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What's making us happy: A guide to your weekend listening and viewing

Rosalía performs at the YouTube theater on Oct. 7, 2022 in Inglewood, Calif.
Emma McIntyre
Getty Images
Rosalía performs at the YouTube theater on Oct. 7, 2022 in Inglewood, Calif.

This week, we learned what a negroni sbagliato is, ways to show our friends we love them, and why cow burps are being taxed in New Zealand.

Here's what the NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

Gamak Ghar

I watched this film last week at MoMa as part of a retrospective of newer Indian independent films. This is supposed to be the big year for Indian films. The film is in the regional language Maithili. It's called Gamak Ghar, the English name is The Village House and the filmmaker is Achal Mishra.

This film is about a family and their house. For two decades their house has remained constant. Mishra charts the changes in the family through deaths and births. When the family is prospering, the house looks better. When they are in harder financial times, the house looks worse. It is beautiful. It could be a metaphor for a hundred things. I would deeply, deeply recommend Achal Mishra's Gamak Ghar (The Village House); it's available to rent or buy on Vimeo. – Bedatri Choudhury

Rosalía's Motomami Tour

My highlight of the week was seeing Rosalía here in L.A. as part of her tour for her recently released album, Motomami. It was one of the best concerts I've ever been to. I love her. I love her music. I think she's an incredibly innovative, exciting, pop star for this moment.

The tour is also really interesting because it takes away the spectacle, you might expect flowery Spanish flamenco energy, but it's this incredibly rigorous somewhat modernist, minimal pop concert. One of the highlights from the concert was when she performed a song I really love called "Candy." This lovely song was performed with her "mottopapis," her dancers.

It was magnificent and it's an album that I really love. I'm still buzzing off of it. If the tour happens to come to your city I would highly recommend seeing Rosalía perform. – Bilal Qureshi

Remembering Dame Angela Lansbury

What is making me happy is the outpouring of appreciation for the life and work of Dame Angela Lansbury, who died earlier this week. It's only fitting. There are times when Twitter stops being a hell space and becomes useful, as it did this week when gay Twitter and movie Twitter and theater Twitter came together to form gay, movie, theater, Twitter "Voltron," to point you in the direction of performances you need to see.

Now, there's plenty that we all know. Murder, She Wrote, Beauty and the Beast, Sweeney Todd and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. But if you have not seen Angela Lansbury's darker stuff like her debut performance as the scheming maid Nancy in the 1944 film Gaslight, a film which added "gaslight'' to our lexicon. One of the reasons for that is Angela Lansbury's performance. Also, her popularly recognized performance as the mother in the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate is chilling and terrifying.

But I'm going to steer you not toward an evil performance, but to a towering one — charismatic, compelling, forceful. You'll find it on the 1966 cast album of the Broadway show Mame (music and lyrics by Jerry Herman). It is vitally important when you're searching for this show that you include the term Angela Lansbury in the search bar. Because if you search for the Lucille Ball version, I'm going to come to your house and slap that laptop off your damn table. Show some respect this week of all weeks.

Angela Lansbury had a voice like a brass instrument, which meant it had to be very specifically written for. Jerry Herman knew how to write for it. Everybody knows a lot of the songs from the musical "We Need a Little Christmas," some people know "It's Today." If you've been in a gay bar in the last four decades, you've seen Bosom Buddies on the TV. But this is a clip (see video below) from the song "Open a New Window," in which Angela Lansbury is playing the wild and willful socialite Mame Dennis, urging her nephew, Patrick, to live an unconventional and interesting life.

That song is a march, as you can tell, and it's led by the bandleader, this clarion call, the entire brass section, that is Angela Lansbury's voice. You could do a hell of a lot worse this weekend than falling down a YouTube rabbit hole in appreciation of the late, great Dame Angela Lansbury. "Dame Mame," as she's known in my house. That's what I'm going to do. I got the champagne on ice because as we were freshly reminded this week, even though she made it to 96, the fizz doesn't fizz too long. – Glen Weldon

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Linda Holmes

Isabela Merced as Juliet and Kaitlyn Dever as Rosaline in <em>Rosaline,</em> available on Hulu.
/ 20th Century Studios
20th Century Studios
Isabela Merced as Juliet and Kaitlyn Dever as Rosaline in Rosaline, available on Hulu.

I'll have a full review next week of The Vow Part 2 on HBO, but it's certainly going to be worth a watch if you found yourself sucked into the first installment in 2020, and it premieres Monday night.

You know what really gave my week a jolt of joy? The Smitten Kitchen recipe for pumpkin bread. Pardon me while I eat the entire loaf.

I had mixed feelings about the new film Rosaline, now streaming on Hulu, which is the story of Romeo and Juliet from the standpoint of his ex. I wasn't wild about the script, but I love the lead performance from Kaitlyn Dever, and there are some very cute jokes about other romantic comedies in the music supervision. Perfectly good for an afternoon with a cup of tea.

Another one I want to alert you to despite my mixed feelings about it in the early going (although I've only gotten an episode in): Ryan Murphy, who just had a hit for Netflix with his Jeffrey Dahmer project, now has another one available: The Watcher is based on a true story that appeared in The Cut about a family that bought a house and then started getting really creepy letters. I think the series gets off to a slow start, but the cast — Naomi Watts! Bobby Cannavale! Margo Martindale! Mia Farrow! — certainly piques my curiosity.

NPR's Pilar Galvan adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
Bedatri Choudhury
Pilar Galvan
Pilar Galvan (she/her) is a reporter whose work focuses on the intersections of media and culture. She is passionate about film, music and sports. She recently graduated from Yale University where she double majored in anthropology, specializing in ethnomusicology, and art, concentrating in digital media. She previously worked in digital media at art institutions including MoMA PS1 in Queens, NY, and the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, Portugal.

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