“The True Story of Kudzu, The Vine That Never Truly Ate the South”: Smithsonian Magazine

ruminates: ...The hype didn’t come out of nowhere. Kudzu has appeared larger than life because it’s most aggressive when planted along road cuts and railroad embankments—habitats that became front and center in the age of the automobile. As trees grew in the cleared lands near roadsides, kudzu rose with them. It appeared not to stop because there were no grazers to eat it back. But, in fact, it rarely penetrates deeply into a forest; it climbs well only in sunny areas on the forest edge and suff … [Read more...]

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“Jacob Lawrence’s Existential Sociology”: I’m at AmCon

reviewin': ...It’s easy to read artists—and maybe especially black artists—as mere reporters. Or, worse, sociologists. And Jacob Lawrence’s work does indeed have many reportorial or sociological characteristics: He’s racially conscious (and self-conscious about his role as a voice of his race), he’s influenced by folk art, he’s panoramic in his attempt to depict many layers of society. He has what The Wire would call “the Dickensian element.” These are all artistic choices he made that add to th … [Read more...]

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“Slow Poison”: Ezekiel Kweku on a Lifetime of Preparing for Police Violence

...Half an hour later, I stopped for gas in a small town I’d once known. As I began to fill my car, I realized that several years before I had been to the park across the street. The woman who was not yet then my wife had driven me there one evening while we were in college. We sat there in the car talking as dusk fell, under the strange shadows made by sunset and streetlights through tree branches. I don’t remember what we talked about, only that we spoke with the unembarrassed, giddy exc … [Read more...]

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Girls Like Violence: Short Movie Reviews

First up, a couple horror flicks; then a WWII documentary covertly filmed behind Fascist lines in Italy; then a satire/adventure tale from the first Gulf War. Don't say I don't have range.Stonehearst Asylum: A new asylum movie from the guy who brought us Session 9? Sure, I'll eat it! And Stonehearst is a really solid horror flick, twisty and heartfelt and saddening.It's a period piece, set between Christmas 1899 and New Year's 1900, at a remote asylum in... England? Scotland? Hogwarts? … [Read more...]

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Prison Photography: Texas in the ’60s, Italian Theater Performers, More

Clara Vannucci: “Why should I run? Where would I go? Twenty years I’ve lived in prison. Now I have something to live for. Life has meaning.” This was the unexpected and humbling response Vannucci received when she asked a prison inmate of Italy’s notorious Volterra Prison and touring theatre actor why he did not try to escape when he had so many opportunities to do so.In 1998, Armando Punzo established the Compagnia della Fortezza, a theatre troupe comprised of dangerous felons and hardcor … [Read more...]

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“Everyone I Love Is an Allegorical Representation of Ireland”: And Other Catchy Folk Tunes

I forget where I found this: im putting together a couple of scottish folk mixes bc that’s what i do and im honestly curious if anyone in my country has ever been unequivocally happy about anything ever scottish trad music genres:Everyone I Love Is Dead The English Have Stolen All My Sheep You Want To Be My Boyfriend? First You Must Answer These Riddles Three The Protestants Have Stolen All My Sheep I Love You A Lot But You’ve Left Me And It’s Raining [fiddle solo] The Sea Is Tre … [Read more...]

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“Looking Away from Abortion”: Ross Douthat

on the meaning of the Planned Parenthood videos:IN an essay in his 1976 collection, “Mortal Lessons,” the physician Richard Selzer describes a strange suburban scene. People go outside in the morning in his neighborhood, after the garbage trucks have passed, and find “a foreignness upon the pavement,” a softness underfoot. Looking down, Selzer first thinks he sees oversize baby birds, then rubber baby dolls, until the realization comes that the street is littered with the tiny, naked, all-to … [Read more...]

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