Lemonade and Sketches of Spain: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

The highlights from seven days of reading about entertainment

Frank Micelotta / AP

A Love That Takes Off Masks: On Assumptions, Intentions and Lemonade
Daniel José Older | Seven Scribes
“Intent, of course, is irrelevant. As artists, one of the first things we learn about sharing work is that once it’s out there, it doesn’t matter what we hoped we made or meant to make. What we made is all that remains. What we made is what will change the world, for better or for worse. Knowing that is part of releasing it, what ignites the fire inside us to get it right, what keeps us pushing ourselves to do better. What matters is the work itself and the context of the society we create it in.”

‘It Was Not A Sentimental Love’: François Gilot on Her Years With Picasso
Emma Brockes | The Guardian
“And then came Picasso. They met in a cafe in 1943, when Gilot was 21 and Picasso was over 60. Gilot had been making a name for herself at art school and her work was already selling. This is one of her bones of contention with her artist peers; that so many of them are hopeless about business. Not Gilot. ‘It comes from my father saying you have to be professional. I had no choice. And I must say, I owe him a lot. He said he wanted to put lead shoes on my feet, so that I wouldn’t float away. The result has been that I was capable of understanding the whole problem [of money].’”

What Are the Odds We Are Living in a Computer Simulation
Joshua Rothman | The New Yorker
“‘Maybe we should be hopeful that this is a simulation,’ Musk concluded, last week, since ‘either we’re going to create simulations that are indistinguishable from reality or civilization will cease to exist. Those are the two options.’ If you hope that humanity will survive into the far future, growing in power and knowledge all the while, then you must accept the possibility that we are being simulated today.”

From the Margins: Women’s Writing and Unpaid Labor
Leah Falk | VIDA
“Women who have the education and privilege to earn their own money and spend it on time devoted to non-market creative production are in some ways acting out Woolf’s dream. Every time we sit down to write, often in the economic margins of our own lives, we choose ourselves and our work over activities whose value has been set by others. Simultaneously, we determine a value scale for our writing that’s different from the one set by a magazine’s pay rates, a tenure committee, or the book-buying public.”

Who Owns Southern Food
John T. Edge & Tunde Wey | Oxford American
“In these conversations, I felt a tipping toward me of some odd power. A tentative deference was offered in exchange for my ‘black’ experience. My words were being elicited as a means to contextualize these folks’ white privilege and power—and maybe subconsciously to defend it. In these people, I saw scales falling away; they were struggling to understand a responsible place for their privilege vis-à-vis blackness. When their frustration finally metastasized into wisdom, they slowly corrected their postures, straightening up after formerly leaning toward me: things are changing, the obviousness was heavy.”

Kanye’s Chaos Theory
Justin Charity | The Ringer
“This week, the summer barricades at Webster Hall formed a glimmering cesspool of Yeezy fandom. There you’d meet nerds, preppies, and hypebeasts alike — kids with bad skin and Sith fashion sensibilities, wearing the very latest run of bright orange Pablo merch and dark leggings. Some rode in on electric unicycles, Marty McFly–style, or climbed USPS trucks and scaffolding in front of two dozen bored but watchful cops. All fandoms are a little bit mad, and pop stardom draws massive crowds in any case. The great non-concert at Webster Hall, however, proved a unique chemistry whereby Kanye, the sleepless celebrity, has cultivated his own madness as a form of entertainment.”

Rae Sremmurd’s Best Life
Naomi Zeichner | The Fader
“All week, everyone has been talking about throwing a Cinco de Mayo house party. For a moment there was a feeling that it would have to be cancelled, after flights were booked for a May 6 show in Pennsylvania and they realized they’d have to depart at 6 a.m. Migo thought maybe they should do a ‘family function’ instead, taking everyone to eat together at a Mexican restaurant. But now the party is back on. Maracas, sombreros, and plastic necklaces are spread across the dining table. In gallon-sized dispensers, there are four flavors of margaritas: classic, strawberry, pineapple, and mango. A huge order of catering arrives. The brothers’ stepfather confirms the enchiladas are delicious.”

Sketches of Spain: Sun, Ham, and Rock and Roll at Primavera Sound
Molly Lambert | MTV
“Brian Wilson hits me at the perfect moment in my homesickness cycle. I look out at the ocean as the sun starts to set while Wilson plays his very reasonably early time slot at 7, and — California girl that I am — I feel just like I’m back home again. The Mediterranean is warmer and bluer than the Pacific, a perfect cartoon of a beautiful seascape, glistening in the sinking sun. But I know I am still in Europe because the ambient saltwater smell is always tinged with nasty cigarette smoke, which would never fly in California.”