Kareem's Weekend Boost

5 Things to Watch, Read, or Listen to This Weekend (Oct. 15-17)

A lot of my Substack articles are about contentious social issues, which is why I’m always so glad when the weekend rolls around and I’m able to share with you some fun distractions I think you’ll enjoy. Let me know what you think.


LISTEN (MUSIC)

A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle by John Coltrane

John Coltrane embodies the heart and soul of jazz. When I was a kid, I would run to the record stores for every new Coltrane album. As I grew up, so did Coltrane’s music, constantly evolving to new musical places. Eventually, some of those places were beyond even a fan like myself. But this recently released album of his never-before-heard live recording in Seattle in 1965 is Coltrane at his most transcendent. A Love Supreme celebrates spiritual faith with passion and commitment.

Watch a short documentary about the significance of Coltrane’s composition here.

Get album here.


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WATCH (movie)

Mystery Road written and directed by Ivan Sen (Amazon Prime)

This 2013 Australian crime drama is unique in that the murder mystery is set in the wastelands of Australia’s New South Wales and features an Indigenous Australian detective and the tensions between the local white and Indigenous communities. Stone-faced Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pederson) is the lone lawman who is sent here to solve the brutal murder of a teenage Aboriginal girl. As much Western as mystery, the film is intense and riveting. We also learn a lot about the Indigenous culture. Although you may think I’m slipping in some obscure B movie, it has a score of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie was so popular that a sequel, Goldstone, and a TV series were made. The TV series is also excellent.

Watch movie here.


WATCH (TV)

Squid Game (Netflix)

South Korea’s Squid Game is the most popular show on Netflix with 111 million viewers. It’s easy to dismiss something that appeals to many different people as trash TV, the video equivalent of a deep-fried Snickers bar. But this show deserves its popularity because it manages to balance social commentary with an exciting and violent plot. The premise involves a few hundred people overwhelmingly in debt caught up in a game show in which losing means losing your life. The winners/survivors are promised millions of dollars. Very Battle Royale. But while there is no shortage of thrills, there is also a sincere attempt to explore the characters internal conflicts as well as the fractured society that has left them in this pitiful situation. In that way, the series reflects two other great South Korean movies, Old Boy and Parasite.


READ (novel)

The Thursday Murder Club and The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

I’m not usually a fan of the British cozy mystery. Too much tea drinking and polite chatter. But The Thursday Murder Club is a complete and compelling delight. The Thursday Murder Club is a group of bored retirees who meet to solve a murder. While that may seem a conventional set-up, the book is anything but conventional. One of the intrepid group, Elizabeth, is a former MI5 agent with a steely resolve and fierce intelligence. The others are equally engaging. I was halfway through the book and already hoping for a sequel. Fortunately, the sequel, The Man Who Dies Twice, was published a few weeks ago and is every bit as good as the first one. Yes, the books are filled with wonderful characters, witty dialogue, and excellent plots, but there are also moments of insight and touching emotion.


READ (comic)

The Good Asian by Pornsak Pichetshote (writer) and Alexandre Tefenkgi (artist)

What distinguishes this noirish mystery set in 1936 San Francisco’s Chinatown from other noir works like the movie Chinatown, is that the detective protagonist is actually Chinese and the setting isn’t just for atmosphere—it’s a deep dive into the uncomfortable role of the Chinese in America at the time. Detective Edison Hark is first-generation Chinese coming of age after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which banned Chinese immigrants from the U.S. Did America come to its senses about its misguided racism. Nope. In 1924, we expanded the ban to include Asians and Arabs. Det. Hark struggles with his own complicity in accepting the racism while solving the case that no one wants him on.

Get book here.