My pals at 7Days2Vote have been putting out a really interesting, insightful series of interviews with US voters over the last week. The last one is coming out this evening (CET) and around noon (EST) You can find all (English language) interviews

on youtube, facebook, and on their blog, which also includes more info on their 2 week roadtrip. 

Sick and tired of the usual, grueling day-to-day coverage of the US presidential election? Yeah, me too. Yet there are still 10 days to go until the watershed election day..

 Besides the repetitive email scandals on one side and gross sexist, racist rambling on the other side, there are still challenging issues and fascinating stories. 7Days2Vote is a project that aims to tell those stories and document what individual voters care about. 2 friends are road tripping through the Eastern and Southeastern states and taping interviews with voters. The videos will be released successively during the 7 days leading up to the election (hence the name) and I’m really excited about the project. The project is mainly German, but the twitter feed and the videos will be bilingual.

Full disclosure: I run the twitter account @7days2vote and Daniel is my younger brother 🙂

“The Handmaid’s Tale is more relevant today, we’re further down the track.”

Margaret Atwood sat down for a great interview with Literary Hub’s Grant Munroe. They talked about the Hulu series based on The Handmaid’s Tale, Donald Trump, Salem witch trials, paper books and vinyl coming back, birds and housecats, and her numerous projects, including an upcoming novel based on Shakespear’s The Tempest. 

Here is just one of many great quotes from the conversation, commenting on Trump’s view of women and the direction of US society: 

He’s all for a certain kind of women, but not women in general, I would say. But no, he’s not much of a puritan. Whereas Cruz certainly is. And Rubio is similar. The Tea Party is of that root from American society, which never really went away. It might have looked in the 17th century as if we were having a bad experience with Salem witches, and were quite embarrassed about it afterwards, but it’s never really left.

“I don’t believe in men. I’ve never met a man in my life.”


Today, Guernica Magazine published a great, insightful and inciting interview with South Asian trans performance duo DarkMatter. For instance, this is how they expand upon the above statement that Alok never met a man:

Janani Balasubramanian: I think what Alok was saying with the idea of how we’ve never met a man in our lives, is that manhood is not just an ideal of gender; it also becomes a set of ideals around race, class, respectability, purchasing power, whatever. I’ve never met a single person in their lives who’s rich, has no feelings, goes to the gym every hour, drinks protein shakes all day. This person doesn’t exist.

Alok Vaid-Menon: They’re a fairy tale. What’s difficult is that gender has become only the domain of trans people and women. But we all have gender, and we all have a stake in ending gender.

In a conversation led by Guernica’s Kevin St. James, they discuss gender, performance, colonialism, capitalism, disappointing your parents and the importance of cracking jokes. It really is a must-read, whether you agree with their stances or not.

Elizabeth Alexander and Hilton Als on Dreams and Obsession

The New York Public Library podcast is a treasure trove of great recorded conversations. This week, the institution released a particularly fascinating talk between poet Elizabeth Alexander – who read her poem “Praise Song for the Day” at President Obama’s inauguration – and writer Hilton Als. They discuss Alexander’s work in poetry and academia and her life and memoir, The Light of the World. These two Black intellectuals make too many beautiful observations and pointed comments to sum up here, I highly recommend listening to the podcast. (I just spring cleaned our bedroom just to have an excuse to keep listening.)

Elizabeth Alexander and Hilton Als on Dreams and Obsession

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/246114074/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

Mavis Staples: Action

What a terrifying time to rise our voices / But see I’m not left with minimal choices / I gotta put it into action / Doing it A too Z / Until I set myself free

Mavis Staples is one of the greatest gospel, soul and R’n’B singers. With her family’s group. the Staple Singers, she moved from a Christian gospel group to politically active members of the civil rights movement. This perspective is still noticeable in her music today, like this call to Action, The song is written by 

tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus. Marvis Staples’ voice is timeless, the message of her music is still so relevant. Her new album Livin On A High Note is  out on Anti- records Febuary 19th.

(I was introduced to Marvis Staples and the history of the Staple Singers by this great interview with Jesse Thorn of NPR’s Bullseye)
 

(antirecords)

All Songs +1: Laura Jane Grace And Lauren Denitzio On Surviving In Punk

This All Songs Considered +1 podcast is a really great conversation with Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!) and Lauren Denitzio (Worriers) about punk, art, touring-as-real-life and gender identity. 

The Worriers’ first LP Imaginary Life, produced by Laura Jane Grace and featuring the song They/Them/Theirs, is amazing, too

All Songs +1: Laura Jane Grace And Lauren Denitzio On Surviving In Punk

The only adults I know who write—and in a way, read—poetry are poets. It kind of narrows down to the people where that is actually their style of writing and their medium. When you’re a teenager, it’s easier to dabble more. … Also, in a way, you’re protected. When I think about the poetry I wrote in high school, I felt protected because I felt like I was taking on a tone and an understood amount of drama as opposed to when I was just trying to write a personal essay, and it was straightforward. To use certain writing devices that I had used in poetry seemed melodramatic.

 Tavi Gevinson, in an interview with Ruth Graham for Poetry