Friday, March 1, 2024


We are braced for we know not what. The months behind us have been unlike any we have lived through before and those ahead hold new horizons of uncertainty. In this moment, as we wait for the wave to crash, each of us must find our way to tread the dark and thorny path ahead. To be present is, by many accounts, the most important way to live one’s life. And yet perhaps there are times when our best ally is escape. There is little to be done than wait and so escape – whether into the comfort of art or literature – is indeed a friend in this moment.

Ann McCoy spoke to us from Brooklyn. She was the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2019 and taught at Yale for a decade. Currently she is working on a drawing and a series of projections and says that for the first time she is working on something truly autobiographical. The work is based on a dream she began having when she was about 5 years old in which her adopted father was a king in an Alice in Wonderland world. He had been killed by the Queen and ground into a powder by the Queen in her recurring dream. As an adult she learned of the dreams of an ancient alchemist who also dreamed of people being ground up. From this she began to discover the meaning behind her own dream. The connection between alchemy and her own father didn’t stop there. To hear more about this and McCoy’s other work, listen to the complete interview.

Ali LeRoi is a director of film and television. At the moment, the pandemic has put quite a lot of projects on pause though he has recently sold a show to CBS titled Honorable. The show was inspired by the impact of black women in society, including the duty of holding office while simultaneously balancing a life at home. Aside from this he is in the development process with a handful of other projects/studios. LeRoi’s debut feature film, The Obituary of Tunde Johnson was screened at the Toronto Film Festival and will premier in 2021. LeRoi has five Emmy nominations and one win. He is best known for his work in television on Everybody Hates ChrisAre We There Yet, and Survivor’s Remorse. To hear more from Ali LeRoi on his rich career, the current situation and how it relates to politics and entertainment, and why black women are an important and chronically overlooked audience, listen to this compelling interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

There is no harm done by escaping to created worlds. The promise of comfort may lie upon their shores.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Ann McCoy is reading The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy. Ali LeRoi spoke of the book Open City by Teju Cole.


Amant Residency in New York is accepting applications for its inaugural program. Both emerging and established artists are invited to apply to this program located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Those selected will complete a three month residency during which they will live among the cultural riches of the city alongside international colleagues. For more information, visit the website. Deadline for applications is December 18.



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