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Stripping Your Way to Success, from the Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal

Great interview about I gave about strippers in blockbuster films reduced to one line mid-way. But I'm not complaining, it's a great article.

By Lauren Schuker

On Sunday night, actress Marisa Tomei could take home an Academy Award for her portrayal of a kind-hearted stripper in the critically acclaimed film "The Wrestler." In a tradition that dates as far back as the Oscar show itself, Ms. Tomei is the latest actress to win Hollywood acclaim for playing a character with a job in the sex industry, such as a striptease artist or streetwalker.

More

March 7th, 2009

In Love with A. Lincoln, by Maira Kalman

"The occasion is piled high with difficulty. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country." --A. Lincoln, 1862

From the lovely Maira Kalman's lovely ode In Love with A. Lincoln

February 28th, 2009

Trailer for What's On Your Plate, a flim by Catherine Gund and Aubin Pictures

Amazing

Not a day goes by that I don't think about what I'm eating, what I'm feeding my family, and how little I know about where our food is from, and who handles it as it moves from place to place.

When I see films like this or read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, I feel fortunate to have lived in Berkeley for several years and spent many delicious evenings at Alice Waters' restaurant, Chez Panisse.

The first time, I was taken for my 16th birthday by one of my fabulous gay "uncles" named Ivory, whom I lost to AIDS years later. I will always remember him as the person who introduced me to Lillet and the concept of the "prix fixe". It was incredible. We ate rabbit and drank Lillet and then had delicious flourless chocolate ganache.

I love you Ivory!

Anyway.

Now that Waters is advising the White House and transforming public school cafeterias by teaching kids to grow their own lunches, I feel I was there at the beginning-- a part of yet another movement: The Food Movement!

Waters has just joined the Advisory Board for this great film, produced and directed by a friend and fellow co-founder of Third Wave Foundation, Catherine Gund. 

I'd love to hear your food stories. We don't have any CSA's here on Maui, or if we do, I need someone out there to tell me about them.

February 25th, 2009

Portrait

Love this portrait of Barack Obama by artist Juana Olga Barrios:

Sent to me by the coolest creative productivity guru I know, Danielle LaPorte at White Hot Truth

February 25th, 2009

Monographs, from Readerville

Hey--here's a nice bunch of sentences I strung together on Readerville, one of my favorite literary sites.

Monographs

In the life I didn’t choose, I am a photographer and installation artist. I make striking objects that live in a space beyond words. In the life I chose, I write books about houses and people and feelings, but I reach for my Yashica Mat camera to capture that which cannot be transcribed. I photograph my son like Sally Mann captured her kids, running wild in the nude. I try to photograph myself like Lorna Simpson would, in a white dress, from behind, with one hand pouring water from a pewter pitcher and the other pouring water from a plastic jug. I dream of building a life-sized southern shack like the ones I used to pass on the side of the road in Georgia, when I was a little girl, driving to the family cemetery.

I’m no longer surprised when I open a box that’s been taped shut for years, and find an artist’s monograph on top. A few books down, I’ll find catalogs from shows that were up at MOMA when I was an intern. I was sixteen then, sitting in front of Mark Rothko’s paintings for hours. I’ve tried to give these books away, to sell them, anything to keep from carrying them to another apartment, another country, but I can’t. I need them. 

Ana Mendieta: Earth Body
How to describe Ana Mendieta? She was a Cuban-American artist who made kick-ass, sensual, outrageously smart and seductive work. I love the Silueta series--Mendieta paints her body to blend into/become various pieces of earth. She is a tree, a body of lava scorching the earth, dirt in an open grave with flowers sprouting from her skin.

Her performance pieces are brave: she walks to the wall and slides her bare hands down it, leaving two red smears. She stops, walks away, and we’re looking: it’s a vagina, it’s a gash, it’s Ana’s mark on the art world, her X in the history of art.

Artwork by Shirin Neshat
When I came back to the states after living in a Muslim country, Shirin Neshat’s work explained everything to me: the power of the feminine in Islamic culture; the powerlessness of the feminine in Islamic culture. The hopelessness of the idea of “Islamic culture.” The way faith and art and desire come together to form something like a drug for the human soul. Beloved, a photograph of mother and son, mother covered in hijab, son held close to the breast, is heart stopping. The baby sits in the folds of the hijab. And to the left of the mother and child, the Muslim pieta, there is a gun.

Seydou Keita
I don’t remember where I first saw Keita’s portraits, or heard about the man who made photographs in a small studio in Bamako, Mali, for decades before being “discovered” by Western collectors. I do know that I wanted to buy his work the second I saw it. His work captures so much about Africa and modernity and style and colonialism and independence and youth and art and vibrancy, I can barely stand to talk about it. I bought two large prints when I sold my first book. He died a few years later.

Yayoi Kusama: Love Forever
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama makes her art at a studio a few blocks from the mental hospital in which she has lived, by choice, since the early 1970s. “If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago,” Kusama has said, and I understand. Her work is feminine, sprawling, heroic, psychedelic, minimalist, absurd and fecund. She works in polka dots, giant nets and huge pumpkins. Yayoi visits conventional reality, but doesn’t live there.

The Art of Bill Viola
Man on fire. Man drenched in water. Man shifting through time, space and the elements, on a thin video screen, with sound. A man comes in and out of being before our very eyes. Genius. I love BV.

I could go on and on. Bill Eggleston, Gauguin, Paul Strand, Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes! Odd shelf after odd shelf. 

To Readerville

 

February 23rd, 2009

What She Said.

From the New York Times:
 
Questions for Dambisa Moyo

The Anti-Bono

Interview by Deborah Solomon

Published: February 19, 2009

Q: As a native of Zambia with advanced degrees in public policy and economics from Harvard and Oxford, you are about to publish an attack on Western aid to Africa and its recent glamorization by celebrities. ‘‘Dead Aid,’’ as your book is called, is particularly hard on rock stars. Have you met Bono?

I have, yes, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last year. It was at a party to raise money for Africans, and there were no Africans in the room, except for me.

What do you think of him?

I’ll make a general comment about this whole dependence on “celebrities.” I object to this situation as it is right now where they have inadvertently or manipulatively become the spokespeople for the African continent.

You argue in your book that Western aid to Africa has not only perpetuated poverty but also worsened it, and you are perhaps the first African to request in book form that all development aid be halted within five years.

Think about it this way — China has 1.3 billion people, only 300 million of whom live like us, if you will, with Western living standards. There are a billion Chinese who are living in substandard conditions. Do you know anybody who feels sorry for China? Nobody.

More

February 22nd, 2009

TwitterSheep

This TwitterSheep thing is GORGEOUS. Wish I could find a way to include the whole graphic of my cloud here. Maybe a screen shot?

 

February 21st, 2009

Goodbye Domino. xo Rebecca

Even though celebrating objects seems wrong at the moment, I think it's important to remember that beauty, like poetry, is not a luxury.* It heals, inspires, and is sometimes the only thing that keeps humanity going.

At every time, in every place, it's always about the art. 

I'm so sad to hear Domino is no more. Here's to seeing the team--Deborah and Joao and Catherine and everyone else who made the mag gorgeous--when they reconvene to make something new. 

 

Goodbye Domino!

xo

Rebecca

*Love to Audre Lorde: Poetry is Not a Luxury. 

February 21st, 2009

Skull and Bones: Geronimo's

Geronimo’s Heirs Sue Secret Yale Society Over His Skull

Published: February 19, 2009
The New York Times

HOUSTON — The descendants of Geronimo have sued Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale University with ties to the Bush family, charging that its members robbed his grave in 1918 and have kept his skull in a glass case ever since.


Agence France-Press/Getty Images

A National Archives image of Geronimo taken in 1887.

Legend has it that Prescott S. Bush stole Geronimo’s skull.

The claim is part of a lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington on Tuesday, the 100th anniversary of Geronimo’s death. The Apache warrior’s heirs are seeking to recover all his remains, wherever they may be, and have them transferred to a new grave at the headwaters of the Gila River in New Mexico, where Geronimo was born and wished to be interred.

“I believe strongly from my heart that his spirit was never released,” Geronimo’s great-grandson Harlyn Geronimo, 61, told reporters Tuesday at the National Press Club.

Geronimo died a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, Okla., in 1909. A longstanding tradition among members of Skull and Bones holds that Prescott S. Bush — father of President George Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush — broke into the grave with some classmates during World War I and made off with the skull, two bones, a bridle and some stirrups, all of which were put on display at the group’s clubhouse in New Haven, known as the Tomb.

More at New York Times

February 20th, 2009

On Chris Brown and Rihanna, from ABCNEWS.COM

On Chris Brown and Rihanna, from ABCNEWS.COM

February 20th, 2009

ABC News

Black Community Bitter About Chris Brown (EXCERPT)

By LUCHINA FISHER

Monique Wright-Williams had always forbidden her three girls from watching hip-hop music videos because of the way they portray women as "hoochies or sex objects," she said.

"I don't ever want them to think of themselves as a sex object," she told ABCNews.com.

So when the Syracuse, N.Y., family learned that Brown had been arrested last week for allegedly beating his pop-star girlfriend Rihanna, the news came as a shock. "I'm obviously disappointed," Wright-Williams, a youth services agency director, said. "He was in a good position to serve so many young black children well. Whenever anybody who is in a good position to have a nice impact on my children, and children in general, tumbles and falls in such an important way, it's here we go again." Perhaps. The fall of a teen idol is familiar territory. But the swift and critical public response to Brown's arrest from the Williams family and other members of the black community has come as something of a surprise to some people.

Gayle King, editorial director at O, The Oprah Magazine, rejected Brown's recent apology in which he said in a statement that he was "sorry and saddened" and "seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones." "Right now, I can't think of anything that makes me support anything that Chris Brown is saying at this time," King told the entertainment news show "Extra" Sunday. "And my heart just aches for Rihanna."

Kanye West told Ryan Seacrest last week, "I was completely devastated by the concept of what I heard. ... I feel like that's my baby sis. I would do any and everything to help her in any situation." Rap mogul Jay-Z, who discovered and mentored Rihanna, reportedly "hit the roof" when he heard about the alleged fight, according to Us Weekly magazine. "Just imagine it being your sister or mom, and then think about how we should talk about that," Jay-Z said of 20-year-old Rihanna. "I just think we should all support her. She's going through a tough time. You have to realize she's a young girl, as well. She's very young."

And it's not just African-American celebrities who are outraged. Actress Rosanne Barr lashed out at Brown on her blog Monday.

"Chris Brown's lies and excuses make me want to beat the crap out of him," Barr wrote. "You dirty bastard. I hope you go to prison for 10 years."

Author Rebecca Walker, who writes a blog for TheRoot.com, believes the focus should be on domestic abuse.

"I am more disappointed by the response to the incident than the incident itself," she told ABCNews.com. "It should be used as an opportunity to discuss violence in general, and domestic violence in particular. It's a good place to begin a conversation about how love shouldn't hurt, and how victims of abuse themselves often become abusers if they don't get proper support.

"Ultimately, this issue transcends gender, race, class, etc.," she said. "This is about relationships and what healthy ones look like. It's about intimacy and how little we, as a culture, know about cultivating and maintaining it. It's about love, what it is, and what it isn't."

Rihanna's father, Ronald Fenty, told People magazine that he expects his daughter to address the issue. "At some point, she will speak out," he said. "I hope she will stand up for women all over the world." As for Brown's salvaging his once clean-cut image and role model status, Wright-Williams said, "I think he could still be a role model for 'I totally messed up and I will never be accused of this again.' Or he could be found guilty and be the model of what you don't want: You hit women, you get arrested and lose endorsements. "Thank God we're not hinging on Chris Brown for our one and only role model," she said. "We can easily turn to our new president."

Full story here

Comments:

Comment #1 by affrodite on February 21, 2009 - 9:54am

Followed your twitter link here. You are spot on, in my opinion. We are caught up in the people and losing sight of the greater issue at large.

Comment #2 by Shane evans on February 22, 2009 - 10:04pm

That is the best that I have seen anyone put it... instead of getting caught up in the WHO DID IT'S look at the WHOLE and the LESSON... blessings.

February 20th, 2009