Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal as Rodrigo in Mozart In The Jungle

Mozart In The Jungle

Like a lot of people, I was surprised when Amazon’s adaptation of Mozart In The Jungle: Sex, Drugs, And Classical Music took home the Golden Globe for Best TV Series—Musical Or Comedy. Unlike most people, my surprise was based in actual experience with the show. I loved the pilot and watched the first seven episodes ahead of its premiere (“does a commendable job of pulling back curtains without losing sight of its characters’ humanity”—Erik Adams, The A.V. Club), but felt no urgency to return to the show after filing my review. (“The series would do well to demand more blood, guts, and emotion from itself”—Erik Adams, The A.V. Club). So it was out of renewed curiosity, professional obligation, and a lack of more enticing viewing options that I launched into a week-long Mozart In The Jungle binge, revisiting season one and getting my first look at the recently released season two. I’m glad I did: It’s not my pick for the best comedy series of last year or the year before, but all of the things I liked about it the first time around were enhanced upon this viewing. Season two ups the preciousness factor in its final stretch—struggling with his hearing, eccentric conductor Rodrigo D’Souza (Gael García Bernal) is convinced that he’s the victim of an honest-to-God curse—but it also tells a gutting tale of trying to keep the fictional New York Symphony’s lights on in a world that’s increasingly indifferent to classical music. Just a few weeks ago, the show was inspiring heated debate about a faceless organization determining artistic merit with meaningless commendations—if you have any investment on any side of that debate (or ones like it), don’t be indifferent to Mozart In The Jungle. [Erik Adams]

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Colorado Chick slouchy hat

I love Mike Myers’ movie So I Married An Axe Murderer for a lot of reasons, and one is that I completely identify with the main character’s little brother, also known as “Heed!” The kid’s dad (Myers, in a dual role) says the kid’s big head looks like Sputnik, and taunts that “he’ll be crying himself to sleep tonight, on his huge pillow.” I can relate: This time of year, when head coverings are a necessity, most winter hats just look like an upside-down cupcake liner on top of my giant cranium. So finding this line of “slouchy beanies” from Colorado Chick at Secret Closet in my neighborhood was a godsend. These caps are warm, woolen, and best of all, comfy and large enough that they never resemble other hats, which make me feel like I’m in a brain vice. And at only $14, they come in so many colors that my own “Heed!” need not bare itself until it’s safe to go hatless in Chicago again (maybe by April). [Gwen Ihnat]

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J Church’s Camels, Spilled Corona And The Sound Of Mariachi Bands

Recent word of a new group called J Churcher turned me and some friends into a pitchfork-wielding mob. Why? Because J Church (no -er, named after a San Francisco bus route) is one of the best indie-punk bands ever. For more than two decades, frontman Lance Hahn (and a shifting group of bandmates) produced some of the headiest, catchiest, and best poppy punk songs of all time until Hahn’s untimely death in 2007. Hahn was almost absurdly prolific, but the singles collection Camels, Spilled Corona And The Sound Of Mariachi Bands (available on Spotify) is a great starting point. Opener “Bomb,” a staple of J Church’s set since it debuted, is probably the catchiest song about terrorism you’ll encounter. It segues into the moody, cathartic “Sacrifice,” and Camels has a bevy of other classics, like “Kathi,” “Girl In A Magazine,” and “Sound Of Mariachi Bands.” I mean, I like J Churcher’s new Yesterday EP and everything, but kneel before the king, dudes. [Kyle Ryan]

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