Perigee

Ten Seconds in the California Sun: The Murder of Andy Lopez Cruz

By Cecca Ochoa, Editorial Non-fiction Editor Photo Credit: Reuters/Noah Berger Each person blinks once every two to ten seconds, that’s as many as five times in ten seconds, or, in a moment of extreme anxiety, pupils dilated, he or she will unblinkingly stare, pop-eyed with fear. The heart beats sixty to one hundred times per minute, but in ten seconds of panic the heart can hammer twenty-five times, maybe faster. Psychologists say that in one tenth of one second after seeing another person’s face you make a decision about whether or not they are trustworthy. Of course, the officers never saw his face before they opened fire; they saw a figure with a gun, a big gun. Businessmen say that you have seven seconds to convince your audience that you are “the man” or you have no deal. Here is the deal: the cops saw a figure with a gun in a brown neighborhood and they opened fire. The figure was a thirteen year old boy: Andy Lopez Cruz; the gun was plastic. The human brain can think fast—acceleration into action, deceleration into calm—somewhere in those ten seconds, two cops pulled over, opened the car door, yelled, “put down the...
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Zinzi Clemmons in Zoetrope: All Story

Zinzi Clemmons in Zoetrope: All Story A big congrats to our Managing Editor and Co-Founder Zinzi Clemmons, who has a story in the current Fall issue of Zoetrope: All-Story, alongside Elizabeth McCracken, Ben Fountain, and legendary filmmaker Agnes Varda. You can check out an excerpt here, and pick up the issue in your local bookstore.

Spectacle and Rick Owens's Black Female Steppers

Marjon Carlos writes of the pleasures and problems with designer Rick Owens’s use of female step teams in his Spring/Summer 2014 show in Paris: “…the Black female has continuously been positioned as a source of spectacle and pleasure, primarily existing outside the canonized idea of femininity. Owens’s use of these steppers as models tows this precarious line, with the designer certainly underscoring these young women’s strength, skill, and passion, but equally using their unexpected presence (racially, physically, spatially) to stir. As Owens was quoted of saying after the show, ‘I was attracted to how gritty [stepping] was, it was such a ‘fuck-you’ to conventional beauty. [The steppers] were saying, ‘We’re beautiful in our own way.'” Read the rest at Saint Heron.

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Apogee is currently seeking three associates in: Promotions, Publicity & Social Media, and Development, to join us for Issue Three and beyond! We are looking for enthusiastic team players who strongly identify with our mission and are eager to help build our brand.

Walter White and Bleeding Brown: On Breaking Bad’s Race Problem

by Chris Prioleau, Co-Editor in Chief During its run, Breaking Bad was one of the best shows on television. It was as intense and scintillating as anything ever broadcast; the direction and cinematography were sharp, intelligent, and engaging; and the acting was very often phenomenal. It was–and I mean this in both the literal and dudebro sense–an awesome show. However, I can’t join the recent chorus of voices heralding it as one of the greatest television shows of all time. I ultimately forgive the show’s structural flaws, of which there are quite a few. Less forgivable is the racism ingrained in its very premise; racism that, all too often, casually spills over into the way the show depicts its white and nonwhite characters and ultimately undermines its richness.

Rethinking War Journalism

Friend of Apogee Sara Novic has a great essay up at The L.A. Review of Books on the West’s relationship to journalists in war zones: Are the limits of Western empathy really so shortsighted that a single British or American citizen being shot at is of more interest than hundreds of thousands of Yugoslavians enduring the same or much worse fates? Judging from history, the former has both more literary and political currency. Sarajevans living for years without running water in their besieged city were easy enough to ignore, but a few Westerners without toilet paper get two-book deals. When Harper’s decided to commemorate the siege of Sarajevo, they did not bother to speak to a Sarajevan.

Not Just Guilty: A White Response to the George Zimmerman Case

This is the first of two essays that reflect on what has happened in the months since the trial of George Zimmerman. You can read Apogee’s original response to the not guilty verdict here.   by Melody Nixon, Editor-at-Large   Have we already forgotten about Trayvon Martin? There’s a kind of disbelief that is so strong it makes you wish you didn’t have a body. When I first learned of the not guilty verdict I was punched in the gut with horror and surprise. The deep horror of Trayvon Martin’s story – and George Zimmerman’s story – is tied so inherently to the body: First, to Trayvon’s body with darker skin, with smaller frame than George’s, without armor. Secondly, to George’s body, to the car it sat in, the gun it held, the property it thought it was defending. W.E.B. DuBois wrote, “How does it feel to be a problem? To have your very body and the bodies of your children to be assumed to be criminal, violent, malignant?” How does it feel, too, to be consumed and distorted by your own power? What malignancy, crime and violence wait there? The horror of this story is tied in an indirect...
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A Queer Aperture: Mia Nakano and the Visibility Project

by Cecca Ochoa,  Editor   Mia Nakano is a photographer, served as the  founding photo editor for Hyphen Magazine, and is currently the lead artist for the Visibility Project. In August, Ochoa met with the photographer in her Oakland home to discuss the project. All images copyright of Mia Nakano, visibilityproject.org.   A thought experiment: Imagine a body without race or gender. What do you see? Imagine a body with race and gender. Who do you see? Last week, Germany announced that it will be the first European nation to put a third gender distinction on birth certificates. Nepal instituted a third gender citizenship certificate earlier this year and Sweden has recently established a third gender pronoun. These are exciting wins for the LGBTQ community whose mainstream US efforts have been ardently and monogamously wed to gay marriage at the expense of issues like trans healthcare and representation for (binary) gender non-conforming individuals.

Representing Difference In Writing – The Rumpus

The Rumpus has posted a thoughtful essay by Delaney Nolan about writing poor, black characters as a white fiction writer. The purpose of good literature, as far as I can tell, is to find a common human ground that we can all relate to. So I’m not going to represent difference by pretending like I know exactly where Marie’s coming from, or by throwing in a rainbow-colored cast. But I know, at least, some things we have in common now. I know what it’s like to rely on family who’re in a hard place themselves. I know what it’s like to be isolated, to be powerless. I know what it’s like to be, in some sense, unhoused. I don’t know precisely what life is for the people on Marais Street, but I can get myself partway there, and the rest of that bridge is what makes fiction necessary and superlative—empathy, understanding, and a sincere belief in some common thread of humanity. Read the rest here.

The Gray Area: Gentrification in Manhattan's Hamilton Heights

  by Alexandra Watson, Editor-in-Chief   As a mixed-race graduate student at Columbia living in Hamilton Heights, a neighborhood in Harlem destined for “urban renewal,” my relationship to the word gentrification is ambivalent. As a child, I associated the word “gentrification” solely with white people—I thought it referred specifically and only to the moving of white people into a neighborhood. In popular usage, among my peers and members of my family both black and white, this seems to be the way the word has come to be understood, despite the fact that the word’s real definition refers solely to class and property—“the buying and renovation of stores and houses in deteriorated urban neighborhoods.” The word has taken on a negative connotation, oftentimes rightfully so—gentrification strips a neighborhood of its history, it drives out long-term residents, it either appropriates or overruns culture.

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