Everything is terrible. Like, significantly worse than even my goth-girl self could imagine. The list of things that terrify, disgust or annoy me is seemingly endless: Donald Trump, Brexit, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Franklin Graham, children in cages, North Korea, Notre Dame. You get the picture. And I have zero expectations that things will get better. I am as naturally optimistic and confident in the future as Greta Thunberg. That said, of late, and against my seemingly inborn pessimism, some good news is making me smile, giving me a bit of light in the unrelenting darkness of our times.
Below, then, are nine indulgent, wasteful, not-a-little-bit-bougie pieces of good news and nice things for the decadent extremist in us all. They come from the worlds of art, fashion and wine — and even politics. They are largely amoral or completely irresponsible: I like to give in, at times, to the impulse for the corny or parochial. The stuff that makes me happy is as diverse as the stuff that makes me stop cold with existential dread.
1) Ivo van Hove is directing West Side Story. My friend Mark likes to make fun of me for my van Hove obsession, but I have been a fan since I was a teenager. Suburban white girl in Middle America develops crush on gay, avant-garde Belgian theater director. It’s a thing. Also, clearly I am not the only one who thinks that van Hove is something special. He did win a Tony Award, after all. The West Side Story revival is slated to open on Broadway this December and will be choreographed by the incomparable Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. While I am supposed to be avoiding our soul-crushing global state at the moment, it has to be said that the themes of West Side Story have never been more relevant. The story, in such talented hands, is worthy of excitement.
2) Karl Lagerfeld’s last show for Chanel was worthy of his genius. Set against a backdrop made to look like a Tyrolean village of 12 Alpine chalets, the Fall/Winter 2019 Chanel collection was everything Lagerfeld was: bold, brash, sophisticated and unapologetically luxurious.
3) There is an underwater restaurant open in Norway. Under (which also means “wonder” in Norwegian — extra points for Fun with Linguistics) offers a fixed menu for about $430 USD per person, including drinks, as well as the most aggressively Scandinavian interior design on the planet. If you cannot be happy about that, you are unworthy of joy.
4) Truman and Buddy Buttigieg’s Twitter is lovely. I considered leaving this off because I’ve been a complete political junkie since I was seven and I’m already exhausted by 2020 presidential politics. But @firstdogsSB — the Twitter account run by Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten — is truly delightful. Or maybe, actually, it’s run by their dogs. (Who the hell knows? Donald Trump is literally President. It makes way less sense than a couple of dogs from Indiana figured out Twitter.) Whoever it is, it has the kind of syrupy sweetness and Midwestern goodness that I find highly irritating 99% of the time, but somehow here it works. Maybe because it’s nice to remember a time when you could like politicians’ families in a fairly apolitical way, because across the political spectrum there was nothing horribly objectionable about the private citizens attached to public office. Nancy Reagan kind of ruined that for us, and now Trump and Co. have taken it to a whole new, terrible level. I want things back the way they were, and this doggy Twitter feed will give it to us. (Full disclosure: I also like Buttigieg as a political creature and have donated money to his campaign, but really, that is completely separate from liking the dog Twitter thing).
5) Beyonce’s Homecoming. Yeah, Cochella is the worst. But if you have not fired up Netflix to see Beyonce’s remarkable, empowering performance, you are not living your best life in any way, shape or form. Plus, it is proof we can have nice things.
6) Last year was a Champagne vintage year! The 2018 champagne harvest was a precocious one. It started all the way back on Aug. 20. Growers faced extreme weather conditions, likely as the result of climate change. But unlike most climate change-induced weather patterns, it was all for the best, because the grapes were amazing. This made it the first “vintage” year for the real bubbly in a decade. So if the world is ending, at least we will have some good champagne to toast the ride.
7) Prince’s estate is set to release his new album and his memoir. Prince died in 2016, the year we arguably began our hand-basket-assisted trip to hell. While clearly not the worst thing that happened to the collective that year, the loss of Prince felt significant, metaphorical almost. It was everything we were facing in a single man: the sudden death of an artist who’d written large swaths of the soundtrack to our lives, with the realization that he was haunted by demons of whom we had no knowledge. It was bad. It made me sad in a way I did not expect, because (truth be told) I was not a rabid Prince fan: I kind of know the lyrics to “When Doves Cry.” But just like Prince’s death seemed more cataclysmic than it probably should have, the release of his memoir seems more hopeful. A message from the certain past to the uncertain future, an explanation, the continuation of a relationship we thought had been ended forever.
8) Kate and Wills visited Meghan and Harry at Frogmore after Easter Services. There may not be a feud after all, you guys!
9) The next time you are at Starbucks working that freelance job that provides you with no health insurance or office, you will ask a complete stranger to watch your laptop while you go to the bathroom. That stranger will probably not put a whole lot of effort into it (I mean, do you want a stranger to risk his life to save your crappy laptop?). But when you get back, the laptop will be there. And that is how you will know that people are basically good, at least pretending to try, and not nearly as prone to steal as you guessed.