Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
You're So Talented is a series following Bea, an out of work Chicago artist, as she navigates her twenties and all of its inevitable dramas.

You’re So Talented web series (Open TV)


I’ll admit that my Chicago boosterism prompts me to watch just about anything that prominently features my hometown (and I have conflicted feelings about shows that stage it so poorly—looking at you, Man Seeking Woman). So when I learned that the web series You’re So Talented was filmed in Chicago and starred some homegrown talent, I was inclined to check it out. The series centers on Bea, a young, out-of-work artist played by Samantha Bailey, who created the web series. Bailey’s onscreen presence is at once assured and questioning, fitting for a millennial who sets an unofficial goal to get her shit together by 30. Bea’s friends help her when they can, though they don’t have much more of life figured out. Yes, we’ve seen twentysomethings struggle to make sense of their lives onscreen before, but You’re So Talented has a diverse and talented cast that reinvigorates that setup. The story takes its players all over Chicago, away from the bland sidewalk cafés and storefronts that so often make up a production’s approximation of the city. You’re So Talented is already in its second season, with new episodes premiering every two weeks. OpenTV has the complete first season as well as the first three episodes of the current one; the runtime is only 8 to 10 minutes per episode, so catching up will be more of a sprint than a marathon. [Danette Chavez]

NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub And Other Stories

Mötley Crüe’s The Dirt redefined the band biography, going heavy on the salacious details of life in one of the most popular hard-rock bands ever. At first glance, NOFX’s book—especially silly title and cartoonish cover—seems to follow the same path. But the story behind the most successful independent punk band of all time is far darker than it seems. Sure, there are plenty of crazy booze- and drug-addled stories—the book opens with frontman Fat Mike talking about the first time his wife urinated in his mouth—but the darkness comes quickly and pops up in unexpected places. It’s an engrossing, occasionally deeply uncomfortable read, and absolutely worth checking out. [Kyle Ryan]

Peter Panic

I’m a massive fan of Nintendo’s WarioWare series, where dozens of irreverent, bite-sized games are frantically flung your way with next-to-no instruction on how to solve them. Sadly, Nintendo hasn’t made a new one since 2010, unless you count the 2013 pseudo-sequel Game & Wario, which I certainly don’t, as it lacks the sense of frenzied adaptation on which the series thrives. But Peter Panic! is a new mobile game that has that feeling in spades. Developed by James Marion and distributed by Adult Swim, it takes the WarioWare formula and shoves it inside a musical about a theater grad who returns to his hometown and finds the local theater shut down. In an effort to reopen the building, he goes around gaining the support of local businesses, which means taking on a bunch of odd jobs before they’ll cough up the cash. There are a handful of clunkers mixed in with the micro-games themselves, but the quality of the script and musical numbers more than makes up for it. You can try the game for free on iOS or Android, but in a particularly shrewd business move, if you want to save your progress, you’ll have to pay a few dollars. It’s worth the investment. [Matt Gerardi]


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