The TueDo List: Sinéad Doc + Sporty Spice + Persisticon Returns
And a case for finding joy in the mundane
📖 READ: “I have a moral imperative to be hopeful,” says Jane Fonda in this interview with Jenny Holzer about feminism and activism. The white, conservative Southern women who asked me to keep their abortions secret. How Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay are championing female directors. With Nothing Compares, the Sinéad O’Connor renaissance may finally be happening. “I’ve come to see the wisdom in not just seeking but finding joy in the mundane, in the unremarkable, even in the frankly boring, particularly in this era of global — and personal — illness.”
Friday: Nothing Compares, the Sinéad O'Connor documentary (Showtime). Season 3 of Ramy (Hulu). Season 3 of The Amber Ruffin Show (Peacock). Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are back in Hocus Pocus 2 (Disney+).
Saturday: Insecure's Yvonne Orji’s second stand-up special, A Whole Me (HBO).
EVENT: What’s So Funny About Electing Feminists?
The fifth edition of Persisticon is happening this Sunday — a spectacular mash-up of comedy and feminist-electing/pro-choice activism with this year’s crew including Judy Gold, Murray Hill, Jay Jurden and Remy Kassimir, plus a big ol’ fancy bake sale all benefitting EMILYs List and NY Abortion Access Fund. We thought we’d ask Diane Kane — one of the founders, and regular TueNighter — about Persiticon’s activism, art and wildest moment. 👀
How did Persisticon start?
It sprung from of a conversation I had with Lunachicks singer Theo Kogan one morning as we vented our ongoing frustration and outrage with the state of our political landscape. There’s that Molly Ivins quote: “The thing is this: You got to have fun while you’re fightin’ for freedom, ‘cause you don't always win.” We realized that whatever we did needed to be fun. Living in outrage is no way to live. We invited our friends Lynn Harris (Gold Comedy) and Leslie King, and then filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein came across us conspiring at our very first meeting in Park Slope and instantly wanted in — and the team grew from there. We held our first event at the Bell House in 2018.
What was your goal?
To bring together a few of our favorite things — comedy and art — and put them into the service of getting more pro-choice democratic women into office. In Federal-level offices in the US, barely 20% of higher-office elected officials are women. Even fewer are WOC. Secondly, we have an ongoing frustration with the make up of most comedy/festival/musical show lineups, which often feature one woman, if you’re lucky, or at best continue to give only about 20% of stage time to women.
Wildest/wackiest moment from a past Persisticon?
Bridget Everett’s tits, which intentionally sprang from her silver-sequined dress in a climactic moment, scandalizing and thrilling our audience in equal measure. The entire room became fans for life on the spot. It’s been a thrill to watch her career soar, most recently in Somebody Somewhere on HBO, which also features the Persisticon V emcee and our host extraordinaire, Murray Hill!
Persisticon V: In Us We Trust, Sunday October 3, 7:30pm, The Bell House, Brooklyn. Tickets $34
TUENIGHT 10: Deborah Way, Editor and Storyteller
Basic bio: Deborah is the creator and editor of The Keepthings, an Instagram-based memoir project that collects stories of the objects people keep to remember lost loved ones. Formerly the deputy editor of O, The Oprah Magazine and editor of Indianapolis Monthly, she grew up in Pennsylvania, went to Yale (where she met her ‘80s crush, now her lifelong best friend) and Ohio State (where she met her ‘90s crush, now her husband). She is the mother of a rising college junior.
Beyond the bio: I’m a reluctant runner and enthusiastic walker. If there’s an occasion, I’ll make it special. On the Martha Stewart scale of craftiness, I’m at least a solid 7. My current personal-improvement goal is cutting back on saying “You should…”
What makes you a grown-ass lady? Drinking wine with my grown-ass kid.
Here’s her TueNight 10:
On the nightstand: Random New Yorkers dating back to October 5, 2020; Janet Elsbach's menschy cookbook/life guide, Extra Helping; an advance copy of Catherine Newman's amazing first novel, We All Want Impossible Things; my next read, Erika Krouse's Tell Me Everything; a few books about death and material culture; Claritin and tissues so I can survive the night with our two cats.
Can’t stop/won’t stop: Being a Virgo.
Jam of the minute: Arctic Outpost Radio, a streamable station that plays old 78s 24/7. (Slogan: “Playing great shellacs from 1902-1958.”) It’s just one guy broadcasting from Svalbard, Norway, and it's almost 100% great.
Thing I miss: I’m very sentimental, so I miss pretty much everything that was here but is now gone. Except all the terrible things.
‘80s crush: See bio.
Current crush: See bio.
Latest fav find: Because of The Keepthings, I live on Instagram, and I’m continually discovering wonderfulness there. For instance, Nicole J. Georges, a graphic novelist who draws charming animals with emotional-support messages to share (a modest little elephant in a Peter Pan collar says, “Go where the doors are open”). And @poetryisnotaluxury, which has changed me from “Nope, not a poetry person” to “Sometimes a poem is just what you need!” That account has introduced me to Ada Limon and Toi Derricotte and Maggie Smith and other poets I now love.
Last thing you lost: My faith in the Supreme Court. (Hence the VOTE sweater I’m wearing here. Vote, people, vote!)
Best thing that happened recently: I embroidered a tribute to my Nana Pauline for Interwoven Threads, a crowd-sourced art project curated by Diana Weymar (the brilliant artist behind the Tiny Pricks Project; if you’re not following @tinypricksproject on Insta, you’re missing out!). Embroidering was a challenge, I impressed myself by doing it, and it was thrilling to go to the Arts Council of Princeton to find my little fabric scrap of love among all the other submissions.
Looking forward to: Going to The Netherlands in October to visit my college junior, who’ll be doing fall semester in Amsterdam.
STORY: Fvmbe Humor: Honoring My Ancestors with Belly Laughs
By Stacy Pratt
In my culture — the Mvskoke (Creek) tribe — humor is a constant. There’s even a certain genre of humor which one of our scholars, Craig Womack, termed “fvmbe humor.” (In Creek, “v” is pronounced like a “u.”) “Fvmbe” means “stink,” and “fvmbe humor” often has to do with the body, though it’s not crass. It is difficult to translate, but we’ve kept the word despite the government’s many attempts to take away our language and culture. Laughing at certain things is almost a marker of belonging. But another marker of belonging is knowing when not to laugh, when not to let suppressed giggles burst out at the wrong time. Especially in church.
Go have a laugh TueNighters!