Illustration by Isha Khanzode.

Illustration by Isha Khanzode.

Podcast: Sagittarian Matters

The Sagittarian Matters podcast is the latest venture from self-described “gay, feminist, vegan cartoonist” Nicole Georges. It features interviews, reviews, and advice from rad women: It’s basically like listening to a cool older sister talk while you both sit on the floor of her room and eat pretzels. Some of my favorite moments are when musician Beth Ditto shares stories of touring through Europe with her band Gossip, when artist Liz Prince talks about making comics, and when Nicole Georges talks about…anything and everything.

I’ve been following Georges’s work for years, and her Lambda Literary Award–winning graphic memoir Calling Dr. Laura sits in close reach of my desk at all times, in case I need a few snippets of its wisdom. Sagittarian Matters extends that wisdom, mostly related to how to live an artist’s life. It’s offered me advice I didn’t know I needed until I heard it. I sometimes feel insecure about identifying as “a writer” because I don’t do it full-time. As I listened to the first episode, it was as if Georges could see into my brain. While in conversation with writer Michelle Tea, she said that there’s no such thing as an “aspiring writer.” “You just are a writer. There isn’t a moment [that makes you real].” Swap in dancer, painter, lawyer, chef, or whatever it is you want to be for “writer,” and the advice stands.

Since launching on February 12, Sagittarian Matters is already five episodes deep, which speaks to Georges’s enthusiasm about spreading the word of encouragement. I’d suggest starting with the first episode and making your way through, so you don’t miss a minute. —Katie Bennett

Video: Mitski’s Tiny Desk Concert

Mitski’s Tiny Desk Concert for NPR came out last summer, but it endures as the perfect 8:33 encapsulation of the multitude of reasons why we need to be paying attention to Mitski. She opens with “Townie,” a song from her album Bury Me at Makeout Creek. (If I were required by law to pick just one favorite Mitski song, I would choose “Townie” but they are all so exquisite.) The video’s range of songs interact so well with one another, and show Mitski going from joyful to incredibly intense, screaming into her guitar strings.

A lot of the other music I listen to leaves so much room for projection, but each of Mitski’s songs are so layered and specific that as I listen to her music, especially live performances of it, I feel like I have taken off my shoes and laced up someone else’s. The last song she performs, “Last Words of a Shooting Star,” is when this phenomenon is at its strongest. As she sings about an imminent plane crash, she croons so softly and calmly. But when she intertwines the narrative about an ex love, she explores more of her vocal range. When I heard this song performed in the video, I had an epiphany that I had been listening to Mitski all wrong. While her lyrics are so thoughtful and entrenching, the emotions hidden in her tone hold just as many messages. —Rachel Davies ♦