Take a Trip Down the Rabbit Hole

Welcome to the non-music wing of the Museum. Take a trip down the pop culture rabbit hole with new recommendations each week.

Excerpt from Trip #27, 9/28/23:

I want to dedicate this space to wishing Matt Christman of the political podcast Chapo Trap House a speedy recovery; he is currently in the hospital due to a terrible medical emergency, and missed the birth of his first child. It’s been a week, and no word yet if he’s conscious.

At the start of the pandemic, Christman would do these CushVlogs, giving Bill Burr-style rants with a witty and sardonic spin on the current events of the day. His last CushVlog is eerie, as he predicts his current situation with prescience starting around the 01:02:15 mark, and especially in the last minute, where he anticipates the throbbing in his head is something serious.

Christman is literate on a shocking amount of subjects; he’s like a jukebox: throw in a quarter, request knowledge on some random history event, and receive both a philosophy sermon and comedy routine.

Here’s a great example, where he discusses Dr. John Brinkley, a quack who transplanted goat testicles into humans, ran for governor, and ended up creating the most powerful radio station on the planet. The cherry on top is Christman’s neighbor interrupting him to please stop yelling about goat balls. So good. Prayers up for this one-of-a-kind dude.

Excerpt from Trip #26, 9/13/23:

Searching for Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone” music video sent me down a fun rabbit hole this week as I stumbled upon two related videos worth checking out: a killer performance from Matt and Kim at Lollapalooza 2010, and a worthy cover by Purity Ring featuring Megan James’ intense eye contact and authentic choreography.

Excerpt from Trip #23, 8/16/23:

Full Circle, Command Z, The Knick | Did you know that Steven Soderbergh is our most prolific film director? He’s made 33 movies in the last 32 years, beating the likes of Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, etc. The genre-hopping polymath somehow also has time to create other non-film projects, and he has two new ones out now: Full Circle and Command Z.

Full Circle, now streaming on MAX, is a twisty riff on Akira Kurosawa's High and Low and features a stacked cast of Zazie Beetz, Claire Danes, Timothy Olyphant, CCH Pounder, and Jim Gaffigan. The six-episode standalone series takes about two episodes to hit its stride, but once it does, the mystery is gripping to the thrilling conclusion.

While Full Circle is a compelling drama, Command Z is on the other end of the spectrum. The quasi-sketch comedy web series stars Michael Cera as a dead Elon Musk-type who’s been AI resurrected to help three people return to the year 2023 to fix their present time. The eight episodes range in length from eight to twenty minutes, and the result is an absurd hybrid of Being John Malkovich and Black Mirror. Command Z is streaming online now for $7.99, which goes to charity. Each episode ends with three thought-provoking film recs about the episode’s subject.

In that similar vein, I’ll recommend my favorite Soderbergh series, and that’s 2014’s The Knick which ran for two seasons, with Soderbergh directing all 20 episodes. The Knick takes place in 1900, featuring Clive Owen as a chief surgeon attempting to limit hospital morbidity. Unfortunately, Owen’s character spends his days injecting himself with cocaine and his nights in a Chinatown opium den. The Good Doctor this is not. This fascinating, tense, and often gruesome spectacle is one of the most underrated period dramas ever. Best of all, the series, available on MAX, appears to be resurrected a decade later for a third season with Soderbergh’s blessing, with Andre Holland starring and Barry Jenkins directing.

Excerpt from Trip #22, 8/9/23:

Aftersun | With the soundtrack arriving this Friday and its recent addition to Paramount Plus streaming, I’d like to use this space to recommend Aftersun, the 2022 semi-autobiographical film from first-time writer/director Charlotte Wells.

The plot is simple: 11-year-old Sophie goes on holiday with her father; twenty years later, Sophie, who’s about to start a family of her own, looks back at home videos from that trip.

Aftersun is a cinematic gut punch that lingers for days, leaving an indelible mark. The film is a nostalgic masterpiece, transporting us back to the 90s with an authenticity rarely seen since the decade's end.

Paul Mescal (known for Normal People and being Phoebe Bridgers’ ex) delivers a standout performance, earning a well-deserved Best Actor nomination. While Wells should have snagged a Best Director nom herself, it's Frankie Corio who steals the show as Mescal's on-screen daughter, delivering one of the best kid performances I’ve ever seen.

The film's impact stems from its exploration of aging and the fleeting nature of memories, leaving us contemplative about the people in our lives and their enduring fragments. If your parents are still around, give ‘em a call.

If you don’t have Paramount Plus, you can rent it for a few bucks on Prime Video or YouTube.

Excerpt from Trip #21, 8/2/23:

How To with John Wilson | The most delightfully strange show on television right now is How To with John Wilson, currently airing its third and final season on HBO.

The series is created, directed, and narrated by John Wilson, who sets out to explore daily life in New York City. Armed with his camera, John captures seemingly mundane and ordinary situations, from street performers to pigeons, and everything in between. The show combines observational humor with poignant moments to celebrate the randomness and diverse tapestry of life in the city that never sleeps.

Think of it as a mix between the sweetness of Joe Pera and the wizardry and boldness of Nathan Fielder, the latter of who produces the show.

Each episode sets out with a designated topic, but the journey takes unexpected turns as Wilson engages with passersby and sparks impromptu conversations. These chance encounters take us down some strange roads, creating delightful and sometimes shocking moments.

Perhaps this is no better illustrated than the promotion for the show; this behind-the-scenes vignette starts as a typical interview and eventually morphs into Nathan’s dark relationship with Tik Tok kids he’s sharing a home with.

The third season premiere aired last Friday and asked the question “where can someone use a bathroom in New York?” This question led to Wilson hopping on a party bus to an Odesza concert, visiting a local Masonic Temple, and finally ending up at Burning Man.

How To with John Wilson is a truly original gem for those seeking something different on their screens. Catch it Friday nights on HBO and streaming on MAX.

Excerpt from Trip #20, 7/26/23:

After Hours | My grandma would always say, “nothing good happens after midnight,” and that’s the plot of Martin Scorsese’s 1985 movie After Hours.

As I get hyped for Killers of the Flower Moon, I’m going back into Scorsese’s filmography and watched this for the first time. The dark comedy follows a man's surreal and nightmarish misadventures through New York City.

In the early 1980s, Scorsese was in director jail, with The King of Comedy bombing at the box office and The Last Temptation of Christ being canceled. Facing a lack of new offers from major studios, Scorsese recognized the need to return to his low-budget indie roots and to create something that would rekindle the joy and excitement of being a director again. Scorsese credits After Hours with saving his career and garnered him the Best Director Award at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.

This tense and twisted cult classic holds up well, and you can see its influences everywhere, whether it’s Uncut Gems or this year’s Beau is Afraid, which features a similar Job-like first act. This is prime Scorsese and well worth a watch!

Excerpt from Trip #19, 7/19/23

Barbieheimer Double Feature | This weekend, the two most anticipated films of the year hit cinemas: Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. The serendipitous alignment of the bombshell and the bomb has brought delight to cinephiles and memes to the masses, thanks to the synchronicity of their simultaneous releases.

This has brought back the double feature in a big way. Early this week, over 40,000 AMC Stubs members alone purchased tickets to both films on the same day. There’s the possibility that hundreds of thousands will be at the theater for 5+ hours this weekend.

This begs the question: what’s the perfect viewing order? Are we going with heavy subject matter and then decompression, or will we assault our eyes with bright pink before staring at a nuclear explosion? Poll here!

Excerpt from Trip #18, 7/12/23

Deep Discog Dive | If you love virtually crate-digging on Discogs, and I assume you do reading this, boy do I have a YouTube channel for you. Mic the Snare is a video series updated once or twice a month analyzing music, reviewing new albums, and my favorite, dissecting an artist’s entire discography.

These are the Deep Discog Dives, and Mic the Snare has created forty of them, ranging from Steely Dan to Chumbawamba and everything in between. These videos are especially handy for bands with tough entry points like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, who release a new album every week.

His most recent Deep Dive tackles Prince and his 39 albums. The video is his longest yet, clocking in at almost two hours! The research is impressive; even Prince diehards may find some unfamiliar tracks or footage. Best of all, our narrator is never boring and injects humor and wit throughout. Throw Mic the Snare a Subscribe for his hard work and go back in his archives to fall down whatever rabbit hole you choose.

Excerpt from Trip #17, 7/5/23

Wimbledon | For the next two weeks, Wimbledon, the world’s oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament, will be taking place in London and on ESPN. The men’s side is likely to come down to a final of 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz vs 36-year-old Novak Djokovic, but the women’s side is wide open.

To get you hyped, I’ve included one of the greatest tennis matches of all time, the 2019 Wimbledon final between Djokovic and Roger Federer, the longest final in Wimbledon history. Skip ahead to the start of the fifth set at 3:00:39 to witness brilliance.

The barrage of powerful shots, impressive winners, delicate drop shots, skillful volleys, defensive prowess, exceptional serving, and the overall drama and excitement combined to create an unforgettable masterpiece.

Excerpt from Trip #16, 6/28/23:

Killers of the Flower Moon | This week, I read David Grann’s 2017 non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon in anticipation of the upcoming adaptation by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, out October 6 on Apple TV. Here’s a quick, non-spoiler review.

During the 1920s, the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma held the title of the wealthiest people per capita in the world, thanks to the oil reserves discovered beneath their land.

Tragically, these rich Osage Indians started to fall victim to a series of targeted killings. Mollie Burkhart, an Osage woman, watched as her family was murdered in strange ways. Her older sister was shot execution style, her mother suffered a slow poisoning death, and this was only the tip of the iceberg.

Those who dared to investigate these murders were met with their own untimely demise. As the death toll climbed to twenty-four, J. Edgar Hoover’s newly established F.B.I. takes on the case, one of their first.

What’s uncovered is one of the most sinister conspiracies and sickening crimes ever perpetrated in the annals of American society. There’s a half-twist near the end that will leave you with your jaw on the floor. I can’t wait to see it come to life on the big screen by the master Scorsese, and I won’t be surprised if it sweeps awards season.

Excerpt from Trip #15, 6/21/23:

First Reformed, The Card Counter, Master Gardener Trilogy | Does anyone else feel some vague presence of imminent danger surrounding us, an unseen catastrophe on the horizon, whether it’s climate disaster, global recession, significant job loss, or outright society collapse?

I get that feeling watching Paul Schrader movies. The acclaimed writer of Taxi Driver and director of 25 films has a new movie out on streaming, Master Gardener starring Joel Edgerton. It completes the “Man in the Room” trilogy that started with Ethan Hawke in First Reformed and continued with Oscar Isaac in The Card Counter. Each movie focuses on a man ashamed of his past and looking for atonement, often in the form of a blood sacrifice.

If you’re in the mood for some doom-and-gloom, give them a shot. I would rank the trilogy in order: Five stars for First Reformed, a damn near perfect movie, four stars for The Card Counter, and three stars for Master Gardener.

LCD Soundsystem - 45:33 | So this was new to me. In 2006, Nike commissioned James Murphy to create a mix designed to accompany jogging workouts to reward and push at good run intervals. I queued it up on a 10K, and I immensely enjoyed it. The disco-forward mix builds into heart-pumping peaks and fades into chill cool-downs. You can get also get this on vinyl for around $30.

Excerpt from Trip #14, 6/7/23:

The Eric Andre Show Season 6 | The weirdest ten minutes on television is back! The Eric Andre Show returns for maybe its final season, with two episodes out now featuring Lil Nas X and the legend Steve Urkel himself, Jaleel White. Jon Hamm is this Sunday’s guest.

I’ll share my favorite “interview” in the series run, featuring Jersey Shore’s Pauly D and a bunch of doppelgängers. The joke ends up being on Eric’s twin, played by Andy Samberg, who will only commit to the bit for so long.

Welp now I’m about to dive down another Eric Andre YouTube rabbit hole. I’ll leave you with a question pondered by many: what did people do before ladders?

Excerpt from Trip #13, 5/31/23:

Succession Season 4 Soundtrack | Sunday saw the end of two modern day classics, HBO’s Succession and Barry (which we highlighted in Trip #6). I’m going to use this space today to dish out some spoiler-free praise of the incredible job Nicholas Britell did on his Emmy-winning main title and score of Succession.

You know a theme song is bangin’ when you never skip the intro and stay through for the end credits. But it’s the shape-shifting musical motifs throughout the episodes and seasons that really shined. Britell's score functions as a character in its own right, and sustains a haunting presence throughout the series run, from its literal beginning to its conclusion.

The score can be upbeat, like “Arrival at Waystar”, “A Piacere di Nuovo” and “Welcome Home” or dark and brooding like “Pirates” and “Action That”. If you want both triumph and tragedy in the same song, throw on the perfect “Andante Risoluto”.

I think it’s up for debate that this is the greatest score in television history, and at the very least, no score has ever enhanced a show to this level. Other soundtracks that come to mind include Ramin Djawadi’s Game of Thrones and Mac Quayle’s Mr Robot. Feel free to share your favorite in the comments.

Unfortunately, the current Succession vinyl situation is in as dire shape as Waystar Royco. Only Season 1’s soundtrack has been put to wax, but the OG pressing goes for $400+. Enjoy the Ride Records just released a Money Green Swirl variant, however that quickly sold all 1000 units and that vinyl now goes for almost $200+. A four season set is badly needed, as this show will live on through the music, and hopefully our turntables.

Excerpt from Trip #12, 5/24/23:

The Bob Emergency by Jon Bois | More than 10,000 people named Bob have entered professional sports. For more than a century, we’ve had many Bob sports heroes. That has changed; today, only nine Bobs remain.

You would not think that a history about Bobs in sports would give you chills, make you laugh out loud, and warm your heart, but that’s the genius of Jon Bois and his fascinating documentaries.

If I had to choose my favorite Bob in the 93 minute run time, and that’s like choosing my favorite kid (my daughter, easy), I’ll go with Bob Beamon (the first Bob featured in Part 2) who set the Olympic record for the long jump, which has stood for 55 years and counting. “On that jump, I felt alone.” Goosebumps.

Excerpt from Trip #11, 5/17/23:

Bear in Heaven - “The Reflection of You” | In doing my 2012 research, I must share one of the funniest music videos from that year. John Lee, director of two of my favorite absurdist comedy shows Wonder Showzen and Xavier: Renegade Angel, set a record for most zoom in’s in a music video. Huge seizure warning on this one. You’ll either love or hate this, but we can all agree the song rocks.

Benzi - Girl Trapz | The Los Angeles DJ has blessed us with the 20th installment of his remix series Girl Trapz. These 15-20 hours of mixes are the ideal soundtrack for a run or the gym. My personal highlights from the new mix include a RL Grime “I Wanna Know” rise and drop into Eiffel 65 in the 7:00-9:00 minute range and the Childish Gambino Culdesac sample around 24:45.

Excerpt from Trip #10, 5/10/23:

How to Blow Up a Pipeline | A group of young climate activists set out to destroy an oil pipeline in the tense, eco-thriller How to Blow Up a Pipeline directed by Daniel Goldhaber and distributed by NEON. You can watch it below in HD for $6.99.

The source material is Andreas Malm’s 2021 non-fiction book of the same name, which argues that property destruction should be considered in the pursuit of environmental justice. This movie is fictionalized, but keeps the book’s theme that an explosive call to action is necessary for a revolution.

The lean film is a tightly edited, beautifully shot take on the heist genre that is influenced by Ocean’s Eleven, Thief, and Reservior Dogs. The MVP of the movie may be the Oneohtrix Point Never-like score that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the jump.

There is a danger to releasing this film; what if someone impressionable follows through with bombing a pipeline? like say, Oops too late, the US government exploded Russia’s Nord Stream underwater oil pipeline last year. News of this broke here on Substack by legend Seymour Hersh, who does an incredible job documenting the stranger-than-fiction account of the climate disaster.

While the film’s characters go to great lengths to attack a West Texas pipeline without causing environmental damage, the Nord Stream sabotage was the largest methane leak in history, spewing hundreds of millions of pounds of methane into the atmosphere and Baltic Sea. This may be the biggest environmental disaster of our lifetime, and it barely makes the news. Each day we feel anger and helplessness at choices made without our consent. How to Blow Up a Pipeline wants us to take control of these emotions and do something about it.

Excerpt from Trip #9, 5/3/23:

Joe Cappa’s HAHA YOU CLOWNS | Thank you YouTube algorithm for recommending me Portland director Joe Cappa. It’s tough to create something wholesome AND funny, but Cappa delivers with his short series HAHA YOU CLOWNS.

The premise is simple: a widowed dad raises three boys who are proud of him. That’s it. Oh yeah, and the mom may be a poltergeist, but that’s not a big deal. The voices are South Park level funny and imitable.

Three two minute episodes are available via the Adult Swim smalls series; you can watch them all here. Six more episodes are slated soon.

Joe Cappa and Toro y Moi | Let’s end this trip with a listening/watch party of Toro y Moi’s 2022 psych-funk album Mahal. Again I bow down to the genius of Joe Cappa for creating the most wholesome and laugh out loud funniest chill session on the Internet.

Excerpt from Trip #8, 4/26/23:

Riders of Justice | Apparently 2020 was the year of Mads Mikkelsen Danish black comedies with Another Round and Riders of Justice, the latter of which I got around to watching this week.

I didn’t think they made ‘em like this anymore! The plot is simple: a deployed military man goes home to his teenage daughter after a tragic accident. Go in blind if you can, as the trailer doesn’t capture the surprisingly hilarious tone of the film. I give Riders of Justice five bags of popcorn, and I’ll have to track down more of director Anders Thomas Jensen’s work. Streaming on Hulu.

John Mulaney: Baby J | Comedian John Mulaney’s fifth standup special dropped last night on Netflix and it’s by far his most personal. After relapsing and becoming addicted to cocaine, Adderall, Xanax, Klonopin and Percocet, Mulaney’s friends (Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen, Nick Kroll, etc) staged an intervention and sent him to a 60-day program at a rehab facility.

Now just two years later, Mulaney mined these struggles into a raw and laugh out loud special that’s relentlessly self-deprecating. This may all be too soon, depending on the insight he has into himself, but taken on the surface, it’s a clever balancing act of introspection into addiction while still being an easy, light-hearted watch.

Excerpt from Trip #7, 4/19/23:

Marc Rebillet at Coachella | One guy who did bring the heat to Coachella was Marc Rebillet. The loop station wizard performs a brand new, fully improvised, electro act every time. He’s come a long way since being the first in line for an iPhone and owning a Karen reseller.

Vanity Fair longread | “Inside Rupert Murdoch’s Succession Drama” by Gabriel Sherman is a jaw-dropping look into the chaotic last 12 months for the 92-year-old conservative media baron. It’s HBO’s Succession in real life:

Although he is a nonagenarian intent on living forever, Murdoch has been consumed with the question of his succession. He long wanted one of his three children from his second wife, Anna—Elisabeth, 54, Lachlan, 51, and James, 50—to take over the company one day. Murdoch believed a Darwinian struggle would produce the most capable heir. “He pitted his kids against each other their entire lives. It’s sad,” a person close to the family said.

One of those kids, James, has been accused of leaking stories from inside the dynasty to the actual writers of Succession. The metaness hurts my brain. And it does not end there. The 91 year old billionaire recently divorced his fourth wife, Jerry Hall by email. “Jerry, sadly I’ve decided to call an end to our marriage. We have certainly had some good times, but I have much to do. My New York lawyer will be contacting yours immediately.” One of the terms of the divorce settlement was that Hall couldn’t give story ideas to the writers on Succession… Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

Excerpt from Trip #6, 4/12/23:

Barry | The fourth and final season of HBO’s dark comedy and crime drama Barry premieres Sunday with two new episodes. The final eight episodes are all directed by Bill Hader, who orchestrated one of the coolest scenes in TV last year. You can watch it below, featuring commentary by Hader with The Ringer’s Sean Fennessey.

Couchella | Coachella weekend 1 is this Friday-Sunday, and it will be streaming live on YouTube! The stream starts at 4 PM PDT. Coachella will live stream all six stages across both weekends on YouTube for the first time in the festival's history.

Excerpt from Trip #5, 4/05/23:

Cycles | While listening to the newest Alchemist joint The Great Escape, I was reminded of this short film he scored called CYCLES by Jason Goldwatch. This 16 minute montage is a psychedelic acid trip through life on and off Earth. I loved every second of it and here’s hoping we get blessed with more Alchemist film soundtracks.

Inside Donald Glover’s New Creative Playground by Mark Anthony Green in GQ | Nice longread about what Donald Glover’s been doing since Atlanta finished. The Renaissance man has purchased a large farm in Ojai, California that he’s converting into his new production company/incubator/cultural library. He’s also looking to give standup one more try, which is very welcome news.

The Legacy of J Dilla Documentary | J Dilla emerged in the mid-1990s underground Detroit hip hop scene as a cofounder of the group Slum Village, who we mentioned earlier on The Great Escape. His death in 2006 at age 32 was a shock to the music world. This new doc by the New York Times charts his influential career, as well as the battle over his legacy between his family and the executors of his estate. Watch starting Friday, April 6 on FX and Hulu.

THE MASTERS | Hello friends, it’s Masters week! Break out the pimento cheese sandwiches and the Arnold Palmers (John Dalys if you want to add vodka) for golf’s Super Bowl. You can watch The Masters completely free Thursday to Sunday at Masters.com and CBSSports.com. To get you in the mood, here’s arguably one of the most famous golf shots in history.

Excerpt from Trip #4, 3/29/23:

Here Comes the Pizza | The best calls in sports history: “Do you believe in miracles?” “Down goes Frazier.” “Here comes the pizza!”

Baseball’s opening day is tomorrow, and to celebrate we’re inducting one of the all time funniest baseball videos in the Hall of Fame. On Patriots Day 2007, Red Sox announcers Jerry Remy (RIP) and Don Orsillo call a routine play that turns into chaos in the stands, resulting in a fan getting hit with a slice of pizza. Each replay sends the announcers into hysterics. Remy and Orsillo would often get into gigglefests, here’s two more from them worth watching: boob grab and air guitar.

Babe Ruth - First Base | Speaking of baseball, let’s talk First Base, the 1972 debut album by British rock band Babe Ruth. The innovative band was one of the first to blend hard rock with progressive rock.

Opening track “Wells Fargo” is the perfect encapsulation of what they do well: Jennie Haan’s powerful vocals with Alan Shacklock’s blistering guitar create something that sounds at home in a Tarantino flick.

There’s not a skippable track in the bunch. Highlights include the intense piano finish of “The Runaways”, a one take Frank Zappa cover in “King Kong”, and their most famous song “The Mexican”, which includes a theme by western soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone. First Base is a true seventies overlooked classic!

  • It’s easy to find a 1972-1973 copy of First Base on Discogs. Most recently, Music on Vinyl pressed a limited edition of /1000 individually numbered copies on red translucent vinyl.

Mushroom Coffee | I got a new pour over and have been trying a bunch of different coffees and I found a new favorite: Four Sigmatic’s Lion’s Mane Mushroom Ground Coffee. This stuff gets me in the zone and tastes great. Who knows if it’s a placebo effect, but ya boy is feeling focused lately.

Digman! | Digman!, the new animated show written and starring Andy Samberg, exists in a high concept world where archaeologists are rock stars. The Lonely Island produced half hour features a million jokes a minute and Samberg’s Nic Cage impression stays amusing. Catch the pilot below, and watch new episodes after South Park on Wednesdays.

Excerpt from Trip #3, 3/22/23:

Eighth Grade | Bo Burnham’s theatrical directorial debut just arrived on HBO Max and rewatching as a new girl dad made it even more gut-wrenching. Bo does a great job evoking uncomfortable nostalgia, but it also feels urgently current. We’re just scratching the surface on what being permanently online is doing to young brains. I give this five bags of popcorn 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿 and three gucci’s 👌👌👌.

Atlanta Season 4 | Donald Glover’s FX show Atlanta finishes on a high note with a wild Season 4. If you are on the fence or jumped off during an uneven Season 3, you can really just watch the last two or three episodes of Season 4, as it’s not always the most linear show, and you won’t miss much plot-wise.

No other show in recent memory differed so much week to week. For example Episode 8 features none of the main cast and is presented as a straight documentary about the blackest Disney movie of all time: A Goofy Movie. Episode 9 involves Paper Boi buying a farm in the middle of nowhere and almost dying (multiple times). Lastly the finale takes place entirely in a sensory deprivation floatation tank (or does it?). You never knew what was coming, and we need more shows like it. Stream it on Hulu.

The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin | Rick Rubin has been involved in creating some of the greatest music of all time for the past 40 years. I mean, just look at this list!

In his new book, the producer shares techniques that he’s developed and used to help musicians be more creative, usually through discipline, experimentation, and self-reflection. If you are about to embark on a creative project, I highly recommend you give this a read or a listen.

Excerpt from Trip #2, 3/15/23:

Jim Sullivan - UFO | Last week, the head of the Pentagon’s unidentified aerial phenomena research office said there’s a chance extraterrestrial motherships and smaller probes are visiting planets in our solar system. This adds to the latest U.F.O. panic which is reaching a fever pitch, culminating in the US government blowing up a $12 balloon from a hobby group with a $400,000 Sidewinder missile.

If UFOs are real, and aliens are reading this right now, please bring back Jim Sullivan.

Psych-folk musician Jim Sullivan left his wife and kid in Los Angeles on March 4, 1975, to drive to Nashville in his VW Beetle to relaunch his career after his first two albums, U.F.O. and Jim Sullivan, received little fanfare. He stopped at a New Mexico hotel and called his wife to let her know where he was. He was never seen again, disappearing at the age of 34. His car was found 26 miles away deep in the desert; the car contained Sullivan's money, papers, guitar, clothes, and a box of unsold records of his two albums.

To add to the weirdness, six years earlier, Sullivan’s debut album U.F.O. featured songs about aliens, beings in the sky, and vanishing in deserts. It’s very much worth a listen, especially what we now know (or don’t know).

The album gives off a melancholy and mystical vibe, even without knowing what happened to Jim. The bluesy tracks are spacious and slightly off-kilter, providing a high level of replay value. What an underrated gem of an album.

  • The vinyl of U.F.O. was going for hundreds of dollars on the rare occasion one would pop up for resale. Thankfully Light in the Attic got the album repressed in 2010 after getting approval from Jim’s family, bringing thousands of new ears to the forgotten classic. Vinyl Me, Please partnered with the label in 2019 and repressed the album on colored vinyl. You can find this at Discogs on the cheap.

Michael Clayton | The Oscars were this Sunday, which had me thinking back to one of the most epic Best Picture battles of all time. You may remember 2007 as No Country for Old Men vs There Will Be Blood, which was a shame for Michael Clayton, which may have won the Oscar any other year. This movie holds up 15 years later with a stunning opening monologue that drops you right into the moral quandary. I give it 5 bags of popcorn. Stream it on HBO Max, rent it on Prime, or grab the Blu-Ray.

Miles: The Autobiography | Finishing up Miles: The Autobiography, the rambling epic by Miles Davis. Published in 1989, it must set the record for the most times “motherfucker” is said in a book. I’ve never read anything like it, it’s brutally brave and honest, and no one comes out looking good (everyone is on heroin), especially Miles. But honestly makes the best autobiographies, and learning the history of jazz has never been wilder. The afterword says it best:

"Miles is not the kind of person who concerns himself with sanitizing his image. He prefers to say what he has to say, to tell his true feelings, even when what he has to say hurts him and others."

Park Ave CDs | Every Wednesday and Friday around 5 PM EST, Park Ave CDs in Orlando puts up rare used vinyl on their Instagram. Whoever “waves” first gets to buy it. I was able to snag Jimmy Eat World’s Futures (which has become a rarity) this way a few months ago. If anyone knows of other record stores doing something like this, comment below!

Caffeine Gum | An Instagram ad got me on this one. NeuroGum is gum injected with 40 mg of green tea caffeine, 60 mg of L-theanine, and B6 and B12 vitamins. I take it before a run and it’s a nice pick-me-up and tastes minty fresh.

Excerpt from Trip #1, 3/8/23:

The Battle at Kruger | In one of the most viewed videos of all time, a lucky safari witnesses a showdown between a herd of buffalo, a pride of lions, and two crocodiles in South Africa's Kruger National Park.

The footage captures the tenacity and strength of each animal as they fight for their share of food. The incredible display of nature, plus a few M. Night Shyamalan worthy twists make this a first ballot Hall of Fame video.

Harlem Shakes - Technicolor Health | I first saw the Harlem Shakes open for Vampire Weekend in June 2008 at the now defunct Firestone in Orlando; they were touring Burning Birthdays, their self-released 5 song EP. After that show, I told anyone who’d listen that they’d be the next big thing… I could not have been more wrong.

The Harlem Shakes’ debut album Technicolor Health dropped in March 2009 and they were broken up by September. Listening to this album makes you think “Oh what could have been.”

I guess we should appreciate what we have. Technicolor Health is 37 minutes and 37 seconds of exuberant indie rock gems by the Brooklyn quintet, with grand choruses and catchy hooks hitting your ears a mile a minute. Everyone in this band sings, as evident by the harmony-filled vocals.

Highlights include the infectious “Sunlight”, the folksy “Natural Man”, and the genre-shifting single “Strictly Game”, which also boasts a clever music video.

I also want to shout out the album producer Chris Zane, who was NBA Jam HEATING UP during this time, as he helped create classics like The Walkmen’s You & Me, Passion Pit’s Manners, and Tokyo Police Club’s Elephant Shell, all in the span of a year. Those albums and Technicolor Health remain just as addictive 15 years later.

  • Technicolor Health is begging for a vinyl repress; the only LP available is a 220 gram picture disc, which should be an oxymoron. Only 87 people have this in their Discogs collection (I’m one of the lucky ones), so they didn’t press many originally. I will Go Fund any attempt to bring this to more turntables.

Gimme Shelter | Finally watched Gimme Shelter, the 1970 doc of The Rolling Stones’ tour that ends in tragedy with the fatal stabbing by a Hells Angel. The tour was captured by the renown Maysles brothers of Grey Gardens and Salesman fame. While the music is expectedly great, the movie is filled with bad vibes. Here’s the last seven minutes, where Mick Jagger watches a replay of the death in horror, while Maysels behind him can’t help but smile knowing he’s struck gold. Stream on HBO Max.

You’ve Got Crabs | You’ve Got Crabs, by the creator of Exploding Kittens, was a hit at a recent game night and can be played with even groups of four to ten. Think of it like Go Fish, but with secret signals to your teammate. When you have four of a kind, pass the signal to your teammate. If your partner sees your signal and yells, "you've got crabs”, you gain a point. If an opponent sees your signal and yells, "you've got crabs", you lose a point. For full game rules, I’ll hand the mic over to Survivor host Jeff Probst.

Singani| Singani is a spirit created in Bolivia from Muscat of Alexandria grapes at an average altitude of 6,000 feet. Luckily we can buy this in the states now thanks to director Steven Soderbergh (Oceans 11, Contagion) who first tried it while filming Che in 2007 and eventually created his Singani 63 brand. Soderbergh then spearheaded a campaign with the US government to get singani recognized as an official spirit, which got approval last month. To celebrate this achievement, pour some singani on the rocks, or do what I do and make a “chuflay”, which mixes equal parts singani with Sprite or ginger ale with a lime.

Party Down | Starz canceled their hilarious comedy Party Down in 2010 due to low ratings, losing Jane Lynch to Glee, and Adam Scott to Parks and Recreation. 13 years later, Starz has righted their wrong and we’re back with six new episodes! Get caught up with this special offer of Starz for $3 a month for 3 months.

Double Wonderful | Every month or so, t-shirt maker Double Wonderful creates sweet designs available to purchase for one day only. I treated myself to this Steely Dan logo shirt during February’s drop. Follow the private Instagram for drop details.

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