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The Human Sound: Yo-Yo Ma & Silkroad Ensemble’s “Sing Me Home”

Gwen tended not to make New Year’s resolutions. “Why should the start of a calendar year be the one time we make self-improvements?” she always wondered, aloud, towards Dania and Eleanor.

 

Still, self-improvement has to happen sometime, and Gwen typically made her resolutions, if any, around her birthday. This year, along with specific goals for health and wellness, she also resolved to generally diversify the music she listened to while working. Jazz had been a staple since high school, but now –– she declared –– was the time to begin branching out. More classical music! She knew the composers but rarely sampled their work.

 

This was why, when Dania glanced over her shoulder one day, she saw not the typical music library pulled up the “JAZZ FOR STUDYING” playlist, but instead a YouTube video of an older, Chinese man playing the cello.

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Saint Joan: Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s “Ms. Blakk For President”

As she walked over the confetti-coated floor of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s upstairs theater, Dania felt caught between a rock and a hard place.

On one side of her –– rather, on either side of her, while they sat on a couch during the performance –– were Eleanor and Gwen, who were excitedly violating the “100 Yard Rule” to praise the performance before they had left the building. They had joined every whoop and holler that evening, each chant of “LICK BUSH IN ’92” and “MARSHA P,” each numb silence when the story’s parallels to 2019 were abundantly clear.

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The Cover Is Not The Book: Disney and Rob Marshall’s “Mary Poppins Returns”

As they walked out of the theatre, Hazel was still humming the repetitive melody to “Trip A Little Light Fantastic,” her feet tapping along like the dancers in the film. Her wide grin was a contrast to the more stoic, contemplative look her older sister held as they returned to the parking lot.

“What did you think of the movie, Hazel?” Gwen prompted.

“I loved it!” Hazel shouted. Gwen put a finger to her lips, and Hazel’s head dropped slightly. “Oops,” she whispered. “Sorry.”

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Appropriate Moves: Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”

“Ten years?”

Eleanor had gotten used to the dread that came with each notification on her phone –– keeping up with the news had drained her, but out of a maligned sense of civic responsibility, she continued to do so. Of course, every now and then, the clouds parted and gave her respite to discuss something more enjoyable.

“Ten years since what?” Gwen asked.

“This music video is ten years old now!”

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