Selected Articles

My reviews, interviews, personal essays, and cultural criticism—writings on the cultural politics of American society, pop culture, subcultural style, gender, sexuality, the media, the Digital Age, visual culture, and food—have appeared in ArtforumARTnewsThe BafflerBoing BoingBookforumCabinetThe Daily BeastElleHyperallergicThe L.A. TimesNew YorkThe New YorkerThe New York TimesRolling StoneSalonThe Village VoiceVogue HommesThe Washington Post, and Wired, among others.

For more information, send me a message.

Here are a few of My Favorite Things.

2020

Nostradamus of the Obvious,” media-critical essay on NPR commentator Cokie Roberts, staunch defender of the status quo and “mouthpiece for conventional wisdom who channeled the worldview of the D.C. elite for drive-time audiences.” The Baffler, January 8, 2020.

2019

  • Edward Gorey’s Gothic Nonsense,” essay on gay themes and allusions in Gorey’s work, the queerness of Gorey’s aesthetic, and critics’ moral panic over my biography of Gorey, which acknowledged the influence of Gorey’s sexuality on his work. Gay & Lesbian Review, December 28, 2019.
  • The Last Time I Saw John Giorno,” personal essay about the performance poet on the occasion of his death. Hyperallergic, November 8, 2019.
  • Nothing Succeeds Like Excess: Camp at the Met,” essay on the Fashion Institute show “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” at the Metropolitan Museum. Brooklyn Rail, July 2019.

2018

2017

2016

  • ‘Most Evil’: Who Keeps Buying All These Mein Kampfs? Time has not dimmed the appalling (and ultimately soporific) evil tucked into the pages of a book so noxious that no book jacket will ever do it justice.” Essay. The Daily Beast, March 20, 2016.
  • Afrofuturism Reloaded: 15 Theses in 15 Minutes. Why is a term coined 24 years ago to theorize the dystopian fiction of being black in America suddenly hotter than a bottle rocket?” Essay on the viral popularity of the “Afrofuturism” meme. Fabrikzeitung magazine, February 1, 2016.

2015

2014

2013

  • Skin in the Game: An American Gothic, in Black and White,” an essay on race hate, the history of lynching, and the murder of Trayvon Martin. Thought Catalog, July 22, 2013.
  • Nerval’s Lobster,” essay on the proto-Surrealist poet Gerard de Nerval, who famously took a lobster for a walk in a Paris park; first in a series called “Self-Help for Surrealists,” Boing Boing, February 18, 2013.
  • The Kraken Wakes: What Architeuthis is Trying to Tell Us,” bellettristic (yet heavily reported!) science article, featuring interviews with the world’s three top squid scientists, about the first-ever capture of the giant squid on video, Boing Boing, January 28, 2013.

2012

A Season in Hell,” lengthy essay on My Cancer Year, the psychology of being a patient, the “overlit purgatory” of the hospital, and how being a writer kept me sane in the face of a near-fatal disease, Boing Boing, April 12, 2012.

2011

  • The Importance Of Being Ernest: Hemingway Meets The Gay Gothic,” essay on Hemingway’s anxious masculinity—his homophobia, latent homosexuality, transvestic fantasies, hair fetishism, and overall “genderqueerness,” pegged on the “restored edition” of A Moveable FeastThought Catalog, December 9, 2011.
  • Ghost Babies,” an extensively revised version of an essay previously published in the Australian magazine Photofile, on the traffic, on eBay, in Victorian post-mortem photography, Boing Boing, March 25, 2011.
  • Edward Gorey’s Sensibility is Growing Like Nightshade,” feature on the artist Edward Gorey’s posthumous popularity and his mounting influence on pop cultureThe New York Times, March 2, 2011.

Errata:

Rock’s Back Pages, a mammoth, pay-per-view “exclusive archive of 50 years of rock ‘n’ roll history,” ranging from articles to audio recordings of interviews, now offers (to paid subscribers, with a few freebies to bait the trap) some of my rockcrit and music journalism from the Early Years of Bitter Struggle. My author page is here.

My Greatest Hits, from my days toiling in the golden ghetto of music journalism, include stories on mainstream (or at least “mainstream cult”) artists such as Laurie Anderson, John Cale, Negativland, Robyn Hitchcock, Hüsker Dü, Kraftwerk, Max Roach, David Lee Roth (God help me), Sonic Youth, Sun Ra, and the incomparable Shriekback (a personal favorite, whom I leapt at the chance to interview). As well, I was one of the first white journalists to write, in national outlets like The New York Times, about hip-hop artists, especially turntablists, as avant-gardists (Afrika Bambaataa, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash), and to explore the downtown NYC and New Music scenes of the ’80s and ’90s (John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Fred Frith, Glenn Branca, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Zeena Parkins, Sussan Deyhim, Diamanda Galas, Ben Neill, Rhys Chatham, and the unforgettable Sonny Sharrock).