weekend links: SXSW, The Merry Spinster, The BreakBeat Poets


Princess Nokia. Image courtesy David Brendan Hall/The Austin Chronicle.

SXSW is upon us, which means rappers can actually be found in Austin. Described as “the only time of the year you’ll see a rapper perform on the yuppie enclave of Rainey Street,” much of SXSW’s star power this year comes from its rap lineups. Vets like Common and newcomers like Princess Nokia are a reminder that today’s rap scene is as vibrant as ever. [Austin Chronicle]

In the past 20 years, the number of new art galleries opening has significantly decreased. At the same time, established galleries have been closing. This poses the question: is the arts community in a crisis? Arts economist Dr. Clare McAndrew analyzes the decline in galleries and what arts communities can do to save themselves from extinction. [Artsy]

In her new book, editor, author, and journalist Mallory Ortberg shows that she has mastered the balance of humor and stoicism. Ortberg’s short story collection, The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror, explores humor through remixing fairytales and criticizing Western Civilization in a way that makes you laugh and think simultaneously. [Rumpus]

You would think that Ann Beattie has conquered all possible literary genres—but Beattie's work is still changing. Short story writer, novelist, and children’s book writer Beattie claims that her work is evolving, and here, she explains what it means to evolve and what to expect from her new book, The Accomplished Guest. [Oxford Magazine]

Critically acclaimed actress and “How to Get Away with Murder” star Viola Davis says her childhood was rough. Because of this, she’s been inspired to write a continuation of the Don Freeman’s Corduroy series titled Corduroy Takes a Bow. Davis said the stories helped her get through her childhood, and she’s excited about recreating hope in her first children’s book. [People]

On Wednesday, students across the nation walked out of class in protest of gun violence. Students created banners, posters, and various body art that memorialized the lives lost. Here, we see a number of pictures where creative expression and activism meet, and one can only hope that lawmakers paid attention and are ready to take action. [The Guardian]

Today, we are seeing a Black Art renaissance with black women at its forefront. More than 60 black women are featured in the new anthology The BreakBeat Poets Volume 2: Black Girl Magic. One of the editors is spoken word artist Mahogany L. Browne. Here, she discusses how the anthology came to be, its development since the first volume, and her thoughts on the black renaissance. [Chicago Reader]

Plans for the dismantling of UT Austin’s Fine Arts Library have been in motion since December 2017. The process would involve the removal of “tens of thousands of fine art books, collection materials, periodicals, and music scores…into off-site warehouse space.” Three months later, protests from students and faculty have culminated with a passionate letter from the curatorial team at UT’s Blanton Museum of Art. We stand with UT’s arts faculty and students in calling for these important materials to remain accessible and on campus. [Glasstire]

—Nia KB