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What Is the Meaning of Life? Ask a Curator

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Hrag Vartanian reports on recent curator capers for Hyperallergic:

#AskaCurator day was conceived by UK-based Mar Dixon and has been embraced by many museums around the world. Yesterday, to mark the occasion, two well-known art writers (Jörg Colberg in Massachusetts and Carolina Miranda in California) decided to poke fun at the daylong curatorial celebration in their own social media–savvy way.

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Can You Judge a Book by Its Soundtrack?

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When I’m deep in writing a novel, pretty much every song on the radio or on my phone reminds me of someone from that particular book. Here are some of the ones that consistently came up as embodying certain characters and their situations…

Gina Frangello shares a soundtrack for her new novel, Every Kind of Wanting at Largeheartedboy.

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Two Mexicans in Paris

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I say without irony that Laia and I observe each other with a kind of “epistemological distance.” We follow and keep each other company with a precise balance of mutual admiration and respect, and a capacity for honest, sharp criticism. We question each other constantly, even when we don’t actually pose questions.

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How Albert Camus Wrote a French Classic

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Kamel Daoud’s The Mersault Investigation catapulted Albert Camus’s The Stranger into the center of conversation in many literary circles. After helping get Camus’s Algerian Chronicles published in English in 2013, Alice Kaplan’s latest effort, Looking For The Stranger, explains how the book came to be.

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Weekend Rumpus Roundup

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First, Chip Livingston recounts his transformational experiences with Reiki and alternative healing practices in the Saturday Essay. A shocking recording of a tarot reading empowers Livingston to feel hope again for his ailing lover, Ash, who is HIV positive. Then, Livingston learns a new way of healing at a Native American conference that complements his tarot reading.

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Photography and What It Means to Be Anti-Racist

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Photography is often considered “objective”—a technology with the ability to capture people, things and places as they were during one moment in time. The art form has a long history of depicting race powerfully in America, both in disproving difference across racial divides and in evoking emotion and depicting the gravity of tragedy.  

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Join Us at the Brooklyn Book Festival

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Tomorrow is the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. The book festival includes readings, signings, and panel discussions free and open to the public.

Find the Rumpus at Booth 238, where you can chat with editors and contributors and get your hands on some awesome Rumpus merchandise like t-shirts, tote bags, and the WLAMF mug you know you need in your life (we’ll even have the Special Edition mug, not currently available online)!

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The End of the Road

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At The Establishment, Anne Theriault recounts driving out West to see the house of her childhood heroine Laura Ingalls, and what it taught her about the horrific underpinnings of the American Dream:

And then we passed a mural with a confederate flag and I felt that hot prickle of shame and fear—fear because of what the flag means and shame because of how cluelessly white it is to be able to walk around rural Missouri and smile blithely at everyone and never once think about the color of my skin… Which is not really so different, after all, from being able to read through the Little House books and ignore the genocidal foundation Laura’s adventures are built on.

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Passing in Football

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The fear of expulsion from that collective black-boy body, of being deemed not black enough or male enough or straight enough, counterfeit somehow, terrified me.

As football comes under increasing scrutiny from all sides, Frederick McKindra, over at BuzzFeed, pens a lyrical ode to the naive dance of masculinity he witnessed on his childhood football teams—and the particular intricacy of this dance for the black boys who found the sport to be one of the only places they can carve out space for themselves.

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Books You Can Deadlift

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At Lit Hub, Joshua Zadjman talks about Alan Moore’s Jerusalem as the new zenith of the modern doorstopper novel:

What is Jerusalem? It’s an experience you can more easily press on people than explain to them. Moore’s 1,260-page second novel,Jerusalem, will land in bookstores later this month with acclaim, conjecture, and hopefully even a trumpet or two—but it’s likely that only the intrepid will take the plunge.

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Fear and Loathing

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For Lambda Literary, Christopher Soto talks with Brenda Shaughnessy about her new collection of poetry and how she relates to her writing as someone who is already four collections in. She outlines the ways in which her work has been shaped by embarrassment, her experiences within the queer community, and the importance of a writer unselfconsciously leaving herself open to new things:

But I found that I could use my embarrassment against itself: a new kind of fuck-you to an inner critic I hadn’t realized I’d been listening to my whole life.

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