On our lists this week: Cassava Republic, Vivek Shraya and Kamasi Washington

Cassava Republic. The other day, on a whim, I gave someone dear a copy of Teju Cole’s Everyday Is for the Thief. As I admired its fold-in cover, the quality of the typesetting and, of course, Cole’s unique photographs, I fell in love with the book as, first, an object of beauty. This is not so much an ode to Cole as it is to Cassava Republic, one of the most exemplary publishing houses in Africa. Thank you for being in my life. (KS)

Even This Page Is White: Vivek Shraya. Born in Canada to Indian parents, poet and performer Shraya’s seminal work about race, class and gender relations, discrimination and hierarchies in her country is the moody notebook of a contemporary activist. At times beautiful lamentations of a trans woman and at others verbatim conversations with her privileged woke white friends, it beautifully challenged my notions of “my place in the world”. (MB)

Dave Chappelle Live at the Hollywood Palladium. I recently watched a Chappelle Netflix special, titled The Age of Spin, as part of a trilogy for the channel. I regard him as one of the greatest living comics I have seen. It was thus an insurmountable disappointment to see him dumb down, spend significant amounts of time slagging off trans people and weigh out Bill Cosby’s legacy on his own scales of justice. “He might rape but he helps more than he rapes.” I hope he is not readying himself for lucrative laughs in the Trump era. Don’t do it, Dave. Don’t do it. (KS)

Kamasi Washingon: The Epic.
The benefits of being two years late for this three-hour party are that what has been strangely called “jazz for idiots” by some does not occupy a parochial crevice of time. It’s as timely as it was when it was released and it’s still one of the most unselfish jazz albums I have listened to recently, not requiring too much of you to enjoy it. (MB)

My dad tells the story of how he was caught smoking at school during the rinderpest. His punishment was to finish the entire pack of Texan Plains right then and there. He never smoked again.

The gods must want us to stop gaming, because this year we’ve already had Mass Effect, For Honor, Final Fantasy, Numenara, Nioh, Nier: Automata, Conan, Horizon Dawn, Zelda, Dark Souls DLC, and Overwatch and Hearthstone expansions — more than in the past three years combined, and April has barely begun! Now Red Dead and Destiny sequels have been announced. Never mind my dad, I’m crying uncle. (TSM)

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Arts Desk
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