Why you should care

The Weekender is a special collaboration between OZY Tribe members near and far to provide delicious recommendations for your valuable weekend time. 

WHAT TO LISTEN TO

Ella Mai — Raw and Romantic. This young, unapologetically emotional British songwriter, whose R&B is shimmering and nostalgic, released her eponymous debut album in October and will launch her first tour in January. Her new album is perfect for “cuffing season” (colder months when people seek monogamous relationships) as it chronicles the good, bad and passionate side of relationships. (Recommended by Natalie Roe, Love Song Junkie)

Firewoodisland — Pan-European Folk. It’s not easy to write a folk anthem, but this Norwegian-Welsh band has made an art of it, creating both energetic and soothing songs. The vocals are a gorgeous mix of five voices and a welding of folk music from both the U.K. and Scandinavia. Listen to All in Line and feel yourself being drawn into your own memories, then mainline their debut album, this year’s Chaos Is the State of Heart. (Recommended by Maroosha Muzaffar, Pensive Listener)

Mitski — Complex, Lonely Pop. Every song by this Japanese-American singer — full name Mitski Miyawaki — draws you into its own world. In Lonesome Love you become the folk singer stuck in a loveless spiral, while in Nobody you are the introvert jamming all by yourself. Also, she’s amazing live, doing a pseudo-burlesque performance while singing songs about loneliness. (Recommended by Alex Furuya, Concertgoer)

WHERE TO GO

Laos — The Simple Life. The growing bustle in hubs like Luang Prabang and Vientiane belie the truism that this country is “so quiet you can hear the rice grow.” But Laos is still languid compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors and offers misty mornings along the Mekong River, remote trekking and simple village life. If you go in April, you can also see Pi Mai, the New Year festival that involves everyone having a giant water-gun fight in the streets. Don’t forget the food, which is very closely linked to restaurant favorite Northern Thai cuisine but is often overlooked. (Recommended by Daniel Malloy, Who Should Know)

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Village and bungalows along Nam Song River in Vang Vieng, Laos.

Source Shutterstock

Shooting Ranges — Take Your Best Shot. We all know the glitz, glamour, gambling side of Vegas, but did you know you can also shoot machine guns there? Even for total newbies, gun ranges in Vegas (like this one) will train you in operating and shooting some truly gigantic firearms. Children as young as 10 are encouraged to try their hands at shooting off the M4 and Beretta ARX under supervision. If you want to double up on the destruction, the company offers a package deal with another firm that will let you operate a bulldozer for 90 minutes. (Recommended by Chris Cheng, Fun Enthusiast)

WHAT TO WATCH

Dancing Queen — You Better Work. Choreographer and dance teacher Justin Johnson prepares his pupils for the grueling world of dance competition at his Beyond Belief Dance Company in Mesquite, Texas. But he has a double life: By night, he takes the stage as drag artist Alyssa Edwards, of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame. While his drag personality brought him fame on the national stage, he’s been a teacher for more than a decade — and until Ru Paul came knocking, most of his students and their parents didn’t know about his high-heeled double life.

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Dancing Queen

Source Netflix

Netflix series Dancing Queen brings the pendulum back around, chronicling Johnson’s balancing act in a sort of hybrid of Drag Race and Dance Moms that’s a welcome break from the bleakness that’s characterized the winding-down of 2018. The kid dancers are great, also — the company made it to the quarterfinals of America’s Got Talent a decade ago, so they’re not just riding on Johnson’s coattails. (Recommended by Michelle Bruton, True Believer)

And whatever you do, don’t do this …

Accept the status quo. Nine-year-old Dane Best has triumphed in his quest to get snowball fights legalized in his hometown of Severance, Colorado, after a 98-year ban. After the board voted unanimously to change the law, Best was allowed to throw the first legal snowball. (iHeart)

SLIDE INTO OUR DMS

Do you have a killer potato salad recipe that you’d like to share? Think you discovered the next great jam band? Share your suggestions with us here at OZY! Email us: Weekender@ozy.com.

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If you’d want to drink it, eat it, wear it, ride it, drive it; if it’d be cool to see, listen to or do, we’re writing about it.