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Why “Race Riot”? On the Need to Change a Misleading Term

By Steve Light

In memory of Thelma Foote, ever in affection and gratitude.

Among events known as race riots in U.S. history, the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, i.e. the destruction by whites of the African-American district of Greenwood, is among the most calamitous, albeit that all such events are immeasurably calamitous. But knowledge of and about this event from the moment of its occurrence until recent times was willfully suppressed in Tulsa and in the country as a whole. Continue reading


The Purple Glamour of Billy the Kid

By Nick Holdstock

If I start by telling you that the Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid dies at the end of The Kid, Ron Hansen’s newest novel, you cannot complain about spoilers. Historical fiction is perhaps unique in being exempt from having to supply the reader with morsels of the unexpected to keep their appetite keen. We don’t read these books to find out what happened — we read them to better understand why Thomas Cromwell helped his king to murder his wives, or how Shostakovich managed to survive the ravages of Stalin. We want to know how these people felt; we want to inhabit their minds and their world in a way that conventional nonfiction does not allow. Continue reading


When Shall We Be Done Changing?

By Cypress Marrs

Music has a way of accenting time and — at its best — of moving it forward. Time would pass anyway, of course, but the beat propels it, allows it to be experienced more fully. At least, this is what happens when Felix Walworth is behind a drum set. Standing with long hair loose, Walworth flails, hitting at things with a reckless restraint. To watch is to see the world in microcosm — body and song — come into being one moment at a time. Continue reading


Fat Rice Adventures: A Taste of Macau in the American Midwest

By Susan Blumberg-Kason

Arroz gordo, or fat rice, is one of the most popular dishes in Macau. With Portuguese and Chinese influences, the dish is comprised of rice, of course, but it’s much more than just that.  It’s an amalgamation of poultry, seafood, sausage, olives, raisins, and tea eggs. There aren’t many Macanese restaurants in the United States, but one in Chicago has quickly gained national recognition. Its name: Fat Rice. Continue reading


This is San Francisco

By Sarah Ladipo Manyika

It was Monday morning, at the library on Page Street, and I was in search of Michael Chabon’s Manhood for Amateurs. As I looked for it on the shelves, my eye kept being drawn from the books to the men sharing the library with me. Worn out, weighted down by layers of clothing and heavy duffel bags, most of them looked like they were barely stumbling through life. One disheveled young man was engrossed in a book that he held only millimeters from his nose. Another was busy knitting, filthy-looking bags all around him. A third sat at a worktable with his head slumped into a plumage of frayed cloth. Continue reading


Remember, Madam President, Deeds Not Words: the U.S. Election and Suffragette Nostalgia

By Amy Clukey

This year’s election has taken on a different tenor as suffragette nostalgia has flooded social media (props to my friend Brigitte Fielder for coining the phrase “suffragette nostalgia). Chelsea Clinton gave her a mother an antique suffragette sash for her birthday. There are memes galore. You can watch a live stream from Susan B. Anthony’s grave, where women in Clintonian pantsuits have stuck their “I voted” stickers to her headstone. It seems like everyone is sharing articles about individual suffragettes and stories about women born before the 19th Amendment who have voted for Hillary Clinton. Continue reading


Pico Diary #4: Election Day

by Jon Wiener

At Factor’s Deli on Pico in Beverywood, a dozen carts are lined up, filled with party platters ready to be delivered: pastrami, corned beef, roast beef, turkey, yellow and white cheese, cole slaw, potato salad, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, rye bread.  “Those have to be for parties tonight,” I say to the woman who must be the catering manager.  She says “One lady told me ‘it will either be a celebration, or a suicide party.  Either way we need a deli platter.” Continue reading