BART's Brightening Crew: Blasting Away the Grime
Between dirty politics and devastating natural disasters, the world seems like a particularly detritus-strewn place these days. So it lightened my heavy heart this week to watch Joey Harrison and Kerry Smith -- two members of BART's crack "Brightening Crew" -- talk about what it's like to deep-clean the city's train stations and make them sparkle for the thousands of passengers that pass through every day. Not only do these guys power wash blood, vomit, and poop from the system's stairwells on a daily basis, but they also do their job with satisfaction and pride. "It's instant gratification," Harrison says in the short, BART-produced piece above.
The BART crew's message reminded me to sign up for one of our local river cleanup days last weekend. As I plucked mud-caked tires, disintegrating clothes and discarded syringes from the banks of the Russian River, I thought of the Brightening Crew and smiled. —Chloe Veltman
This Random Kid Acting Silly to Snoop Dogg as an Emblem for an Entire Social Media Platform that was Great and it Never Should Have Been Taken Away From Us, Dammit
I am one of many millennials who mourn the loss of Vine. (I’ll never forgive the world for allowing musica.ly to live on while Vine rots in a social media grave alongside MySpace and Formspring.) Vine’s poignant, dry, clipped humor embodied a kind of comedy which was uniquely its own -- and one that I loved very, very much.
What got me through this week is admittedly a bit stupid: it’s a silly Vine of this random kid. He’s donning a goofy grin, demonstrating an inability to properly wear a sweatshirt, and literally just turning to the camera from different angles to Snoop Dogg’s "Drop It Like It’s Hot." There’s absolutely no deeper meaning. It’s hilarious, and it never fails to make me laugh. R.I.P. Vine. I miss you and your dumb humor stupendously. —Katherine Manley
An Unexpected Sonata in the Dark
My sixth-grade son and I were late to his baseball game. Walking briskly through Golden Gate Park, we decided to cut through what we used to call the Dark Cave Tunnel — 20 yards of exposed rock and inky spookiness. As we entered, something felt different, not the usual creepy vibe, and then we saw him. He stood just inside the far end of the tunnel, a tall, older man, leaning against the wall, blowing softly into his saxophone. By the time we reached him the tension in the darkness had evaporated. Was it the music? Or simply his presence? We paused and dropped a dollar in his case before we hustled off. We agreed later that, despite the good things that happened later in the game, it was still the coolest moment of the day. —David Markus
Björk's New Music Video: 'The Gate'
I’m not ashamed to admit that, while separated from my friends and slightly tipsy, I wept for the duration of Björk’s performance at FYF Fest in L.A. this past summer. Her voice is just so heart-wrenching -- especially on her last album, Vulnicura, which deals with the emotional aftermath of her breakup with longtime partner Mathew Barney. The newly single Icelandic singer described her forthcoming record as her “Tinder album,” but I have a hard time believing that Björk is even capable of shallow attraction since her work overflows with so much vulnerability and feeling. Her new single, “The Gate,” and its gorgeous, technicolor music video confirm my suspicions. The track is about healing from loss and being open to even greater possibilities of love -- an inspiring reminder of resilience we all need right now. —Nastia Voynovskaya
This Season of 'Project Runway'
It struck me last night as I closed my computer after watching two hours straight that Project Runway definitely helps me through the week. There's something about watching this group of people (gay, straight, black, white, immigrant, from the heartland) making beautiful works of wearable art that makes me feel more creative and happy. It also inspires me to take joy in dressing myself in the morning; a fun outfit can sometimes be an antidote for feeling depressed about the world's events. Not that a yellow crochet sweater can solve world peace, but it's a subtle mood lifter that helps me tackle the day.