Culture
Books

90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


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Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Waiting for the World to Change in the Era of COVID-19

From a GenXer to the GenZs in the time of COVID-19: We know, the waiting is the hardest part.

Books

It's Not Just Fashion, It's Visual Activism

Fashion is a verb for the LGBTQ+ community, and Closet Cases shows how people use style and artifacts to build a self-image that is both a statement and a truth.

By the Book

The Art of Advertising (excerpt)

The Art of Advertising invites us to consider both the intended and unintended messages of the advertisements of the past.

Julie Anne Lambert
Reading Pandemics

Cookbooks and Contagion: Recipes for Caring from Fannie Farmer

Cookbooks are rarely read as political or even narrative texts. However, alongside the recipes and lists of ingredients is often rich information about the ideologies and social structures that the foods are consumed within.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Life Isn't Binary and Neither Is the Coronavirus Pandemic

Non-binary thinking offers new routes for adapting to life with COVID-19.

Culture

Listening in a Racial Crisis

America is good at broadcasting but it suffers from low-level listening literacy.

Books

When British Advertising Became Ubiquitous and Beautiful

Lambert tracks British social history through posters, cards, and other ephemera in the vividly illustrated The Art of Advertising.

Books

Lerone Bennett, Jr. Wrote Black History into Modern America at Ebony Magazine

E. James West's new book explores Lerone Bennett, Jr.'s impact as a popular Black historian. It's a gateway to a body of work that still speaks to Black rage, struggle and hope, yesterday and today.

Reading Pandemics

Pandemic from the Janitor's Point of View

Timothy Sheard's murder mystery One Foot in the Grave explores pandemic in a hospital from the point of view of the lowliest, aka "essential", staff.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Primal Scream's 'Screamadelica' and the Altered State

In the context of Primal Scream's prior and subsequent career, Screamadelica is a miracle. It's a rock record about discovering Ecstasy, rave culture, and the music that went with it.

Music

Eurovision 2020: Staging Political Identity

Eurovision contestants subvert the events' apolitical ethos simply with their identity, which is then subverted by performer and audience subjectivity. So who, ultimately, wins?

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Isolation Odyssey: Behind the Scenes with a Lockdown Orchestra

Scattered throughout the world, members of Opera North's orchestra share how they are enduring the loss of live performance and companionship during the COVID-19 lockdown. They also share a mood-lifting, online isolation performance of a work that everyone knows but not always for the same reasons.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

COVID-19 Means Living Life in Two Minds at Once

COVID-19 has created a day-by-day experience in which we realize there are no perfect answers, and every moment exists as a co-mingling of light and dark counterpoints.

Reading Pandemics

What's Love Got To Do with It? Shakespeare's 'Venus & Adonis'

The worn trope—Time Devours All Things (tempus edax rerum)—is true for human beings, says Shakespeare: if you're a mortal, death lurks at the heart of the very thing you most want. During a plague, or a pandemic, it's wanting that endangers us.

Books

Crapification Syndrome: When Hilarity Slides into Nausea

No one living in America today can escape the blast radius of the questions raised in Wendy A. Woloson's Crap.

Books

Next Day. Same Time. Same Place:  How Waiting Out the Pandemic Is Like Waiting for Godot

Even though these times of self-isolating feel absurd, the Theater of the Absurd has a lot to teach us about waiting, time, isolation, and feeling like we exist.

Music

Nicki Minaj Is the Greatest Rapper of the Decade Bar None

2020 and it's finally time to acknowledge Nicki Minaj's right to G.O.A.T. status, as the best female rapper AND the best rapper of the past ten years — no gender preposition required.

Events

Meet Peter Saul, the Bad Boy of American Art

Peter Saul's work is loud, vulgar, and outrageously offensive. It's perfectly tuned to America's violent culture from the '60s to life in the times of the Trump administration.

Film

Bhogwan Singh: Hollywood's Longest-Serving 'Turban Wrapper'

Bhogwan Singh performed with snakes for a beach sideshow in Los Angeles before he got his chance with Universal Studios to fix Rudolf Valentino's turban.

Music

40 Years of Finely Tuned Nonsense: An Interview with Severed Heads

At Severed Heads' third-last show in New York, after decades of playing electronic, art-pop, Tom Ellard swung a noose around his band's head and, with an imitable grin, slowly pulled tighter. After 40 years, Severed Heads is done, and Ellard muses on his long career.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

I Would Like to See My Doctor: Social Distancing and Telemedicine

My first COVID-19-era "telehealth" video call had me looking up my doctor's nose. Who could blame him for turning his camera off?

Television

Is 'The Alienist' a Critique of Capitalism or a Pro-Neoliberal Narrative?

Author Caleb Carr's The Alienist explores the 19th century psychiatric debate between free will and determinism. TNT's nearly identical adaptation of the novel, however, comes up with a completely different conclusion.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Cyberhills of Isolation and Connection: Italy in the Time of Coronavirus

Ironically, the very thing many have lamented as chief atomizer of humankind, social media, has proven to be indispensable for bringing us together — and for bringing me solace while, like Boccaccio's women in Decameron, I wait out the pandemic in the hills of Abruzzo.

Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 1, Gang of Four to the Birthday Party

If we must #quarantine, at least give us some post-punk. This week we are revisiting the best post-punk albums of all-time and we kick things off with Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd., Throbbing Gristle, and more.

Books

'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.

Music

Billy Corgan Brainwashed Me: '90s Alternative Rock and the Introspective Abyss

Once in its thrall, these days I find the overriding message of '90s alt-rock especially naïve and even dangerous.

Books

The American Robot: A Cultural History [By the Book]

In The American Robot, Dustin A. Abnet explores how robots have not only conceptually connected but literally embodied some of the most critical questions in modern culture, as seen in this excerpt from chapter 5 "Building the Slaves of Tomorrow", courtesy of University of Chicago Press.

Dustin A. Abnet
Music

David Bowie: 25 Deep Cuts (Playlist)

For all of the imagery that dominated the religiosity of David Bowie  --  the fashion, the characters, the hairstyles --  what matters most are the songs. Here are 25 killer deep-cut Bowie originals, album by album.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

How to Listen to Your Old Music While Self-Isolating

There are various ways you can mine the bounty of your exquisite taste to while away an hour or two during this stressful time of coronavirus. But you've got to do it with some intentionality.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Matchbox Twenty: Aren't We All a Little "Unwell" in the Time of Coronavirus?

Say what you will about Matchbox Twenty – I know I once did. But during this COVID-19 pandemic, we're all going "crazy" and feeling "a little unwell" in this time of isolation, and I'm turning to their music.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Lurks Beneath: 'Jaws' and Political Leadership in the Time of COVID-19

Boris Johnson admires the Mayor in Spielberg's Jaws. Remember him? He was the guy who wouldn't close the beaches -- and sacrifice that revenue source -- during a public crisis.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Love at a Socially-Isolating Distance

In one sense, life in the time of Coronavirus clarifies an essential element of love: love always occurs at an ontological distance.

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