Nonfiction & Journalism

Film Reviews: the Chicago Reader

  • Peter Pan & Wendy (2023): Whereas the delight of the original Peter Pan story is in its irreverent amorality, Disney has given us a remake weighty with self-conscious lessons.
  • Emily (2023): On the one hand, Emily does not do justice to the fiery, iconoclastic genius behind Wuthering Heights, but on the other hand, its pleasures deserve acknowledgment.
  • The Northman (2022): The Northman is not a bad film. . . . But I can’t help but be disappointed that Eggers took this politically and socially fraught figure, the Viking, and played it so straight.
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021): The film presents a beautifully bleak vision of doomed political ambition which ultimately shows that, even when fascists are incompetent, their ruthlessness creates irredeemable suffering.
  • Antlers (2021): Though its trailer promises a meditation on the nature of storytelling, what it delivers is a serviceable monster film that breaks no new ground.
  • The Green Knight (2021): The film excels when it leans into this fascinating strangeness… Those looking for a film that does full justice to the original tale, however, may be disappointed by The Green Knight’s lapse into a familiar story of a womanizing ne’er-do-well…

Creative Nonfiction

“My Blockbuster” in The Rumpus (2019).

… The trouble with treating Blockbuster this way, though, is that our memory is so good at recreating the pre-digital world that the seductiveness of the material life it lets us remember—VHS tapes, clunky plastic movie cases, the very act of rewinding—outshines the reality of a corporate ethos that attempted to stifle the very media landscape we enjoy today. I know, because I was there. Read more.

“The Bones in Mammal Hall” in Confrontation 112 (2012).

We found the bones particularly fascinating. The bones are better than the taxidermal animals, or, worse, the completely fake ones like the ice age giant sloth. It never fails to startle us, hidden around a corner as it is, dark brown-maroon, as big as an elephant. It’s eating silk leaves, and its fake nostrils are bigger than its fake eyes. The real, taxidermal specimens are very old, some of them almost a hundred years old, and they don’t look well. The rhinoceros’ skin is cracking terribly. You can see a seam and its frayed, off-white thread all the way up the inside of the zebra’s back left flank. It is sickening.

Journalism & Commentary

“During Covid, Public Media Institute Helps Artists Build Resilience, Explore Overlooked Queer, BIPOC Histories” in Third Coast Review (2021).

… Though the story of Covid’s impact on artists has so often been one of devastation, the interconnected story of the Buddy residency exemplifies the resilience of the Chicagoland community and its willingness to take on the most fraught elements of the city’s past and present, even in times of crisis. Read more.

Code of the Freaks Highlights Hollywood’s Ableism” in the Chicago Reader (2021).

… Featuring a diverse cast of disabled writers, actors, activists, and other commentators, Code of the Freaks not only taxonomizes in striking detail the long list of Hollywood’s ableist sins but also defiantly does what Hollywood often refuses to do: tell unique, fully human stories. Read more.

“Chronic Pain, ‘Beautiful Suffering’ and the Endurance of Victorian Stoicism” in (2019).

… Storytellers’ and journalists’ failure to recognize how narratives of pain have historically fortified harmful gender ideologies allows that harm to continue. The stories we tell about pain matter because they don’t merely affect our medical treatment, but because they have the power to determine whose suffering, and what kind of suffering, deserves empathy and amelioration. It is already far too easy to tell a girl to suffer in silence. Read more.

%d bloggers like this: