Culture Dose | To Paradise | UÝRA: The Rising Forest | Girlpuppy

READ: To Paradise

From the author of A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara delivers her latest work To Paradise. In a unique format the work traces the lives of three individuals surviving in dystopian visions of the past, present, and future:

In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him—and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.

Amongst Yanagihara’s imagined Americas are three stories separate, yet interconnected in their universal experiences, range of emotion, and desire for individuality and freedom. In exploring intersecting identities within the characters To Paradise explores a wide array of topics faced by all including fear, love, shame, need, and loneliness.

Get it here or at your local library


Uýra is the alter-ego of Emerson, a non-binary performance artist and ecologist of indigenous origin living in Manaus, Brazil. Literally marginalized as an Indigenous, queer, and trans person living on the outskirts of town, Uýra demands to be heard and seen, using exquisite transformations—often created from materials found in the nearby forest—to spread their message of environmental protection and promote LGTBQ+ rights.

Traveling through the Amazon, Uýra visits Indigenous villages to share ancestral knowledge with the youth and bring awareness to the importance of identity and place, at a time when both are under attack from Brazil’s repressive political regime. Through dance, poetry, and visually stunning costumes and makeup, Uýra boldly confronts historical racism, transphobia, and environmental destruction. Their search for their own identity and their struggle to bring awareness to the interconnected relationship between humans and the environment—not to mention the direct link from structural racism to trans- and homophobia—lie at the heart of this poetic and eye-popping film.


Following her 2021 EP Swan, Girlpuppy is introducing herself in full force with her debut album When I’m Alone. Off stage, Girlpuppy is Becca Harvey, an Atlanta native who had always had a penchant for singing and songwriting – with her array of inspirations like Taylor Swift and Caroline Polachek pushing her forward. Similarly to her inspirations, her music is all too relatable, echoing soft, vulnerable lyrics of heartbreak and longing. In contrast tracks like “Wish” and “Destroyer” are sporadic and capture bursts of energy representative through upbeat melodies. As her first major project, the album stands out amongst the musical landscape, vocalizing raw honesty, truth, and warmth during the cold winter months and for many listens to come.

Apple Music


-Kennedy Smith