Jeff Chang, whose Can’t Stop Wont Stop I just can’t recommend enough for anyone interested in the history of hip hop, has a great piece in the LARB on rap music and the 1992 LA Riots. The LA Times also ran a compelling essay on Toddy Tee, N.W.A. and other prescient west coast MCs, the forefathers of what became commercial gangsta rap.
“If the taglines used to market lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans to the country’s mainstream—‘Love Wins,’ ‘It Gets Better,’ and ‘You Can Play’—have led to unprecedented levels of inclusion and visibility, it is precisely by shoving sex aside and presenting gay people and straight people as essentially the same at heart. In the process, as the outsider status attached to being gay disappears in more and more contexts, some of gay culture’s radical roots risk being expunged from memory.” On Jim Downs’s Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation.
Melissa Hillman, the artistic director at Berkeley’s Impact Theatre, explains “A Common Problem [She Sees] In Plays By Women Playwrights. (It’s Not What You Think.)”
Considering his experience as a musician and comedian, it makes sense that Jacob Rubin wrote his new novel about a performer. The Poser depicts the tumultuous career of a talented impressionist. At Bookforum, Rubin talks about the novel, his career as a screenwriter and his knack for impressions as a child. You could also read his interview with Reif Larsen here at The Millions.
As Alden Jones puts it, a “sex-death-art trifecta” is the core of The Small Backs of Children, the new book by Lidia Yuknavitch. At The Rumpus, he talks with the author about the novel, which centers on a war photographer who takes an iconic photo in Eastern Europe. You could also read the author’s Millions essay from last week.