EWF’s Transcendence, Hannibal Buress’ Nonexistent Rap Album, and More: Today’s Recommended Reading


Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘Net are doing, too. Today we’ve got a tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, an interview with a master aesthetician of oddball comedies, an article on sneeze fetishism that is of course published on Vice, Hannibal Buress weighing the potential of making his own rap album, and a look at the Super Bowl’s impact on San Francisco.

On NPR, Jason King wrote a breathtaking piece about Maurice White (who died yesterday morning at 74) and Earth, Wind and Fire. He speaks of the ways the band often provoked an unassailable, near-religious joy, how White helped “Africanize Top 40,” and how to engage with their overtly happy music in a time when violence is “inflicted on black lives and trans lives and women’s lives and Syrian lives.”

Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF) is the black music ensemble as a constellation of individual shining stars, each grooving together in the worshipful service of happy feeling… A friend once hyperbolically suggested to me that back in the late ’70s she and her friends were so mesmerized and swept up in rapture watching EWF perform in concert that they would have jumped off a bridge or done anything lead singer Philip Bailey encouraged them to do. In their pursuit of musical universalism, EWF transcended organized religion to become a kind of religion unto themselves: the thrill of EWF is hearing Maurice White and his bandmates preach the gospel of feel-good multicultural funk as the path to supreme glory.

On Vice, H. Alan Scott delves into various people’s experiences within the small world of sneeze fetishism, and how the Internet has allowed for people with phlegmy proclivities to build communities. The article is particularly interesting when individuals discuss the specifics of their preferences:

“Most sneezes really don’t turn me on at all—probably a good thing, since I work in the medical field,” said Lyna, “I prefer ‘tough guys’ with colds who deny that they’re sick until they can’t anymore, with long buildups and trying to hold back the sneeze, even trying to talk while fighting the need to sneeze. I also love how a man’s voice gets hoarse when he’s sick, so it’s deeper and gravelly. I enjoy being the caretaker.”

Director/producer Jonathan Krisel has been behind the camera on the absurd likes of the Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Zach Galifianakis’ Baskets and Portlandia (for which he’s directed every episode). Matthew Love interviewed him for Vulture on the creative processes of each of the shows he’s worked on, and for Portlandia, he discusses the show’s recent stylistic evolution:

“[Early on], we did ‘Put a Bird on It,’ ‘Did You Read That?’ ‘Spoiler Alert,’ and others, and I love how all of them turned out. It was funny because sometimes we’d hear people say, ‘Oh, is this Tim & Eric–style?’ and we were like, ‘That’s our style.’ But you can’t keep going back to that same visual vocabulary. That was where we started, and now we’re into these very indulgent, long, 22-minute sketch pieces. We might veer back into some more stylized editing, but as the years went by we just evolved. We love our characters and we always want to know more about them — always searching for the new ‘Put a Bird on It’ is so limiting.”

With a new special on Netflix and the third season of Broad City coming up, Hannibal Buress spoke to Isaac Kozell at Splitsider about how his fame has given him more experiences to draw comedy from, like doing an interview with a bulldog with “an incredible social media following.” He also discusses his new Spotify music commentary series, his love of rap, and the possibility of releasing his own album. Though that’s “not a high priority,” it is something he’s actually considered:

“I thought about it for a while. I would really have to focus for a couple of weeks. Get in the studio for two weeks, not do any comedy shit and just focus on making something. That’s kind of tough to do because it’s not my job and not where my instincts really lie. I would like to. I’ve been talking about and flirting with the idea for the past few years, but I just haven’t gotten it done.”

On the weekend of Super Bowl 50, San Franciscans have taken to protesting the city’s spending on the event, given that the city itself is becoming harder and harder for long-time residents to afford to live in. Writing for The Atlantic, Alana Semuels investigates the clash between the huge, expensive event and the city’s class struggles and tensions:

As Super Bowl 50 and hordes of tourists and media descend on the city for Sunday’s game… there’s a sense in San Francisco that something is very wrong, that recent changes in this city have created intolerable inequities and made just living here too hard for all but the most well-off residents… Protests aren’t focused on zoning changes or creating more affordability, though. Instead, they’re encouraging the city to ask the NFL for reimbursement for the $5 million San Francisco is spending on city services like police ahead of the Super Bowl, asking the city to divert that money to resources for the homeless population. They’re protesting over alleged police actions that moved homeless residents from the space around Super Bowl City and carrying around signs with swastikas that read iSlave.