I’ve finally updated the ESSAYS portion of this tumblr with any and every essay I’ve solely posted here. The archive goes all the way to 2008 and includes musings on Michelle Obama, gun violence, Arthur Russell and The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, among other things.
“Dance music needs riot grrrls. Dance music needs Patti Smith. It needs DJ Sprinkles. Dance music needs some discomfort with its euphoria. Dance music needs salt in its wounds. Dance music needs women over the age of 40. Dance needs breastfeeding DJs trying to get their kids to sleep before they have to play. Dance needs cranky queers and teenagers who are really tired of this shit. Dance music needs writers and critics and academics and historians. Dance music needs poor people and people who don’t have the right shoes to get into the club. Dance music needs shirts without collars. Dance music needs people who struggled all week. Dance music needs people that had to come before midnight because they couldn’t afford full admission. Dance music does not need more of the status quo.”—The Black Madonna
Lauren is one of the most brilliant and kind people I know, and we’ve never met. Like many people who read this blog, we only know each other online. And yet, I cherish what she’s taught me about photography, historical subcultures and the arts. She is a special person, but she is also suffering.
In 2011, Lauren was diagnosed with a Pelvic Floor Disorder which has caused Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). She suffers from daily dizziness, nerve pain, fatigue, nausea, headaches, rapid heart rate, insomnia and weakness. It has left her bedridden after multiple hospitalizations, unable to work. There is no cure, but there is help.
Lauren is looking to go to Mayo Clinic Pelvic Floor and Mobility Programs. She has spent all of her savings and many of her treatments are not covered by insurance. She is also looking to move into a one-floor controllable living environment to help with her debilitating symptoms. If you are at all capable of donating to her fund, that would be wonderful. And if you can’t donate, but can signal boost, that would be wonderful as well.
I received an email about this track and was surprised that it only racked up 600 views since it was posted three days ago. “For A Night” is such a fun, straightforward house track, the sort of perfect accompaniment to any dance floor and one that I immediately fell for on the first listen.
“Um, excuse me. Can you move?” a man asked me on the train a few years ago.
I was in my seat fully and only carried a small bag. On my body, an all-sequined jacket. Dainty on the outside, but sharp upon touch. I had just bought it a month before and I began wearing it almost every other day. It was not a shield but rather a nod, a clap, a reassurance of whom I was becoming.
“I’m not in your seat,” I said confused.
“My legs need more room,” he said. His legs, his body, his space, his comfort, his self. I looked at him, shorter and smaller than me. What about my legs, my body, my space, my comfort, myself? I already gave more than I needed. What more did I have to give.?
I looked him over again. I didn’t move and returned to my book, the one I never put away, the one I never wanted to put away again.
He sat down and stretched out, spreading his body into my seat, his arms jutting into my own until I heard a low yelp.
“Ouch!” he cried. I looked over at him.
“Your jacket!” he shouted. Ah yes, my jacket. This jacket. Can you feel it all?
After her bestselling first book, MWF Seeking BFF, Rachel sets her sights on the glamorous lives of movie stars. In Jennifer, Gwenythand Me, she embarks on a quest to emulate her Hollywood role models—while sticking to a budget—to see if they really hold the keys to happiness. In discussion with local writer Britt Julious, Rachel will explain the preparations behind the project, her own relationship to Hollywood, and her biggest takeaways from writing Jennifer, Gwenyth and Me.
In addition to her books, Rachel has written for the New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, More, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fitness, Women’s Health, New York, Huffington Post, CNN.com, and more. Rachel has written about everything from porn films to shark skin, and her work has been included in three of the O, The Oprah Magazine annual anthologies.
Host Britt Julious is a born and bred Chicagoan with a devotion to snappy pieces of really, really good writing. In 2014, Britt founded Inland, an online and print publication examining contemporary Midwest culture. She also writes for a variety of different publications and organizations including Vice, where she is the Chicago contributor, The Guardian, WBEZ, Pitchfork and Rookie. She currently serves as the senior editor of literary site This Recording where she is free to expound on the merits of Ishiguro and Whitney Houston equally. In 2012, The Chicago Reader named her the city’s “Best Local Writer Who Excels at Social Media.” She is a champion for the underdog, a lover of sequins and a proud Black Hippie.
The London producer will release her next full-length through Hyperdub in October.
Listening to Cooly G’s new album will give me the chance to finally explore that highly feminine, modern and aggressively sexual quality to her music that is rare, relatable and unchallenged. I’ve been trying to articulate it accurately, but really, it’s one of those sounds that make only make sense to the listener and even then, the listener must come to that true conclusion. Saying it is not enough. It could never just be enough.
I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for new George Maple. It’s been too long since we’ve gotten a chance to float in her syrupy, lovely vocals. And this new track from her upcoming EP on Future Classic is both a welcome reminder and a new direction from the singer. I’m so used to George’s vocals complimenting a rainy Sunday afternoon. Her music was perfectly quiet and moody, contemplative and sensual. But this new track is practically danceable, with a compelling beat and catchy chorus sure to make her finally break out to the masses.
“You must think you’re cute or something. That’s the only way you’d look like this right now.” This was one of my cousins.
“I don’t,” I said.
“That’s right. You ain’t cute. So what’s this about?” she asked.
And then she began to grab at first my clothing, my cheap dress, the fabric a mix of things both flammable and not. And then she began to grab at my body, my arms, lined with muscles, and my legs, much sturdier than I felt.
“Stop it!” I said.
“Stop WHAT?” she asked. “I’m just letting you know who you are, who you’ll ALWAYS be.”
“Who am I?” I replied.
"Nothing special," she said. "I’m not special and neither are you."
It’s best to remember that, she seemed to be saying.
A trick of the mind will fool folks before they get a chance to read you. And, you see, someone told her she could not see greatness in herself. That’s not her role. That’s not where she rests.
But who are all of these women finding divinity in their skin, their bodies? Who are these women who can look and feel and touch and taste and think: everything I sense is right and good? Everything about me is right and good.
My eyes were my greatest weapon, my defense against the sites before me. You learn to soak it in and process, but never too much. If my life was a series of processes, I would be nothing but a being of hate, a culmination of hate for others and hate for myself.
No, you must see and then unsee. See and then shred. See and then sacrifice. Sacrifice the reality of the world around you and instead build a world that sees you as perfect and divine and good. Revel in that world. Build upon that world. Make it grow into something true and from that truth you will find something realer than yesterday.
I was wondering when Jessie would go back to that simple, yet sleek sound she first debuted with “Imagine it Was Us” and it looks like “Want Your Feeling” is the track to make its return. It is light and lovely too, like everything else Jessie has given us for this new LP. Perfect.
I pretend that I don’t need to see things to appreciate them, but that is not true. The act of longing, of visibility is an act of giving new value to even the most mundane or simple or kitschy items you own.
On my bedroom wall is a disco ball I purchased from RR #1, a perfect little gift shop on Chicago & Ashland. I purchased one for myself and one for Gabe, one of my best friends. He lives in New York now, but we talk most every day and looking at the ball is a reminder of what we had when we was still here and what is missing now that he is not.
Next to the disco ball are intricate, skeletal harnesses, body chains that invoke a serious sexuality and confidence of self. My dear friend Alysse designed them and I made my first purchase even before I felt worthy of the detailed breast plates, the dangling, delicate chains, the shimmer and shine. To me, they told the story of who I wanted to be and what I had lost.
I wore the gold one in 2012 in the midst of a bout of depression caused by the inevitable age of change. I was post-college and pre self-assurance. People were leaving. I came home and looked at my space and felt haunted by rooms and walls that were not my own. Sometimes, I woke up in the middle of the night in a state of panic.
But the harnesses showed me who I could be: sensual and aggressive and strong. Because it was at risk of falling apart due to too much push or pull, I had to reacquaint myself with my limbs. I wasn’t changing myself so much as finding new methods of moving. I will not cower from this piece. I will love it. And I will love myself in it. And later, I will not cower from myself. I will love myself and everything I encompass.
i don't say this enough but you've done so much for me and other black girls and i admire you and support you 100% in your journey. please keep being the brilliant and charming person you are. please never give up on your dreams and please don't limit yourself for small minds who aren't half as smart or half as compassionate as you. - love, an internet friend
I think I know who wrote this, but thank you. <3 I truly appreciate it.
“Look, I’ve been through so much terrible shit. Shit that other people can’t imagine. Shit that will break a woman down. And yet, you know what? I still have hope. Cause here’s the thing: There are good folks out there, and some of them will want you in their life. They will love, cherish, and respect you. Their love might not be perfect, but it will be better than this, and I want you to have it. It’s yours.”—
Yes, I wrote this. But based on the number of young men and women who read this blog and reach out to me, I can’t emphasize this enough. I actually have to remind myself of it, too. You are worthy of love and of happiness. It’s true.
Last year, when I spent an evening basically shadowing Ryan Hemsworth for the feature I wrote for The FADER, I got a chance to talk to Cyril Hahn who was also on tour with Hemsworth. Hahn’s personality and worth ethic were so interesting to me, a stark contrast to Hemsworth. It’s not that one was better than the other, but they both created from such singular visions.
Hahn was much quieter, but still captivating and I think that comes out with his original compositions. At the time, he was finally getting recognition for his solo work and not his remix efforts. I think his latest release, the Voices EP, will finally make it clear to those still wondering who he is that his vision is clear, compelling and devastatingly sexy. The synths are clear and precise. The vocalists have a purity of sound that makes you take notice instantly. As a whole, it is a well-thought out and lovely work.
I am two months late to this one, but what a pop song, right? It reminds me of a mix of country-pop with that early aughts “alternative-to-Britney”vein of pop that was supposed to sound rebellious, but was as sugary-sweet in its production and hooks as the more showy gems. I only just heard this a couple of days ago and I’ve already got those verses memorized. That’s the sign of a great track.
Public acts of altruism often feel strongly calculated: are they just a means to court viral, sustainable goodwill? By Britt Julious.
Can’t believe this happened. I celebrated with pizza and champagne last night (as one does). Here’s my New York Times debut for “Room for Debate.” I wrote an opinion piece on celebrities and public acts of social activism.
He was before me. He was weak. He was standing. He was on his knees. He was weak. He was asking for forgiveness. He was crawling. He was weak. He crept forward. He kept creeping. He kept. He was weak. His head was a weight and his body was a burden and he was weak. He wrapped his arms around my waist. He placed his head upon my waist. He wanted to speak but he was weak. He looked up and I said nothing.
Nashville-based BASECAMP’s EP came out nearly a year ago and I can’t believe I slept on it. I’m obsessed with everything on it, from the soulful vocals to the isolating production to the smart, slightly haunting melodies. It’s a perfect treat in transition to the fall.
I’ve always gone back and forth with Josef Salvat’s singles. Some songs I adored immediately and others never caught on with me. But this latest single, “Shoot and Run,” is a lushly-produced epic of yearning and frustration. It is hard not to love.
A nice little slice of noisey, electronic, shoegazey goodness from Sweden. The build-up is more than a minute long, but it’s worth it. Parts of the song actually remind me of a lighter, more accessible Crash Course in Science, a band that was so weird and formative for me a couple of years ago post college. There’s something in the way a flush of noise can accurately capture one’s state of mind. I’m not feeling settled. I’m feeling antsy.
"A Monument to Everything" by Kindness featuring Busiswa (Robyn & Royksopp cover)
The minimalism of the instrumentation in this Kindness rework of Robyn and Royksopp’s “Monument” highlights how commanding and compelling the original truly is, from those first few melodic notes to the surreal lyrics. As well, I love Kindness’ ability to find and elevate most perfect grooves to their highest levels of perfection.