Saturday, August 23, 2008

RiGID news/blog roundup

-First and foremost: Barack Obama has chosen Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. Feministing has a great in-depth piece about what this means for abortion rights, marriage equality, and other feminist issues. I'm disappointed, but it won't change the way I'm going to vote this fall. What do you think?

-It's old news at this point, but last weekend talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi got married in a small private ceremony at their home in California. Best wishes to them. Can I haz Arrested Development Movie now?

-Australian feminist Germaine Greer (The Female Eunuch) recently made some waves in the feminist blogosphere with her essay, "On Rage", which suggests that domestic violence towards Aboriginal women is "understandable". Jezebel has more.

-Bjork sounds off on sexism in the music industry.....and Laura blares "Army of Me" on her laptop.

-Racialicious has a fabulous post on the portrayal of Muslim women in comic books.

-And Sarah Haskins continues to be awesome.

Local Baltimore Feminist-y Events:

-NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and the Creative Alliance will be hosting Choice Avengers!: A Variety Show for Superheroines on Sept. 5 at 8pm. There will be music, comedy, a drag king, and lots of sexy feminists in spandex.

-Samantha Manchester recently established the "Anti Apathy Alliance" and will be hosting an I-VAWA letter writing campaign night on sept 13 at 6pm. Check out the Meetup page for more info.

Am I missing any upcoming Baltimore events? How about Shepherd or Marshall?


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Intro Post

I'm Nicole, latest addition to RiGID and resident Obsessor of Music. And music is what all of my posts around here will be about.
I'll be posting anything and everything related including book reviews, concert reviews, album reviews, tour dates, artist news... you get the idea.
Luckily this blog focuses on women so my posting won't get out of hand, hopefully. I'll also try to include more than just artists I like, everyone should be well-rounded musically.
So, that's that!

Rather than putting a real update in here, I'm going to toss in a couple of new music videos for your enjoyment. Or loathing, that's cool too!

This is Juliana Hatfield's video for "This Lonely Love" from her new album "How to Walk Away" (August 19th). If you know anything about the Boston music scene of the late 80s/early 90s you probably know of Juliana Hatfield due to her involvement in the indie scene there. She broke away from the band Blake Babies (they were given the name by Allen Ginsberg which is pretty awesome) and had mild success as a solo artist.
Her solo music has two main categories loud and kind of angsty vs. melodic sort of folky numbers. I love both. I can't make a judgement on her latest stuff as I don't have it yet (though, it's out there) but this song is okay.
Not my favorite but I can see it popping into my head.
I don't know about the video, I think it's a recording of a photoshoot as some bits look like her latest promo shots. But, I've never thought of Juliana as a video-centric artist so it's okay.
Even if you don't like this song I highly suggest you check out her other stuff. Every album has some really choice songs. I'll also be reviewing her book "When I Grow Up" (September 22nd) when it comes out.
(I don't know why the border is green. It makes me sad.)

Moving to a completely different sound.

This is Uh Huh Her's video for "Not A Love Song" from their album "Common Reaction (August 19th). The album was supposed to come out in May and I already have it but I'll do a proper review when it is officially released.
UHH is led by Leisha Hailey (Alice Pieszecki if you must) and Camila Grey.
Leisha fronted The Murmurs in the 90s so it's not really another case of "actor turned musician" and Camila was previously in the band Mellowdrone and has worked with artists in a range of genres.
But none of their previous work sounds like UHH which is pretty infectious electro-pop. I love this song, I saw the band back in May and this was definitely the song of the night. Enjoy!
ps. I don't know about the unicorn, either. Mythical creatures need love too.
pps. I hope the MTV embed works. I've never used it before but the video quality is so much better than on youtube.

Coming up (this does not mean SOON, just in general):
Tori Amos' "Comic Book Tattoo" review
Female bass player retrospective
Concert Reviews: Tegan & Sara, The Kills (October)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

the tyra banks post.

I'm a tv addict and there is no way around it. In addition to the 5 or so shows I watch religiously (Weeds, The L Word, Jon Stewart, Colbert, The Office) I engorge myself on long marathons of the Simpsons, King of the Hill, Seinfeld, and Arrested Development. I consider these shows to be the cream of the crop, which normally makes me something of a functioning addict in society. The problem arises when these shows aren't on and I'm jonesin' for a tv fix. At this point I will watch nearly anything, and this is how I came upon the Tyra Banks show.
Now, it's not that Tyra Banks isn't qualified to host her own talk show, because all it really requires of a person is that they are already famous. Talk show host "greatness" comes later, obviously. And it's not that her show functions much like most women's magazines do, with show titles like "What men really want you to wear" and "Just how hot are you?", because fine, there's a place for that.
What sets Tyra apart from all the others is her willingness to address women's sexuality. Good for her, right? Not quite. It would be a good thing if she knew what the hell she was talking about, but she doesn't.
I don't know if it started with those girls gone wild videos or that infamous Britney -Madonna kiss.....but when it comes to bisexuality, it seems to be everywhere these days!
Riiiiiiight, Tyra, because bisexual women are magical creatures that spontaneously appear only when cameras are around.
For this episode, she had Tila Tequila on as a guest. You know Tila; the tiny, obnoxious myspace mogul-cum-reality starlet? As you may or may not know, she speaks for all bisexual women everywhere. She's an expert, because she can tell you that women kiss differently than men. And way to go for framing bisexuality as a fad or a phase, because all the bisexuals I know totally dig that.
Then there was the infamous Violet Blue fiasco.
Now, if anyone knows anything about women and porn, it's Violet Blue. As a former sex educator for Good Vibrations, sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and blogger for Fleshbot and her own Tiny Nibbles, Mizz Blue constantly has her finger on the pulse of the adult industry, and Tyra's staff couldn't have chosen a more eloquent or knowledgeable person as a guest for her show on pornography. If you saw the interview , though, it was incredibly disappointing. Appearing within the last 10 minutes of the program, Violet Blue appeared from the audience and was interviewed quickly and sloppily. But that's not even half of the story, for you see, Violet had been told that she was going to be the porn "expert" for the show when in fact she was to appear after longer and more in-depth discussions with performer Nina Hartley and filmmaker Candida Royalle, famous for her brand of romantic porn marketed towards women. The entire show for this day did nothing but re-affirm old ideas about pornography, ideas which would have been refuted if Violet Blue had been allowed to speak at any length. Violet was also treated horrendously backstage and it became pretty clear that Tyra herself was not interested in hearing that women's taste in porn is as varied as men's, as she was caught up in this idea of women responding more to romance than to sex.
(As a side note, why is everyone so mean to Violet Blue?)
Tyra continued her sketchy stance on pornography in another episode, in which she talked to teenage sex workers, specifically, a 14 year-old prostitute and porn performer Sasha Grey, who was 18 years old at the time. I didn't get to see the entire interview with the first young woman, but I could discern that the tone was of deep shame and judgment. This tone was carried over into her interview with Sasha Grey. The first thing that got under my skin about this segment was Tyra's constant reiterating that Sasha looked like a child. Sasha vlogged about her experience on the show as well, and reported that her "look" for the show was deliberate on the part of the wardrobe department. After showing up at the studio wearing her own clothes, she was told she looked to mature to be 18 years old and was promptly thrown in a pink t-shirt, making her look not unlike the little girl Tyra persistently insisted she was. The interview was edited to make it look like Tyra was just talking at Sasha. Tyra asked her questions and looked shocked and offended by her answers.
Do you do anal? (I found this one funny. Christ. Anal is not the most explicit thing people do in porn)
Were you abused as a child?
Are you mentally ill??
Do you have AIDS?
Has your family disowned you?
Why are you really in the adult entertainment industry?
Tyra ended the segment having decided for herself that Sasha needed to do some "soul searching", but it's pretty obvious that Miss Grey isn't the one who needs to expand her mind.
Now I come back to the idea of a person being qualified to be a talk show host. Her being a supermodel is not the reason she is bad at what she does. She is bad at what she does because she is close-minded, judgmental, and treats any guests that may have beliefs at odds with hers (like sex-positive feminists Blue and Grey) like shit.
You wanna be the next Oprah? Then shape up.

(and calm the fuck down....)