On Friday morning, Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek TV series, passed away at 83. Nimoy’s outstanding portrayal of the half-Vulcan and half-human character Spock made him one of the best-known actors in sci-fi, and beloved across the world. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek called Spock “the conscience” of the show, adding that Leonard Nimoy brought a great deal of his own personality to the role. Outside the Enterprise, Nimoy lived a full and creative life as an actor, poet, photographer, and musician, too.
Star Trek continued to morph and grow without its original cast, but Nimoy remained involved with the franchise. He was brilliant in his guest role in the “Unification” episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and most recently he brought his trademark Vulcan calm to Star Trek Into Darkness. Thank you for all the stories you made possible, Leonard Nimoy. We’ll miss you.
The U.S. Postal Service announced that it will use an image of the late poet, memoirist, and performer Maya Angelou on a “forever” postage stamp. Maya Angelou, who died in 2014, was a giant of American letters and culture, so it feels right to honor her. There’s still no word on when exactly the stamp will be released, but what does have a release date is Angelou’s complete works of poetry—it comes out next month!
I was thrilled to read Sady Doyle’s article about witchcraft as a form of spiritual feminism in the Guardian this week. The piece analyzes the hatred that many Twitter users launched at Azealia Banks when she described herself as a witch. Sady argues that witchcraft makes space for women “to identify with persecuted ancestors, to reclaim lost ways of seeing the world, and to claim the ability to be powerful and scary.” Bonus: Sady also talks to Rookie’s Suzy X who lays out some truths about how women have been taught to mistrust our own thoughts and instincts, and how witchcraft can help us regain faith in ourselves.
This year is the 500th anniversary of the death of Aldus Manutius, the inventor of the paperback. Ol’ Aldus’s creation of “libelli portatiles,” aka portable little books, has given us centuries of reading pleasure in the form of paperback books. Manhattan’s Grolier Club just opened an exhibit about Manutius’s legacy, and there are some great pictures from the show in this New York Times slideshow.
There’s nothing like being a funk-obsessed alien evading bands of tomato-throwing chickens in a quest to gather up the pieces of your spaceship and return home to Funkotron. I’m talking about one of my all time favorite video games, “ToeJam and Earl.” This super retro game is bizarre and perfect, and now the creators have launched a Kickstarter campaign called “ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove,” to bring it back. Watch them argue their case in the video above.
Some random dress, or #THEDRESS, exploded the internet this week. In what became (and is still) a deeply confounding debate, people have been fighting about the color of a single dress. On Thursday, Buzzfeed published this post asking what color readers saw in a photo of a sleeveless dress that had been making its way around Tumblr. Some people saw the dress as white with gold lace, while others saw it as blue with black lace. The post went viral. The dress was polarizing—either you were on Team White/Gold or Team Blue/Black, or Team I SAW BOTH AND I’M SCARED, like me. First I saw it as white and gold. Then, by the time I’d read the comments, the thing had turned blue and black. WHO WAS BAMBOOZLING ME? I lost interest, and started looking at flight deals, only to return to the article and find the dress had turned back to white and gold. Then, I ate a string cheese and—no joke—it had gone back to blue and black. This dress has changed from white to blue before my very eyes!
Buzzfeed did some research and found that the dress WAS actually blue and black in person, but that didn’t explain why people were people seeing different colors in the photo. Thankfully, Wired had the science to explain it—differences in perception are to do with how our eyes translate color in different degrees of light. Thanks Wired, but this whole thing is still super trippy. #THEDRESS has caused lovers’ quarrels and family rifts, and even some famouses—including Kimye—have been unable to reach a consensus in this “debate”.
Kim Kardashian West was featured on Into The Gloss this week, and her words were eye opening to say the least. In the interview, Kim talks about taking a makeup class when she was 14 years old (my actual teen dream), and says that she usually goes five days without washing her hair. No matter how you feel about the Kardashian fam, we’ve all been a little curious about her beauty routine, right?
Lady Gaga performed a tribute to the classic film The Sound of Music and it was AMAZING. I’m not the hugest Lady Gaga fan, but I do know the girl has some pipes. Sadly, so much of the praise for Gaga’s renditions was tinged with the backhanded “who knew she could actually sing.” The Atlantic published a piece about Gaga’s vocal abilities, but then suggested that she should drop her Mother Monster persona. It made me wonder why, as a culture, we tend to question an artist’s legitimacy when they employ different personas. Maybe that’s a question that will be forever unanswered, but while we think about it, I’m watching Gaga’s performance and loving it as much as Julie Andrews did.
I’m really excited for First Person, a new web series produced by PBS that explores the experiences of LGBTQ identified folk. The first episode focuses on Skylar Kergil, a transgender activist who documented his transition on YouTube.
I don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but where I live it is FREEZING. Like, so cold that my plans currently include RSVP-ing yes to Facebook invites only to blow them off to watch Netflix from underneath a pile of blankets. Still, the cold has spawned some beautiful things: check out Jonathan Nimerfroh’s mesmerizing photographs of these Nantucket waves that are so cold that they’ve turned to slurpee.
Before Sunday’s Oscar’s ceremony, Selma director Ava DuVernay tweeted the video above, a beautiful tribute to the actor David Oyelowo, who plays Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the film. The clip shows DuVernay celebrating the final moments of shooting, after Oyelowo has spoken the closing lines of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. Watching this you can feel her respect for his craft. DuVernay’s tweet included this touching note: “I never shared this, I saved it for today. A special outtake of my hero. I love you, David. You are my Best Actor.”
The comedian Michael Ian Black is best known for portraying almost-unhinged, darkly silly characters, but he’s just released an earnest—and free—audiobook called How to Be Amazing. The recording, which is available on Audible, is an epic four hours of interviews with Elizabeth Gilbert, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bob Odenkirk, and Tavi. Based on this first episode alone, I’m subscribing for regular doses of inspiring and motivating life-talk.
Before he was cast on Saturday Night Live, Kyle Mooney had perfected the art of nervous, unsettling “man on the street” interviews. To commemorate SNL’s 40th Anniversary, Mooney returned to the streets outside Rockefeller Plaza and asked passers-by nervous, mumbled questions about the show and its stars. Watch the master of awkward at work.
Shannon Hale, the children’s book author behind Princess in Black, wrote a brilliant Tumblr post this week about her book tour experience. In schools, Hale noticed that teachers were segregating her audiences according to gender. She decided to speak up because she “didn’t want to be a part of perpetuating the myth that women only have things of interest to say to girls while men’s voices are universally important.” On her blog, she goes on to eviscerate the gender policing bullshit that is heaped on all of us from a young age:
The belief that boys won’t like books with female protagonists [and] that they will refuse to read them; the shaming that happens (from peers, parents, teachers, often right in front of me) when they do; the idea that girls should read about and understand boys but that boys don’t have to read about girls; that boys aren’t expected to understand and empathize with the female population of the world—this belief directly leads to rape culture.
Check out these beautiful U.S. dollar notes “redesigned to honor science, not presidents.” KA-CHING!
Karnythia (aka Mikki Kendall) has written a response to Patricia Arquette’s Oscars speech, and it’s a wonderful and necessary refresher course on the necessity of intersectional feminism:
Intersectionality isn’t a difficult concept with hard-to-grasp tenets that fly above the heads of people in positions of power […] It is literally taking the step back and asking yourself, If X affects me, and people like me, in this way, how does it affect others? and then doing the (not at all) heavy lifting of listening to the lived experiences of people who are not like you.
The basic needs and protections of all women have to be secured.
OK, this is sadmagicalterrifyinghuhwhoa, all at once. Someone who I’m guessing has at least a BA in history and maybe also way too much time on their hands has put forward a theory that the movie Titanic is actually about time travel. Read through Buzzfeed’s GIF-heavy summary, and prepare to have your mind blown. It somehow culminates with the idea that Rose is actually the grandmother of Sarah Connor from the Terminator films.
Don’t you just love when people equip you with the tools you need to grow and thrive? Over at New York magazine, the advice columnist Polly, responded to a reader who is constantly worried about her boyfriend. She describes herself obsessively checking his social media hundreds of times a day. Gently but firmly, Polly explains that these worrisome behaviors are no fun, and will only lead to the reader neglecting herself. Polly suggests that she should try acting “with intention,” and thinking “like Young Jeezy.” I’m a chronic worrier, and I loved this reality check.
As “fashion week” has turned into “fashion month,” I’ve been mindlessly thumbing down through Instagram and Twitter, not even conscious enough to note designers’ names. Look, another super-skinny model in a semi-transparent dress: groundbreaking. That was until Simone Rocha debuted another heart-stopping collection at London Fashion Week. Rocha’s collections are beautiful, but also rich with nuance and meaning—like donuts that you don’t realize are cream-filled until you bite into them. This season, her collection was inspired in part by the artist Louise Bourgeois, with dresses made out of what looked like really expensive couch upholstery, weird petal-shaped peplums, capes galore, and 3D flowers stuck to some of the models’ faces. Rocha is a ridiculously smart young woman, designing ridiculously smart clothes. ♦