Fiction or so, Plays, Works in Progress

Play:

“A Couple of Good Copy-Editors [sic]”

(or, Beady Yes’m)

“A Couple of Good Copy-Editors [sic]” explores a young woman copy editor’s concern and fascination when she and her male copy editor coworker sneak late at night into their office, the publisher of “Ending Violence Everywhere”, or “E.V.E.,” newsletter–to discover their pair of editors passed out in full bondage gear in the copy room. Over their leather-clad bodies, she espouses her morals, questions them, and argues with her fellow lowly copy editor colleague, with whom of course she “vascillitates” in and out of a solely work-centered relationship. The show culminates in, well, I won’t spoil it, but she and he experience multiple feminist political repugnancies and simultaneous liberation, plus, everyone’s a little queer for toner, right? She essentially embodies the sex culture wars, from Dworkin and MacKinnon to Camille Paglia and Pat Califia, though the latter are perhaps more attributable to the mise-en-scene of the freeze-frame editors-in-chief in leather.

 

The play is currently under revisions from its college production at the University of New Mexico in the Robert M. Hartung Words Afire New Plays Festival.

 

 

 

Advertisements

a-couple-of-good-copy-editors-play

Aside
Articles and Essays, Happs!, Reviews, Words & Works of Others

Urgent Recommendation: Claudia Rankine’s CITIZEN

CITIZEN: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Not racist? Hear, listen, and grasp social and race issues with the renowned author, playwright, and poet. “I don’t think we connect micro-aggressions that indicate the lack of recognition of the black body as a body to the creation and enforcement of laws.” Claudia Rankine said last fall in BOMB.
Wait, what’s a “microaggression”?? These words matter.
CITIZEN: An American Lyric divulges and dissects day-to-day, often sub-surface racism and its effects beyond the moment. Her fifth poetry book, it made history, nominated for two National Book Critics Circle Awards, for Criticism and for Poetry; it won the latter, along with the NAACP Image Award, PEN Open Book Award, and others, and is the only New York Times nonfiction bestseller of its lyric kind.
CITIZEN calls out in solidarity if you’ve ever been run into by an armored tank of racial marginalization or been caught in a nasty traffic jam of intersectionality. Rankine calls you to action if you give a hoot or are susceptible to participating in systemic racism. Cultural theorist Lauren Berlant described in the BOMB interview, “Citizenship involves metabolizing in the language of your flesh what you call the ‘ordinary’ injury of racist encounter.” Rankine’s prose details scene by the millisecond, along with internal reaction, piling on inevitable, immediate, smacking social resonance in fell swoop after fell swoop. Each scene rounds out with that “metabolizing” as it happens, or as its consequence plays out within black bodies and minds constrained by white hegemony and apathy.
Los Angeles’ Fountain Theater produced an adaptation in August, spotlighting the versatility of CITIZEN and Rankine’s multi-form and -genre work. Her dialogue and descriptions came to life on stage particularly smoothly: The ensemble cast rove among different characters, black actors facing white actors, playing out scenes of surprise verbal, contextual complicity or attack and slow-motion, time-stopped response, outburst, or restraint. Sitting, watching in your red theater seat became complacency; cringing and squirming in it were not enough.
In interactions of daily and professional life, how can white people stop colluding to enact racism, even if unintentionally? How can all people not commit and not accept racial microaggression? Recognition of such words and acts is a start.

Standard
Works in Progress

Planned Parenthood: Saving a Morally Poor Country

I don’t understand why you’d say we don’t need Planned Parenthood. It is the most real of women’s health centers. The reason they might not do mammograms is because of not getting enough funding because of the politicians & people trying to force their religion down other people’s throats and on top of that use it as an excuse to misogynistically stop this awesome respectful source of healthcare for women and control over our own bodies & for men and family planning and teenagers.
What do you mean, a female-bodied person can get a mammogram at “any woman’s clinic” and “even at your primary care doctor.” There are few women’s clinics in most areas, and they are usually booked for a long time. I’ve also never had a primary care doctor that didn’t have a long wait. When I had PID, the primary care doctor referred me to a gynocologist. I couldn’t afford that, so I was forced to go to another clinic, and had to see a male doctor available in order to see a doctor in time when I wanted to see a female doctor. Many women’s clinics and primary care doctors also only do the breast exam and refer patients for the mammogram.
When I was a teenager in the late 90s, you could get FREE condoms and a fairly inexpensive appointment at planned parenthood for STD checks, and some places regularly for free. Planned Parenthood was the main place to go for LGBT people that you could trust to be non-judgmental and be able to be comfortable before there were HIV clinics, men’s clinics, LGBT clinics. They still are in many places. Then came “abstinence-only education” and slashed funding–now you couldn’t even get free condoms at Free Med Clinics! I remember going to the doctor back in my home town I think in ’04 after long unusual wait for a scheduled appointment, and wondering what had happened, and why were they now so rushed. There was so much demand now; it had changed so much. I found out why: Then came the conversations with people 4 years younger than me, who had gone through high school entirely under a Republican old white male president clueless about epidemiology and public health. They had gotten only abstinence-only education and didn’t know about their own bodies, didn’t know how to prevent STD/STIs, and on and on. I’d have to sit them down and give them my Clinton-era sex ed education. Then the stories came in, high school and junior high kids spreading herpes like wildfire, the colored sex bracelets revised from the framework of those “purity” bracelets that revisited and renewed an extremely oppressive outdated patriarchal sexist premium on “virginity,” which also inspired another revision, having anal sex so a girl could “save” or “keep” her (vaginal) “virginity.” Nothing wrong with ways to have pleasure from your body–but is it truly consensual, that young woman’s choice, when she feels such heavy societal pressure to remain a so-called virgin that she uses her body in a way that she would not otherwise choose? It is another example of abstinence-only sex education backfiring. Then the numbers came in, rapid rampant increase in teen pregnancy and in cases of STD/STIs in teens. HIV contracted most commonly by women, cases ever on the rise, with poor women more likely to contract it.
You worried about “innocent lives”? Then stop the death penalty–like Francis said. Stop a completely classist, unchecked racist judicial system that sentences to death young black men. Stop the terrible discrimination against older women (of any color) in employment. Fight to raise the minimum wage so that single mothers can actually support their families. Get the for-profit corruption and racism and insensitivity to LGBT kids out of the foster care and child and family services and adoption systems…oh, perhaps by getting out of the equation the requirement to pay thousands, usually tens of thousands, for an adoption attorney; by welcoming all the hopeful adoptive LGBT parents into the adoption and foster care systems; and by getting accusatory social work and extra policing out of poor and people-of-color neighborhoods and families at misrepresentative higher volume than middle class neighborhoods and families. STOP ABSTINENCE-ONLY SEX ED! Stop the stigma against a woman doing with her body what she chooses, in the name of some patriarchal g-d or religion; stop the stigma against pre-marital sex and pregnancy and having a child “out of wedlock.” Welcome immigrants and make sure they can work to make enough money to feed their children and care for them and get health care. Make sure people working at restaurants and food industry and labor jobs and part-time jobs can get adequate healthcare–that means PAID SICK DAYS to take care of themselves and THEIR YOUNG CHILDREN and paid sick/family leave to take care of sick kids. Require community free or sliding-scale childcare for families parenting children under school age (and for after school), like many socialist democracies do. Oh yeah–have **FEDERALLY MANDATED PAID MATERNAL AND PATERNAL LEAVE FOR MONTHS** like EVERY SINGLE OTHER WESTERN/”DEVELOPED” COUNTRY, with the exception being the United States.

But don’t perpetuate the problem by stopping women’s clinics, like Planned Parenthood, from respecting women enough to do with our bodies what we choose as part of the health care.

Keep your religion out of my vagina.

P.S. If you just really hate or don’t respect women, which might include yourself, remember that Planned Parenthood serves families, men, and children in early childhood.

Standard
Reviews

A Positive of a Negative Proves a Mathematician a Performer

Review of TRUTH VALUES
Gioia De Cari's TRUTH VALUES
Gioia De Cari completes a Master’s degree in math, at M.I.T., nonetheless, in just over an hour. She now performs with exactly enough dramatic flair and even some “spicy,” operatic singing, having turned from proofs to stage her wit; that is, from scholarly pursuit of logic to write, act, and tour her solo show. TRUTH VALUES traipses through that most illogical of tales, blunt sexism altering the female scholar’s narrative. Male chauvinist mathematicians (and other nerds) gender-discriminate or sexualize her at almost every turn, at odds with her Ph.D education. The UI WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) spearheaded bringing the autobiographical Best Solo Show winner to the Englert Monday night. De Cari delivers Lazer-carved characters who lecture her seminars or jive around the “party office” as TAs so that you forget only one actor plays them all. Guts, gusto, and unashamed femininity through her entire intense graduate career and teaching fellowship at Harvard add up to absolute, real theatricality.

An Oleanna fresh from across campus, minus the taint of Mamet’s mysoginy but unfortunately greater than or equal to that story’s professor’s, TRUTH VALUES brings quality to quantity in accents, the drive of the young mathematician and performer, and obectivity, via succinct dialogue and sometimes conjured costumes. The bare-minimal set exemplifies De Cari’s virtually lone navigation “Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze,” as she has subtitled the show. Directed with punch and elegance, award-winning classics director Miriam Eusebio (member of the historic feminist and LGBTQ collective Wow Cafe Theater and founder of the Intentional Theater) accelerates De Cari as young Gioia and her former, mathier colleagues and company to effortless synthesis, rendering obtuse where the acting ends and the directing begins. The lighting by Chris Dallos of Unexpected Theater casts precise environments, not too harshly but with no pretty ivy gobo.

If you missed the show, calculate how long it will take you to leave point A at a minimum of 60 miles per hour and arrive at point B, the next tour destination of TRUTH VALUES, as soon as possible.
Sept. 21, 2015

Standard
Works in Progress

“Mansplaining”: Sexist?

Well, mansplaining wraps up the sexist privileged blinding in one word and to me is legitimately used when it’s referring to the specific concept of a guy explaining something to a woman (or someone he views as subordinate) out of the assumption that the person does not understand because of their gender. (It can include the self-perception that a person has superior knowledge, often connected to their own male gender, when this kind of explaining extends to another male, probably viewed as inferior.) It is explaining something when no explanation is asked for or no explanation is warranted, offering knowledge as if the other person could not possibly have this knowledge or know how to find it, or instead of explaining what the person did ask about, explaining something very basic or giving lay-person level or pretty unrelated information to show off and/or as if the person is not smart enough to realize you’re not answering the actual question. Often the explanation is offered by someone who does not actually know much about the topic, but either believes he does in what seems like a male privilege superiority complex (esp. or when around females).  And the reason there is a term “mansplaining” now is because it is a recognizable experience. It is so common that women from many perspectives immediately know what someone is talking about who describes this, and that is why the term took so easily. It nice to finally have a word for it, and one that indicates a behavior that’s frowned upon.
There may be audible intonation of condescension, or the “explanation” may be contextually condescending and politically condescending with its sexism. Occurs especially, but *not* always or only covering topics, disciplines, or situations over which male dominance has traditionally maintained a stronghold (cars, machinery, math, film directing, computers, carpentry lawn mowing, politics, business…but also everything else under the sun).
For fairness’ sake, I invent the term “transplaining.”
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Some examples would be:
  • When I asked my male coworker to help hang a large framed picture on the wall over a staircase by holding it in place while I stepped back to get a view of whether or not it is level and by holding it while I marked where to nail in the picture hangers, and he started to ‘explain’ how to correctly nail in a nail with a hammer and insisted that the picture was level while up against it holding it on the wall looking side-line at it from off-center.
  • Two women at a bus stop discussing NASA’s achievements, the history of rocket engines for use in space, decisions regarding funding of space exploration, the shuttle program, the recent New Horizons images and discoveries, etc. A man at the bus stop “informs” them that the first images of Pluto were just taken, and explains to them how a rocket engine works (supposedly).
  • At a café or bar near a high school or college campus, a woman reading Richard III and enjoying her drink looks up to a man standing at her table. “Shakespeare! Best author in the English language,” says the man, nodding approvingly. “Arguably,” the woman says. “Have you read any others?” he asks. “I teach; I’m teaching the Histories,” she responds. “Romeo and Juliet, now that’s the best love story of all time,” he says, then ‘explains’ the plot to her, and how Shakespeare’s plays were the soap operas of their time.
  • See How to Find a Mechanic and Fix Your Car where a “solution” was explained by a mentor missing the point.
Standard
Articles and Essays

Blag Furning & Bible Unbinding

File:Jasper Johns's 'Flag', Encaustic, oil and collage on fabric mounted on plywood,1954-55.jpg

Flag, for instance, is primarily a visual object,
divorced from its symbolic connotations
and reduced to something in-itself.
Wikipedia,
painter Jasper John

Expressing yourself with the American flag IS FREEDOM OF SPEECH…one of the pillars that we hold so dear of this country and upon which it is founded. It erodes the foundation of the nation, in fact, and erodes the freedoms which make it great to consider so heinous or try to make illegal to exercise expression with a piece of cloth. What if a creation or change made to a flag is art? What if “defiling” it is done to make a *statement* about the hypocrisy and corruption so abundant in the nation’s government? One example of such hypocrisy and corruption would be the flag of slavery flying 45 years after Civil Rights. Even if it offends your sense of nationality or patriotism, there are SO many *much* worse examples of disrespect to the nation and its principles including freedom and justice–which two of the U.S. flag’s colors are popularly claimed to stand for–such as (see previous example, and) all the ways in which censorship is used to perpetuate one usually-already dominant and hegemonically oppressive group’s beliefs at the expense of others, marginalizing them and exploiting them and their minority position, taking advantage of their oppressed position. An example would be the ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL swearing on (in courts) and swearing in (of political executive officials) on one dominant religion’s text, spitting in the face of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Freedom of religion includes freedom FROM religion.

Please review the Bill of Rights, “Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”

***

As for bible-burning:

Tearing up a book may result in insult felt by the person who blindly ascribes to religious doctrine translated and printed therein, but I kind of think waving it as reason/excuse to discriminate, fire, deny rights, harass, bully, ostracize, degrade, deride, hide, harm physically, kill, and look the other way at any of these–oh, wait, and burn people (mostly women) at the stake and, oh, the Crusades’ decades of torture and bloody murder and threats as methods to force conversion, all in the name of that religion,  makes understandable and more-than-calmly reasonable such a minor reaction or making of a statement or taking of a stand.
| |||===========||^||==========||| |
| |||                             ||  ||                            ||| |
| |||           e                ||  ||           qL            ||| |
| |||                             ||  ||                            ||| |
L|||__________/||  ||\__________|||-i
Standard
Works in Progress

RE: “Sweet Cakes by Melissa Didn’t Just Deny a Lesbian Couple Service, They Also Doxxed Them and Their Kids”

Not-so-sweet cakes, eh? In this article, the bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to bake and decorate a cake for a lesbian couple for their wedding. But the bakery owners, Melissa and Aaron Klein, took their discrimination a lot farther–to dangerous actions of exposing the women and their children to gobs of hate mail and threats active homophobes by posting their address on hate sites, until the family was forced to seek protection.

 I wouldn’t want to bake a cake for the KKK’s birthday if I ran a bakery business, or for a celebratory NAMBLA event (though I’d be glad to take money out of these organizations’ pockets). And if Melissa & Aaron Klein really think that would be analogous, may the universe help them. Legally, though, these scenarios could entail  unlawful discrimination against someone for their political beliefs, but because of the Klein’s actions, the case does not provide precedent to allow a person to exercise their own political beliefs in their public service business practice. So when Michigan’s ruling gets overturned, and Governor Brownback and his disciples get broiled federally or, say, Mormons and Muslims join forces to use the new Kansas “religious freedom” executive order to only perform bigamous weddings, no one can use this case to insist on their right to.

Perhaps the Kleins are some kind of socialists who believe that lesbians should only request donation vegan dog biscuits for their weddings because they already have enough of that sweet cake? Two per couple is twice as much as hets!

Adendum: Two females and a male want to get hitched? Let them eat cake, I say. Two males and a female, let them eat long john(s). Maybe I’ll start a bakery.

Additional sources:
HRC: Kansas Governor Brownback Issues Anti-LGBT Executive Order
KS Governor: Religious freedom to discriminate which federal law to follow

Standard