Watch: Small Axe
Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen, best known for 2013's 12 Years a Slave, recently created a film series titled Small Axe. Each of the five installments depicts a different slice of Black British culture in the '60s and '70s, and all are streaming on Amazon Prime. One of the anthology's standouts is Mangrove, named after a Caribbean restaurant that was targeted by multiple racially motivated raids by Notting Hill police. Local Black activists peacefully took to the streets in protest, leading to unfounded arrests for "riot incitement" and the highly publicized trial of the Mangrove Nine. Letitia Wright of Black Panther stars as real-life leader of the British Black Panther movement Altheia Jones-LeCointe. Stream on Amazon Prime.
Catch Up On: Camp Getaway
If you've worked your way through all three branches of Below Deck and need new glossy escapist programming but the thought of committing to the tawdry lives of The Real Housewives makes you queasy, Bravo has another option. Camp Getaway is basically Below Deck on land, only the ranking chart is far less rigid and staff are encouraged to fraternize with the guests. Set in the bucolic Berkshire Mountains, the show follows eight counselors who work at the camp on weekends, after it has transitioned from wholesome children's outdoor classroom to an adult after-hours club set in the woods, with traditional activities like archery and hiking thrown in for good measure. Is there drunken skinny dipping? Yes. Drunken-themed costume parties? Yes! Drunken arguments followed by drunken hookups? Yes, yes, yes! Whether you love drama or just miss the summer camps of your youth, you'll want to book a stay by the end of the season. Stream on Bravo and Amazon Prime.
Drink: A Hot Toddy from Produce Row
When the governor allowed bars and restaurants to resume patio dining in early December, most owners who had valuable sidewalk or streetside real estate immediately flipped on the propane heaters and welcomed back customers. But Produce Row Cafe decided to stay on pause—until now. The inner-eastside restaurant has long been popular for its spacious outdoor, year-round terrace, and as of Jan. 13, you are welcome to use it once again. Produce Row also used some of its time off to convert its parking lot into additional seating, where you'll find a new tent set up. Order a locally made beer from one of its 24 taps or warm up with the signature PRC Hot Toddy, garnished with a cinnamon stick. Produce Row Cafe, 204 SE Oak St., 503-232-8355, producerowcafe.com.
Hear: Heaux Tales by Jazmine Sullivan
Jazmine Sullivan is R&B's answer to Randy Newman, an alternately wry and sentimental songwriter who challenges you to make up your mind about how to feel about the characters in her songs. Her new project, Heaux Tales, is her first release since 2015's Reality Show, one of the best-written pop albums of the past decade. Like that album, it explores the intersection of sex, politics and power, translating spoken-word interludes into rich character pieces driven by a brassy, raspy voice that equals her songwriting. Stream on Spotify.
Watch: Mr. Mayor
Another year, another sitcom for Ted "The Network God" Danson. In Mr. Mayor, he plays a billboard impresario who runs for mayor of Los Angeles to impress his woke teenage daughter and ends up winning thanks to the three greatest words for shit candidates in the electoral lexicon: low voter turnout. As Tina Fey and Robert Carlock's follow-up to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the premise is a bit pedestrian, but it bears the 30 Rock hallmark of satire and silliness, and the chemistry of the cast—which also includes Holly Hunter, Vella Lovell and early MVP Bobby Moynihan—suggests it'll eventually cohere into something great. Plus, three episodes in, Danson has already assaulted the L.A. Kings mascot while high on a weed gummy, so that's additionally promising. New episodes air Thursdays at 8 pm on NBC.
Watch: You Will Die at Twenty
Shot on location in the Sudanese village where director Amjad Abu Alala's parents are from, this existential coming-of-age drama is the first film from that country ever submitted to the Academy Awards for Best International Feature—it's also only the eighth Sudanese film ever made, as the country hasn't had a cinema industry since Omar al-Bashir's military coup in 1989. Considering these parameters, and the fact that the Sudanese Revolution began during filming (the picture is dedicated to the movement's victims), Alala's groundbreaking feature-length debut about our protagonist's assumed fate as prophesied by a shaman is even more impressive. Stream at Virtual Cinema.
Stream: Noah Simpson at the Jack London Revue
After hosting its first livestream just last weekend, Jack London Revue is back with a second week of shows. This time, it's a set from one of the downtown jazz venue's pre-COVID regulars, trumpet player Noah Simpson and his quartet. Best known for their modern takes on bop standards and deep cuts, for this show, they'll also include a tribute to the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove. 8 pm Saturday, Jan. 23. jacklondonrevue.com. $12.
Read: The Portland Book of Dates
Dating? In this global health crisis? On the one hand, this book, by Portland Monthly editor Eden Dawn and her romantic partner, multihyphenate creative Ashod Simonian, couldn't have been published at a worse time: As a compendium of day trips and nights out for both new couples getting to know each other and old ones trying to avoid a rut, many of the suggestions may currently be off-limits or no longer even exist. It's a conundrum acknowledged in the introduction, tacked on just as the pandemic hit: "Will any of these beloved places be around when the book is released? Will we?" But then, if it ends up being somewhat useless as a guidebook, it may take on greater importance as a historical text, the same way Chuck Palahniuk's city guide Fugitives & Refugees did in 2003—a snapshot of Portland as it was just before it changed forever, again. $19.95 at powells.com.