Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Oxford American Summer 2013 issue


(https://www.oxfordamerican.org/, 2013) I usually just read the music issue, but for some lucky reason, I own the whole 2013 run, which were sitting unread in my home, just waiting for a pandemic. I read them all during my fun COVID hiatus, and man am I glad I did. I am not Southern and have spent less than 2% of my life living down South, but who doesn't dig Southern music and/or writing? This was my favorite issue of the batch. Fine work in this issue includes a piece on Hiss Golden Messenger by Amanda Putrusich, whose 78 record goon book makes her my perpetual music writing hero; an explanation of, and recipe for, Bible Cake by Chris Offutt; Robert Gordon on Tav Falco (with devastating photos making it 1000x cooler than the recent similar piece in Third Man's mag); some jarring fiction from Delaney Nolan; some meta-maybe fiction about the possibly true story behind a fictional story about teenage fake cowboy work, by Ron Rash; and Stanley Crouch stanley crouching to the extreme in response to Django Unchained. But the money pieces are by two women who do not mess around when it comes to getting at the goods. Wendy Brenner writes about going deep into the Internet detective hole after becoming obsessed with a mysterious, seemingly enchanted eBay seller poetically hawking hundreds of thousands of pieces of bizarre costume jewelry. Her eBay drowning occurred while housebound due to illness and while I am sure this was a stellar read in 2013, in late 2020, deep into an international pandemic of houseboundness, it resonates chillingly. Also...Jennifer Percy spends a week at the Vent Heaven ventriloquist convention! I don't feel I need to even tease why this is interesting, but what it is hard not to mention is the conventioneers (also more resonant in the post-Trump era) constant suspicion of journalists, specifically, their relatively media savvy awareness/fear that they are going to be made to look like weirdos if they cooperate with the writer. ALL DECLARED WHILE ACTING AS WEIRD AS POSSIBLE! This back issue is available relatively cheap, and is highly recommended, and as soon as I have actual income coming in I will subscribe. I sure hope that over the last decade it hasn't gone south. (rimshot)

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