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To-Do List: Socially distanced columbia arts and entertainment picks (Aug. 5-12)

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Yo La Tengo released We Have Amnesia Sometimes in July.

AMBIENT

Yo La Tengo’s We Have Amnesia Sometimes

There’s something wholly peaceful about the music Yo La Tengo creates. Whether quietly meditative or noisily serene, the trio seems to always wrap a warm, slightly avant-garde blanket around the listener each and every time. Their new ambient record We Have Amnesia Sometimes does this more than most, as it consists of aimless, pre-song improvisations created under COVID-safe conditions. The pieces dispense with much of the form and finer points of melody in favor of the pristine Yo La Tengo gauzy sound. KYLE PETERSEN

THEATER

The Ninth Hour: The Beowulf Story

Beowulf, the epic Old English poem detailing the deeds of a sixth century Danish king, is the cornerstone of English literature — and now you can sing along with it in this dark rock opera reimagining. An examination of how power and violence are inextricably entwined, the show was captured last year at the Cloisters, a New York art museum comprised of bits and pieces of European medieval churches, a fitting setting for a tale centered on plunder. You can watch it via The Met’s YouTube page. PAT MORAN

FILM

John Lewis: Good Trouble

If there hasn’t been enough emotion surrounding the passing of John Lewis, Good Trouble, a documentary covering his work in the civil rights movement and beyond, will have you in your feelings and wondering what you can do to be a fighter for change. You also realize while watching this doc that Lewis was a rockstar that didn’t rest on his laurels. He could’ve easily basked in the glory of his ‘60s accomplishments, but he worked on, as if he was a man a quarter his age. The film is available to rent via various services. PREACH JACOBS

VISUAL ART

Art Break with Dr. Todd Shaw

In tandem with the Columbia Museum of Art exhibition Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, University of South Carolina political science and African American studies professor Todd Shaw discusses contemporary activism like Black Lives Matter, and how it draws on the legacy of the Black Power movement of the 1960s and ‘70s. Shaw will also examine how Brathwaite’s work reflects and foreshadows these movements for social justice. The free talk at the museum starts at 3 p.m. on Aug. 9. Find more info at columbiamuseum.org. PAT MORAN

MEDIA

Revisit something you didn’t like

Did you like Batman v Superman the first time you watched it? Did you dig Metallica’s St. Anger the first time you heard it? Ever try to get through The Grapes Of Wrath and just give up? Well, you’ve probably got some time on your hands these days, so why not give that thing you just didn’t like the first time another shot? What’s the worst that could happen; you still don’t like it? You’re right where you started. And if you do like it, you’ve got something else to enjoy now. VINCENT HARRIS

FILM

José

This keenly observed LGBTQ coming of age story is set in Guatemala City, a location that is as much a character as the titular protagonist. When a young gay man, eking out a hardscrabble existence with his devoutly religious mother, hooks up with a gentle construction worker, romance begins to blossom. A strong sense of place, with an emphasis on the city’s sounds, put this intimate drama in the neo-realist tradition. Get three days of access for $12 through Aug. 6 via nickelodeon.org. PAT MORAN

TV

Street Food: Latin America

Netflix’s character-based food tourism series Street Food dropped a new season last month on Latin America, and it’s a lovely bit of vicarious travel experience that satisfies the exploratory itch of the COVID-limited traveling experience while also tempering that standard bit of colonialist impulse that often comes from such things thanks to a focus on the people as much as on the excellent, populist fare they create. Highly recommended. KYLE PETERSEN

FILM

Mucho Mucho Amor

For me, this doc fell in the category of “things I know nothing about, but look interesting.” I had zero clue about the Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado, but soon realized that I was missing out. Imagine if Liberace decided to tell you about your horoscope, and you’ll get a small taste of what it’s all about. And I’ll even go out on a limb and say as far as Netflix docs are concerned, this is much better than Tiger King, even though it won’t get as much attention. PREACH JACOBS

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