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There are neighborhood bars, and then there’s Bā’sik. Jay Zimmerman and Derrek Vernon’s Williamsburg watering hole has become a Brooklyn institution, lauded for its bold new takes on traditional cocktails and simple but innovative eats. More importantly, though, it offers something few establishments can authentically replicate in a post-pandemic world—a welcoming place to take refuge and enjoy the company of friends, a familiar bartender, or just yourself. Whether you’re lucky enough to call it your local or you’re feeling the urge to branch out, it’s an essential stop for a tipple, a story, and maybe even a perspective as fresh as your drink. ( —Jen Noyes



Fairy tales are great, but at the end of the day unfortunate realities—like sibling strife, laziness, and pollution—always get in the way. Karina Frederik’s series of children’s books about Grumbalina, a fairy who lives in Pufftown (a cloud-based society, naturally), includes just enough pink, glitter, and magic, even while still teaching its young readers important life lessons. Grumbalina lives on Pufftown’s only gray cloud and struggles with learning spells and making friends at school. To make matters worse, her older sister, Perfect Polly, is the best fairy in the sky. Two new stories are coming soon, so be prepared to acquire some very cool Grumbalina merch. ($15, —Clara Molot



There are ceramics, and then there are Céramiques. The latter are created by Celine, and in addition to existing as beautiful objects, their naturally porous surfaces can be sprayed with one of the fragrances from the house’s Haute Parfumerie Collection. Design-wise, they bring to life the elegant lines of the Triomphe, Celine’s historical emblem, and they also manage to infuse a room with rich, evocative scents. Those who would like to amplify the effect can also pick up Celine’s Scented Paper, which can be placed in a drawer or closet to infuse their contents with a suggestive trace of Parade cologne, which lasts for one year. ($180, —Ashley Baker



It’s a classic for a reason: Prada’s deconstructed Raffia tote, one of the house’s best-sellers since it was introduced in 2021, has returned to shelves and shoulders just in time for spring. Unlined and designed with just the right amount of slouch, it has the perfect tote-bag proportions to allow for not only the essentials, but a few add-ons as well (the new Curtis Sittenfeld novel, perhaps?). The tote is durable but retains a soft feel and is sufficiently narrow to fit snugly underneath one’s arm. Expect to see it all summer long in tony vacation spots around the world, but in the meantime it will look right at home wherever you happen to be. ($1,990; —Ashley Baker


Alexandra Llewellyn

As video games continue to evolve into the metaverse, there’s something increasingly comforting about the lo-fi simplicity of board games. Backgammon, with its ancient origins, may be as analog as it gets, but Alexandra Llewellyn’s marvelous handmade boards deliver something so much more aesthetically stunning than the glare of a video screen. Sustainably sourced and made primarily in England by artisans trained in marquetry, joining, leather design, and lacquering, Llewellyn’s distinctive designs range from decorative motifs and photographic themes to exquisite jewel-box treasures. The new Denim Travel Backgammon Set combines the iconic fabric with patterns inspired by vintage Uzbeki ikat. Unlike today’s video games, these boards have staying power. ($1,910; —Laura Neilson


The Year Between

Who hasn’t had a period of feeling lost? A “between year” where nothing seems to line up? For Alex Heller, that moment nearly cost her her life. It also inspired The Year Between, her newly released film, which she wrote, directed, and performed in. Heller plays Clemence Miller, a college sophomore who is forced to move back to suburban Illinois after suffering a mental breakdown. Now living in the basement of her childhood home, she learns she is bipolar. Miller is forced to confront this new reality while also re-adjusting to life with her two younger and high-achieving siblings as well as her often exasperated parents, played brilliantly by Steve Buscemi and Succession’s J. Smith-Cameron. The film is funny and surprising, and it tackles the vast subject of mental health with wit and care. ($9.99, —Bridget Arsenault

Issue No. 195
April 8, 2023
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Issue No. 195
April 8, 2023