Happy March! I love when a new month starts on a Monday. It feels like a clean, smooth start. Spring beckons like the first rays of light before a sunrise. Speaking of, we’ll get another hour of light following daylight savings on March 14th. Spring Forward always feels like a significant shift in my psyche when we’re eating dinner in the light.
On the other hand, March will mark the year anniversary of COVID really digging its claws into America. I think it’s going to be painful to realize a whole year was robbed from us, or more gently put, altered.
Nonetheless, I am overjoyed to say that both my parents are vaccinated and even some of my friends! We still have a long road ahead, but with the most conservative of timelines, let’s agree next March will be different than this one. And let’s hold onto that!
March is Women’s History Month, and we are thrilled to rep the incredible women of music, movies & hoops, this month and every month!
Aretha Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Feels right. Strong lead.
Unfortunately, less than 100 women have been inducted since. Not good…
Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director for her Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker in 2010. 2010???!!! Are you fucking kidding me?
And just last week, Renee Montgomery became the first former player to have an ownership stake in a WNBA team. She attests, “My Dream has come true. Breaking barriers for minorities and women by being the first former WNBA player to have both a stake in ownership and a leadership role with the team is an opportunity that I take very seriously.”
Hell yes, Renee! We’re so behind you!
Music /// Kings of Leon When You See Yourself
The Nashville party brothers are releasing their first album in FIVE years on Friday. Five years, wow! What the hell have you boys been doing? Actually don’t answer that, I can imagine…
They have already released three singles in anticipation of the 11 song album, “The Bandit,” “100,000 People,” and “Echoing.”
It’s funny, it almost seems like this new album is channeling serious Strokes energy, which is ironic because I thought when KOL broke with 2008’s Only By The Night, the whole sell was a more masculine, 70s rock-inspired response to the early 2000s New York Indie Rock Revival.
Of the three singles, I am most drawn to the youthfully energetic “The Bandit.” It’s seeped in that Strokes, Broken Social Scene sound, and growing up with the music, it’s good to be back. KOL makes us wait through two verses before we finally make it to the chorus at 1:30, but once we get there it hits. A mix of minor chords and haunting guitar lines support the craving lyrics:
Must catch the bandit
Rundown and stranded
Must catch the bandit
I must say I enjoyed revisiting their music for this piece. I think KOL suffered from expectation management. Ten years ago they were kinda pitched to us as this generation’s Zeppelin. They are not that. But if you just meet them as they are—a cool indie rock band—they’re a great indie rock band! And Caleb Followill gives you everything you want from a male rock frontman.
Movies /// The United States Vs. Billie Holiday
The United States Vs. Billie Holiday is directed by Lee Daniels (Precious) and stars Andra Day as the iconic jazz singer. Taking a new spin this week, instead of highlighting a movie that comes out this weekend, The United States Vs. Billie Holiday came out on 2/26 and I watched it this weekend.
So the truth is I am not sure it needs to rocket to the top of your watch list… Day is brilliant and absolutely deserving of her Golden Globe win for Best Actress last night! Woot! And I appreciated that Daniels took the Rocketman approach of not trying to fit the superstars entire life into two hours, rather focusing on a specific chapter.
But something just lacked punch. I wouldn’t go this far, but there are grains of truth in Bilge Ebiri’s review, “Billie Holiday’s life was filled with so much tragedy and triumph that it must count as some sort of accomplishment to make a boring movie about her.”
I want to say this, Billie Holiday may honestly be my favorite female singer EVER. Her voice is like sweet syrup that can take the edge off a bad day and captures the romance of a good one. I cannot more strongly recommend spending two hours with Billie this week. Watch the movie, by all means! Or alternatively, put your phone on silent, dim the lights, and listen to Body and Soul and/or Lady Sings the Blues. It’s a lock to be a good move.
Hoops /// All-Star Game
The NBA All-Star Game is this weekend! We have regular NBA games until Thursday and then get the one day All-Star affair on Saturday. Of the regular season games, I am most drawn to Thursday night’s TNT feature between the Heat and the Pelicans at 8:30PM ET.
As for All-Star, the NBA is truncating the weekend into a one night bonanza for COVID reasons (why we’re doing this at all, is a different story). At 6:30, we get the Skills Challenge and the 3-Point Contest. Then the game tips off at 8PM. The Slam Dunk Contest is happening at half-time. That’s trippy!
Here are the Slam Dunk Contest participants: Obi Toppin, Anfernee Simons, and Cassius Stanley.
Alright, let’s take a second here. I am well aware that the dunk competition has lost its marquee appeal, but who the hell is Cassius Stanley??! I am a diehard NBA fan. I run a website called music movies & hoops and I have NO CLUE who that is. Oh boy.
So I wasn’t sure exactly what to do to highlight the All-Star game, so I enlisted fellow contributor Nate Mondschein for our own All-Star draft. Here’s what we got:
Here’s my team: