This week's staff picks
Every other week, the ASBMB staff shares what we’ve been reading, listening to, watching and doing. During these sultry summer days, we've found a few distractions from the ongoing pandemic, political tensions and social unrest.
Shape of You Carnatic (Amit Patel Dance Project)
On a recent Zoom call, some friends and I wandered into speculating about what currently popular music we expect will be played at retirement homes when we get there. It may be basic, but I expect to still be grooving to Ed Sheeran when I’m 87. (Someone quipped: "And he'll be singing about that too!") Turns out I’m not alone: I fell down a whole YouTube rabbit hole of Sheeran dance covers. And this one absolutely mesmerized me.
It's a short routine in a classical Indian/contemporary fusion dance style, performed sequentially by a few different dancers. I had no idea that, like contemporary ballet, contemporary Indian dance informed by classical styles is a thing. I learned about it from this video. It’s fascinating how differently the same choreography plays out in different bodies. Each dancer’s training sharpens some gestures and smooths others, to the point that at first I wasn’t quite sure they were all executing the same movements. And finally, although you can find a video of the choreographer performing the whole song on a stage, the informal setting, incomplete routine and hearing the dancers cheer for each other gives a glimpse into what the process of learning it might have looked like.
I so look forward to the day when we can safely dance together in person again.
— Laurel Oldach, science communicator
Strawberries and cream biscuits (Smitten Kitchen)
In summer, I'm torn between not wanting to turn on my oven and wanting to bake every fruit-based recipe I can get my hands on. While we are now past strawberry-picking season, even store-bought strawberries come to life in this biscuit. The recipe suggests serving while warm or at room temperature, but these biscuits are usually devoured long before they cool. Freezing the dough and baking in batches helps this taste of summer last just a little longer in our house.
— Kirsten Block, director of education, professional development and outreach
Virtual Birdland: Sunday Nights with Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, YouTube/Facebook)
This is a collaborative effort by musicians recording from all over the world to bring us a wonderful series of virtual live concerts every Sunday at 8:30 p.m. (My baby cousin is the bass player).
— Quira Zeidan, education and outreach coordinator
Is Anyone Watching Quibi? (Benjamin Wallace, Vulture)
Quibi (a portmanteau of “quick bites”) promises viewers star-studded, high-production value content … in 10-minute installments. As someone who routinely binge-watches entire seasons of TV shows in one sitting, I wondered who comprises Quibi’s target audience. Are people really clamoring for 10-minute content? It turns out that the answer is a resounding “no.” If you’re interested in the details of how this $1.75 billion venture so grievously miscalculated, or if you’re just in the mood for some schadenfreude, this article is a fascinating deep dive into the founding and rollout of Quibi. The moral of this story: Market research is important.
— Joanna Kotloski, marketing associate
The Last of Us Part II (IGN)
This videogame is the long-awaited sequel to The Last of Us, which came out in 2013. This action-adventure game has unbelievable graphics with amazing storytelling. While playing the game I felt immersed in the post-apocalyptic world — you can tell the developers really put their hearts and souls into making the gameplay enjoyable for all levels of gamers. I can see why IGN gave The Last of Us Part II a 10/10 rating!
— Stephanie Paxson, diversity and undergraduate education coordinator
10 Poems (Seth Pitt, The Art of Seth Etsy Shop)
I love this collection of poems. They’re full of wonder and whimsy. I often find myself in existential reflection, and reading these poems makes me feel centered and at peace. It’s important for me to find reminders of how simple things, like trees and raindrops, can hold beauty. My favorite poems in this collection are “Variations on a field” and “Past lives.” I also suggest following Seth on Instagram, @theartofseth.
— Allison Frick, multimedia and social media content manager
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René Fuanta, a second-year assistant professor at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, tries to support his students through a semester of unexpected challenges.