Looking for something to switch up your weekend, or to give you an excuse to relax a little? That’s what the Weekend Reset is for. Each week we’ll pull together five things to get your weekend started. Could be something to read or watch, something to eat or listen to, or even something to do. Enjoy the weekend fellas.
READ: Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders’ short stories are weird and wonderful and brilliant. But even given that, I don’t think anyone could have predicted how amazingly inventive Saunders’ first novel would be. Lincoln in the Bardo tells the story of how Abraham Lincoln mourned his son Willy, who died in 1862, in the middle of the Civil War. But rather than write this novel in conventional prose, Saunders uses both excerpts from historical documents and play-like dialogues to tell the story. It sounds bonkers — but it works. At turns hilarious and deeply moving, this is a story of a man learning to navigate profound loss — and in so doing, learning how to lift up our nation.
LISTEN: Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways
Bob Dylan is an American master, a chameleon who — almost sixty years into his career — is still evolving, still changing, still finding new ways to surprise and take your breath away. Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan’s 39th (!!!!) studio album, was just released to the best reviews he’s had in twenty years. Dylan may be 79, but man, he’s still got it.
PLAY: Persona 5 Royal
A month ago, when I finished the wonderful Final Fantasy VII Remake, I started looking for a new Japanese RPG to sink my teeth into, and there was one game that kept popping up on my radar screen: Persona 5 Royal. At first I was intimidated. I’ve never played a Persona game before. It looked…. complicated? But I caved and bought it, and boy am I glad I did. In Persona 5, you’re a high-school reject by day, but by night, you’re a vigilante “Phantom Thief” — you literally invade the psyche of depraved people and force them to confess their crimes. If this sounds crazy — it is. But it’s also insanely fun. The gameplay is a blend of turned-based JRPG (a la Final Fantasy) and a social simulator, where you’re building relationships with other characters in order to improve your own stats. It’s also a game that OOOZES style and personality — the use of color, of characters’ costumes, of acid Jazz and funk bangers in the soundtrack — everything contributes to an experience that has been unforgettable thus far — and I’m only 20 hours in, out of an estimated 130 hours of gameplay. Out now on PS4. (Don’t have a PS4? Persona 4 Golden, an earlier game in the series, just released on PC, and it’s supposed to be equally fantastic.)
WATCH: Da 5 Bloods
Spike Lee’s latest, released digitally last week, is a heist film set in Vietnam that looks like a perfect combination of Apocalypse Now and Ocean’s Eleven set to a soundtrack of Marvin Gaye and funk and soul and full of passion and big ideas. No surprise: the critics love it. Streams free on Netflix.
Back in March and April, when I had all of the time in the world, I was cooking practically every lunch and dinner from scratch — I had the time then to whip up souffl©s and Japanese oyakodon and bean stews on random Tuesdays and think nothing of it. But in the last few weeks, I’ve gotten slammed with work. Enter: ye humble Sandwich. Sandwiches are a perfect way to give myself efficient, delicious food. Rather than a recipe, I offer a few basic precepts of the Sandwich:
- Buy good, sliced, bread.
- Toast it until it’s nice and golden brown.
- Spread something yummy on it. Mayonnaise, Mustard, Pesto, Aioli, Thousand Island, Olive Oil, whatever.
- Add some ingredients. Start with basics like deli meat, cheese, and veggies. But also? Experiment! Try crazy combinations. Throw some leftovers on there. You may discover your new favorite sammie.
- I like to put drier ingredients (meat, cheese, lettuce) against the bread, and wetter ingredients (tomatoes, pickles) in the middle to prevent the bread from getting soggy.
- Sprinkle on some salt. (Especially if you’re using tomatoes!)
- Cut along a diagonal. (The diagonal is key. Those corners? Easy to fit into your mouth.)