how is it already mid-july

weekend reading

solange knowles. “an ode to,” (2017, performance @ guggenheim museum)
this was an interdisciplinary performance project inspired by solange’s album a seat at the table. she performed to an audience clad in all-white ensembles, who adhered to a strict cell-phone policy and spent their sunday morning celebrating the beauty & diversity of black womanhood.

as i dealt with the aftershocks of the world imploding around me, i took a petit hiatus. long story, short: i’ll be continuing college remotely next semester.

in other news,

what i’ve read, watched, & listened to this week

read:

  1. in a moment where i can barely remember what it is like to interact with large groups of people, this piece from the new yorker comes as a reminder of the complex nature of close-knit communities. it details the history of the falklands (as land torn between both british and argentinian heritage), the war which ensued in the twentieth century, and it’s more recent notoriety as a hub for aimless expatriates. it’s a beautiful glimpse into a not-so-well-defined culture that humbly sits at the edge of the globe.

  2. i always find myself interested in the personal life of demi lovato. i’m not a dedicated fan of her music, but i see her as a lost vestige from my childhood that reappears on a mental shore of sorts (sometimes as a shell of its former self). this time, the article details how lovato has a new hobby, a new manager, and a new mantra on life.

    her new manager is scooter braun. with his reputation (haha get it) for ruthlessly acquiring the rights to taylor swift’s music, it’s interesting that lovato would pursue working with a manager who is not known for treating women and their work well. i didn’t get the answers that i wanted, but it is an interesting update nonetheless.

  3. i remember the early days of rookie magazine more clearly than i remember most things in my life. i valued the publication for the unique voices of its contributors, more than gevinson’s own work though. to me, she was always veiled behind a carefully crafted persona, one that afforded the mystique of being considered “smart,” but also “cool” and “different.” it’s this aura that catapulted gevinson to an acting career and five hundred thousand instagram followers & counting. despite her name being well-known in internet/twitter culture, i realized i did not know much about her current work. in this piece, she, herself, details the unfolding of her life since rookie, which is more interesting than i initially predicted.

  4. this is a 2018 feature on tina knowles lawson (the mother of beyoncé and solange) and her expansive beverly hills art collection. written by kimberly drew (former met museum social media manager & @museumammy on instagram), this piece offers the distinct precision of an art historian. drew places lawson’s collection in conversation with the role of art in lawson’s daughters’ music, referencing beyoncé’s “apeshit” music video which was filmed at the louvre and solange’s own interdisciplinary performance projects.

  5. since the upheaval of bon appetit, i’ve been doing research about the ways in which i consume information about food. this study illustrates the lack of diversity in food media, pointing out that many food writers will share delicious ethnic dishes, but credit themselves for bringing “new food” to the western world. these processes are often revealed in the use of coded language such as “cleaner version” or “elevated,” which serve to distance the food itself from native/poc cultures. i found this article from a helpful food sensitivity syllabus, which has other great resources for learning about these issues.

  6. apparently, there is an increase of haiwaiian shirt wearing right wing extremists in the culture. this article helps to explain the methods behind this madness, which is helpful (for safety purposes) as many make their return to public life.

  7. the mailroom by david rensin. i’m reading this book because i’m interning with a media industry talent agency. while the work chronicles the history of agencies, starting with the original 1898 william morris theatrical business in new york city, the author interviews a series of creative executives past and present who started in the agency business. along the way, these individuals share valuable tidbits of hollywood history, which would make for a good read for anyone interested in the history of media/film/tv.


watched:

  1. i’ve been watching the hills. if anyone other than me can remember, the hills is a 2006 reality television show that premiered on mtv. it follows the lives of lauren conrad, whitney port, audrina patridge, and heidi montag who are all trying to make it in the LA fashion world. while it’s not the most thought-provoking work, the show is definitely a cultural touchpoint that remains in the conversation because of its groundbreaking format. i’m mostly watching because i’m annoyed that i didn’t know more about it before.

  2. i can’t stop watching keith “eats the menu” videos. during this time, where one often feels guilty for being self-indulgent, these videos really allow a person to melt into their couch and imagine the now-lost freedom of eating a ridiculous amount of fast food with friends.

  1. the ziwe videos. i’m half-intrigued and half-unimpressed. ziwe’s style of interviewing is inventive, but it doesn’t push the culture forward in anyway. in interviews with “well-known white people” such as alison roman and caroline calloway, ziwe askes questions such as “how many black friends do you have?” and others about their knowledge (or lackthereof) of civil rights leaders. while it’s revealing to hear the answers to these questions, the format is problematic because of the way in which it turns conversations about race into a comedic skeptical. it distracts from the overall point of educating and informing, instead airing on the side of humiliation. perhaps, there is a better way to achieve both, while using the strength of her platform to further conversation. would be curious to know if anyone has other thoughts, in the comments.

  1. keeping up with the kardashians. i'm obsessed. this is the perfect show for right now. there’s a specific combination of family chaos, absurd wealth, and cute children which makes this the best reality show of all time. as a long time watcher of the series, i can confidently say that it has only gotten better.


listening:

  1. the talk-art podcast. i discovered this when looking for podcast episodes that featured the nymag art critic jerry saltz. hosted by actor russell tovey and gallerist robert diament, the podcast features critics, tastemakers, actors, writers, and musicians such as elton john, ellie goulding, and josh o’connor (prince charles in the crown). the two ask questions about individual art collections, but you end up learning a lot about the personal and family lives of their guests through intense stories about their art. super interesting.

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