappy lettuce), the fries are soft and (and yet have a nice crisp to them). The burger (kind of) imploded when I ate it, but that could’ve been user-error (since I was so excited to wolf it down).
The pies are ridiculous (so ridiculous, in fact — I forgot to take a picture). I tried the pumpkin pie (with homemade whipped cream) and it was a flaky / creamy / dream come true.
The staff is super-friendly, and they even have a decent wine selection (with little hand-written reviews on the bottles). If you find yourself out in Pasadena (and have had enough of 2021), seat yourself in this delightful diner and drift away to simpler times … 🥧
✨ All The Pretty Things
(Welcome to a new little segment devoted to visual art and design!)
I had the pleasure of checking out Nick Dong’s Divine Immersion installation at the USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena this past week, and it was a thought-provoking tickle of the mind and the senses … If you’ve ever experienced the "Infinity Mirrors" installation by Yayoi Kusama (at The Broad), that can give a basic idea of the playground this modern Taiwanese-American artist works in.
I don't want to give too much away here, but while the exhibit’s footprint is on the smaller side — Nick covers a ton of ground. Some of my favorite moments consist of a room of (infinite) mirrors titled "Heaven", and also a room filled with Tibetan singing bowls turned into automated chiming bells ... It's all quite surreal, and yet firmly rooted in the sights, sounds and ethos of Buddhism.
If I had to distill down the experience into a couple of sentences, it would likely be this:
When I walked in, the juxtaposition of ancient materials of wood and brass amplified by an ominous soundtrack felt a bit … jarring … since they were also woven into modern materials (like LED lights) and technology (automation). But when I walked out of the exhibit, it all seemed to congeal in harmony.
It’s like all at once, you experience thousands of years of history, and simultaneously — the future gets tacked onto it ... and it all somehow still feels right.
(PS — while Nick's installation has already left PAM, you can always visit their small yet formidable permanent collection (Hokusai, Hiroshige, Utamaro, and Samurai armor, anyone?) 👺
🍿 Popcorn Break
So apparently Netflix did a clever little experiment; they made a bot watch over 400,000 hours of horror movies — and then told it to write a horror film. Behold the majestic output:
Mr. Puzzles Wants You To Be Less Alive (4:22)
🖋 Parting Words
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ’Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. — Thomas Paine