LZ Sunday Paper Newsletter: The "Be-Bop Boppity-Boo" Edition

Dateline: 8/15/21

Dear Readers,

Too hot to do much of anything? Stay inside and watch, listen or read:

The "Chasing Ghislaine" podcast. I did not think I wanted or needed to hear or see one more thing about Jeffrey Epstein. The point of the podcast is to take a deep look at the patterns of enablement and suppression, in both Epstein's life and in the media, that prevented any of his nefarious behaviors and crimes from surfacing earlier. The journalist/producer/narrator, Vicky Ward, has scores of hours of  transcripts of her and Epstein's conversations which formed the basis of a potentially explosive, yet ultimately de-fanged story for Vanity Fair that could have brought Epstein down. The (to me) lesser or un-reported characters, the shady business / banking throughline, the pure grifter finally came through. My least favorite element of the podcast is the title. While Ghislaine seems to be an egregious accomplice to Epstein's crimes, there are about 99 men featured in the story and the podcast specifically who remain unaccused, unnamed for the most part, and not in jail. If it were really a story of the male power structures that set up this vile Epstein's success, the title might want to reflect that.

White Lotus. Holy crap-- this is 100% right up my alley. I adore every one of these satirical, chaotic, annoying, entitled, characters who make me laugh and fill me with dread. A sublime Connie Britton and a sublimer Jennifer Coolidge with a soupçon of Molly Shannon really send me over the top. I'm 5 episodes in, eagerly awaiting the next. Darn you HBO, for carrying on with the brilliant, so-much-more-sweetly-satisfying tv programming tradition of weekly episodes, as opposed to the au courant me, me, me, all-now-for-me binge-y Netflix model. Okay back to the show-- while you might, at times, think the series turns strangely male-gaze-y and a little anti-male-gays-y, as some of the camerawork and plot devices would suggest, I believe Creator/producer/writer/director Mike White is too smart and has too interesting a life experience for that to be true. We shall see.

Schmigadoon! and Ted Lasso (Season 2): AppleTV+ appears to be finding its niche in an unlikely spot, where satire walks to the intersection of Heart & Camp, takes a sharp turn into Comedic & Delightful territory and delivers you to the corner of Ted Lasso & Schmigadoon! The creators and cast for both includes the greatest of the great SNL-alums, from Jason Sudeikis in the former to Cecily Strong & Keegan-Michael Key. Schmig also includes the greatest Broadway greats including all time icon Kristen Chenowith in a deliciously Wicked role. Anddirector Barry Sonnenfeld I have nothing but awe and admiration for, because he was the cinematographer on the first film I ever worked on, right out of college. It was only his second film--his first union gig, which made a big impression on me-- after he shot 'Blood Simple' for The Coen Brothers. He was (and is to this day) funny and neurotic. And he had an amazing skill. Let's say we were scouting a high school auditorium for a scene, which we were. He could stand on the stage and someone could point to a seat in the audience-- K27!-- and he could kick off his loafer and hit the seat like a quarterback executing a perfect pass under pressure. And that's as close as Barry ever got to sports, from what he has revealed about himself. 

You must watch Summer Of Soul. I agree with this review-- is possibly the greatest concert film ever made.  Superstar musician and now brilliant filmmaker Questlove made me realize that what we were led to believe about the history of or the nostalgia for the summer of '69 was incomplete, whitewashed, in fact, without this. The music, the people, the crowds, the performers, the fashion, the culture. The interviews with both superstars and journeymen musicians, watching themselves perform on film not seen for 50 years, was riveting and emotional. It is must, must, must-see and listen. Marilyn McCoo steals the emotional moment of the show for me, Sly Stone, the musical one.

I am midway through 'The Other Black Girl,' a first novel by Zakiya Delila Harris. I am enjoying everything about this treatise on the universality of the fits and starts of 20'something career life with the uncomfortable specificity of the whiteness and anti-Blackness of the traditional publishing world. It's also a really creepy, tense story of friendship. Like I say I'm halfway through, and I'm nervous. It feels like a twist's a-comin.' I have not read reviews but I know the hype is big. 1M price tag for the book publishing rights--not from the publishing house she worked at, btw (the one she skewers quite well in the novel)-- and a tv series already in the offing. High recommend for beach or bedside.

If you have someone who might enjoy these media picks or just needs the most important news of the week, hit 'forward' and pass this on to them. In the meantime, you personally can enjoy this missive this week's edition of fabulous, important articles by and about other fabulous women in the news. It is essential stuff, hand-picked by me--now us!--for you, from politics to tech, business to the arts, health to pop culture.

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PS: over the next few weeks, I'll be converting this whole newsletter to a new platform. I am midstream learning it, so stay tuned for, ultimately, a better format in your inbox. And, I'm guessing,  some inevitable tech snafus along the way!

Stay cool...

LZ

THE PIC(K) OF THE WEEK:

The Persistent Joy Of Black Mothers via The Atlantic

BUSINESS:
The App With The Unprintable Name That Wants To Give Power To Creators via The New York Times

'Call Her Daddy's' Alexandra Cooper Made Her Name Talking About Sex. With Her Massive Spotify Deal, She's Pushing Beyond That. via Time

MacKenzie Scott's Money Bombs Are Single-Handedly Reshaping America via Bloomberg

POLITICS: 
Press Secretary Jen Psaki Is Good At Mending Fences. Just Don't Call Her Nice via Vogue

What We've Learned About How Kathy Hochul Will Run The Show via The Intelligencer

CRIME & PUNISHMENT:
Why "Battered Woman Syndrome" Is Not A Straightforward Defence For Women Who Kill via The National Post

Everything You Need To Know About R. Kelly's Sex Crimes and Racketeering Trial via Vulture

This Is Rachel Uchitel, Representing Herself via The New York Times

HEALTH & WELLNESS:
CDC Guidance Now Official: Pregnant People Should Get Coronavirus Vaccine via The Washington Post

THE ARTS, BEAUTY, FASHION & POP CULTURE:
Jamie Spears Agrees To Step Down As Britney Spears' Conservator, But Not Immediately via The Lost Angeles Times

The Once And Future Beyoncé via Harper's Bazaar

How Jennifer Coolidge's Fabulous 'White Lotus' Caftans Made Her 'Classy, Kooky' Character via Variety

Joseph Campbell's Mythological Woman Problem via The Atlantic

In Coming-Of-Middle-Age Stories, Adults Grow Up, Too via The New Yorker

SPORTS:
The NCAA Was Built To Fail Sexual Assault Victims via Slate

OBITUARY:
Jane Withers, Child Star Who Later Won Fame In Commercials, Dies At 95 via The New York Times

AND WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE ABOUT...?

We Still Love Lucille Ball, and Now She Has A Podcast via The Los Angeles Times