With a captivating lineup, on-point panel topics, and several hundred book lovers willing to brave the rain, last year’s Festival of Books was certainly hard to beat. Though arguably, this year’s iteration may have been even better—and the sunny weather was only the beginning. The two-day event featured a similar format to years past, but some literary all-stars, including Margaret Atwood, Roxane Gay, George Saunders, and Chuck Palahniuk, added some heft to the 2017 offerings. Panels this year discussed a whole slew of topics, ranging from the evolution of feminism, the role of memory in globalized migrations, and, as expected, discussion on who some authors have deemed “he who must not be named.” The DP crew had to make some tough choices regarding who to see, but in the end, we felt pretty great about our selections.Continue 》
There’s a lot going on in honor of International Women’s Day, but if you’re unable to participate in today’s many, many activities, know that it’s totally 100% okay. As a friend so aptly put it, “[M]any (if not most) women do not have the luxury of not working or not engaging in unpaid/paid work on International Women’s Day.” May we suggest as an alternative that you head to your local library and pick up a book by a female author? After all, there is still very much a palpable bias against women in the literary world. Below, you’ll find some suggestions, compiled from DP contributors’ personal favorites from recent releases (as well as an older, but no less informative pick).Continue 》
As sensitive as Angelenos are to rain, attendance at the 2016 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books impressed, well, everyone. On Saturday, the first day of the festival and one of the rainiest days of the year, scores of blue umbrellas dotted the USC campus, with each umbrella representing a new subscriber to the Los Angeles Times. What could best be described as dogged determination permeated the crowd. In my mind, I kept thinking “I love books far more than I fear a commute down the 405 in this weather”—and the rest of the book-lovers at the festival probably felt the same way.Continue 》
Last weekend, the Majestic Downtown was packed to the gills for the annual L.A. Zine Fest, in a heartwarming outpour of support for the zine community. In a day and age where an online mass-market retailer controls a horrifyingly large share of the publishing industry, it’s amazing to see so many people active and involved in this kind of productive counter-culture movement. Read on for some of our favorites from the Fest.Continue 》
I came to realize that I might be a “bad feminist” around the same time Beyoncé’s surprise album dropped. I loved the album. I mean, I liked Beyoncé a lot before the 13th of December 2013, but the album led me towards a whole new realm of fangirldom. As always, the tuneage was excellent, but what got me hooked were the lyrics. It was so empowering for me to hear a young married woman of color (like myself) declare herself a feminist (like myself) and still manage to be this incredible sexual being (like what I really, really hope to be in the bedroom).Continue 》
I owe a lot to Roxane Gay. Her thoughtful pieces on current events and pop culture allow me to think more clearly about my own feelings on these topics in the news. I can’t tell you how many times her Salon.com articles have saved me from being an inarticulate rage monster on social media, spewing incoherent, vitriolic babble against public figures who turn out to be misogynists and racist jerks. Though I don’t always agree with Gay’s opinions, I’ve got mad respect for what she has to say. Her writing is always carefully considered, with nuanced opinions that provide you with an argument to consider, rather than a pedantic play-by-play on how you should think.
Gay was kind enough to answer some questions for Dinner Party about writing, celebrities, and being a “bad feminist” (Bad Feminist, her new collection of essays, drops August 5th).Continue 》
About six years ago, a friend gave me a mix CD (remember those?) with recordings of SXSW performances, including tracks from a set by Emmy the Great (the stage name of London-based songstress Emma-Lee Moss). Ten seconds into the first song, “We Almost Had a Baby,” I had chills running down my spine. “Well you didn’t stop / When I told you to stop / And there was a month / When I wasn’t sure,” Moss softly crooned over a simple, doo-wop melody. For those of you unfamiliar with the tune, the rest of it is just as catchy, heartbreaking, unsentimental, and beautiful as you can imagine. With a penchant for the literary and a natural gift for storytelling, Moss has crafted a small but formidable discography of songs about love and loss—minus the sickeningly saccharine nostalgia of your standard pop ditty.Continue 》