I just learned, via maxxklaxon, that the desolate stretch along the Palmetto Expressway where my mother had her first warehouse church in the ’80s is known as Miami’s Bird Road Art District. I guess I mean to say “once-desolate”?
The fact that the Shell logo is the turn-off marker gives you some idea of what the area was like. Glad the f*cked zoning is working to artists’ advantage.
My God, it’s been a long time since I lived in South Florida.
“ I have made one bad real estate decision after another my entire life. Knowing this, I made a lot of effort to consult people who I believe to be intelligent in real estate. It made no difference. I made the worst decision of my life. Even if you’re moving to an apartment that turns out being OK, like last time, which was only four years ago, if you have 10,000 books, it’s a difficult undertaking. The more that you mention this to people, even if people know about it, the more you are criticized for having 10,000 books. I finally said to somebody the other day, “You know what? They are books. It’s not like I am running an opium den for children. There’s nothing wrong with that — you may not want to have that, you may think that’s crazy, but you cannot have a moral objection to this.” Even real estate agents would say to me, “If you got rid of the books, you wouldn’t need such a big apartment.” And I would say, “Yes that’s true, but what if I had four children? Would you say, ‘Why don’t you put them in storage, because you can’t really afford an apartment for them?’” Basically my whole life, I’ve paid for these books. Buying them is nothing, but housing them is hard because they need a giant apartment. People say, “Why do you need such a big apartment — do you throw a lot of parties?” No. It’s for the books. I believe books to be the perfect companion. They’re very good-looking, they’re there when you need them, but it’s not just the books. It’s where they live, which is in bookcases with glass doors. I only put them in cases with glass doors because dust is very bad for books.
Against a backdrop of bloated, bumbling Web media, Ortberg and her expanding cohort (she had to cap the number of applications for an assistant editor position at 720) seem impossibly nimble, curious, wry, and elevated. TL;DR: The Toast is producing the kind of stuff its competitors, if you can call them that, daren’t even dream of. (via Me IRL: Mallory Ortberg)
I’ve always been interested in the ways writers think about family history—and especially about echoes, or the lack thereof, through the generations—if they do, as they work. I’m grateful to Tin House for allowing me to indulge this curiosity in a new series of brief but wide-ranging interviews with authors about ancestry. First up, Christopher Beha:
Maud Newton: When we first met to talk about the essay I eventually ended up writing for Harper’s, you mentioned an ancestral house upstate where your family spends time every summer. Do you think visiting that old homestead has influenced your thinking about ancestry?
Christopher Beha: Without a doubt. The house was built by the first Behas of my line to come to America from Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century. They farmed for a couple of generations on land my family still owns, and members of the family continued to spend a lot of time there after my great-great grandmother moved the family down to New York City. So there’s a lot of family history there.
There are still some Behas living in the area (though they pronounce the name differently than my family does), and there is a Beha Road not far from the house. I can walk a mile down the road to the churchyard and see the graves of Matthias and Theresa Beha, my great-great-great grandparents, who brought their family over 150 years ago. All of this has influenced my sense of ancestry as something that is still present in my world, even if it is often invisible.
Read the rest here.
"I think the act of carrying something that is normally found in our bedroom out into the light is supposed to mirror the way I’ve talked to the media and talked to different news channels, etc," Emma continues in the full video which you can watch here.
I linked to something about this project on Twitter a couple weeks ago but I like it even better in gif form.
“ You have but two topics, yourself and me, and I’m sick of both.
Samuel Johnson was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England on this day in 1709 to Michael Johnson, a bookseller, and his wife, Sarah Ford. (via vintageanchorbooks)
First two sentences of Rebecca Solnit’s latest*: “The story of Cassandra, the woman who told the truth but was not believed, is not nearly as embedded in our culture as that of the Boy Who Cried Wolf—that is, the boy who was believed the first few times he told the same lie. Perhaps it should be.”
* From the October Harpers, in my mailbox today but not yet on newsstands.
Even as Picasso and other modernists were taking enormous inspiration from Central African reliquary art, missionaries in Africa were calling for the relics’ destruction.
Most of the Western artists appropriating techniques from these artworks seem to have thought of them only as beautiful objects, when in fact they were much more: devotional relics that actually contained the remains of tribal leaders and their ancestors. Over the past century, their descendants have been deprived not only of their ancestors’ remains but of their traditions.
Arguably our own distance, here in a West dominated by scientific materialism, from the spirit behind reliquary isn’t as vast as we might think. In Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary, curator Alisa LaGamma writes of the lost byeri tradition of the Fang communities of Southern Cameroon (and Gabon and Equatorial New Guinea):
That these works are considered masterpieces in the West elicits both pride and frustration in the heirs apparent of this tradition, given how devoid their own lives are of concrete evidence of their heritage. While their great-grandparents held on to the relics that were then conceived of as the most sacred aspect of ancestral veneration, today that is no longer a source of solace to their descendants.
The desire for a substantive bridge to one’s past is fundamental to the human condition. In the West this has most recently manifested in attempts to draw upon DNA analysis to chart and decipher our genetic makeup.
The sculpture above, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2007 Eternal Ancestors exhibition, is sometimes called the Black Venus, and was created by a Fang artist from what is now Gabon.
I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed anything as much as I’m enjoying researching this book.
Slots! On the lottery of art, by Maximus Clarke, at Governor’s Island every weekend this month. Obviously I’m biased but obviously it is also objectively great. Best enjoyed in full.
LGBTQ* Military Stories (That Will Warm Your Heart)
I only met one other homosexual in the army. That was in Le Havre in 1917. We was on the boat coming home. I don’t know how these things work, whether it’s through conversation, or whether it’s the attitude of the individual concerned, but we seemed to come together, see. All of a sudden his arm was round my neck and this, that and the other, and then, of course, one thing led to another. And that was Phil, my affair that I had for seven years. When I come out of the army we stuck together. I was living at the time in Ilford. I rejoined the army in 1920, then I went out to Germany. I was living with Phil at the time and I saw him when I came home on leave and we kept a flat together. I was in the army because the army was my life at that period. He was somebody just like a wife to come home to…
… I don’t think our friends or family knew, yet they had a very good suspicion. Phil and I often talked about it, only he said, well, he says, as long as we love each other, what’s it to do with other people? And that was the true situation.
Text: First person account as told by Gerald, born 1892, Norfolk, England. Excerpted from Between the Acts: Lives of Homosexual Men 1885-1967, Jeffrey Weeks and Kevin Porter (eds)
(story found thanks to: www.woolfandwilde.com)
“ As the huge hunks of fudge were pried loose, they went tumbling and bouncing down the mountain, and when they reached the bottom they were picked up by cranes with grab-buckets, and the cranes dumped the fudge into open wagons – into an endless moving line of wagons (rather like smallish railway wagons) which carried the stuff away to the far end of the room and then through a hole in the wall.