The last time I painted a room was in high school, but I did it all the time, changing my room color almost as frequently as my mood, from a pale pink to a vibrant purple to a pastel yellow and finally a warm grey. Over the past few weeks in our new home, I've painted a room every few days, and have been surprised to realize how much I still love doing it. The process is methodical but still requires my full attention—after using painters' tape in the first room, I opted to go freestyle along the edges—and I love watching each room transform from the previous owner's into our own. I've also had fun making bold color choices, knowing that worst comes to worst, I'll just paint over the experiment. The room I'm in now is on its way to becoming a dusty pink, and we're thinking about recreating this wallpaper in the guest room with a dark green background and gold metallic details (if it's awful, we'll buy the wallpaper!). The experience has been surprisingly intimate and meditative—I love getting to know the nooks and crannies of our hundred-year-old house, and listening to music and podcasts as I navigate around the trim. I'm looking forward to showing it all to you soon! In the meantime, here are a few things I've been enjoying this week:
At the start of this month, I signed up for 28 Days of Black History, a virtual exhibition hosted by Antiracism Daily, as a way to celebrate Black History Month through education, accountability, and art. Every evening, an email curated by Camille Bethune-Brown and Shanaé Burch highlights a different piece of art and the historical context around it. Over the past week, the newsletter has showcased a collage series on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the history of the 1916 play "Rachel" (the first play written, directed, and performed by an all African American cast, in protest of the super-racist film 'The Birth of a Nation'), and a printed newsletter from the 1930s. You can subscribe to the email series here, for the rest of February and catch up on the archives here!
I also highly recommend Nicole Cardoza's conversation with historian and curator Tyree Boyd-Pates, about his work documenting Black history, and how we can all be stewards for future generations.
Over the past few rainy weeks in Portland, I've been listening to Kelly Finnigan's album 'The Tales People Tell' on repeat. His voice is rich, with a distinctly 1960s soul vibe (which makes sense considering his father, keyboardist Mike Finnigan, played with Etta James and Joe Cocker). A deeper dive led me to Finnigan's label, Colemine, which is a goldmine of artists with a retro, soul vibe that wouldn't be out of place on '60s vinyl (see: Thee Sinseers, Ghost Funk Orchestra, and this Spotify playlist).
Outside/In is a "show about the natural world and how we use it," but it turns out that that description covers nearly everything. Since coming across the podcast last week, I've heard Jenny Odell speak about how rose gardens and crows might be an anecdote to the attention economy, where to live if you're worried about climate change (a large reason Jonah and I chose Portland), and all about the Darién Gap. I almost always listen to it while I'm inside, but find myself thinking about it every time I'm outside which is what makes it worth listening to: Just as Odell describes going to a symphony and suddenly seeing the world with a new perspective, I've had the same experience with this podcast.
1. If you're planning a wedding (*post-COVID), this app might be helpful to you!
2. The Beatles' "Blackbird," sung in Mi'kmaq to raise awareness of Indigenous languages. (Gave me chills - thank you to the reader who sent this to me!)
4. "Why do we keep telling ourselves the same stories about this country?" (It's worth reading this entire piece by Kaitlyn Greenidge.)
6. Ahead of the Super Bowl, sign this petition to end the appropriation of the Kansas City Chiefs—and read the description to learn about the pervasiveness of harmful stereotypes associated with race-based mascots.
7. A brilliant piece on teaching kids to celebrate race and why being "colorblind" is so problematic (by one of my very favorite writers Thao Thai)!