Hard to believe but summer is slowly coming to an end. Summer sports are wrapping up, and football is getting ready to start. Before long, we will be packing away our summer beach reads and unpacking our sweaters.
So without further delay, the staff picks for the last week of July are here:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! SHARK WEEK! Sharks are some of the coolest creatures on Earth, and they’ve been around for at least 450 million years. Since Jaws came out, people have been fearful of these incredible creatures and fished them to critical numbers. Shark Week is a great opportunity for people to learn about sharks and alleviate their fear. Fear is fed by ignorance, so education and respect is what these incredible animals need most.
Zachary Levi as Shazam!
Last weekend the Shazam! trailer dropped at San Diego Comic-Con. The movie looks downright delightful and fun — something of which DC could use a little more these days. While I did love the preview, and it did get me interested in the character, that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about Zachary Levi, who plays the eponymous character. Last year I saw Levi at Salt Lake Comic-Con, now known as Fan-X Salt Lake Comic Convention because SDCC sues them (boo!). I only knew him from the TV show Chuck and as the voice of Flynn Rider in Tangled. During his panel, in a huge auditorium that rivals Hall H, he opened up about his insecurities as an actor. He spoke about how tough it was to see roles, that he auctioned for, go to other actors. During this time in his life, he was feeling kind of down and a little discouraged. He expressed his genuine thanks to his fans, who make all he does worth it. Needless to say, he was very genuine, super affable, and downright down-to-earth…somewhat atypical for someone in Hollywood. So, it was extra sweet to hear he got the part of Shazam! just a few months after SLCC ‘17. Even more so, after having seen the preview and getting a glimpse as to how well he has nailed the part. Here is to hoping it does well enough to include him in whatever the DC Films Universe is in the future. You’re guess is as good as mine, but knowing that the humble, super likable Levi could be a part of it is something to look forward to.
Awkwafina, “In Fina We Trust”
This album begins and ends with a bang: with sketches lampooning paparazzi who mistake her for literally every other Asian celebrity (Bingbing Fan, Kimiko Glenn, Randall Park…) A delightfully obnoxious drawled “Who the FUCK is Awkwafina?” is the segue into her first song, “Cakewalk,” wherein she endeavors to answer that very question. Tackling life in New York City, modern dating (more specifically, modern ghosting), racism, insecurity, sex, and more, IFWT is hilarious and heartfelt in equal measure. The standout track is “Inner Voices,” where her earnest and pensive inner monologue faces off against her inner showboating rapper: “I don’t know how you’re buying cars when you literally applied for a Best Buy Card and got rejected on the spot…”
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
As a feminist, I find Angela Carter in general to be progressive and dynamic in her fiction. She may not be the most intersectional writer, but the twists and the imagery in the narratives are provocative. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is based on the old fairy tails. It includes “Puss in Boots” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” However, these stories are not typical and are a change to what we expect as narratives. Some stories are more biological than expected.
What they all have in common is the development of alternative and mostly feminist iterations of the story. I really recommend this because it opens your mind to new possibilities and experiences in storytelling and analysis. Also, they are super fun and super weird!