Ellen Willis was born in 1941 in the Bronx, grew up in a middle-class family, and, for a while, did what was expected of her: she married “a nice Jewish boy from Columbia while majoring in English at Barnard,” writes her daughter, journalist Nona Willis Aronowitz, in her introduction to her late mother’s recently published compendium of essays, The Essential Ellen Willis. At 24, though, Willis divorced her husband, got an apartment in the East Village, and started writing about rock, politics, culture, feminism, and sex. She went on to become the first rock critic for The New Yorker, an editor and columnist at the Village [...]
Our beloved Jane Marie is going to be talking to married couples every week at Cosmo, and her first chat is with Lindsey and Erin:
Can you tell me the main difference between being in a dating relationship and being married?
Lindsey: Married is better. Erin: Dating sucks! Lindsey: I think when you're dating, you're protecting yourself the whole time. Erin: Or less invested in some way… Lindsey: But if you've found someone who can actually commit to you, like, “We're gonna make this work, come hell or high water,” then I don't have to protect myself. I'm not holding back like I did when I was dating.[...]
I rarely have visceral reactions to movie previews, let alone previews for Tyler Perry movies that I am never, ever going to see, but I gaped through a two-minute trailer for The Single Moms Club. Gathered on a broad porch, drinking rosé and sharing laughs, are five single moms, none exhibiting a single dark eye-circle or a frenzied need to get somewhere they’ve forgotten. They look like they smell nice and eat well. They’re laughing. They’re talking about men, ho ho, how can we lock them down?
My mother, who divorced my father in England in 1995 when I was eight and my brother was nine, and moved [...]
Do you prefer to write about women?
I sometimes get asked: "How come the men in your stories don't have such strong characters?" And I'm like: "I don't care." I just want to find out about all the different lives a woman can live. But my feminism has never been against men. It's not erasure; it's just they're not the focus. In real life, they're quite nice.
I haven't yet read any fiction by 29-year-old novelist Helen Oyeyemi, who wrote her first book, The Icarus Girl, at age 17, but her interview with The Guardian from this past weekend is as good an argument for starting now as you'll find. [...]
From 1999 to 2004, Kate Fagan played Division I basketball for the nationally-ranked University of Colorado Buffaloes. She's now a reporter for ESPN. Her book, The Reappearing Act, out this week, chronicles her two-year coming-out process at Colorado, when she was a starting guard and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Your book covers a lot of ground. Can you break it down for anyone not familiar with your story?
It’s really a coming-of-age tale. It has the backdrop of big-time sports, Christianity, and sexuality as well. It’s about a two-year period in my life when I'm participating in the Fellowship for Christian Athletes and going [...]
Heather Gold is a comedian living in Oakland. She’s shared the stage with (among others) Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Margaret Cho, Bill Irwin, and Judy Gold. She’s best known for her one-woman hit show “I Look Like an Egg, But I Identify as a Cookie”, an “interactive baking comedy” that’s made the rounds in Austin, New York, and most recently played to sold-out audiences in Berkeley. So far she’s baked over 50,000 cookies with audiences.
She also co-hosts the weekly web series Morning Jew with NYC-based comic Katie Halper.
I asked her to talk with me about she’s messing with the hyper-masculine conventions of traditional stand-up [...]
Actually, I woke up this morning thinking about Fannie Lou Hamer and Margaret Walker Alexander. I don’t know why, but thinking about them, and your relationship to them, and the lives they lived in Mississippi, just made me so sad. Usually, thinking about them is a way of hugging myself, like you say. But today, I just feel the worst part of the weight they experienced as black women activists and artists living in Mississippi.
I learned about Mrs. Hamer from Leslie. Leslie had been a young student activist and had worked with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and Mrs. Hamer. I learned how she embraced young people and the [...]
Tales of Post-Graduate Love, Turmoil, and Friendship: A Conversation with Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults is an epistolary memoir by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale that’s out today. You may already know Jessica from The Hairpin; she writes the Baking from a Bygone Era column and often enlists Rachel when she embarks “on disgusting culinary adventures from the past," she says. The two friends and co-authors met at Brown. Before they graduated and Rachel headed to New York and Jessica to Beijing, they promised to stay in touch with honest, tell-it-like-it-is, regular emails to each other. Those emails, which they returned to years later after reuniting in London, became the basis for [...]
Erie Basin is a small antique store in Red Hook, Brooklyn (with an online shop, too), and I recently emailed proprietor Russell Whitmore to see if he'd be game to answer a few questions over email AND send me his entire stock for free, which he did, and did not. Edith Zimmerman: I love Erie Basin! Not just the jewelry but also the way you use Tumblr and Instagram and the general tone you maintain throughout. Plus the store itself, which is so cool and welcoming. Just: GREAT! It's so great.
Russell Whitmore: Thanks, that’s nice to hear. When I opened back in 2006, I wanted [...]
Teenagers didn’t always exist. That’s one of the first things you’re told in Matt Wolf’s new documentary Teenage, a hypnotic meditation on the rise of youth culture from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century. The film was written by Jon Savage and based on his book Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture 1875-1945, and it’s full of incredible found footage, old photos, and unearthed home movies made by German Swing Kids. This isn’t a dull, academic dissection of youth—it’s part poetry, part punk manifesto about the birth of youth culture.
Today we have convenient labels like Millennials, Gen Y, and Gen [...]