• For Mashable, Anna Iovane writes about the importance of memes in our love lives:

Why is sharing a sense of humor so important? “When we laugh, our brains release a happy cocktail of hormones that increase our levels of trust, lower our levels of stress, and make us feel more relaxed,” explained Hinge’s director of relationship science, Logan Ury. “The dopamine hit from laughing reinforces our behavior and makes us want to go back for more.”

Our digital sense of humor has become an important part of our identity, Ury continued. If a potential date has a ho-hum reaction to your memes, remember that 36 percent of daters usually feel more interested after receiving a meme from someone — even if they don’t think it’s funny. 

  • Writing for Xtra, Joseph Osmundson wants us to look “lower” for our culinary kicks, but really I’m sharing it for the dialogue in the article about queer camp cuisine — HAPPY PRIDE!:

“Chicken wings, babe,” I say to Devon, as I walk in from the store. “It’s all they had.”

“Guess I won’t be bottoming tonight,” he tosses back. I know my own routine could withstand the greasy dinner, but it was a Sunday, after all, and who has the energy for that?

An hour later, between the wings’ first and second fry, I find myself whisking cold butter into a saucepan of warm Frank’s RedHot sauce under medium-low heat, until just over 50 percent of the liquid is butter and the sauce holds together in one perfect layer. As I explain to my biochemistry students a week or two later, it takes energy to hold water and fat in perfect emulsion, together in tiny particles and not separating back into pure layers of uncharged fats and partially charged water. One form of energy is heat, the stovetop, and another is movement, my whisk, and I whisk until I feel it in my triceps, a soft burn, and then I keep whisking.

“Bitch, you know what this is!” my muscles tell my brain. “Honey, you have been here before!” they scream.

“Buffalo sauce,” my brain says, catching up with the movements of my body, “is a beurre monté.”

  • In his newsletter, Karim Zidan writes about the strange connection between Russian neo-Nazis, Ukraine, and Putin:

White Rex was founded by Denis Kapustin, widely known by his pseudonym Denis Nikitin. A native of Russia, Kapustin moved to Germany as a teenager where he was radicalized by the country’s far-right hooligan scene. After ingratiating himself with the white supremacist ideologue popular within far-right football circles in Europe, Kapustin returned to Russia, where he transformed himself from a hooligan into a businessman behind one of Russia’s infamous neo-Nazi groups.

For years, Kapustin used White Rex to market his ideology to disenfranchised youth. The extremist brand used hyper-masculine men and attractive women with blonde hair and blue eyes to model his clothes to help allure young white men who are inclined to join the cause.

  • Them and the photojournalism project We Are the Youth captured portraits and shared the stories of the trans youth who organized a Trans Prom at the US Capitol this spring:

Is there any specific language you use to describe yourself? 
Flamboyant. I identify as trans-masc., non-binary, lots of genders…all the genders. I think that gender expression does not equal gender as a whole. Same with pronouns. You can be trans masc. and still want to wear a dress and that’s ok. And you should do whatever makes you feel comfortable in your own skin. 

  • Molly Templeton covers the search for the artist who illustrated the 1976 cover design of A Wrinkle in Time for Tor.com, which remains an unsolved mystery:

The blog post Whelan points to is by author S. Elizabeth, who has done an impressive amount of digging—everything from a simple reverse image search to reaching out to an assortment of sources. As she mentions, even the Internet Science Fiction Database does not have the answer—though it does note the mystery. Between Elizabeth’s queries and the commenters, it’s been determined that the image is not by Charles Lilly, The Brothers Hildebrandt, Boris Vallejo, Enric Torres-Prat, or Manuel Sanjulain.

  • In a thorough piece for the New Yorker, author Rachel Aviv covers the harrowing story of Anthony Broadwater and Lovely Bones author Alice Sebold, who mistakenly identified Broadwater as the person who raped her, resulting in his 16 years of incarceration and 22 as a registered sex offender:

She was struggling to figure out what to call Broadwater. She had avoided his name for forty years. “Broadwater” felt too cold. “Anthony” felt like a level of closeness she didn’t deserve. And yet their lives were intertwined. “The rapist came out of nowhere and shaped my entire life,” she said. “My rape came out of nowhere and shaped his entire life.”

Sebold and Broadwater had defined themselves through stories that were in conflict. But Broadwater, too, felt that they were bound together, the same moments creating the upheaval in their lives. “We both went through the fire,” he said. “You see movies about rape and the young lady is scrubbing herself in the shower, over and over. And I’m saying to myself, ‘Damn, I feel the same way.’ Will it ever be gone from my memory, my mind, my thoughts? No. And it’s not going to be gone for her, either.”

  • What the hell is a “parm espresso martini,” and where did it come from? A timeline by Punch explains:

Not content with simply existing as the cocktail world’s most notorious juggernaut, the Espresso Martini—a drink as ubiquitous as it is reviled—is laughing in our faces, daring us to stop the madness. But we can’t.

Assuming its most beguiling form yet, the drink is now being served (on social media channels and in real-life bars) with a fresh grating of Parmesan cheese on top, as if that were a sane thing to do.

  • ABC News put together a short but must-watch video on Indiana Bones, the very good cat who’s now an employee of the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma City.
  • Author Yasmine El Rashidi reflects on the life and creative work of late Lebanese artist and writer Etel Adnan for the New York Review of Books:

It was these tiny abstract canvases that also catapulted Adnan in the last decade of her life to an elevated fame—her work was shown extensively, including at Documenta 13, the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Museums of Modern Art in San Francisco and New York, and, just before her death, the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Although it never changed her (it was too late, she said, to even have a use for the money), the art-world stardom folded her into the contemporary art canon and, by turn, helped resituate art from the Levant and the wider Arab region. That celebrity also gave rise to the repeated question of why Etel—of who she actually was: a queer Arab woman, exhaustively knowledgeable, dizzyingly productive, almost a century old, who offered no apologies, no explanations, no coming out, no deference, no compromises, and simply a model of how one could exist on sheer will.


#stitch with @Women Invented Beer #greenscreen i’m not gonna like i’d do so much for a deadstock GE refridgation center, and a Fridgiare flair. The girlies want more than just color we want wood, we want chrime, we want design #design #industrialdesign #history #interiordesignideas #fypage

♬ original sound – cyberexboyfriend
  • A handy guide to spotting Jesus in paintings — “baby head on a gym bro body” remains the number one tell:
  • Introducing barista babies, the next big thing in sad beige children’s toys:
  • Last but not least, adorable sea urchins take “eat your vegetables” to the next level:

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

Lakshmi Rivera Amin (she/her) is a writer and artist based in New York City. She currently works as Hyperallergic's editorial coordinator.