A few sunburns and melted ice cream cones later, it’s already time to look back on summer as we turn the AC up a few notches and plan our last trip to the beach. As Ra intended, we’ve taken this season to recharge and now we’re back with some things that have been keeping us cool.
Whether you need your fortune told, some grounding political insight, a smart woman telling you how to follow your dreams or just an honest movie recommendation, look no further.
Steamy winds recede from the subway grates and a chill is felt anew; summer sings its swan song. Daylight declines as we approach another equinox, but we hold tight to the hits that carried us through the dog days.
Listening: “Forever 35” podcast by Doree Shafrir and Kate Spencer
As the world burns around us, it’s nice to be reminded to take a breather. The friendly chatter of Shafrir and Spencer in my ear is that breath of air to me. I am younger than their age range, but their candor on what it takes to care for yourself —from how to get rid of chin hairs to how to cope with layoffs and being the only one in your friend group to not get married and have kids— is comforting to hear, no matter where you are in life. Their Facebook group is also among the most helpful guides if you’re looking for beauty advice! —Monica
Reading: “Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner for The New Yorker
“Am I even Korean anymore if there’s no one left in my life to call and ask which brand of seaweed we used to buy?” Zauner asks. Her moving meditation on losing her mother and searching for her memory in the familiar aisles of an Asian supermarket will have you see the camaraderie of food courts and the comfort of getting to eat the proper amount of banchan in a new light. —Monica
Throwback: Decades Later, David Bowie’s “Labyrinth” Holds Up
If someone were to ask me, as they often ask gay men and women, when I first knew I was attracted to men, I would tell them it was when my six-year-old eyes feasted upon David Bowie, as Jareth the Goblin King in the 1986 film “Labyrinth.” I’m hardly the first person to credit this movie for my sexual awakening—it’s been well established that there was something highly erotic about Bowie donning metallic tights and tunics with a glorified mullet and glittery makeup (although I’d like to note that the only other film character that stirred up similar feelings in me was Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker who, coincidentally, also wore tights).
Looking beyond Bowie’s hosiery, this dark rock opera has a powerhouse of talent behind it: it was directed by Jim Henson and executive produced by George Lucas. It stars Bowie (who also wrote and sang the soundtrack), a fifteen-year-old Jennifer Connelly, playing Sarah, whose brother has been kidnapped by the goblin king, and hundreds of Henson’s puppets. The film follows a whimsical, Shakespeare reciting Sarah through--you guessed it--a labyrinth in order to save her baby brother, Toby, before he is turned into a goblin by Jareth.
The film did not do well at the box office. Audiences were probably expecting something more along the lines of Kermit the frog but instead they got the motorized muppet, Hoggle, an ugly, cowardly character, and a tale about the demanding affections of men. At one point, Jareth offers Sarah freedom from her angsty teen-age existence to live in his kingdom, all in return for her total devotion— “Fear me, love me, do as I say,” he pleads as he gaslights her about the kidnapping in the first place. “Everything that you wanted, I have done,” he tells her. I’m not going to spoil the ending for you but let’s just say this isn’t your average fairy tale. And if you absolutely hate the movie, you can at least dance around to the heavily Bowie influenced soundtrack—which, in these dark, twisted times, is the perfect summer respite. —Saira
"9 a.m. has the same feeling as September, decades after you’ve been done with homework. It’s the feeling of a beginning: good morning, get to class, sharpen pencil, new shoes, pick up the backpack. April and May are rising spring panic and buying flowers to block out the exams on the horizon. October is for waking every day into a dying fall, kicking leaves alone at the bus stop. August is a blackout, like the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve."