Sunday Reads: Hollywood history, Antonoff’s appeal

Plus: Investing in ETFs with exposure to the space economy
Sunday Reads: Hollywood history, Antonoff’s appeal
Image: Leisure day (Shutterstock)

Hi Quartz members!

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Reads. We hope it’s as satisfying as landing a hot deal on Amazon Prime Day, but without the suspicion you’re taking part in a fake holiday (on a buy now, pay later basis, no less). Enjoying this newsletter? Let us know; we’d love to hear from you.

5 things we especially liked on Quartz

🌄 History on the hill. The famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles is a monument to the American film industry (and, as of this week, a backdrop to a strike by movie and television actors). But 100 years ago, it was erected for much humbler purposes. Ananya Bhattacharya tracks the evolution of a real estate advertisement that hit the big-time.

🌊 Deep misgivings. It’s not just the Global Tuna Alliance. Interested parties from marine scientists to UK supermarkets to Google and BMW are calling for a moratorium on deep-sea mining. Julia Malleck rounds up the list of concerns—and the list of countries coming out against giving miners unfettered access to mineral deposits at sea depths greater than 200 meters.

🙅 Do not mess with BNP Paribas. The French bank’s asset management arm has had it with executive bonuses that aren’t directly linked to business results. Nate DiCamillo reports on the aggressive stance BNP Paribas Asset Management has been taking when asked, along with other shareholders, to approve executive pay packages.

🚀 Investing in the space economy. In the latest addition to our How We Invest Now series, Tim Fernholz offers a look at exchange-traded funds focused on the final frontier and finds them reflective of three major trends investors should keep in mind.

⚓ Anchor’s away. Anchor Brewing, America’s oldest craft beer maker, survived Prohibition in the 1920s and a bankruptcy scare in the 1960s. But the Bay Area company couldn’t survive what a spokesperson describes as “the impacts of the pandemic, inflation, especially in San Francisco, and a highly competitive market.” Ananya Bhattacharya details the trouble facing the craft beer industry and Anchor’s operations under parent company Sapporo.

5 great stories from elsewhere

Gif: Giphy

🎼 Antonoffication. If you’ve listened to music released in the past decade, you’ve heard the work of Jack Antonoff. The producer has been behind the musical (and financial) success of albums by artists like Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, and The 1975. What makes Antonoff so appealing, argues Mitch Therieau for The Drift, is not his musicality so much as an ineffable quality to his tracks that have become a hallmark of contemporary pop music.

▶️ The dregs. For the first time in over 60 years, both Hollywood actors and writers are on strike. The labor action was likely years in the making, the New Yorker explains, as the streaming business model has consistently left industry workers shortchanged. The Netflix show Orange is the New Black is a case in point—despite running for seven seasons, and garnering a huge audience, the cast say they have yet to be fairly compensated.

🤕 Just two. Hawanatu Foday is one of two psychiatrists actively working in Sierra Leone, a country of over 8.4 million people. But there is great demand for care: The nation is ranked as one of the poorest in the world, and in recent history has suffered through immense political upheaval and a brutal civil war. Minmin Low for The Delacorte Review travels to a hospital in Kenema, three hours east of Freetown, to learn about the country’s mental health crisis.

💥 #OrcaUprising. FYI to all you summer vacationers, killer whales have been attacking yachts off the Strait of Gibraltar, so you might want to steer clear. That is, until we can figure out why the sea creatures are displaying this kind of behavior. A piece in The Guardian presents potential scientific explanations, and also tries to understand why the phenomenon has tickled the internet’s memetic funny bone.

👖Spiffy. The denim-on-denim look, known as the Canadian tuxedo, is reviled by some for being tacky, and beloved by others for its unapologetic campiness. Regardless of where one stands, the fashion statement is having a moment on red carpets. The Walrus unzips the surprising origins of the look (which is actually not Canadian!), and the history of jeans as a subversive fabric.

What to watch for this week

Gif: Giphy

These are some of the events our newsroom will be paying attention to in the week ahead.

  • Tuesday: A slew of big banks in the US report earnings: Bank of America (which is facing a big fine), Charles Schwab, Morgan Stanley, and PNC. Here’s why some are bracing for losses.
  • Wednesday: It’s another invented holiday in the US: National Hot Dog Day. Not a bad snack to pair with Tesla and Netflix earnings.
  • Thursday: The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand. The latter host faces off against Norway in the opening game at 7pm local time in Auckland (for reference, that’s 8am in London and 3am in New York)
  • Friday: OK, so—Barbie and Oppenheimer walk into a bar…
  • Sunday: Cambodia holds a national election

Thanks for reading! Here’s to the week ahead, and don’t hesitate to reach out with comments, questions, feedback, crafts beer recs, and killer whale memes. Sunday Reads was brought to you by Heather Landy, Julia Malleck, Morgan Haefner, and Susan Howson.