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Archive for the ‘Top heroine rating ***HHH*** (formerly GGG)’ Category

Check out this 8 yr. old girl, Sam Gordon, playing football. WOW

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In 2013, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the Golden Globes. Here’s the NY Daily News sub headline:

“The comedic duo will be taking over for Ricky Gervais, who manned the hosting duties for three years.”

Not sure if that humor is intended, but this hosting gig is a huge victory for women. Fey and Poehler will become the first female duo ever to host this high profile awards show.

Tina Fey is a pioneer. She was the first female head writer ever of “Saturday Night Live,” a notoriously male dominated show that launched the career of many high profile male comedians from John Belushi to Adam Sandler. Fey’s brilliant book, Bossypants, was a best-seller. One of my favorite sections was her beautiful prayer for her daughter. Like Fey, Amy Poehler is a groundbreaker as well; she’s funny, smart, beautiful, a mom, and the star of her own show. Even cooler, both women are…FRIENDS.

Winning this hosting job helps to repudiate ridiculous but persistent myths about women, mainly: (1) Women aren’t funny (2) “Pretty” women aren’t funny (3) Women aren’t friends (4) Women can’t work together (5) Moms aren’t high-profile, breadwinners, funny, smart, or sexy.

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Tina Fey’s prayer for her daughter:

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be beautiful but not damaged, for it’s the damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from acting but not all the way to finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes and not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the drums to the fiery rhythm of her own heart with the sinewy strength of her own arms, so she need not lie with drummers.

Grant her a rough patch from twelve to seventeen.Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, for childhood is short – a tiger flower blooming magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, for I will not have that shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. My mother did this for me once, she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a mental note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with your God eyes.

Amen.

 

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Ever heard of Lee Miller?

She was an artist, photographer, war correspondent, model, and girlfriend of the famous surrealist Man Ray.

There’s an exhibition right now at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor “Man Ray/ Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism.” It was fascinating for me to see this show the day after I went to the Cindy Sherman retrospective at the SF MOMA. In many ways, Miller seems like a precursor to Sherman. Like Sherman, Miller was obsessed with depicting females and female body parts in a way these subjects, though done so many times before, hadn’t yet been presented.

Miller’s photographs show heads that appear to be severed by using lighting techniques or positioning them over cloaks, and one that I loved of a hand that appears to be floating, fiercely clutching an elaborate hair do. The creepiest and most Shermanesque image– or I suppose Sherman is Milleresque: the photographer stole severed breasts from a hospital (where a patient had a radical mastectomy)  and photographed them on dinner plates. It amazes me that Miller had the guts to create this photograph, in 1930 no less. Miller has many more fascinating shots in the show including a female head suffocating under a  bell jar (before the more famous Sylvia Path used that image) and a model pinned against the wall by knives thrown by another woman.

The next gallery documents Miller and Man Ray’s break-up. When she left him, he was tormented, writing pages of her name: “Elizabeth.” There are also framed love letters and a series of art works of Miller’s body parts by the obsessive Man Ray: giant lips floating through the air, an eye attached a  metronome, severed legs. You can see why Miller experienced herself as so fragmented and disembodied. Her career as a model obviously contributed to this experience.

In one fascinating pairing in the exhibition, there is nude portrait of Miller by Man Ray next to Miller’s nude self-portrait. While Man Ray’s photograph has Miller in a typical seductive pose with typical soft lighting, Miller’s joyful art in a powerful pose is far more unusual and striking. When I looked at Miller’s photograph, the highlighted biceps and subtle smile– it also reminds me of poses made famous so many years later by Madonna.

Another gallery shows Miller’s war correspondent work, she was one of the few females to photograph war time– still not a profession that many women venture into.

This show is a beautiful and fascinating documentation of how a passionate relationship creates great art.

Reel Girl rates “Man Ray/ Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism” ***HH***

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If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at entering yet another museum gallery full of Carvaggios or Della Francescas, bare-breasted Madonnas gazing lovingly at their chubby, man-faced babies; or any bare-breasted women gazing at any baby; or seen one too many portraits of important looking old men with bald heads and big noses, the Cindy Sherman show at the SF Moma is for you. When I walked into the room of her Old Master parodies, featuring stiff poses, prosthetic breasts, giant noses, and garish bald caps, Sherman in all of them, I felt like getting on my knees and giving thanks. It was like she was saying, “Fuck you, Old Masters. You’re all the same. How do you think women feel when they’re stuck in gallery after gallery of the same old thing? You know what it looks like to us? Check this out.”

Sherman doesn’t only mock Old Masters. If you’ve ever been grossed out looking at a portrait of a possy of TV housewives in Us Weekly, if you’ve ever thought those women looked more alien than human, you will love Sherman’s art. With garish make-up and enormously scaled photographs, Sherman shows the grotesque in images we find normal, or are supposed to find normal. Or fun. Or cute. Or titillating. The way the show text describes the themes is that Sherman uses “images embedded in our imagination.” I love that description because that is also what Reel Girl is all about. A lot of what I find seriously creepy, Sherman does as well, and it’s all in this show: clowns, society women, hardcore porn, fairy tales and aging movie stars. (Now, if I could just get her take on My Little Pony and Polly Pocket.)

What is so great about this exhibition is that Sherman is in all of her own photos. She is subject and object. By taking on both of these roles, she shows how fucked up it is that women exist in a world that is so male dominated that we actually experience ourselves through male eyes and male narratives. As John Berger wrote: Men watch. Women watch themselves being watched. I’ve read about that idea, thought about that idea, written about it, but I’ve never seen it presented so brilliantly as in this show.

One thing that is kind of a bummer: everything is grotesque and ugly. By the time I was through the rooms, I was desperate for some beauty. I started to wonder what Sherman found beautiful, if anything. Of course, she must see beauty. This show was not the place where she wanted to present that particular aspect of existence. Maybe her art isn’t focused on showing beauty at all. Which is fine, of course, she’s the artist, but I found myself hopeful to see a show where she was doing more acting and less reacting.

Reel Girl rates Cindy Sherman retrospective ***HHH***

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I’ve blogged about games before: Sexist apps for little kids and the card games Slamwich and Sleeping Queens. But now Reel Girl has a whole new category. My family has started a weekend ritual of evening board games during quiet time instead of reading, so I’m looking at lots of games.  The switch in routine is a struggle for me, because I love reading and kind of dislike board games. It’s not that I hate them, I just didn’t get the point. I’d rather be reading. But according to my kids’ teachers, there is a point: math and verbal skills, art skills, rule following, winning and losing, and together time. The teachers are also right that my kids are at such different reading levels, that it is fun (when they’re not cheating or fighting) to do something together.

My first rec is Hedbanz. This game is super fun. All my kids, ages 3 – 9, can play this game and feel challenged at different levels. One kid holds a card with a picture up to her forehead (actually, most people place them there in headbands, thus the name of the game, but we lost our bands.) She asks yes or no questions (Am I alive, am I an animal etc) Because of the simple pictures, it’s easy for the three year old to feel like she’s a part of it. The older kids, obviously, like to guess the answer faster.

Needless to say, I love that the box that features two girls and one boy playing together and no sexist pictures.

Please send me your game recs!
Reel Girl rates Hedbanz ***HHH***

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I’m reading Charlotte’s Web to my six year old daughter, and I am absolutely stunned by how beautiful this book is. It is poetry from start to finish.

In case you forgot, here’s the first line:

“Where’s Papa going with that ax?”

Here are the last two lines, impossible for me to read without getting chills:

It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a writer. Charlotte was both.

This book is a literary feast. Not only is it about a writer and writing, but the language and word play throughout are Shakespearean. Charlotte’s Web is full of reversals and symmetry, perhaps the most moving (and central) one is that we spend the book worrying about Wilbur’s violent death and at the end, it is Charlotte who dies peacefully.

Speaking of death, Charlotte’s Web tackles this scary and complicated reality in an authentic, touching way, that kids can understand without getting freaked out. That is, when reading Charlotte’s Web, kids experience their emotions about death in a safe way.

And of course, the book features two of the best female characters in kidlit: Charlotte and Fern.

Somehow, I missed reading this book to my older daughter. If you haven’t read it recently, you’ve got pick it up. It will make your day. My sister who is an English professor lent me an amazing edition called The Annotated Charlotte’s Web (pictured above) that is full of footnotes, letters from E.B. White, Hamlet analogies, and notes about Garth Williams, the illustrator, as well. It’s fascinating to read.

Reel Girl rates Charlotte’s Web ***HHH***

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Title quote from Pigtail Pals.

Photo from 7Wonderlicious:

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