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It’s a weekday, but so what? We can celebrate this Wednesday by getting away, whether it’s traveling afar, dreaming of a night out with friends or just enjoying music at home. To kick things off, we’ll start with a show from some queer artists revolutionizing the music industry. Then we’ll stop for some conversation and mead in Iceland — be sure to thank your bartender! — before settling down to watch a comedy for a time you won’t soon forget.
Golf legend Tiger Woods had emergency surgery Tuesday after suffering serious leg injuries in a single-car crash in Los Angeles, with the sports world sending thoughts and prayers and pundits wondering if the comeback king has one more in him at 45 years old. (Sources: ESPN, NYT)
2. Ugly Lines
Fashion designer Alexander Wang is denying new misconduct allegations, including at least one sexual assault charge, from 11 men represented by high-profile abuse attorney Lisa Bloom. Meanwhile, French actor Gérard Depardieu is under investigation for alleged rape and assault stemming from a 2018 case recently revived by Parisian authorities. (Sources: BBC, Fox News)
3. Here Come the British
The especially contagious COVID-19 strain first seen in the U.K. could lead to a serious fourth wave of mass transmission in the U.S. this spring, health experts warn, urging American public officials to increase vaccinations to mitigate its harm. (Source: CNN)
4. Bit by Bit
Bitcoin surged to an all-time high, surpassing $58,000 over the weekend, then settled back below $50,000 Tuesday. The dip came as Janet Yellen, Bill Gates and Elon Musk each poured cold water on its value — before Musk confusingly fed the hysteria by joining the #LaserEyes meme campaign that aims to double its value to $100,000 in 24 hours. (Sources: CNN, MarketWatch)
This could be one helluva bar snack. Lucia DeClerck, a 105-year-old woman from New Jersey who survived COVID-19, credits eating nine gin-soaked raisins each morning for her longevity and recovery.
Imagine a group of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and a serious form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease with no approved treatment — all together. That, in a nutshell, is the dysmetabolic state. And it can be deadly. But scientists believe they've figured out a potentially game-changing fix: By targeting specific metabolic pathways, they think they can clean up the fat and cholesterol that increase the risk of these devastating diseases.
With nearly a million monthly listeners on Spotify, the nonbinary Claud Mintz is the first signee to Phoebe Bridgers’ label, Saddest Factory Records. They produce a sort of confessional bedroom pop that Gen-Z listeners particularly enjoy. Claud, who previously performed under the pseudonym “Toast,” released their first album, Super Monster, Feb. 12, with the dreamy unrequited love anthem “Soft Spot”serving as the cherry on top.
2. Dizzy Fae
With a Cleopatra cool vibe honed on tours supporting Lizzo, Toro Y Moi and others, this queer, interdisciplinary artist of color is tearing it up on TikTok — where she dedicates her new tracks to “the gays and lovers,” a sign-off her fans adore. The social media platform is increasingly becoming the place for labels to discover artists going viral. For instance, Jensen McRae, whose TikTok parody, “Immune,” led to a studio version with Kendrick Lamar’s producer Rahki. It seems inevitable that the Minneapolis-based Fae will bring a bit of Midwest flavor to the masses very soon.
The British singer-songwriter inspired a generation of queer music lovers with “Touch,” which went viral on YouTube and Soundcloud in 2014. After flirting with a major label, the electro and synth pop artist went back to indie for her second record, forevher, in 2019. A deluxe edition is coming soon with acoustic songs, including “obsession,” a new duet with Rosie Lowe, fresh off its music video release. Her innovative streak doesn’t stop at her music though, Shura, 32, is popular on Twitch and Discord, staying as close to fans as possible while she’s unable to tour during quarantine.
4. Dua Saleh
The Sudanese American poet, actor and singer released their debut EP Nūr in 2019, which was a major success and was followed by their second EP Rosetta and a handful of singles in 2020. Influenced by ’40s jazz and ‘90s hip-hop, Saleh set out to help break Sudanese customs that they deem keep queer people closeted by partially singing their song “Smut” in Arabic. Their style is genre-bending, mixing rap and R&B seamlessly.
AMAZING PROFESSORS THE WORLD SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
OZY is doing a series on great professors, and we want to hear from you. Tell us about a college educator you know who’s going above and beyond, meeting students’ needs and finding new ways to nurture curiosity. Whether they teach at two- or four-year colleges or top universities, please introduce us to profs who’ve impressed you. Let us know here.
Make a Stopover in Iceland
The Nordic island offers glimpses of the northern lights but that’s not the only draw. While it’s safest to visit virtually for the moment, it’s still got us dreaming.
Guðlaugur Friðþórsson was pitched into near-freezing waters when his fishing boat capsized in March 1984. Four other fishermen died, but Friðþórsson survived being in the frigid waters for six hours. How? The bulky 22-year-old had body fat akin to that of a seal, two or three times thicker than the average person, scientists said. Now 59, Friðþórsson lives a quiet life these days and his story is detailed in the book Why We Swim and the movie The Deep.
2. Back Off Siri
Icelandic is not extinct: In fact, 90 percent of Icelanders still speak it. However, the influence of tech assistants like Siri and Alexa, which don’t speak the language, makes some national leaders worry it could soon disappear — with a third of teenagers in the country already speaking English with their friends. But the Icelandic Language Planning Department is fighting back, in part by promising to teach robots its native language. Read more on OZY.
3. Craft Mead
Long winters led the Vikings to turn to mead, and now Icelanders are doing the same. The land of fire and ice is bringing back the honeyed stuff by creating the nation’s first modern meadery, which has produced as much as 1,270 gallons of the stuff in recent years.
Identical twin comics The Lucas Brothers give some behind-the-scenes insights into their new movie, Judas and the Black Messiah, based on the life of Black Panther Fred Hampton. Famous from appearances on Jimmy Fallon, their Netflix special and a cameo in 22 Jump Street, the brothers share what it’s like building a career as a twosome, why they quit law school for stand-up comedy, and why they think we’re living through a renaissance in Black art. Subscribe now.
Tip Your Bartenders
It wouldn’t be a night out without them. We celebrate World Bartender Day today with history’s most memorable ones after a tough year for the service industry.
1. Ada Coleman
The head bartender at the Savoy Hotel in London for 23 years, one of just two women to ever hold the title, Coleman invented the “Hanky Panky'' cocktail after trailblazing her way from the hotel flower shop to the hotel bar before retiring in 1926.
2. Constante Ribalaigua Vert
The Spaniard, born outside Barcelona in 1888, emigrated to Cuba with his bar-keeper father and became famous for his near-daily inventive concoctions — including Hemingway’s favorite daiquiri — after becoming owner of central Havana’s La Floridita cocktail bar.
3. Yonekichi Maeda
The Japanese mixologist invented the inaugural cocktail book in Japan, Kokuteeru, a step-by-step guide to making drinks that first adopted Western measurement systems, transforming the Land of the Rising Sun into the global darling of booze craft it is today.
4. Paulo Vieira
This farmer invented the mixture of lime, garlic, honey and cachaça that eventually became Brazil’s national cocktail caipirinha — although he first used it as medicine for his workers struck ill by the Spanish flu. Maybe we should take a sip and see if it could cure other ailments too. No harm in trying, right?
Watch Some Classic Comedies
Let’s end this night with a laugh at some old-school humor.
A Coke bottle falls from the skies at the feet of a tribesman in the Kalahari Desert, who believes he has received a gift from God. Hilarity ensues as he tries to discover its purpose before setting out on a time-honored tradition — that of trying to return an unwanted gift. This 1980 South African film is a “nice little treasure,” as film critic Roger Ebert put it, setting records from Japan to South America.
2. ‘Mr. Bjarnfreðarson’
Georg, a communist megalomaniac, dons the hats of son, father and compulsive control freak while failing to control anything in his personal life, creating a series of chaotic and laughable events that had Icelanders chuckling so much that the film trumped Avatar’s opening weekend there in 2009.
3. ‘Fine, Totally Fine’
Something resonates with this Japanese movie about the comically dreary lives of twenty-somethings suddenly thrust into adulthood after falling in love with the same girl, an experience combining slapstick and poignancy to bring out the goofy romantic in you.
Did you have a good time? Let us know where we should take you in future Whiskeys.