The Five: A dancing bird, a beach read and an anthem for losers

MPR senior producer Stephanie Curtis lists five things you should read, watch, listen to or experience:

1) I've been reading a lot of grim memoirs and dark nonfiction about political turmoil and murder. I needed a change of pace. "Very Nice" by Marcy Dermansky is a comedic novel about sex, money, vacation, higher ed and politics. Bring it to your pool, beach or wherever you go to escape the humidity.

2) Check out Snowball's moves! You may have come across this dancing cockatoo on Youtube or "The Tonight Show." But did you know that he is the object of a scientific study? Watch his moves — the headbang, the side-to-side, and more — broken down by neuroscientists. The paper is called "Spontaneity and diversity of movement to music are not uniquely human."

3) "Forgotten Feminist Futures" is a series of audio essays by a comedian and writer about fictional utopias created by women. Viv Groskop's series reminds us that at once point, it was fiction for women to have equal access to education as men.

4) The Pie Plate Cafe is the Red Wing, Minn., outpost of a Stockholm, Wis., institution. They have pie. Very good pie.

5) "Michael in the Bathroom" is an anthem from the musical "Be More Chill." Michael's best friend has moved on to a new, cooler crowd and poor Michael has been abandoned at a party. In the bathroom. It's a song about being a loser that soars.

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