Arts & Entertainment
2 min

4 happenings to wind you up or down right now

What to watch, read, listen to and look at: July 30

Mitch Hara, Pancho Moler and Jason Stuart star in "Smothered." Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

What TV to watch:


Amazon recently debuted an offbeat romantic comedy series titled Smothered about a gay, Jewish middle-aged couple who hate each other but can’t afford to get divorced. The comedy series highlights the occasional bliss, humour and love in the otherwise dysfunctional relationship.

Smothered tells the story of Randy (Mitch Hara) and Ralph (Jason Stuart) as they navigate couples counseling after 20 years of marriage. The series comprises seven five-minute-long episodes, each a different therapy session that unpacks memories, baggage and absurd moments. Guest stars include Dalila Ali Rajah (Criminal Minds), Erika Ervin (American Horror Story) and Pancho Moler (No Actor Parking).

Season 1 of Smothered, written and produced by Hara and Stuart, is available on Amazon Video now.

What books to read:

Tomboyland by Melissa Faliveno

New York City writer and educator Melissa Faliveno is releasing her debut essay collection, Tomboyland. In the book, the author looks back on the spaces of her childhood in working-class Wisconsin and explores her notions of girlhood, womanhood, queerness and class.

Faliveno navigates Midwestern traditions and explores the intersection of identity and place using personal narration and cultural reportage. The collection of essays asks critical questions about belonging and the body, isolation and community and, in Faliveno’s words, “what we mean when we use words like woman, family and home.”

Tomboyland is available for pre-order now and will be released on Amazon August 1 in both Canada and the U.S. Check out our excerpt from the book on August 3.

What music to listen to:

Deezer’s queer hip-hop playlist

Online music streaming service Deezer released a Black Culture channel to support and celebrate Black artists. The French streaming service wants to promote content by Black creators, musicians and podcasters of all genres, and features a queer hip-hop playlist with 40 tracks by notable Black LGBTQ rappers. The playlist includes songs by Frank Ocean, Janelle Monáe, Lil Nas X and Young M.A. The Black Culture channel and queer hip-hop playlist were launched July 27 and are now permanent features.

Listen to the queer hip-hop playlist or Black Culture channel on Deezer’s website or app.

What performance to look at:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Circus Center

San Francisco’s Circus Center, a school for all circus disciplines, offers a modern twist on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a weekly video series airing every Saturday. The series aims to update the classic tale with popular music, karaoke and interactive dance choreography for viewers to follow along. For example, one of the young lovers, Lysander, is played by a drag king (Meg Bishop), while Helena is reimagined as a gay man named Helenus (Ron Oppenheimer). Audiences can look forward to karaoke versions of popular songs to help move the story forward and reveal character. The musical alter-ego for Titania is Beyoncé while lovesick Helenus’ is Dolly Parton.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a web-based series with five episodes, released every Saturday starting July 25 on YouTube and Facebook Live.