Happy Birthday, Selena

In which I reflect on a life I learned a lot about just in time CW: gun violence This is just to say that Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, the intersectional voice of an underrepresented generation, would have turned fifty years old today. While, as the “Queen of Tejano Music,” she might not be thought of in theContinue reading “Happy Birthday, Selena”

The Wilsonian Institute

In which some old, old feelings meet new context Maybe it was the gummi bears. When I sat down with a bag of Haribo Goldbären to Love & Mercy, the biopic covering (in)famous periods in the life of Brian Wilson and the career of The Beach Boys, I thought about how this piece of workContinue reading “The Wilsonian Institute”

Who Was Leni Riefenstahl Really?

In which I step out onto a limb So I’m trying something a little different this International Women’s Day. I thought I’d explore the life of a woman who came from the country I am living in and learning about. And, since women are such marvelously nuanced creatures, I chose a woman who wielded unusualContinue reading “Who Was Leni Riefenstahl Really?”

Politics Spotlight: Shirley Chisholm

In which a Brooklyn baby goes for it We’re jumping about a century forward from last week to celebrate a trailblazing figure in American politics. I have no doubt her name popped up in my AP U.S. History textbook, but by this point in the timeline we were glossing over a lot of things asContinue reading “Politics Spotlight: Shirley Chisholm”

Education Spotlight: Elizabeth Jennings Graham

In which a teacher leads by example This week’s spotlight is a misdirect. Elizabeth Jennings (Graham, although we’ll focus on her single-lady days) was a schoolteacher, but the incident and court case for which she became famous had nothing to do with her teaching. Rather, it got her a mention in the New York TransitContinue reading “Education Spotlight: Elizabeth Jennings Graham”

Poetry Spotlight: Phillis Wheatley

In which I return to a childhood heroine Happy February, all. My American readers will know that this month is Black History Month. I’m going to be spotlighting a few important figures, some of whom I’ve admired for years and others of whom I’ve only just learned abut recently. Also, they’re all going to beContinue reading “Poetry Spotlight: Phillis Wheatley”

A Shot in the HEAD, A Tip of the (Green Wool) Hat

In which the young generation is…still saying something I had reason to get the Monkees on the brain a couple months ago, so I wrote a post. I’ve had more reason since—reading Mike Nesmith’s autobiography Infinite Tuesday, catching references to them in The Queen’s Gambit—so here I am writing another post. Most of all becauseContinue reading “A Shot in the HEAD, A Tip of the (Green Wool) Hat”

It’s getting to the point…

In which it’s a matter of mind over music—or is it? Yesterday a favorite podcaster of mine who often engages in discussions of mental health issues—and who is herself studying to be a therapist—read out a message from a female listener who described her boyfriend’s unwillingness or inability to help her through an emotionally turbulentContinue reading “It’s getting to the point…”

The Greatest Jazz Album…?

Or, a Christmastime observation I’m relying on holiday tunes more heavily than usual this year to keep the spirit of the season alive in relative isolation. I can’t help listening a little more closely, perhaps only because I can. Among the records on regular rotation is, for self-evident reasons, the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack toContinue reading “The Greatest Jazz Album…?”

A Brief History of A Cappella

In which I sing the praises of a much-misconstrued genre The above image, whose painter I could not identify for the life of me (drop a comment if you can), does not depict the a cappella style we know, as there are instruments present. However, it does depict (again) that musical troublemaker St. Cecilia, plusContinue reading “A Brief History of A Cappella”