I really like this article. As a female writer, I am still thoroughly flabbergasted at the notion that there is “manly” writing (i.e. “worthy” writing) and the lesser “womens” writing. I think there is good writing, and bad writing, and I’m not always reluctant to read the bad stuff if it has zing.
And it has always been a personal rule of mine to never, ever date a man who speaks highly of Charles Bukowski. (Because, you know, he’s so manly, goddamn it.)
There are good and great books on the Esquire list, though even Moby-Dick, which I love, reminds me that a book without women is often said to be about humanity but a book with women in the foreground is a woman’s book.
And that list would have you learn about women from James M. Cain and Philip Roth, who just aren’t the experts you should go to, not when the great oeuvres of Doris Lessing and Louise Erdrich and Elena Ferrante exist. I look over at my hero shelf and see Philip Levine, Rainer Maria Rilke, Virginia Woolf, Shunryu Suzuki, Adrienne Rich, Pablo Neruda, Subcomandante Marcos, Eduardo Galeano, Li Young Lee, Gary Snyder, James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez.
These books are, if they are instructions at all, instructions in extending our identities out into the world, human and nonhuman, in imagination as a great act of empathy that lifts you out of yourself, not locks you down into your gender.
I love Doris Lessing. The Golden Notebook is one of my favorites. But…I also must say, Hemingway (which is on the list by the way) is very dear to me, both my kids are named after The Sun Also Rises…Jake and Brett. And there is something very important about that work in many ways, as a feeling…yes like that paragraph states…it lifted me out of myself.
A few years ago, Esquire put together a list that keeps rising from the dead like a zombie to haunt the Internet. It embodies the whole mission of that magazine so far as I can tell. The magazine’s monthly instructions are not aimed at me, so I know the magazine mostly by the taglines and tarted-up ladies on on its cover. But I did just read Esquire’s list of “The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read” when it popped up on my Facebook feed. The list is a reminder that the magazine is for men, and that if many young people now disavow the “binaries” of gender, they are revolting against much more established people building up gender like an Iron Curtain across humanity. Of course, “women’s magazines” like Cosmopolitan have provided decades of equally troubling instructions on how to be a woman. Maybe it says a lot about the fragility of gender that instructions on being the two main ones have been issued monthly for so long.
Should men read different books than women? In this list they shouldn’t even read booksby women, except for one by Flannery O’Connor among 79 books by men. The author annotates A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories with a quote: “She would of been a good woman… if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” Shoot her. Which goes nicely with the comment for John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath: “Because it’s all about the titty.” In other words, books are instructions, you read them to be a man, and that’s why men need their own list. And what is a man? The comment on Jack London’s Call of the Wild tells us “A book about dogs is equally a book about men.” Bitches be crazy men, I guess.
I will say that the one thing that stays with me about Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, is that Rose of Sharon delivers a dead baby, more than likely due to the poverty and poor conditions she has suffered through…only to keep a starving old man from dying, by helping him to suckle at her breast at the end of the book…call it what you want, it is a vivid image for me. She has given birth to what was throughout the book…seen as both hope and dread, the baby…she lost one life, but is able to give some hope of what remains to someone in need…ah whatever.
Solnit goes on to say:
Scanning the list, which is full of all the manliest books ever, lots of war books, only one book by an out gay man, I was reminded that though it’s hard to be a woman it’s harder in many ways to be a man, that gender that’s supposed to be incessantly defended and demonstrated through acts of manliness. I looked at that list and all unbidden the thought arose, no wonder there are so many mass murders. Which are the extreme expression of being a man when the job is framed this way, though happily many men have more graceful, empathic ways of being in the world.
The list made me think there should be another, with some of the same books, called 80 Books No Woman Should Read, though of course I believe everyone should read anything they want. I just think some books are instructions on why women are dirt or hardly exist at all except as accessories or are inherently evil and empty. Or they’re instructions in the version of masculinity that means being unkind and unaware, that set of values that expands out into violence at home, in war, and by economic means. Let me prove that I’m not a misandrist by starting with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, because any book Paul Ryan loves that much bears some responsibility for the misery he’s dying to create.
She goes on…
Speaking of instructions on women as nonpersons, when I first read On the Road (which isn’t on this list, though The Dharma Bums is), I realized that the book assumed you identified with the protagonist who is so convinced he’s sensitive and deep even as he leaves the young Latina farmworker he got involved with to whatever trouble he’s created. It assumes that you do not identify with the woman herself, who is not on the road and not treated very much like anything other than a discardable depository. Of course I identified with her, as I did with Lolita (and Lolita, that masterpiece of Humbert Humbert’s failure of empathy, is on the Esquire list with a coy description). I forgave Kerouac eventually, just as I forgave Jim Harrison his lecherousness on the page, because they have redeeming qualities. And there’s a wholesome midwesterness about his lechery, unlike Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller’s.
Of course all three are on the Esquire list. As Dayna Tortorici said, “I will never forget reading Bukowski’s Post Office and feeling so horrible, the way that the narrator describes the thickness of ugly women’s legs. I think it was the first time I felt like a book that I was trying to identify with rejected me. Though I did absorb it, and of course it made me hate my body or whatever.” Writer Emily Gould described Bellow, Roth, Updike, Mailer as the “midcentury misogynists” a few years back, and it’s a handy term for those four guys on the Esquire list.
Ernest Hemingway is also in my no-read zone, because if you get the model for your art from Gertrude Stein you shouldn’t be a homophobic antisemitic misognynist, and because shooting large animals should never be equated with masculinity. The gun-penis-death thing is so sad as well as ugly. And because the terse, repressed prose style is, in his hands, mannered and pretentious and sentimental. Manly sentimental is the worst kind of sentimental, because it’s deluded about itself in a way that, say, honestly emotional Dickens never was.
More on Hemingway and others at the link, please go and read the rest of the post there.
As I said above, Hemingway is special to me for The Sun Also Rises. I can agree with her on some of the points above…but there is something so simple and beautiful in the words…
“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
In his rave for John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces” in the Book Review in 1980, Alan Friedman said the comic romp “generates the city of New Orleans in hot, sharp, solid, ethnic detail.” Much of that detail had to do with food. In the recently published “ ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ Cookbook,” Cynthia LeJeune Nobles writes that its scenes “unfold through clouds of doughnut sugar, rivers of Dixie 45 beer, tangles of spaghetti and mounds of empty erster (oyster) shells.”
The endless appetite of the Falstaffian protagonist Ignatius J. Reilly inspires dozens of recipes here, from Miss Trixie’s Orange-and-Bourbon-Glazed Ham to the Bourbon Street Messy Dog, which involves French bread and chicken gravy. The book’s index is a culinary exploration in itself. A sampling of its entries: “alligator hunting,” “bacon grease,” “hog jowls,” “Wonder Bread.”
Nobles’s book is also a tour of the novel’s locales and a history of its food references. Paradise Vendors, for instance, which operates a fleet of hot-dog carts in the book, is based on Lucky Dogs, a French Quarter fixture that has moved more than 20 million hot dogs since 1947, according to Nobles. The cookbook is careful to point out discrepancies between the reputable Lucky Dogs and Toole’s inventive flights. In the novel, Ignatius asks the man who hires him to name the elements of the hot dogs. “Rubber, cereal, tripe. Who knows?” comes the answer. Ignatius replies, while chewing on his first of four: “They’re curiously appealing.”
I haven’t read that book this year, strange since Iggy is something I turn to often…I must remedy that.
Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Adam Kirsch and Anna Holmes discuss what Austen’s work says now, 200 years after “Emma” was published.
By Adam Kirsch
“Emma” is a comedy — a story in which the world finally gives everyone what he or she deserves.
By Anna Holmes
I’m not convinced that modern methods of human interaction are any better than the epistolary intrigues of the early 19th century.
Give that link a click…hopefully you will be able to read the two thoughts on the matter.
Let us take a look at another work written years back, this poem from Rudyard Kipling: Iffy by Austin Allen
Behind the mask of Rudyard Kipling’s confidence.
It’s easy to imagine “If—” as a great modernist title. Terse, mysterious, hesitant, it could have introduced a Williams fragment full of precarious gaps and leaps, or anAuden riff on the As You Like It line about evasive speech: “Much virtue in If.” Instead the title belongs to Rudyard Kipling, to the year 1910, and to a didactic poem that remains a classic of righteous certitude.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
Meanwhile, Kipling himself remains an icon of obnoxious wrongness. George Orwell’s 1942 disclaimer has been widely quoted: “It is no use pretending that Kipling’s view of life, as a whole, can be accepted or even forgiven by any civilized person.” Imperialist racist, aggressive militarist: Kipling was this and more, and very publicly. Even in his least controversial work, the outlook Orwell called “morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting” bleeds in at the margins. Read “If—” beside Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden,” and the line “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it” starts to smell like colonialist arrogance—or “jingoistic nonsense,” as one British paper put it in 1995, after Britain had voted “If—” its all-time favorite poem.
And therein lies the reason for issuing disclaimers at all: Kipling has lasted. For decades, Orwell wrote, “every enlightened person has despised him, and at the end of that time nine-tenths of those enlightened persons are forgotten and Kipling is in some sense still there.” In his 1939 elegy for W.B. Yeats, Auden judged that time had “Pardoned Kipling” by separating his writing talent from his bigotry. Auden dropped that stanza from later versions of the poem, but global culture has never dropped Kipling.
Check that article out…interesting.
I know that Sylvia Plath is one of Mona’s favorites…This article is focused on the Plath’s husband, Ted Hughes…a poet that has a prolific life’s work behind him…Getting Over Sylvia Plath – The Atlantic
by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson, edited and with an introduction by Benjamin Moser
New Directions, 645 pp., $28.95
In Chapter Six of his novel Murphy, Samuel Beckett considered what he called “Murphy’s mind”:
Murphy’s mind pictured itself as a large hollow sphere, hermetically closed to the universe without. This was not an impoverishment, for it excluded nothing that it did not itself contain. Nothing ever had been, was or would be in the universe outside it but was already present as virtual, or actual, or virtual rising into actual, or actual falling into virtual, in the universe inside it.
In Beckett’s fiction, there is a sense that the spirit of his characters is elsewhere, hidden from their bodies. They may know how to think, but the notion that this leads them therefore to exist is a sour joke. The word “therefore” in the Cartesian equation has been somehow mislaid. Their bodies, in all their frailty and levels of discomfort, tell his characters that they are alive. This knowledge is made more comic and tragic and indeed banal by the darting quality of the minds of many of Beckett’s characters, by the amount of nonsense going on in their heads. They are like hens pecking at memory and experience.
Hens are dear to the strange, bitter heart of the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. Their general helplessness combined with their persistence, their constant pecking and mindless squawking, seemed to animate something in her spirit. During her childhood in the north of Brazil, according to her biographer Benjamin Moser, “she spent hours with the chickens and hens in the yard.” “I understand a hen, perfectly,” she told an interviewer. “I mean, the intimate life of a hen. I know how it is.” One of her finest stories is “A Chicken,” three pages long, which tells of a bird trapped in a kitchen waiting to be sacrificed for Sunday lunch who decides to make a brief, defiant flight, only to be chased by the man of the house. “From rooftop to rooftop they covered more than a block. Ill-adapted to a wilder struggle for life, the chicken had to decide for herself which way to go, without any help from her race.”
The day is saved, or at least the chicken is, when she lays an egg and it is decided not to cook her, but instead to include her in the household. Thus
whenever everyone in the house was quiet and seemed to have forgotten her, she would fill up with a little courage, vestiges of the great escape—and roam around the tiled patio, her body following her head, pausing as if in a field, though her little head gave her away: vibratory and bobbing rapidly, the ancient fright of her species long since turned mechanical.
Lispector, however, has no interest in allowing this triumph to be more than brief. In a brisk and sudden final sentence, she does away with her brave bird: “Until one day they killed her, ate her and years went by.”
1942’s The Man Who Came to Dinner has slowly become one of the classics I watch every year around the holidays. Though it’s not necessarily a Christmas movie per se, it definitely has many of the elements that make for holiday fun, such as ice-skating on a frozen pond and placing presents around a beautifully decorated tree. Like other Hollywood productions such as The Philadelphia Story (1940), the film’s origins can be traced back to Broadway–a 1939 play written by the brilliant Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman–and in real people who were central to the worlds of both theater and film.
The lead character of Sheridan Whiteside was based on none other than Alexander Woollcott–famed drama critic, essayist, playwright, and member of the Algonquin Round Table. Though notoriously difficult, he was great friends with Moss Hart. Woollcott would occasionally drop by quite unexpectedly and once, in the span of just one day, he completely turned Hart’s house upside down–taking over his master bedroom, ordering his staff around, and making a general nuisance of himself. When he finally left, Hart found himself relieved that he had not chosen to stay even longer. He mentioned the theatricality of this possibility to his writing partner Kaufman and boom…a play was born.
The play was a great success from the very beginning and had nearly 800 performances before its run was done. One of its audience was the great Bette Davis, who so loved it that she urged Jack Warner to buy the screen rights for herself and John Barrymore. Screen tests were ordered and Bette was perfect as Maggie Cutler, Whiteside’s efficient and ever-patient assistant. The subtle part was actually a welcome departure for the actress and her usual dramatic roles. But Barrymore struggled in his tests as Sheridan Whiteside; even with cue cards, the rapid-fire dialogue was too much for the actor whose health was in decline as the result of years of drinking. Once he was dismissed, other actors were considered–everyone from Orson Welles to Cary Grant. Producers finally chose Monty Woolley, the actor who had originated the part on Broadway (cast while he was still a professor at Yale). He was so brilliant in the role that he seemed to be forever typecast as that same sharp-tongued sophisticate. Though Bette was unhappy because she “never got over [her] disappointment in not working with the great John Barrymore,” both the film and Woolley as Whiteside were an immense success.
In addition to Sheridan Whiteside, the play and film are filled with even more characters who were inspired by real people. Alexander Woollcott was lifelong friends with Harpo Marx, so that is who inspired the character of Banjo (played in the movie by Jimmy Durante). Noel Coward, another in their inner circle of artists and friends, was the basis for the character of Beverly Carlton (played by Reginald Gardiner). It seems only appropriate then that Lorraine Sheldon (deliciously and devilishly played in the film by Ann Sheridan) should be inspired by stage great Gertrude Lawrence, a dramatic actress who had a long and very close, though tempestuous, personal and professional relationship with Noel Coward.
With these intellects as inspiration, it should come as no surprise that the dialogue throughout the film is fast and furious, and there are many cultural references that make this fiction seem more like fact, especially for audiences at the time. Phone calls come for Sheridan from Winston Churchill and Eleanor Roosevelt. Presents around the tree come from his friends and colleagues that include Deanna Durbin, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Somerset Maugham. Beverly tells Sheridan a story of one of Banjo’s parties where he saw Hollywood queens Norma Shearer and Claudette Colbert. Banjo, a professed lover of blondes, brings up Lana Turner. Lorraine drops the names of Cary Grant and (then wife) heiress Barbara Hutton, who were allegedly at one of the parties she attended in Palm Beach. Other names that are bandied about include Ginger Rogers, Sonja Henie, Zasu Pitts, fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (who had only recently abdicated the throne of England). Even Ann Sheridan’s own popular nickname “the Oomph Girl” is woven into the dialogue in reference to her character Lorraine.
One of the things that most fascinates me about The Man Who Came to Dinner, though, is that the film was put out by Warner Brothers at the top of the same year that the studio released one of the greatest of all time–Casablanca. In fact, many of the team who were responsible for Casablanca were also involved in this production, including Oscar-winning screenwriters Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein as well as producer Jerry Wald (who also produced other iconic film noir such as Mildred Pierce (1945)). And yet another member of the Casablanca team who worked on The Man Who Came to Dinner was costume designer Orry-Kelly.
There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas — something about the close, muggy atmosphere that draws up the ghosts, like the dampness of the summer rains brings out the frogs and snails.” – Jerome K. Jerome, Told After Supper (1891)
It’s not just a junkyard — or even a really big junkyard — but a living, breathing monument to Los Angeles pop culture. And now it’s headed for the dustbin of history itself.
For 54 years, Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking, in a moonscaped, godforsaken-looking section of the San Fernando Valley, has collected far more than thousands of burned-out, smashed-up, rusted automobiles on its sprawling dirt and asphalt lot.
It’s also taken in just about every type of movie and TV prop imaginable while serving as the site of more than 200 Hollywood film shoots.
The last surviving “Bruce” the shark, made from the mold for the 1975 Steven Spielberg film Jaws, resides there, swimming ominously near an entrance. With its huge mouth agape, it appears ready to devour anyone foolish enough to try to sneak off the lot with, say, a pilfered power train from a ’32 Ford.
Nearby is the giant boom box Usher danced on for the 1997 video My Way. It’s actually a 53-foot-long big-rig trailer painted to look like the ’80s-era music machine. But viewed from a nearby freeway, it appears eerily authentic.
Now everything must go, says Nathan Adlen, owner of this hybrid junkyard-Hollywood back lot that’s been in his family since 1961, when this part of the valley was mainly a warren of sand-and-gravel quarries and garbage dumps.
By New Year’s Eve, he promises, it will be 26 acres of bare land surrounded largely by warehouses and car-repair places as he contemplates what to do next with the property.
Television is, of course, fake, but it can provide an opportunity to consider controversial topics like abortion in a comfortable, fictional setting. Yet, as researchers with the University of California, San Francisco, group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health found, abortion on TV is often unlike abortion in real life — and the mismatch could affect how people perceive women who terminate pregnancies.
For a study published in the journal Contraception, researchers looked at depictions of abortion on all U.S. television shows (including networks, premium channels, and streaming services) from 2005 to 2014 and identified 78 plotlines where characters considered abortion, including 40 where a woman had one. They found that women on TV who had abortions were younger, whiter, wealthier, and less likely to already have children than the average American woman who ends a pregnancy.
“All these factors work together to build an interesting social myth, which is that women who get abortions aren’t mothers and they don’t want to be mothers,” study co-author Gretchen Sisson told NPR. More often, these women are already parents who can’t afford or care for another child.
Go to the link to see the five ways discussed…starting with age.
Now another show on TV that made news this past week, Miss Universe. I’m not going into the bullshit, but rather the costumes, from the viewpoint of two queens who blog about fashion:
In his satiric 1809 book A History of New York, Washington Irving did away with the characterization of Santa Claus as a “lanky bishop,” says Whipps. Instead, Irving described Santa as a portly, bearded man who smokes a pipe. Irving’s story also marked the first time Santa slid down the chimney.
A new poll has found that support for abortion rights has increased among both Democrats and Republicans in the last year. Fully 58 percent of Americans now think abortion should be legal “in most or all cases,” an Associated Press-GfK survey found, up from 51 percent at the beginning of the year.
This holiday season, as many as eight state capitols will be graced with a rainbow-festooned Festivus pole—a 6.5-foot-tall display crowned by a glittering disco ball. The pole was designed by Chaz Stevens, head of The Humanity Fund, a scrappy advocacy group that champions separation of church and state, free speech, and constitutional equality. Stevens hopes to place his display in Republican-dominated states—Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Michigan—as a protest against what he views as their support for laws respecting an establishment of religion…
I spoke with Stevens on Thursday about his campaign to put gay pride Festivus poles in state capitols across the country.
Where did the Festivus pole idea originate?
In 2013, I got a tip saying, did you know there’s a manger up in Tallahassee in the capitol? So I write to Tallahassee, saying I want to put up a Festivus pole, thinking there’s no way in hell they’ll say yes. Three days later, they say yes. Up goes the pole. [Note: Stevens’ precedent paved the way for the Satanic Temple to put up its own capitol display, an angel falling into hellfire, in 2014.] Because of the timing—it’s Festivus, it’s a novelty, it’s Florida, there’s nobody getting killed, we’re not in a war—it goes viral.
Why did you choose a gay pride theme this year?
I am a privileged white heterosexual male in America, a lifelong ally of the gay community—some of my best friends are very homosexual, very out and proud, I love them to death—and we all cheered when the Supreme Court ruling reaffirming the rights of same-sex couples to marry came through. We thought,Finally! It’s about goddamn time!
Right around the corner, Kim Davis and her crazy people in Kentucky say, we’re not gonna give marriage licenses. That just drove me nuts. The very day that happened, I said to myself, those little fuckers! I am going to troll the living shit out of them. I’m going to wrap my pole in gay pride and put a disco ball on the top and stick it in the bowels of the Florida rotunda.
But you’re targeting more than just Florida, right?
Myself and my civil rights lawyer decided: Why not go on the road? I thought, we can take our trolling to an elite level. Let’s go to Arkansas. That’s where Huckabee is. Let’s wag this thing in front of Huckabee’s face and see if we can get him to react. Let’s go to Texas and wave this in front of Ted Cruz. New Jersey, Christie. Florida—well, I had those knuckleheads covered. I said, let’s go troll the living shit out of them.…
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Queen’s slow burn of an anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody.” To honor the epic number, English National Ballet’s lead principal Erina Takahashi and first soloist James Forbat performed an epic duet that truly captures what it feels like to be just a poor boy from a poor family.
With poise and drama, Takahashi and Forbat leap, twirl and bend their way through the six-minute rock opera, yielding a performance that would put even Wayne and Garth to shame. It’s so legit, Queen’s official channel even uploaded the video to YouTube. Check it out above. Try not to head bang so much you miss the good parts.
That’s all folks, have fun getting ready for tomorrow!
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As holiday season approaches, visions of sugar-plum fairies inevitably begin dancing in our heads. ‘Tis the time of “The Nutcracker,” and other classic ballet performances that countdown to a whole new season of dance across the world. In honor of the possibilities of the 2014-2015 season, we dug into the photographic archives of Getty and the Associated Press to find the most iconic snapshots of ballerinas and prima donnas over the ages.
Below is a brief but beautiful visual history of the art form, ranging from 1911 to 1999. From Vaslav Nijinsky to Benjamin Millepied, Anna Pavlov to Sylvie Guillem, the collection of vintage portraits gives a mostly black-and-white glimpse into over a century’s worth of ballet greats. Much has changed in terms of representation and body image over the years, and while we can only hope to see more diversity, it certainly shows in these images. Take a look and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Vaslav Nijinsky (1890-1950) as the faun at the premiere of Ballet Russe’s production of “L’Apres-midi d’un Faune” at the Theatre du Chatelet Paris in May of 1912. (Photo by Edward Gooch/Edward Gooch/Getty Images)
It is brief, and they do miss out on a lot of artist…many from the 1970s, when there was a surge in professional dancers that really kicked some ass. So as you can see…I have added to the articles images throughout this thread. Enjoy the pictures of some of the best dancers evah! And be sure to watch the videos too, I bet you have never seen these performances. (Oh yeah, and keep a mental note of that picture of Nijinsky, because we will come back to it in a moment.)
Like this one, from 1984…it is Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Suite:
Originally broadcast in 1984 over New York’s WNET/Thirteen on “Great Performances,” as part of the “Dance in America” series Baryshnikov Dances Sinatra and More… film. Mikhail Baryshnikov, along with members of American Ballet Theatre, dance three works choreographed by Twyla Tharp: “The Little Ballet,” “Sinatra Suite,” and “Push Comes to Shove.”
Damn that man could dance…mmmm, and he was gorgeous too.
The ballet was first presented in Monte Carlo on 19 April 1911. Nijinsky danced The Rose and Tamara Karsavina danced The Young Girl. It was a great success. Spectre became internationally famous for the leap (jump) Nijinsky made through a window at the ballet’s end.
That alone is something you need to see. (Click on Lillian Gish name above…)
A man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said more than 200 girls kidnapped by the group six months ago had been “married off” to its fighters, contradicting Nigerian government claims they would soon be freed.
Nigeria’s military says it killed Shekau a year ago, and authorities said in September that they had also killed an imposter posting as him in videos. In the latest recording it is hard to see the man’s face as he his filmed from a distance.
But it is likely to raise grave doubts about whether talks between a Boko Haram faction and the government in neighboring Chad will secure the release of the girls, who were kidnapped from a secondary school in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, in April.
“We have have married them off and they are all in their husbands’ houses,” the man claiming to be Shekau says.
“The over 200 Chibok girls have converted to Islam, which they confess is the best religion. Either their parents accept this and convert too or they can die.”
The majority of the kidnapped girls were Christians.
Detectives continued their search on Saturday for the driver of an SUV who struck and killed three teenage girls trick-or-treating on Halloween in Southern California, and investigators were unsure who was behind the wheel of the vehicle, a police spokesman said.
The three girls, ranging in age from 13 to 15, were in costume and carrying candy bags when they were hit while crossing a street on Friday evening in Santa Ana, about 35 miles (55 km) south of Los Angeles.
Officers found the sports utility vehicle abandoned behind a nearby retailer, said Santa Ana police spokesman Corporal Anthony Bertagna.
Later on Friday night, police went to an address registered as the home of the vehicle’s owner, but the occupants of the house had no connection to the SUV, Bertagna said.
Detectives are unsure where the registered owner of the vehicle might be living, or whether the SUV had been stolen before the hit and run collision, he said.
I wonder if this was some sort of gang initiation thing…those kids were walking in the crosswalk when they were run over. Two of the kids were sisters, twins.
It is harder to vote in North Carolina these days. On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court, in Shelby v. Holder, gutted a landmark provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A majority of the justices struck down Article 5 of the Act, which had required federal preapproval of changes to voting practices in southern states. Eviscerating Article 5 effectively halted its protections and set the stage for sweeping efforts to disenfranchise minorities, women, the elderly and students. Six weeks later, emboldened by the Court’s ruling, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the nation’s most restrictive voting law all in the name of “preventing voter fraud.”
Marcia Haydée (born 18 April 1937) and Richard Cragun (5 October 1944 – 6 August 2012) Stuttgart ballet, 28 November 1976. Photo by Serge Lido.
Lawsuits challenging the law have been filed by various organizations including the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina. The ACLU and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice sought to have certain provisions of the law stayed until the trial scheduled for summer of 2015. The request for a stay was denied at the district court level, but the district court’s decision was reversed by a three judge panel at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. On October 8, 2014, the Supreme Court struck down the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that had stayed many of the 2013 North Carolina’s laws restrictions thus instituting widespread voter suppression.
Read the rest…if you can.
Corina Dumitrescu b. 1970 Bucharest National Opera
Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America.
Gelsey Kirkland, Don Quixote
At the heart of this voter-roll scrub is the Interstate Crosscheck program, which has generated a master list of nearly 7 million names. Officials say that these names represent legions of fraudsters who are not only registered but have actually voted in two or more states in the same election — a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.
Until now, state elections officials have refused to turn over their Crosscheck lists, some on grounds that these voters are subject to criminal investigation. Now, for the first time, three states — Georgia, Virginia and Washington — have released their lists to Al Jazeera America, providing a total of just over 2 million names.
Ya got that? 2 miiiiiiiillllllliiiioooon names.
The Crosscheck list of suspected double voters has been compiled by matching names from roughly 110 million voter records from participating states. Interstate Crosscheck is the pet project of Kansas’ controversial Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach, known for his crusade against voter fraud.
The three states’ lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim — ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, fully 1 in 7 African-Americans in those 27 states, plus the state of Washington (which enrolled in Crosscheck but has decided not to utilize the results), are listed as under suspicion of having voted twice. This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters. White voters too — 1 in 11 — are at risk of having their names scrubbed from the voter rolls, though not as vulnerable as minorities.
If even a fraction of those names are blocked from voting or purged from voter rolls, it could alter the outcome of next week’s electoral battle for control of the U.S. Senate — and perhaps prove decisive in the 2016 presidential vote count.
Antoinette Sibley as Manon and Anthony Dowell as Des Grieux in Manon Photo by Leslie E. Spatt
“It’s Jim Crow all over again,” says the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who cofounded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King, Jr. Lowery, now 93, says he recognizes in the list of threatened voters a sophisticated new form of an old and tired tactic. “I think [the Republicans] would use anything they can find. Their desperation is rising.”
You know what that reminds me of, what this redneck says in this scene from Mississippi Burning:
Pertinent part starts around 0:35 min but the whole damn clip is good.
Juliet Doherty (photo by Joe Toreno for Dance Spirit)
n an interview with Fusion TV, director Spike Lee dismissed the notion that America has become a post-racial society under a black president, calling the belief ‘bullsh*t.”
Speaking with Fusion host Jorge Ramos about race in America, Lee touched upon multiple subjects including the police chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City and the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Asked by Ramos what he tells his children about race in America, Lee replied “I don’t care who you are, if you’re African-American in this country, you know know what the deal is.”
Prompted to elaborate by Ramos, Lee continued.
Chris Farley. Look at that turnout!
“That you’re black. It just means that you’re black. And the people who get in trouble are the people who forget they’re black,” Lee explained. “You can’t just think I’m so successful that I’ve reached another realm. And I’m in a so-called post …” at which point Lee asked the audience for help remembering the term ‘post-racial’. “Yeah, that bullsh*t, where now that we have a black, African-American president that race no longer matters. And there are times, even today, it’s hard for me to catch a cab sometimes. In New York City.”
Asked by Ramos why, in 2014, incidents like the deaths of Garner and Brown by police officers still happening, Lee said, “There’s a big division for the police departments, I think, in this country, versus people of color.”
Addressing the death of Garner, Lee noted that the chokehold was banned over twenty years ago.
Alicia Alonso, Prima Ballerina
Lee said that, after seeing the video of Garner being held and choked to death by police officers, he couldn’t help but notice the similarities to the chokehold that killed the character Radio Raheem (see video below), in his landmark 1989 film, Do The Right Thing.
In the film, the death of Raheem set off rioting and the destruction of the neighborhood.
An Arizona school district is making sure that students are not educated about abortion in biology class.
Boris Lipnitzki, Brigitte Bardot in Ballet Class, Paris, 1946
This week, Gilbert Public Schools’ governing board voted to remove pages from an honors biology textbook because the pages talk about mifepristone, a pill that can induce an abortion, reports local outlet 12 News. Members of the board contended that the pages violate a state statute, which prevents school districts from providing instruction that “that does not give preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion,” says the outlet.
The specific section in question is titled “Contraception can prevent unwanted pregnancy.” It says that “complete abstinence (avoiding intercourse) is the only totally effective method of birth control, but other methods are effective to varying degrees.” The passage, from the seventh edition of Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections, goes on to describe the morning-after pill and mifepristone.
Why can’t these bible thumpers keep it to themselves.
Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly behind the scenes of “An American in Paris”
Notably, the Arizona Department of Education previously reviewed the textbook and said it was not violating the state statute. An attorney for the district said the same, reports local outlet the East Valley Tribune. As a result, one of the board members who voted against changing the textbook, Lily Tram, called the move an example of censorship.
George Balanchine created Ballo della Regina on the famous ballerina Merrill Ashley. She is known for her speed, clarity of technique and attack in performing this joyous work.
“At this point in the investigation, the incident appears to have been caused by human error and doesn’t involve equipment malfunction,” Ortiz told the New York Daily News. That human is employed by Griffin Dewatering New England Inc., a contractor working on the East Side Access Project, which will eventually connect the Long Island Railroad to Grand Central. Ortiz also said that “officials have determined further drilling for the project isn’t needed,” which should be of some comfort to F train riders, who have been forced to put up with a lot lately.
Suzanne Farrell (in Don Quixote with George Balanchine, mid-60s)
An Argentine judge has asked Spain to arrest and extradite 20 former officials accused of abuses during the military rule of General Franco.
They cannot be tried in Spain because of an amnesty law but the officials could be prosecuted in Argentina.
Judith Jamison, 1970s, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.
The families of alleged victims asked Argentina for help because it has an extradition treaty with Spain.
In April, Spain’s high court refused to extradite to Argentina a former policemen accused of torture.
Judge Maria Servini de Cubria issued the arrest and extradition warrants for two former ministers of General Franco’s regime, and 18 other officials, invoking “universal jurisdiction” – a legal doctrine that authorises judges to try serious rights abused committed in other countries.
Using the doctrine, Spain briefly detained Chile’s former dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998.
The two most prominent suspects in Judge Servini’s investigation are Rodolfo Martin Villa, 79, who was Franco’s interior minister, and Jose Uteri Molina, 86, who was housing minister.
Give that a read, it is interesting…I wonder how it will all turn out.
Tube closures and warnings of a crush of visitors couldn’t keep half-term crowds from Paul Cummins’ ceramic poppies on Saturday.
It is easy to visualise each poppy as a death.
…shocking splashes of colour in the poppies installation – the bloody wave over the walls, the crimson stream flowing from a window, the narrow ribbon of red in the moat. But nothing prepared early spectators for what followed. In box after box, they arrived, ceramic flowers and stalks, assembled at random heights by volunteers, many too young to have known a relative involved in the First World War.
Every evening, when the Last Post was sounded and the names of the dead were read at dusk, the installation looked complete. And then came another vivid tide, and another, and another, relentless.
How do you remember 888,246 lives? We cannot take in the numbers, though we have seen enough news bulletins to know about mass deaths. To single out one soldier’s story helps us focus, but overlooks the rest. Live footage, fictional re-creations, cannot help us with the scale of loss. But it is easy to visualise each poppy at the Tower as a death, for we have grown up associating the flower with remembrance. We do not need to see a single face or coffin to feel a lump in the throat: we know how to love and grieve.
A solemn ending I know…but it is the beginning of November. The weather is dreary and cold and damp, we even had snow in Banjoville this weekend. And as for the Fall Foilage? There was none this year. The leaves just turned to brown. Very depressing and such a let down. I hope it is not a premonition of things to come this Tuesday. We will be here to live blog the Election Day event, so please stop by the blog. Otherwise, if you are around today, leave a comment or thought…and have a pleasant day.
Below are all the pictures in this post, plus a few I could not fit so give them a look if you like…
Cynthia Gregory as Odette and Rudolf Nureyev as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake. Photo Martha Swope ABT
Cynthia Gregory, Fernando Bujones
Haydee and Cragun
Antoinette Sibley as Manon and Anthony Dowell as Des Grieux in Manon Photo by Leslie E. Spatt
Sibley and Dowell
Carla Fracci in The Sleeping Beauty at Teatro alla Scala during the 1970s
Svetlana Zakharova – Carmen
NYCB’s Peter Martins
Alicia Alonso Martínez (born Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad Martínez Hoya on December 21, 1920) is the Cuban prima ballerina assoluta and choreographer. Her company became the Ballet de Cuba in 1955.
Ballet dancer Tamara Karsavina – 1912 – L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird)
It is a Sunday after a long…long…weekend. Some of you have traveled to visit family, or some may have stayed home and had a quiet Thanksgiving. The one thing is certain, and that is for the next six weeks, the rush to celebrate the holidays will drive many of us crazy.
As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.
Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.
The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.
A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.
Recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office instructions to embassies and consulates request contingency planning for extreme scenarios including rioting and social unrest.
Of course they are expecting more outbreaks of demonstrations than Greece has seen in the past recent weeks.
Diplomats have also been told to prepare to help tens of thousands of British citizens in eurozone countries with the consequences of a financial collapse that would leave them unable to access bank accounts or even withdraw cash.
I can’t help but wonder what all this will mean for our economy…
The Obama administration on Saturday pledged a full investigation into a NATO attack that allegedly killed 24 Pakistani troops.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in a joint statement offered their “deepest condolences” for the loss of life in the cross-border incident in Pakistan. Clinton and Panetta also said they “support fully NATO’s intention to investigate immediately.”
Secretary Clinton, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. John Allen, commander of the NATO-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, each called their Pakistani counterparts as well, the statement said.
That is some big responses to this latest incident that has made relations even more tenuous.
“In their contacts, these US diplomatic and military leaders each stressed — in addition to their sympathies and a commitment to review the circumstances of the incident — the importance of the US-Pakistani partnership, which serves the mutual interests of our people,” the statement said.
“All these leaders pledged to remain in close contact with their Pakistani counterparts going forward as we work through this challenging time,” the statement concluded.
This is going to be a big problem…it seems like with the speed of US apologies, they know this attack is going to have huge consequences. Juan Cole shared some interesting numbers yesterday. Empire by the Numbers
Bulldozed by Israel more than two dozen times, a village known by Bedouin Arabs as Al-Arakib is one of many ramshackle desert communities whose names have never appeared on any official map.
If Israel’s parliament adopts proposed new legislation, it never will.
The plan to demolish more Bedouin homes in the southern Negev region and move 30,000 people to government-authorized villages connected to power and water lines has been hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “historic opportunity” to improve Bedouin lives.
But Israeli Arab leaders, who have long complained about discrimination against their community in the Jewish state, call it “ethnic cleansing,” and aim to thwart the project with protests, a general strike and appeals to the United Nations to intervene.
“I will never leave here, I intend to stay until I die,” said Abu-Madyam, 46, a farmer from al-Arakib.
He and his family of nine live in a makeshift plastic-sided shack in a cemetery near the ruins of their wooden home, razed by Israeli authorities last year.
This latest try at removing the Bedouin is being touted by Israelis as a move for their own good, but it looks more like it is in the Israelis best interest to kick the Bedu out of the Negev area in southern Israel. That area is prime real estate for military bases since it lies between Gaza and the occupied West Bank. This is why some Israelis feel the dominate population of Bedouin people in the area is a security risk.
For decades, Israeli governments have tried to attract Jewish Israelis to move to the Negev, offering mortgage and tax breaks, but the region has fewer opportunities for employment than in the heavily populated center of the country.
Only 20 percent of Israel’s Jewish population lives in the Negev, which covers more than 60 percent of the nation’s land area. Bedouin villages take up two percent of Negev land.
This month, Netanyahu sat down with Bedouin mayors at his office to urge them to accept the plan, which could take at least five years to implement at a cost of more than 1 billion shekels ($300 million) once legislation due to be introduced shortly becomes law.
“Our state is leaping toward the future and you need to be part of this future. We want to help you reach economic independence. This plan is designed to bring about development and prosperity,” Netanyahu told the Bedouin officials.
Now that condescending statement about forcing these people off their land for their own good is just ridiculous. The Bedouin know what is going on, and so do global human rights organizations. Amnesty International has this area of land as one of the highlights in their 2011 Annual Report on Human Rights. Amnesty International | Working to Protect Human Rights
Right to adequate housing – forced eviction
Inside Israel there was a marked increase in the demolition of Bedouin homes in the Negev (or Naqab) area in the south. Dozens of villages, home to tens of thousands of Bedouin who are Israeli citizens, are not formally recognized by the Israeli authorities. These villages lack basic services, and residents are under constant threat of destruction of their homes and eviction from the land.
The “unrecognized” Negev village of al-’Araqib, home to around 250 Bedouin, was destroyed eight times between 27 July and 23 December by the Israel Land Administration and police forces. After each demolition, villagers rebuilt makeshift shelters.
Back to the Reuters article:
Bedouin leaders in the Negev say Israel has long discriminated against their communities, denying them public funds and services, in a bid to make their inhabitants leave.
Many of them were built, the officials said, because Israel had failed in the past to offer other housing options.
In a 2008 report on Israel’s policy toward Bedouin in the Negev, Human Rights Watch said the government “appears intent on maximizing its control over Negev land and increasing the Jewish population in the area for strategic, economic and demographic reasons.”
“The state implements forced evictions, home demolitions and other punitive measures disproportionately against Bedouin as compared with actions taken regarding structures owned by Jewish Israelis that do not conform to planning law,” the New York-based group said.
One villager, Khalil Alamour, a 42-year-old schoolteacher, interviewed in the article is planning to attend a meeting with the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, that is being held later this month in Geneva. He says:
“We’ve been around for so many years, yet they treat us as little more than numbers on a map. It’s shameful,” he said.
Like most unauthorized Bedouin villages, Al-Sira is not hooked up to Israel’s electricity grid. Alamour and his neighbors have installed their own solar panels to generate electricity, supplementing the supply with power generators.
They have run their own pipes to hook up with a regional grid to provide running water for their homes.
In the ruins of al-Arakib, Abu-Madyam vowed to hang on to land which he said was once covered by lush grapevines and bought by his grandparents more than a century ago.
“I will seek justice until my last day. I don’t have any objections to Jews living here, too, but why must I give up my own rights?” he said.
Good question…what do you think?
In the Philippines, the situation is different. There is a group of people who are planning to build their own community, separate from those who are different from they are. Philippines’ little people thinking big
People of small stature in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, have ambitions to build a new community – of small houses – on a greenfield site. It’s an unusual idea, but they are completely serious and determined to succeed.
Inspired by the books of JRR Tolkien, the Hobbit House is one of Manila’s best-known bars. There are illustrations from the Lord of the Rings on the wall, and you enter through a round wooden door, just as if you were arriving at Bilbo Baggins’ house.
But the illusion doesn’t stop there – the waiters are all under 4ft (1.2m) tall.
“Hobbit House is very unique – we only recruit little people,” says the proud manager, Pidoy Fetalino, 3ft 6in tall, who has been working at the bar for more than 30 years.
While some might question how politically correct it is, the reality is that a job at the Hobbit House is undoubtedly one of the best the staff can get.
The state does not provide much support for those who cannot find work. And with high unemployment and height restrictions…working at the Hobbit House is a good thing.
They have formed a group called the Little People’s Association of the Philippines, which meets most Saturday mornings in a ramshackle workshop at the back of a flat owned by the president, Perry Berry.
The most important item on their agenda is a radical proposal – for the entire group to move out of Manila and set up their own community.
A wealthy benefactor has donated a 6,000-square-metre (1.5-acre) piece of uncultivated land near the town of Montalban, and there they want to create a place called “Dwarf City”.
Mr Berry has a clear vision of what he wants this community to look like.
“Wow, if you can imagine it,” he says. “We’re creating a housing project designed for small people and we have to create something unique. We’re going to build houses like big mushrooms and big shoes.”
Their idea is to construct buildings tailored to their size, to represent certain themes, and they hope they will be able to earn at least part of their income through tourism.
It is interesting to compare the Bedouin and the Little People of the Philippines. The Bedu do not want to leave their home lands, they see the forced evictions as a form of ethnic cleansing. The Little People see their plan for a Drawf City as a way to build a normal life.
The little people of Manila don’t want to confine this new “Dwarf City” just to the 47 families who are current members of the association – they envisage a much bigger settlement.
“I believe that a lot of small people in other provinces have an inferiority complex, and don’t want to come out,” says Mr Berry.
“But if the existence of this community is well-known, I’m pretty sure they will come and join us. So this community will become bigger and bigger.”
The Sky Dancing banner headline uses a snippet from a work by artist Tashi Mannox called 'Rainbow Study'. The work is described as a" study of typical Tibetan rainbow clouds, that feature in Thanka painting, temple decoration and silk brocades". dakinikat was immediately drawn to the image when trying to find stylized Tibetan Clouds to represent Sky Dancing. It is probably because Tashi's practice is similar to her own. His updated take on the clouds that fill the collection of traditional thankas is quite special.
You can find his work at his website by clicking on his logo below. He is also a calligraphy artist that uses important vajrayana syllables. We encourage you to visit his on line studio.