weekend links: Palestinian protests, Natalia Sylvester, queer cinema

  Image courtesy of  The Austin Chronicle

Image courtesy of The Austin Chronicle

Congratulations to the nominees of the 2017-18 Austin Critics Table Awards! The awards honor the city’s outstanding theater, dance, and classical music performances, as well as top visual arts exhibitions and galleries. This year’s nominees include a virtual who’s-who of our favorite galleries and artists; special recognition to Co-Lab Projects, grayDUCK Gallery, and MASS Gallery and artists Elizabeth Chiles, Michael Anthony Garcia, and Barry Stone, who’ve produced some of our favorite work of the past year. [Austin Chronicle]

Last week, San Antonio publisher Bryce Milligan was accused of initiating inappropriate sexual conduct with artist Hailey Laine Johnson when she was just 14 years old. Now, faced with backlash from authors and the stripping of a City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture grant, Milligan has agreed to step down from Wings Press, an important source of diverse voices in the poetry community for more than 20 years. Milligan’s wife, Mary Guerrero Milligan, and daughter Brigid Milligan will take over operations. [San Antonio Current]

Wissam Nassar’s photography of the current conflict in Palestine captures, with brutal precision, the way bodies—mutilated bodies, disabled bodies—move in protest, without performing disability. With these photographs, Nassar, who has won a Pulitzer, captures Palestinians demonstrating for the right to return to their historic homelands in what is now Israel. In these awesomely balanced but deeply unsettling photos, we see decolonialization flicker into reality. [Hyperallergic]

Author Natalia Sylvester talks about her latest novel, Everyone Knows You Go Home, and speaks up for the humanization of immigrants in this interview with fellow writer Michael Noll. Both authors are heavyweights in Austin’s literary scene, and Sylvester is becoming a powerful voice in the fight for immigrants’ rights and other important issues. If you haven’t yet picked up her book, make like Roxane Gay and get to it. [The Millions]

DANGER SIGNALS is a multidisciplinary play about the history of lobotomy. Lobotomy, the practice of cutting into the brain, was invented by Dr. Egaz Moniz as a means to cure mental illness. Between 1940 and 1954, more than 40,000 lobotomies were performed in the U.S.— mostly on female subjects. Using this history of lobotomy, DANGER SIGNALS critiques the veneration of the male pioneer. It was created by the experimental theater company Built For Collapse (directed by Sanaz Ghajar), the musician Jen Goma, and the British playwright Nina Segal, and runs in Manhattan’s New Ohio Theater. [Bomb]

What does it mean for a film to be a “queer” film? E. Alex Jung considers the question in this analysis of the portrayal of LGBTQ characters over time, and how, with same-sex marriage and growing popular normalization, films featuring gay characters have grown relatively tame. Jung compares recent movies to John Greyson’s Patience Zero, for example, a film that features singing anuses. In Jung’s view, queer cinema should be “subversive, punk, and anti-authoritarian”—traits that once were inherently associated with the gay community, but may no longer hold such weight in today’s society. [Vulture]

A musician gives their take on how bad music reviews from critics derail musicians. In this anonymous open letter, the musician makes a plea for criticism that originates from a place of empathy and understanding, and how there needs to be a division between music journalist and musician—one cannot occupy both positions simultaneously. They then delve into the politics of criticism, and how harsh criticism tends to be reserved for artists “not staying in their lane.” The main takeaway: next time you read a music review, consider who the reviewer is. [Dazed]

The 16 actresses featured in the forthcoming documentary My Profession Is Not Black walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in a powerful ensemble designed by Olivier Rousteing of the fashion design boutique Balmain. My Profession Is Not Black is a tell-all about the French film industry from 16 black actresses and the sexism and racism they experienced as women of color. What made the outfits particularly special was that their designer, Rousteing, is Balmain’s only black French fashion designer. In an interview with Vogue, he says, “I think if I were white, some of my design choices might have been taken in a different way. It’s easy for the industry to judge, and some of my choices, let’s say, would have been judged in a different way.” [Vogue]

Though we may remember Tom Wolfe best as a pioneer of New Journalism (and for his bespoke white suits), we may, in honor of his death, recall how Wolfe himself had remembered his life. In 1991, Ken Storey purchased the Richmond, VA home where Wolfe had grown up. Storey wrote a letter to Wolfe and three months later received a lengthy four-page letter from Wolfe, who had, by that point, written 11 nonfiction books. In this response, Wolfe talks about his love for the trees around the house (which his father had built in 1930), the neighborhood kids, and the fresh tomatoes and strawberries they grew. A far cry from the socialites of the Upper East Side, and a simpler time. [Architectural Digest]

—Audrey Deng and Sean Redmond