Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blumesday - September 19, 2008


Local Performers Gather to Salute Author Who Spoke to Our
Deepest Adolescent Anxieties and Helped Us Weather the Storm

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 26, 2008 — Blumesday, a literary celebration honoring the works of venerated author Judy Blume, will transpire on Sept. 19, 2008, at 8 p.m. at M Bar and Restaurant in Hollywood.

The event is a good-natured spoof of the annual observance of Bloomsday, commemorated annually on June 16, which pays homage to James Joyce by re-enacting the events in his novel, Ulysses, all of which took place on June 16, 1904. The protagonist of Ulysses is named Leopold Bloom, thus Bloomsday. This Blumesday will feature local performers including Melanie Hutsell, Jill Soloway, Carrie Aizley, Maggie Rowe and Ronna & Beverly reading (or otherwise invoking) Blume’s work, notably Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Blubber; Forever; Deenie; Tiger Eyes; and It’s Not the End of the World. Music will be provided by Candypants. “Blumesday” is sponsored by OBJECT, a nonprofit neo-feminist forum co-founded by Soloway (writer/producer of “Six Feet Under”) and Lindsay Horvath, president of Hollywood NOW.

Reservations for Blumesday can be made by calling (323) 856-0036. Tickets are $8 (there is a separate $10 food minimum). The M Bar and Restaurant is located at 1253 North Vine St.

Blumesday’s inaugural incarnation was hosted in June 2007 in Portland, Ore., by writers Joanna Miller and Heather Larimer. After receiving an outpouring of emotionally charged feedback on the festivities, Miller determined that Blumesday would become an annual event. “Relocating Blumesday to L.A. has allowed us to involve writers and comedians we’ve admired from afar to join in giving Judy Blume her due,” says Miller. Adds Larimer: “We only wanted people to participate who feel as passionately about Judy as we do. We decided that when we approached someone with the idea, if she didn’t freak out with excitement, we’d move on. But almost everyone was, like, ‘Oh my God! What am I going to read? The scene where Margaret does bust-increasing exercises with her friends in Are You There God? Or the moment that Katherine meets Ralph in Forever? How can I possibly choose?’”

Not only did Blume create compelling contemporary characters to whom her young readers could easily relate; her work in many cases served as the first exposure to subjects like menstruation, masturbation and birth control for her mainly pre-teen and teen audience. Because of her fearless treatment of these nitty-gritty topics, Blume is among the most banned and censored of authors writing for the young-adult audience. As such, she has become a passionate defender of free speech. In 1999 she edited a collection of stories titled Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers.

Perhaps the most widely read of Blume’s books is 1975’s Forever, published after her daughter requested she write about teens who have sex and are spared any grave repercussions. As the author told “She had read several novels about teenagers in love. If they had sex, the girl was always punished – an unplanned pregnancy, a hasty trip to a relative in another state, a grisly abortion, sometimes even death. Lies. Secrets. Girls in these books had no sexual feelings and boys had no feelings other than sexual.”

Blume has also written three novels aimed at an adult audience, Wifey, Summer Sisters and Smart Women, all of which have appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list. Her books have sold more than 80 million copies.

“Judy Blume’s words guided so many of us along the rocky road of adolescence,” Miller notes. “By acknowledging that with Blumesday, we hope to say thank you to Judy and hopefully introduce new readers to her wonderful, essential work.”

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

lady partay

Lady Party IV, Feb. 23, 2008

Avant-cabaret performer Nellie McKay and one-woman showstopper Heather Woodbury join forces for thought-provoking, raucously entertaining evening of theater and song.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) January 31, 2008 -- OBJECT, a fresh female forum bent on transcending the dogmatic women's politics of yore, welcomes all to Lady Party IV, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008, at 8 p.m. at the Bang Theater. The evening will present the final performance of Obie Award-winning playwright Heather Woodbury's one-woman show "The Last Days of Desmond 'Nani' Reese: A Stripper's History of the World" and will be capped off by an after-party featuring acclaimed singer-songwriter-pianist Nellie McKay.

Reservations for Lady Party IV are strongly recommended and can be made by calling (323) 653-6886. Tickets are $15. "Desmond 'Nani' Reese" audience members, who are guaranteed admittance to McKay's after-party performance, are urged to arrive by 7:45 p.m. Admission to the after-party only, at $10, may be available on a very limited basis beginning at 10 p.m. The Bang Theater is located at 436 North Fairfax Ave., in Los Angeles. The Lady Party IV after-party will be sponsored by super-premium V2 Vodka.

"We were thrilled by the turnout for our first three events and are very excited to build on that momentum with Lady Party IV," said OBJECT co-founder Lindsey Horvath (president of the Hollywood chapter of the National Organization for Women). "In the past, we've convened a more literal version of what we call The Conversation on current post-feminist topics, but for our next Lady Party, we're letting the art speak for itself."

In fact, "The Last Days of Desmond 'Nani' Reese: A Stripper's History of the World" is an OBJECT Conversation. The play unfolds as a series of interviews with a 108-year-old stripper conducted by a young, feminist academic in a decrepit Echo Park cottage in the year 2014. Directed by Abigail Deser, it will be performed every Saturday in February at the Bang Theater.

After-party headliner Nellie McKay, meanwhile, is a precocious, genre-bender renowned for the ingenuity of her music and the strength of her convictions, as illustrated by her vocal support for PETA and, most recently, the striking writers of the WGA. Since breaking onto the national scene with her critically lauded 2004 debut album, Get Away From Me (released when she was only 21), McKay has continued to earn raves for her witty compositions, which bear far-reaching influences, among them pop, jazz and show tunes. McKay's 2007 disc, Obligatory Villagers, skewers feminist stereotypes; standout "Mother of Pearl" could serve as OBJECT's theme song.

Remarked OBJECT co-founder Jill Soloway (writer/producer of "Six Feet Under," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Dirty Sexy Money"): "'The Last Days of Desmond "Nani" Reese' is a fantastic way to expand on The OBJECT Conversation; with this piece, Heather Woodbury has turned her poetry to the question at the heart of the organization: How do you say it - OBject or obJECT? We're exploring whether women gain or lose power by embodying our culture's expectations that we be sexually attractive. And we couldn't be more excited to have Nellie McKay's support in helping raise awareness of OBJECT's mission to further this discussion. Given her own work to overthrow gender stereotypes both in her music and her career, Nellie's performance will be the perfect finale for the evening.

OBJECT coalesced in 2007 after its founding members objected to billboards springing up throughout Los Angeles to promote the film "Captivity" that presented graphic depictions of violence against women. The subsequent removal of the offensive images provided a lightbulb moment, reminding OBJECT's initial objectors that they have the power to effect positive change. The next step was the creation of the Lady Party, in which participants are invited to examine the varied meanings of female identity and empowerment via the art of conversation. OBJECT advances the belief that women and girls need not pick sides and can instead enjoy the contemporary feminist debate in all its thorny glory. OBJECT's aim is to create events that allow women to engage, challenge and entertain one another.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007


While we obJECT to being OBjects, I'm finding answers through the conversation. I think it's because this is how we are making it more personal. It sucks to be objectified because it means we are then treated impersonally. While we crawl deeper into this object circle and attempt to figure it all out, why not paint on the walls along the way. What images are evoked for you? Maybe we can then collectively make our group more personal to others through our imagery.

I love those Seonna Hong pictures we've used in the past. They stir emotion in a gentle but very full way and I get excited when I see them on our fliers.

Below are two images or ideas I had in mind. I was trying to think up images that might force others to stop and look; images that would make it more personal for them. Thoughts? How do you visualize OBJECT?


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Recovering from Lady Party 911

We've finally recovered enough to sort through the photos. Check out a slideshow and a recap from Lady Party 911.

We're already planning the next Lady Party so let us know what you liked about this one and what you want to see next time.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pictures from Lady Party 911

Jessi Klein and Jessica Chaffin host a debate with Nina Hartley, Jen Sincero, and Tracy McMillan on "Punishing the Princesses: The Media’s Obsession With Condemning Paris, Lindsay and Britney."

San Francisco dance-punk queens Von Iva perform.

Yo Majesty gets ready to raise the roof.

Object founders Lindsey and Jill.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I Heart U.S. Americans

Okay, I'm obsessed with Miss Teen USA. At first I couldn't stop laughing. But now, I'm pissed.

If you're reading this, you have a computer, which means you have surely, by now, seen - or at least heard about - the clip of Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina or wherever, answering the question posed to her during the "interview" portion of the Miss Teen USA pageant.

Miss Upton is asked why one-fifth of all Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map. Her answer, in what is possibly the purest instances of schadenfraude I have ever seen, is incomprehensible. Watch it again, just for fun.

I laughed at the watercooler with all the rest of the U.S. Americans I work with, until I saw clip of Miss Upton on the Today Show the following day, pleading that she just "made a mistake". At the end, when Ann Curry gives Miss Upton a high-five for "having the courage" to show up on the Today Show to regurgitate some more coached answers (I personally believe... I'm an idiot.), I got angry!


Because Miss Upton placed third in the Miss Teen USA pageant. Third! Like she's an example of bright young womanhood. As if.

Because our cultural response to her (and what is the Today Show and its ilk, but a cultural barometer?), is a laugh and a high-five.

Because I don't believe her answer is a mistake. (U.S. Americans? The Iraq? These are not evidence of a mistake, or even a misheard question. They are evidence of a deep, deep misunderstanding.)

Because she was obviously coached, and even though she may have been nervous (which is forgiveable), she didn't forget her coaching (which is a little less forgiveable)... which is why she "personally believes" gobbledygook. I would rather her BE REAL and just say, "Um, Mario, I didn't hear the question..."

But what makes me maddest?

Is that I know there were undoubtedly some really rad girls in that contest who maybe didn't have Miss Upton's perfect Nancy O'Dell demeanor, her killer bathing suit body, her blonde helmet hair or perfect white teeth who probably could have answered the question with intelligence and grace... qualities that would reflect the young womanhood I'd want my own daughter to go for.

I think my 10-year-old son said it best. "She only cares about being hot."

And so did the judges.