This week we feature the current favorites and obsessions of Sheela Lal, who has been working in Missouri’s progressive political sphere for the better part of five years. She’s also invested in South Asia, having spent a year in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and a year in Kolkata, India. Her work is based around understanding and communicating process for a more engaged community. You can find her work at Progress Missouri, on her two podcasts — Almirah Radio Hour and Heads Up, Missouri, and at @queenofblah where she tweets about #MOleg.
1. Desus Nice and The Kid Mero in the Bodega Boys podcast and Viceland’s Desus & MeroThe Bodega Boys weekly podcast features Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, two men from the Bronx, talking about politics, sports, and pop culture while hella faded. It’s reliably the funniest podcast I follow. Their pointed goofiness could easily belie their insight, but the slow burn is what makes the podcast worthwhile. They’re so good, and it’s difficult to pinpoint the genius. I’ve described it as the best New York City gossip I could never be privy to otherwise.
Desus & Mero can be experienced on TV, Monday through Thursday. I’m normally not about Vice or Viceland, but once they picked up Desus & Mero . . . It’s set up like ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, but the topics range from 45*, World Star videos, New York City sports, and of course, interviews. It is the only TV show that makes me laugh out loud.
Best part is they don’t recycle jokes between the podcast and TV show. Oh yeah, neither are safe for work. Hear them talking about the Kardashians and the 1990s USSR power vaccum, at around 9 min. 30 sec. into Episode 14 of Bodega Boys, and watch their Viceland interview with Melissa Harris-Perry:
2. “Enna Sona” from OK Jaanu
This isn’t a popular stance, but ARR has been pretty disappointing lately. To my ear, he’s relied on excessive orchestral production and the resulting sound is flat. I haven’t listened to the entire OK Jaanu soundtrack, but “The Humma Song” and “Enna Sona” have resonated with me, unexpectedly. “Enna Sona” embodies simple arrangement and lyrics while exuding infatuation.
3. Man Tiger, by Eka Kurniawan
Full disclosure: I’ve only read half of this book. My favorite, very broad, genre is post-colonial. Man Tiger, by Eka Kurniawan is set in a small Indonesian village and intertwines the supernatural, rooted in myth and tradition, with contemporary history and sociopolitical critique. The forward provides the context the reader needs and is a true delight of a read. I haven’t been engrossed in fiction like this for a while.
4. Mickey Singh and Doctors & Engineers
I’ll be relying on brown art for the next four years, oscillating between fuccboi and rad femme music. “Phone” by Mickey Singh lets me escape into a world where fun seduction mixed with unabashed brownness is the norm. Living in the Midwest, none of this is reality.
“Karle Pyar Karle” by Doctors & Engineers is the angry film music we all need and deserve. LA based D&E channels a myriad of musical influences into a coherent, dancey, head banging soundtrack. Ugh, perfect.
5. Heads Up, Missouri!
Each week, I get to produce a podcast of five Democratic women in the Missouri House and Senate talking about that week’s policies. As we head into this shitty administration, it’s important to understand how politics and policy process works at the state level, especially from a segment of the elected official pool that has been resisting for a lot longer than three months. Available at https://www.headsupmissouri.com/ and on iTunes.