MCA Curator Tara Aisha Willis Shares Her Favorite Things To Read, Watch And Do

The curator, dancer and scholar shares her top picks for the week.

MCA Curator Tara Aisha Williams Shares Her Favorite Things To Read, Watch And Do
Tara Aisha Willis Nathan Keay / Courtesy of MCA Chicago
MCA Curator Tara Aisha Williams Shares Her Favorite Things To Read, Watch And Do
Tara Aisha Willis Nathan Keay / Courtesy of MCA Chicago

MCA Curator Tara Aisha Willis Shares Her Favorite Things To Read, Watch And Do

The curator, dancer and scholar shares her top picks for the week.

Reset checks in with Chicago curator Tara Aisha Willis for her recommendations on what to read, watch and do.

What to read

1. Future Tense Fiction: Stories of Tomorrow by The Editors of Future Tense - “In general, I’m a sci-fi fan. I love speculative fiction, I love sci-fi in television and film. But what I love about it is that it makes us think about our current reality with really a different lens with honest, unflinching honesty, but also kind of hope and tenderness.”

2. After the Party: A Manifesto for Queer of Color Life by Joshua Chambers-Letson - “It looks at some amazing artists who were making work in really politically challenging moments like Nina Simone or the underrecognized photographer Tseng Kwong Chi, who was photographing during the AIDS crisis for example, or Félix González-Torres, who’s an amazing conceptual artist also during that ’80s, ’90s era.”

3. The Terrible: A Storyteller’s Memoir by Yrsa Daley-Ward - “I’ve been reading a lot of unconventional memoirs lately. There’s something about this time that’s got me journaling up a storm, but I’m also really interested in how people creatively document or archive their own thoughts and experiences.”

What to watch

4. I May Destroy You (HBO) - “This is really some of the most important work on television right now to me … What I love about it is, even though she’s dealing with big topics, she’s doing it in a way where it’s not just about the facts of a difficult sexual experience. But it’s really about the way it feels and the way it feels emotionally as well as on your body.”

5. Small Axe (Amazon Prime Video) - “The way Steve McQueen uses music and sound and also silence, and bodies and space and texture — the wallpaper and the sweat on people’s bodies — all of it comes together. It’s actually been one of the things that brought me closest to feeling like I’m in a live experience in this whole past year.”

What to do

6. Attend MCA’s Primer for an Impossible Conversation (Feb. 23) - “Marcella Murray and David Neumann, who are some really amazing New York theater artists … they’re in a real-life yearlong conversation about race. She is a Black woman. He’s a white man. And they’ve been deep in it for several years now, and they unpack it in this virtual performance both literally and in sort of a fictional way on-screen.”

RWD Tara Aisha Willis - MCA event
David Neumann, Marcella Murray, and Tei Blow. Image composite by Tei Blow / Courtesy of MCA Chicago

7. Attend MCA’s Music Talk: Justin Vivian Bond and Jim Hodges (March 24) - “Our first one was with Meshell Ndegeocello but this is our follow-up to that. It’s with Justin Vivian Bond, who’s an amazing singer, songwriter and trans activist, and artist Jim Hodges. They both really believe in beauty and creativity as political resistance.”

GUEST: Tara Aisha Willis, associate curator of performance and public practice at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago