March 2007 Archives

Road to Dinah: Desert Pilgrimage

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This is my last post from home before I leave for Dinah, and I'm keeping it brief. There's a lot of celebrity entertainment at Dinah this year, including the actors who play Shane and Alice from the L Word, Carmen Electra, Sandra Bernhard, Renee O'Conner, and more. But there's just one reason we're going out to the desert:
Lucy singing against desert mountains

Lucy Lawless is performing Friday at midnight.

Cleopatra and Marc Antony recliningI've set up a Twitter page so that readers can follow my brief updates of what's going on at Dinah Shore.

On a recent This Week in Tech podcast, host Leo Laporte called Twitter "instant messaging in public," which seems like a good basic definition of Twitter if you've never heard of it before. If you want to find out more about Twitter, this is the best article I've read so far that explains what Twitter is and some of the different ways to use it. The downside to Twitter is that it's become so popular that the service can be unbearably slow at times.

If you can't get to my page during Dinah Shore, it probably says something like this:

  • tinyrooster: gettin' it on 12 hours ago from web

  • tinyrooster: gettin' it on 10 hours ago from web

  • tinyrooster: i'm poolside. got the sweetest hangover 1 hour ago from web

Did I mention I miss Rome already? I know that was an abrupt segue but it's related to Dinah in a lying-around-with-your-lover-on-a-divan kind of way. It's also the type of random observation one can get away with on Twitter, but not so much on a blog.

Road to Dinah: What to Wear?

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One of the interesting things about Dinah Shore is that, although the event came out of the sartorially-challenged world of golf, it's become known for attracting the more conventionally attractive and better dressed lesbian. This raises the troubling issue of what to pack and what to wear.

Right now I'm stressed out about the Pure White Party, which promises "over 3000 beautiful women all clad in WHITE." So here's the thing: I own one white t-shirt and several pairs of white sports socks. And that does not an outfit make.

I'm not really into the whole white thing; it just doesn't fit my personality. When I think of white clothes and Palm Springs all that comes to mind is Sonny Bono in a white mock turtleneck and a pair of white sansabelt pants from the Johnny Carson Apparel Collection. Okay, so I'm a bit of a crossdresser and maybe that's part of my problem.

A handbag in the shape of a large vulva.As if the clothing situation weren't bad enough, I have to worry about accessories, too. Because of the L Word's influence, lesbians have started carrying purses instead of the more typical backpacks and fannypacks.

I have two fashionable manbags to my name, one from Tumi and the other a Jack Spade, but neither are white, so they won't pass muster. Fortunately, I found this lovely white vulva-shaped handbag at an online store called Velvet Vulva. It's enormous, so I shouldn't have any problems fitting a camera in there or whatever else I need.

What do you think will happen to me if I don't wear white to the Pure White Party? Will I be shunned by my fellow lesbians? I'm used to straight girls giving me a hard time about my wardrobe ("Your clothes are too baggy"), but for other lesbians to diss what you're wearing, truly, that is the lowest point.

Furniture for the comics fan

Diagram showing origins of coffee table design
I saw this really cool piece of furniture the other day on Neatorama. It was a coffee table in the shape of a speech balloon, shown in a living room setting. But it got even cooler when I clicked through to the originating site, which features a collection of furniture made out of cardboard by Leo Kempf.

Taking inspiration from Frank Gehry's cardboard furniture, Kempf set out to make inexpensive furniture out of cardboard and plywood. His site shows you how he chose the materials, cut the pieces, and put them together. Kempf also provides notes on what didn't work and how he resolved those issues.

Road to Dinah: I Pimped My Ride

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Since I'm going to be driving out to Palm Springs for Dinah Shore, I figured I would use the occasion to pimp my ride. Because we all the know the ladies enjoy a good ride. Actually, it has less to do with impressing women and more to do with anticipating traffic. I've heard that the road from L.A. to Palm Springs is basically one long caravan of dykes before Dinah, and if the traffic is going to be bumper to bumper I'm going to want some music to calm my nerves.

Cool blue readout on new playerAfter checking around on various audio forums, I decided I wanted to upgrade my head unit (heh, heh) to one that could play mp3 CDs and integrate with my second-gen iPod Nano. I wound up choosing a Pioneer model based on my online research. It has this very cool blue readout with a slew of different visualizations, including a movie of dolphins frolicking in the ocean.

Next I made the decision not to install the new unit myself. I don't mind opening the computer or other electronics but I'm not ready for car electronics yet. Plus I'm a busy lesbian and sometimes one just has to pay for these things. I also decided I did not want Circuit City or some big box store messing with my car. So I went to California Car Sounds on National in Los Angeles and they did the installation and setup for me. These guys were cool so if you're looking for a car audio shop in L.A., I had a good experience with them.

Nothing Could Be Finah

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Dinah Shore record coverI thought I would let my readers know that at the end of next week I will be going to, and if all goes as planned, blogging from The Dinah Shore Week in Palm Springs, CA.

For those of you who don't know what The Dinah is, let me bring you up to speed real quick: it's the largest party gathering of lesbians anywhere and it has a reputation for being a slutastic good time. The event has its roots in women's golf (or "Ladies's Golf," as it's still called), but the event has taken on a life of its own and encompasses many other types of entertainment besides the Colgate/Dinah Shore Golf Tournament (now called the Kraft Nabisco Championship). If you're curious about the event's history, I suggest taking a read of these articles which cover the relationship between the LPGA and lesbian golf enthusiasts and the legendary party scene.

Now We Are Six

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As of today, In Sequence has been up and running for six years. Happy Blogiversary to me!

Shared Women at LACE

Last weekend, the Cute-Little-Red-Headed-Girlfriend and I went to see the "Shared Women" exhibit of lesbian feminist art at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) in Hollywood. The show was brought to my attention by the New York Times, where it was favorably reviewed alongside the massive WACK! exhibit happening at MOCA. I also discovered, via art.blogging.la, that there are a number of female-focused shows being held across Los Angeles to coincide with WACK!

Stepping into the "Shared Women" show transported me back to the mid-80s, when so many gay and lesbian artistic endeavors were overtly activist and mobilized around the issue of AIDS. It was a time when gays and lesbians in the U.S. still thought of themselves as part of a liberation movement, as opposed to a highly focused consumer segment or an incredibly large and enthusiastic group of wedding planners. (Sorry. That was bitter.)

I had a small point-and-shoot camera with me, so I was able to take a bunch of photos at the exhibit, which I've put up as a set at the photo-sharing site Zooomr. They're not great quality, but you can view the photos in whatever size you wish, download them, read my embedded notes, or comment on them. Warning: these photos are not even remotely work safe. There are many, many vaginas and sex acts represented. Click on this link to view the set.

The exhibit's title, "Shared Women," brought to mind a number of associations: sharing, sampling, collectivism, wife-swapping. After seeing the show, all of those meanings seem to have been intended, plus a few more: sharing of bodies and identities, sharing as a group celebration, and sharing as the result of exclusion or "non-sharing."

Sharing through exclusion was the theme of the first piece I saw, a collection of homemade commemorative plates depicting the First Ladies of the United States. Their photos had been taped on a hodge-podge collection of cheap, transparent glass plates. The DIY nature of the piece was certainly contemporary, while also underlining the relationship between craft, kitsch and women's work.

Shane as representative of lesbian identityThere weren't any exhibit notes that I could take home with me, so I can't identify most of the artists in the show for you now. But I recognized the work of the next artist I saw, Nicole Eisenman, who I've previously written about. Spread across two walls and the floor below, Eisenman's work focused on the lesbian body.

Looming large over the installation was an image of the L Word's iconic character Shane, pregnant, with a phallic arm ending in a clenched fist emerging from her vagina. In a word balloon Shane asks, "How can I get people to pour their love into my emptyness?" On the floor beneath Eisenman's assemblage lay a sculpture of two lifesized beavers engaging in oral sex. The receiving beaver lay in ecstasy on her back, tiny paws waving in the air.

At the other end of the room was a large purple mural by a Canadian group of artists called "Welcome to Gayside." The mural was of a large fantasy landmass with gay-, lesbian- and transgender-themed geographic features and populations. Interspersed on the map were small drawings showing gays communing with the natural world. My favorite of these showed a naked lesbian finger-fucking a sheep.

Someone working at the gallery told me the sheep picture had caused some consternation among visitors to the gallery. I thought it was a hilarious send-up of the belief that lesbians, and women generally, are not as sexually aggressive as men, nor as depraved in their tastes. I also loved the way the image parodied lesbians' own beliefs about themselves, in this case, the idea that lesbians are all animal lovers.

Dirty dancing in a lesbian barI was really excited to see four pieces by G.B. Jones included in the show. Her drawings depict lesbian dramas in the style of the infamous gay artist and pornographer, Tom of Finland. The stylistic translation from gay male to lesbian subject matter serves to highlight cultural differences between the sexes, yet her drawings still retain the erotic charge of Tom of Finland's work.

There was a video piece by Tara Mateik on display called P.Y.T. In this faux-music video, an androgynous figure dressed as Peter Pan dances and and lip-synchs to the Michael Jackson song "Pretty Young Thing" while clips from filmed productions of Peter Pan roll in the background. You can watch a clip from the video here.

The "Shared Women" exhibit is on view at LACE through April 9.

View more photos at my Zooomr page.

There's been this circles-and-portals theme on The L Word this season. It ties in to the show's affiliated social networking site for lesbians, called Our Chart. I like the features on Our Chart--the blog, the videos--but I haven't actually created a chart for myself yet.

In honor of the L Word's finale next Sunday, I thought I would offer my own circles meme for any and all to take up: If each character on the show is represented by a circle, how would you merge the circles in order to define yourself? Or, more simply, which characters are you most like?

Bette and Shane's circles merged with mine
I ripped off the above format from indexed to create a diagram of myself connected to Bette and Shane. I also labeled the parts of Bette and Shane I relate to with quotes from the show: "little freak" (from Season 4, episode 1) and "bombastic bully" (from Season 4, episode 8). Who are you most like?

Herobabies

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Babyish figure of DaredevilThe words "precious" and "superhero" don't usually go together in my book, but 3age's line of Marvel toy figures seems to be working that connection pretty hard. I ran across this toy figure of Daredevil yesterday while browsing the new items at Ningyoshi and decided that it was, in fact, even cuter than the plush roasted chicken I had oooohed over just a few minutes earlier.

I went looking for more information on these 3age toys and found some good links at Pidgeon Blog. There's two series of toy figures in the line so far, including this one, featuring a very sweet Silver Surfer, and this one (look at how cute Ghost Rider's flaming head is!) The figures remind me of the Muppet Babies because they seem like infant versions rather than miniatures.

I need a bunch of quarters

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I've been reading the Vertigo title Scalped by Jason Aaron, which has been billed as The Sopranos with Native Americans. I was interested in the fact that the title was about Native Americans, but I decided to buy it once I realized Aaron penned it, because I've also been reading his Vietnam comic The Other Side and have been impressed by it.

The story is extremely violent but also poetic in its depiction of the desolation and desperation that motivates its characters. I've been intrigued by the story's hints at a connection to the events that took place at Wounded Knee in the 70s, but I'm not sure if this will be elaborated on in future issues or if it's simply a reference. The artist has done a particularly fine job with settings, such as the view over a barren highway at night, a lit-up casino in the middle of nowheresville, a meth lab in the back of a taxidermy shop.

Evocative song titles on jukebox buttons
In issue #2, my eye was drawn to panel that showed several of the songs available on a jukebox in a pool joint. Just the names of the songs alone told a story. These are the ones I could make out:

  • "I Walk Alone" by Los Lobos

  • "Custer" by Johnny Cash

  • "Nebraska" by Bruce Springsteen

  • "Rip this Joint" by the Rolling Stones

  • "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" by the Sons of the Pioneers

  • "Sunday Morning Coming Down" by Kris Kristofferson

There's also songs by Steve Earle and Neil Young, but I can't tell which ones. Two song titles--"Sign Language" and "Born Under A Bad Sign"--are also visible but with no artist attached, so I don't know which version is intended. I want the full playlist! What else is on this jukebox?

Magical Drive-thru

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Velvety red wormhole on the streetI found myself mysteriously drawn to this image of a portal of some kind in Marvel's Runaways #24. When one of the characters, Molly, notices it for the first time, she calls it "some kind of magical drive-thru." It shows up in front of a landmark donut shop in Los Angeles that has a giant donut on it's roof, so it's I guess that makes it a hole that like to hang out with another hole.

I've never seen a portal or a wormhole that leaks the way this one seems to. It must be very moist and wet in there for it to be leaking on the ground like that. Also, can you see how it seems to stain the area around it? It must be very powerful to do that. In fact, very bad things do happen to the Runaways when they go through the hole. Still, there's just something mesmerizing about it.

Better Read

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I had to pick up a copy of Wildstorm's Red Menace series as soon as I saw it on the rack (it's what my FBI agent would expect me to do). It's such a fabulous story! And of course when I say fabulous I don't mean just any fabulous, I mean Commie Pinko Homo Fabulous.

Red Menace is a six-part comic series set during the McCarthy hearings, and although the focus of the title isn't on McCarthy, the story weaves in significant people and events from that era. The plot involves a costumed superhero, the Eagle, whose loyalty to the state is questioned. I'm not sure where all the story threads are headed yet--they include mobsters, Soviet spying, and the mentoring of a younger hero--but so far the comic has tons of retro style and atmosphere and I'm enjoying the ride.

Neon club sign against a night sky
Much of Red Menace is set in Los Angeles, and I really like the way the artist has captured many of the architectural oddities of the city. Whether the story unfolds at the Pantages Theater, in front of a neon-lit nightclub, at the race track or inside a cheesy west coast apartment, the attention to setting gives the title a unique feel.

And Now the News

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Violent activist points a gunI've been reading Image's The Nightly News, a six-part comic about an urban revolutionary cult that targets the news media. Written and illustrated by Jonathan Hickman, it's an ambitious work that uses a bold, innovative graphic style to tells its story.

Hickman largely dispenses with the paneled progression of most comics, preferring instead to compose the page as a single layout. Drawing on graphic design techniques, Hickman uses a range of layered graphics to draw the eye across the page. Dense infographics punctuate the story from time to time, offering real-world background on the media industry that serves to deepen the plot.

The graphics and story are both interesting, but I wish Hickman and given more visibility to text within the layout. His technique of using boxes rather than balloons allows the text to wrap around figures and move across the page in interesting ways, but the type in The Nightly News is so small at times that I found it both difficult and annoying to read.

I like The Nightly News, however, in part because it does seem like the artist is experimenting. I can imagine myself buying more of Hickman's work in the future to see how he continues to refine and develop his storytelling style.

Dynamic Landscapes

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Last weekend, the Cute-Little-Red-Headed-Girlfriend and I went to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens to see the art exhibit Constable's Great Landscapes: The Six-Foot Paintings.

Painting of English landscape with white horseThe exhibit focuses on a series of Suffolk landscapes Constable painted over and over during his life. The show reveals that Constable chose the imposing six-foot format for his paintings not for aesthetic reasons but simply to get the attention of the right people, in his case, the Royal Academy.

The exhibit reveals the creative and technical processes Constable used to create his landscapes on a grand scale. Most of the six-foot paintings are hung beside six-foot oil sketches, which are much more dynamic than the finished painting. In other cases, the larger paintings have been scaled up from smaller though finished paintings. By viewing the sequence of paintings that led to the final six-foot version, one can see Constable's editing process as he removes or changes elements or alters the mood of the landscape.

I was very interested in the scaling techniques that Constable developed to create his six-foot landscapes. I recently purchased David Hockney's updated thesis, the controversial Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, which reveals the various ocular devices used by artists throughout the centuries to create realistic perspective. Often thought of as "cheats," Hockney shows how these projecting devices were part of the craft of painting and held closely as trade secrets among artisans.

In the digital age, when the use of technology to create art is often viewed with suspicion--especially if the makers are amateurs--I found it refreshing to see such a revered painter as Constable as part of this history of artistic tinkerers and crafters.

Gayming the system

I read on Joystiq the other day that the results of a survey on "gaymer's" habits are in. I mentioned the survey previously on this blog and I also participated in it. The most interesting finding to me was reading that 91.1% of the respond ants to the survey were male. I would love to see a survey that focused only on gay, bi or trans women--maybe next time.

I don't know if they identify as "gaymers" but I really love the gay male gaming couple on The Sarah Silverman Program. Console gaming is a big part of their lifestyle, and if you're into gaming, you'll probably enjoy all the video game references and how their game activity gets worked into the plot each week.

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