Elevate Difference

Reviews by Adrienne Urbanski

Adrienne Urbanski

Adrienne Urbanski has maintained a life long love for writing which has lead her in many directions including creative writing, broadcast journalism, print journalism, public relations, and academia. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she now resides in New York City where she takes in as much culture and art as possible. Adrienne presently works as a freelance writer and her work focuses primarily on the arts as well as issues pertinent to women and feminism. She writes regularly for Bust Magazine and her work has also appeared in The Onion's AV section, Bitch Magazine, New York Press, Kirkus Reviews, The Villager, Chelsea Now, Downtown Express, Venus Zine, Stage and Cinema, The Frisky, Beliefnet, The Minnesota Women's Press, Pulse of The Twin Cities, Kitty Magik and many others. She presently has two B.A.s in English and journalism from The University of Minnesota as well as an MA in English from Brooklyn College. In addition to working as a writer, she also pays the bills through working as a college English instructor. She maintains an active Twitter account devoted to feminism and pop culture as well as an active [blogspot account[(http://adrienneurbanski.blogspot.com).

Hide and Seek: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exibitionists

Sometimes a sexually arousing or a sexually fulfilling experience does not necessarily have to involve physical contact with another person. This is the premise behind the erotica anthology Hide And Seek: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, in which the characters in the scenarios that enfold find sexual fulfillment and release from viewing others in the throes of sexual passion (be it with an attractive partner or with a vibrator).

Beautiful Boy

Considering how common the tragedy of school shootings has become in our society, it is strange how infrequently this phenomena appears on both the silver and the TV screen. Perhaps this is because understanding these incidents is difficult, even when it comes to fiction. In Beautiful Boy, director Shawn Ku attempts to explore unanswerable questions by depicting a married couple who are torn apart by the death of their son, a college student who is both the victim and culprit of a massively fatal school shooting.

La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City

In her historical work La Calle, Otero focuses on the city of Tucson’s elimination of the Mexican cultural center known as “La Calle” in the late sixties.

Best Bondage Erotica 2011

As the title would imply, this erotica anthology contains solely stories that involve bondage, the use of restraints for the purpose of sexual pleasure. Along with the use of bondage in sexual encounters comes the play of submissive and dominant roles. As one might expect, nearly half of stories in this book stick to standard dominate/submissive heterosexual roles, with men tying up women in various scenarios and then sexually dominating them.

The Vintage Book of American Women Writers

Anyone who has taken their share of English literature survey courses will tell you that the women considered great enough to be included within the literary canon are few to be found, as women writers have been marginalized throughout history. Even today, the title “great American novelist” is one that has yet to be bestowed upon a woman, and many women writers whose work has literary significance find their work disregarded as "chick lit." The Vintage Book of American Women Writers helps to give women their due. The 848-page book traces the history of women writers in America, beginning with Anne Bradford, the first woman to be published in Puritan America, and ending with such contemporary writers as Amy Tan and Jhumpa Lahiri.

Neo-Feminist Cinema: Girly Films, Chick Flicks, and Consumer Culture

In the past decade, America cinema has shown a change towards producing more women-centered movies, depicting independent unmarried women who seek out their own empowerment and gradually changing society’s view of single women. The women of Sex and the City, for instance, celebrate their singledom, showing it not to be the pitiable state it was once thought to be. While these women possess many feminist qualities, they also have attributes that separate them from the traditional ideals of feminism, a perspective which media studies scholar Hilary Radner labels neo-feminist in her current work, Neo-Feminist Cinema.


With the popularization of blogs and personal websites in the past decade, there has been a sharp decline in the zine phenomena. I have longed for the days when the magazine rack at independent bookstores was lined with photocopied feminist zines, daring to say the things mainstream magazines cannot. Thankfully, there are still some zinesters willing to invest the time and money needed to undertake the taxing task of putting out a zine.


French theorist Hélène Cixous first coined the term ècriture feminine in her 1975 essay “Laugh of the Medusa,” in which she wrote “Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies.” Within the essay, Cixous posited that women write their gender into their writing, that gender is embedded in the language women use.

Literary Readings: Jonathan Franzen and Lorrie Moore (11/13/2010)

In the deeply downtrodden, recession smashed state that the publishing industry is in, and in a culture in which few people seem to have the attention span to read an entire novel (much less one nearly 600 pages long), it seemed unlikely that America would ever crown yet another Great American Novelist. However, Jonathan Franzen has been given such a title by many media outlets, some of which showed a photo of President Obama carrying Franzen's latest work, Freedom. Franzen’s readings across the country have lead to lines around the block, giving life to a dying industry. But all of the fawning and attention directed at Franzen has lead some writers, like Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner, to wonder if writing by men is automatically taken more seriously than writing by women, who are often written off as "chick lit" or left to play second fiddle.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2010

The photo on this anthology’s cover, of two near identical women in rapturous embrace serves to convey the collection’s reoccurring theme: sex with one’s doppelganger. While the majority of stories in this collection do not adhere to this theme, two of the most unusual tales in this collection do. As one would assume, the stories within this collection often veer outside of the clichéd, cookie-cutter lesbian erotica setups.

Soul Leaves Her Body (10/08/2010)

In today’s digital age, people often communicate with each other via computer and cell phone screens rather than face to face. In recent years, Here Arts Center has taken the difficult leap of transporting this contemporary feeling of being disconnected (and yet overconnected) via the coldness of technology to the theater stage through their resident artist productions.

Estrogenius Festival (10/08/2010)

Considering how many women pursue a career in theater, it seems perplexing that so few women-centered plays or female directors make it to the stage. This was the problem Fiona Jones set to resolve when she created the Estrogenius Festival as a showcase of women in theater... a decade ago. With much of the theater industry still dominated by male voices and visions, this festival provides women a chance to step out from the sidelines and into the spotlight.

Law of Attraction

As far as my taste in reading material goes, I tend to avoid genre books, particularly cookie cutter thrillers and mysteries as many most often lack originality, societal observation, and genuine writing skill. Alison Leotta’s novel Law of Attraction, however, manages to be the exception to the rule, creating a mystery that adheres to the genre standards but also manages to transcend them through tackling the heavy hitting topics of domestic abuse and power struggles within heterosexual relationships.

Sex in Mommyville (8/19/2010)

For feminists marriage and motherhood have always been gray areas. While feminists of the seventies were quick to write off these roles as domestic slavery, some contemporary feminists have embraced these roles, finding that one can be an independent woman and still be a loving mother and wife. However, finding a balance between the roles of independent career woman as well as wife and mother can be a struggle. This struggle is at the crux of The Flea Theater’s production of the one woman show, Sex in Mommyville.

Flirty G Waterproof G-spot Vibrator

The existence of the G-Spot has been under debate for years now. While some women swear by it as the secret to earth shattering orgasms, other women deem it a myth. (Comedian Margaret Cho once declared it “The Gotcha Spot.”) Regardless of your view on this elusive spot, Good Vibration’s new Flirty G seeks to stimulate it. The Flirty G is akin to the Rabbit Pearl in that it is a dual action vibrator, simultaneously providing both vagina and clitoral stimulation.

The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation

As a survivor of government sanctioned torture in Colombia, Hector Aristizabal was left with unsettled anger and fear. His wariness towards both his country and his future there worsens when one of his brothers is murdered by paramilitary soldiers. Aristizabal is eventually able to cast aside his bitterness, and find ways to aid others in their struggles by holding workshops for prisoners and victims of violence in the United States.

The Stork and the Pitcher Tote Bag

As a frequent book reviewer, college instructor, and all around bibliophile I have a book on my person at all times, and usually two or three. This fact has lead to the destruction of many purses not equipped for carrying novels, and often means lugging around an extra heavy bag.