From Girlhood to Sublimity: Watching “The Fits” Again

It is the last dream of children: to be forever untouched.--Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name The AFI Silver theater in Silver Spring is doing this terrific series where they feature movies from the past year that you might have missed. I believe The Witch is later this week and yes, go see The Vvitch, it's vvonderful. (It's vvreally sad!) But what I saw in this series was The Fits, Anna Rose Holmer's extraordinary feature debut. It was the best movie I saw last year and now that … [Read more...]

The Viscerally Satisfying “Get Out”: My review

for America magazine: Rarely have I seen a movie audience as viscerally satisfied as the audience with whom I saw “Get Out,” the new horror-comedy written and directed by Jordan Peele of the comedy duo Key and Peele. I saw “Get Out” in a downtown D.C. theater on a Saturday night, amongst a big and mostly black crowd, drawn in by the promise of a horror movie where the villain is racism.You could describe several previous horror films that way. Think “White Zombie” or, to a lesser extent, “Ni … [Read more...]

Taking the Rough with the Smooch: Movie notes

A couple quick hits before we move to our main event, viz. a trip back in time to Gay 1986.Habit: Do you like artsy bisexual '90s vampire movies, but found Nadja too cold, The Addiction too smart, and everybody too good-looking? Boy do I have a film for you. Habit follows a startlingly disheveled and run-down dropout type (writer/director/star Larry Fessenden) as he meets a cute early-'90s chick at a party and begins to wonder why people are disappearing. The direction is really sharp--the … [Read more...]

“Christmas and Resistance to Slavery in the Americas”: Yesenia Barragan

for the African-American Intellectual History Society: The Christmas season also gave way to the largest slave rebellion in the history of the British Caribbean known as the Christmas Rebellion (or the Baptist War). During ten days in late December 1831 into January 1832, nearly 60,000 slaves (about 20% of the enslaved population of 300,000) led by the black Baptist preacher Samuel Sharpe went on strike and rebelled against plantation owners, demanding freedom and higher wages. According to … [Read more...]

“Net Worth of White Households in DC Region is 81 Times That of Black Households”: Washington Post

basically runs a press release from the Urban Institute, but since I wanted to read that press release I won't complain: The Urban Institute report, “The Color of Wealth in the Nation’s Capital,” said the Great Recession and housing crisis of 2007 to 2009 exacerbated long-persistent disparities, with black and Hispanic households losing about half of their wealth. In 2013 and 2014, white households in the D.C. area had a net worth of $284,000 while black households had a net worth of $3,500, the … [Read more...]

Why I’m Voting for DC Statehood Tomorrow

It's not because I think DC should be a state."I don't even think that's the real point, frankly," D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton says, in the very first quote of this depressing piece. My ballot tomorrow is going to be a fractal of civic helplessness. Let's explore!So first of all, even if the statehood proposal wins in a landslide, it will not happen. It is a pure protest vote. For some people it's a protest vote for left-wing and especially socially progressive politics--cf. the role … [Read more...]

Not Peace But a Sword: “The Birth of a Nation” (2016)

The Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker's searing life of Nat Turner, is a brilliant and iconic piece of Christian moviemaking--right up until Turner's slave rebellion begins.Birth has attracted intense controversy in part because of rape charges against both Parker and his co-writer. I'm not going to get into that, largely because you'll have your own beliefs on whether or how those charges should color your ticket-buying decisions, except to say that the portrayal of sexual violence in the film … [Read more...]