Yet another month of quarantine/social distancing passes, and I continue to find myself on the outside looking in. Kind of, if you consider the outside the inside and vice versa.
I don’t really go outside; in fact, this month marks the first time I actually went out with a friend for a longer period of time. Back in March or April, I delivered baked goods to a handful of my friends, but the longest I got to talk to someone was for about three minutes. This month, my friend and I went to grab a bite and get bubble tea afterward. We wore our masks and talked and it was really fun to be in each other’s presence after so long apart!
Even now, I still don’t talk as much as I used to. I guess I like the idea of using technology to connect with others to supplement our in-person interactions, but it’s much harder when we must rely on technology to connect with others when we already know what it’s like to be in-person. I have my fair share of friends I only could have met thanks to the power of the Internet. However, I have some friends that I know it’s just easier to talk to in-person. And you know, that’s okay. It’s just unfortunate, but it’s life. I know that when it becomes safe again to go out with multiple people, they will be among the first I see.
But hey, in the ways that life can feel like lacking, you find other ways to boost it up. For me, I have turned to music, movies, and television - all creatives, I guess. So without further ado, here are my August favorites!
- Chloe Berry
She has been an artist that has been on my “to listen” list, and I’ve jumped the fence to listen to her songs. I love the vibe of it - I would consider her music indie and alternative with wonderful instrumentals. I also LOVE her voice! Her song “Bitter Melon” reminds me of early 2000s songs with the strong guitar and vocals. I also like the song “Nothing.” She’ll be on my playlist of repeat songs for sure!
- Tori Kelly
She just released a new EP called Solitude. This EP was recorded at home in quarantine, so the title fits perfectly. Four of the songs are her own, and “Time Flies” is a cover of Drake’s original song. I think it’s quite bright and beautiful and strong, yet vulnerable as well. She describes the EP as “inspired by both the 90s R&B that she grew up with and her early days as an aspiring singer-songwriter.” I could definitely see the parallels between this EP and her early work and I think it’s absolutely beautiful. My favorite songs on the EP are “Value” and “Glad.” Such a job well done and I’ll be listening to Solitude (in solitude) on repeat!
I’ve also liked the songs:
- Nights Like This by Kehlani and Ty Dolla $ign
- Pretty Love by Iris Temple
- Call It Fate, Call It Karma by The Strokes
- Without You by Leslie Odom Jr. (cover of “Without You” from the musical Rent)
- Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
So much of “Does (s)he or does (s)he not?” in this anime! President Miyuki Shirogane and Vice President Kaguya Shinomiya have this red string between the two of them. They’re always pulling and pushing and the whole premise on which the show is built on is that neither of them want to confess their feelings toward one another, so they make a game out of their lives to see who will win or lose. They always try to tilt the scales in their favors, but sometimes it backfires.
Another notable character would be Chika Fujiwara, who can be seen as a middle person between Shirogane and Shinomiya, but Fujiwara is also her own character with her own personality. I enjoy the comedic aspect of the show, and while it can seem like the same things happen over again, I am always surprised to see what antics they get themselves in.
- Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City
As I type this up right now, I am on the third episode of Part 1 of this Terrace House season. I hadn’t been interested in it until now, and I only started watching because I wanted something new to watch. I think it is the perfect show to watch if you’re bored because it is the unfolding of six strangers - three boys and three girls - and their soon-to-be intertwining journeys. They move into this house together and I think it’s interesting how honest the housemates are with one another. Very quickly, they reveal their ideal types of people to be with, how they feel about their goals, and more.
I think it’s addicting as all reality shows are because we get to see what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes, but what I love about Terrace House is the emotion. Like with all reality shows, we get to see the behind the scenes look and have access to most of the perspectives, which is one of the best parts. And of course, because of this, I want the ability to be able to crawl through my screen and give all of the housemates huge hugs because they deserve it. They’re all sweet human beings with their own flaws, and they all want to change their little part of the world.
It is not all drama, but it is the emotion that makes me feel like I can relate to them.
As an eighteen year old, I’m only about three years apart from the youngest people (of the original cast at that time) in the house, but they all lead very different lives because of their location and lifestyles. It’s truthful and I think that’s what I am looking for in shows I am consuming because I want to see the parallels of my life and theirs. (By the end of August, I completed Terrace House: Boys and Girls in the City, and moved onto Terrace House: Aloha State.)
- Get Even
I was impressed by the BBC teen thriller series, Get Even. It surrounds four teenage girls who join together to expose and fight injustice at their elite private school. While it is similar to shows like Riverdale and Pretty Little Liars, it also reminded me of the show Marvel’s Runaways because of the diverse cast. I also think the show is similar to House of Anubis because of the British private school and thrilling plot lines, but there’s no fantasy element to Get Even.
I was amazed to find BIPOC actors within the main cast and none of their roles had stereotypes or had anything to do with their race. Stand out characters for me were Kitty Wei and Olivia Hayes. Kitty Wei is one of the first characters who actually looks like me! She is played by Kim Adis, a Filipino-British actress, and like the rest of the female protagonists, Kitty Wei is a strong ringleader in the quartet. Olivia Hayes is the “popular girl” with layers underneath. I didn’t find her to be a character to watch in the beginning, but towards the latter half of the series, I was drawn to her more and more.
Overall, while it’s not entirely original, I think that if BBC proceeds with another season, it will be a hit. They left just the right amount of questions at the end, so they can pick up and continue with more mystery!
- Rising Phoenix
This is an incredible documentary directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui. Its title comes from the nickname Paralympic champion Bebe Vio received as a fencer when she was young because she had suffered hardship and rose again, being a "rising phoenix." This documentary features stories of not only the Paralympic athletes but also the team behind the Paralympic games. As a fan of sports, I found the film to be polished, yet raw and full of emotions. This is my favorite kind of documentary - the one that makes you feel things. It opens your eyes to the heroes of the sport, the ones who have fought obstacles just to get to the Paralympic stage.
The film allows you to feel the same emotions as events from the London 2012 Paralympics as well as the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympics unfold. We root for Jonnie Peacock as he races against the biggest names of the Paralympic track, and we cry with Bebe Vio as she shakes off a knock to the skull to claim the foil victory. We clutch at our chests when hearing Jean-Baptiste Alaize's background. We cheer loudly for Tatyana, Matt, Ntando, Cui, Ryley, and Ellie. These are all superhumans along with other millions of Paralympians because they have faced the world before being on the world's stage. You will feel incredibly inspired to witness the past unfold, and you'll feel pumped for next year's Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.