Every year around this time it seems like everyone—everyone—is going to Coachella. Last year’s attendance hit roughly 200,000 over the desert music festival’s two weekends. That’s a lot of people, and you probably knew some of them. But it also means there were approximately 324,600,000 Americans who didn’t go. That’s less than 0.1 percent of the country attending Coachella. That’s, like, no one. Hardly anyone—so, relax. Another reason you can chill: Music festivals are kind of garbage. They’re crowded. It’s hard to get a beer. The sound is awful. You have to walk a long way to pee in what is basically a chemically-besotted outhouse. Everyone is wearing hats (or worse).
Feel better yet? No? Okay, then, here are seven things you can do over the next two weekends that are definitely, definitively more interesting than Coachella.
If you haven’t binged your way through the new season of Love on Netflix, that’s about 6 hours of your weekend right there. Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust’s (and Judd Apatow’s) comedy about modern love in the City of Angels is at once hilarious, touching, awkward, and addictive.
An awkward romance not your thing? Fine. Season seven of Archer just dropped on Netflix. And finally, if you haven’t watched Pete Holmes’s Crashing on HBO, you are missing out. Holmes plays a kindly Christian comedian who is trying to make it in New York’s rough-edged comedy scene while his personal life falls apart around him. There are guest appearances by Artie Lange, Sarah Silverman, Dave Attell, Aparna Nancherla, and half of the Comedy Cellar regulars. Perhaps not as meditative as Louie or as cutting as Veep, this thoughtful sitcom, like its protagonist, still manages to bring home the laughs while simultaneously being tender, vulnerable, and sweet.
To film: Born in China, Disney’s March of the Penguins with pandas, drops in theaters on April 21, just in time for Earth Day. With startling views, the documentary takes us inside the wilds of China, home to golden monkeys, snow leopards, and, yes, pandas. If you go opening week, Disney will make a donation to World Wildlife Fund. If you go to Coachella, three puppies will die. (I kid, but seriously, who in their right mind wants to see Little Dragon instead of little pandas?)
Too Much and Not the Mood (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
There’s a reason essayist Durga Chew-Bose counts Tavi Gevinson and Lena Dunham among her many fans: The mirror she holds up to herself (including meditations on her smile, her voice, and her family) is cracked so imprecisely, its shards can’t help but reveal the truth. Her book of meditations—to call them essays is to shortchange them—includes elements of memoir and poetry that have rendered a style all her own. Titled by a line from Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary, the book sprawls across subjects as diverse as misery, summer movies, Allen Iverson, her father’s heart surgery, and cool older women. And yet under each memory, flourished opinion, or reflection, is the struggle of the artist, the push for metaphor. She’s a writer’s writer; to read her is to see her work and to enjoy the sumptuous fruits of that labor.
Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg (Gallery Books)
People often say that you should judge a man by the company he keeps. Comedian Todd Barry’s friends and comedy partners include Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, Jim Gaffigan, Judd Apatow, and Jen Kirkman, to name a few. Read: He’s one of the funniest comics working today (if you haven’t already, watch his Crowd Work Tour special). In this travelogue, Barry, with his driest of dry wits, takes us on the road with him to “not-quite-the-biggest-cities in the world.” He checks out a hot dog place called Yocco’s in Pennsylvania, goes to a fancy coffee shop his friend Jeremy told him about in Little Rock, Arkansas, and meets Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich in Rohnert Park, California. Are you laughing yet? You will be. No one else has mastered the art of at once self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing like Barry, and his trip through America is irresistibly funny. We asked the comedian about life on the road and he told us the following: “I’d say no matter where you are in the world, if you order something with ‘no tomatoes,’ there is a 90 percent chance it will arrive with tomatoes.”
Jacques Greene, Feel Infinite
On tracks like “True” (featuring How To Dress Well) from his new album, Feel Infinite, the soulful Montreal-born producer—who’s worked with Tinashe, The xx, and Radiohead—continues to challenge what we think of as dance music. Greene complicates the form by bringing in elements of R&B, dark meditations on the downbeat, and synth riffs that can render his music genre-less. But that’s not a bad thing. His music isn’t intimidating. In fact, it’s through that complexity that we find ourselves drawn, dancing, and swooning. “The essence of the record is to draw emotions and moments that, above all, feel human within the context of dance music,” Greene said. “I want it to be celebratory of all that we feel and do and experience—the beautiful, the good, and the bad.”