Clara Rose Thornton

Clara Rose Thornton

Culture is life in motion.

Culture + brand journalist, copywriter, editor /// Focus: film, sociopolitics, identity politics, visual arts, wine, music, local histories, trends

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Future is female   cesca saunders illustration article

The Future is Female

In 2015 amid an online storm surrounding #OscarsSoWhite, I got a call to be on “The Ryan Tubridy Show”, then titled “Tubridy” and airing on RTÉ 2fm. The year held the least diverse Academy Award slate in 17 years; nary a single person of colour was nominated in a major category. As an African-American radio film critic, I was asked to discuss “Selma”, a Martin Luther King Jr. biopic and the only film about non-white reality to glean a nomination. I was a noteworthy candidate given civil rights activism and association with MLK in my family history.

When I got the call, my partner at the time lay in bed furious, and accusatory. He interrogated me repeatedly about what man at RTÉ -- where I’d recently begun freelancing -- was likely to have recommended me, and thus wanted to bed me, which he conceived as the only reason I got the call. He is white, Irish, and working class.

Seven months later, while competing for the All-Ireland Poetry Slam at a Dublin pub, I sat talking to an opponent poet. She is a white Irish bisexual woman who identifies as feminist, and who would later organize a poetry event about the Easter Rising focused on women. Calming jitters with small talk, I told her stout is my favourite beer. She said in response, “You’ve got the right skin colour for it, too”. ...

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The Irish Times

'Dear Trump: I'm speaking to you from the future ... you've killed many people'

“Your rhetoric being rewarded with a presidency made it perfectly okay for people to throw their privilege around like confetti.” – Clara Rose Thornton

Dear President Trump,
I was infuriated in the first few days after the announcement of your win, when people in my social world of supposed artists, thinkers and the cultured would make flippant and dismissive jokes regarding you and your presidency. Telling people to calm down their hysterics, and that “this is what we ask for, it’s called democracy”.

The latter was spoken by someone in Ireland with little knowledge of the inner workings of government in my country, ...

Jc in cg   red party   pittsburgh filter article

In "Cardboard Gangsters", John Connors Corrects the Record

In Woody Allen films, setting is often a character. New York City breathes and vibrates, while punishing, cradling and uplifting people in those narratives; it is the reason for each person’s worldview.

In a similar way, the new Irish film Cardboard Gangsters, set in the raw and enveloping universe of Dublin’s Darndale, has a place-specific intensity that fully animates each moment and minor character. ...

Lingo article

Lingo Festival: A Journey Through Spoken Word

I watched a trickle of dust filter through the light in the Workman’s Club on an unduly warm October Saturday. Speaking a line of a certain poem, I suddenly existed within, simultaneously, three places on the globe. The locales are wrapped in the fabric of how I percieve performance poetry’s relationship to the page, and to my own journey as a performer along geographic lines: Chicago, with its love of experimentation; Paris and its focus on magical illumination; and Dublin, in the wild freedom of its scene’s naissance. ...

Family tree small article

Art Basel [Switzerland] » Art's International Showcase 2015

Art is a reflection of human life as lived. The tenuous process of creating art mirrors life’s path: projection, uncertainty, connection then disconnection, and navigating surprise. Thus it makes sense to look to collections of contemporary art and individual pathways through the market as vibrant manifestations of a zeitgeist, the mime’s shadow we cannot see. ...

Stringio article
Irish Independent

Drink, oppression, and church cast long shadow on Irish soul

I recently attended a play called 'Dig' from Co Leitrim playwright, actor and director Seamus O'Rourke. The set consisted of a mossy patch of cemetery soil.

A hastening dusk framed a stretch of grass that meandered to the theatre door, surrounded by stone walls – moody boulders with a look of the ancient unmoved, as weathered as the gravestones – enclosing four male characters, a whiskey bottle, a few empty beer cans and shovels.

Once I acclimated to the unfamiliar country accents at breakneck speed, and the occasionally neon comic dialogue, I had an unsettling realisation. I realised that what I was witnessing was a keyhole deftly carved into the Irish soul, in this instance, squarely male, personifying an unfinished grave as the place where problems and emotion remain static and underground. ...

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Stop Smiling

Love in the Time of Cholera: Edward Norton on The Painted Veil

On this, the first and last day of his Chicago press run for The Painted Veil, a melancholic rumination on the criminal impulses of love, the pitfalls of Western cultural commandeering and the nature of forgiveness, Edward Norton looks a bit melancholy himself. It’s late evening and he’s been subjected to a barrage of radio, television and newspaper interviews throughout the day, critics and pseudo-critics pulling and nipping and tucking as most actors and directors complain about after these necessary parades. His appearance is more akin to his character Alan Isaacman in The People vs. Larry Flynt or Holden Spence in Everyone Says I Love You than his larger-than-life embodiments of faux masculinity in American History X and Fight Club. ...

139267 when the masses come to call seeing a new day in the streets at barack obama s inauguration article
Vermont Commons

When the masses come to call: Seeing a new day in the streets at Barack Obama's inauguration

It was a moment we did not think we'd live to see. America, the most powerful nation in the world, elected an African-American as president, a mere 40-odd years after our people struggled just to get to voting booths unscathed or be able to drink from the same water fountains as other citizens. Riding the coattails of an apartheid that still exists, here was Barack Hussein Obama, an elegant family man whose little black girls were going to grow up in the White House playing dolls.

"Well, well. It's a new day," a measured, tearful voice proclaimed ...

822831 rethinking marijuana exploring medical benefits of cannabis article
Vermont Maturity

Rethinking Marijuana: Exploring Medical Benefits of Cannabis

There’s a reason medical practitioners and patients often prefer to use the term “cannabis” as opposed to “marijuana.” The stigma of irresponsible desire for intoxication continues to haunt any usage of this plant — sidestepping three thousand years of documented medicinal use and research — to a degree that necessitates clear division in jargon between medicinal and perceived recreational use. A climate of fear and culture of forced attrition persists for recreational marijuana enthusiasts, in turn causing roadblocks for the medicinal community, despite three key factors: ...

Ah article
Stop Smiling

Q&A: Agnieszka Holland, director of Copying Beethoven

A political muckraker and an astute observer of human relations, Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s work seamlessly melds inner emotional worlds with an era’s outer political climate. She was an influential contributor to the Polish New Wave of the 1960s and ’70s, a group of artists that railed against communist censorship and included such greats as her mentor Andrej Wajda and Krysztof Kieslowski, best known for his Three Colors trilogy: Blue (1993), Red (1994) and White (1994). After a stint in France, during which she made the beautifully melancholy, Academy Award-nominated film Angry Harvest (1985), ...

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Joe Pug and the Duty of Poets

The hair is shaggier than I remember, dry and framing his face, giving him the look of attractive apathy reserved solely for guitarists.

Languid, he sits in a New York living room filled with yellows, light streaming from behind. I sit on a patch of grass on a Dublin street corner, watching the bobbing head in a Skype window spotted with drizzle, wind streaking water across the face that has taught me lessons about authenticity and assumption several times prior. ...

139274 b la fleck and the original flecktones descend on the paramount article
Rutland Herald

Béla Fleck and the Original Flecktones descend on the Paramount

If Dave Matthews stepped in and stole the average band's sax player, the average bandleader might get a bit angry.

But not Béla Fleck, frontman and banjo player of the enigmatic four-piece The Flecktones, whose kaleidoscopic sound has flitted defiantly above the concept of genre classification for 22 years, and, thus, consistently maintained a freshness and level of experimentation.

The need for freshness and experiment allowed the group a de facto boredom, impatience and dissatisfaction with its own direction by the time virtuoso saxophonist Jeff Coffin had been among its ranks for 14 years. This was in 2008, the same year close friends in the Dave Matthews Band lost their founding member Leroi Moore to a fatal ATV accident.

Moore had been a Virgina saxophone player like none the world had seen--graceful, ethereal, yet kinetic--the jazz equivalent of sweet almond milk. ...

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Chicago Innerview

Tori Amos

A voice both delicate and firm, like an 80-year-old woman cradled within the body of a 7-year-old, is throwing around brazen statements as if the act were nothing more than making tea. With a rolling cadence that doesn’t stop for reorganization of thought or anything so mundane, it states: “Everybody uses that cliché term, ‘I have to break out of the box.’ Well, how are you going to do that when you just walked willingly into it? Sometimes we accept these definitions of who we can be. And the definitions are really endless. Each of us, we’re all individuals. But what I think happens is that we begin to think, ‘Oh, if I’m more like her then maybe I’ll succeed, because who I am isn’t working.’ There begins the envy, there begins the downward spiral. … Each one of us has a destiny, but how in the world are we going to step into the destiny if we’re not being us? Because our destiny won’t recognize us if we’re being someone else!” ...

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Chicago Innerview

Dead Prez

For reasons that are not difficult to decipher, hip-hop duo Dead Prez have been veritable media darlings since their 1997 inception. M-1 and had underground credibility, an afrocentric image and lyrics rife with racial discourse, tales of class struggle and calls for black revolution. It’s easy to write glowing reviews when something seems fresh, unspoiled and a bit intimidating. Yet the years have passed and Dead Prez moved away from independent label Loud and towards powerhouse conglomerate Columbia. Their first major label release, 2004’s RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta, focuses more on “real big guns” and being “ready to bust gats” than espousing socialist politics, perhaps due to the label’s quest to reach a wider, more radio-friendly audience. They penned the song “Hell Yeah” with Jay-Z as RBG’s first single, a rapper not exactly known for radical politics and grassroots organizing. As M-1’s solo project, Confidential, debuts this spring, some critics and fans are questioning the purity of what they assumed was Dead Prez’s dedication to setting themselves apart from meaningless commercial rap and to providing solutions for black America’s social ills. Simply put, “Have Dead Prez sold out?” ...

Grafton%20duet%20cheese article
SO Vermont Arts & Living

Summer on the Tongue: A Wine and Cheese Tutorial

Whimsical nights are upon us, with all of the magic that accompanies longer hours spent outdoors. While temperatures elevate, leisure time sees its stock rise and guitar riffs swim though the breeze, and people get quite serious about not being serious at all. Although, one thing that should be kept to decorum--despite letting everything else get a bit crazy--is pairing the perfect wines with the perfect hors d'oeuvres at your elegant backyard parties.

We've all heard the cliché of white wines being the better summer drink than reds. Though clichéd and not a hard-and-fast rule--as I happen to enjoy a robust Shiraz on many a summer evening--there's a slew of reasons for this long-held truth in the wine world, harkening to the structural components and characteristics of those Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Grigios and Chardonnays floating about your palate this summer. ...