Month: December 2019

TueNight 10: Kenrya Rankin

Age: 38  Quick Bio: Kenrya Rankin is an award-winning writer and editorial consultant. She hosts the literary erotica podcast “The Turn On,” and her latest project, How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance, is now available as an audiobook. Beyond the Bio: “After many years spent splitting myself into easily digestible parts — this is the writer part, this is the activist part, this is the part who doesn’t bite her tongue — I’m now clear that I’m my best when I bring my entire self to every situation. Gone are the exhausting days of deciding who to be each moment, of worrying how I’ll be received, of worrying that I won’t be enough — and it feels amazing.” 1. On the nightstand: I’m in the middle of scouting literary erotica written by Black women for season two of my podcast; there are sooooo many books in my phone waiting for me to finish them. 2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Not sleeping? Seriously, I don’t sleep enough. 3. Jam of the minute: “Up Late,” by Ari …

Gifts Under $25, $10 for Office Secret Santas, Yankee Swaps

Welcome to that time of year  when you need to find a gift for the seemingly impossible: an affordable, somewhat generic, yet memorable gift for people you don’t know that well (the office Secret Santa), or for people you know entirely too well (the family swap). And if it’s an office swap? Well, then you need a gift that people will fight over and keep stealing from each other, so you can emerge victorious as having the best taste or the best sense of humor or, you know, just for being cool. No pressure. And no worries! As a longtime internet shopping ninja and former magazine editor — with about a billiondy gift guides under my ninja black belt — I’ve got you covered, for gifts under $25 and for under $10. So do I emerge as looking like I have good taste, a good sense of humor, and being cool? Thank you very much. That’s the gift that keeps on giving. Happy holidaze! UNDER $25 1. Chic Drinking GlassesSimple, chic, pretty and really useful …

9 Books for a Better World

Let’s face it: The ’10s have been quite the shitshow of a decade. Given the sad state of our democracy, extrajudicial police killings, and the reinvigoration of fascism and white supremacy, never before have I wished so hard for peace on Earth and goodwill toward humanity. So, as a firm believer in the transformative power of a good book, I invite you to roar your way through the ’20s, starting with these deep, daring, delicious reads.  1. Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman Did you know that at the beginning of the twentieth century, young Black women in New York and Philly sparked a radical cultural movement defined by free love, queer relations, and alternative forms of cohabitation, intimacy, and kinship bonds? Neither did I, until I read this aching, gorgeous, brilliant book. Hartman spins painstaking research into gold that reads like fiction. It is at once scholarly and literary, imaginative and the hardest truths. $28.95, wwnorton.com 2. Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani PerryAt a time when Black children’s lives are …

TueNight 10: Heather Frank

Age: I am 60 and a proud perennial Quick bio: Heather Frank is a cabaret artist based in Washington, DC. Her most recent one-woman show was “Love in the Time of Coloring.” She recently made her New York debut at Pangea and is working on a new show about the creative process, “I’m Making This Up,” coming in 2020.  Beyond the bio: “I started my career as a professional writer and editor and then became an executive at media companies like AOL, Meredith and Gannett. Creating and performing have always been my love, though, and I channelled those interests in different ways. Cabaret brings all of my talents together at a time in my life when I’m feeling pretty fearless and generally unsupervised.” 1. On the nightstand: The new biography, Marjorie Merriweather Post: The Life Behind the Luxury by Estella M. Chung. I’m a deep admirer of all things Mrs. Post — her philanthropy, her business acumen, her glamour and her extraordinary capacity for enchanting people through extravagant and thoughtful hospitality. I love spending time at Hillwood Estate …

Useful and chic? Yes! 7 Great Gifts to Give

To my mind, the point of gifting is to give another person something that becomes indispensable to them, or very nearly so. To that end, I like finding attractive, well-designed versions of useful, everyday things, because that way the items in question will actually be loved and used, instead of re-gifted or put away in a drawer somewhere—which is always the fear.  1. Emile Henry Salt Pig First of all, you just have to love something called a salt pig, and I like how it looks kind of retro and space-age. It’s also a super-handy and easily accessible way to store salt, and when you’re done cooking, it looks great on your dining room table. Also, it comes in a ton of good colors, but I’m partial to this poppy red, which is what I have in my kitchen. $40, Bed, Bath & Beyond 2. Brass clips Your gift-ee can use these cool brass clips as she would an ordinary paperclip, or as a bookmark. I think the shapes are really cheery and fun. $18, …

TueNight 10: Angela Howze Pitts

Photo courtesy of Angela Howze Pitts Age: 49 Quick bio: Angela lives in the Fredericksburg, VA, area where she is an armchair social media activist/philosopher on Facebook. She makes a living as an IT Consultant in DC and spends (too) much of her time on the sidelines of basketball courts and soccer fields with her sports-obsessed sons and husband. Beyond the Bio: “The most memorable years of my career and public life were in my 20s and early 30s working as an English teacher/instructor in a high school and community college, and then as a public librarian. Those experiences sparked an enduring passion in me for public education. It took me a while to reconcile in my mind that my calling would be separate and distinct from my career once I settled into being an IT consultant, but I appreciate the way in which my career doesn’t require an emotional investment and leaves me energy to invest in my family and the causes I really care about. Also, it pays well.” 1. On the nightstand: A …