Don’t worry, lefties; there will always be a Park Slope, Brooklyn. From the current issue of The New Yorker:
On a recent Saturday morning, about two dozen small children and their parents gathered in the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library for a new reading series. There were pregnant women with tattoos, breast-feeding moms, and a little girl in pink ballerina gear climbing on the laps of her two dads. Many of the kids, who ranged in age from newborn to five years old, wore tiny T-shirts showcasing their parents’ favorite bands (Nirvana, David Bowie) or political views (one read, “The Future Is Female”).
The event was hosted by Michelle Tea, a writer from Los Angeles, who started attending library story hours after becoming a mom. “Story time rises or falls on the charisma of the storyteller,” she said. “Some seemed to have a personality disorder or didn’t even like children.” She’d brought her partner, Dashiell Lippman, and their two-year-old son, Atticus, who had a haircut that resembled David Beckham’s. “He is pretty butch—we call him Fratticus,” Tea said. “I’m always pushing a tutu on him, but he’s, like, ‘No.’ ”
Tea’s solution, called Drag Queen Story Hour, introduces elements of gender bending and camp. “I have long thought that drag queens need to be the performers at children’s parties, rather than magicians or clowns,” she said. “Drag has become more mainstream. Kids might have seen one on a billboard or on TV.”
The kids didn’t seem all that thrilled about the gender-bending weirdo. But hope springs eternal:
“Restlessness happens when you get this many young people, but I thought it held their attention,” Megan Nicolay said. She had brought her daughter, Esmé, and her son, Niko, who gazed at Lil Miss Hot Mess with wonder but seemed afraid to approach her. “My son is psyched that he and Lil Miss Hot Mess had the same color shoes.”
Her daughter Esmé and her son Niko. Don’t ever change, Park Slope.