May 2024 media

  • Black AF History: Journalist and cultural critic Michael Harriot tells American history through the lens of the Black experience—“the un-whitewashed story of America,” as the subtitle puts it. Harriot’s historical rigor naturally leads to some dark places given America’s history of oppression, though he also elevates lots of Black historical figures who rarely get the recognition they deserve. The whole thing is also leavened with enough wit and humor that it’s a much more fun read than you might think. Highly recommended!

  • Arts of Japan galleries at the Museum of Fine Arts: After six years of renovations these galleries finally reopened this month, complete with a rededication ceremony by monks flown in from the Japanese temple Miidera. I’ve always liked the Buddhist temple room and was glad to see it again, but really all of the redone galleries are fantastic. The MFA likes to brag that it has one of the best collection of Japanese art outside of Japan—a claim I am in no position to engage with, to be honest, though it’s very impressive!

  • Look to the East, Look to the West: It’s been eleven years since indie pop act Camera Obscura’s last record; after the death of band member Carey Lander they took a long hiatus, which was extended further because of the pandemic. I really enjoyed this new album—very familiar-sounding, but in a good way—and was also happy to see them live again. It’s very odd to see a band promote consecutive albums with more than a decade between the shows, but maybe the long gap has made their consistency that much more comforting.