Best of CH 2021: Good Measure

Creatives, communities and companies that continue to remind us progress is possible

In 2021—a year fraught with the pandemic, the US Capitol insurrection, infringements on reproductive and educational rights, increasing climate injustices, worsening systemic inequality and more—the fight for social and political justice was especially imperative. Through it all, we paid attention to artists and communities who champion progress and give back in some manner, supporting or publishing their inspiring work along the way. We tag each of these stories with the words Good Measure, so we can continue coming back to them for hope, strength and encouragement. Below are 10 such stories that represent some of the resilience, revolution and radical art that happened this year. They remind us that faith in achieving a brighter, more just future can never be never lost, and we hope they do the same for you.

Courtesy of RXM Creative

“Not Another Second,” an Augmented Reality Exhibition Centered on LGBTQ+ Seniors

Infographics dot the interior of Not Another Second, an exhibition dedicated to the tales of 12 LGBTQ+ seniors, centered around riveting portraits shot by German photographer Karsten Thormaehlen. Among the images and information at the ticketed and socially distanced installation, visitors will find the statistic that roughly three million seniors identify as LGBTQ+. This number is expected to double by 2030. And yet, we rarely hear such stories from the mouths of seniors themselves. Through the use of augmented reality, powered by Kaleida Studio, Thormaehlen’s images come to life and the subjects speak of their years of tragedy, triumph and pride. Open now within The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights (a senior community), the exhibition informs, entertains and uplifts… Read more.

Courtesy of Jorge Morse

Bushwick Community Darkroom Rectifies Film Photography’s Exclusionary Past

When Lucia Rollow rolled her Volkswagen down New York’s Long Island Expressway back in 2010, she had no idea she was on the brink of founding a thriving film photography community and one of the only 24/7 darkrooms in the city. A recent college graduate with no spare change, Rollow longed for a place to continue developing film and honing the craft she loves. After scouring NYC for an affordable darkroom without success, she made one of her own… Read more.

Courtesy of Kelly Pau

land to sea Diversifies NYC’s Cafe Culture + Creative Community

Another coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is par for the course, but that’s why the neighborhood’s latest addition, land to sea, stands out even more. Opening its doors in October, Emily Shum and Eva Zhou’s land to sea fosters a creative and inclusive community, hosting food pop-ups, art exhibits and classes, especially designed to uplift artists of color. More than a cafe, this versatile venue reimagines the humble coffee shop’s role in supporting the community… Read more.

Courtesy of The Kitchen Without Borders: Recipes and Stories from Refugee and Immigrant Chefs by The Eat Offbeat Chefs/Penny De Los Santos for Workman Publishing © 2021

Interview: Eat Offbeat Founder, Manal Kahi

In 2013—during the conflict that displaced millions of Syrian people, around a million of whom sought refuge in Lebanon—Manal Kahi left Beirut for NYC to attend graduate school. She planned to work in multilateral or environmental affairs, but her concern about the crisis back home and her dissatisfaction with grocery store hummus (clearly two very different issues) started her on a different journey. “You can only imagine the amount of discrimination that was ensuing,” Kahi tells us about the influx of refugees in her homeland. “And I had left, with a little bit of guilt in the back of my mind about not being able to do anything. But there it was,” she says, “when I started thinking…” Read more.

Courtesy of Geoffrey Barbier

Premiere: “Water is Life” by Holly Miranda

With 100% off the proceeds from Bandcamp going to the science-backed ocean conservation and protection non-profit, Project Zero, singer-songwriter Holly Miranda’s “Water is Life” does more than burst forth from speakers. The jam-bandy, chant-channeling track—born of collaboration, protest and performance—aims to do good for the world on many levels. Its message is one worthing singing out… Read more.

Courtesy of Fred Buyle

Introducing Ulysse Nardin’s “Lemon Shark” Diver

The story of Ulysse Nardin is intertwined with the sea. The brand’s on-board marine chronometers are among the most reliable ever designed—partly because the maison is one of the few luxury watch manufacturers with the in-house expertise to produce the highest possible precision movements. And to mark World Oceans Day this month and the brand’s 175th anniversary this year, the Swiss watchmaker has debuted its latest nautical diver, which is sure to appeal to seafaring adventurers and landlocked horophiles alike: the Lemon SharkRead more.

Courtesy of Mami Wata

Mami Wata’s Proudly African Surf Apparel is Revolutionizing The Surf Industry

Mami Wata (meaning “mama water” in West African pidgin English) is a guardian water spirit, venerated throughout Africa. Legend has it that those she takes as her lovers return to land more beautiful and successful than before—a fitting lore for the surf apparel brand that is not only named after the spirit, but whose garments, embodying African traditions and cultures, crowned the surf label as the first to be proudly from the continent. Mami Wata—which launches in the US on 15 October—offers up culturally and aesthetically rich surfwear, and (like the spirit) entices others to come a little closer, providing style and a bit of history in return… Read more.

Courtesy of Bob Bottle

SOFI TUKKER + Amadou & Mariam on Their Collaborative Song For “Red Hot + Free” 

When HIV/AIDs non-profit Red Hot approached duo SOFI TUKKER about contributing a song for the Red Hot + Free album (to be released 2 July), the two musicians—Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern—decided their dream collaboration would be with the legendary Amadou & Mariam. Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia met at Mali’s Institute for the Young Blind and have been making music together since the ’80s. Their genre-bending style combines instruments and influences from all over the world to create a sound that’s undeniably vibrant… Read more.

Courtesy of Kin Slips

Kin Slips Bridges Medicinal + Recreational Cannabis Use as it Perfects Sublingual Delivery

Alongside the crowd of rapidly evolving cannabis companies, Kin Slips stands in a lane of their own. The California-based brand’s cannabinoid- and terpene-infused sublingual strips dissolve under the tongue after interacting with saliva in the mouth, bypassing enzymes and acids from the digestive tract and releasing active ingredients directly into the bloodstream. This streamlined delivery method offers a fast-acting and undiluted product that Kin Slips has innovated to create one of the most efficient and reliable way to consume cannabis… Read More

Courtesy of Taylor Stitch

Taylor Stitch’s “The Beloved Community Collection” Raffle Benefits The NAACP 

With 100% of proceeds donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Taylor Stitch’s “The Beloved Community Collection” raffle (on now) has been inspired by Dr Martin Luther King’s work and words, and aims to celebrate his tremendous legacy… Read more.

Hero image courtesy of Red Hot