Months before the United States got its Trumpeting wake-up call to a new authoritarian regime, Moustafa Bayoumi was anticipating the election outcome with a characteristic mix of terror and laughter. The New York-based Muslim American writer and academic had long warned that now-President Donald Trump represented something more than just a bigoted buffoon. But now that President Trump is rolling out his agenda, Bayoumi has no time for schadenfreude.
From the wall to the ban, from the volatile street demonstrations to the rabid frenzies of “patriotism” below the Presidential podium--it seems like the resistance to Trump is looking ever-more like a real-life frontline--a war for public space in a country where the very instruments of democracy feel as if they’re coming under siege.
It’s fun to make things, especially when you’re making something beautiful. And especially when you’re making change. And god knows the political stage could use a change of scene. For everyone, these days have been a time of seeing and believing, and understanding that you maybe misunderstood the America you were living in all this time.
If you were ever dazzled by the Magic of Disney as a kid, you were probably secretly enchanted by the quiet genius of Tyrus Wong. At a time when Disney studios were peddling crass ethnic caricatures, the virtually anonymous young artist infused Disney with misty woodland skylines and sweeping hilltops in brilliant color. He gave Disney a third dimension, beyond the cinematic vanguard of the time, drawing from his hybrid heritage as a migrant, skilled painter, and descendant of the Chinese diaspora.
Although the tiny island territory faces a perilous tide of disastrous financial debt, Puerto Rico’s political saga is getting a new twist with an unconventional hero. She’s neither a bird nor a plane, but rather, a brilliant new comic icon for an embattled land who hopes to lead her people to victory with courage, street smarts, and an unshakeable belief in justice.
From 2012 to 2015, I wrote obsessively on the dangers of the ultimate “creative city,” the much-touted “post-gentrification era” and what it meant to become a foreigner in my own neighborhood, waiting for the inevitable eviction notice. This updated 2016 manuscript remix has been expanded and restructured as a series of literary postcards. They are meant to be performed live, on radio or for video, without a particular chronological order.