Tag Archives: gloria steinem

Monday’s Watch, Listen, Read

An ongoing series where I share what I’m watching, listening to, and reading. Here are this Monday’s picks:

Watch

Prior to this evening’s workshop performance, the only time I had seen Sarah Jones perform live was in 2004, when I snagged a ticket to her off-Broadway show, Bridge & Tunnel. I was completely blown away. It was improv, it was art; it was like watching someone act as both the architect and builder of a character right before my eyes.

Here’s Sarah’s TED talk from 2009. Watch the entire “talk.” You won’t regret spending 21 minutes experiencing cultures intersect and characters emerge through the vessel of one extraordinary human being.

Also, if you’re in New York, get over to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe to see Sarah workshop her new show. In the words of Gloria Steinem (the featured guest at tonight’s show), “Sarah carries the world inside her.” Improv and art intersect with humanity and politics in beautiful, smart, funny, and fascinating ways. I cannot say enough about Sarah and this show except, GO, go go!

Listen

I’m a sucker for string instruments, cellos, violins, violas, basses, harps, and the banjo. I was first introduced to banjo music by the father of my childhood best friend. My friend would go on to play the banjo herself (and amazingly, I might add) when she grew up. Because of that early exposure, banjo music has always held a special, warm little place in my heart. More recently, I was working on a movie where one of our actors was quite the banjo player. He played a few songs off his new album one day. This track, Banana Banjo, is my favorite from his album entitled The Crow: New Songs For the Five-String Banjo. He also plays a mean Foggy Mountain Breakdown:

Four banjo songs in one post! Awesome!

Read

I’m in the middle of reading musician (and fellow Chelsea resident) Rosanne Cash‘s memoir, Composed.

I first read Rosanne Cash’s words in the NY TimesMeasure For Measure blog, before I had heard any of her or her family’s music. It’s an odd thing to read a singer/songwriter and not hear them first, but something in her words and the way she talked about the act of composing a song made me know, instinctively, I would like her work. I’ve always been fascinated by the songwriting and composition process, but I had found it hard to understand or connect with the explanations some musicians gave in interviews. It either seemed to be too general or too insider-y. Cash’s posts on Measure changed that. She was eloquent and insightful and demystified the process for the layperson — without talking down to them. It was the first time I felt as if I was inside the mind of a musician. It was a transporting experience. When the NY Times retired Measure For Measure, Cash’s music helped fill the void — and following her on Twitter helps, too — but it has been great to read her words again. Her beautiful prose and descriptions are, at times, reminiscent of Victorian poetry. I can’t wait to turn the page, but I also don’t want it to end.

If Rosanne Cash’s next book is written in Austen-ian dialogue and features pictures of vintage teacups, I think my book life would be complete.

P.S. For those of you waiting to read about my efforts to retrace the steps of Raymond Enders’ 1914-1924 diaries, I’ll be posting an update on Thursday. Stay tuned!

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Sex & the City: What’s Your Point, Honey?

This past weekend we all witnessed a cultural phenomenon step beyond the confinement of a small screen to one decidedly larger. The women of Sex & the City are on display in theaters nation-wide. Even before all of us movie-going women have seen it, we’ve cast our ballot by standing on line to buy tickets, selling out screenings across the country. And, the movie itself does live up to all the hoopla and haute couture, provided you abide by the law (authored by writer/director) Michael Patrick King, that women can in fact, have it all — right down to the peacock blue Manolos.

Though the movie dream is all fun and fluff, we know the reality for women is very far from the high heels and high-priced labels. And while Carrie & Co. make a box office killing, find their men, and themselves, we all file out of movie theaters and watch a different kind of romantic wooing occur on TV, in print, and online; there’s another race going on, one where the end result isn’t about finding the right man or the perfect apartment, it’s about winning the affections of a country’s citizens and super delegates. In this race, only one woman is standing up, in her heels and power suits, commanding an audience, flashing a smile and making promises for a better nation. And, love her or hate her, she’s the closest we’ve come so far to having a Madam President. Though midnight is looming for Mrs. Clinton, she’s still doing her darndest to romance us and probably will until the credits roll.

But like Carrie Bradshaw would say, “I can’t help but wonder, where are all the[wo]men?”” Where are the ones who will come after Hillary Clinton? The women who will stand on platforms along side of their male counterparts, pledging their devotion to our country, pitching their agendas and keeping our hard-won female rights in tact (hello, Roe vs. Wade).

These questions devise the premise of another film, also screening now, calledWhat’s Your Point, Honey? Directed by Amy Sewell (Mad, Hot Ballroom) and Susan Toffler, this documentary follows a group of ten young women, seven of which range in age from 18-21, and three ten-year-olds, as they look ahead to the future of women in power and politics. While Sex & the City features appearances from the likes of Candace Bergen and Andre Leon Talley, What’s Your Point, Honey, gives us cultural icons such as feminist leader and founder of Ms. Magazine, Gloria Steinem, who remarks, “it’s been my experience that girls ages eight to ten are as smart and wonderful and deep as they’re ever going to get and haven’t yet been messed up by the feminine role that’s going to take them till 40 or 50 years old to get out from under” (case in point, Sex & the City). And there’s Marie Wilson, founder of The White House Project, an organization whose aim it is to, “advance women’s leadership in all communities and sectors, up to the U.S. Presidency.”

The young women profiled won a contest sponsored by CosmoGirl! magazine, who partnered with “The White House Project,” a non-profit, to create Project 2024, which places seven girls in high-powered summer internships in various professions and industries (ironically one young woman worked in then-Attorney General Elliot Spitzer’s office). The hopeful outcome being that by the year 2024, one woman from each contest year will “grace the presidential debate podiums and town halls, providing choice, and getting beyond gender to agenda.” TheCosmoGirl! interns span the country and beautifully represent the potential power and voice that come with the next generation of women in America. These girls may have the wit of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, but their passion for social change runs deeper than any romantic comedy can, with career dreams that range from public service to stronger marketing messaging for women.

Much like Sex & the City: The MovieWhat’s Your Point, Honey? doesn’t claim to deliver a message, rather its mission is ask the age-old question, with a post-Hillary spin: “can women have it all … and be President too?”