Last weekend was pretty great. I got to witness the marriage of two dear, dear friends, and the next day saw Clybourne Park at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. And then the cherry, of course, was seeing Dolly Parton with friends that night.
I really, really liked the first act of Clybourne Park. It was moving and beautifully acted, funny, and heartbreaking. (There were a few moments where the audience’s laughter struck me as bizarre, though, because I was tearing up. Anyway!) The second act, however, was unpleasantly farcical at times and as one friend put it, “Gentrification 101.” We speculated the reason why we didn’t much care for it was because it didn’t really delve any deeper than black-couple-is-wary/white-couple-is-offended. I don’t know about you — and perhaps it’s because I’m part of the liberal media — but most young white folks I know are far more self-aware than the couple in the play.
Still, I’m glad I went. The acting was pretty brilliant and the post-show discussion was cross-generational and enlightening. Many thanks to Rachel Grossman at Woolly Mammoth for inviting me to participate.
Now… Can we take a moment to talk about Dolly Parton?
She sounds AMAZING for someone who’s been in the business for so long. Amanda and I were trying to figure out why she still sounds so good — compared to, for example, Mariah Carey, whose voice is a wreck (still love her) these days. She must have a strict vocal regimen. And as someone who doesn’t have a particularly deep knowledge of her songbook, I found laying out on a blanket and drinking Andre while Dolly jammed on stage extremely enjoyable.
And speaking of alcohol — I’ll be at Bar 7 tonight talking about gentrification with some awesome folks brought together by the Humanities Council of D.C. I think things get started at 6:30. Swing by if you can.
Update: Abdul Ali has a piece at City Paper that much more eloquently gets at my issues with Clybourne Park.
Filed under D.C., Music, Race
I’m pretty excited to be participating in a talk after a production of the Pulitzer Prize winning Clybourne Park at Woolly Mammoth Theatre this Sunday. The play is a response to Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin In The Sun and is about the 1950s white neighborhood that freaks out when the black family moves in — and how 50 years later, a white couple moving in sparks a similar freakout.
Post-play, I’ll be talking with Washington City Paper’s Lydia DePillis and DCentric’s Elahe Izadi about the role of the media in telling the story of gentrification.
You can get tickets here (use code 1285 for a 20% discount), or, if for some crazy reason you just want to see us talk, no need to buy tickets. The post-show discussion is open to the community; which is just one more reason to love Woolly.
I’ve got two pieces out today that I’m pretty proud of, in different ways. First there’s the first post in a series I’m beginning for Colorlines that explores the jobs crisis, and why it’s so hard to get things done in Washington. I talked to a couple of economists who have some theories:
“If you go back to that time, I think we were worried that the unemployment could get up to 6, or maybe 7 percent,” says economist Lawrence Mishel, president of the liberal Economic Policy Institute. “There was bipartisan effort to stimulate the economy when we were worried about 7 percent. Now we’re at 9 percent,” he adds—but now no one cares.
Chad Stone, an economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, argues that unemployment has fallen away as a real priority because Washington politicians are now caught up in a short-sighted argument over the budget deficit.
“The idea has caught on in this town that we have to cut spending really quickly to address a perceived budget crisis,” Stone says, but “cutting spending immediately goes in the wrong direction for solving the jobs crisis.”
Read the rest at Colorlines.
Second, I did a post for The Hairpin that I’m pretty excited about because I love The Hairpin/Awl. Thanks to Edith for running it! I wrote about the ridiculous Psychology Today post that postulated theories for why black women are objectively less attractive than all other women.
I know, right?
The problem with race-based assessments of attractiveness or intelligence — particularly when it comes to black people — is that it completely ignores a couple of things. First, that black people can be Paul Robeson or Anatole Broyard or Butterfly McQueen or Lena Horne. There’s no one kind of blackness. This leads directly to point number two, which is that most black Americans have varying degrees of white genetic material, and, traditionally, fairer skinned black women — those who are closer to white — have been considered most beautiful.
That means that you could conclude that a) the blacker a lady is, the less attractive she is, that or b) in order for racism to work, people have to believe irrational, crazy things about other races — like that black women are less attractive and less feminine than other ladies.
Read the rest at The Hairpin.
Filed under Race, Sexism, Women