Brainy Rinds for Nerd Nite

Watch out, I’m getting ready to trot out some wild cheese. Come geek out on rinds with me on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at Philadelphia’s Nerd Nite, hosted by Frankford Hall. I’ll be talking about five styles of cheese with odd bodies, strange hair, and other captivating characteristics. Here’s the line-up:

Doors open at 6:45, show starts at 7:30, and there’s a 5 dollar cover to hear three 20-minute talks:

1. Wild Rinds: Confronting Surface Molds and Other Apocalyptic Visions” by Tenaya Darlington 

Every cheese lover has looked at a furry Brie and wondered: should I really eat that? In this quick romp through surface molds, Fishtown-based cheese blogger Madame Fromage explains how to judge a cheese by its rind (yes, they’re like book covers). You’ll also learn a few professional terms that cheesemongers use, in case you ever want to work with “brainy” rinds.

Bio: Tenaya Darlington is the digital dairy courtesan Madame Fromage (; @MmeFromage). She writes for Grid, Table Matters, Culture Magazine, and has served as cheese correspondent for The New York Times’Thanksgiving hotline. Her new book, Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes, and Pairings, debuts in May.

2. “What Your Doctor Never Knew About Pain: How Your Fascia Holds You Together or Knocks You Down” by Stephanie Lee Jackson

This talk unravels the mysteries of fascia, the one vital organ that goes virtually unmentioned in medical school. You’ll learn how to fall off a ladder with grace and aplomb, and why the exact causes of back pain go undiscovered in 85% of cases. You’ll also get some tips on how to deal with ‘mystery pain’ that thwarts your ambitions and leaves you sulking on the couch.

Bio: Stephanie Lee Jackson founded Practical Bodywork in Philadelphia after moving here from Brooklyn, NY in 2010. She was a ballet dancer for twelve years and a fine artist for twenty, moving from her birthplace of Fort Worth, Texas to San Francisco, Mexico, France and New York City. She became briefly notorious in the last decade as the art blogger and provocateur, Pretty Lady, before the birth of her daughter Olivia inspired her to become a responsible citizen.


3. “’You Know How Many I Own?’ Black masculinity in Watch the Throne and in the Shifting Landscape of Hip Hop” by Anthony Pratcher

The career-long efforts of Jay-Z and Kanye West to challenge common conceptions of black masculinity in commercial culture climax with their 2011 joint-album Watch the Throne. In their album, their exploration of physical and ideological spaces deemed non-normative for black men within commercially popular hip-hop articulate a revised aesthetic for racial authenticity. This re-articulation has privileged younger artists—like Drake, Kid Cudi, and J. Cole—with the freedom to explore and express identity in ways which were previously taboo in commercially popular hip-hop. However, despite some changes, continuities abound—most glaringly concerning the objectification of women—and capitalist accumulation remains central to their definition of manhood. So how much have things changed? How much have they stayed the same? In this talk, history student Anthony Pratcher II utilizes the lyrical content ofWatch the Throne to provide a foundation for further exploration into the relationship between authenticity, black masculinity, and capitalist misogyny in contemporary hip-hop.

Bio: Anthony Pratcher II is a third-year Ph.D. student from Arizona in the department of History at the University of Pennsylvania. He also enjoys basketball, reading, and playing guitar. He has spent the past twenty-four years engaging in a case study on black masculinity in contemporary American society.

And featuring Christopher Maute playing jazz.

Cheese pictured at top:  Coupole, from Vermont Butter & Cheese Company


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2 Responses to “Brainy Rinds for Nerd Nite”
  1. Michael Salzman says:

    Mme. Fromage, That photo of the Coupole is making me weak in the knees! I’m not near Philadelphia, so unfortunately I cannot attend Nerd Nite. Your lecture sounds brilliant; I’ve never met a rind I feared. I wonder if you could send me the notes, s’il vous plait? I would love to read your thoughts on the subject.

    Thank you!


    • tdarlington says:

      That Coupole should make you weak in the knees! It’s a pretty amazing little tuffet. I’ll try to post the talk in a couple days, howz about? That way you can read my thoughts, for what they’re worth. Thanks for taking an interest!

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