Thursday, August 31, 2006

Looking Out at the World

OK, not exactly globally, but at least the larger U.S. theater world. And there are some wacky shenanigans going on, indeed! The NY-based theater blogosphere (and I would be THRILLED if someone could point out some good theater blogosphere that isn't straight white men!) is all in a huff about some wacky things.

First of all, and understandably exciting, is Mother Courage and Her Children produced by the Public Theater at Shakespeare in the Park. It stars Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline (who was actually a last-minute replacement), was directed by George C. Wolfe, and the script was adapted by Tony Kushner with music by Jeanine Tesori. It's easy to see how Brecht could get lost in all that star power. The reviews are very mixed, but some of the big ones are mostly negative. One of the first reviews on the scene was the LA Times's very own Charles McNulty. Michael Feingold at the Villiage Voice may be the review everyone cares about most. Rob Kendt at The Wicked Stage, who used to be an LA reviewer, loved it. Here's his positive review, and here's his round-up of all the other reviews out there.

OK, I had to post that because Mother Courage is the big news right now, but in other, much more wacky news, American Idol comes to Broadway with an NBC reality TV show to cast the leads in a production of Grease. This is based on a current BBC TV show called "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria," casting the role of Maria for a production of The Sound of Music. Andrew Lloyd Webber is somehow involved. This concept sounds atrocious, but I might just watch it anyway, since Grease is retro-Fifties and thus dissertation-related.

In further news, there is some uproar about theater critics in Chicago and Philadelphia right now. I had a long round-up of each of the events, but then my browser quit and I lost them, so I'll just point you to LAist, which has a basic overview and which is where I first heard about all this (I've been lagging on reading the major theater blogs). For more info about the Chicago incident, check out Angry White Guy, The Steppenwolf Blog, and the Dramatists Guild. For the Philadelphia situation, read this summary in Philadelphia Magazine. We Love Toby!, the blog that decidedly does not love critic Toby Zinman, is here.

Now, for my two cents, referring to Toby Zinman in Philadelphia, a lot of this sounds suspiciously like a bunch of middle-class white guys getting all huffy because they've been rebuked by an uppity woman. I wonder if the response would be the same if she were a male reviewer? I haven't read enough of Zinman's reviews to really know whether she's inappropriately personal or vindictive, or if she's just an outspoken and opinionated critic with high standards. I do, however, know that she's highly qualified and writes for Variety, American Theater, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. That's a pretty good resume. For reference, she loved Mother Courage. My general, not necessarily qualified opinion, is that it's fine for people to disagree with Zinman's reviews, and I heartily encourage them to, as they plan to do, establish a blog where people can post their own theater reviews, confirming or rebutting Zinman as they see fit, but I'm very glad that her newspaper is standing behind Zinman. In general, I think this uproar and public debate about the role and responsiblities of critics is quite valuable, and anything that makes the conversation around theater more vibrant and heated is probably a good thing.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Raising the Curtains

Curtains. Ahmanson Theater. 8/13/06.

Yes, I have already reviewed this show. I attended it for a second time, well after opening night and with my parents. My parents totally loved it, which I expected, and I continue to predict that it will do quite well on Broadway when it gets there, hopefully with much of this talented cast.

I was originally intending to do a close analysis of the differences between the preview and the show after opening, but I think that can be summarized pretty quickly. They streamlined the first act quite a bit, and gave us a decent finale instead of just a reprise of the love song (thank goodness). Overall, the show felt much faster.

Anyway, mostly I just wanted to point to Charles McNulty's LA Times Review, with which I mostly agree. I think his line, however, "Jill Paice, in a performance that hasn't quite gelled," isn't quite adequate. I, too, found Jill Paice, or possibly the role of Niki Harris, the weakest part of an otherwise entertaining show. I've been trying to figure out what about the role or the performance failed for me.

I think that the problem is actually a mix between the role as written and the choice of actress, although I don't question Jill Paice's talent. I blame the pairing of a bland, goody-two-shoes ingenue with someone as understated and fabulous as David Hyde Pierce for Harris/Paice's lack of success. He needs to be paired with someone more vibrant who can balance him more effectively, and Paice might even have been that person with a more sassy haircut and a bit more style and fierceness in the character. The character needs to be so compelling that everyone falls in love with her, and while Paice is lovely, she blends into the background against a cast so full of huge characters. Similarly, Pierce's persona plays on failures of masculinity, fequently demasculinizing him for comic effect. That doesn't work when his partner can't pick up the slack because she's the innocent, feminine one. She needs to be stronger, and not necessarily tough or masculine, but at least independent. It's a slight misstep in an overall super-fun musical, but I think it would be worth some editing.

Other things that I failed to say in my last post include the fact that Debra Monk was fabulous as a tough Broadway producer and that, as my companion at the preview pointed out, the chorusboys should act more gay. It's a rather important plot point that all of the men in the chorus are sleeping with each other, but it doesn't play out except in that one gag. They should be at least flirty with each other throughout the play. Other than that, I think in general there are many fabulous characters in the play and I would like to see more of many of them. Overall, it's a far from perfect show, but a fun one that I expect audiences to love.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Performance Art Can Be Dangerous

"Mapo Corpo." Beall Center for Art and Technology. UCI. 8/24/06.

I was definitly challenged by this piece, and I'm not sure what to say about it. It was a strong performance, interestingly organized. And Peña and his collaborators definitely had something to say. If the benchmarks for performance art include having something to say, communicating it effectively, and doing so in an attention-getting manner, then this work very much succeded. Its message is important and its mode is powerful.

This piece was part of the "TechnoSpheres: Contemporary Work in Art and Technology" conference at UCI. "Mapo Corpo" by Guillermo Gómez-Peña and his La Pocha Nostra performance group with video remixing by Rene Garcia. The focal piece of the show, however, was Violeta Luna, who is a beautiful and powerful perfomer who did brave and frightening things with and to her body.

But that's where my qualms about this performance begin. Luna's powerful use of her body, especially in the first part of the piece, brought a true sense of danger to the piece; I was genuinely concerned that she was going to do something to hurt herself. Despite the strength and immediacy of Luna's performance, Guillermo Gómez-Peña is the artist who receives the major attention for the work. He talks, while Luna is silent (though part of that may have to do with the fact that Luna speaks Spanish rather than English). His name is the one people recognize. And because he basically delivers a speech through the second half of the performance, taking attention away from Luna's body while also giving the performance meaning and shaping viewer's ideas, providing a textural frame to view Luna's performance which may or may not represent that text, he becomes the most powerful aspect of the performance, even though it was her work that I found the most challenging and the most compelling.

The piece itself dealt with issues of the body (Luna's body), covered and uncovered, powerful, threatened and in pain, but most of all colonized. The text emphasized many of the same themes as much of Peña's work, including a political stance against war and colonization, professing resistance to hegemony through performance, and the awareness of the commonalities between all oppressed groups: non-white, immigrant, disabled, female, and queer among others. These are things that need to be said. They need to be said repeatedly. And Peña says them, for which I applaud him. But I wish Luna's work, and the video pieces mixed by Rene Garcia had more of a chance to speak for themselves. I worry that the force of Peña's performance of himself as performance artist overshadowed them. And to me, Luna's body, not Peña's text, were the most dangerous and different pieces of this performance.

To Buy or not to Buy

I'm sorely tempted to purchase Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie. It's erotic graphic novel about Wendy from Peter Pan, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and it's managed to spark my imagination so that I'm quite interested. This Susie Bright interview very much made me want to read the book.

But, it's quite expensive, and I'm quite broke. I could totally picture indulging in purchasing it after I finally get a paycheck again, but that may not happen until Nov. The price, however, is discounted on amazon right now because it's a pre-order, so I'm worried that it will go up to something closer to the full purchase price when the book finally drops, presumably tomorrow.

What's a girl to do? If I wait a year or two, will there be a paperback? (Somehow I doubt it.) I welcome advice on this one.

UPDATE: The Salon Review is well-written and nicely analytical. I'm glad that the review focuses clearly on the quality of the illustrations as much as the story, and I totally believe that its eroticism is intriguing for its moral and intellectual issues even if it doesn't happen to get you off. Personally, I think that it looks like a beautiful, well-made book and that Moore can be a fascinating and provokative storyteller. The illustrations look fabulous and I generally enjoy a well-done retelling or rethinking of a classic story, which this appears to be.

Monday, August 28, 2006

TV is very straight this year

The Washington Post has an article on how few new TV shows with queer characters there are this season. It's rather discouraging, although I think it would have been nice if they had told us which ones there are, so here's the GLAAD breakdown. Not very promising, really.

I'm still sad that the pilot of Him and Us,the show with Anthony Stewart Head as a gay rockstar and Kim Cattrall as his manager, loosely based on the life of Elton John didn't get picked up. I was totally excited to watch that show.

Highways Workshop

Highways is hosting a free performance workshop with Guillermo Gómez-Peña and his multidisciplinary arts organization, La Pocha Nostra entitled:

"What Can Performance Do for Human Rights, and Human Rights Do for Performance?"

Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 11-12 1-8pm

There's an application, which is due by Sept. 1. Please pass this information on to anyone who might be interested, and email me and I'll forward you the application.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Originally uploaded by neschen738.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

On YA Lit

There's an excellent discussion of young adult literature over at bookshelves of doom. Ok, there's always a great discussion of young adult literature at bookshelves of doom, but this particular one is in response to a newspaper article on Grown-ups turning to teen books. I find the list of young adult literature that adults will enjoy fascinating. Here, in no particular order, are some of the children's and young adult books I've read and enjoyed since passing out of the target age range of young adult literature:

Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Rose of No Man's Land by Michelle Tea
the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
The Bromeliad Trilogy: Truckers, Diggers, and Wings by Terry Pratchett
Coraline by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
Summerland by Michael Chabon
The His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (but I don't recommend any of the other Ender books at all and I'm generally opposed to Card's personal politics).
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Now, I know that many of the books above may be closer to children's than young adult and some are rather old and many are sci-fi, so they might not make everyone's list of good YA literature for adults, but I thought I'd share some of the things I like. I also think it's important to note that while "Young Adult" may be a relatively new category of fiction, books that crossed between child and adult audiences, especially in the science fiction and fantasy genres, have a strong tradition.

I also totally want to read:

King Dork by Frank Portman
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
Tithe by Holly Black
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Highways turns 17

Highways' 17th Birthday. Highways Performance Space. 8/19/06.

For Highways' 17th Birthday, performance artists Luis Alfaro and Holly Hughes performed as a benefit to raise money for Highways' future.

First of all, I'd like to take a moment to offer a reflection on Highways on the occasion of its birthday. I believe it's the space at which I've seen the most shows since I moved to LA. With every new season, there are at least one or two shows that I feel that I must see, and a few more that I wish I could see, time and money permitting. Curated group shows have introduced me to several wonderful new performers and I value to no end the opportunities I've had to see amazing established artists like Tim Miller. I'm very grateful for the work Highways has done to foster performance in LA. While, as an underemployed grad student worried about where my next rent check is coming from, I was unable to offer a donation, I highly encourage anyone who can to become a Highways member.

Now for the performances. First of all, despite their lack of websites, which I find highly irritating, both Luis Alfaro and Holly Hughes are amazing and well-established performance artists. They both have excellent control of their voices and narrative and can mesmerize an audience with a simple story.

Luis Alfaro performed a piece entitled "The Night Minnie Riperton Saved My Life," which I believe consisted of excerpts from some of his previous works. I'd never seen Alfaro perform, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Alfaro's performance persona was sweet and engaging, with a suprisingly high voice wonderfully appropriate for communicating the stories from his childhood and teenage years that were featured in this piece. Somehow he managed both wide-eyed innocence and sounding worldly and tough at the same time. I felt like Alfaro was everyone's favorite gay uncle, with fabulous stories to tell and a really approachable mein. He has fabulous storytelling skills, and every scenario he set up was clear and compellling, to the point that the audience gasped in horror along with characters in the story at the appropriate moments. The most disturbing and impressive piece of his performance was one in which he related his first experience having sex with a woman, describing the bachelor party atmosphere and astounding the audience by taking shots of tequila at relevant moments of the story. He took MANY shots of tequila, so many that personally I was concerned for him, but he managed to keep going and tell the story, and it was obvious how the shots were not merely a stunt, but relevant to the emotional impact of his performance and a reflection of the youth and culture he was portraying.

Personally, I was there mostly to see Holly Hughes. I have wanted to see her perform ever since I stumbled across someone else's copy of this book in college. I was mesmerized by the provokative title and the naked lesbian on the cover, and I was soon drawn inside and fell in love with the wacky, campy plays that I've always wanted to see performed. Hughes did not disappoint, though she performed mostly without props or costumes. She performed excerpts from a new work, "Dog and Pony Show," which somehow made dog training interesting and sexy and a clever metaphor for life rather than the everyday reality of a middle-aged lesbian. Hughes began the piece discussing coming and it was slowly revealed that she was talking about her dog rather than her girlfriend. Somehow, that revelation wasn't as big of a laugh line or a turning point as it should have been in this performance, but throughout the piece the discussion of the 'come' command maintained it's two meanings in an interesting and insightful manner. Hughes also performed excerpts of her piece "Preaching to the Perverted," which I think needs to be published somewhere ASAP. I'd love to teach it to my students - it's a beautiful and hilarious exploration of the NEA 4 situation and their trip to the Supreme Court, which she describes in terms of site-specific performance art. It's an important piece. I saw her do the whole thing here in LA a few years ago, and I think everyone should be given a chance to read it. I was glad to see parts of it again, but when she does the whole thing with props and costumes and everything, it's even better. Overall, Hughes was just as funny and clever and fun to watch as I expected her to be, and I wish I had more opportunities to see her perform. Highways or someone really should bring her (and more of the fabulous queer performance art luminaries from out of town) out to perform more.

The fascinating thing about this event was that there were several members of audience who were as famous (at least in queer performance art circles) as the performers. I was completely starstruck to see Tim Miller and John Fleck, LA's half of the NEA 4, and both fabulous performance artists in their own rights. I even got to talk to them! *swoon* Phranc, phabulous lesbian pholksinger and artist (who once dated Holly Hughes) was in the audience. UCLA Professor Lucy Burns was there, as were several members of the Highways board. After the show, there was a fabulous cake from Cake Divas. Overall, the event was truly amazing. The opportunity to see Hughes and Alfaro is rare enough that I feel very fortunate that I was able to attend.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Corporate Zombies

Newitz, Annalee. Pretend We're Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2006.

If y'all haven't noticed, Annalee Newitz is one of my favorite internet commentators, both because I enjoy the topics she chooses and because she seems like a super-cool person. Plus, I love that she survived the academia madness and walked away to become a freelance writer. My first exposure to her was reading selections from this book in a grad class and I moved on to become a regular reader of her AlterNet column. So when Pretend We're Dead, a book based on her dissertation, was released, I knew I had to read it right away.

My first reaction to the book is that it's fabulously readable for academic nonfiction. I honestly read it straight through in about two days and I sort of felt like this. While it's incredibly intelligent with fabulous readings of many movies from the familiar to the obscure, the book is not nearly as obtuse as most books based on dissertations. Pretend We're Dead can really appeal to the non-academic reader who just loves monster movies or media studies and would appreciate a brilliant new reading of several of them.

While the premise that monster stories (this book analyzes both novels and movies) reveal a lot about the culture that produces them is hardly revolutionary, Newitz's analysis is clear and convincing in discussing the ways in which certain genres address the anxieties generated by capitalism. She does indeed have a point that a lot of the academic film criticism in general, not to mention that focused on monster genres (horror, sci-fi, trillers, true crime, etc), deals more with psychoanalysis and feminism than economics or other forms of social commentary that may be relevant to interpretation of the films. The real strength of this book is the concise, coherent readings of books and films that Newitz performs. Up until the fourth chapter, on robots, almost none of the objects of Newitz's analysis were texts I had read or seen, and yet I was fascinated and convinced by her argument partially because I got such a clear sense of the plots and major ideas, and yet she never belabored her analysis with excessive plot description. She similarly deals elegantly with dense and complicated critical theory, citing Marx, Lukács, Marcuse, Huyssen, and Horkeimer in a way that doesn't bog the book down for the general reader.

I was particularly intrigued by the chapter on mad scientists ("Mad Doctors: Professional Middle-Class Jobs Make You Lose Your Mind"), which argues that intellectual labor alienates the doctor or scientist (or any academic) from their own brain as the site of production. This was the second chapter, and I felt the book only grew more compelling as it progressed. I honestly wished that the final chaper, "Mass Media: Monsters of the Culture Industry," were a book of its own, and I would love to see Newitz continue writing on that particular topic. In fact, the whole book left me wanting more. I may not have agreed with everything Newitz said, and if I were approaching the same topic I certainly would have done it differently, but in general my major complaint is that I wanted the book to go even further and deeper. I honestly wanted to continue the conversation after I had finished the book, and I wish I had friends who had read the book with whom I could discuss my thoughts more thoroughly. It's an extremely compelling book, and I recommend it to anyone even mildly interested in media and pop culture studies.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Lesbians and Terrorists and Oz, Oh My!

Wicked. Orange County Performing Arts Center. 8/10/06.

My thoughts on Wicked are extremely influenced by a lecture given by Professor Stacy Wolf on the structure of this musical. I highly recommend that you hear or read her thoughts on this subject if given the chance. She discusses the ways in which the Galinda/Elphaba relationship is established in the musical in a careful imitation of the traditional romantic dyad of a ‘classical’ musical such a Rodgers and Hammerstein show (Wolf used Oklahoma as an example). In Wicked, the two women, clearly the main characters, share several duets and their relationship develops over the course of the play from “unadulterated loathing” which is also “exhilirating” to a close friendship. They are also positioned on a butch/femme spectrum of sorts with Galinda being blond and pink and frilly while Elphaba wears simple black clothing, demonstrates failures of femininity, and takes the lower notes in their duets. In addition, Idina Menzel, who originated the role of Elphaba, is most famous for playing another lesbian character, Maureen in Rent. It’s not hard to read their relationship as lesbian, and can be quite rewarding to do so. This interpretation alone was enough to make me appreciate the show, even though it is unfortunately subtextual.

So that was the interpretaion of the play with which I entered the theater, and it played out quite well. But I was delighted to discover several other important issues raised clearly and concisely in the form of a Broadway musical, which one doesn’t necessarily expect to be at all political or relevant these days. Wicked raised issues of terrorism and political demagoguery, Victorian morality threatened by unrestrained female sexuality, and conflicts between technology and language. It approached these issues in complex ways that made them visible enough to allow people to really think about them while not sacrificing plot and entertainment in order to make its points. While I believe that there is no limit to people's capacity to ignore intelligent political commentary in the guise of entertainment, this show had a lot to say. This is one musical that is refreshingly intelligent and deep, while being entertaining enough to have sell-out crowds. I’m profoundly impressed.

The cast for Wicked was also quite strong for a touring cast years after the show opened. Kendra Kassebaum covered the range from cute and ditzy to menacingly manipulative required for Glinda quite proficiently while Julia Murney's Elphaba commanded the show throughout. Personally, I was profoundly impressed by Sebastian Arcelus as Fiyero, a role that would in most plays would have been the male lead but in this one was very much a secondary role. Arcelus delivered his major song, "Dancing through Life" with commanding power and grace. I was also impressed with Jonathan Ritter, the understudy who went in for the role of Boq on the night I saw the show; he did a memorable job in a fairly strange role, and without the announcement I would have had no idea he was the undestudy.

The creative team that contributed to this show was quite impressive as well. While I've never been much of a fan of Stephen Schartz (though I have a nostalgic affection for Pippin), the music for this show was appropriate, fun, and memorable and Joe Mantello's direction probably had a lot to do with how entertaining and relevant the production was. Winnie Holzman, the book writer who adapted Gregory Maguire's novel into this musical, did so very liberally, but I will post thougths on that soon. Overall, this musical was profoundly enjoyable, while communicating many layers of meaning and I very much appreciated its complexity, which is rare on Broadway these days.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Another tough choice this weekend

Ah, this is one of the things that makes my life so difficult. This Saturday is Transgiving, which is always a fun event put on by great people. Sadly, I can't go because it's also Highways Anniversary show with performances by Holly Hughes and Luis Alfaro, which I can't miss (although I do wish it were less expensive, *sigh*). If anyone goes to Transgiving, I'd love a report.

Also this weekend, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center is presenting a wide variety of queer music performances in a festival called Homosaic 2006. Performers include Jill Sobule, Shitting Glitter, and JenRO.

Bravo to Bravo

This is just a quick note to inagurate the finally functional cable internet at my parents' house and to share how much I've been enjoying watching Bravo this summer season. Project Runway is excellent, plus it has been enhanced by all sorts of fun bonuses. Their website is packed with fabulous extras that make me more of a fan of Runway than I was before. Tim's Take blog and podcast give little behind-the-scenes details and some fascinating perspectives on the designers and the process of making the show. Then, there are also all sorts of fun fan blogs and other recaps not related to Bravo. Personally, I read fourfour and Television Without Pity (which has finally managed a single-show RSS feed!) for recaps on occasion.

But, the suprising thing is that I completely adore another Bravo show, Workout, which hardly seems like it would be my style. When I first heard about it, I assumed that it was crossing Blowout (a miserable, obnoxious show that I watched for 15 minutes and couldn't stand) with exercise, which is not exactly my idea of a good time. But, Jackie, the trainer/gym owner who is the main subject of the show, is a lesbian. That in itself was enough reason for me to watch an episode and check it out. To my delight, I discovered that this show is the most thorough and accurate depiction of a lesbian relationship I've yet seen on TV. The show is at least half dyke drama, complete with whiny jealous girlfriend and disapproving mother. The realities of this woman's life and relationships are portrayed reasonably sensitively, though there may be a little bit of blowing things out of proportion to create drama. The strength of this show is its focus on the real life job and passions of a real person rather than the manufactured drama of throwing a bunch of people together in a room, plus its frank and reasonably unsensationalistic approach to its main character's lesbianism.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I've been staying with my parents this week and trying to get them connected to the internet. First of all, it's amazing how cut off from everything I am when I'm deprived of easy internet access in my home. It's actually suprisingly anxiety-producing after a few days. Second, my parents decided that they would prefer to get high-speed access through their cable company. It has been quite a hassle to make this happen. Though the cable company sent us a modem in a timely manner, everything else about getting the service started has been a terrible hassle. They seem to be completely incapable of activating our service properly, and everything has gone wrong, including technicians failing to complete the necessary paperwork properly and several customer service representatives and technical support people telling me drastically different things. This is especially frustrating because I'm pretty certain I've done everything right on my end. I've tried everything possible to avoid spending an extra $100 for an installation service call. I seem to remember that we had some trouble self-installing our own cable internet service at our apartment in LA - is this a problem other people have had? Does the self-installation usually work as easily as it should?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

New Work Russian Roulette

NOW Festival Program 3. REDCAT. 8/4/06.

The third installment of the REDCAT NOW Festival rather effectively demonstrated that new work can be a great or a terrible experience.

The first piece, "Civil War Reinactment" by Matt Wardell, was a delightful little piece with wind-up music boxes and plastic cups. It was clever and entertaining, and it got its point across succinctly.

The second piece, however, was miserable. "Orpheus Crawling" by Juli Crockett was a reimagining of the Orpheus myth in dance and music, but it seemed to miss the point of the traditional Orpheus myth and failed to recreate it in a meaningful way. For some reason, Orpheus was dressed like Indiana Jones and one of the characters, the Furies, don't even appear in the traditional Orpheus myth. The piece failed to communicate ideas about art or the world in any coherent or visually interesting way.

In contrast, John Fleck's "Johnnie's Got a Gun" was both intelligent and entertaining. It was a meditation on patriotism and patriarchy through personal stories about an abusive and alcoholic father (George). The whole thing was hilarious and Fleck did a wonderful job navigating the emotions of the piece from whimsical to poingnant. I loved the whole thing very much, and I would gladly have watched it again, if that hadn't required sitting through "Orpheus Crawling" again.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


I spent a good part of this afternoon at the Los Angeles Gay Rodeo. We watched the barrel races and bits of a couple other events, altough a driving mishap meant that I missed the Drag Races, which I hear were pretty spectacular and hilarious. And does anyone know what Goat Dressing is, because that sounds awesome. The rodeo was really rather entertaining, and girls in boots and cowboy hats are hot. The country dancing tent was super fun to watch, and I'm half tempted to go to Oil Can Harry's and learn to line dance. The whole thing was a lovely way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I'm on vacation at the moment (quick road trip to SF), so no major posts, but here are some great things to read and think about.

"Blogging IS a feminist issue": Susie Bright writes some thoughts in response to the BlogHer conference. There needs to be more conversation about the intersection of gender and technology and biases in technology fields.

"Lipstick and Power": In anticipation of Femme 2006 (which commentors seem to think I should attend, but it's hard to commit to driving all the way back to SF not much more than a week after I leave and I do have a dissertation to write), jackadandy posts some thoughts on femme and identity. I owe this some more thought once I'm back home.