2018 Live Highlights Playlist (pt. 6)


Enchanted – Taylor Swift

So, this was actually the surprise song at our show in Jersey this summer. It was also acoustic, but this video doesn’t include perfectly timed rain. Which was a magical moment I shared not only with my boyfriend and friend Mary Kate, but also my favorite music writer Rob Sheffield:

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 3.18.54 PM

Break-Thru –Dirty Projectors

May 12, 1916: A Song for James Connolly –Niall Connolly feat. Glen Hansard

Nobody Else Will Be There –The National

Split Stones –Maggie Rogers

Human For –Sunflower Bean

Dragonfly –Olivia Chaney

I Love It –Charli XCX

Oracle of the Maritimes –Neko Case

Grace Beneath the Pines –Glen Hansard

As always you can find and shuffle the full list for yourself here if you have Apple Music.

This week’s not on streaming bonus:

Rox in the Box (with Blackleg Miner interlude) – The Decemberists


Five Star Book: On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss


I’m going to start this post with a brag (of a sort) – I once took a memoir class from Eula Biss. I’m sure she wouldn’t remember me, I was a pretty quiet student, and pretty intimidated in my writing classes in particular, but I think about the books we were assigned in that class all the time. With that in mind, I’m not sure why it took me so long to actually read her most famous book, On Immunity

It might be that I’m a generally squeamish person and thinking about disease for a book’s length of time put me off. But given some recent changes in my life (for those of you who don’t know, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a little over a year and a half ago) I no longer have the luxury of pretending disease is an avoidable thing that happens to “other people.” Which is really what this book is about. Yes, it’s about vaccines, the controversies surrounding them and the language we use to describe both sides of that debate (or I should say the many participants in that conversation). But, more than that it’s about the metaphors we use to talk about health and our bodies in general, and the ways they reflect our fears.

It’s a powerful argument for vaccination (in my reading anyway), not based on repeating the scientific data (compelling though it is), but by calling on our sense of community and what we owe each other in a society. She doesn’t talk down to mothers who fear vaccines, she doesn’t accuse anyone of hysteria. Instead she lays out her findings from a long trip down the rabbit hole of this topic and points towards a kind conclusion.

I love a good trip down a rabbit hole, and this one helped me clarify a lot of swirling thoughts about health and illness that I’ve been grappling with since my diagnosis. But even if it doesn’t seem that personally relevant to you, I highly recommend picking it up, because, one: the writing is beautiful and compelling on its own, and, two: it’s really relevant to all of us, and that’s kind of the only way vaccination works.

Theater Adventure: Waverly Gallery at the Golden Theater


I told you I’d get back to writing about theater soon. But to be able to do that, I first had to attend some, and I chose a great way to return to it. Over the summer I saw a blurb (in the New Yorker I think), advertising a new production of a Kenneth Lonergan play, that was going to star Lucas Hedges and Elaine May. I turned to my boyfriend and said maybe we’ll win the lotto and afford tickets, but thanks to a TodayTix sale, I was able to get them without any gambling!

The play follows Hedges, a clear stand in for a young Lonergan, and his parents, the always amazing Joan Allen, and the new to me but also wonderful David Cromer, as they try to deal with his grandmother’s decline into Alzheimer’s. The grandmother is, of course, May, and she portrays the particular strangeness of dementia heartbreakingly well.

Look, it’s Lonergan, so I knew going in I was going to cry, and I did. Particularly at Hedges’s beautiful, straight to audience monologues. But, just like his more famous film work, there is a real sense of life and love for humanity under the bleak story here. I could ramble on, but there’s no need. If you’re in New York, you should really try to go, the show is still in previews, so you have time.

Oh, and Michael Cera is there as a strange out of town artist. I’m not quite sure why, except if the show is autobiographical, maybe the character is just there because so was the artist.

The show will run until January 27th at the Golden Theater at 252 W. 45th St. between 7th & 8th

2018 Live Highlights Playlist (pt. 5)


Blank Space – Taylor Swift

(The always include Taylor Swift when I push “Shuffle” algorithm continues to dominate. I am still not complaining.)

I Found It in U – Dirty Projectors

Velvet Curtain – Anna Tivel

The Way It Was – The Killers

Bad Luck – Neko Case

Bad Luck – Neko Case

O Valencia! – The Decemberists


We’ve actually seen them twice this year. The first time it was raining

(Also, both times we saw them, Colin Meloy did not bring up Ed Sheeran once, but this is very funny.)

Ever Since New York – Harry Styles

Oh No, Bye Bye – Sunflower Bean

(This was the show I was at!)

Flicker – Niall Horan


As always, you can see the full list (and maybe get a shuffle that doesn’t start with Taylor – maybe…) here. And you can follow adventures (or rants against CATS: The Musical) on my Instagram.

This week’s not available on Apple Music Bonus:

Anna – Harry Styles 

I was at this show, and I love this song, (maybe even more than the other more gossip worthy non-album track he played on tour that I’m sure we’ll get to) which should be unsurprising considering it includes a George Michael sample.

2018 Live Highlights Playlist (pt. 4)

I promise this blog will not only be this playlist from here on out (awards season is coming…) but for now…

Previous parts: ONETWOTHREE

Delicate – Taylor Swift

Beautiful Mother – Dirty Projectors

Little of Your Love- HAIM


From my view in Radio City Music Hall (!) they were blurry, little rock stars

House on a Hill – Olivia Chaney

Funeral Pyre – Julien Baker

(Sorry, shuffle went kind of sad on me this week…)

Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man

Confession: I didn’t actually love the rest of their set at all. But this song is great…so…

Mr. November – The National

Up the Wolves – The Mountain Goats

Never Look Back – Field Report

Go Farther in Lightness – Gang of Youths

As always you can access the whole list here.

And this week’s not on Apple Music bonus is:

Bad Blood/Should’ve Said No (mashup) – Taylor Swift

2018 Live Highlight Playlist (pt. 3)

Previous parts: ONETWO

Relevate – Glen Hansard (Originally recorded with The Frames) 

King of My Heart – Taylor Swift

I’m sure due to some algorithm that (correctly) guesses I would pretty much always like to be listening to Taylor Swift, her music comes up fairly quickly when I put this (massive) playlist on shuffle. So expect her on every list until we run out of her setlist!

Right Now – Dirty Projectors 

It was slightly less dark (but very cold) when we saw them at Boston Calling:


Last Cigarette – Anna Tivel

Want You Back – HAIM

Crisis Fest – Sunflower Bean

Space Cowboy – Kacey Musgraves

Gepetto – Belly

Hell-On – Neko Case

My Church – Marren Morris

(Unfortunately the gospel choir and brass band were not on hand at the amphitheater in Holmdel, NJ but this version is too good to not post).

And this week’s not on iTunes bonus:

Mustang Sally – Rockinghaim

This video is long (you can skip 3:49 to for when the music starts) but it’s from the night we saw them at Radio City and it was sooooo cute.



As always you can listen to the whole playlist here on Apple Music.

2018 Live Highlights Playlist (pt. 2)

Yay round 2! You can read a description of what this is in last week’s post.

Runaways – The Killers

You should know there are certain artists (these guys, Taylor, Harry, The Decemberists) who are going to show up on A LOT of these lists, I would apologize, but they’re all really fun live, so you’re welcome?



End Game – Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran & Future

(For better or worse – probably better? – Ed was not at our show.)

Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard

I Was a Fool – Sunflower Bean

The Question – Anna Tivel

Hotel Yorba – Jack White

Woke Up New – The Mountain Goats

If I Knew – Field Report

Woman – Harry Styles

Down By The Water – The Decemberists

And today’s not available on Apple Music bonus song is:

Present Tense – Glen Hansard covering Pearl Jam

(And this was recorded the night I saw it! (Not by me.)

As always you can listen to the whole playlist here on Apple Music.

Best Picture Baking Project: Cimarron


I think at some point I’ve explained on the blog that the reason that I’m doing this project alphabetically was to avoid “getting stuck in the 30s.” Well, so far the early winners I’ve watched (All Quiet on the Western Front and Cavalcade) had pleasantly surprised me. But…um…this one…did not. But, I found a really good cinnamon coffee cake recipe. (I chose it because I knew literally nothing about this movie going in except it’s name, which sounds like cinnamon.) But first, this mess of a movie:

Had I seen this one before? 

Nope. I thought it was about a horse named Cimarron, but it’s about a dude named Yancey Cravat, his wife Sabra, and very tangentially their son named Cimarron. (It literally took us until the penultimate scene to realize this.

Top 3 observations on this viewing?

  1. This movie is a racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic mess. Made even more so by the fact that it thinks it is being progressive by portraying Native Americans and sex workers and Jews at all without explicit condemnation. But this is how they introduce the character of Yancey’s black servant Isaiah (Eugene Jackson):

Yes that’s an actual child hung up above a dinner table to fan the white people eating a meal. It does not get better for this character from here

2. The plot pacing of this is insane. It starts with the Land Run of 1889 in Oklahoma (with nary a mention of the Native Americans that land was stolen from by the way) and then it jumps a few times, first by 3 years, then 5, then like 20. And the main character, Yancey, disappears from the story with very little explanation twice. His wife (Irene Dunne) in the meantime has become a congresswoman, but we don’t get any details on that, because…her husband wasn’t there while it happened? Or something?

Irene Dunne and Richard Dix in Cimarron

Also Richard Dix wears SO. MUCH. MAKEUP. throughout the whole film

3. All of that being said, I know why the Academy wanted to honor this film. It was grand and ambitious, and technically a marvel for the time. I mean, look at how many people they got racing in the opening sequence:


Apparently it took 40 cameras to capture, which is impressive, I guess.

What did it beat? Did it deserve to win? 

East Lynne – Never seen it. But the IMDB plot description seems like it as bonkers as this, but maybe less racist?

Skippy – Didn’t know this existed until right now, but it’s interesting that what is essentially a kids movie could get nominated for Best Picture at this point.

The Front Page – I’m not sure if I’ve seen this version, but I LOVE this play

Trader Horn – Also never seen this. But it’s IMDB plot includes the phrase “darkest Africa,” so it’s probably as racist as this, if not more

Umm…I obviously can’t really judge, but The Front Page is at least fun to watch. My friends and I needed multiple bottles of wine to make it through Cimarron, so…I’d say give to Ben Hecht.

Bechdel Test pass? 

Actually, yes. There are at least 4 named women, and they talk to each other about each other, and land, and the threat of those savage Native Americans. So…again, not the bastion of progressive values that it thought itself to be, but the women in it are human beings.

On the bright side, this coffee cake (adapted from this recipe) was delicious! And super easy to make!

Easy Cinnamon Coffee Cake


  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, baking powder
  • In a separate bowl mix milk, eggs, and vanilla
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet (I did it a cup at a time mixing completely after each step)
  • Add the melted butter
  • Pour batter evenly into a greased 9×13 baking pan
  • Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together
  • Spread cinnamon sugar evenly onto better
  • Swirl sugar with a fork
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Let cool and enjoy!

2018 Live Highlights Playlist (pt. 1)

I mentioned in my Emmy’s post that I’ve been absent for awhile. I’m not sure exactly why, but although I’ve been on plenty of adventures this year, but I just haven’t felt terribly motivated to write about them. Maybe that will change again in the future (I definitely think theater reviews will return at the very least), but I wanted to find a way to share some of the fun I’ve been having.

So…I’m starting a new series. Throughout this year I’ve been to a lot of concerts, and I’ve started to make a playlist of the songs I’ve enjoyed on my phone. It’s really long now, and grouped roughly chronologically by show, so I mostly just listen to it on shuffle. Every week or so I’ll put it on shuffle and post the first 10 songs that play here (live versions where I can find them, no repeats from the same artist within a week) with some photos I took.

If you’re interested in following my adventures in real time – I suggest my Instagram. And don’t worry, I fully intend to be here for Awards Season madness.

Way Back In The Way Back When – Glen Hansard

Decision Day – Field Report

For Reasons Unknown – The Killers

I know this video isn’t great (also it was at Boston Calling – the music festival – not Boston College?), but I wanted to capture the one I actually saw for this one, because they called a fan up to drum (which they usually do for this song according to the internet) but our guy was good. (And as this project goes on you will see a lot of Brandon Flowers so don’t worry.)

New Year’s Day – Taylor Swift

No, I wasn’t at this secret party. Our Taylor party looked more like this:

Once In My Life – The Decemberists

Spent Gladiator 2 – The Mountain Goats

(We did not have this dramatic of an interaction with John Darnielle as an audience, but it’s hard to find a live video of this song…)

Cruel – St. Vincent

Truth Hurts – Lizzo

The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows – Gang of Youths

From The Dining Table – Harry Styles

In addition to the massive Apple Music playlist (which if you want to follow it, is publicly available here), I have a Note in my phone titled “Songs That Would Be On Mu 2018 Live Highlights Playlist But Aren’t on Apple Music,” which is too long for a title, I know. But through the wonders of YouTube I can find a lot of these songs online to still share them with you. Here is this week’s randomly chosen bonus:

I Need My Girl – The National featuring Maggie Rogers 

Awards Show Round Up: Emmys 2018

So, I took this summer off from blogging, but you didn’t think I was going to miss a major awards show did you? Especially one that included this moment:

Of course, nothing else was that epic, but there were some fun moments and surprise winners. Here were my highlights:

Pretty solid, topical opening number:

(Michael Che and Colin Jost were fine, their monologue was fine, that is all I have to say about them, though the reparations bit was good.)

Amy Sherman-Palladino has an Emmy – actually she has multiple! (I haven’t caught up with this show yet, based on last night I really really have to, but this is justice for Gilmore Girls:

(Also you can see here the way they announced the nominees before the presenters, which was weird. There were still some good bits, but the rhythm was weird.)

Also in reasons to watch Maisel: 

Merritt Weaver years ago gave my favorite Emmy speech ever, she continues to be adorable (and overwhelmed with gratitude and nerves, whoever made her think she had to apologize for her first speech needs to get over themselves):

I didn’t watch this show, but as always, give Regina King every award ever:

When I was in college, my friends and I would sit in our sorority house and watch grainy YouTube musicals that some theater nerds (just like us!) at University of Michigan sing silly songs about Harry Potter. Then one of those kids ended up on Glee and I felt like my friend (who I had never met) was famous. Well, last night, he won an Emmy:

Also, John Mulaney is one of my favorite artists and this was characteristically adorable:

I really, really need to watch Nannette:

(Also, love that The Crown won, and I like Stephen Daldrey, but this moment was pretty perfect.)

A lot of people took fashion risks last night! Here were my favorite ones that worked out:


Ellie Kemper in J. Mendel (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty North America)


Dakota Fanning in Dior Haute Couture (Photo Credit: Getty Images)


Aidy Bryant in Tanya Taylor (Photo Credit: Getty Images)


Tiffany Haddish in Atelier Prabal Gurung (Photo Credit: FilmMagic)


Jessica Beil in Ralph & Russo (Photo Credit: Getty)


Judith Light in Michael Kors Collection (Photo Credit: Getty/Steve Granitz)


Contance Wu in Jason Wu Collection (Photo Credit: Got Celeb)


Samira Wiley in Jenny Packham (Photo Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage)


Natalia Dyer in Dolce & Gabbana (Photo Credit: Getty Images + Joen Shearer)