Behind the World Cup: Arcade Journal, the only architectural magazine in the Pacific Northwest (that is not a good thing), has just posted an excellent essay called "The Limits of Favela Chic." It is by Lisa Sturdivant, a young and Seattle-based urban planner. The essay is about the slums in the cities of the country that's currently hosting the global spectacle called 2014 World Cup. Anyone who has watched the ads and coverage (makeshift soccer fields) of this event, will not miss the festishization of Brazil's favelas, the ennoblement of its extreme and unremitting poverty. Sturdivant gets this, gets to the heart of it, and exposes it for it is.

  • Lisa Sturdivant

The African American Museum's Hiring a Curator, and...: The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced 37 grants, 2 to orgs in Washington state. The Seattle-based Northwest African American Museum receives $88,258 (not $88,259? SO STINGY) to fund the hiring of "a curator of exhibitions and public programs." The other Washington award is $47,005 to the Suquamish Tribal Council to conserve and organize two significant archaeological collections and additional artifacts. The Suquamish Museum is working on synthesizing objects and ephemera into an online source of information about Suquamish history and culture for the last 4,000 years.

Why Are You Laughing? Please enjoy this CBC interview with Hari Kondabolu, one of our favorite goddamned comedians in the entire world, on his origins as an immigrant rights organizer, how 9/11 shifted his relationship to American culture, and why he doesn't do accented impressions of his parents. ("I did it early on and I got laughs... I think that my folks have had a tough enough time having thick accents... If you're laughing at this so-called impression of my parents, are you laughing when they talk? And when they walk away? took me a long time to be able to talk about my parents again on stage.")

Abigail Guay in NY, NYC, and the New York Times: This past weekend, the Times reported on the residency arts center that Abigail Guay is newly heading in upstate New York. Mount Tremper Arts Center, up among the farms, is where downtown performance artists of all kinds go to recharge, recreate, restart. Who knows how many great performances have already been born there quietly, in front of a rural audience? Guay started there as executive director a few months ago; Seattle cried when she left. Here, among other jobs, she was inaugural director of the too-cool-to-last private installation space Open Satellite in Bellevue, and before coming West, she had been assistant to the artist Jenny Holzer. Guay has seen it all; the East Coast gets the benefit.

Koons's Art Is Private, Walker's Is Public: The terrific writer Jillian Steinhauer at Hyperallergic has written about the two big public installations this summer in New York. One is Kara Walker's giant mammy/sphinx sculpture made of sugar, displayed in the old Domino Sugar Factory and referring to the slave trade in all its sugary shame. The other is Jeff Koons's Rockefeller Center topiary, which zzzzzz. But Steinhauer is eloquent on the special "challenge of public art": "Koons began with a personal object (as many of us do), added a neat formal twist … and then stopped. Walker’s art has long sprung from her identity as a black woman, but she focuses on a place where private narratives overlap with public histories. “A Subtlety” is no exception. Koons’s failure to take this leap speaks to his white male privilege, or his lack of imagination as an artist, or both."

Oh Good, Another Article About Writer's Block: Recommended cures: taking a walk, just sitting down and actually doing the hard work of work. Not recommended: reading yet another article about writer's block.

On Second Thought, Writer's Block Might Not Be So Bad: Today's death-of-publishing headline: "Authors' incomes collapse to 'abject' levels."

A.K.A. Reese Witherspoon's Oscar Highlight Reel: Here's the trailer for the movie adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's blockbuster memoir, Wild: