What We Like: George Saunders, Portal, FKA Twigs



This piece by Amy Harmon over at The New York Times is good journalism at its best. Take a thorny issue like genetically engineered foods, which people — particularly in the Michael Pollan-devotee-rich East Bay — approach with an almost religious fervor, and instead tackle it through the lens of human narrative. Harmon follows orange farmers in Florida as they struggle to figure out a way to save the state’s plagued orange crop, which genetic engineering alone may have the power to save. — Azeen Ghorayshi

"Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial," George Saunders advised the 2013 graduating class of Syracuse University in his convocation speech. He released the full transcript of that speech to The New York Times earlier this week. It's a beautiful and simple reminder to be kinder. — Madeleine Key

For the whiskey lovers out there, you may have just found an East Bay mecca: Head to American Oak, an Alameda whiskey bar, to try more than 120 different whiskeys and legit classic cocktails. I recommend Corpse Reviver #2, Mint Julep, and Whiskey Fizz. — E.S.

Friday was my last day at the Express, and I headed to Portal to bask in its transcendent patio and take in the view of the lake one last time. As far as likes, then, Portal’s got mine; but the East Bay Express has my deepest love forever. — A.G.

If you're in need of upliftment, have about twenty minutes and Kleenex nearby, watch this. — Kathleen Richards

Water Me,” the first single by London-based FKA Twigs, is totally devastating, but in that way in which totally devastating pieces of art can make you feel sort of inexplicably okay with things. “He won’t make love to me now,” the 25-year old croons, in her video with Nicki Minaj-esque digitally-enlarged eyes and lips, blankly staring at the camera as her eyes well up with digitally added tears. “I guess I’m stuck with me,” she sings. The slow creaks and blips are reminiscent of the dark ambience of Montreal acts like Braids and Blue Hawaii, with the same quiet feminine power. — A.G.

Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, and Robin Thicke cover Thicke's summer jam "Blurred Lines" in the best way possible: squeezed into a dressing room, playing instruments like the cow bell, banana shaker, and maraca. In one day, the YouTube video has hit 57,000 views, and when you watch it you'll see why: It makes you smile! — Elly Schmidt-Hopper

Beautiful, dark electronic pop: Majical Cloudz.

Oakland shoegaze: whatfunlifewas.

Bay Area instrumental post-rock: Sound of Glaciers.

Blackened experimental noise soundscapes, Locrian. — K.R.

El Cerrito Trail Trekkers
Bay Nature Trail-Finder
Redwood Hikes — K.R.