Thursday, March 31, 2011

Scott Campbell Show in France

Continuing the comic theme, I wanted to suggest to any of my readers lucky enough to be in Paris in a couple of weeks to check out this exhibition at the Galerie Arludik of some amazing comic art by Scott Campbell.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Leslie Anderson

Even though I don't usually talk of it as much in this space, I really love a good comic.  The graphic narrative is a great format, and I always enjoy reading and analyzing the genre like I do "traditional" literature. 
Many years ago, I had the honor of being a fellow student with Leslie Anderson, who is posed to take off as a comic book artist herself.  She just launched her own website, which you're going to want to look at now, so that you can say you knew her before she made it big. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why Girls Should Read: Romance and Feminism: A Manifesto

My friend Lauren pointed me towards this little piece called You Should Date an Illiterate Girl, which is about girls and literacy and romance, and weirdly, calls out feminism. 
Regarding my heterosexual friends, I have observed more than a few friends in my life in relationships they are not passionate about.  This makes me sad for them, and also for the people they are with.  Once you have had that passion, even if it is unrequited, everything else palls in comparison.  It is like listening to pop music after weeks of Girl Talk on endless loop: everything is simple, and in a bad way, in a where-did-all-the-riches-go? way.  And when you see people who aren't really passionate about each other, who are with each other people so that they aren't alone, who are getting married because it's apparently that time in their life, who are with someone so they don't have to think about the other someone they actually want to be with but has broken their heart and left them to pick up the pieces, I concluded that "romance" for so many people is about having the wrong priorities.  So I sympathize with this, because I feel these things too, even though I am generally not as poetic about them (except, hopefully, in my own poetry) and don't look at it holistically but as it applies to my own personal circumstances. 
And then there's the feminism.  I always find the intersection between romance and feminism to be interesting.  If you read romance novels or see rom-coms, there are a lot of things that are disquieting about what love for women should be.  Rom-coms are about a woman making a sacrifice.  Rom-coms are about a woman realizing how wrong she is and how her guy friend who really wants her is rightRom-coms are about a woman fixing herself to be acceptable to her true love and society as a whole.  Oh, and if she just didn't have a career and ambition and thoughts, then really, she'd find it easier to find someone.  I like that this piece subverts that, explaining that no, men, you don't want a dumb, unread, unromantic woman; you want one who is thoughtful and reflective, who is brave and smart enough to take care of herself.  Because if she's not smart enough to take care of herself, she won't really take care of you either.  If she's not able to be brave for herself, she won't be brave about you.  If she's not thoughtful enough about who she is and needs, she won't think about who you are or what you need.  And for heterosexual women, this is the same thing.  If a man isn't capable of realizing how valuable you are and how special you are and how deserving you are of someone who loves you truly, fully, and for your gifts and not just as a ploy to stave off loneliness, then you shouldn't be with him.  As a feminist, I know the value in teaching women not to be "selfish," as it is so wrongly called, but to be self-aware and to assert their needs.  As a romantic, I want people to find each other and work for their relationship, but I am often disappointed and saddened by romances that are more about boy-meets-girl, girl-subverts-herself-for-man-or-else-is-alone stories and images.  I want there to be such a thing as romantic feminists or feminist romantics, who see the problems between these two things and subvert the anti-woman "romances" out there and make women who are happy and well-adjusted and have agency in their lives as sexy as I know it is for those of us who experience and strive to experience it. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Italian Medieval Fanfiction as a TV Show

So, in Canada, they are apparently working on a tv show called Leonardo. Reading this description, it's clear that it's some very loosely based on history show like Jack of All Trades and Relic Hunter only clearly marketed to a younger audience.
I really hope they decide to bring in lots of different characters based on other Italians from the Renaissance and late Medieval history.
Here's my wish list:
1. Matilda of Canossa. The most underrated medieval woman. Basically, she made an entire career fighting her nephew, Henry III of the eventual-Holy Roman Empire, in defense of the Papacy. She's the greatest female general of all time. If this show wants adventure and action, they couldn't do any better than having this kickass girl.
2. Savonarola. Every story needs a good villain, and who better than a man who spent so much time enforcing his particularly myopic form of Christianity on the masses?
3. Dante. Italy has had some amazing poets, one of whom happens to be this guy. This man managed to write some great stuff, and he's perfect for a romance with a certain young lady.
4. Boccaccio. Okay, so he's also a poet, but he's also important because he influenced the likes of Chaucer (who should also get a guest spot in this show) and wrote about women. I imagine him as a proto-male feminist type.
5. Clare of Assisi. I know, her cousin/best friend/rumored-to-be-lover Francis is more famous, and would be totally fun to have on the show too, but who else is the Patron Saint of Television? That's what I thought.
(I realize these people did not, in fact, co-exist or necessarily interact with each other, but since we are playing fast and loose with history anyway, we might as well go all out.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Steak Jackson

This little screenshot is pretty much perfect.  I'm not sure it's poetry, but I love that someone had accidentally submitted this review for one of those massive Norton Anthologies, this one of poetry.  (I have a massive one for English Literature sitting on the shelf about my desk, and I'm pretty certain just getting off the shelf qualifies as a workout.) 
My favorite part is the name he uses: Steak Jackson.  That's gold. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chrystos's "Shame On!"

Found this great poem today called "Shame On!" by Chrystos. Chrystos is an amazing poet, always political. I love the slam feeling of this poem, especially the clever play on words with shaman and shame.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Gypsy" Costume

I really love this dress that was posted on a blog of historical costumes I like, but I was a little sad about her use of the word "gypsy."  That word is usually considered racist, as they prefer the Roma. 
They are still an ethnic group that exists today, and they are often treated terribly.  A great example of this is France's recent expulsion of them.  (I'm not impressed with this article's use of the word gypsy either, but it gives a short history of their diaspora, similar in some ways to the Jewish diaspora, the major difference being if a country kicked out all their Jews, the international community would make more noise about it.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Amazon Feedback Poem(s)

As my regular readers know, I'm a poet. Even though I write relatively tame free verse, I am interested in poetry that takes unusual forms. There's been talk this week about how poetry may have been revitalized thanks to Twitter, but that's seeing the issue too narrowly. Technology is adding all sorts of interesting forms to poetry, and sometimes people take advantage of this. This is a really interesting bit of internet poetry, written in Amazon's feedback program.
The poem might, for instance, be several poems, as they fit together but also could easily sit on their own. The third poem/stanza starts out sounding like it's from the view of a book purchaser, yet as it goes on, it identifies itself as a wall. This is a clever thing to do on a couple of levels. One, it tricks readers, and two, a wall is apparently writing on a metaphorical "wall" of a website, so it is also a joke. The fifth poem/stanza is rather silly too, using a metaphor that only half works. And the sixth is just the short bit we need to wrap it up.
I also like this form of poetry because of its guerilla nature. With technology being what it is, it would be easy for poems to be transferred and subjected onto people without them intented to see poetry. I can't wait to see more of this kind of thing.
If anyone knows of any other bits of technology-aided poems or guerrilla poetry, post in the comments.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Geography in Music and Love

I am always interested in geography in art.  This is probably what I find so interesting about the work of various musicians, like Sufjan Stevens and Spitzer Space Telescope and Frontier Ruckus and The Hard Lessons, who are so much about centering their work on particular places. 
I was thinking about place when I heard Jump, Little Children's "Mexico."  I was thinking of a very old friend, so old now that I'm not sure she would consider me a friend any longer.  I had heard through some friends that she was newly in a relationship with an old colleague.  She had recently moved to Chicago, but he was out in Los Angeles, and they were both from Detroit, and the first bits of lyrics made me think of hard it is, in a relationship, to deal with geography.  Obviously, being far away from the people you love is hard. 
I've been thinking about geography because I've become rather nomadic lately, and I'm in the preparation stages to pick my bags up and move again.  On one hand, I love traveling, but I think I'm starting to suffer from fatigue.  I want to settle down or at least not have to move again, at least for a while. 
This is all a very round about way of saying that I'm going to be leaving New York soon, and that my posts about museums and other stuff will probably come to a temporary end. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

The New Titanic

According to my fellow blogger Enchanted Serenity, Julian Fellows has penned the new version of Titanic coming out.
What I find really funny about this is the structure of the story. Basically, Fellows is going to be telling the stories of all the different kinds of people on the ship, which is fine, but that's basically what Downton Abbey, Fellows latest (and a megahit) did, only it did so in a house, not a ship. This is also basically the structure of two other recent British dramas, Upstairs Downstairs (both the old and new versions) and Gosford Park.
Fellows never creates a story solely about the lower classes and he insists on making the upper classes completely nice to their servants, even though there's more evidence that they were cruel and exploitative. Lots of British dramas have been great because they tell the stories of the poor. The stories of Charles Dickens are often about the working class and how their exploited.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

LEGO Alphabet

I love a strange art project, and my friend Matt pointed me to this Lego Alphabet photos.  When I was little, I adored legos, and there's something really fun about these photos.  It would be really cool to see a hallway or maybe a little boy's room decorated with these photos. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Glee Costumes

Several of my friends have recently gotten me into Glee.  And, having watched last night's episode, I can honestly say that my favorite thing about it was the girls' dresses for Regionals, which is just my luck, as an interview with the costume designers went up today.
It's times like these I wish I was an actor, just so I could wear awesome outfits.   

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Couple of Favorites from the MET

I recently went over to the MET to see some great art, and I thought I would share some of them with you.

This is a statue of Saint Stephen, considered the first martyr.

The friends I was with insisted on seeing the musical instrument exhibit, which I have to admit, was pretty cool. As a little girl, harp was my favorite instrument.

I fell in love with this painting when I was a little girl. It's a depiction of Joan of Arc, in the garden at her parents' home hearing the saints, who instruct her to fight for France. I was totally sidelined to see this painting at the MET. I was just walking by with my friends, and there it was. It was way bigger than I imagined it would be. It's even more magical in real life.

This painting looks more like a photograph in real life than an actual painting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

MOMA Photography

I headed over to the Museum of Modern Art recently. The place is massive and overwhelming, but is jammed with some amazing art. I wanted to share two of my favorite pieces.

This one is of someone's body that was tattooed. My sense from the title that it was done in a traditional Chinese way. I love it.

There was a whole exhibit of photography featuring innovative poses. This was actually probably the least inventive, but I really like it all the same. I especially love the look on this woman's face.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kate Middleton's Brother, James

A large group of my friends (and not just the British ones) are excited about the upcoming wedding between Kate and William. I have only been kind of paying attention, but this article about Kate and William and their relationship caught my eye, not because of what it said about everyone's favorite royal couple, but about Kate's brother.
According to this article, Kate's brother, James, has been photographed wearing women's dresses, specifically her dresses. The article doesn't really go into what that was all about, just that he might be gay.
I really hate this sort of business. James, or any one else for that matter, can wear whatever they want, and if he or someone else wants to wear clothes that defy gender stereotypes, then that's fine. Myopic views of gender, where there is only two, and they have certain essential characteristics and are inherent in your biological makeup, are antiquated and ridiculous notions. Shaming James, who may or may not be gender queer or a non-heterosexual, because of his sartorial choices is ridiculous and shames other people who may choose to dress differently than their gender or sex dictates.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tina Fey and Feminism

Tina Fey has been writing for The New Yorker lately, and one of them has dealt with the difference between women and men in comedy writing, which has, since this past summer, become a debate on various comedy and feminism blogs, including Jezebel, which famously wrote an article on the lack of female writers and performers on The Daily Show
What Fey says about the difference is funny: men apparently piss in cups.  The analogy she draws, that yes, some women comedians aren't funny, but it is only a minority that are not funny and is the only thing that people (I suspect, men) notice about female comedians. 
The thing that bothers me is what Fey says next: that men are clueless about women's lives.  She simply uses this an explanation for why male comedians/writers are not interested in "women-centric" comedy.  But of course, why are men oblivious to women's condition?  Because they live in a man's world.  Men do not have to deal with what it is like to be a woman in part because they never encounter anything outside their own existence as men.  One of the places where men do not usually have to encounter anything outside of their existence?  Comedy. 
The reason there has been so much discussion about women in comedy is because it is so male-centric.  So much of comedy is written for men, by men.  Even when a women writes for comedy, they still end up writing for men.  Men love comedy, and maybe if they were forced to encounter women and women's humor (especially about things that did not confirm to misogynistic views of women) they would understand women better and not be so "clueless."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gothic Dress

If you've been reading this blog, you've realized by now I'm a totally history nerd.  I love the everyday details of people's lives.  Lately, it seems like I've been stumbling on blogs dedicating to historical clothing and people who make replica costumes.  One of my recent favorites is this cute little number.  There's something strangely Gothic about it.  I could easily see one of the female characters from a Gothic romance wearing this, or maybe even Catherine from Northanger Abbey

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Littlest Rolling Pins You Ever Saw

Nid d'abeille posted these amazing tiny rolling pins. When I saw the first two pictures, I just thought they were normal sized rolling pins, but then when I got to the third picture, I was totally impressed.
I have terrible eyesight so I cannot imagine making things like these.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Le Marche du Nain Rouge

In just ten days, my beloved city of Detroit will be having a le marche du nain rouge. This is both an old and new tradition. Old because it is based on an old celebration that started around the time the city was founded, about 310 years ago. New because Detroiters have only recently taken it up again.
I'm not going to be anywhere near the city, but maybe I'll wear red that day in solidarity. And to keep the devil at bay.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Best American Reading

Friday Tyrant recently took down the series of Best American Reading. This piece was funny and accurately covered the assumptions some people have about the series.
My complaint would be the assumption that readers of Friday Tyrant aren't already aware of the problematic nature of the Best American Reading series. Most literary people are well-read enough to know that there are a myriad of literary magazines out there, in part because almost all of them worked for one or another at some time. (Myself? The Red Cedar Review and The Offbeat.) They get that bigger magazines are not necessarily better, even though they may get a certain amount of media attention. And they know all about McSweeney's and its death grip on lit nerd's imagination.
I like that this article took down the entire institution, since I took a class where the teacher had us read selections from one of these anthologies to get a sense of where literary publishing was today. He was right to make us read it since it was an overview of the best known literary magazines out there, however, the magazine famously lacks lots of great literary magazines. I often felt that the poetry in my beloved Red Cedar Review frequently rivaled and sometimes out-did the poetry I have seen published in those anthologies. (Last year's "Lepidoptery" by Lia Greenwell was a phenomenal piece, but just about no one knows it.) Forklift, Ohio, one of the best literary magazines out there, is never featured in this series, and yet they regularly publish both Dean Young and Bob Hicok.
Best American Reading is an institution, and like all institutions, they're imperfect. That's the nature of institutions.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Erasure's "A Little Respect"

I love music.  I have opinions about various kinds of music.  But take this song, Erasure's "A Little Respect":

I feel bad about it, but I don't really feel anything towards this song.  It's just there.  I don't hate it, but it's hardly something I would listen to over and over again.
And then I feel guilty for being apathetic, because I know that people put so much work into their art, and to have someone demean it is the kiss of death.
Someone help me to appreciate this song. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Prometheus Books

I've posted here before how much I love good book companies.  Right now I'm loving Prometheus Books.  Prometheus publishes on a wide variety of topics, including women's issues, politics and science.  In particular, they have a large backlist of books on philosophy and religion.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Favianna Poster

One of my favorite artists, Favianna, posted this poster for Workers' Justice.  It looks so great!  I especially love the torch that the character in the foreground is carrying.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


One of my friends pointed me to this episode of Rastamouse.  From my sense of watching this show, the idea is that the mice are meant to be Jamaican. 
The question I'm struggling with is if this is offensive.  On one hand, Rastamouse is produced by the BBC, and England has a large, often ignored, community of people with Jamaican ancestry.  Most of the children's shows out there are geared towards white Brits, so it is possible that someone is trying to represent that community and write a show for them.
At the same time, depicting a minority as an animal is inherently problematic.  And then for it to be an animal that is associated with being feeble, weak, scared and a scanvanger?  Not good.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Advanced Economies

Everyone assumes that just because a country has military, political, social and economic power, things must be dandy. That'd be wrong. To illustrate my point, I'd like to point you to this chart that depicts advanced economies (as decided by the IMF) and the level of income inequality, food insecurity and other factors.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Adjustment

I hate to admit it, but seeing the posters for this movie on my commute to work got me all got me all excited.

I almost wish this was not a romance, just because this has the potential to be about so much more than just romance. At the same time, how many sci-fi romance are out there (Happy Accident is the only one I could think of off the top of my head)? So hopefully this will be good.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


The Guardian posted this amazingly funny quiz where you choose who said a quote: Charlie Sheen or Gaddafi. Both of these men are pretty despicable people (One of them is a racist and anti-semetic and the other uses Islam and destroys human rights.), but it's nice to be able to pick on them for a change, instead of watching them hurt others.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Good Going, Einstein

Enchanted Serenity is reporting that a movie on Einstein is in the works
As much as people love and admire Einstein, I am more interested in his wife, who some scholars think was actually behind his theories.  The post mentions that his relationship with women will be covered, so I think it's safe to say that the wife will be there, though probably in a small capacity in comparison with other issues.