Books

Puddles, Peaches, Parks, and More at the 2016 LA Times Festival of Books

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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.

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Books

L.A. Zine Fest 2016: A Recap

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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.

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Books

On Sweet Valley High, Chris Brown, and Being a Bad Feminist with Roxane Gay

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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).

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Ladies We Love

Ladies We Love: Roxane Gay

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). 

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Ladies We Love

Ladies We Love: Emmy the Great

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.

Despite being busy writing new music, working on her book blog, and covering ComicCon, the lovely Miss Moss found the time to speak with Dinner Party about her recent endeavors.

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Ladies We Love

Ladies We Love: Jane Borden

As a small-town-raised, Greek-life-affiliated southern transplant living in the big city, I could certainly relate to Jane Borden’s laugh-out-loud memoir, I Totally Meant to Do That, which her website describes as the musings of “a Cerberus, a griffin or one of those joints near Port Authority that’s both a Pizza Hut and a Taco Bell…a hybrid too horrifying to exist: a hipster-debutante.” From paying too much money for too little apartment to milking sorority connections in the urban jungle, the book hit a little too close to home—in the best way possible. I’ve gotten to know Jane over the past few years, and, if you can believe it, she’s even funnier IRL (her Twitter account comes as a close second though). As weird as it is to interview a friend, I wanted to feature her since a) she’s been writing these delightful TV recaps as of late; b) it was a good way to catch up since we live on opposite coasts now; and c) I really look up to her and wanted to do a piece on a woman in my life that inspires me. And now that I’ve embarrassed myself with this outpouring of sentiment, I’m going to shut up and let the interview do the talking.

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