Theydies and Gentlethems!

Greetings to my friends and faithful enemies.

Even though we know that Tumblr is now for all intents and purposes, dead (RIP Tumblr) I wanted to still keep in touch with everybody and share stuff I’m working on and thinking about. I liked tinyletter, but the subscriber max and I aren’t friends, so here I am instead. This version of the newsletter will have free emails but also longer, subscriber-only ones, featuring work I haven’t published elsewhere. This one is free though.

Here’s what is going on in my brain-space at the moment.

What I’m Listening To:

  • This podcast interview between Anastasia Berg and Andrea Long Chu. I love Andrea’s work, she’s doing some of the best criticism out there right now.

On Beauty:

On Activism:

  • Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System - I think a lot about how to practice emergent strategy in every aspect of my life, and revisiting this work by Donella Meadows has been really helpful in understanding how to problem solve in a strategic way. This methodology applies to pretty much any industry, though it was meant for systems analysis regarding global poverty etc.

  • Alongside that, when I was doing research for my piece on spas and statecraft, I learned a lot about architecture and politics/activism. There’s this phrase, acupuncture architecture, or urban acupuncture, that I find so charming and good. My hometown of Taipei has several projects of urban acupuncture! Here’s one example. I got into this k-hole while researching Madeline Gins and the project of Reversible Destiny. There is going to be an exhibit on Arakawa and Gins at the V&A Museum in London in May, if you are nearby you should go!

Here are the books I’ve picked up lately or that I’m really excited to pick up:

  • Don’t know what I meant by ‘emergent strategy’ earlier? Read this book! This was one of my favorite books of 2017-2018, and has been so healing to read and reread and re-reread…etc.

  • American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, a book of poems

  • Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi. Their NYPL podcast episode is phenomenal!

  • Metamorphica, by Zachary Mason. This is a retelling of Ovid’s stories on Narcissus, Pygmalion, Midas, etc. I feel like there are quite a few classic retellings out right now that are doing well, and I love all of them. My favorite will forever be the Christopher Logue contributions though. An arrow’s tunnel the width of a lipsick! The Greek army rising like a sky-wide Venetian blind! I could scream. I have screamed.

On beauty and activism: The turnout for the first Beauty Fire Sale was so lovely that I’ve decided to make it a recurring event. My friend Marie Lodi is spearheading the LA version, which will be on August 18th. The official details aren’t cemented yet, but I’ll let you know when you can start buying your tickets. You can keep an eye on this website for more information, but don’t buy a ticket until the venue for LA is listed on the ticket page. There’s an option for donating tickets as well so if you can’t attend you can still buy entrance for someone else, and the money goes to the same great causes: immigrant legal defense, family reunification, with leftovers going to charities as well. We’ll have another NYC one in a few months, closer to the holidays.

That should give you lots to think about. I do have one question for you though: do you feel there’s a big difference between joy and relief in 2018?

I keep thinking about it, and I’m not sure there is.

Feel free to email me your answer, or just think about it! Either way. Stay frosty.