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What’s Left of the Past: The Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar in Sarasota, Florida

...said the Fox

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Taking my dad to visit a local institution that has withstood the ravages of ferocious growth. Some things remain intact in my hometown…

It’s a different town. That’s all I can say when anyone asks me what I think of Sarasota today. When I grew up here, there were few buildings higher than two stories. It was affordable, or at least affordable enough that a family of four could come down and start over in a stilt house on a shell drive in a part of town so close to the water that retiring baby boomers are willing to shell out half their life savings to live there now. Going back is strange, particularly because I haven’t lived there for almost two decades. It’s not a bad thing or a good thing. It’s just different.

When I go home, I go back for family. My 95 year-old grandmother who has…

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Who I Am, Who I Am Not

radical eyes for equity

I am not Howard Zinn.

That likely is unnecessary to state, and may seem a passive-aggressive statement of arrogance, but recently several people have challenged black men’s work and perspectives (notably Ta-Nehisi Coates) by noting “he is not James Baldwin.”

My relatively recent personal/professional blog presence is named the becoming radical based on Zinn’s central claim about his role as teacher/activist:

When I became a teacher I could not possibly keep out of the classroom my own experiences. . . .Does not the very fact of that concealment teach something terrible—that you can separate the study of literature, history, philosophy, politics, the arts, from your own life, your deepest convictions about right and wrong?. . .In my teaching I never concealed my political views. . . .I made clear my abhorrence of any kind of bullying, whether by powerful nations over weaker ones, governments over their citizens, employers…

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Amy Winehouse Stories

the literate lens

Amy Winehouse doing what she did best. Photo by Yui Mok/PA Amy Winehouse doing what she did best. Photo by Yui Mok/PA

The death of singer Amy Winehouse in 2011, at the tragically young age of twenty-seven, was big news. I remember hearing about it and being shocked, and having a friend tell me about the “27 Club” to which Winehouse had the dubious honor of gaining entry. The name refers to the fact that many hugely talented musicians—including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain—also died at twenty-seven, an age at which many people are just getting their careers off the ground.

Four years later, Winehouse is having a cultural moment. A documentary about her life, simply called Amy, is on wide release and has been getting a lot of press. Meanwhile, an exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, Amy Winehouse: A Family Portraitopens an intimate album on Winehouse, allowing us to view…

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The Effort of Not Wearing Makeup

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article-1041224-0228AC4600000578-286_634x942 Makeup brushes are the worst. So. Much. Work.

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with a skin condition called melasma and an eye disorder called ocular rosacea. What this amounts to is having brown patches of skin, and red bloodshot eyes. It’s fair to say that 2015 has not been a great year for my face.

The melasma has meant I’ve had to coat myself in serums and sunscreen everyday, leading to vampirically pale skin. The rosacea has also meant I’ve had to stop wearing makeup altogether. Of course I can still wear lipstick, but not if I want to kiss my girlfriend often, which I do (this is another femme dilemma for another time). I’ve gone from someone who used to wear smokey eyes at breakfast, to a blankly pale-faced person.

The whole thing has been quite unsettling. But it’s also taught me a few lessons about my relationship to beauty…

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