BALDWIN: City Beat Him to Death


Looking for a place to live. Looking for a job. You begin to doubt your judgment, you begin to doubt everything. You become imprecise. And that’s when you’re beginning to go under. You’ve been beaten, and it’s been deliberate. The whole society has decided to make you nothing. And they don’t even know they’re doing it.

 

–James Baldwin, Art of Fiction, No. 78

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Julius Eastman: Femenine


He contained so much art and vision as to be a scene unto himself. Then he faded from view.

After alienating lovers and collaborators alike, Eastman was evicted from his apartment in the mid-’80s. Most of his scores were bagged and carted away—eventually lost to history. Details from his homeless period are sketchy (or contested), but it’s generally agreed that he lived in Tompkins Square Park and also suffered from some form of addiction. After he died, alone in a Buffalo hospital at age 49, it took eight months for an obituary to be published. Continue reading