Q(uar) & A is a series of interviews with some of our favorite storytellers and creators about how they’re living while in lockdown.
Laura Feinstein is a writer, editor, and producer working at the intersection of art, technology, and global culture. She has written for The Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, Surface, CityLab, and VICE, where she was formerly EIC of The Creators Project. She is the Design & Tech Editor at Kickstarter and creator of Slow Ghost, a weekly newsletter covering the next wave in culture.
Where are you currently sheltering in place?
I am sheltering in Greenpoint with my extremely talented partner and our fish, Mr. Fish.
What does your face mask look like?
My favorite is a homemade masterpiece in cherry red by my dear friend Lauren Van Haaften-Schick, who is not only a mask genius, but also works tirelessly to make PPE for others. I alternate with a commemorative Ryder Ripps X Red Bull Studios bandana from, like, 2015.
Do you follow any kind of routine at this moment?
I just started at Kickstarter, but before that was freelance. A typical day would begin with a scan of the news and my inbox, pitching and writing stories, working on interviews for Slow Ghost, and trying to fit in something creative whenever possible. I also discovered a love of cooking and schooled myself on the 800+ ways to season chickpeas. Now I make dinner most nights.
What are some pieces of entertainment that you have consumed and loved during this time?
- Casino for the first time!
- The Simpson‘s golden years (Seasons 3-8)
- Unorthodox on Netflix
- Streaming in Isolation, the regular movie reqs put out by FFFest.
- Public Announcement‘s daily email blasts.
- Why Is This Interesting (It is never not interesting)
- Dan Ozzi’s Reply Alt
Are you working on anything during this time? And if you’re having trouble “creating” things at the moment, how are you getting around it?
I’m having enormous trouble working on personal writing, so I’ve shifted my attention to reading more longform non-fiction. It’s heavenly to get lost in someone else’s mind and labors. I’ve been captivated, in particular, by the consistently amazing Ed Yong, James Hamblin and Olga Khazan of The Atlantic.
Have you taken up any new hobbies?
I was terrified to bike in the city — so many cars, all that external stimuli — but have been easing into it, and am currently fixing up an old Raleigh Triumph I inherited. It has a clown horn and a basket cart, so lookout Greenpoint.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten so far during quar? What’s the worst?
Best: I learned how to make a version of woon sen, my favorite dish, with miracle noodles. It’s witchcraft, I swear. The worst was, by far, my attempt at deviled eggs. They look deceptively simple, but are actually incredibly easy to make inedible.
What’s your current iPhone wallpaper and what’s the story behind it?
I fell in love with this image from Oona Brangam-Snell when I saw it hanging at Mrs Gallery last year, and it’s been my wallpaper ever since. The work is called “Flaming Tomb.” It feels like the tapestries at The Cloisters watched an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and had an existential awakening. Her work is weird and brilliant and I am utterly obsessed.
What’s the best quar purchase you’ve made so far?
I use “best” loosely: a care package from Economy Candy. The LES shop has been open for over a hundred years and I wanted to support them through coronavirus. Also, I am hopelessly addicted to Joray fruit roll-ups.
I was also sent a press sample of Heretic Perfume’s Flower Porn, and strongly recommend adding a new scent into your life.
Who are the writers, storytellers, or makers who are bringing you great joy right now?
For my mental health, I’ve had NPR on non-stop since the early days of quar. I grew up with WNYC, and the sound of Brian Lehrer in the morning feels like family. I also recently finished my friend (and former teaching-partner) Leigh Stein’s wicked satire of the wellness industry, Self Care. BUY IT NOW!
Any unexpectedly memorable moments so far?
Most are Zoom related. I was on a call with my team in the backyard and an inquisitive rat zipped past my feet. I guess he just wanted to join.