Michelle Threadgould

Journalist

Location icon United States of America

Michelle Threadgould is a journalist who lives in Oakland, California, and covers the intersection between arts and culture and social justice. She has written for CNN, Pacific Standard, New York Observer, Remezcla, KQED, Racked, Latino USA, and others.

Portfolio
CNN
08/30/2018
Why passport report strikes a familiar fear in me

Reading reports of citizens being denied US passports gave me a familiar feeling of wondering who will be left in Trump's America when all is said and done, says Michelle Villegas Threadgould.

Made Local Magazine
11/13/2018
Acorn Awareness

American Indian communities in the United States have some of the highest rates of diabetes and cardiovascular and liver disease. A combination of poverty, limited access to healthcare, a lack of access to fresh food, and high stress contribute to these health problems. But, a movement led by indigenous leaders is gaining steam: the aim is to improve the health, well-being, and economic sovereignty of indigenous communities.

Fierce // Mitu
11/01/2018
Walking With The Dead On Día de Los Muertos

On Día de los Muertos, we respect and honor the dead. But it's a hard day for me to celebrate in the Bay Area, when the dead and soon to be dead walk around me.

Strangers Guide
08/09/2018
DIY Disaster

At the center of rock alternativo and the many intersecting indie rock scenes in Mexico City is a type of DIY, punk rock solidarity: if you fall, I will pick you up. Musicians, artists and creators have always lived on the margins, taken a broken reality and transformed it into song.

KQED
05/21/2018
With Art, Bay Area Brujas Honor Ancestors and Heal Themselves

When I talk to the dead, sometimes I talk to people I know, like my grandmother. Other times I talk to women who I don't want forgotten, like the immigrants who didn't make it across the border, or the reporters-like Felina -who died covering narco violence, or the disappeared in Tamaulipas, Mexico.

CNN
09/19/2017
On sexual harassment: I don't need a thicker skin, you need a conscience.

It was a hot, humid summer, and I was working as an assistant costume designer on a film set in New York City. Every day, sweat poured down my back and legs as I hoisted dozens of garment bags filled with wardrobe changes over my shoulder, and walked up six flights of stairs to the dressing room.

KQED
08/16/2018
Bay Brilliant: Quynh-Mai Nguyen

When you turn any corner, you can meet an artist. They could be undercover poets or they could be DJs and you don't actually know until you speak to them. It's warm, there's just a lot of soul here, it doesn't just come through the art, it comes through the people.

Pacific Standard
06/30/2017
National Park Service Employees Are Going Rogue to Save Our Wildlife

Before Trump and the gag order, morale was extremely low [at the National Park Service] because we were paid in rainbows and smiles. We were dealing with fires and we were carrying dead bodies from the wilderness, and we didn't have health care or benefits.

CNN
Harvey Weinstein allegations: It's all about power, not sex

Harvey Weinstein's excuse for harassing many women in an industry where he holds make-or-break power over careers -- that he came of age in 60's and 70's -- does not get him a pass for choices he made. They held huge consequences for women, writes Michelle Threadgould.

KQED Arts
05/04/2017
Sin Sombreros: A Cinco de Mayo Playlist In the Spirit of Resistance

Contrary to popular belief in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. It commemorates the day Mexico's only indigenous leader and president, Benito Juarez, stood up to the French; he was eventually responsible for the expulsion of colonial power from Mexico.

GOOD Magazine
02/05/2017
The Fascinating Secret History of Protest Posers

On Wednesday night, I watched in frustration as NBC News fretted about the "out of control" protest at the UC-Berkeley Campus, led by "anarchists" against Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolus, who'd been invited to speak by the Berkeley College Republicans. Whether or not the allegations turn out to be true, their mere existence contributes to the movement's slow fraying.

Pacific Standard
01/26/2017
The Pink Ghetto of Women's Issues in Mexico: From Rape Whistles to Subway Cars

"No one ever asks me to take them to graveyards - except on Day of the Dead," my cab driver says as we make our way from the airport to my hotel in Mexico City. He talks animatedly, and tells me that Halloween is when families pay their respects to their children who have passed.

Racked
04/26/2017
Why Wearing Rosary Beads Is Controversial

Since the beginning, rosary beads have been a symbol of rebellion. An early legend asserts that Saint Dominic (circa 1170 to 1221 A.D.), the founder of the Dominican Order, saw the Virgin Mary in a vision. According to the book Consumption and Spirituality, "In this vision, Mary exhorted Dominic to use the rosary as a spiritual weapon against the Albigensian heresy.

The Orange Dot
07/19/2017
A Day With: Body Dysmorphia

Editor's Note: This piece is part of an ongoing series of personal essays on what it's like to live with a mental health diagnosis. Each piece describes a singular and unique experience. These essays are not meant to be representative of every diagnosis, but to give us a peek into one person's mind so we may be more empathetic to all .

Racked
04/18/2017
The Cult of Selena and the Fiesta de la Flor Festival

I arrive to Fiesta de la Flor, the Selena tribute festival, right before the Tejano artist and Corpus Christi native Megan Chapa takes the stage. Chapa wears a pink and purple sequined onesie, flesh-colored fishnets, and the silver rhinestone heels of a diva.

Pacific Standard
05/17/2017
How U.S. Military Veterans View the Travel Ban

President Donald Trump supports America's troops. The troops, however, are more on the fence about their president. That fact might not have been obvious during the presidential campaign, where Trump's unique brand of populism fared quite well with America's military veterans: According to exit polls from CNN, they voted for Trump two-to-one.

GOOD Magazine
03/04/2017
Why Kimya Dawson, Killer Mike, And Other Bands Are Standing Up To SXSW Right Now

More than 500 musicians were scheduled to perform at the popular media, film, and music festival South by Southwest (SXSW) kicking off next week in Austin, Texas. Then, on Thursday, Felix Walworth of New York City-based band Told Slant tweeted an image of an unusual clause in his contract-apparently indicating that the festival may refer international artists to immigration authorities for playing unofficial shows.

KQED Arts
02/19/2017
For Mexico City Musicians, There's No Hiding From 'El Futuro'

It's Halloween weekend in Mexico City, and my friend Mauricio Mendia is preparing for his DJ set at the American Legion. The theme for the night is disco. As Mauricio sets up for the evening, he introduces me to a tall, skinny gringo my age, with a terrible blonde wig, an offensive red tie, and a suit that looks straight from the Donald Trump Collection.

Remezcla
02/08/2017
How Dani Bander is Dreaming Up Mariachi's Political Future

I heard Dani Bander 's song "Los Condenados" for the first time on a rooftop in Mexico City, days before the election of Donald Trump. Clouds hover above us, while rain trickles down, and I stare at El Ángel de la Independencia, a symbol of hope in the distance that I'm not sure will have the same meaning in the days to come.

KQED Arts
11/23/2016
The Art of the Steal

In 2010, when Boston-based painter Jessica Hess got a phone call from San Francisco's White Walls gallery asking her to be part of a two-person show, she thought she'd finally gotten her big break. "I remember being in high school with a Juxtapoz magazine tucked inside my history book," says Hess.

GOOD Magazine
12/13/2016
After Ghost Ship, Cities And Artists Clash Over DIY Venues

It's been a surreal week for Bay Area musician Mykee Ramen, who lost a friend in the fire that killed 36 during an electronic music show at Ghost Ship-an Oakland warehouse that had been converted into an underground artist collective/living space/concert venue.

Ravishly
02/24/2017
Finding My Rebel Catholicism In Mexico City

Right before my first communion, my Mexican grandmother told me, "You should never be alone with a priest." "Then who will I confess my sins to?" I asked "Confess to me. What are your sins?" At the age of eight, it was hard to think up something.

Observer
01/28/2016
We're Not Going Anywhere: Growing Up Latino and Punk in America

"If you've got a hot girl in front of you, I want you to feel her up. Do it, 'cause she can't get away," says Fat Mike, lead singer of NOFX. It's the year 2000. I'm at the Warped tour in San Francisco. And it's my first punk show.

KQED Arts
07/20/2016
Meet the Latina DJ Crews Fighting Cultural Erasure, One 45 at a Time

At the Aloha Club, boasting "the longest bar" in Oakland, Jahaira Morales dances cumbia with ganas. A DJ and founding member of the Bay Area chapter of Chulita Vinyl Club, she wears a track jacket with a gold chain, doorknocker earrings, loose bootleg trousers and heels, and Jesus Christ, she can move.

Made Local Magazine
5/1/2017
Of Love and Masa

On Saturday mornings, after dropping my father off at his job, my mother would crawl into my bed and ask: "Quieres champurrado?" She was speaking of the warm, cinnamon drink, thickened with masa (cornmeal dough used to make tortillas) and infused with vanilla, Mexican chocolate, and an unrefined sugar cane called piloncillo.

KQED Arts
06/15/2016
How My Father Taught Me To Love Devil Women

I am six, sitting on the carpet of my parents’ living room in a quiet little Victorian in the Richmond district, watching a performance of Diamanda Galás’ Plague Mass; a penetrating mini-opera about the AIDS epidemic and the Catholic church’s complicity in it. Watching Diamanda cover herself in blood, shriek, writhe, and condemn priests at the altar of God, I should be afraid. And yet when she howls, I don’t see a devil woman. I see a woman demanding to be heard. I see a woman taking the real...

Remezcla
05/11/2017
Dani Bander's New Album 'Malacopa' Is a Complex Experiment in Post-Mariachi

After too many Dos Equis at a party held in a smoky apartment in Cuauhtémoc in Mexico City, I tell post-mariachi artist Dani Bander that his latest album Malacopa sounds like the soundtrack of a modern Western, if Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino were ever interested in deconstructing machismo, the hero archetype, and rock n' roll.

Remezcla
02/29/2016
Iconic Drummer Michelle Gonzales and the Xicana Resistance of Riot Grrrl

When I found hardcore punk as a teenager in the Bay Area in the early 00s, I loved that I could be one of the guys without being sexualized. My favorite band was Fugazi, and they didn’t believe in merchandise or wearing band T-shirts, because if you were into the music, you bought the record. Being punk to me wasn’t about wearing a leather jacket and Doc Martens, it was about saying “fuck the system” with a group of people who understood what that meant.

Remezcla
09/16/2016
Meet Robert Lugo, the Self-Proclaimed "Ghetto Potter" Turning Classical Ceramics Into Radical Art

Philadelphia-born, Puerto Rican-descended ceramicist Roberto Lugo creates in-your-face, radical, hip-hop influenced pieces of pottery that confronts the whiteness of the art world. Whether it's hand thrown teapots and urns featuring portraits of the Notorious B.I.G., stencils of the Black Panthers against a confederate flag, or a scathing self-portrait filled with the "self-loathing of an obese Latino," each of Roberto's pieces seems to ask: does it make you uncomfortable that I belong here too?

SF Weekly
05/20/2015
Holly Herndon Returns to the Avant-Pop Platform

Holly Herndon makes music that sounds like now. Her songs are a mashup of audio clips from her browser activity, Skype conversations, and recordings of her domestic life that she processes through a laptop while layering, looping, and cutting up her voice. The result? Experimental pop, with lots of different moving parts.

Ravishly
11/10/2016
Scenes From The Anti-Trump Protests Of San Francisco

"If what we need to dream, to move our spirits most deeply and directly toward and through promise, is discounted as a luxury, then we give up the core -the fountain of our power, our womanness; we give up the future of our worlds."

Racked
03/09/2016
Growing Up as a Latina Punk

The story featured a god named Conformity and a goddess named Non-Conformity (because apparently at 14, subtlety was not my strong point). Using a mythological frame, I told the origin story of anarchy and punk rock. My writing tutor liked it, and asked me if I had ever written about music before.

KQED Arts
07/19/2016
Irony, Social Commentary, and Political Dissonance in the Dogpatch

Mitsu Okubu may create subversive commentary, but he also calls humor "the most sincere form of communication." "When I'm making something," says the San Francisco-based illustrator and printmaker, "the first thing I think of is if someone will find it humorous. Making something funny brings someone's defenses down.

SF Weekly
11/18/2015
Meditate and Destroy

Noah Levine looks like a man who's lived a hard life and survived to talk about it. His shaved head says "I don't give a fuck" more than "Zen monk," although the swirls of Buddhist iconography tattooed on his arms suggest a rebellious serenity.

Oakland Magazine
11/01/2015
Windows to the Future: Artist Joshua Mays Tells Stories in Murals

Joshua Mays brings a diverse perspective to his murals, which he views as an ode to Oakland, the city he calls home. He has completed two of three murals in a series he has labeled BEACON. Photos by Stephen Texeira Joshua Mays creates his own myths with his futuristic murals and illustrations that offer windows into the realm of human possibilities.

Observer
09/29/2015
The Panamanian Rap Duo That's Changing How We Think About Hip-Hop

"You know, before I came to the United States, I thought the United States was going to be the solution for everything. I was going to move over here and save money and send it back to my mom. But then you come over here and you realize it's a struggle," says Raka Dun.

Observer
09/07/2015
Street Etiquette: The Black Body as Artistic Expression

"It seems like for clothing, or anything cool, you need a black body to sell it in a sense. You need a black body to legitimize the cool," says Joshua Kissi who makes up one half of the group Street Etiquette. "But everything we do, fortunately and unfortunately, in certain cases, involves the black body."

Observer
02/16/2016
Why Kehlani Deserves More Than a Grammy

Dear Kehlani, When you were nominated for a Grammy I couldn't believe it, not because you didn't deserve it, but because Grammys weren't made for people like us. The Grammy goes to the slickly polished, the soon to be forgotten, the sound of manufactured consent.

Oakland Magazine
01/01/2016
Making Contact Uses Radio to Amplify the Voiceless

“I have always been around immigrant communities and have always heard how there’s a different tone and there’s stories that we don’t tell outside of our own community, maybe because they’re too different, or sometimes they’re too painful to tell,” said Ingrid Rojas Contreras, one of Making Contact’s 2015 community storytelling fellows. “And I wanted to explore that side of it, too. The things that maybe you stop telling. The things that essentially don’t make it across the border, because...

SF Weekly
06/02/2016
A Homecoming for Holly Herndon, the Queen of Techtopia

click to enlarge Holly Herndon takes the stage, and begins communicating to the audience on her laptop. She sends a message to all of us on the projection behind her. "SHOUT TO THE KID WHO FAINTED," referencing a fan who passed out in the front row and had to be carried off, never to be seen again.

Oakland Magazine
10/01/2015
Hustling to be a Maker

When it comes to being a maker, it's all about the hustle. The idea of designing furniture, working with your hands to create a sculpture, or foraging wild-sourced ingredients from the most beautiful parts of California to create your line sounds romantic.

Brit + Co
12/08/2015
What It's like to Be an Art Director for Hit TV Shows like The Voice

Whether it's creating a Mad Hatter-style tea party from scratch or a set that looks straight out of the Wild West, Ellen Jaworski gets to make magic for a living. She's worked as the Assistant Art Director for The Voice, Art Department Manager for The X Factor and as an art director on countless other television shows.

Oakland Magazine
09/01/2015
Aggregate Space Gallery Specializes in Installation

Pink golf balls drop from Mason jars, sounding like a gentle game of pingpong. Bells chime, and a soft whir, emulating a breeze, can be heard as you walk into the converted warehouse and art gallery, Aggregate Space Gallery.

Ravishly
01/27/2016
BREAKING: Hillary Clinton Joins Donald Trump In Skipping Debate

She will not be participating in the PBS debate and will instead host a fundraising event in Milwaukee, for the displaced penguins at the Milwaukee Zoo, who have been horribly neglected by climate change deniers and experienced an unseasonably hot winter that is burning up their feathers.

Barnes & Noble Reads
10/02/2015
The Cost Of Faking It Til You Maybe Make It In Pretending To Dance

We've all heard the expression, "Fake it until you make it." But what does a lifetime of "faking it" do to a person? Is potentially "making it" worth the cost? In Diane Chamberlain's new novel Pretending to Dance, each of her characters must pretend to be w

Theweek
07/14/2017
4 powerful salary negotiating tips for introverts

Almost 60 percent of Americans report being too scared to ever ask for a pay raise. Their specific fears are numerous: fear of losing their job, fear of seeming too pushy, fear of being rejected. And that makes sense. After all, asking for more money can be intimidating for anyone, and there's no guarantee you'll get the answer you want.

Twitter icon