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"You’re in the Middle of the World" by Lauren Ralphi Burgess. This image is featured on poet Jericho Brown's book "The Tradition."

Kelundra Recommends 06.12.2020

This week has been a slight exhale and after the huge insuck of the last two weeks. With so many people in the streets and on social media expressing their grievances with the direction of our democracy, it’s easy to get swept away with the tide. I’m reminded of  stories I’ve read about the Freedom Summer of the 1960s where thousands of students led protests throughout the country for civil rights. What we’re experiencing is not without precedent, so we know we come out shining together on the other side. I believe that joy can be a form of resistance, and that’s what I want to spread through these blogs every week. So, get into this list and try something new today.

  1. TO WATCH: For the last couple of years, I’ve attended an event called Pop Up Magazine. The concept is TED Talk meets lifestyle magazine with the caveat that the shows are never recorded or made available online. However, COVID-19 has changed things, so the spring issue is live on YouTube for the world to view. The stories in this issue are a bit lighter than those in years past, which is what we need at these times. You’ll find stories told from the perspective of high school Mariachi bands, a med student who graduated early to fight Coronavirus, a comedian whose life changed as a result of the travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries, and more. I was really impressed at how they were able to maintain the element of surprise and delight that Pop Up Magazine is known for, even with contributors recording their stories in their homes in quarantine. Press play, you won’t regret it.
  2. TO EAT: I enjoy few things more than loaded nachos from Taco Mac, and recently I tried my hand at making them myself. Caution: There is nothing health about this. I take On the Border cafe style nachos from the grocery store and pile them high with barbecue chicken, black beans, queso, lettuce, pico de gallo, and shredded cheese. It goes perfectly with binge watching movies on Netflix.
  3. TO DRINK: Fire up the charcoal grill and next to the barbecue, lay down a few pineapple rings. Leave them there for about 10 minutes so they can absorb a little smoke and char. Then, pour up some Bulleit Bourbon and ginger ale and drop that pineapple inside. It’s a nice, sweet smoky summer sip.
  4. TO PLAY: The Pat Down with Ms. Pat has quickly become my favorite podcast. If you don’t know Ms. Pat, I highly recommend reading her unbelievable autobiography Rabbit. In it, she tells her journey from an abusive childhood to being a drug dealer and transforming her life through standup comedy. On the podcast, she shares stories from her wild upbringing and discusses current events in a way that no one else is doing. Her observational comedy, raw humor and unbridled curiosity will have you in stitches.
  5. TO READ: The world can always use a little more poetry, and right now we need the poets to put into words what we’re struggling to describe. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning collection,The Tradition, Atlanta-based poet Jericho Brown attempts to describe the black experience in America. Covering everything from police brutality to complicated familial relationships, he masterfully wrenches the gut, but also lifts our chins. As a bonus, you can read my interview with him where we talk about names and Greek myths.

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