The Return of Communal Emotion

Welcome. At a 7:15 p.m. screening of “Zola” at a Brooklyn movie theater on Sunday, there was at least one empty seat between each party. Masks were worn in the cinema’s lobby but quickly dispensed with once people had taken their seats. Otherwise, things were — and it’s hard to say this without ironic quotation marks — normal.

The part of normal that felt the most exceptional? Laughing with strangers. You could hear the laughter start with one person, others steadily joining in, almost as if given permission by their neighbors to let it out. I missed that communal, nearly collaborative, emotion. It’s convenient and comfortable to stream movies at home, but you’ll never get the experience of 100 people laughing or gasping or sitting together until the end of the credits.

I’d like to watch the new season of “I Think You Should Leave” in a group. James Poniewozik calls it “blisteringly funny” and the first season certainly was. Get some friends together if you feel comfortable doing so and stream it on Netflix.

Speaking of hotly anticipated shows, the trailer for the third season of “Succession” dropped yesterday. The show is returning to HBO in the fall.

Take five minutes and fall in love with symphonies selected by the actor Alec Baldwin, the composer Angélica Negrón and others. Dorie Greenspan will make you fall in love with oeuf mayo, a simple dish so beloved in France that there’s a society to protect it. And Tina Jordan fell for some new thrillers; check them out for yourself.


  • I spent some time with NPR’s Joy Generator and, well, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Give it a try.

  • Emily King was the last musician I saw perform live before lockdown. Here she is performing “Can’t Hold Me Now” in Central Park in 2019.

  • This fascinating episode of the podcast “99% Invisible” traces the history of the song “Who Let the Dogs Out”: “It tells us something about inspiration, and how creativity spreads, and about whether an idea can ever really belong to just one person.” Have a listen.

Tell us.

If you’ve been getting out more, what specific things, like laughing with strangers in a movie theater, have you been surprised to discover that you missed? Maybe it’s smiling at passers-by without a mask, or seeing a once-desolate playground filled with people. Tell us about it: [email protected] Include your full name and location and we might feature your story in a future newsletter. We’re At Home and Away. We’ll read every letter sent. More ideas for leading a full and cultured life, at home and away, appear below.

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