CULTURE & ARTS

There Were Zero Things Better This Week Than Beto O'Rourke's Post-Hardcore Band

Except maybe "Kim's Convenience" on Netflix.

Welcome to Good Stuff, HuffPost’s weekly recommendation series devoted to the least bad things on and off the internet.  

The single greatest thing I learned this week is that Beto O’Rourke, the Texas Democratic challenger to Ted Cruz for his Senate seat, once played bass in a post-hardcore band called Foss with one Cedric Bixler-Zavala on drums. And he kind of went hard? Harder than Mike Huckabee anyway.

If you don’t know Bixler-Zavala’s name, you will not care, and I don’t blame you. But for the small contingent of us who do, it is the single most random thing ever. By far. No competition. HOLY MOLY I’M GETTING EXCITED ALL OVER AGAIN. WHAT!?!? 

Bixler-Zavala would go on after Foss to become the lead singer of two bands that defined my childhood, the Mars Volta and At the Drive-In, making this a perfect melding of my teenage self and whatever the hell you would call my current state. ― Maxwell Strachan

“Kim’s Convenience”

Between “Crazy Rich Asians” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” August has been such a landmark month for pop culture featuring three-dimensional portrayals of Asians that there’s a hashtag for it: #AsianAugust. (If you haven’t seen either of those, go do that!)

“Searching,” a thriller starring John Cho, the first Asian-American actor to headline a mainstream, modern movie in that genre, joins the party this weekend before rolling out to more cities next Friday.

And don’t sleep on “Kim’s Convenience,” a Canadian sitcom about a working-class Korean-Canadian family that premiered in 2016 but is now available in the U.S. on Netflix, which added it in July. In between reveling in how wonderful “Crazy Rich Asians” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” were, I watched a few episodes last weekend and was immediately hooked. It will definitely be relatable to anyone who comes from an immigrant family. But it also has the classic conventions of any great, slice-of-life family sitcom, with endearing characters and an abundance of irreverent jokes. ― Marina Fang

My Colleague’s Love For “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”

On the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 17, my colleague and dear friend Claire Fallon watched “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” for the first time. “It fucking wrecked me,” she tweeted of the now-beloved Netflix rom-com. By the time I saw her at work the next morning, Claire had watched “TATBILB” three times already. She seemed… different. There was a twinkle in her eye, a bounce in her step — the unmistakable signs of a woman in love.

Claire confirmed as much with her bombshell story: “Report: I’m in Love With Netflix’s ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,’” and she didn’t stop there. She RTed every article horny for the film’s romantic male lead, Peter Kavinsky, adding commentary like “i am hurting myself every time i watch it and realize he isn’t real.”

Before long, Claire’s husband was drawn into the fold. “They say you should include your partner in your fantasy life so I made my husband watch to all the boys I’ve loved before with me,” she tweeted on Aug. 18, a time she would later describe as “the most romantic weekend” of her life. This marked her fifth viewing of the film and potentially, I foolishly thought, her last.

Claire is now up to 10 viewings and shows no sign of slowing down. On Monday and Tuesday, when she normally live-tweets “Bachelor in Paradise,” Claire instead posted six GIFs of Peter Kavinsky — in a hot tub, on a school bus, smiling all sexy in a bathrobe. Where am I supposed to get my snarky “Bachelor” commentary now, Claire?! Her obsession became my obsession. Thanks to Claire, I now find myself talking incessantly about a movie I haven’t even seen, filtered through the lovesick gaze of my talented co-worker.

“If you’re wondering, i did watch it last night,” Claire slacked me today, unprompted. “I do little else.” If this post was a rom-com, this is the part where I’d declare my love for Claire and suggest that instead of Peter Kavinsky she take notice of the girl working at the desk across from her all along — fave-ing her tweets, offering her goldfish, casually suggesting they open the mail together. But it’s not, and Claire is married and I have more journalistic ethics than that! ― Priscilla Frank

The Greatest Sentence In The History Of Language

This was a bad week ― all weeks, now, are bad ― but at least we were blessed with one of the great sentences in the history of language.

“Suck my dick and balls I’m working at NASA” is a literary delight, nine words strung together so perfectly that there’s no way to misread them or misinterpret the emotion they intend to convey. The person who wrote them, who had the misfortune of directing them toward someone who oversees NASA, apparently lost out on an internship opportunity at the space-exploring government agency. This is a shame, not just because no one should be fired over a tweet but especially because no one should ever be fired after penning such a beautiful tweet.

Homer Hickam, the former NASA engineer who was best known for writing “Rocket Boys” but will now enter history as the man who elicited the greatest piece of writing humankind has ever produced, is apparently helping our glorious author find an even better opportunity in the aerospace field. But the real hope here is that one day our dear friend ascends to the top of NASA, resumes the shuttle program or some other form of space exploration, and paints our new motto on the side of whatever sort of craft eventually finds other forms of life out there, so that our newfound alien friends’ first brush with the English language is the English language in all its glory. And if we’re not going to cure cancer or solve climate change or find aliens or do any of the other cool shit science is probably capable of, we should put all of our resources and expertise into finding a way to project “Suck my dick and balls I’m working at NASA” onto the moon. ― Travis Waldron

Temi Oni’s Latest Poem

I see a lot of my experience in Temi Oni’s latest poem. I walk a lot. I’m catcalled far too frequently. I’m always minding my business. I’ve been hit on by teenagers, men my age, men my father’s age, men his father’s age. I’ve been asked if I suck dick, if I wanna fuck, if I want a dick in my ass and much worse. My initial silence has agitated the men harassing me to the point of them getting too close — just like Oni’s decision to at first ignore the man who asked her if she sucked dick irked him to the point of walking up on her. Like her, I’ve wonder who the fuck these dudes were talking to. I’ve wished my homies or my man was around because I also have a tendency to fly off the handle when I’ve been disrespected. I size the man up. Sometimes I say something smart, ask him who he’s talking to. Sometimes I don’t say anything at all.

And then, it happens: They threaten to rape you. It freezes you. You want to defend yourself, but you don’t know if you physically can. You want him to die because he thinks it’s funny. You’re paralyzed by your anger, but within moments your guts will churn and you’ll start to realize that you may very well be in danger.

You feel bad for this black person. You want better for them. But you also want to feel safe. As Oni says, seeing the police won’t calm you. Black women are constantly put into compromising positions by black men, but the most harrowing is the decision of whether or not we should sacrifice our own safety for theirs by not calling the police. You don’t want a black person to die at the hands of the police, even though they just threatened to harm you. On the flip side, the police often don’t even see black women as worth saving.

In these moments, I often feel a sense of loneliness that is much deeper than me being harassed while I am literally alone. Whenever a black man has walked up to me on the street or tried anything, no one has ever defended me. People can be around and yet no one does anything. At their best, they ignore it. At their worse, they watch. It induces a rage I still can’t explain, a fear I often feel and a pain that seems generational.

It’s the black woman’s Catch-22. ― Julia Craven

“Support The Girls”

Lisa (Regina Hall) often reminds people that she works at a “family place,” insofar as the Hooters-type watering hole she manages does not allow the predominantly male clientele to harass waitresses. As it turns out, the establishment is family-like, at least in the way its female staffers protect and fortify one another — a fitting theme for a movie titled “Support the Girls.”

Andrew Bujalski’s new film is one of those indies that comes out of nowhere and lights up the screen, the perfect cap to a wobbly summer. When a sports-bar chain comes to town, the forces of capitalism threaten to nullify Lisa’s mom-and-pop restaurant. The hourly-wage sisters who maintain the Texas joint are doing it for themselves, and they’re lucky to have the patient, affable Lisa as a lodestar amid the careless dudes in their paths. Hall gives an Oscar-worthy performance, delicately screaming into the void alongside Haley Lu Richardson (“Edge of Seventeen”) and Shayna McHayle, better known as the rapper Junglepussy. When she’s finally had enough, Lisa tosses a middle finger to the sky, a rare release for someone who’s burdened herself with always needing to keep it together. We’re right there with her. ― Matthew Jacobs

Bowen Yang

Bowen Yang may not be a household name, but you may as well learn it now.

The comedian and Vulture host became a viral sensation this week after a handful of celebrities — including Chrissy Teigen and Sarah Silverman — tweeted out some of his lip-syncing videos.

Yang has been uploading clips of himself lip-syncing various pop culture moments since May. But his most recent video, of him imitating Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada” is what has put him on the map. It’s flawless, funny and just a delight to watch. ― Saba Hamedy

Terrific Human Mariska Hargitay

Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank got married this week. She looked lovely in Elie Saab with custom Christian Louboutin shoes. Her husband looked dapper. There was a tap dance! The wedding looked like it was ripped right from a high-class Pinterest page. But the best part of Hilary Swank getting married this week was actually Terrific Human Mariska Hargitay.

One of the photos featured in a Vogue gallery on Swank’s wedding shows Hargitay lurking in the background, seemingly holding up Swank’s veil as part of her duties as maid of honor. Swank and Hargitay are known BFFs, but still, could you imagine having Hargitay around on your wedding day? To give you pep talks, or hold up your dress while you pee or dab the sweat off your forehead after dancing too hard? For sure she’d make sure your Champagne hand was never empty. Congratulations on that, Hilary Swank. ― Paige Lavender

The R-Rated Puppet Movie That No One Liked

Priscilla Frank with her date at a press preview of "The Happytime Murders" on Monday in New York. 
Priscilla Frank with her date at a press preview of "The Happytime Murders" on Monday in New York. 

Some critics have deemed “The Happytime Murders” the worst movie of the summer, if not the whole year. Other people, like my colleague Priscilla Frank, have called it “the only movie that mattered, and the only one that ever will.” Listen, I probably won’t see the film, but I will scroll through photos of Priscilla and her Puppet Boyfriend performing nose kisses in an empty theater at least a couple times this weekend. You should, too. ― Katherine Brooks

Christian Covington’s Very Lifelike Madden Character

Who knew you could play as Shrek on Madden?

The difference between how Texans DE Christian Covington looks in real life and how he looks on Madden is basically the same as photos you post vs. ones you’re tagged in... if people were to draw faces on garbage cans and tag you in them. And like ogres and onions, this thing has layers: Is it so sweaty because it knows it shouldn’t be here? Does it look like a thumb? Is that mean to thumbs? With all the attention this has gotten after Covington poked fun at it, it’s only a matter of time before Madden tries to take this away from us like a bunch of Farquaads. So before that, farewell sweet prince. Like Shrek, may you live happily forever after. ― Bill Bradley 

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