Read Your Local Bookstore Wants You to Know That It’s Struggling (nytimes.com)
Independent booksellers are desperate for customers to return, and not just for an online reading.
Bookmarked on: Oct 15, 2020 at 20:19


Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., sends personalized URLs to customers with a list of handpicked recommendations. 

Perhaps if they went the step further to set up domains for their customers, they could ostensibly use them not only as book blogs, but also to replace their social media habits?

An IndieWeb friendly platform run by your local bookseller might be out of their wheelhouse, but it could potentially help solve their proximal problem while also solving one of society’s problems all while helping to build community.
Annotated on October 16, 2020 at 12:51PM

Take Vroman’s Bookstore, a 126-year-old institution in Pasadena, Calif. It has more than 200 employees, 20,000 square feet of space and the rent to go along with it. In a normal year, it hosts anywhere from 300 to 400 events, bringing in authors for readings and signings, along with customers who buy books and maybe a glass of wine from the bar. But none of that is happening this year. 

Coincidentally I bought two books at Vroman’s yesterday and it looked reasonably busy for mid-day. (Maybe because of this article?)

It’s a bit disingenuous to mention wine at their bar as their wine bar was only finally open for a minute before the pandemic shut everything down.
Annotated on October 16, 2020 at 12:54PM

Like many other stores, Vroman’s is hosting online events to promote new books, which can attract attendees from all over the country but generally bring in almost no money. 

Maybe they need a book paywall for admission into those events? Buy a book to get the zoom code to get into the event?

David Dylan Thomas essentially did this for his recent book launch.
Annotated on October 16, 2020 at 12:55PM

In the best of times, the margins at a bookstore are paper thin — traditionally, a successful shop hopes to make 2 percent in profits — but operating during a pandemic is even more expensive. 

Yes—they said paper thin…
Annotated on October 16, 2020 at 12:57PM

Read Opinion | A Brief Guide to 21st-Century Blackface (nytimes.com)
Twenty years ago, Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled” skewered America’s love of minstrelsy. Has Hollywood learned anything about blackface since?
There’s apparently been a lot more blackface in the past several decades than I was aware of. I’d love to read some of the more academic treatises on the topic from a media studies perspective.
Read Soul Man (film) (Wikipedia)
Soul Man is a 1986 American comedy film about a white man who takes tanning pills in order to pretend to be black and qualify for a black-only scholarship at Harvard Law School. The film was directed by Steve Miner and stars C. Thomas Howell, Rae Dawn Chong, Arye Gross, James Earl Jones, Leslie Nielsen, James B. Sikking, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
I’ve  been thinking lately about how well this film has stood up to the test of time. Might be interesting to re-watch it and compare/contrast it to the Wayans’ brothers’ White Chicks with respect to the passage of time.

I also appreciate the contrast put in here with respect to Tootsie, which has a similar plot structure.

Read The Layered Deceptions of Jessica Krug, the Black-Studies Professor Who Hid That She Is White by Lauren Michele JacksonLauren Michele Jackson (The New Yorker)
During her scholastic career, Krug’s advisers, editors, and colleagues failed to recognize the gap between something thrown-on and something lived-in. That inattentiveness was her escape hatch.

Consider, for instance, the footage that has been circulating from a New York City Council hearing, held over Zoom in June, which shows Krug in her Afro-Latinx pose. She introduces herself as Jess La Bombalera, a nickname apparently of her own making, adapted from Bomba, an Afro-Puerto Rican genre of music and dance. Broadcasting live from “El Barrio,” and wearing purple-tinted shades and a hoop in her nose, she lambasts gentrifiers, shouts out her “black and brown siblings,” and twice calls out “white New Yorkers” for not yielding their speaking time. What stands out, though, is the way Krug speaks, in a patchy accent that begins with thickly rolled “R”s and transitions into what can best be described as B-movie gangster. This is where desire outruns expertise. The Times, in a piece on Krug’s exposure, last week, nonetheless called this a “Latina accent,” lending credence to Krug’s performance. (The phrase was later deleted.) The offhand notation is a tiny example of the buy-in Krug has been afforded her entire scholastic career, by advisers and committee members and editors and colleagues. They failed to recognize the gap not between real and faux, so much, as between something thrown-on and something lived-in. That inattentiveness was Krug’s escape hatch. 

If nothing else, this is indicative of human cognitive bias. We’ll tend to take at face value what is presented to us, but then once we “know” our confirmation bias will kick in on the other direction.

I’m curious if there were examples of anyone calling out her accent contemporaneously? We’re also stuck with the bias of wanting to go with the majority view. When you’re the lone voice, you’re less likely to speak up. This is also evinced in the story of her previous colleagues who had “gut feelings” that something was wrong, but didn’t say anything or do any research at the time.
Annotated on September 19, 2020 at 09:14AM

She introduces herself as Jess La Bombalera, a nickname apparently of her own making, adapted from Bomba, an Afro-Puerto Rican genre of music and dance. Broadcasting live from “El Barrio,” and wearing purple-tinted shades and a hoop in her nose, she lambasts gentrifiers, shouts out her “black and brown siblings,” and twice calls out “white New Yorkers” for not yielding their speaking time. 

I hear this name and immediately think “Bamboléo“! Gipsy Kings! and then this:


Annotated on September 19, 2020 at 09:30AM

Lauren Michele Jackson is a contributing writer at The New Yorker and an assistant professor of English at Northwestern University. 

This is an excellent article on its own without the context, but it is more interesting with the context on the click-thru that Jackson’s first book, the essay collection “White Negroes,” was published in 2019.

I’m curious about the editorial decision to not mention it in the mini-bio here, particularly when the piece is so pointedly about identity and authenticity.
Annotated on September 19, 2020 at 09:57AM

Read Madonna to Co-Write, Direct Her Own Biopic by Borys Kit ( Hollywood Reporter)
Diablo Cody is co-writing the "untold true story" that will be produced by Amy Pascal.

There are so many untold and inspiring stories and who better to tell it than me. 

Of course there will be a huge amount of bias from her perspective.
Annotated on September 17, 2020 at 12:18PM

Madonna being front and center to guide her own biopic should not be a surprise from anyone who has followed her career. But it is noteworthy since most biopics, when based on people or musical acts, tend to have their subjects as consultants and executive producers, involved mainly from rights points of view. This has been the case with recent hits Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody. 

And I think she’s learned from Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody that if you’re heavily involved in making and producing your own biopic, it’s unlikely anyone else will do one anytime soon and you’ll be able to control not only the immediate narrative, but also the long term narrative (at least within popular culture).
Annotated on September 17, 2020 at 12:23PM

Kanye West apparently tweeted screenshots of one of his contracts with Def Jam in 2012 this morning. While it may seem crazy and odd, this is the sort of data that doesn’t get leaked within the entertainment industry very often. I’m curious to see how the level of the details released shifts the balance of power to artists in the future since surely this contract would represent one of the higher levels of performer contract in the business at the moment.

A&R and business affairs executives are sure to hate this for the coming year(s). It would be nice if more artists shared these sorts of points in public to help out others without the level of legal representation that Kanye has.

I also wonder if/when these sorts of contracts will have non-disclosure clauses in them to help protect the labels? It may start today if artists aren’t careful.

Watched Dune - Official Trailer (2020) Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya from YouTube
Check out the first trailer for Denis Villeneuve's eagerly anticipated adaptation of sci-fi classic, Dune.
Looks intriguing as a remake. Missing all of the 60’s/70’s pseudo kitsch from the 80’s version. No hint of influence from Barbarella or the Flash Gordon movies.
Read Tombstone (typography) (Wikipedia)
In mathematics, the tombstone, halmos, end-of-proof, or Q.E.D. symbol "∎" (or "□") is a symbol used to denote the end of a proof, in place of the traditional abbreviation "Q.E.D." for the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum", meaning "which was to be demonstrated". In magazines, it is one of the various symbols used to indicate the end of an article. In Unicode, it is represented as character U+220E ∎ END OF PROOF (HTML ∎). Its graphic form varies, as it may be a hollow or filled rectangle or square.
Read Academy Establishes Representation and Inclusion Standards for Oscars® Eligibility (Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars® eligibility in the Best Picture category, as part of its Academy Aperture...
Long overdue and could have been an even higher bar, particularly on the studio side.
Watched Mind yer Scots - Dr Michael Dempster full interview from YouTube
Dr Michael Dempster - Full Interview. Speaking to 'The Big Night In' Dr Dempster discusses the origins of the Scots language, Scots in popular culture, place names, common attitudes and various initiatives to encourage people to use and understand their own Scots tongue.
Interesting note about the TV show Shetland and the language used and how it was affected by the BBC as a production entity.

Mention around 23 minutes about the Anglicization of Scots words that not only don’t make sense, but remove the relationship between the people and their land.

Read a thread by Liz (threadreaderapp.com)
Read 5 Excellent YA Books About Selkies by Abby Hargreaves
If books about mermaids aren’t really your thing and you’re looking for something a bit earthier, you might be interested in selkie lore. For the uninitiated, selkies come from Scottish folklore, stemming particularly from the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland. Selkies, a kind of mythical creature that shapeshifts from a seal to a human form. In many examples of selkie legends, part of the lore typically involves a woman selkie who loses her pelt to a man of the land. When this happens, she is tied to him so long as she is unable to find her pelt, and therefore unable to return to her seal form and her ocean habitat. These six YA books about selkies drop readers into stormy seaside towns, sparkling ocean depths, and treacherous rocky crags.
Apparently this is a “thing”? I’m going to download a sample of one and give it a try.