All posts in Reviews

  • The Miss Neo Pageant

    I had someone look me in the eye last night and scream “You are a horrible writer!” Luckily, it was Megan Mercier from the Neo-Futurists and it was part of a play. And my sister, who was sitting next to me, I’m pretty sure almost died from laughing at the abuses slung at me.

    I’ve written about the Neo-Futurists and a couple of their main stage shows before. While they’re most famous for Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, they do put on ‘regular old plays’ too. I say ‘regular old plays,’ but that’s not quite right. I just mean not TMLMTBGB.

    I’m still trying to digest The Miss Neo Pageant, the latest main stage. It was funny and brutal and cringe-inducing and eloquent and even, at moments, kind. I’ve seen plenty of men unabashedly naked on-stage before. Hell, I’ve seen women, too. But I’ve never seen a naked woman so unapologetic about her body and calling attention to its nakedness before. It was refreshing and genuine and exactly what was called for.

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  • RuPaul's Drag Race

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I’m pretty late to the game on this one. But please forgive me; I didn’t have Logo until quite recently.

    I’ve got to say it: this show is amaaaaaaazing! I spent my afternoon off watching the first two episodes of the current season. Oh the magic of DVRs. It really makes me miss Lucky Cheng’s in New York and more than one NYU anthropology professor. Though I have yet to see a drag queen who could best my friend Drue from high school. He looked better in a dress than most women. He just flat out looked better than most women.

    I’m a sucker for camp.

  • The Neo-Futurists: I AM A CAMERA

    I had the pleasure of going to the opening of The Neo-Futurists most recent main stage production: I AM A CAMERA this evening. It was an interesting, often ethereal performance trying to understand the crossroads of identity and photographs. While there were moments that seemed a little long, this was, perhaps, intentional. However, there were moments of pure beauty to balance it out. At one point, the production took on the qualities of a dance piece while exploring sections of projected photos using pieces of paper. At other times, the actors–Jeremy Sher and Caitlin Stainken–are forced to ask and answer questions using only a small range of photographs.

    I really enjoyed the evening. It was a thought-provoking night that posed more questions than answers, and I propose that it is better this way. How can actors tell us who we are? They can only tell us who they are, and, in fact, that is what they spent the evening doing. Greg Allen asks us who we are and that is his thesis. In reality, he is asking us who will we be.

    I AM A CAMERA runs through March 13, 2010 on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Tickets can be bought through Brown Paper Tickets.

  • Finishing the Tao of Teaching

    51H9DT5GMML._SL160_I have finished a book, and granted it wasn’t the book I planned on finishing next, but I finished a book no less. This one I had the pleasure to read for class, but that doesn’t mean reading Greta Nagel’s The Tao of Teaching was boorish work. The fact that I read it in two days–two busy days–is endorsement enough.

    Part of my enjoyment came from the fact that I have had a long standing interest in Taoism. I had the pleasure of having the Tao Te Ching introduced to me by a very proficient scholar while in high school. I recall being 16 and reading aloud with gusto in my dormitory’s lobby. It was total revelation.

    In an adaptation of her thesis, Nagel relates the 81 “main” ideas of Taoism to their application in the classroom and attitudes of teachers. It is interesting as my wise scholar mentioned earlier often espoused that Taoism was knowledge without knowledge, knowing without knowing. To transpose it to the structure that by definition deals with knowledge is such a wonderful idea, and also intrinsically Taoist.

    Of course, one does not have to be a scholar of Tao to appreciate Nagel’s writing. Admittedly, my own studies have been lacking in the past year or so. She makes everything accessible, which is one of her strengths. She encourages the very intuition that bureaucrats have fought hard to kill in teachers of late. That intuition is the very thing that makes good teachers excellent.

    I love alternative views of the traditional classroom, likely because my experiences as a public school student were often full of woe. A major premise of anthropology is that diversity is far more advantageous than homogeny. The standardization of the contemporary classroom is the downfall of education. We should embrace the examples Nagel uses, even the ones that have been legislated out of existence.

  • Picking Up The Beauty Myth Again

    I first picked up The Beauty Myth three years ago. I was writing a paper for a class, for The Anthropology of Gender & Sexuality taught by Nia Parson. It was a great class, and the first time where I was inspired enough to engorge myself on outside sources for a final paper.  I ended up writing a treatise on intersection, third wave feminism, and abortion rights. It was a great paper. I shared it with the group of shamans I was observing later in the year when they started getting grumpy about the right to choose.

    The only problem is I never finished it.

    Some books have that problem with me: I just can’t get them read. American Gods is a book I’ve started at least a dozen times and as much as I love reading the first 100 pages, something always comes up and I can’t finish it.  With The Beauty Myth, life happened. A series of catastrophic events in early 2008 left me unable to do much else but cry and feel sorry for myself.  I had read what I needed for the paper with the intention to finish it at my leisure during the following semester. It has languished on my shelf ever since.

    No more. While generally I would say I have never bought into the monolithic beauty myth, I think I am at a point in my life where I need to read it again (and actually finish it). It’s an important text and it will be good for me and the goals I am working toward right now. The whole strong woman thing.  And, in general, I need some non-textbook reading to happen in my life.

  • Drinking the Gypsy Wine

    I needed turbinado sugar this weekend, which prompted a visit to Trader Joe’s.  I happened to find a bottle of wine.

    Vino!

    Hmm, can we get a close up on that label?

    LabelOh, right. Chariot Gypsy 2007. Obviously. Because that’s not problematic at all.

    Being gypsy myself, I had to buy it. Being that it was only $6, I can hardly complain about being gypped, now can I?  Much like how a friend’s (black) mother collects racist images of “them negroes,” I find myself drawn to ill thought out representations of gypsies.

    I have to say: I’ve seen worse. While this lady does have the headscarf, earrings, and giant mole, her lack of prominent and absurd gold jewelry is somewhat refreshing.  But let’s not kid ourselves, this woman is wearing a lot of odd ice, none of which is based in fact and a lot of which is based in racism and stereotype. Awsm!

    On to the wine itself: I was surprised it had a cork. My usual Trader Joe’s pick lost its cork for a screw cap about a year ago.  It was a wet red, which is about all I’m qualified to say. It was a bit sweet and I’d probably drink it again. Coming from me about a red, that’s a lot. Reds tend to be my least favorite kinds of wine.

    But back to the racism: haven’t we learned over hundreds of years of colonialism and all those civil rights marches and what not, that it’s not okay to market miscellaneous shit based on racist images of subjugated people and their history?  What if this was Chariot Jews 2007?  Granted that would have excellent pun potential, but that doesn’t make it an okay thing to do.