Sunday, March 15, 2009
The illustrious Dino and I have embarked on a road trip from the currently bleak and rainy landscape of Maryland to the hopefully warm and welcoming beaches of St. Augustine, Florida. While driving for hours in Dino's posh Volvo, both of our tummies disconcerted with the Aunt Sarah Pancake House brunch we gave them, Dino and I began recounting folly after folly of Vh1 Celebreality and MTV's "A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila"....
The conversation covered such common points as:
OF COURSE Tila did not choose the female prospect at the finale. The show's sole purpose is to further sexualize bisexuality and show that, in the end, of course a woman REALLY wants a man. It was obvious that the guy, no matter how comparatively air-headed he seemed next to his female counterpart, was going to win. Women revolve around phalluses, and only have sex with each other when one is not around. Duh. Oh and lesbians don't have real sex. Har har.
Then there's Rock of Love with Bret Michaels. Dino laughed raucously about how pathetic he seems still performing "Every Rooooose Has Its Thorn" with his bandana and rock-stylistic long hair. It's true. The fact that a bunch of women are assembling to publicly compete for a man's affection, mostly via showing skin and giving lap dances, is loathsome enough. Add to it that they're exploiting themselves on public tv for the pseudo affections of a washed-out rock star and you have enough puke fodder for a decade to come.
Then there's Charm School, which is problematic in its own right because while it is trying to reinforce the common courtesies that spitting, swearing profusely , etc. are not civil habits, the show focuses solely on women, simultaneously delivering the message that sexual and physical aggression are unbecoming from women.
It greatly amuses my travel companion and myself that Vh1 first recruits women to exploit themselves by hungering for C/D-list celebs with pin-up photo shoot competitions and mud wrestling--er, football matches, and then follows up for bonus moola by utilizing them for a second show where they're told that everything that the producers probably egged them onto do in the first place--is plainly unseemly.
Why do lesbians rock my world in this regard? Because damn, Vh1 and MTV have failed to create some trashy "DATE CHER'S DAUGHTER" (should I look up her name? I'm not really a huge Cher fan) pathetic "let's cater to the lesbian community" reality show.....
So, yeah. ROCK ON LESBIANS. DON'T LET Vh1 touch you.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
People Got A Lotta Nerve - Neko Case
I'll admit, it took me awhile to warm up to this track. The bright guitars and upbeat drums are quite a departure from her last album, the brilliant The Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. The snippets of new material that can be heard on the Middle Cyclone EPK give me no reason to worry, however; from shuffling, introspective ballads to heart-wrenching torch songs, Miss Case isn't about to abandon the formula that brought her success in the past. I think we can look forward to another gem of an album in March, and stay tuned for a review of her performance at the 9:30 club in Washington, D.C, on April 8!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Laura and I went to Charm City Kitty Club last night at the Patterson. Laura's been to Kitty-topia before, but yesterday evening was a first pour moi.
The phallic-shaped desserts, free flavored condoms, and scantily-clad cupcake vendor did not prepare me in any way for the passion incarnate that was to take the stage near the end of the night. Who would have thought that in the hyper-technological world of 2009, that spoken word remains a power-house?
The poet and activist Andrea Gibson could make even my ex-Navy chief, Jews-are-going-to-take-over-the-world, Hemingway's-the-pinnacle-of-literature father love poetry. (And she might be able to teach me a thing or two about syntax, but hey, that's just semantics.)
The crew in the row directly behind me in the audience either naturally lacked tact, or had imbibed a few Bohs too many and in any case, were constantly babbling and cracking jokes through other performers' sets (including, unfortunately, the amazing songs of singer-songwriter Gina Young), but when Gibson spoke the first word of her first poem of the night, "For Eli", the loudmouths behind me became as still and silent as babies post-lullaby.
Gibson seemed to embody the very words that came out of her mouth as she spoke them, sending each audience member's ear a particle of her passion. Her poems were candid, honest, tear-jerking, thought-provoking and at times, really funny. Her stage presence dominated not only attention spans, but emotional capacities as well, and in kind, both Laura and I felt it difficult at times to refrain from tears.
Andrea Gibson's poem, "For Eli", which she prefaced by saying she hopes to retire it soon, is a good reminder to the world that charity bracelets, bumper stickers, and saying "oh, that's terrible" before turning off the news special on genocide isn't enough. Her words invoke an urgency for action that's much needed in the world's perilous state of affairs. She also discussed civil liberties, hypocrisy, and how as we grow older, we also grow more judgemental and less accepting of others.
Gibson is not only a memorable dynamo of wordsmith and performer, but she blends activist seedlings into her words that leave me with an unmatchable imprint. Each line of Andrea Gibson's poetry set off a mine in my dormant thoughts, and I'm left wondering, "who planted those explosive devices that one word can send me so happily home, and so inspired?"
You should take a bite out of some of that inspiration: http://www.andreagibson.org
Friday, January 16, 2009
At first, I thought my eyelids were drooping because of problematic acting and a lack of cinematic chemistry. Every line Dicaprio and Winslet screamed at each other seemed stagey and forced. Then, as the narrative developed, I realized the real issue was that Winslet didn't have a legitimate character to portray. She was simply trying to bring depth and soul to a two-dimensional crock of shit. Winslet played The Neurotic, one of the paper dolls women get to be in film.
From the get-go of "Revolutionary Road", it's April Wheeler (Winslet's character) that's being antagonistic while Frank Wheeler (Dicaprio) struggles to comfort her and eventually angers at her inconsolability. April cheats on her husband with his best friend, kills their unborn baby, screams at her daughter, whines and cries about living in a big house and constantly drinking martinis, and has a lifelong dream of going to Paris because her husband once said it was the most interesting city in the world.
The viewer rarely sees her smile or laugh and when she does it's hardly endearing as she follows it up with a bout of sobbing and screaming, or a stony silence and curt words most likely dealing with the failure of the family plan to move to Paris. She's petty, overly emotional, selfish, and at times palpably more insane than the gimmicky character of John Givings, the previously institutionalized son of Mrs. Givings (Kathy Bates). She's the emotionally unstable wife with a resilience factor of zero. We're given no background, no motive, no understanding of her anger and disappointment, only a whirlwind of screaming, pouting, and eventually: blood.
The other three prominent female characters are even worse off in the arena of depth. Mrs. Givings is The Nag, an obtrusive real estate agent whose own husband doesn't want to listen to her constant gossip and complaints. She constantly worries about propriety, barges in on the Wheelers at the worst possible moments, and lets her son insult her and yell at her to just shut up. Then we have The Bimbo, a secretary at Frank Wheeler's company, who's made to look so dumb as to perhaps have undergone a lobotomy as a job requirement. Her vapid statements, easy nature, and wide-eyed expressions are hard to swallow after thirty seconds of her time on screen. And last, but not least, we have The Devout in the character of Mrs. Campbell, a tame woman who tries hard to fit in with the rest of the neighborhood, is easily shaken, and seems all-too-happy to be glued to her husband's hip.
I'm only disappointed because I thought Revolutionary Road was going to be a movie that would give me insight into the 50s, a film that would show me two complicated souls struggling to be independent in a decade known for its oppressive environment of conformity.
Instead, I got four paper dolls, a weak imitation of the women I know who lived during that very interesting decade.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Billboard's top ten this week consists of T.I., Britney Spears, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kanye West, and Ne-Yo.
In "Circus", which is at spot #3 on the Billboard chart, Spears asserts, "There's two kinds of people in this world, those who entertain, and those who observe" -- well, what about those who actually have something worthwhile to say other than mediocre poetics such as, "I'm like a firecracker, I like it hot"? Congrats to the teacher who taught Spears' lyricist the power of similes. I understand she's trying to make a comeback, but donning diamonds and dancing around with pasties on her boobs while giving the camera come-hither eyes isn't exactly the pinnacle of regained dignity.
Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" comes in at #7 where she spews out some great stereotypical piss, but hey, she's a woman and she's shooting that shit at a man, so it's cool, right? Her lyrics contain gems like "You PMS like a bitch I would know" and "You change your mind like a girl changes clothes"... yep, we're all menstruating fashionistas. Thanks, Katy, this totally tops your radical "I kissed a girl and I liked it." If she really wanted to be rebellious, the song would be "I licked a cunt and I liked it" but that totally wouldn't jive with the party-bi, preppie audience to whom she's packaged and sold.
Maybe if I heard mainstream rap hits calling guys dicks and cocks as much as I hear women being called hos and bitches I'd be more amicable toward women shaking their asses to a pop beat under the guise of art.
Gotta love the patriarchy's pop princesses; they're doing a grand job keeping us bitches in our proper place.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
PJ Harvey is one of the best female musicians to come out of the 90s and she's already releasinig new material! White Chalk, which is haunting and lovely, just came out last year so I'm somewhat surprised that her latest endeavor, A Woman A Man Walked By, will be out March 2009 (according to pjharvey.net).
For the record, I am not at all bothered by the closeness of the releases. The album is a collaboration with John Parish who regularly works with Harvey.
As for me, as stated by Laura I'm heading to the pacific northwest in a mere twenty days, it was a sudden decision so I've spent all of my free time this semester planning that... hence no posting. But there will be lots from me in the new year! As for this month, I'm getting to work on an end of the year list so look for that.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I finally managed to extricate myself from imprisonment, from my self-imposed patriarchy, and what did I do after that fateful “break-up” morning? I ran to the dating pool, seeking out some other form of completion. I hadn’t loved myself for two years running, but somehow I thought I was going to find what I couldn’t give myself in a complete stranger.
I’ve been on ten dates within the last two months, and this is what I learned: *
Dima called me on the phone. He sounded far more foreign than I had expected. I think I wanted to meet up with Dima because I felt nostalgic for my first lover, a Dutch law student. I told Dima, “I’ll just meet you at the restaurant” but he refused to let me drive myself anywhere. “I’ll drive you; this is the Russian way. In Russia, the men drive.”
Lesson One: Decrepit American me must have forgotten that having a vagina means I can’t navigate through traffic.
But, I was willing to sacrifice my pride to meet anyone new. He brought me flowers and a box of Driscolls strawberries. A bit much, but sweet. We had sushi and watched “Burn After Reading” after which he confessed he only laughed because other people were laughing; he had no idea what was going on in the movie. Good times. After the first date, Dima must have assumed he had some possessive power over me because I couldn’t go 24 hours without seeing him in my “Missed Calls”, nonetheless hearing his accented pleas, “Allo, Samanta, where are you? Who are you with? Why you no call me?”
Lesson Two: If a man buys you Driscolls, beware the tracking device subtext.
A month passes, and I’m so beaten down by his calls that I finally give in to having a date number two. (He’s driving, of course.) He brings a strawberry-laden cake and another big, beautiful bouquet of flowers. We have Chinese. Over shrimp and broccoli, he admits that he’s married, has two daughters, and a litter of kittens at home. But, hey, he still hates his wife, so it’s OK for him and me to be intimate.
Lesson Three: If you buy a woman enough shit, she won’t even notice your wedding ring.
My second experience was with Matt, who was a working lawyer. We had great conversation, gorged on sushi, and went back to his place to continue the conversation. We smoked a bowl on his couch, talked about art, had a glass of wine, and wham, he’s kissing me. We make out a little and then I stop him, and tell him I don’t want to go farther since we’ve just met. He says, “Ok” and then shoves his tongue down my throat again. I stop him again, and repeat my wishes. He puts his hand on my crotch and tries kissing me again. I stop him for a third time, and by this point I’m frustrated. I tell him I should probably get back home, and he gives me a good guilt trip, “I drove you all the way heeeeree…”
Lesson Four: If a man drives you all the way to his abode, he expects to get laid. A woman’s integrity = a gallon of gas. Simple economics.
Lastly, I want to mention Ryan, who ten months ago, let me sob my guts out on his bed because he had slept with me for a month under the pretext of a “connection”, a “relationship” and when I brought commitment up, he told me he had just wanted to sleep with me. When I started to cry, he told me he didn’t feel comfortable with me sleeping with him that night, and wanted me to leave. It was 2AM. I refused, popped a couple of pills, and passed out. Worst of all: I had brought a book of my favorite writings to share with him that night.
Well a couple of days ago he e-mailed me saying how much he regrets it all. I challenged him, telling him I wanted to hear it face-to-face, and that I deserve it. He said he can’t see me face-to-face because he feels too vulnerable. He’s 27. I’m 19. He fucked me for a month, and then told me he wanted nothing to do with me and to go home as I sat there crying. What does he know about vulnerability?
Lesson Five: Men, you can fuck ‘em over young, if you make up for it later with a half-assed, typo-ridden e-mail. Women go crazy for that sort of thing.
And that’s not the least of it, unfortunately. I used to think “objectification” was a bogus, out-dated theme of fogey feminists from the 60s, but at this point, I’m feeling it through-and-through and I’m fed up.
I’d rather be single than be disrespected. So until a man’s reading my poetry before he’s reaching between my legs, I’m going solo.
And I’m damned happy about it.
(*Names were changed for privacy.)
I am thrilled to welcome our newest contributor, Samantha, to the RiGID family. You may remember her from earlier this year as my cohost on RiGIDcast's podcast on pornography and masturbation. The founder of Baltimore's Liberal Literati book club and the co-creater of the performance duo OVA, Samantha lends her unique perspective on relationships, sex and feminism to our already fabulously diverse blog.
Another note: soon RiGID will be a presence on both coasts! Our resident music expert, Nicole, is shipping out to Olympia, Washington this month. We will miss her here on the east coast, but secretly can't wait to hear about the music she encounters at the alma mater of the Riot Grrrls!
Stay tuned for RiGIDcast episode two sometime within the next month or so.