You might’ve heard of this one. But is Hamilton — the rap musical about the “ten dollar founding father” — really as good as everyone says? Yes. Yes it is. Hamilton is a revelation, a show that is as fun as it is smart and as smart as it is deeply moving. This version — a filming of the original cast’s live performance on Broadway — is as remarkable and electric as I remember it being when I saw it on stage in 2015. Equal parts Les Misérables and Emimem, Hamilton is a breathtaking tour-de-force of ideas, emotions, and incredible music. If you love musicals, or hip hop, or American history: you will love this. A show that is alive with American possibility, Hamilton’s infectious optimism is exactly what we need in this moment. Now streaming on Disney+.
When Deadwood premiered in 2004, there had never been anything like it on TV before — and there’s never been anything like it on TV since. On its surface, Deadwood is a Western full of filth and blood and piss and vinegar featuring characters that riff on and subvert Western genre stereotypes: the man with the code; the crooked saloon owner; the “hooker with a heart of gold.” But at its core, this is a show about the birth of modern America, a show about how criminals, scalawags, and fortune-seekers birthed society in the West. Due to a dispute between HBO and Deadwood’s creator, the notoriously temperamental David Milch, the show ended abruptly after its third season — but last year, HBO was able to bring Milch and the cast back together for a two hour film to finally wrap things up. If you’ve never seen it — you’re in for a hell of a treat — and if you saw it way back when — it’s 100% worth the re-watch. Currently streaming on HBO/HBO Max.
LISTEN: Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
I first became aware of Phoebe Bridgers when I saw her open for The National a few years back, and she popped up on my radar screen again when she, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus released the excellent boygenius EP in 2018. Punisher, her second solo album, is an incredible evolution of her songwriting. Featuring intricate arrangements, heartbreaking songs about abusive relationships, and National-style epics about American collapse, this is an album that is as personal as it is universal, a record I’ll be listening to for years to come.
If you like Chess, Catan, or Civilization VI — this is the board game for you. Scythe, a massive, sprawling strategy game, takes place in an alternate-history post-World War I Europe; you play as one of five “Europan” factions trying to claim territory, cultivate resources, gain popularity, and win skirmishes fought with giant mechs. The game’s art is incredible, and the gameplay’s even better. Though it takes a little while to learn the rules, once you get the hang of Scythe’s mechanics, it’s the kind of game where you’ll plan five or six moves ahead — only for someone to totally screw your plans by taking a territory you thought you had down. Live alone? The game features an excellent solo mode. Plus, there’s also a fantastic PC version that will allow you to play online with your friends.
MAKE: Peach Galette
It’s peach season, fellas. And peach season means peach galette. What is a galette, you ask? It’s essentially a fancy French word for a free-form pie. Think: all of the yum factor of peach pie — with none of the work. Stella Parks’ phenomenal recipe, which I’ve made four times in the last month, requires no special equipment and results in a galette that my flatmate described as “the best desert you’ve ever made.” The great thing about galette is that your peaches (or nectarines) don’t have to be perfect. Maybe they’re a little under-ripe, or a little bruised. It’s okay. They’ll still work. Serve the galette warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or cold, for breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. There’s never a wrong time for peach galette.
About the author: Michael Robin is an LA-based television writer. When he’s not working away on his latest pilot script, you can find him scuba diving, hosting Shabbat dinners, or goofing off with his goldendoodle, Biggie Lebowski.