Cultural Omnivore No. 7

A Weekly Listing of What We Love

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JOSÉ LEONILSON: EMPTY MAN
“Focusing on Leonilson’s production as a mature artist, the show will feature approximately fifty paintings, drawings, and intimate embroideries made between the mid-1980s until 1993, when the artist died of AIDS. This short yet prolific period showcases the artist’s fully developed language, connecting Leonilson’s oeuvre with contemporary art practices, Brazilian vernacular traditions, and global issues prompted by the AIDS crisis. By taking as its starting point the works produced during the last three years of his life and moving backwards into the 1980s, the exhibition maps Leonilson’s artistic journey following the reverse chronology of T.S. Eliot: “in the beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning…”” (Curated by Cecilia Brunson, Gabriela Rangel, and Susanna V. Temkin)
Through February 3, 2018
Americas Society / Council of the Americas, 680 Park Avenue, NYC 10021

 

BUAppbk.jpgTHE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS
Author: Cristina Henriquez
Published: Reprint edition (March 3, 2015)
Vintage; 304 pages
Buy Here
Excerpt: “English was such a dense, tight language. So many hard letters, like miniature walls. Not open with vowels the way Spanish was. Our throats open, our mouths open, our hearts open. In English, the sounds were closed. They thudded to the floor. And yet, there was something magnificent about it. Profesora Shields explained that in English there was no usted, no tu. There was only one word—you. It applied to all people. No one more distant or more familiar. You. They. Me. I. Us. We. There were no words that changed from feminine to masculine and back again depending on the speaker. A person was from New York. Not a woman from New York, not a man from New York. Simply a person.”

 

MV5BYjJkYmE3YWMtODk4ZC00NGJmLTkzZjMtMzZlY2FjOWVhY2JjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_UY268_CR4,0,182,268_AL_BLACK GIRL (1966)
Director: Ousmane Sembene
Writer: Ousmane Sembene (based on a novella by), Ousmane Sembene
Stars: Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Anne-Marie Jelinek, Robert Fontaine

A remarkable film about a Senegalese woman in search of a better life. She moves to the south of France with the French family she’s worked for in Dakar. Her world is diminished as she encounters the harsh realities of racism in her new country. The binary color scheme of the film adds to the oppression that overwhelms the protagonist.

 

maxresdefault.jpgFUNKIER THAN A MOSQUITO’S TWEETER
Artist: Nina Simone
Album: It Is Finished
Lyrics: “You’re nothing but a dirty, dirty old man
You do your thinking with a one track mind
Keep talkin’ about heaven glory but
On your face is a different story…”

There is nothing like listening to Nina Simone when the whole world is screaming for goodness to prevail. We are praying and Nina is our saint.

 

THE LITTLE-KNOWN FRIENDSHIPS OF
ICONIC WOMEN WRITERS
Writers: Emily Midorikawa and Emma Sweeney
Literary Hub, October 11, 2017

Opening Paragraph: “Literary friendships are the stuff of legend. The image of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth tramping the Lakeland Fells has long been entwined with their joint collection of groundbreaking poems. The tangled sexual escapades of the later Romantics Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley fueled gossip in their own time, and remain a source of endless fascination. By the mid-19th century, Charles Dickens was taking Wilkie Collins under his wing: publishing the younger writer’s stories, acting in his household theatricals, initiating excursions to bawdy music halls. And the memoirs of Ernest Hemingway offer readers a ringside view of his riotous drinking sprees with F. Scott Fitzgerald, thereby securing the pair’s Jazz Age friendship its place in literary lore.”

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