Kesha and Kara Walker: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

Highlights from seven days of reading about arts and entertainment

Kesha performs during her Rainbow Tour.
Kesha performs during her Rainbow Tour. ( Laura Roberts / Invision / AP)

The Liberation of Kesha
Brian Hiatt | Rolling Stone
“She sounds great, looks cool. But who even is this person? Clearly, the old Ke$ha—she of the digitally enhanced vocals and the half-rapping and the whiskey-assisted dental hygiene and the party at a rich dude's house—can't come to the phone right now. At age 30, as she recovers from an eating disorder that nearly killed her and an ugly, still-unresolved legal battle with her long-time producer, Kesha Rose Sebert wants us to meet the real her, at last.”

Kara Walker’s Nightmares Are Our Own
Selin Thomas | The Paris Review
“Critics have described her as fearless. But what is on display here is fear: fear whispered and shuddered, manipulated, loaded, recoiled, and released. Black and white are two American worlds, and each world’s idea of the other is, as Walker said more than a decade ago, ‘loaded with our deepest psychological perversions and fears and longings.’ She draws them out and sets them down. Over decades. She builds the mirrors, it is we who make out the reflection.”

The Millennial Walt Disney
Anna Wiener | Select/All
“The Museum of Ice Cream, in San Francisco, is not a museum. ... It’s like a haunted house for digital natives; a Willy Wonka–induced fever dream. It’s not a store, though there’s plenty to buy. It’s not an ice-cream joint either, though the treat’s available. It’s an elusive concept with a concrete aesthetic. It is, per its co-founder and creative director, Maryellis Bunn, an Experience.”

Roast Duck Soup for the Chinese American Daughter’s Soul
Su-Jit Lin | Longreads
“Coming from an underprivileged family in the restaurant industry, I learned early on in life that although cash may change hands, food is the ultimate currency. Greens hold more value than greenbacks, and bringing home the bacon wasn’t a figure of speech—it’s what my parents literally did. Although we were disadvantaged, because of my parents’ profession, food was always plentiful.”

A Former Superagent Bets Big on a More Diverse Hollywood
Calvin Baker | The New York Times Magazine
“Past generations marched for things the law could do, like dismantling housing segregation or securing voting rights. [Charles D.] King wants to accomplish something the law cannot: using film to fill in the subtle degrees of experience that reveal our lives to one another. When people look at all the ubiquitous screens that surround us, King wants us to see ourselves. Not only African Americans, but everyone.”

Graydon Carter Remembers S.I. Newhouse Jr., the Magazine Visionary Who Modernized Condé Nast
Graydon Carter | Vanity Fair
“Decade in and decade out, his publications helped report and set the style for much of the civilized world. And much as Si appreciated their outsize influence, he wasn’t one to shimmer around the smart drawing rooms where his magazines wound up. It just wasn’t his thing. What he really loved were the magazines themselves. As objects. And as businesses.”

‘Be You’: The Full Nick Young Experience Hits Golden State
Katie Baker | The Ringer
“Since his days on the Washington Wizards, four teams ago, Young has been known mostly by the goofy-chill alter ego ‘Swaggy P.’ But when Warriors general manager Bob Myers signed the free agent to a one-year, $5.2 million deal in July, he remarked to reporters: ‘We’re not calling him Swaggy P. His name is Nick Young.’ … Whatever Young goes by in Oakland, this season represents a fresh start for the 32-year-old shooting guard.”

American Vandal Is Like Serial, but With Dick Jokes
Jia Tolentino | The New Yorker
American Vandal maintains momentum to an unlikely degree, thanks entirely to its subject matter: It’s the best show about high school that I’ve seen in years. Peter is a terrific documentarian. The people he films—the show’s opening credits list the names of the characters, rather than the names of the actors who play them—come off as deeply ordinary and carefully individualized.”