Archive for friends

“Where the Sagebrush Grows”

Brittany Bronson’s review of my friend John Glionna‘s book, “Outback Nevada: Real Stories from the Silver State,” really captures Glionna’s gifts and the heart of his charming, striking feature writing.

Most of Nevada’s land — almost 86 percent — is uninhabited by people, covered in sagebrush, and managed by the federal government. That leaves plenty of room for the imagination. Green corporations envision wind farms. Red politicians see a dumping grounds for the nation’s nuclear waste. Even for those who have driven one of those two-lane highways stretching across high desert, it is still easy to assume that there is nothing, and no one, out there.

John M. Glionna sets out to prove the opposite in Outback Nevada: Real Stories from the Silver State, a collection of reported essays profiling the inhabitants of “the real Nevada.” Written between 2013 and 2021, the essays span the rise and fall of President Donald Trump, a worsening drought, and a global pandemic. Glionna lets his subjects serve as the narrators, comedians, and political commentators, and his cast of characters is well curated. They disrupt any assumptions of Nevada as a culturally homogeneous place.

The book’s 45 subjects include a Catholic priest who conducts mass in casinos; elderly best friends who have outlived their cowboy husbands; a Shoshone activist who uses art to comment on the environmental impacts of mining; the Thunder Mountain Indian Monument; and the daily police blotters of the state’s smallest towns, full of “scandal, buzz or scuttlebutt.”

‘Heroines Revisited’ review

Mala Rai’s review of Lincoln Clarkes‘ “Heroines Revisited” gets the important things exactly right.

For the people that loved her, whether she is missing, deceased, or transformed, these pages are a sensitive keepsake. As half the women photographed may be closely connected to [or even have been among] are murdered and missing indigenous women, these pictures may be the sole glimpse into a family member or friend’s troubled time. How can the surroundings be so dire, yet every woman in that instance is utterly stunning? They are in terribly vulnerable places, yet invoke the persona of tough-as-nails heroine: Your sister riding a 10 speed, smoking a cigarette, clad in page boy at and a crop top. Your former high school friend at St. Paul’s hospital, perched in a confident, yogi pose upon her bed. The woman who’d become your mother, about to inject, focused on her syringe, but 13 pages later, impeccably put together, she is confidently staring right back at you. A tender Mother’s Day sisterhood collective. Perhaps their arrival at that destination in life was a shock. Maybe it was expected. It isn’t profound sadness or pain that I see in each frame, but the significance of these women in our society. They likely had no idea that their images in the finished product would comprise a collection of artful history. The pictures make us hunger for more details of each person’s personal history, but there are no crumbs to spare.

Phyllis Christopher

‘The Guardian’ interviews wonderful photographer and friend Phyllis Christopher. Her book “Dark Room: San Francisco Sex and Protest, 1988-2003” is being published this year.

There have been few times in history where women run the camera, the press and the ecosystem of publishing. But the world we created in San Francisco felt like a beautiful laboratory. It wasn’t separatist by any means – we didn’t seclude ourselves from men and non-lesbians – but we were making work for each other. I think that’s evident in these images.

I wrote about Phyllis Christopher’s work a few years back.

Happy birthday, kat

The good sigh

“We realize we have made a friend when in a relationship we are able to suppress that special disappointment which follows getting to know him, her, anyone – even oneself – well,” wrote my old University at Buffalo professor Lionel Abel. It is sweet to remember those first resigned sighs, from my loyal friends. The essence of friendship is neither correction nor therapy.