Read “The Rise of Skywalker’s Story Problem” on Medium

Two years ago, I wrote The Last Jedi had a ‘snark problem,’ a critique that resonated with more than 10k readers and was featured as an audio story (!).

Well, this time The Rise of Skywalker has a ‘story problem’—a cavalier attitude toward storytelling that renders the movie into a series of cheap workarounds which discount the intelligence of its audience and bely its creators’ indifference to their own work, showcasing a greater problem in popular entertainment more generally.

Read my latest Star Wars review on Medium (spoiler alert). Thanks for reading!

“Falling” to be published in Flying Ketchup Press’ “Tales from the Deep” in Spring 2020

I’m thrilled to announced my short story, “Falling,” will be published this spring in Tales from the Deep, an anthology of fantasy, horror and science fiction.

The anthology will be the product of Flying Ketchup Press, a small press based in Kansas City, MO, and be published sometime after May 2020.

“Falling” is a gothic horror retelling of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House for the Kaufmann family in Pennsylvania.

In the story, retail scion Edward Zeliger Jr. (a fictional representation of E. J. Kaufmann Jr.) becomes fascinated with a mysterious architect (a portrayal of Wright), who Edward Jr.’s father has hired to build their family’s country house. But The Architect’s sublime (and perhaps supernatural) work strives to achieve harmony with nature, a process which has devastating effects on the Zeliger family—and leads Edward Jr. along the dark path constructed by the master builder.

In July 2019, Fallingwater was proclaimed a World Heritage Site. So it is fitting that, a year later, this short story—an appreciation yet cautionary tale about Wright’s work—will reach the wider world. Thanks to all the beta readers who helped shape it!

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Fallingwater. Photo by Harrison Blackman, August 2018.

Read “Mister Mayor, The Mineralogist” in Princeton Alumni Weekly

Alexander “Ha Ha” Phillips was no ordinary mineralogy professor. He was also Princeton’s Republican mayor—and may or may not have banned students from going to the movies.

Thrilled to publish this little piece of quirky history in Princeton Alumni Weekly, part of years of research I’ve conducted on the history of Princeton geology. Read the article here.

Art created for PAW by Daniel Hertzberg, based on a painting by Robert Bruce Horsfall (American, 1869–1948), housed in Princeton University Art Museum.

Read: “Amidst the specter of white nationalism, Reno feels the Bern”

On Friday the 13th, a day after the third 2019 Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders visited UNR, a campus with a checkered history of white nationalist activity.

You can read my take on the proceedings, the second in my series of creative nonfiction blog posts on presidential candidates visiting Reno, on Medium.

Thanks for reading! Follow my Medium profile for more essays on politics, movies, and storytelling.

“Bodies!” Reading at Nevada Humanities’ Literary Crawl

I’m excited to announce I’ll be reading at the 6th Annual Nevada Humanities’ Literary Crawl held in Downtown Reno on Saturday, September 14, 2019.

I’ll be part of a group of UNR MFA students reading from 1:30 – 2:15 PM at Washoe Public House on the subject of “Bodies!”

Looking forward to being part of this great literary event in the Biggest Little City of the World!

Learn more about Litcrawl at their website, and read the full program of events here.

Read: “Misinformation Cinema” on Medium

At last week’s “Writers for Migrant Justice” event in Reno, I presented an essay I’d been thinking about writing for a long time, explaining why Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) is an irresponsible film. Since I watched that film for the first time, the news has made the film more relevant as an example of the spread of misinformation through fiction.

I’ve since adapted that text for Medium. In this post, I explain the danger of stories that purport to be about real issues but indulge in problematic fantasies.

 Thanks for reading!

(Photo by Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash)

Read “Late-stage Betomania in Reno” on Medium

On April 25, 2019, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke visited the University of Nevada-Reno as part of a campaign tour of Northern Nevada. While Beto once was a media darling, of late he’s struggled to break through the crowded Democratic field. Will his presence in Nevada change that?

Here’s my creative nonfiction take on the proceedings, available on my blog on Medium.

Thanks for reading!

Read “Breaking My Nose” in Nassau Weekly 40th Anniversary Issue

This week, The Nassau Weekly, a weekly newspaper at Princeton University, published an issue honoring its 40th anniversary. The Nass was founded in 1979 by three students, including David Remnick, current editor of The New Yorker. I became a contributor to the Nass in my senior year, and I’m glad it was part of my undergraduate experience.

I’m pleased to have an essay published in this issue, concerning a particular running accident I experienced as a freshman member of the Princeton Running Club in 2013. Though I suffered a severe injury, the event was infused with a humorous irony which made it quite revealing of human nature. Thanks to the ‘Nass’ for letting me share my story, available at this link.