Welcome. Here’s all any of us have been talking about these days on our calls and video calls, on Slack, in texts and in emails sent too early in the morning or way too late at night: What happens when it’s Fall?
As a corollary: What happens when school starts or it doesn’t, or it kind of does, or halfway does? What happens when September rolls around and we’re still out of work? Or when October comes and we’re still working from a desk in the corner of the bedroom or basement and it’s dark when you log on and dark a million hours later, when you log off? What happens when we’re still commuting to workplaces brought back too soon or too late, to essential jobs that are hard, were harder, that may become more difficult yet again, when the weather changes, if the coronavirus flares once more? What happens on Thanksgiving?
And we know it’s not just us, as we work to find ways to make life at home during the pandemic a little fuller, more cultured, a tiny bit easier. We know you have questions as well, about how to manage life at home, life with family, with roommates, all alone, especially as the summer stretches onward toward September’s call.
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Afterward, you can seek respite in music — say, Sufjan Stevens singing “Futile Devices” on WNYC back in 2011? You can relax into a book. I’m revisiting Colson Whitehead’s “Sag Harbor” right now, as I do each summer. You might bake a blackberry corn cobbler. Or browse the Instagram feeds of global street photographers our critic Will Heinrich admires.
And come visit At Home, where we make recommendations like that every day, where we seek to be helpful to you during a difficult time in our world. It’s a library of diversion, of household knowledge, of suggestions for how to live a little better, despite all. More of those ideas follow below.
And let us know what you think!
How to pass the time.
So many plans have had to be canceled in the last few months, but Jancee Dunn realized she could help her kids through it by making a big deal of the things they can do. She dug in on her methods, which the child psychologist, Tamar Kahane, Ph.D., says can be a “wonderful antidote to all of the disappointments, disruptions and lack of agency we’re all feeling.”
Our culture writers got together and came up with seven things you should do this weekend. Among the offerings? Streaming Silvia González S.’s brilliant play, “Boxcar.”
This week’s playlist includes a new track from DJ Khaled and Drake. Jon Caramanica believes there will be more to come from the latter, saying “When he raps like this, with a stream of boastfulness, it’s often an ego-clearing amuse bouche for a more ambitious release to follow.” Once you get through those newer offerings, take a journey through a list of 15 songs you probably don’t know that will sound awfully familiar.
What to watch.
Among the more intriguing options on HBO Max is a huge selection of films from Studio Ghibli, including classics like “Spirited Away,” “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Princess Mononoke.” Nancy Coleman took to Twitter to perfectly sum up her exploration of those offerings:
“There are TWENTY-ONE whole Studio Ghibli movies to stream on HBO Max. That’s a lot of Ghibli. So for you, dear reader, and definitely not just for my own personal fun, I inhaled a bunch of them and made you a road map.”
As always, Margaret Lyons broke down what you should watch this weekend, based on how much time you have at your disposal. If you have an hour and like comedy, she recommends the new special “Hannibal Burress: Miami Nights.” She says Burress “has the best command of detail of any comedian working today, and his new special, available free, is a knockout.”
In the latest installment of our “Anatomy of a Scene” series, we asked Gina Prince-Bythewood, the director of “The Old Guard,” to break down an action sequence featuring Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne. “For women, the tell of whether they are athletic or not is a punch,” Prince-Bythewood said when discussing the scene’s fight choreography. “If you can throw a punch, we’re going to believe that you’re a fighter.”
What to eat.
Melissa Clark is back with a recipe for creamy tomatoes that is so good you won’t want to share. But if you’re feeling generous, you could try her vegetable-rich pasta (above) that features caramelized peppers that you won’t soon forget.
Vallery Lomas’s recipe for an heirloom tomato tart (above) is not all that complicated but is absolutely packed with flavor.
And while we’ve all changed our eating habits some in recent months, Michael Snyder unpacked the history to show that this isn’t the first time a pandemic has changed how we eat.