Book Review: Dirty Inspirations

Review of Dirty Inspirations by Terri Schneider At face-value, Terri Schneider’s Dirty Inspirations (Heatherleigh, 2016) is a memoir of her ground-breaking exploits as a world-class endurance athlete. Readers follow Terri around the globe as she muscles through a lengthy resume of outlandish events. Each of which, for most people, would represent a one-and-done, bucket list sort of adventure. The kind of thing you’d talk about forever after, and mostly because you remain eternally shocked that you survived the gory ordeal in the first place. But Terri is cut from a different cloth. And a closer read of Dirty Inspirations’ thrilling stories…

A Visual Book Review: Part 2

“Memory is the one true agony carried in the body.” Doug Rice’s An Erotics of Seeing is witness to the purest of all enigmas, memory. I take slower steps, wander the streets of Mexico City, look closely at small things. Forgotten things. Remembering beauty. “Ghosts haunt the streets, the alleys. Words replace people. Names.” “Most times, a word never becomes more than a shape to fill a lack.” I see you. I practice seeing you. I will see you again. We are left with an image locked in our mind. Every day it changes, but it’s always just right. Perfect. “A…

A Visual Book Review: Part 1

Doug Rice’s An Erotics of Seeing is a gift of observation. A peek through a crack. A breeze. Makes it hard to keep your your eyes open. Makes tears fall. My response: a practice of seeing. A Saturday morning walk through the streets of México City. “The longer you live, the more you die.” What you see becomes you. Find questions in the image. Is the after more real than the before? Can an image offer proof? “We are playing with desires that disappear.” Memory. We rediscover agony, rediscover joy. “Imagine light without shadows,” he said. “Imagine such a light. You can’t, can you? What’s that tell you?” “Time does…

Nothing is Nothing: A Review of Doug Rice’s Here Lies Memory

Fifteen years ago I was a student in Professor Doug Rice’s film class. I remember being floored when he questioned the idea of memory. Its validity, its purpose. Never before had I considered that what I know, what I have experienced, might somehow be compromised by illusory perceptions for which, thereafter, I hold my personal narrative accountable. Safe to say that since Rice’s class I’ve been considering the idea of memory. Wondering if, in fact, it’s more like a swift breeze through consciousness than something with actual staying power. Memory as a comfort-inducing novelty, a ruse that helps me make…

Global Diplomacy and Hip Hop

Even if you know me well you might be surprised to hear I’m a big hip hop fan. Believe it or not, at this very moment I have Wu Tang’s Wu Chronicles Chapter II on repeat in my Ford Ranger. I regularly sing along, loud, even at red lights. Especially to that D’Angelo jam. I may be a white boy from the suburbs, but I’m down with the Brooklyn Zoo. Yesterday at UNC Chapel Hill, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities hosted their annual Next Level event. Held midday on the second floor of Hyde Hall, Global Diplomacy and…

A Huge, Insurmountable, Feeling Thing

Natasha Trethewey at UNC Chapel Hill All writing begins with a wound. In 1965, a black woman and white man fled their Mississippi home to get married in Ohio. Upon their return, their legal status was ruled illegitimate, as was their brown-skinned daughter. A baby whose name, Natasha, was inspired by her father’s reading of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Natasha-a Russian name that means “Christmas child.” Trethewey’s first poem of the night, “Miscegenation,” told this story. My favorite poem to write helps me find the correct form to contain my grief. Trethewey then read “Myth,” a palindrome poem honoring her mother….

Chiquitito Café (Cuauhtémoc)

I didn’t expect to make it to this café. Didn’t really have time to battle a busy midday Metro. Today was my last day in DF and I had to get to the airport by 4:00pm. And that was preceded by a full schedule including a visit to the National Museum of Anthropology, a stop at Palacio Postal to mail some cards, and a once-over cleaning of my rental flat. I knew I’d be pushing it, but something in my gut knew that Chiquitito would be the perfect final visit. Still, there was huge buzzkill potential. Small as the café…