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March 31, 2008

Making Trouble

I was able to attend at the Walker Making Trouble, which was part of the Walker Art Center’s Women with Vision 2008: Past/Present film screenings. The film showcased many women in Jewish comedy not just today but as far back as Sophie Tucker, Fanny Brice, and the early days of Joan Rivers. The movie was interesting in that it was centered on 4 Jewish women comedians in a deli, discussing other Jewish comedians. The four women provided excellent commentary on women I knew little to nothing about and gave insight as to what it is like today to be a stand-up female Jewish comedian.

I really enjoyed seeing the footage of Sophie Tucker. I have read about some of her material but to see such a strong female stage performer from such an early time period. Her music is provocative, filled with double meanings and oozing sexuality. As with learning anything about the early 20th century, there is always this idealized purity that goes along with it. However, whenever I see footage of someone like Sophie Tucker or how in one of my classes I am learning gay history prior to WWII, it is encouraging knowing that our stifling of sexuality really isn’t deeply rooted in the past; sexuality wasn’t so taboo years ago as we think it was.

Another comedian I really loved seeing in Making Trouble was Joan Rivers. I know her from her E! red carpet specials, which isn’t saying much. She’s annoying, crass, overbearing, and needs to stop the Botox. That was the only impression I ever had of her prior to the film. However, since then I have an increased interest in her self-deprecating comedy and her devotion to her comedic craft. She had to work extremely hard to get where she is, working at clubs for no money and literally be yanked off the stage. They showed a lot of Rivers’ more recent comedy where she makes fun of her current employment on the red carpet. It made me respect her a lot more for what she does now, not just 30 years ago. She was able to make fun of the pointlessness and annoying nature that pestering celebrities can be. When she was interviewed she was also much more subdued. She wasn’t this crazy woman shoving a microphone in someone’s face; she is aware of what it takes to stay alive in the comedy business. Now in her seventies, she is still going strong and I guess now I feel I can really respect that.

Finally, one quote from the movie that really stood out for me was when Cory Kahaney discussed how difficult it was for her to do stand up when pregnant. It made her aware that on stage she was still a woman. It reminded her audience her woman status. I think this is reflective of how difficult it is for women still to perform solo on stage. You are a target for criticism and hecklers. People try and create a genre of women’s comedy and think that women’s humor can’t transcend genders. For some reason, there is a common humor amongst women that men can not enjoy. It raises interesting questions as to how far does a woman have to go in order to be considered funny by a mass audience? Does a woman have to embody more masculine characteristics in order to succeed in comedy? One thing that I have noticed is how inherently masculine stand-up comedy is. It takes a strong persona, sense of entitlement (you want people to listen to you, you think you are funny), and also a lot of confidence is needed to get on stage. Cory Kahaney’s one quote left a resounding impact on me simply because it raised so many questions and posed many problems still left within stand-up, many years after Fanny Brice and Sophie Tucker.

I know I left out a lot of the movie in my brief reaction. I was simply overwhelmed at the number of successful female Jewish comedians and also the commentary other had in response to their careers. I really knew of very few Jewish female comedians prior to the film. I knew of Sarah Silverman, Bette Midler, Sandra Bernhardt, and also Gilda Radner who was featured in Making Trouble. These women also showed how important it is to have role models and pay respect to those who have helped shape the comedic world (or any public sphere for that matter). Women are funny and it took a long time for people to legitimacy believe it. Certainly after watching Making Trouble it would be hard find someone in the audience that would disagree.

Feminist Event Write-up

The first few…dozen or so websites that I visited, I did not understand. Even the two I have chosen to write about for my reflections don’t really make all that much sense to me. I understand them more than the others but I still don’t exactly get what meaning(s) they are trying to convey. The two I have chosen are These Waves of Girls and Postcards From the Feminist Utopia

The first website, These Waves of Girls is a “hypermedia novella? by artist Caitlin Fisher. Fisher is a Professor of Fine Arts Cultural Studies in Toronto and was one of the first editors of JSTOR, or the online Journal of Social and Political Though. She most certainly embodies the theory + practice formula that has highlighted our semester. This is all the information I was able to find out about her, however. All of the “stories? in Fisher’s work are told from the point of view of a woman as she relives different ages, sharing snippets of her thoughts during these times. The stories mostly involve the woman’s discovery and/or exploration of her sexuality, from her Barbie orgies to crushes on teachers and coaches. The snippets are interesting and relate the fictional story of the woman’s life. I found myself involved with this woman and her journey of self-discovery, a topic that I think most people can relate to. Fisher peppers the stories with humor that make them even more personable/interesting.
Visually, Fisher does some interesting things. She uses text (obviously) to relate her stories, but embedded hyperlinks in the texts allow viewers to meander through the site in no particular order. While this is interesting aesthetically, it can make the (overarching) story harder to follow. However, because the text pieces are just “snippets? they can function independently from one another. It is an interesting way to tell a story. She uses text layered over old photos (of whom we don’t know, as the piece is fictional) and edited images along with moving text and sound bites. She also uses boxes containing pictures that when you run your cursor over the picture it warps and moves (aesthetically a very neat addition). There is a lot of color throughout the entire piece making it, I feel, visually fascinating and captivating.
The second website, Postcards From the Feminist Utopia, is a collection of works from different artists. One piece that I particularly liked is from artist Joanne Bristol, a Canadian performance artist; the postcard also features her band members, Carla Powers and Catherine McGrath. I liked the piece because of its simplicity. The postcard is a picture of the three women in longhorn cattle-horns with clip art butterflies, followed by a clip of a woman’s ankles and shoes jumping on a bed. The caption reads, “…sometimes I think we don’t make use of older, well-made technologies like our beds…? which I found particularly interesting because I agree. Adults seem to loose their sense of humor or child-ness but these women, in their paper mache horns and jumping on the bed produce a sense of child-ness. That childhood abandon, at least for me, is a sort of utopia. The other point about this postcard that I liked is that there is no specified meaning. Because it is so simple, it can foster a plethora of different meanings in those that view it.
The other postcard I found kind of interesting was the “Brain Dress Series? and the different “bras? (holiday bra, radio bra and burning bra). The pieces are from artist Lori Weidenhammer, a performance artist from Cactus Lake, Saskathchewan. She often uses humor and different types of media in her works and often deals with feminist issues in her work. In Brain Dress, Weidenhammer puts pictures behind the drawing (presumably) herself in the brain dress layered with text that reveal memories or thoughts that Weidenhammer has. The background is all black and the focus is given specifically to the dress and moving pictures behind it. She has achieved good aesthetic balance in the piece in that neither the dress nor the pictures behind the dress dominate the piece. They are evenly balanced, producing a very unique and not overwhelming effect.
The “Bra? pieces are different literature pieces Weidenhammer has written. All three have a particular sense of humor dealing specifically with women. It is the specificity that makes them so compelling for me, personally. With lines like, “There is a pyromaniac inside of me and she wants to BBQ my 34 Double D? and “Our motto is why burn your bra when you can turn it into something useful, like a radio?? she makes snarky comments that seem ridiculous but relay thoughts I have had at one point in time or another (not necessarily turning my bra into a radio, but the outlandishness of the idea appeals to my sense of humor). These written pieces are accompanied by pictures of Weidenhammer in different costumes that accentuate the eccentricity of the ideas in the pieces. She color saturates the picture for Holiday Bra, emphasizing the 1950’s housewife character (and “Problem with no name? theme of the written piece, connecting the ideas of antiquated women’s roles, dissatisfaction and the desire to escape from these roles) but leaves the other two in black and white. For Burning Bra, she has a picture of herself in a sombrero and cowboy wear with the word Utopia edited in. Overall, Weidenhammer’s pieces are well thought out and aesthetically pleasing.

Mutum at The Walker

I went to see Mutum on March 28th, a part of the Walker Art Center Women With Vision series. The film was based on the book Campo Geral by João Guimarães Rosa who was a Brazilian writer and diplomat. His most famous work grapples with existential issues and uses the landscape and people of Brazil as metaphors. I had trouble finding information on this specific novel (in English), but I can see how it connects to those themes. Sandra Kogut, the film maker, is well known for blending documentary styles of film making with fictional plotlines. She was born in Brazil and currently lives in Paris.

The film/book is about a boy named Thiago who lives in rural Brazil. Synopses of the film say things like “A ten year-old boy living in a remote region of the Brazilian mountains enlists the aid of his brother and best friend in order to confront a world defined by silence, betrayal, and violence.? And “Just ten years old, Thiago, is no ordinary child. Through his eyes, we observe the complex and bleak world of the adults.? I did not get any of this while watching the film. To me, the plot was slow and most of the film was consumed by close up shots of the character’s faces. The plot follows Thiago while he goes about being a ten-year-old in a semi-dysfunctional family in rural Brazil. There are several lost pets, his brother dies, his parents fight, his dad kills someone and then disappears, and then a stranger comes out of the mountains and offers to take Thaigo to the city with him for an education.

In terms of exploring the overall themes of the film as they relate to social issues, the most prominent issue is a portrayal of stereotypical machismo in Thaigo’s father. The issues confronted in that conflict were very well-rehearsed scenes of children suffering from a bad marriage and a mean father. Beyond that, my movie-going companion (a friend who speaks Portuguese who I brought along for back-up) and I left feeling that we hadn’t understood the film, or that there was nothing more to understand. I think this is because of the sparse dialogue and the limited scope of the camera. Shots were small, for the most part, and words were few. I found it to be lacking in any clear statements aside from those about the father’s machismo, and as a result, I’m struggling to connect it to themes from the course readings about feminist filmmakers. The only thing female about the film, really, was the director. I feel some sense of doubt that I saw the same film at the people who reviewed it.

Lemon Yellow

After failing to accurately pinpoint a time to visit the Walker, I decided to visit the Assemblage site. Sites like that are dangerous places for me to visit, as the collection of links provides a very effective means of watching the time slip away. However, it was interesting to discover the very diverse links that existed as I scrolled down. I visited one link that provided a commentary on what museum paintings do by night. There were a number of event links and write ups I noticed, and I read an abstract and some information on a woman’s dissertation regarding Xena and the web.

I also viewed lemonyellow.com. I looked around the site, and located a link to a film that intrigued me. However, due to the nature of the Assemblage site, I found it fitting to look into an article that was also posted on the page in reference to lemonyellow.com. The article was published in the NY Times by Katie Hafner, and is entitled “I Link, Therefore I am: A Web Intellectual’s Diary.? Reading this article made me look again at lemonyellow.com.

Lemonyellow.com, as Hafner points out, is full of intriguing things that you want to look into further. The site itself is somewhat confusing to navigate, or so I thought at first. The way the links are set up made it confusing to find things that would be of interest. I finally clicked “work? and was able to view things like the aforementioned film, and just a number of things she mentions and provides a look into.

According to Hafner, Halbert began the site via the New York Times library webpage. It evolved into this work of its own.

The web diary is all digital, but the links and the peeks are to a variety of medium, including film, books, photography, etc. all uploaded to the site. The majority of her work discusses some sort of social implications here or there, though Hafner says that that is not really the idea. It is just a collection of personal and public tidbits with some intellectual discussion.

I would not consider this web diary to be a blog like those you come across on myspace. Perhaps I should. It feels like the techniques used to create the site, the aesthetic quality and the intellectual discourse paired with her personality differentiate it from the typical blog of teenage angst and self-loathing that I stereotype myspace blogs to be. (I am aware of my short-sightedness and blatant stereotyping. I will try to work on that.)

Lemonyellow.com contains all kinds of transitions and various mobile aspects (for desperate lack of better terminology) that make the site more interesting. Yet, like I said earlier, it can also make the site distracting and difficult to navigate. Still, the neatness of the site, I think, tries to counter that. The background is white, and the font is simple.

All in all, I found lemonyellow.com to be beneficial to the class in particular. I recommend taking a look. It would be fun to become more technologically capable, and have more to say about more interesting things, I suppose, and create a blog similar to the site.

March 30, 2008

Feminist Media Event Reflections

for my event and reflection, I decided to visit the assemblage website, and tour the womens media gallery. the idea of the site really appealed to me, where the rest of the choices seemed to be elitest type of events, they are hard to get to, expensive, and not well known. but as the assemblage's main page points out, the pieces are incredibly accessable. "take your time in the rooms of this gallery. Read, or ignore, the signs. Meander. Retrace your steps. Manhandle the artworks. Stop. Stare. Play. Return again and again. Admission is free and all are welcome".

the first collection i viewed was a bunch of short stories, with pictures and videos behind them in a modern way by a woman named caitlin fisher. i clicked on her piece, as it was on the sidebar as she was the winner of the Electronic Literature Organization's $10,000 Award for Fiction in 2001. her site was hard to navigate, and a little confusing, but i'm sure it was set up in that way on purpose. her pieces were haunting and cold. i fell into such a trance reading and looking at them, i kept clicking and clicking, as in the descriptitory words in her pieces she makes the words links to other pieces where the word is the same, for example in the story 'hand travels' you can click on the words "glass shattering" and are taken to another piece called 'warned'. the stories are hard to explain, and hard to ecompass into one topic, as they are reflections on every aspect of a truly adventourous life. there are stories of rape, homosexuality, childhood memories, or even something as seemingly simple as missing the bus. i became truly enthralled with the pieces, and tried to navigate through all of the connections, as if i could put together this puzzle of someone's life.

the second collection i viewed was by ruth nestvold, which was described as a collection of love, hate, and the war of the sexes set in the pacific northwest. this piece was a lot less complex and easier to follow. the words were linked to their definitions, such as the author's views on how hate works in our society linked by the word hate in the piece's description. my favorite quote of the piece was in the link of the word war, the author says "It is said that all's fair in love and war, equating the two, but it seems an unfortunate equation, to say the least. The phenomenon of rape might support it, being as it is a paradoxical combination of what--in more positive circumstances--is otherwise termed "making love" and an aggressive act; an act which in itself is frequently a side-effect of war, perhaps even a method of war, certainly a method in the war between the sexes. The language of love could also support the equation between love and war; there are challenges and conquests, pushovers and knockouts, possession and surrender, capturing, yielding and taking by storm. And we shouldn't forget that Cupid does his dirty work with arrows". this statement shocked me with its truth, and yet it seemed so simple that i should know it intristicly.

all in all, the collection of media was very interesting, and while more accesable by the world, it is still very obscure and unnoticed. i wish pieces like this were mainstream, and more everyday women coud have their stories told.

March 28, 2008

TALK :: The Nation in Hindi Film: The Film of the Hindu Nation

Kulvinder Arora
Visiting Assistant Professor
Macalester College

Monday, March 31st, 2008
400 Ford Hall
3:30 – 5:00 PM

Kulvinder Arora's talk will deal with how religious nationalism has
framed heteronormativity in both mainstream Bollywood and "Art" Hindi
films. While some postcolonial scholars have argued that early Hindi
film constituted the formation of a national project that no longer
exists in Bollywood cinema, Arora will argue that heteronormativity
and religious nationalisms both function as national projects in
which the state and media collude. She will analyze the popular films
of Director Karan Johar like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Kal Ho Na ho
and also Deepa Mehta's Fire for their construction and subversion of
religious and gender normativity.

Kulvinder Arora has a Phd from the University of California, San
Diego in Literature. She is currently teaching as a Visiting
Assistant professor at Macalester College in Women's, Gender and
Sexuality Studies. In her work, she is interested in examining how
modernity derives its impetus from traditional cultures and practices
including progressive notions of gender and religious practices.

Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies * College of
Liberal Arts * University of Minnesota
425 Ford Hall, 224 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 624-6006 * gwss@umn.edu

March 26, 2008

On Campus Events

LECTURE ON "BRINGING FEMINISM HOME": Daisy Hernández, writer and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women on Today's Feminism, will discuss how gender and race have shaped her identity as a feminist and what it means to connect feminism to the communities we call home. March 27, 7 p.m., 125 Willey Hall. RSVP to women@umn.edu or 612-625-9837.

DOCUMENTARY: Free screening of No! Confronting Sexual Assault in Our Communities by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. The film, about the impact of sexual violence on black women and girls, features first-person testimonials and interviews with violence prevention advocates. March 28, 12:15-1:45 p.m., 238A Morrill Hall. Space is limited; RSVP to frank055@umn.edu or call 612-624-9547 by today.

TOWN HALL MEETING ON TRANSGENDER RIGHTS with Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. The event will focus on issues of gender identity that create barriers for gender access and equity, such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Social Security gender-record matching, and the Real ID Act. March 31, 7-8:30 p.m., 25 Mondale Hall. For more information, see GLBTA or e-mail neely010@umn.edu.

A talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (today); "AIDS bombs: HIV, Race, and Compliance in Minnesota" (March 27); "Common Senses: Perception and Perspective" (March 28); "Wopida Wotapi Thank You Feast And Celebration" (March 29); and "Communication Before Language" (March 31)

Another possible event


March 25, 2008

Category 5. Feminist Media Event Reflections

For this assignment you are to attend EITHER:

Wonder Women :: Art & Technology / culturing nature :: culturing technology exhibit (details below; March 6th post)
Note: this event is FREE, but you must RSVP to willow@umn.edu for FRIDAY, MARCH 14th Events (Studio Action Workshops, Panel, etc). The Gallery is free and open to the public.


Women with Vision at the Walker Arts Center (details below; March 6th post)


Visit Assemblage: The Women's New Media Gallery


Another feminist media event (talk, gallery, video screening). Note: You must EMAIL me for an approval of this event!


1. Attend the event. Take NOTES! You will need DETAILS to do your reflection post.
Note: If you choose to write on Assemblage, you must watch/visit at least 5 of the sites, and choose 1-2 to write about. Your viewing (navigating the pages of the site/show) will count as your attendance. Think about how "traveling" and viewing media on the Internet affects your experience.

2. Research the artist(s) you intend to discuss.

3. Write a 500 - 1000 word reflective write-up of the event. In your post, you must:
- Share the CONTEXT (a bit about bg of the artist) of the work (the who, what, where, when ?s)
- Reflect on the CONTENT (the subject, issues, themes... explored in the work
- Discuss details of the FORM (aesthetics, materials used, technical stuff...) of the work

Post this write-up by Tuesday, APRIL 1 at NOON!

Walker Art Center: Women with Vision 2008


Women With Vision 2008: Past/Preset

March 11, 2008


In Memory of Kevin M. Moser

Defining Home

The Fall

This digital story helps explain me. It is my philosophy on life, my favorite past time, and includes one of my favorite people. It's a little bit funny (at least I hope it is) and filled with off-handed comments that I frequently make. Enjoy : )

baby girl

Okay, one more time!

Let's hope this works. Click image to play. Party.

Oh, and I'm calling it "Used to."

"The Struggle"

Rachel's digital story

New York

Jenny's Digital Story

Family Project

Brittany's Boob Project


Posting your video to the COURSE blog

1. Export your file from iMovie

Go to File > Export
Choose CD-Rom (or option that gives you file under 65MB); You'll have to compress with Media Mill if your file is larger.

2. Visit FREEVIDEOCODING to help you embed a player for your video. Otherwise, the blog will give you link that requires viewers to download your video.

Instructions for freevideocoding:

1. What king of file? Choose QUICKTIME
2. Publish the Media
a. Enter file location (this is the http address from your uploaded file, COPY from upload html pop-up window)
b. Choose to EMBED player or EMBED from Image (examples below)
c. Select NO for enable autoplay (autoplay automatically plays your video when someone visits the blog; this is annoying!!!)
d. Choose YES for Display controls (this allows viewer to pause, stop, rewind & play)
e. Choose NO for support this site w/a link (if you don't want it to say freevideocoding.com at the bottom of your video)

Here's an image of the selection window:


Here's an example of an Embedded Player:

If you choose to EMBED PLAYER from an IMAGE, you'll have to:

1. Upload image to blog (to give it a http address)
2. Copy http address
3. Paste that into freecoding site

Here's an example of LINK to an EMBEDDED PLAYER from an IMAGE:

So, be sure to write in your text Click Image to Play

3. Log into the COURSE BLOG
a. Open a "New Entry"; Select the Category MEDIA: Our Projects
b. Copy and paste the html code from freevideocoding
c. Type any text (you can add a synopsis, excerpt from your reflection paper, or anything you want to include with your video)
d. Save the entry

March 6, 2008

Wonder Women :: Art & Technology Event Info

culturing nature :: culturing technology

an exhibition presented in conjunction with
Wonder Women :: Art & Technology 1968-2008 (phase 1)

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11 am – 7 pm Gallery Phone: 612.624.7530
Parking is available in the 21st Avenue Ramp.
All events are free and open to the public.

february 26 – march 27, 2008
Opening Reception: February 29th 6:00 - 8:30 pm
in collaboration with the Spark Festival

participating artists:
Kelly Dobson :: Sheila Pinkel :: Andrea Polli :: Sabrina Raaf
Gail Wight :: Diane Willow :: Amy Youngs

Wonder Women :: Art & Technology 1968 – 2008 (phase 1)

:: March 12
Visiting Artist’s Talk, Amy Youngs
7 pm Regis Center for Art, , InFlux

:: March 13
Moving the Moving Image
Artist Steina Vasulka and Art Historian Jane Blocker
with artists Sharon Grace and Amy Youngs
7 pm Walker Art Center

:: March 14
Studio Action Workshops
9am 12 noon
Leah Buechley ~ the Lily Pads, soft circuits and wearables ~ Regis W123
Beatrix *JAR – circuit bending ~ Regis W121
2pm – 4 pm
Kelly Dobson ~ make your own sensors – Regis W123
Viv Corringham – sound art ~ Regis W121

Wonder Women Visiting Artists Panel
12 noon – 2pm, Regis Center for Art, InFlux
Amy Youngs, Kelly Dobson, Gail Wight, Diane Willow
Discussion related to the exhibition ~ culturing nature :: culturing technology


catalyst and contact person: Diane Willow, willow@umn.edu

These Wonder Women events and exhibition are made possible with the generous support of the
Department of Art, University of Minnesota. Moving the Moving Image is a collaboration with the Walker Art Center

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11 am – 7 pm Gallery Phone: 612.624.7530
Parking is available in the 21st Avenue Ramp.
All events are free and open to the public.

March 1, 2008

iMovie Tutorial

iMovie Tutorial

Through the use of easy-to-follow movies, step-by-step instructions, and helpful tips, you’ll learn the basics of iMovie.

When you make a movie, you tell a story. That story is made up of scenes, which are made up of video clips. With iMovie, you can easily arrange your clips in the order that best tells your story. To change the story, you can simply cut out parts you don’t like, rearrange the order of your clips, or both. It’s that easy.