Guest Artists

Caseen Gaines

Caseen Gaines headshot

Photo courtesy Caseen Gaines


Caseen Gaines is an author, director, educator, and popular culture historian.

His work has received praise from media outlets around the world including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Hollywood Reporter, and Esquire. His “muscular reporting” has been celebrated by several New York Times bestselling authors, including Michael Davis and Brian Jay Jones, who have found his work to be “deeply researched and engagingly written.”

His latest book, Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way, was published in May 2021 by Sourcebooks.

He is the author of We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy (Plume, 2015), which led to his television appearances in North America on Entertainment Tonight and Fox Business’s Kennedy. His book The Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History was published in 2017 by Insight Editions and received a starred review in Booklist.

His first book, Inside Pee-wee's Playhouse (ECW Press, 2011), was a 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medalist. Its follow up, A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic (ECW Press, 2013), was featured on The TV Guide Network, where Gaines also appears on a perennially televised documentary.

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.

He holds a Master’s Degree from Rutgers University in American Studies, where he focused on racial representations in popular culture. In addition to writing, he 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.