I had every intention of sending you off into the last week of August with a thick, juicy Staunchly. But then…life happened.
By that I mean: I remembered I’m young, fun and cute! And I live in a big city with a seemingly infinite array of cultural experiences to partake in and corners to explore!
By that I mean: I went to Color Me Mine twice. In one weekend. Two separate studios, both in and very much of the Valley. Why? I can’t really explain it. I went with my two friends Macey and Jenny on Saturday as a sort of ironic activity. But then it was really fun, even if they did both have to leave early because of prior commitments, leaving me to finish up my Berger Post-It catch-all alone at the Encino Color Me Mine. And then I had kind of a shitty morning yesterday and my body was buzzing with anxiety and I found myself thinking, where was the last place I was really relaxed? And, well, that’s how I found myself at the Studio City Color Me Mine. Are you happy? Are any of us?
(I know what you want from me: you want me to rank the two Valley Color Me Mines. I don’t think I’m ready to make any final judgments but I will say this: Encino had better service, pleasant and inoffensive background music, and a cleaner paint display. Studio City had a better selection of pottery and a trompe l’œil skylight, which I thought was a nice touch, but somehow in the span of three hours “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green played twice over the speaker, which set an odd tone for the afternoon).
I have complicated feelings about John McCain and those complicated feelings don’t tighten into a simpler narrative upon his death. Still, it’s nice to honor the best version of people at their passing, so long as they weren't a monster (Trump will get no such honor), and McCain seemed like a decent man of good character and strong will. Plus he had more courage in one gnarly fingernail than I do in my whole body! I liked Obama’s statement on Twitter and I’ll leave it at that.
Our statement on the passing of Senator John McCain: pic.twitter.com/3GBjNYxoj5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 26, 2018
My three favorite pieces of culture that I’ve enjoyed in the past week have all featured Asian-American protagonists, which is both a happy coincidence and (let’s hope) a harbinger for greater representation of people of color in popular culture:
- Severance by Ling Ma is the best book I read this summer*. Part-apocalyptic novel, part-workplace drama, part-recent historical fiction, part-immigrant narrative, part-idk…horrific fungal plague survivalist manual. I don’t want to say much more. It’s short, perfect, and unsatisfying. It manages to be devastating without being fussy. I can’t stop thinking about it.
- To All The Boys I Loved Before, based on the books by Jenny Han and starring the beyond charming Lana Condor, is a cheesy & delightful teen romcom on Netflix you’ll want to watch four times.
- And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Crazy Rich Asians, which is fun and lavish but also unapologetically tender-hearted. An Austen-inspired romantic comedy overflowing with visual candy that doesn’t make you feel gross afterwards, inspired to self-flagellate with a copy of Millett’s Sexual Politics? A dream realized!
Also: after a brief late-summer siesta (how French of us!), Joint Didion is back! This latest episode is on Cristina Alger’s The Banker’s Wife, a financial thriller recommended by my friend French Sophie in the Staunchly Midsummer Reading List. We’re reading Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong for our next episode (as urgently suggested by my friend Maddie), if you’d like to read along.
Everywhere and Nowhere: What it’s really like to be black and work in fashion by Lindsay Peoples Wagner (The Cut)
Wagner interviewed more than 100 black people in fashion about their experiences in the fashion industry and their insights are specific, profound, upsetting, and sadly unsurprising. Required reading.
The concept of chicness and refinement, and the people who are defining those categories, come from places where everybody looks the same. It is steeped in historical references that have upheld a certain type of definition of elegance. Black culture absolutely inspires culture at large, yet is only palatable when it comes from a place of tokenism. If it’s something that can be held onto and dismantled and made digestible to a white audience, then it’s okay. But whenever there is some sort of attempt to take ownership of that creation, or be the authority that is defining a trend and creating a visual language, it becomes threatening.
—Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, style director, Garage
Stormy Daniels, Feminist Hero by Jill Filipovic (NY Times)
A messy bitch who lives for drama? Of course. But Stormy Daniels is also a feminist hero and I refuse to see otherwise.
For Online Daters, Women Peak at 18 While Men Peak at 50, Study Finds. Oy. by Maya Salam (NY Times)
Did Leo DiCaprio fund this study?