Here's what got us through it.
The Bizarre, Familiar World of 'Neo Yokio'
The only thing that's been able to distract me from the sorrows of this terrible week is the new Netflix anime-lite, Neo Yokio. The futuristic creation of Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, Neo Yokio is set in a surreal, alternative version of New York-meets-Tokyo, where a teen idol named Kaz is tasked with slaying demons who haunt the city while navigating society's upper tier of pop stars and celebrity fashion bloggers. Fittingly, Kaz (who bears a striking resemblance to rapper Lil Uzi Vert) is voiced by fellow teen celebrity Jaden Smith. The rest of the star-studded cast includes Rookie's Tavi Gevinson, VICELAND's Desus and Mero, Susan Sarandon, and Jude Law. The playful series strikes the right balance of bizarre and familiar, couching pop culture references and commentary in an off-kilter plot about the supernatural. —Nastia Voynovskaya
Dame Shirley, My Hero
The San Francisco Opera is revving up to produce the world premiere of a new work by the eminent, Berkeley-based composer John Adams. As I prepare to report on The Girls of the Golden West, I've been digging into one of the main sources for the work -- The Shirley Letters. The author of this amazing batch of Gold Rush-era correspondence is a doctor's wife by the name of Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe. Clappe is my new hero -- an intrepid pioneer, and scribe who gave herself the pen name "Dame Shirley" when she started filing missives to a San Francisco magazine called The Pioneer from the remote Northern California mining camp on the Feather River where she and her husband spent a fascinating if hard-scrabble 15 months in 1851–52. Whether describing the rugged landscape, her encounters with Native American women, or a public whipping, Clappe writes with vivid color and emotion about the tough mining life. Her words definitely provide a sense of perspective on our own Gold Rush-like times. —Chloe Veltman