Happy October! …IF YOU DARE.
In addition to the gratuitous use of Halloween-ish phrases, October also means that Rookie Yearbook Three is coming out! On the 21st of this month, specifically. You can preorder it on our website, other internets, and bookstores far and wide. Here is a video of me in our publisher’s office, sorting through the shit that the book’s design justified my purchasing:
It is so pretty, so funny, so chock-full of lifesavers, and I can’t wait for you to see it. You can find some tiny previews on Instagram with the hashtag #RookieYearbookThree (I’d wanted to go with #ThirdPrintInstallmentOfWWWDotRookieMagDotCom but marketing was like, “no”).
Because I am in this play that I wrote about in July, I can’t leave New York until 2015, so we’ll save most of our events this time around until next year. But until then, we’re hosting three v. special ones (info also on our Events page):
1. October 22 at 7 PM: A conversation and signing with Janet Mock and me at Housing Works in New York. Get your tickets here. Since Julianne already interviewed Janet for Rookie and it was perfect, Janet and I are instead going to convo it up using questions from Rookie readers, if you wanna use that ole hashtag above and tweet/Insta a Q of any kind. Here is a selfie I took with Janet when I ran into her outside of Planned Parenthood in what was the most feminist moment of mon lyfe:
All proceeds from this event will go to Housing Works, which advocates and provides resources for people affected by HIV/AIDS and homelessness.
2. October 22 at 7 PM: Rookie staffers Anna, Kendra, and Tova in conversation at Toronto’s Great Hall, plus a performance by the band Pins & Needles. Tickets available here. I am bummed to miss it, but confident that if two Rookie parties take place on the same night, the sky will change color and spirits will be summoned and we’ll all start doing the dance from the end of Beetlejuice.
3. November 5 at 7 PM: Clothing and zine swap, readings by myself and other Rookie writers, and a surprise Ask a Grown Person at the PowerHouse Arena in Brooklyn on November 5th at 7 PM. Tickets here. The swap would be a great opportunity to share a zine you made and find out about a new one, or to pass on a special item of clothing and get one with its own secret history in return. Bring between only one item so we don’t get too messy!
NOW, back to October: this month’s theme is THE OTHER. Here are some scattered thoughts and points of inspiration from the email I sent our staff when we got planning:
Lorde’s “Team” video. All of “White Teeth Teens.” The world created in her album of buzzcut adolescent congregations with their own little murky green/black/gray highway kingdoms, with hierarchies and conflicts and romances all their own. Choice lyrics:
• Now bring my boys in / Their skin in craters like the moon / The moon we love like a brother, while he glows through the room.
• Living in ruins of a palace within my dreams / And you know, we’re on each other’s team.
• The underpass where we all sit / And do nothing / And love it.
The look and feel of the movie River’s Edge (not the ’80s-ness but the murky darkness-on-the-edge-of-town-ness).
Black Hole by Charles Burns—how it uses this mythologically freakish STI as a metaphor for teen ostracism:
FKA TWIGS. I have been digging her new album hard and I think part of it is that I (in my very limited musical knowledge!) don’t feel that I’ve ever before come across an album that has such a sexual current but doesn’t LEAD with sexuality and also isn’t just about sexual pleasure, is also about how its primalness can make it feel Other, how it can be creepy or uncomfortable or upsetting or freakish. I appreciate Twigs’s darkness conjoined with her utter babeliness, so very much.
Buzzfeed’s roundtable about The Mindy Project, particularly this part:
Ayesha Siddiqi: I remember having to learn that being different wasn’t dope, because for my first few years in the U.S., I thought it was. I was like, “Y’all are mad basic,” and when I felt like it, I wore a kameez shalwar to school just to stunt and I was funny and smart and got away with it. But then 9/11 coincided with middle school, when issues of romantic desirablity become salient. Suddenly being different was the worst thing you could possibly be. The first time I was sexually harassed based on race was first grade, by another classmate. All the times since have also been rooted in my perceived “ethnicness.” I’m saying a lot of things here that I’m saying for the first time in my life.
Durga Chew-Bose: That’s how I’ve felt about this chat series we’ve been having and it’s been so important to me.
Heben Nigatu: Sameeeee. I feel known.
AS: Such a rare feeling.
DCB: I think I’ve always felt desirous, but in the Othering sense of the word. Desirous, Desi-rous, like, “Ooh, foreign beauty.”
AS: Yeah, that. It doesn’t make me feel beautiful, it makes me feel consumable.
DCB: Right, but, like, that’s what I thought desire was: to be consumed.
AS: Peace to bell hooks’s “Eating the other.”
The way Otherness is fetishized and appropriated until it has real-world implications:
The idea of outcasts/freaks/geeks–this month is NOT about like, throwing a bone to “the weirdos” and perpetuating the idea that there are Cheerleaders and Nerds and nothing in between, but about questioning what those categories entails altogether:
1. I entered adolescence with the Daria/Holden Caulfield/Liz-Lemon’s-high-school-reunion approach of rejecting other people before they can reject you, and suffered for it.
2. Then Ellen Willis debunked the myth of the prom queen and the loner for me.
3. These ideas become larger than our individual high school experiences when we then decide how we would like to understand acts of violence committed by people our age: with our ego, in the interest of distancing ourselves from said people as much as possible, or with a desire to humanize everybody involved, even if it means letting go of a narrative that is easier to stomach: that all teenagers who commit horrible violence are tortured green-haired heavy metal freaks instead of kids we could have been friends with, who hung out with their parents and got dates and did well in school. Similarly, the dangers of trying to understand any tragedy by crying monster. From this piece on Woody Allen: “We live in the same universe as those who abuse kids. We walk among them. If we want to end the sexual abuse of children, it will begin with the recognition that we are simply not that different from them.”
Freaks and Geeks. I know we’ve given Lindsay a lot of airtime and I don’t think we need another whole post on this show, but I am interested in the secret language and vernacular of the freaks and the geeks respectively and how loaded every little interaction is when you are with your Other underlings and you all communicate in such a specific, set way.
Enjoy this month, and hope to see you at our own murky overpass gatherings (Yearbook Three events).
La la love you,
Oh, and P.S. At the end of the month, please send Anaheed pictures of yourselves in your Halloween costumes, so we can make a gallery like we did last year! Here’s a note from her on that:
HI EVERYONE. To make this easier (on me), we will only accept pix that come with:
• The NAME of each and every human in the photo (and which one they are in said photo).
• What each person is dressed as, even if it’s just a vague notion like “something ’30s pillowcase devil?”
• A consent form for each person in the picture. You get the consent forms here, fill ’em out, and then scan or photograph them (clear photos only please!) and attach them to the SAME EMAIL.
Send this stuff to this email, with the subject line HALLOWEEN COSTUMES. Thank you! Can’t wait to see you in your Halloween glory! ☽