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Longreads

Eva Tenuto | Longreads | April 2017 | 9 minutes (2,181 words)

It was the summer of 1997. For my 24th birthday, Rachel, one of my best friends, bought me the best present I could imagine receiving: a ticket to see Prince at Jones Beach Theater—on my birthday, July 23rd, no less. A full-on Prince fanatic, I was out-of-my-mind thrilled.

The plan was for me to drive down from Rosendale, where I was managing a bed and breakfast that had just opened, and meet Rachel and her boyfriend Andre there.

Rachel and I had become best friends in high school drama club, then both moved to New York City to study acting, eventually sharing an apartment on Avenue A between 9th and 10th Streets, across from Tompkins Square Park.

But after a few years, I decided to move back upstate, where I’m from, and take the job at the new…

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Source: Longreads Just Turned 8 Years Old. Here’s What the Next Eight Years Look Like.

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Longreads

As the president sucks up the oxygen from the media atmosphere, it’s easy to forget how important local journalism is right now. The regional press—the holy trinity of newspapers, alt-weeklies, and city magazines—is where we can find true stories of friends and neighbors impacted by immigration raids, fights over funding public education, and the frontline of relaxed environmental standards that will impact the water we drink and the air we breathe. We need to support their work.

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I talked with the good people at Bayou Magazine, in New Orleans, about writing, nonfiction and publishing.

Source: Interview with Aaron Gilbreath

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Canada, Who Are You?

I wrote about the beauty and reality of, the mysteries and misunderstandings about, our fantastic neighbor Canada. Don’t worry Canada, we aren’t all moving there anytime soon.

Longreads

In a box in my basement, I keep a small bag of letters from my Canadian friend Dayna. We got tight in high school in Phoenix, Arizona, but after she moved back home to Calgary, Alberta, we corresponded by mail. Growing up, cars with Manitoba and Saskatchewan license plates filled my city’s streets during the mild desert winters. “Another snowbird,” my dad would say from behind the wheel. “Be nice to them. They’re good for the economy.” Dayna was the first Canada I actually got to know.

For four years, Dayna and I kept in touch by exchanging mixtapes and letters filled with our teenage obsessions. Hers also contained tantalizing visions of a foreign land. She called dorks “knobs” and heavy-metal kids “bangers.” In the photos Dayna and her friends sent, their cars shimmered with a crystalline sheen and you could see their breath. It all seemed so exotic.

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In honor of National Taco Day, I wrote about what Del Taco meant to me as an Arizona kid obsessed with California but land-locked in Phoenix, at The Smart Set. Here’s how the essay “Cheddar Suns Rising Over Lettuce Mountains” begins:

 

The day my friend Rich bought a Del Taco T-shirt from an employee was the day I realized that my fixation with the fast food Mexican chain was about more than beans. Back then, in 1993, I was an 18-year-old Arizonan obsessed with California beach culture. I owned a boogie board that I used one week a year. I wore vintage Hang Ten and Hobie surf tees that I found at Phoenix thrift stores. I favored Van’s and cutoffs, and I rode a late ’60s red and white Schwinn beach cruiser whose sleek beauty and tall white walls had strangers yelling “Hey, Pee Wee Herman!” at me on the street. If the southern California coast was the center of my landlocked universe, then Del Taco was a bright star in my sky. What did I know? Fresh out of high school and uncertain about the future, I was searching for an identity. All I knew for certain was that I wanted to live on the beach.

You can read the rest of “Cheddar Suns Rising Over Lettuce Mountains” here.

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Longreads

We asked a few writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in specific categories. Here, the best in arts and culture writing.

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Shannon Proudfoot
Senior writer with Sportsnet magazine

The Late, Great Stephen Colbert (Joel Lovell, GQ)

Stephen Colbert has pulled off the rare feat of being a public figure for the better part of a decade while keeping his true self almost entirely obscured behind a braying façade. Here, with such uncommon intelligence, sensitivity and nuance, Joel Lovell shows us who’s been under there the whole time. The writer is very present in the story, sifting through the meaning of what he finds and tugging us along behind him through reporting and writing that starts out rollicking and then turns surprisingly raw and emotional. But Lovell never gets in his own way or turns self-indulgent; that’s a tough thing to…

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