Palm Beach Van Dyck

A “willingness to flout the laws of space and time” help painter Ralph Cowan form relationships with the kind of people who will pay for a portrait of themselves with a lion, at the mast of a ship, or gliding through a Venetian dreamscape.

Source: Oxford American
Published: May 2, 2017
Length: 15 minutes (3,781 words)

Unearthing the Sea Witch

Ursula, one of Disney’s most memorable villains, was inspired by a drag queen named Divine.

Source: Hazlitt
Published: Jan 14, 2016
Length: 15 minutes (3,947 words)

Eddie is Gone

Much of Hawaii’s history has been lost or whitewashed for tourists, including the story of Eddie Aikau, a Hawaiian lifeguard and surf legend who was proud of his native cultural identity, and taught others about Hawaii’s true history of Western exploitation:

“The beach had been a refuge for Eddie, but, like many Hawaiians during the 1960s, he was becoming aware of the impact that annexation and statehood had had on native traditions. It’s impossible to know for sure how many Native Hawaiians lived on the islands at the time of first contact with British explorers, in 1778, but historians estimate that before Cook arrived there were around five hundred thousand. By 1890, disease, wars between islands, and poverty had reduced the number to a mere forty thousand. The history Kelly taught the younger surfers contradicted the story of a conflict-free annexation and statehood they’d learned in school. The reality was grim. The U.S. military was testing weapons on the island of Kaho‘olawe; sugarcane and pineapple plantations had replaced diverse, sustainable agriculture that preserved the scarce freshwater supply; Hawaiians were subject to the rule of a government based nearly five thousand miles away. As Kelly drove Eddie and his friends past Hawaiian valleys and mountains toward its beaches, they began to comprehend how Hawaii had been transformed into America.”

Source: The Believer
Published: Sep 4, 2012
Length: 16 minutes (4,039 words)

Invasion of the Bayou Snatchers

Not all oil-soaked animals in Louisiana deserve saving. Nicole Pasulka attends fashion shows, braises venison, and heads into the bayou to understand the varmint of New Orleans: nutria.

Published: Jun 1, 2010
Length: 8 minutes (2,022 words)