To Do 07.23.20

The NEOWISE comet is a rare and fascinating sight. It’s seen here (upper left) as a faint streak over Salinas. Today, July 23, is the last day it will be visible and it won’t return for another 6,800 years.

LOOK: for the NEOWISE Comet

If you’re signed up for our daily newsletter, Monterey County NOW, or follow a stargazing community, you know that the two-tailed NEOWISE comet is now visible in our part of the hemisphere. (That’s short for Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer – that’s the spacecraft that launched in 2009 and identified the comet.) It is passing by Earth about 64 million miles away, and is closest today, on Thursday July 23. Find a place with little light pollution (and little fog) and wait for just after sunset. It should be visible just under the Big Dipper, to the west of the bottom of the cup part. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – unless you plan on being around 6,800 years from now to look for the next one.

FOLLOW: More BIPOC Content Creators

Let’s say you’re really tired of Bon Appetit’s “Asian-inspired” meals. Try Lucia Lee instead. She’s a self-taught Asian homecook based out of Boston and the brain behind the beautifully curated Instagram page @foodminimalist. Into personal finance? Try following Generation Wealthy, @genwealthy on both Twitter and Instagram – the Black-owned nonprofit gives financial advice for teens and young adults. Or maybe TikTok dancing (popularized by teenager Charli D’Ameilio) is confusing to you. Try following Nora, Yara and Rosa on Instagram, @norah_yarah_rosa. The three Black sisters create hip-hop dances to the tune of Black musicians like the Notorious B.I.G., Ray Charles and more. Or keep it local and follow Building Healthy Communities on Instagram (@eastsalinasbhc) and Twitter (@BHC Salinas) to keep an eye on volunteer opportunities, local government meetings and pop-up events from Salinas-based businesses.

KNIT: with Monarch Knitting

Knitting is one of those crafts that are either passed down in your family or that somebody else has to get you into. But you can seek it yourself to shake up your arts game at home. Monarch Knitting, based in Pacific Grove, sells all the supplies you need to begin, which usually means buying some knitting needles, pattern books and a ball of acrylic yarn. But the store has expanded on that during shelter in place, and also offers classes (around $60-$80) for both beginners and knitting enthusiasts. Upcoming class topics include sweater tailoring, exploring marls and color, and knitting fun hats. They are taught via Zoom; check out monarch-knitting.shoplightspeed.com to sign up.

ANALYZE: Albums

The way people consume music on a day-to-day basis is completely different from how they consumed music in the past. Physical copies of music are becoming a novelty and aimlessly hitting the play button on Spotify or Pandora for background music is becoming the norm. From the production side, artists are pushed by big record companies to release singles rather than spending countless hours on creating cohesive albums with threads and themes. For example: The Beatles’ eighth studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, took a whopping 700 hours of studio time to record. But there are some artists in the past decade who are adopting that slower process, and their work is worthy of a listen. Among them: Solange Knowles’ Seat at the Table, a beautiful social commentary exploring Black womanhood inflected with orchestral instruments and gospel. Or SZA’s Ctrl, an album with songs like “20 Something” and “Normal Girl” that dive deep into the emotional growth (and sometimes stunting) of adulthood. A great way to start is listening to podcasts that have analysis built into their missions, like Dissect and Song Exploder.

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