May 2007 Archives

On the Road Again

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Lucy at the Canal Room posterOver this coming weekend, the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend and I will be traveling to New York to see Lucy Lawless in concert. She's going to be performing this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Canal Room downtown. Standing room tickets are available at the door; ticket info is available here. There's also a Xena convention going on this weekend in Secaucus, New Jersey.

We're going to be meeting up with other friends and fans coming in from various locales for the concert. Although we recently saw Lucy Lawless perform at the Roxy in Los Angeles, she's changed up some of the songs in her act as well the costumes. I'm really looking forward to seeing the liquid metal catsuit that's been designed for the New York concert. Looks kind of 7-of-9ish but I bet the Battlestar Galactica fans will love it as well.

I was excited to hear that comic Tig Nataro, who opened for Lucy in Los Angeles, is going to be the opener again in New York. And Renee O'Conner--whose very existence is like a balm that daily soothes my weary soul--is going to repeat her go-go dancing stint onstage during the concert. It's going to be hot and happening. If you are a Xena fan or a Lucy fan or a Renee fan and within driving distance of New York this weekend, you need to get yourself down to the Canal Room. Just don't obstruct my view.

You may recall that the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend and I travelled to Palm Springs earlier this year to see Lucy sing at the Dinah Shore Weekend. Before you say anything, I just want my readers to know that I understand intellectually that traipsing all over the place to see Lucy Lawless is somewhat excessive. But we've both come to accept that we are powerless in this matter and have no choice but to follow Lucy around like two lovesick lesbian kittens. Make that two *adorable* *irresistible* lovesick lesbian kittens.
The kittehs want some love.

Don't get what the kittens are saying? You need to learn how to read their language. Learn the grammar of "kitteh" here; see examples here.
Back next week with all the deets!

WACKed out

Yesterday the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend and I went to see WACK!: Art and the Feminist Revolution at the Geffen Contemporary, a satellite location of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

I had read that the show was monumental in scope and the truth is that it was completely overwhelming. WACK! covers feminist art from the 1960s to the present day, both in the U.S. and abroad. The physical layout of the show was confusing and mazelike, and a minimalist approach to labeling (no narrative context, no translations) made it difficult to get a handle on many of the pieces on display.

Two works by Faith RinggoldNonetheless, it's a collection that's worth making an effort to see and understand. WACK! represents the work of over 120 women artists, including Mary Kelly, Tee Corinne, Faith Ringgold--whose work is pictured here--Barbara Hammer, and Judith F. Baca.

The WACK! website seems to contain much of the context that wasn't present at the exhibit. There are photographs, exhibit walkthroughs, and podcast lectures by represented artists as well as feminist art historians available online for free. Also, the exhibit catalog is massive and well-organized, providing additional depth to this encyclopedic show.

Artwork from the late 1960s and 1970s in the U.S. forms a major portion of the show. One of the pieces from this period that intrigued me was General Strike Piece, by Lee Lozano, an avant-garde NY artist. In a series of written pages from a peyote-fueled journal, Lozano chronicles a series of acts she takes in pursuit of "TOTAL PERSONAL & PUBLIC REVOLUTION."

Mapping prostitution in L.A.Another work, Prostitution Notes, by Suzanne Lacy, consists of handwritten or drawn notes on cardboard documenting the working lives of L.A. prostitutes, as well as her own reactions and relationship to the women she observes. Like Lozano's piece, Prostitution Notes, is as much about self-interrogation and self-discovery as it is about confrontation with patriarchy.

Some of the art in WACK! struck me as strongly dated. Visual works that incorporated magazine advertisements as a means of critiquing the representation of women seemed to veer into kitsch. Similarly, a few works that were taken as powerful gender critiques when they were originated seemed crude in light of more recent art informed by gay, lesbian and transgender perspectives on gender.

Spidery crotched cave with designsI enjoyed many of the sculptural and installation pieces in the show, including walking into Faith Wilding's cavelike Crocheted Environment, shown here in an older photo. My girlfriend and I were both mightily impressed with photos of Ana Mendieta's earthworks series, Siluetas. Mendieta created a working volcano shaped like a vagina and then documented it in the act of exploding. We loved seeing the earthworks vagina spewing red hot fire. I wish the MOCA gift shop had printed Mendiata's work on a coffee mug--I would have bought it.

Behold, the cup

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Closeup of the legendary cupFor some time now, I have been fixated on the bra designs of superheroines and the possibility of secret bra technology unknown to the common woman. Now, quite unexpectedly, I've run across details of superhero support technology in Outsiders #47.

During a close fight between Black Queen and Nightwing, Black Queen attempts the old knee-to-the-groin maneuver, hoping to make contact with his "dangly" parts. "Like you're the first to try that maneuver," Nightwing sneers back. "It's called a cup, Black Queen, in case you're curious."

Later in the same issue, Nightwing tells Black Queen that he stole the specs for his plane from Batman. My question is: could Batman have provided the design spec for Nightwing's cup, too? I see many potential fanfic storylines here: Batman giving a young Robin his first bat-cup, Nightwing steeling Batman's cup from his costume drawer, etc.

Incidentally, I hope the confirmed existence of a supercup puts a halt to the many recent attempts in the comics blogosphere to add greater definition to the superhero outerpant.

Joe's Birthday and Some News

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Peanuts characters cryingToday is my friend Joe's birthday. Since I'm writing about that, I suppose it's time I let everyone know that Joe is going to be abandoning leaving me soon for a new job in the Midwest. Joe moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school, and so his leaving is something we both knew would be coming one day. I've got him til mid-July though. Congratulations and Happy Birthday Joe!

Friday night, the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend, Joe and I went out to celebrate Joe's birthday at a local ex-pat Italian restaurant. We enjoyed a very leisurely meal, toasting Joe's birthday as well as the recent death of Jerry Falwell. Joe remarked, "When I heard he died, I thought the only thing that could be better than this is if it happened on my birthday."

There was a certain "last hurrah" feeling in the air, knowing that Joe would be leaving soon. Though you never would have guessed mourning was on our minds based on how Joe and I wolfed down individual chocolate souffles. I will miss seeing Joe's sly looks, like the one he gave me as he gazed at our empty souffle dishes. There will be a whole lot of Google Talk in our future, I'm guessing.

Although negative images of lesbians in mainstream entertainment have drawn protests from many gay organizations, there exists a subset of the lesbian population that holds movies such as "Basic Instinct" and "Showgirls"--hearty purveyors of gay stereotypes--in high esteem. Some lesbians appreciate these movies as examples of high camp, riddled with over-the-top gay cliches that are too ridiculous to take seriously.

With all that in mind, I submit to you that the first issue of the DC comic book series, Amazons Attack! The Fall Of Washington! is the comic book equivalent of Basic Instinct. It mines the field of women-alone and lesbian pulp villainy for all its worth, and I found I could not get through a single page without dissolving into giggles. I'm going to call out just a few of this title's many highlights (SPOILERS):

The story opens in front of the Lincoln Memorial. A boy of around 8, who for some reason can't read, asks his father to decipher the words of Lincoln graven beneath his statue:

Son: "What's that word?"
Father: "Fathers."
Son: "What's that word?"
Father: "Equal."

I think there's a reference to the father's rights movement in this terse exchange. But before we can get too involved with the father and son story, there's an interruption.

On a impressive spread, an army of Amazons have assembled a rally, Nuremberg style, next to the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The Amazons are accompanied by dinosaurs--probably those lesbian dinosaurs from Jurassic Park that figured out how to mate with each other and produce offspring.

In case you're unsure about the Amazons intentions, a helpful scene here makes it crystal clear. We see the father down on his hands and knees, quivering and crying before an Amazon soldier who hacks him mercilessly with her sword. If this were made into a camp movie, this is the part where all the dykes in the theater would stand up and start screaming, "KILL HIM! KILL HIM!"
Blood splatters the face of an Amazon

I love the close-up image of the blood spattering across the face of the bloodthirsty Amazon, shown above.

Over at the White House, the President is being briefed by an aide on the women's attack. He responds, "Women? Who are they? Israeli?" Then we see the heads of two Secret Service men snapping back dramatically as Amazon arrows land right between their eyes! With the guards dispatched, two Amazonian archers approach the President and his aide, who they refer to as "the cowering one," wondering what to do with them. One soldier comments, "I'll leave that up to you." Oooooo, Amazon torture techniques. Pass the white hot nipple clamps, sister. Then hit him with a wire hanger.

The Amazons overrun Washington D.C. Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, rouses the troops by standing in front of the Washington monument while she addresses her army, saying, "...this city and its architecture mock the buildings of our beloved Themyscira." You have to have an angry woman ranting about a phallic symbol in a title like this. As U.S. war planes approach in retaliation, one of the pilots orders, "Get ready for a strafing run on all those little ladies below." For the rest of the comic, the cigar chomping head of Central Command continues to discuss the military's efforts to subdue "the ladies."

I wonder if there's time to change the name of this title before issue #2 comes out. I think it should be called "Little Ladies Attack!"

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