What Wednesday is where I talk about what I’m watching, reading, playing, listening to, etc. Today I play some arcade games, watch the best political show around, and listen to a surprise from Blood Orange.
What I’m Playing: Classic arcade games at Abari, a recently opened video game bar (aka, heaven) down the road from us in Optimist Park. Katie and I went there with a few friends on Saturday night and confirmed it’s as awesome as I had hoped. NBA Jam. X-Men. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. All the basics for a balanced arcade diet are there, plus pinball, if you’re into that (weirdo). They even have a relatively new arcade game called Killer Queen. (Someone somewhere still makes new arcade games–who knew?!) It’s an intense ten player cooperative game spread out over 2 huge HDTVs. And when I say intense, I mean it; I got shushed by a teammate for talking about something besides game strategy. Sorry lady!
One of the coolest attractions there isn’t even an arcade game. In one corner, you’ll find a period accurate recreation of a 80s-90s living room, complete with Atari and Nintendo Consoles. We played a particularly spirited 4 player game of Mario Kart 64, which had me marveling at our ability to still enjoy games that are literally painful to look at. How the N64 didn’t blind an entire generation of kids is astounding.
What I’m Watching: Veep Season 5 Finale Filled with hilariously vulgar narcissists that spout of occasionally scathing political commentary, Veep has always been a favorite. I’ve always thought that the show’s conceited idiots more closely matched the reality of politics than the cold, brilliant superhumans on House of Cards. And while it’s always been great, this season absolutely crushed it. Smart, outrageously funny, and surprisingly unpredictable, Veep just finished one of the strongest comedic seasons in recent memory. With GOT also coming off its best season so far, HBO is killing it (though Silicon Valley had a bit of an off year). Highly recommended, if you can stand potty mouths and heavy cynicism. Bonus: The Big Short If you can keep Katie interested for 2 hours of financial and economic intricacies, you did something right.
What I’m Listening To: I was going to talk about The Sideshow from DJ Shadow, a solid throwback DJ “scratch track” (as in physically scratching the beats, Pro Tools loops not needed), but then Blood Orange went ahead and dropped his album early. One of the first artists on the 80s revival train, Dev Hynes is a British songwriter with a talent for interesting sounds and provocation. Upon first listen, it’s pretty good, but time will tell if it passes his second Blood Orange album, Cupid Deluxe, which has long been a favorite of mine. With guest appearances by FKA twigs, Debbie Harry, Carly Rae Jepsen, De La Soul, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, to name a few, it definitely has potential. It’s already getting rave reviews.