Saturday, August 29, 2015

!Women Art Revolution Review

Image Copyright 2015 Lynn Hershman
September 1 to 15, 2015 will be a Directed by Women Global Viewing Party. You can party too, in your own home by watching some of the films on the Directed by Women website. You can follow on twitter @DirectedbyWomen. I started partying early. Thursday I got my copy of !War Art Revolution and watched it that night. Lynn Hershman Leeson had a video camera and she used it to record thousands of hours of the women artists who came through her living room during the Feminist Art Movement. The documentary is breathtaking in its scope, coverage, music and story. Guerilla Girls, Vietnam, campus police violence, historical context from the late 60s, early 70s, women artists missing from art history. Hershman's voiceover sets the stage "the personal became political and the very personal became art." There is footage of the debate in the U.S. House of Representatives about a bill introduced to ban Judy Chicago's 1979 art installation The Dinner Party from exhibiting in Washington D.C. A bill, begob! The heartwrenching quote from one woman (I'll post her name when I watch the documentary again.)

I don't think feminism successfully changed the structures through which art is made, sold, displayed, written about.

The 2013 documentary Finding Vivian Maier makes this clear in present tense. An exhibit of Maier's photographs was offered to major museums that declined for reasons we all now know as what I call assplaining. We don't exhibit dead artists, we already did a woman exhibit, our schedule is locked.

There is still work to be done.

Here is an excellent review of !War Art Revolution by Elisabeth Subrin. You can watch the documentary on iTunes: include the exclamation point or it won't show up. I want more of this type of film, and I'm going to get those. Directed by Women will be my source for watching and learning more about women filmmakers, and consequently women's history. There are 7,429 women directors in the database so far, and you can help build the resource list. There are 6,493 films by year, and you can help grow the knowledge base. Grow the love!

Monday, August 10, 2015

All the Ladies in the House

Character dolls are done, except for waiting on a shirt for Lore. Still no Stellar Repo that I can envision well. I like Avian, the leader of the bird planet where Stellar was raised. Got good use of a piece of white fake fur! And mangling the cloak worked out to be the best garment solution - just turned it inside/out and tattered it some more. I won't make Stellar's BFF, the gas giant because, well how do you make a jellyfish that will stand up by itself? Can't make it yet, but I have some ideas. Sold a load of old Barbie stuff to clear my mind. At the end of every flurry of activity related to writing the stories is just that: writing. There is no substitute for sitting down and doing the work. I've run out of excellent creative excuses. Give me another day, and I'll have another list. Writing a list is writing, right?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

An Accidental Collector

I'm not a doll collector, although I once had so many my beloved roommate Cheryl and her mother made a full size nanny for my not-doll-collection. Accidental collecting takes no talent, no devoted searching and no functioning thought process. One Christmas I asked my family what's with the cows? and my sister said, "don't you collect cows?" No. But here was a cow collection. Cow slippers, cow spoon caddy, cow napkin holder, culminating on that Christmas with lyrics have yourself a merry little Christmas. Cow. End of that, and I became the ex-accidental not-cow collector. I have my grandmother's baby doll, who I've written about before. As new people came into my life, that one doll became the collection for which my roomie made the babysitter. My ex-step-mother-in-law made me a Cabbage Patch doll. Ugly thing, but there it sat next to Grandma's doll. People saw 2 dolls-thought bingo-gift giving option. Brakes on that: I became the ex-accidental not-babydoll collector. And so it goes. I got my first Barbie when I was 33. I still have her: we're not nostalgic with one another, she's just around. Then Barbie turned 50. Lots of controversy about body image and such, and I thought: we got older, why didn't Barbie? She was actually younger than me, but not by enough to have retained that weird body intact for 50 years. So I started rescuing damaged, chewed, crazed-hair Barbies. And I aged them and sold them. Fully kitted with reading glasses, a Women Who Weren't Born Yesterday membership card, and a bottle of Feel Good, 'script written by Dr. Olive Another. While on the hunt for new victims for the boiling pot (one had sideways bent legs and the only way to straighten was to plunge into boiling water. I swear I could hear her screaming) and the face scraping, I discovered Jason Wu and his exotic Fashion Royalty girls. Veronique Perrin. Kyori Sato. Adele Makeda. These were extraordinarily beautiful (unlike the daftly grinning Barbie) and had fantastically detailed clothing. And stories! An elaborate back story for each character. I couldn't afford the Urban Geisha Kyori Sato who was my favorite, or any Veronique Perrin. But I brought Adele Makeda home-no clothes and have tried since then to get her original outfit back. I just missed last month on eBay by $1.00 in the last 2 seconds! I hope I never meet the woman who took the Via Veneto complete outfit home to her house. I bought Kyori (2004) finally in 2014 and promptly broke her neck. I wrote sobbing about that on this blog. I just switched out her body. The new body doesn't fit the $#%^! shoes. Dad has been enjoying this head-swap - I came out of the kitchen with Kyori, plastic bag over her head, upside down in a cup of boiling water. Now you're waterboarding them? Dad asked. Since Kyori's neck was broken, when I took her head off I couldn't get the knob out, so if you shake her, she rattles like she's got a screw loose, which is fine with me, who also has a screw loose. That should have been the end. But no! I went after a Veronique. And I got her. Not one of the hideously expensive 2004 lot, but a 2014 Nocturnal Glow Veronique. Didn't care for the dress, or the accessories, so those are now on eBay. But this doll. She is a handspeak which I knew nothing about. She comes with an extra pair of hands, for ease of dressing, but geez. I can pop heads off dolls, and scrape off faces, but removing limbs is a new step. I bought a different Veronique outfit - Full Spectrum. The earrings wouldn't go in Nocturnal's ears-I had to clip the post. The ring doesn't fit on Glow's hands, and when I tried, it scarred the plastic. And her hands! The nail polish is sloppy, and the mold on the extra set is just awful-flash around each finger. I'll have to jewelry file fingers and repaint nails. And this new body's legs are square. That's just not right. I thought I was going to sell Adele to support these new purchases, but no, she's staying. Her workmanship is superb. Just got today the new shoes I thought would fit Kyori. Nope. But I'm DONE. I'll sell the shoes, and try for another pair some day far, far away. Kyori's new body has a lovely French pedicure, and she's just fine barefoot. I mean really. And here are the Trio. Adele has her shoes off in comradeship with Kyori (my niece got me a pair of Louboutin shoes for her a couple years ago. YUM!) I made the leather pants and sculpted the hat Adele is wearing. Ahhhh. So I guess now I'm a recovering accidental-on-purpose doll collector. Sort of. For now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Directed by Women Email to Michigan Film Office

September 1-15, 2015 will be a Directed by Women Global Viewing Party, celebrating the voluminous work of women directors from 1896 onward. We invite your organization to appreciate the contribution of women directors, the history of the gender to the development of film and to just have a bloomin' good time watching movies directed by women, and encouraging others to do the same.

You are welcome to quit reading here. But.

Imagine the opportunities. Since the tax incentives ending crimped the influx of film companies working in Michigan, there is a lost horizon in encouraging film directors to come to our pristine, eclectic, diverse and filmic state.

It's indie film world, kids, with no financial juice. Michigan will never be on the radar without the tax incentives, except for desolation-themed pseudo scifi in used-to-be Detroit for blockbusters released first overseas. Detroit has a lot more to offer. Indie films aren't interested in car crashes, city streets closed for filming when those streets are already closed to trash collection and special ed bus routes, desolation porn, or, consequently, the Townsend Hotel filled to capacity. Unless the film gets distribution. Without the blockbusters and the tax incentives and Clint Eastwood and Drew Barrymore, Michigan as a film location is toast. Unless it's the never-ending Transformers franchises. Which, as you know, has moved to Singapore. Disregard.

We want all hotels filled in every filming location in Michigan. Put Detroit in the spotlight for other than desolation, as it has done for itself in celebrating growth. Detroit is alive! Celebrate the indie film world of other sites in Michigan, its diversity of location - the glacial moraines, UP settings identical to Baltic Sea terrain, the pristine shorelines that can substitute for ocean in any weather anywhere (keep in mind that the criteria in filming for ocean is the farther shore can't be seen - Michigan's got that full stop on every coast.)

The grit of Flint, the struggles of Ocean County, the history of Idlewild, the artistic communities of Interlochen/Benzonia, the dunes of Lake Michigan, the historically welcoming gay communities in Douglas and Saugatuck, the quaint and the elegant of the east coast of Michigan, from the Huron estuary to the charm of Charlevoix, the industrial grit of Flint/Bay City/Saginaw, the Civil War quaintness of untouched cities like Three Rivers and Constantine, the storied racial dichotomy of Benton Harbor/St. Joseph and its healing, the isolation of our offshore islands on any coast, and the historical and geologic significance of Drummond Island. Our upper peninsula is shouldered on the Laurentian Shield - the bones of earth, the oldest bedrock on the freaking planet. Think scifi. Think future film. Think women directors this September. Promote the locations. Michigan is diverse. Michigan is singular in her multitudinous filming opportunity. Think real estate. Location, location, location.

Think women. Think women directors in September. The box is closed for blockbusters. Be creative. Women filmmakers are.

Think Anatomy of a Murder, and how long overdue a significant indie-pushed award-winning film done in Michigan is.

Get involved. Attract the business that is growing, engaged, vibrant and economically profound for Michigan.

There are 7,231 women directors listed on

Look at @DirectedbyWomen on twitter and discover why this is a good place to focus attention.

Approach every woman on this list and you've got your Michigan Film Office campaign for the next 10 years.

Get involved. Again.