Justice!: Eric Reads the Week, #14

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

You may recall me mentioning that this week we'd be visiting my mother-in-law in Portland (hello, PDX!) and that we were going to an actual TULIP FARM to see 40 ACRES OF TULIPS. Well! When we landed, we were informed that because the winter had been unexpectedly cold and wet the tulips were being shy and hadn't yet bloomed. To which I responded, "SEE YOU IN COURT!"

This is a justice issue. I was promised 40 acres of tulips. This is reparations with flowers. Rose-perations. Rose Parade-tions? They say you can't sue a flower for malpractice but I say "You need to set bigger goals for yourself."

Instead of the tulip farm, we spent the day at a couple of vineyards in Dundee, Oregon. My husband, David, regaled me with tales of how ice flows in the prehistoric times brought soil from France to the Willamette Valley and nearby regions, creating a terroir that is super hospitable for growing grapes. Some of this may not be accurate as I don't have a super good memory and it's 7 am local time but 10 am in my body and I'm basically malfunctioning at every level. Anyway, the point is, big things happened in the Ice Age and now we get bomb-ass pinot noir. Unfortch, this also means that a bunch of prehistoric beasts also perished, but whatever, they didn't like pinot noir anyway.

David is the best tour guide you will ever meet. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, he knows interesting facts. Like, if we were ever kidnapped and tied up in a cave in the Maldives, he'd probably turn to me and go "You know the interesting thing about stalactites..." He would also handily get us out of there because he's an Eagle Scout.

For my part, I'd be googling "Best Brunch Maldives" because I always like to know where my next meal is coming from. As part of our wine-tasting experience, we also stopped by a grove that grows olive trees and did a tasting of a huge range of olive oils, Himalayan salts and balsamic vinegars. Honestly, I've never felt more like a Nancy Meyers character. I understand wealthy whiteness at a molecular level. I purchased a bowl of salt that cost $26. I'm living my best life.

Finally, I have to say, if you're ever in the Sherwood, Oregon region, you HAVE to go to this gay-owned bakery called The Hungry Hero that my mother-in-law found! That's where I live now. I've updated my voter registration. First of all, their logo is the bee's knees.

How cheeky! I live! I'm obsessed with everything about this. I love how it's a 20-era strongman in a singlet because that's exactly what I think of when I think of stuffing my face with dessert. I love that the frame has a little flourish that covers up any un-family friendly bulges or food babies. I love that he's holding up a cheesecake like a vision out of one of Blanche Devereaux's fantasies. This place is perfect. And not just from a graphic design perspective. It's a tiny little shop, little more than a counter and a kitchen, really, but they make such great use out of it. The counter is literally overflowing with goodies, like it's a shot from the live-action "Be Our Guest" number from Beauty and the Beast. And if you know me, you know I love a good pedestal stand. There are probably 30 here. I'm living. ALSO, since the kitchen is RIGHT THERE you are basically bathed in smells. While I was perseverating and photographing, one of the owners just whipped up a quick caramel. LIKE IT WAS NOTHING. Sweetie, sugar work is HARD, honey. That is no small feat. I'm obsessed with this place. We bought a huge box of desserts and I left my heart.

If there was any justice in the world, I'd host a reality show where David and I travelled the country, going to gay-owned bakeries and funky churches. He'd tell you all the interesting facts about the area and I'd make double entendres about cake scream at you about what you have to try when you're there ("THE PASSION FRUIT BALSAMIC VINEGAR IS TO DIE FOR!") Dear Hollywood, please make this happen.

While we wait for that, this week's columns and articles focused on other, equally important, justice issues: Maxine Waters' battle for democracy, S-Town's Southern Gothic murder investigation, and two sisters seeking to escape a North Korean regime. But first! Renata Klein would like to have a word with you...

From W Magazine...

Why Renata is the Star of Big Little Lies, According to Renata

What’s so interesting about Renata is that while she is a woman who seemingly has it all—the career, the kids, the power, the house—her struggle is not rooted in juggling everything. That’s rare for television. When Renata struggles it’s with larger, moral questions. She’s activated by the choking of her daughter, Amabella, but she’s propelled by a basic confusion over why her daughter—and by extension she herself—can’t receive justice. [READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

From ELLE.com

You Will Never, in Your Entire Life, Get the Best of Maxine Waters

Honey! Your fave, Maxine Waters, is back at it again. She showed up on All In with your bespectacled boo, Chris Hayes, last night, and they did a double act to beat the band. And I know what you're thinking, "I don't think Hayes got in more than three words in that interview." Girl, three is generous! That's how they roll.
Chris Hayes: Do you—
Congresswoman Maxine Waters: (Seven-minute Shonda Rhimes monologue, followed by self-satisfied grin, closing with the passing of the offering basket and a grand jeté.)

[READ THE FULL COLUMN] (which Chris Hayes called "a work of art.")

Mini-Human Mistakes Water Heater for a Robot; Wins Our Hearts

Perhaps when the machines rise, they are simply trying to get a better angle from which to hug us. Case-in-point, this adorable video of a little human person named Rayna who "mistakes" a broken water heater for a robot. Like a hippie Sarah Connor, she decides that the best way to respond to a random droid in the streets is with love. She embraces the metal contraption, repeatedly telling it "I wuv you," while it stands still, impervious to her declarations like an intractable anti-hero on a telenovela. El Corazón de la Máquina, now available on Hulu. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Shirtless Chris Hemsworth Opens Celebrity Photobomb Season 2017

Chris Hemsworth got a jump on Celebrity Photobomb Season (CPS, for those of us in the industry) with a casual semi-clothed shot posted on his Instagram account. This is perfect. What a great way to begin our season! Hemsworth can be seen poolside, behind a smiling couple, chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool and cool all. He's the Fresh Prince of Bel AirBnB. He almost blends into the majestic scenery. Is that a tree? Nope, just a very famous man with no shirt on! I always get them mixed up. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

A Guide to Processing Your Feelings About S-Town

Brian meets Tyler, a young friend of John's who runs a tattoo parlor with some people who are maybe probably definitely white supremacists. Brian tells us that, before he left for Alabama, his wife, Solange, advises him to hide his social media accounts so that if he meets racists, they won't know he's in an interracial relationship and he's like, "Naw, I'm good." LOL. White! Men! You! Need! To! Listen! To! Black! Women! [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

From Theatre Philaldephia...

I'm writing a new series for Theatre Philadelphia! The premise is simple: I’ll go to plays with Philadelphians who are integral parts of city life but not directly connected to the theatre community. We’ll then talk about whatever the play brings up for us and I’ll, in some form or another, report back to you. The idea is that theater always sparks a conversation. So, even if you haven't seen the show, don't live in Philadelphia or don't know me, you'll still get to read an essay about an experience that might resonate with you. I’m curious what people take with them after the lights come up. And what they leave behind.

The first theater date centers around going to a production of You For Me For You by Mia Chung, a searing magical realist play about escaping North Korea

Theater Date 1: You For Me For You with Andrew Panenbianco -- [READ IT HERE]

Anyway, I gotta go. It's either 9 am or noon and I'm due somewhere. We're going to the Japanese Flower Garden after church today so I have to get ready to yell at a bunch of lazy tulips.

To justice!

Take my playwriting course at Good Good Comedy!
Sundays at noon
April 23-June 4th (skips 5/21)
More information here!