A few things to look forward to as we head into Spring: While We’re Waiting

Master of None
via netflix.com

It’s a weird time in our world, Cleveland. There’s not a ton going on sports-wise for our teams.

Sure, the Cavs are playing—but they’ve been playing for what feels like 37 consecutive months. And as the NBA’s marathon-long regular season drudges on, starters are resting and the playoffs still feel years away.

The Indians are warming up in Goodyear, but the combination of midday games and the perpetual three-hour time difference just makes them a bit hard to follow right now. It’s fun to follow things like Michael Brantley’s progress on Twitter,1 but that’s been about it.

The Browns are… there, I guess. (Are they?)

Don’t @ me that March Maddness is upon us. I’m aware and I’m excited. But that bracket-bonanza fun can be fleeting—especially as the tournament rolls on. Plus, as an OU Bobcat, I have no real dog in this fight.2

You know what else is weird for us right now? It’s cold. Like… really cold. Cold AF. So cold I had to take off my mittens to type this column.

And, while sports are a bit boring and we’re all basically walking around like little, frosty human popsicles right now, there are still plenty of awesome things to look forward to in the coming weeks and months. Let’s spend our Thursday morning together talking about those, shall we?

S-Town, the new podcast from Serial
Debuts March 28

YOU GUYS. Yes, I’ve gone on the record to say I hated Season 2 of the Serial podcast just as much as I loved Season 1, but I am so excited for this.

Produced by the folks at Serial and This American Life, S-Town seems to get back to what Sarah Koening and company did best—peeling back the layers of a complex murder mystery. From the podcast’s homepage:

John despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.

OK, S-Town, I’m intrigued. Check out the homepage for an audio preview of the podcast, which runs about two-and-a-half minutes and confirms my suspicion that “S-Town” is short for “Shit-Town.”

The best part about the forthcoming pod? Taking a page from Netflix, all seven episodes of the season will be released at once. Hello, S-Town podcast binging! Nobody ask me to hang out on March 28. I’m busy.3

Cleveland International Film Festival
March 30—April 9

I’ve mentioned before that I am a CIFF seasonal staff member, and I just wanted to remind everyone how amazing it is. Held over 12 magical days inside Downtown’s Tower City Cinemas, CIFF is an amazing opportunity to expand your horizons, laugh until you cry, or just actually cry—because sometimes films are heavy.

In 2016, CIFF drew attendance numbers higher than 102,000 people, with 192 feature films representing 72 countries. There were also more than 200 short films screened, and 300 guest filmmakers from around the world here to visit. During my time working for CIFF, I’ve had the chance to meet some of those filmmakers—and they always say the same thing, “There is nothing on Earth quite like the Cleveland International Film Festival.” It’s not stuffy or pretentious, snobby or elitist. CIFF is welcoming, silly, serious, and moving.

I promise you, there is something for everyone. Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning here. Think about it, OK? And if you have questions, please reach out. I’ll be happy to help.

Opening Day
April 11

The two greatest words in the English language, and probably my favorite day of the entire year. Robbed of our experience last year due to some inclement weather and even worse planning on behalf of the team, I’m finding myself doubly excited for this season’s home opener.

Daytime beers, helmet nachos, a day off of work, BASEBALL, and the feeling that summertime is slowly meandering our way. What more could a Clevelander possibly want? Besides a win over the White Sox, and an elusive Kluber smile, of course.

Master of None, Season 2
Debuting May 12

I can’t say enough about how much I loved Season 1 of this Netflix gem, but I’ll try. Master of None is the Emmy-award-winning, semi-autobiographical story of Dev (Aziz Ansari) as he navigates a stalled acting career and dating as a 30-something. It is smart and funny and “real” and, at times, heartbreaking.

And now, it will have a second season.

Is that the Italian countryside I see? Dev and his friend, Arnold, zipping around on Vespas? You guys! I’m so excited for this!

Alright, guys, that’s my short life of “things I’m excited about to get me through the rest of this hum-drum sports-slump and freezing cold, miserable weather.” Tell me—what am I missing? What are you most excited for in the next few weeks and months? Tell me in the comments, enjoy the opening of March Madness, and have a great Thursday, Cleveland. We’re almost there.

  1. Jason Kipnis’ shoulder, not so much. []
  2. Except for Villanova, whom I picked to win it all. []
  3. Editor’s note: For podcast fans, this episode dump appears to be the next wave. The NY Times recently did this with their “13 songs that capture our moment” series. []