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May 23, 2024

To watch and watch for: Week of April 7

By NOËL DA | April 7, 2024



This week’s picks include Sweet Dreams by Lije Sarki, The Age of Magical Overthinking by Amanda Montell, Maggie Rogers’ newest studio album, Don’t Forget Me and a JHU Barnstormer’s production of Be More Chill in Arellano Theater. 

Looking for new media to consume this week besides reels and more reels? I know I am. As we enter the next week (eclipse week!), the Arts & Entertainment section is here to give you a list of things to fill your eyes and ears. Hopefully, these will leave you feeling inspired, excited or even the good kind of sad — whatever it is, it promises to be a break from the brain rot.

For your eyes: Films this week offer both the heavy and the light. The Absence of Eden and Civil War will take you through the horrors and thrills of American politics, while Sweet Dreams delivers wholesome relief. The same is true for literature, with fiction and nonfiction picks to touch on each corner of modern society. 

For your ears: A new album from Maggie Rogers and an all-instrumental release. There is even media for both the eyes and the ears, believe it or not, such as Peabody’s live accompaniment of a film based on Edgar Allan Poe. Another highlight: A debut production of Be More Chill by our very own Barnstormers.

I hope you enjoy these weekly picks!

To watch…

Civil War, directed and written by Alex Garland — April 12

It’s not a historical drama; it’s futuristic sci-fi. In a dystopian America, Texas, Florida and California have formed separatist armies. A team of military-trained journalists, featuring Kirsten Dunst and Wagner Moura, must race these rebel armies to Washington, D.C. The film also stars Cailee Spaeny, who recently played the titular figure in Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla.

Sweet Dreams, directed by Lije Sarki — April 12

From the producers of The Peanut Butter Falcon comes a brand new heartwarming tale. Indulge in feel-good movie magic as a recovering addict (Johnny Knoxville) forms a softball team with his fellow rehab dude-friends (Theo Von, Bobby Lee and more) and takes a swing at a second chance.

The Absence of Eden, directed by Marco Perego — April 12

In a thriller starring Zoë Saldaña and musician Tom Waits, this film tells the story of a border control worker and a woman trying to survive a vicious cartel life. It hopes to capture all the complexities of labor, immigration, strength and salvation. 

To read…

The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality, by Amanda Montell — April 9

Cultural critic Amanda Montell will release her book this Tuesday, containing essays and reflections on the highly relevant themes of magical thinking (adjacent to manifesting), the halo effect, coping mechanisms and the “Sunk Cost Fallacy.”

The Limits, by Nell Freudenberger — April 9

The author of The Newlyweds and Lost and Wanted brings us a novel about two fates intertwined in New York City. Pia, who just moved from the South Pacific, runs into Athyna, who yearns to leave the city after a personal incident. As the two characters reckon with change, Freudenberger weaves them together with what critics are calling “exceptional skill.”

Facing the Unseen: The Struggle to Center Mental Health in Medicine, by Damon Tweedy, M.D. — April 9

An important release for anyone studying medicine and its relationship with mental health, Damon Tweedy — a practicing physician and psychiatry professor — writes on the necessity of closing the gap between mental health needs and its medical care.

To listen… 

Don’t Forget Me, by Maggie Rogers — April 12

Indie-pop darling Maggie Rogers previewed part of an album in January with the caption, “see you in 2024,” and the full thing is finally here. Recorded in the famous Electric Lady Studios, Don’t Forget Me promises to be about “simple pleasures and eternal life.”

Silence Is Loud, by Nia Archives — April 12

With the sensibility of pure dance frenzy, Nia Archive’s jungle-inspired beats have been hits in the U.K. in the past couple of years. Her new album is set to be just as frenetic!

All Gist, by James Elkington and Nathan Salsburg — April 12

Composed entirely of guitar picking, instrumentalists Elkington and Salsburg weave their notes into and through each other on their melodious new album — which is, as promised, all gist.

Live events…

JHU Barnstormers presents Be More Chill in Arellano Theater — April 12, 13 at 8 p.m.; April 14 at 3 p.m.

After months of rehearsals, the University’s very own Barnstormers are ready to debut their production of Be More Chill. Based on the 2004 novel by Ned Vizzini, Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz’s musical adaptation was originally written to be chock-full of offbeat fun and profound moments of identity exploration.

April Showers at Jo Fleming Contemporary Art Gallery — April 14 from 4-6 p.m.

Four talented artists will descend up this gallery in a tangled flurry of petals and color, with a free opening reception on Sunday, April 14. Featuring the abstracted florals of Camilla Schwarz, Carol Rubin, Beckie Laughlin and Barbara Miller, this exhibition is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the lines and textures of spring.

Poe’s “The Fall of House of Usher” with Live Music at Enoch Pratt Free Library, Wheeler Auditorium — April 10 at 6:30 p.m.

A silent film, with live music! Next Wednesday, Peabody students will be providing the score for two black-and-white films of Edgar Allan Poe’s famous — in real time. With no admission fee, this rare performance is definitely worth attending.

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