Welcome to Obsessed, a weekly series featuring everything the KQED Arts gang can't stop talking about. We're bringing the conversation from the water cooler to cyberspace! This week, we're freaking out over former celebrity couples, wizards turned feminists, computer games of yore, and more!
Who Runs The World? Emma Watson!
Emma Watson grew up playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, but instead of going down the dark path trampled by most child stars, she went on to study at Brown and Oxford, continue acting in pretty good movies, and become the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador (nbd!). In her role at the UN, she's been making waves with her speeches about the need for gender equality. I watched her hour-long Q&A on the topic at the beginning of the week and can't stop thinking about how simply and eloquently she captured the spirit of feminism.
Harry Potter fans fell in love with the character of Hermione because she wouldn't settle for anything less than her full potential; because she never let being "muggle-born" or a girl in a boy's world hold her back from being a boss; and because she wasn't afraid of punching the most sinister boy in school right in the face. These days, Emma Watson doesn't need to fight sexist jerks with her fists; she's knocking out inequality with reason, intelligence, and grace. Somewhere out there, Hermione is perfectly pronouncing "You go, girl!" For the most inspiring quotes from the Q&A and to watch the whole video, head over to KQED Pop!
Pictures of famous people who used to be together but aren’t any more: that’s literally all there is to Old Loves, and yet scrolling through this seemingly-endless Tumblr represents the closest I’ve come to a serious addiction. Vintage fashions, visible substance abuse issues, Liv Tyler's awkward youth, Britney and J.T., Heidi Klum and Seal’s infamous Halloween costumes, Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal’s miserable lunch, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner at Studio 54, Cher and Greg Allman’s hair-union, Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder (whether with each other or literally everyone else in Hollywood) — it’s all here, along with the pleasures of discovering historic couplings you had no idea existed (Liam Neeson and Helen Mirren, seriously?).
It’s not just a reminder that famous people really like to keep the gene pool shallow, but also a glimpse into a different era of celebrity, where actors looked way less groomed, paparazzi shots were unguarded and Gary Oldman and Isabella Rossellini shared daschunds. So if, like me, you’re the kind of person who loves buying disconcertingly-stiff back issues of Us Weekly from garage sales that have clearly spent the last decade in someone’s bathroom, call in sick tomorrow and give this Tumblr the time it deserves.
Barry McGee's Needlepoint Carrot
Barry McGee is a Bay Area luminary, renowned for his graffiti-rooted, eye-popping artwork, and it's no secret that he's one of my favorites. One of his clustered installations is currently on view as part of the Oakland Museum's Fertile Ground exhibition. It bulges out of the wall like a "pimple," as the artist has described, and is made up of countless framed paintings, photographs, or found objects.
The arrangement is different every time it's exhibited, and this time I noticed an unexpected needlepoint carrot in the mix. This little stitched snack left me curious. Where did he find that carrot? Who made it? Is it a carrot or a yam? On a recent museum visit for a KQED video shoot, I geekily pointed it out to museum staff and anyone else who would listen. Fertile Ground is open for another month, plenty of time for you to go find it!
The Internet Archive's MS-DOS Games Collection
There's a specific kind of nostalgia (the Germans probably have a word for it) that combines wistful affection with a head-smacking epiphany of long-forgotten excess. Boy howdy, did I have that feeling when I came across the Internet Archive's MS-DOS Games collection.
Sure, the titles and launch-screen images would have been plenty to keep me endlessly scrolling through the 2,600+ games, mostly from the '80s and '90s. I could have spent hours chuckling over the days and weeks I "wasted" trying to master the timing of Prince of Persia (those skidding stops!), or telling myself I'd just design one more level of Lode Runner. But, no, the geniuses behind the Internet Archive, completists that they are, have much more in store.
All of these games are playable. In your browser. Yes, some are hamstrung by antiquated control schemes, and others are just shareware samples, not full games, but I would suggest that the point isn't to relive the full experience of beating Castle Wolfenstein, but just to get the overpowering taste back in your mouth.
Want more? Check out our past obsessions!