Culture Corner -- Best of July

Sydney Hodgson | @SydneyLHodgson

July is peak summertime - like barefoot in the grass, hair blowing in the wind, searching for a swimming pool - summertime. Releases in film, tv, and music this month call to the free spirit within, with comebacks and sequels from crazy-strong and inspiring artists sure to set the mood for the months ahead. There is no denying summer is here, so embrace the heat with Sydney Hodgson’s recommendations below.

TO WATCH . . . 

  • Insecure details the life, career and relationships of Issa Rae, a hilarious and bold twenty something African American woman living in Los Angeles. The HBO series, based on Issa Rae’s breakout web series Awkward Black Girl, returns on July 23rd. The first season received rave reviews for the way it addressed social and race issues without giving in to cliches or stereotypes, and I expect the poignant comedy to be just as good the second time around.

  • The X Games is a quintessential summer event. These guys and gals are totally insane and will keep you staring, jaw-gaping, at the tv (even if, like me, your mom made you wear wrist guards at the skating rink). This year, the summer showdown takes place in Minneapolis from July 13th-16th. Watch it on ESPN.
  • Eleven years ago Al Gore sparked a global climate movement with his film An Inconvenient Truth, leaving viewers scared, educated, and inspired. The revolutionary film’s second chapter, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, recounts what has happened since 2006 and vocalizes the urgent need to take action and “send a message of truth to power.” An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power opens on July 28th.

TO LISTEN TO . . . 

  • The three sisters of HAIM will finally grace us with their second album, Something to Tell You, on July 7th. Their killer debut Days Are Gone played in my headphones on repeat throughout 2013 and can still be heard in trendy coffee shops and boutiques across town. Check out the funky first single “Want You Back” and turn it up real loud. My bet is this album will quickly become a stereo staple.

  • Adding to my playlist of women rocking this summer is Lana Del Rey, with her new single “Lust for Life" featuring the always dreamy The Weeknd on the dizzying chorus. The timely lyrics croon: “Climb up the H of the Hollywood sign, yeah / In these stolen moments / The world is mine (doo wop, doo wop) / There’s nobody here, just us together (shadoop, shadoop) / Keepin’ me hot like July forever.” The new album, Lust for Life, drops on July 21st.

  • Reveal is the podcast from The Center for Investigative Reporting, one of the most credible, innovative, and empowering media outlets in the U.S. The podcast features diverse stories with reporting from the CIR team as well as segments from public radio and various media partners. Be warned, the content is a little heavy for a casual summer stroll, but as intended, it will leave you questioning the system and inspired to take action. Available on iTunes or revealnews.org.

TO DO . . .

  • Farmer’s Market season is officially in full swing. Find the market nearest you and pick up some seasonal local produce - like corn, green beans, beets, blueberries, tomatoes and various herbs - to whip up a fresh meal you can enjoy al-fresco with friends and family. Need menu inspiration? Check out the plethora of recipes from Boulder Locavore, a local blogger who emphasizes Colorado cooking and will help you fill your table with guest-pleasing plates.

  • This summer the Denver Botanic Gardens welcomed the exhibit Calder: Monumental. Alexander Calder is arguably one of the most influential American sculptors of the 20th Century, and right now you can see eight of his sculptures placed gracefully throughout the gardens. The giant pieces compliment the evolving plants and greenery surrounding them, heightening the power of the plants and making this a standout experience. Calder: Monumental runs through September 24.

  • Take a trip down memory lane and head to Fiddler’s Green on July 16th for a night with Blondie and Garbage for the pair’s Rage and Rapture tour. In Blondie’s new album Pollinator, released in May 2017, Debbie Harry collaborates with current stars like Sia and Charli XCX, jamming with all the energy she had in the ‘80s. Alongside Garbage, the grammy-nominated alternative band with a front woman who is just as fierce, these iconic queens will have you dancing all night long.