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The other day, I did something that would’ve been considered normal during any other time in my life: I went out to a movie.
Of course, it wasn’t at a movie theater (the vast majority of movie theaters in America are still closed). Instead, it was at a pop-up drive-in movie theater created by a local restaurant called Canlis. I vlogged the experience and you can watch the whole thing here:
In the Before Time, Canlis was a high-end restaurant offering spectacular views of the Seattle area from its location at the top of Aurora Avenue. In recent days, their owners have realized that Seattle doesn’t need a high-end restaurant right now, so they’ve launched a series of experiments to keep their workers in business while also serving the community.
While these initiatives (found on their website) are ephemeral and seemingly random, there’s one thing that unifies them all: A level of care and thoughtfulness that you rarely find in the service industry.
Typically, the people who go to Canlis are celebrating a major life event like a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary. But when we arrived for the drive-in movie along with about 50 other parties, I imagine that many of us were in a state of exhaustion. The quarantine has worn many of us down mentally and the ongoing slow-motion train wreck of the pandemic just saps whatever energy is left.
That’s why the entire experience was so rejuvenating. Just being in the presence of people who valued the customer experience while being understanding that we are living in a situation where we are all fearing for our lives. It had been awhile since we’d received that level of care.
Sometimes the things that we used to consider as normal can be a great blessing in times of distress. I hope you can still find some normal things to celebrate these days.
It’s been awhile since the last email update! (So what else is new?) Something I’ve been struggling with is how to balance my time between the email updates, my many podcasts, and my YouTube channel. Whenever I start focusing on one, the others start calling for my attention, and I feel as a result that I don’t make that much headway on any of them.
But I’ve started making short, quick-hit videos on my YouTube channel and hoping to keep that consistently, while updating this newsletter with shorter pieces that summarize all that I’ve been working on. We’ll see how it goes.
A few things I’ve been working on lately:
- My new podcast with Joanna Robinson, Truth vs. Hollywood, is out now! It will likely demand a future blog post/newsletter update with further thoughts but for now, check out the episodes we’ve already released, where we cover Goodfellas, The Social Network, and Zodiac and the true stories behind them.
- On Culturally Relevant: I interviewed a woman who has COVID symptoms for over 100 days. Read more about this phenomenon here.
- On YouTube: I shared some thoughts on Hamilton and what lessons it still holds for us.
- On YouTube: What are some of the reasons Quibi failed? I reflect on this question.
- On YouTube: My review of Palm Springs, which is an absolute delight.
Other interesting things from around the web:
- Here’s an absolute must-read interview with epidemiologist Larry Brilliant. The man helped us eradicate smallpox from this planet so he knows a thing or two about intractable diseases. See also: this previous interview, as well as The Daily’s piece on what we know about COVID today.
- The New York Times has a lovely ode to a small-town reporter, which becomes a broader look at the plight of local journalism in general (it’s not good).
- Vice has the story on people who make up stories for r/relationships. I love reading these things but it’s interesting to consider what is it about them that makes them go viral.
- What has supporting Trump cost Evangelicals?
- Lila Shapiro examines how it feels to make police shows in 2020.