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If you’ve never been to a ball, you don’t know what you’re missing – but Dr. Marlon Bailey’s book, Butch Queens Up in Pumps, is probably the next best thing. He takes us inside the ballroom scene in Detroit with an ethnography that examines how ball culture redefines ideas about gender, performance, and community.


We spoke to Dr. Bailey this week about his work and what drew him to it, and he told us about his first time at a ballroom event and how it challenged all his previous assumptions about black gay culture.

In our Juicy Fruit segment, it’s Halloween week, and that means a lot of white folks will be out and about in blackface. We talk about what causes people to think that’s okay, and why it never is (also check out Ohio University’s campaign, We’re a Culture, Not a Costume, which comments on the wrong-headedness of using stereotypes as costumes).

Elsewhere in cultural misappropriation, American Apparel thought a Voudou-themed window display would be perfect for Halloween.

And we also talked about our favorite study of the week: The National Bureau for Economic Research published a paper this week saying first-born children are smarter. With apologies to our younger siblings, the entire Strange Fruit team agrees.

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects.