May 13, 2017

“It’s hard to get lost if you don’t know where you’re going."

Modern Adventuress

12 MAY 2017

Hello letter friends,

I’ve been getting over a mild cold, which is definitely my favorite thing to be doing as summer approaches. The past three weeks or so have been so busy and tiring that I’m currently ten books behind my Goodreads yearlong reading goal schedule. Just to put the important stuff in perspective. Take heart. I’ll catch up.

Here, have some links and recommendations.


"Imagine a group of 35-year-old women staring toward the horizon and repeating, without inflection: Passion is what makes us feel most alive. Passion is what makes us feel most alive.” The passion of Ivanka Trump.

The US has the highest rate of women dying in childbirth than any other developed country.

The midwife who saved intersex babies.

Bresha Meadows (#freebresha) was offered a plea deal that while not ideal could have been worse.

How true crime went from trashy TV to prestige entertainment.

Netflix’s new JonBenét Ramsay documentary is not really a documentary about the case—it’s about what, twenty years later, people still feel and think about the case. It’s pretty interesting.

On the history and the complicated present of Chicago's Pullman neighborhood.

Miniatures of life in 1950s Chinatown.

An interactive visualization of every line in Hamilton.

“You have to draw on a fair amount of experience in order to be able to put ideas together.” Challenging the stereotype that only young people are creative innovators is my new favorite hobby.

Related: Eleanor Coppola is making her first feature film at age eighty.

"If more men talked about confronting the hostile emotions in their lives, toxic masculinity could become a relic, an old mode we’ve simply evolved past.” On Brad Pitt and masculine emotion.

Why we’re terrified of fanfiction. Hint: it’s largely the realm of young women.

Looking for Leia is a forthcoming documentary about women and girls who love Star Wars. I became a SW fanatic at age thirteen and it was many, many years before I met another woman who was the same. So this makes me happy.

This newsletter is already on record as quite a big fan of Dwayne Johnson and this great profile of him by Caity Weaver does not disappoint. He is almost supernaturally thoughtful! He sings his song from Moana to himself all the time just because he likes it! He has great penmanship! It’s all so delightful.

Dot of Light, a lovely short documentary featuring the stories of three women astronauts.

Nevertheless, he persisted.


Hollywood & Crime podcast

While I love true crime documentaries, I’m usually not as interested in those with reenactments—but evidently I will make an exception for podcasts. This series is a docu-drama, so it’s half straightforward information and half reenacted audio scenes and interviews. The result ends up recalling historical radio dramas, and it’s probably heightened by the fact the story takes place in an era of radio drama popularity, the early 1940s. It’s also about the investigation into one of the most famous unsolved murders in history, that of Elizabeth Short—the Black Dahlia. I like it.

The Witness
Directed by James Solomon

Everyone knows the story of Kitty Genovese, the woman brutally attacked and murdered while dozens of bystanders did nothing. Except it turns out we don’t know the reality of it at all. This documentary centered on her brother’s search for what really happened is by turns heartbreaking and fascinating, and troubling when it comes to how false narratives can grow and supplant the truth.


If you missed the news last week, I’m planning to launch a new podcast this summer, called Antiheroine. It will tell the stories of scandalous women in history. I hope to have a brief intro for you soon, but, in the meantime, you can join the mailing list to get first word when content is available.

That’s all for today. Thank you for reading.

You deserve that thing this weekend.



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Today’s subject line quote from Jim Jarmusch.