Five favorites


1. I saw the documentary Dior and I yesterday at one of the theaters at Lincoln Center, which not incidentally is a fantastic moviegoing spot. Heads and shoulders above the gross Lincoln Plaza basement atmosphere across the street, where they show some great pictures but where I inevitably exit feeling sour and exhausted by the experience. Something about the audience there has a real "death's door" feel to it, so I avoid it at all costs whenever possible. Dior and I is about the start of Raf Simons' tenure at Christian Dior and the eight weeks he and the couture team had to prepare for their first show. I got a little antsy about it approximately halfway through, because amidst all the drama and tension and Paris I still had to stop and say to myself "Oh for fuck's sake it's just dresses!" But it's never just dresses, is it? Not if you remember that important Meryl Streep "belt speech" in The Devil Wears Prada. I won't recap it here because of course you do. It's very famous. I spent the other half of this movie waiting for Anna Wintour to show up, btw, and she did not disappoint.

Ultimately, though, it's a movie about watching people work, which is something I recently discovered I'm fascinated by. And seeing how completely these people devoted themselves to their jobs, and how much pride they took in the process and how much all of it depends not only on technique and experience and artistry but teamwork, it was really inspiring. Near the end there's a scene where Raf Simons and some other guy sit out on the balcony of this gorgeous townhouse in Paris, where the show is being prepped below and where they can hear people out on the street screaming for celebrities as they arrive, and the enormity of the whole thing hits him, the lifetime of preparation he's devoted to this critical impending moment, and he finally chokes up and starts to cry. And I've never accomplished or even attempted anything of that magnitude, obviously, nor would I care to, but I really connected with him there. Under all this insane glitz and glamour and corporate pressure was just a guy wanting to succeed and please people, and to do it by making something beautiful.

2 & 3. The Ivan Orkin episode of "The Moment" podcast with Brian Koppelman and episodes of Chef's Table on Netflix. Both of these dial into the theme I mentioned above, of observing how people do their jobs. Regardless of how little interest I have in fussy dining, I of course love to eat and absolutely respect a pro. I can also handle aggressive A-type personalities so much better at a remove than I can in real life, where I'm both easily intimidated and constantly tempted to roll my eyes at prima donna behavior. But these shows go deep into obsessions and craft, as well as losses and sacrifices and making the thousand big and small hard choices that are necessary to believing in and fighting for your own worth. 

4. This book The Circle by Dave Eggers. I actually hate-read most of it, something I seldom do because it's such a waste of time and effort when there are so many other things waiting for me to read and love, but I had to find out where it was going. A real nail-biter, it was! The whole thing is a not-at-all-concealed dystopian view of the endgame if a company exactly like Google is able to successfully "close the circle" in getting us to upload every inch of our private lives to their cloud (ugh, clouds). I didn't quite buy the ending, which felt very simplistic and obvious, but I didn't sleep all that well after finishing it, either. Way to succeed at creeping me out re: the future, Dave Eggers. Applause applause.

5. The entire second season of "Silicon Valley" and every single character on "Silicon Valley," but especially the through-line of Erlich's devotion and continual vexation vis-à-vis Fage packaged yogurt on "Silicon Valley." "Half the yogurt is gonna go unused because one quarter of the jam can't come out!" Everything Erlich says makes me laugh, because it's so "Erlich," but I also have a dedicated Fage yogurt spoon so I am 100% behind him on this one.