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What We're Reading: October 2020

What We're Reading

As members of an organization that believes in the power of conversation to promote systemic change, the team here at The Lark often circulates, among ourselves, anecdotes and emails about materials we've read lately that have moved us. In accordance with our commitment to the amplification of necessary voices that reflect the world we live in, this monthly post compiles some of the media we have been tuned in to, to share with our wider community. We know these are only a sampling of all the insightful work out there, so if we missed anything that had an impact on you this month, we encourage you to share in the comments section!

How Saidiya Hartman Retells the History of Black Life

By Alexis Okeowo

"Through those years, Hartman told me, 'I was wrestling with what it means to have the colonial archive, the archive of the Western bourgeoisie, dictate what it is we can know about these lives.'... Hartman had been trying to overcome the silences about Black life, but she found herself reproducing them. As she once wrote, “The loss of stories sharpens the hunger for them.”

An exploration of the life of a writer whose work centers the histories and current lives of enslaved people and their descendants in the United States.

This William Jackson Harper Twitter Thread

"I don’t disagree with the idea of combating race and sex stereotyping. But that is not what this order is about. This is censorship. This executive order is an attempt to censor certain difficult truths that still haunt our society."

An account of what happened when Harper was asked to conduct a talkback on the film Malcom X with students of military academies.

Towards a Fat Theatre: Reimagining Bodies Onstage

By Jeff Bouthiette

"Unconscious bias makes directors and casting directors conclude that a thin actor can more believably play a variety of characters, not because of technical ability but because thin bodies are perceived as neutral, and fat bodies as symbolic. Likewise, they might decide that a fat performer is 'lacking in sex appeal' or 'unbelievable as a love interest,' not because the performer isn’t convincingly romantic, but because they haven’t examined their assumptions and biases around sexual attraction."

A HowlRound essay examining the white supremacy roots of fatphobia, how it shows up in the theater field today, and what we can do to combat it.

Actors — eat now, and pay later (if you can)

By Phil O'Brien

The owners for the two restaurants, Simon Oren, Chef Andy D'Amico, and Guarino, say they are all "feeding the community that has fed them all these years."

Theater District restaurants Nizza and Marseille intorudce a new pay-when-you-can model for member of Actors' Equity.

Ava DuVernay to Write, Direct and Produce ‘Caste’ Film Adaptation at Netflix

By Angelique Jackson

"The film adaptation, titled 'Caste,' will use a multiple-story structure to examine the 'unspoken system that has shaped America and chronicles how our lives today are defined by a hierarchy of human divisions dating back generations.'"

Okay so, actually what we're reading is the book Caste: The Origins of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson. But, those of us in that unofficial book club (Oprah has the profesh one going!) were pretty excited to hear this news.