Overrated/Underrated: R.I.P., Meltdown Comics, and sure, delete Facebook (if you dare)
Meltdown Comics: Given how the box office typically looks, few might have guessed you can go out of business serving geek culture, and yet that’s what has happened to this shop on Sunset Boulevard. While any comic book fan mourns the loss of a beloved store so too will any comedy nerd miss its cozy, frequently crazy theater around back, the NerdMelt Showroom. First launched in 2010 with a weekly show led by Jonah Ray and then-future “Big Sick” co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the space was an incubator for oddball comic talent and community of the kind L.A. rarely sees.
Ryan Porter’s ‘The Optimist’: Though an avalanche of music has been released from the sessions that yielded Kamasi Washington’s breakout 2015 album “The Epic” (among others), this record from one of his band’s trombonists features some of the same artists but dates back to 2008 and 2009. Recorded in Washington’s former family home in Inglewood, Porter’s debut synthesizes jazz and funk with an infectious, upbeat energy that reflects the hope Porter saw in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Whereever you stand on how much has changed since then, “The Optimist” will keep things looking up.
Facebook: Your one-stop shop for baby pictures, fear-mongering (and questionably sourced) political news and creeping feelings of inadequacy has been having a rough 2018, most recently with the scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica, a cratering stock price and word that the Federal Trade Commission has launched an investigation into how the company handles privacy. It’s led to a mini-movement online to quit the divisive service which was intended as a means to bring people together. But be forewarned: Before Facebook, we kept tabs on friends and family by actually talking to them.
Jesse Hughes: A survivor of the mass shooting at the Bataclan in Paris in 2016, the Eagles of Death Metal singer-guitarist took to Instagram last week to attack the survivors-turned-activists from the recent school shooting at Parkland, Fla., with some since deleted posts that called their efforts with March for Our Lives “pathetic” and “disgusting” along with the hashtags “#hatersofliberty” and “#loversofsatan.” As a survivor of a terror attack himself, Hughes shouldn’t be judged for how he responds to and recovers from living through a traumatic event. So maybe he can extend that courtesy to others as well?
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