buttonpoetry:

Hieu Minh Nguyen - “2006”

"I’m not a piece of coal waiting to be crushed into a diamond. There’s nothing sexy waiting to be carved out."

Performing at the SlamMN! Valentine’s Day tournament.

ryanjdavis:

The new anti-gay Boy Scouts splinter group have a questionable salute.

ryanjdavis:

The new anti-gay Boy Scouts splinter group have a questionable salute.

ppaction:

It’s no secret that the attacks on women’s health have dramatically increased over the past few years, but that doesn’t make seeing the lineup any less breathtaking.
But there’s a solution: The Women’s Health Protection Act will stop these outrageous laws that are undermining women’s health and rights in state after state. In today’s political climate, Roe isn’t enough—and we’re not done fighting for women’s health and rights. Tell Congress to support the Women’s Health Protection Act now.

ppaction:

It’s no secret that the attacks on women’s health have dramatically increased over the past few years, but that doesn’t make seeing the lineup any less breathtaking.

But there’s a solution: The Women’s Health Protection Act will stop these outrageous laws that are undermining women’s health and rights in state after state. In today’s political climate, Roe isn’t enough—and we’re not done fighting for women’s health and rights. Tell Congress to support the Women’s Health Protection Act now.

Lunchtime attempt to recreate the #Caseus brussels experience at home. No wine and no industrial oven makes it an uphill climb, but I think I’m nearing the summit. #plantlife

Lunchtime attempt to recreate the #Caseus brussels experience at home. No wine and no industrial oven makes it an uphill climb, but I think I’m nearing the summit. #plantlife

As a rule, I am allergic to the adjective “best,” which asserts only the inferiority of all other things—not a useful or appealing function, for those of us who are promiscuous thing-lovers.
In her altogether excellent meditation on Middlemarch, New York magazine’s Kathryn Schulz offers this characteristically brilliant one-liner on why “best” is the worst qualifier of all – a reminder particularly timely in the age of the linkbait listicle that tends to take the form of “The X Best Y.” (via explore-blog)

(via explore-blog)

Looking: Queer Reliance on a Common Voice

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When I woke up Monday morning and started boiling the water for my french press, blurry eyed and hung over from my Sunday night sleep aid, I immediately logged on to watch the premiere episode of Looking, the new show from HBO. I then took to Twitter (as I’m wont to do when watching a new episode of almost anything, at this point) and saw the excitement from queer men, seemingly from around the globe. I was heartened to see how excited so many folks seemed to be for this show - but I couldn’t help but dread that moment that I sense is coming, when we heap on all our expectations and break the back of a single show, expecting it carry the load of all our voices up the hill, all alone. 

Let me explain. This first episode of the show is great, and there will hopefully be more to come, with richer character development (and a look at their struggles outside of dating? Maybe?). At this early point in the show, my life may not identically mirror any of the main characters, but still, I found their stories resonating and feelingly loosely familiar. That can easily be attributed to quality writing and acting (so far) and perhaps a general sense of universality when it comes to cis men who date/sleep with other cis men. For a quick review of the show, I’d recommend this piece from Vulturewhich highlights some of the possible successes and future trappings of the story telling.

Here’s what really concerns me: that we’ll hold this show up to the impossible standard of some sort of “common voice” for cis gay men. That we’ll force the show to carry all of our perspectives in one weekly thirty-minute time-slot. Queer folks are so underrepresented in culture that we’re desperate for every new show with an LGBTQ perspective to be our show. As the article in Vulture correctly highlights, there is a lack of lesbians and trans* folks in the storytelling and, without a doubt, that will rob the show of a richer kind of storytelling. That there is no representation of the rest of the LGBTQ community is a drag. But what really makes it a drag should be how realistic that experience is. Spoiler alert: there are plenty of white gay men who don’t hang with anyone who doesn’t look/think/fuck like them. This shouldn’t shock anyone anymore than the reality that we often watch shows because we can see the shades of truth that they hold for our own lives and not necessarily the lives of others.

Similar criticism was leveled at Lena Dunham’s show - a lack of diversity of both socio-economic experience and skin color on GIRLS - and it makes a lot of sense. We’re sick of not seeing a wide range of perspectives on TV. We’re sick of seeing the same people continually given a voice on major network and cable television. We’re sick of not seeing ourselves on the screen. What’s dangerous about it is that we expect one show to carry all of our voices in one 30 minute time slot and hold single pieces of writing accountable for the monochromatic look of our televisions. We’ve been guilty (myself included) of holding Lena Dunham responsible for all of television’s failings. Let’s not do that with Looking. Let’s demand a space for everyone to tell their own stories - for cable and network television to start holding room for a wide range of voices to amplify what life looks like for them, but let’s avoid the trap of crucifying this show for not changing the entirety of the television landscape in 30 minutes a week.   

Vintage New Haven

Came across this super fun photo of New Haven, c. 1910. The view up Chapel St. from the corner of State St. Who else thinks street cars are amazing?

buttonpoetry:

Lily Myers - “Shrinking Women” (CUPSI 2013)

"As she shrinks, the space around her seems increasingly vast."

Lily Myers, of Wesleyan University, performing at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. This piece was awarded Best Love Poem in the tournament.

(via plannedparenthood)

We are all born artists. If you have kids, you know what I mean. Almost everything kids do is art. They draw with crayons on the wall; they dance; they inflict their singing on everyone.

Art is about going a little nuts and justifying the next sentence, which is not much different from what a kid does. Kids do art. They don’t do it because someone told them to. They aren’t told by their boss or anyone, they just do it.

Unfortunately, at some point our art — such a joyful pastime — ends. Kids have to go to lessons, to school, do homework and of course they take piano or ballet lessons, but they aren’t fun anymore. You’re told to do it and there’s competition. How can it be fun?

Besides, if you continue to act like an artist as you get older, you’ll increasingly feel pressure — people will question your actions and ask you to act properly.

What should we do then? We need to start our own art. Right this minute, we can turn off TV, log off the Internet, get up and start to do something. Let’s be artists, right now. How? Just do it!

Writer Young-ha Kim looks at creativity in our lives in his TEDxSeoul talk, Be an artist, right now!” (via tedx)

A note on that one time that I met Sandra Bernhard.

Last night, because I’m spoiled by my job at times, I got a chance to meet Sandra Bernhard. Now, to understand how monumental this is in my life, I met Sandy (yes, in my mind’s eye, we’ve been that close for years) when she cameoed in the brilliant Isaac Mizrahi’s 1995 documentary, Unzipped. We had met briefly in Madonna’s Truth or Dare, but nothing stand-out memorable and let’s be clear: after the absurd neediness of Madonna in that film, who could come out thinking of anyone but her? But, Unzipped was different. There, Sandra was fascinating, and it became clear that we shared a love for Irving, the joke writer, Eartha Kitt and New York. And who could forget her rendition of Sylvester’s Mighty Real as a cast of iconic 90’s super models floated angularly down the runway in Nanook inspired pink and orange faux furs. 

Fast forward through the years and you would find the teenage me having a viewing party for the premire of Sandy’s HBO piece, I’m Still Here…Dammit! for all my friendsrunning to see her perform every chance I got and saving the maiden listening session of her album, I Love Being Me, Don’t You? for an entire month - knowing a bad break-up moment was coming and it would help cushion the blow.

So, when the big reproductive rights organization I work for announced that Sandra would be joining the absurdly sharp-witted Lizz Winstead for a fundraiser they were putting together I immediately went into glee-ful panic mode.  What would I say? How would I pick what I wanted her to sign? How would I encapsulate the bizarre devotion to her work that I had cultivated over my lifetime? Being a planner, I took to the task of writing down several options of what I could say to her, to help find words to speak when I finally got the chance to, well…thank her.

When the big moment came and the show was over, which was a brilliantly executed 92nd Street Y format of two big chairs and a long meandering conversation, I ran up to the reception room and held my breath. I went for it. She was standing alone, and I dove right in.

Here’s where I have a piece of advice for anyone who has ever identified with what I’ve shared above, no matter who the artist or celebrity might be: don’t be so quick to lift the veil. Sandra was lovely, very courteous (she listened as I forget everything I had planned and asked an incredibly lame question about queer comics - knowing that’s not remotely how she thinks of her work) and took a picture with me as I profusely “thanked her” for something that was, as it turned out, incredibly hard to distill in the moment. How do you talk about how someone’s art has touched, shaped, and rebounded your perception of things in the world, in a room crowded with donors, bizarre cake-pop desserts and a woman who’s performance capitalizes on her overwhelming sense of surety and self-worth?

The short answer: you probably don’t. You probably just let the artist be the artist and avoid trying to mesh the artist you love with the “celebrity sighting” you hoped to capture. 

image

Me with a dopey glow and Sandra Bernhard

See, that’s the thing: our culture has us so obsessed with Instagramming every moment and validating that something happened, that we forget what art is all about. It’s about the performance, the words, the person being vulnerable enough, smart enough, and working their ass off to give us something that makes us think in ten different directions. And in a lot of ways, it’s about being on the outside looking in - not breaking down the mystique so you can gush over them and “thank them” for it. 

In the end, it’s great that I got to meet Sandra Bernhard and it’s sweet that she was so kind to me - taking a picture, thanking me, giving me a wink and a knowing squeeze on my arm as she politely excused herself. But next time, I might just let the art be enough, and not worry so much about the experience of meeting the person behind the veil. I dare say, it was a little greedy and in the end, I was a little disappointed when the “real” Sandra turned out to be no different from the very thing I had always admired her for - a woman who knows who she is, and why she does what she does. A woman who calls out the dopey celebrity fetish and demands more from her audience. Next time, I’m on it, Ms. Bernhard.

Some seriously amazing things were happening on Twitter last night. This Storify of the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen hashtag pretty much says it all.
I have to say, I was disappointed to see how many white women spoke-up and joined the conversation, instead of listening and learning something. Being an “ally” doesn’t give you permission to join in every conversation

Some seriously amazing things were happening on Twitter last night. This Storify of the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen hashtag pretty much says it all.

I have to say, I was disappointed to see how many white women spoke-up and joined the conversation, instead of listening and learning something. Being an “ally” doesn’t give you permission to join in every conversation

Lesson to be learned: FInd a local roaster and drink their coffee. All of the above shouldn’t have to be suffered-thru.
explore-blog:

America’s strongest and weakest coffees, in an infographic. Pair with Esquire’s vintage guide to brewing the perfect cup and the story of how coffee conquered the world.

Lesson to be learned: FInd a local roaster and drink their coffee. All of the above shouldn’t have to be suffered-thru.

explore-blog:

America’s strongest and weakest coffees, in an infographic. Pair with Esquire’s vintage guide to brewing the perfect cup and the story of how coffee conquered the world.

I can’t think of something better to invest your time in than the pursuit of happiness. I don’t think happiness is a sustained and eternal space, but something that’s achievable some days, for a multitude of minutes. Regardless of how long it sticks around, it’s one mountain worth the climbing. Check out these scientifically backed ways to be happier (whatever that means to you?): http://bit.ly/16558FP

I can’t think of something better to invest your time in than the pursuit of happiness. I don’t think happiness is a sustained and eternal space, but something that’s achievable some days, for a multitude of minutes. Regardless of how long it sticks around, it’s one mountain worth the climbing. Check out these scientifically backed ways to be happier (whatever that means to you?): http://bit.ly/16558FP

explore-blog:

fMRI scan indicating increased brain activity associated with happiness after a 20-minute walk vs. 20 minutes in sedentary mode. Pair with Maira Kalman on the creative benefits of walking and learn to walk around your block with new eyes. 

explore-blog:

fMRI scan indicating increased brain activity associated with happiness after a 20-minute walk vs. 20 minutes in sedentary mode. Pair with Maira Kalman on the creative benefits of walking and learn to walk around your block with new eyes

aeronthequeerace:

"Dear Straight People"

This may be called “Dear Straight People” but it’s written for every queer ear and queer voice that has been silenced in their own living rooms. Fantastic.

"The future influences the present just as much as the past." Friedrich Nietzsche

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