Caseen Gaines biography

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Caseen Gaines

Caseen Gaines

Caseen Gaines Biography

Caseen Gaines is an author, director, educator and pop culture historian. His books include We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy and The Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History.

Beyond his books, he has been published at Vanity Fair, io9, and New York Magazine — and has written original features for Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club, and Decider. He has also worked as a consultant and ghostwriter on several narrative nonfiction projects.

Gaines holds a Master's Degree from Rutgers University in American Studies, where he focused on racial representations in popular culture, and, in addition to writing, is co-Artistic Director of a nonprofit theater company he cofounded in 2005 and a high school English teacher in New Jersey, where he has taught for fourteen years.

Caseen Gaines's website

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Interview

Caseen Gaines discusses how he researched Footnotes, and how the struggles of the creators of Shuffle Along still resonate in the present day.

What inspired you to dig into the story of Shuffle Along and its creators?

I saw the 2016 iteration of Shuffle Along, which told some of the backstage story, the day before it ended its brief Broadway run. I couldn't shake the feeling that its premature ending was a continuation of what had been happening to [the show's creators] Noble Sissle, Eubie Blake, Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles since the 1920s. As I began to dig deeper into each of their lives, there seemed to be something important about not forgetting these four men. They are just a few of countless Black Americans who forever changed this country and have long been denied their due.

Explain what your research process was like--delving into archival materials, recordings, newspaper clippings and other sources.

I spent a lot of time visiting libraries and archives in both Harlem and Baltimore, and loved every second of it. Several of the book's main subjects left behind so much ephemera, audio recordings, even some unfinished and unpublished memoirs. The information was decentralized and required some unearthing, but there seemed to be a never-ending well of information. Initially it felt daunting, but in a way, the wealth of information made it easier for me to ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Caseen Gaines at BookBrowse
Footnotes jacket
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