Good Days, romance novels and songs of optimism

Need some pop culture inspiration for your week? Keep your finger on the pulse of all things A&E with this week’s heat.

Nina Raemont, Arts and Entertainment Reporter

With stimulus checks coming in this week, treat yourself to some good eats and good vibes. A&E can help you with both with this week’s heat.

Something to try:

Stepchld: There’s a new restaurant that popped up in Northeast Minneapolis that’s worth trying out. Stepchld describes itself as “a slightly off-kilter concept” that takes American cooking techniques and transforms traditional dishes with new flavors. On Stepchld’s menu, you’ll find items like Ethiopian Birria and Comfort Grilled Cheese with broccoli and pickled peppers for a kick. The brunch menu also boasts creamy egg scrambles, chicken sandwiches and “overnight done right” oatmeal.

Something to tap your foot to:

duendita’s “Open Eyes”: The newest song from the Queens-based singer is meditative and spiritual with tastes of mellow piano and falsetto. The single is a part of Mexican Summer’s Looking Glass series, which Mexican Summer describes as “a portal for creative exploration and community … to resonate through all versions of reality.” The series features many different artists that can be listened to and supported on Bandcamp. Check out the rest of the series here.

Something to watch:

SZA’s psychedelic “Good Days” music video: I didn’t know I needed a video of SZA rolling around on a fake grass hill, but then I watched the “Good Days” music video and decided that I most definitely did. The music video is as ethereal as the song itself. In the video, she dances on a pole in a library, lays in the glass with a diamond bejeweled fit and moves around unbothered. Is this music video some kind of fever dream? Maybe, but it definitely channels your “empty mind shit.”

Something to read:

“Love at First” by Kate Clayborn: Something about warmer, sunny weather makes me yearn for a new book to read on the University mall. Whether you’re one hundred miles away from campus finding the sun in your local park or backyard, or spending your days masked up near Walter Library, check out “Love At First,” a romance novel by Kate Clayborn. The book spotlights Will Sterling, a doctor who’s trying to offload the apartment he unexpectedly inherited that Nora Clarke lives in, and even though they hold opposing efforts around keeping or selling the building, they forge a deep connection. This novel will leave you in tears and with a general appreciation for life, and that’s really all we can ask for in 2021.

Something to make your week:

This weekend, Yo-Yo Ma celebrated his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by playing the cello for newly inoculated folks during his mandatory 15-minute observation period. A video of Ma sitting with his cello, playing “Cello Suite No. 1” in G major, donning a black golf hat and, of course, a blue surgical mask, began trending on Twitter Saturday night. As more Americans get the vaccine each day, the video reminds us that there’s light — and music — at the end of this yearlong tunnel.