DC is Burning

Thoughts on the exhibit “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” in the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC. Open until January 2019. 


A single stream of sweat trickled down the side of my forehead as I turned the corner of 17th and G Street. Even though it was the beginning of May, the temperature soared into the 90s and the humidity clung tight to the pavement all over Washington, DC that weekend.

“Look how they’re painting over the walls,” my friend had pointed out earlier in the metro station. “So much for preserving brutalist architecture.”

I followed suspiciously behind him as we entered the Renwick Gallery, sulking about how I would rather grab a cold drink and nap until the afternoon sun disappeared west into Virginia.

“Come on, it’s a really cool exhibit about Burning Man,” he encouraged. “Haven’t you always wanted to experience what it would be like at a festival in the desert for at least a day?”

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Film Review: First Reformed

In First Reformed–the newest film from cerebral director, screenwriter, and film critic Paul Schrader–Ethan Hawke plays Reverend Ernst Toller, an alcoholic Protestant minister experiencing a crisis of faith. After losing his only son to the war in Iraq and then his marriage in the aftermath, he wanders through the bleak wintry countryside of upstate New York as he waxes philosophically in lengthy voice-over narrations about the meaninglessness of life.  Continue reading “Film Review: First Reformed”

Feeling Blue in the Brooklyn Museum

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276 (On Color Blue), Joseph Kosuth (1990). Now on display at the Brooklyn Museum.

I first encountered Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts because of the #MeToo movement.

Bored one afternoon at work, I found myself wandering down a Google rabbit hole that led me to a young woman named Moira Donegan. In January of this year, as many of you may remember, something of a scandal was made of a phantom spreadsheet floating around the internet detailing a number of sexual misconduct allegations against “Shitty Media Men.” Within hours the spreadsheet went viral and caused a heated debate over the limits of female accusers’ credibility and spawned a number of think pieces from all sides. Continue reading “Feeling Blue in the Brooklyn Museum”

Film Review: Keep the Change

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Keep the Change (released March 16, 2018, in the US and now playing in select theaters) has the same look and feel as any number of mainstream romcoms. A man from the Hamptons meets a quirky girl in the city, and after some initial setbacks, they eventually give into the transformative power of love and start falling for each other. As you watch them walk hand-in-hand on the boardwalk of Coney Island and face disapproving glares from their parents over dinner, you think: Haven’t I seen this already? You haven’t.

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No me encontraron…

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Portrait of Federico García Lorca (June 5, 1989 – August 18, 1936)

Federico García Lorca, the famed Spanish poet and playwright from a small town outside of Granada, came to New York City in 1929 and briefly studied at Columbia University. During that time, it is rumored he focused more on writing than on his studies, and in the following year he completed Poeta en Nueva York, a book of poems published a decade later in 1940.

The book was published posthumously, since Lorca was assassinated sometime around the 18th of August, 1936, by militiamen supporting Francisco Franco’s fascist military coupe. Official reports from the time proffered by the Franco regime claim that Lorca was arrested and executed after confessing to the crimes of “homosexuality” and “socialism.”

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Queers with Class Consciousness: Édouard Louis’ The End of Eddy

edouard_louis_-_madrid_2015_-_maxppp_2 (1)Édouard Louis’ The End of Eddy is a gripping first-person account of violence as both a pervasive physical feature of life in rural France and a symbolic marker of working-class reality. Staying true to his intellectual roots in French sociology, Louis turns a sharp analytical eye to the myriad ways violence is manifested within his social milieu. Set in his hometown of Hallencourt–the French equivalent of Trump Country–he begins the novel with the shocking line: “From my childhood I have no happy memories.”

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To Cast a Predator: Travis Russ’ America is Hard to See and the Ethics of Documentary Playwriting

America Play

The first thing I noticed when walking to the HERE Art Center in Tribeca last month—besides the fact that I was beginning to break a sweat in February—was a crowd of mostly white, middle-aged, New York literati types. This may seem like an irrelevant detail in the context of a theater review, but given the meta-textual experiment that is Travis Russ’ America is Hard to See, the audience is as much a part of the play as the actors and the set. In his latest production from Life Jacket Theater Company, the plot has a clever way of entangling us into a world we would much rather keep at a safe geographical and mental distance, while simultaneously laying bare our perverse cultural appetite for the spectacle of criminality.

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