Elevate Difference

Reviews by Brittany Shoot

Brittany Shoot

Brittany Shoot is a freelance writer, editor, and critic based in Copenhagen and Boston. Her work has been published by Salon, The New York Times, Bitch, make/shift, RH Reality Check, ZNet, and AlterNet, and she's worked for WhoRunsGov, a project of The Washington Post. She has a master's degree from Emerson College and loves Scandinavian thrift stores, dance-punk, her 1987 diesel Mercedes Benz, and taking photographs with vintage film cameras.

Ribbon of Fear

Ribbon of Fear is a totally solid K Records release that places emphasis on humble production and a certain lo-fi artistic quality. My partner, endlessly amused by my penchant for unsophisticated music, asked if K Records isn’t “that label that will put out anything.” While I did mockingly protest, for a band on the label, the difference between recording in a studio or a basement is negligible.

Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals

I used to work at a college with a woman who had Asperger syndrome. Because we were both far more interested in animals than humans, we would convene every morning to discuss what sorts of dogs we’d seen during our respective commutes. “I saw a large German Shepard out for a walk,” she would tell me with as much as emotion as she ever showed. In response, I would tell her stories about my cat. Without fail, she would ask about him every single day. After spending a year of my life comparing notes with my co-worker, it was reassuring to come across the work of Dr. Temple Grandin.


Playing in subway stations wasn’t that fun for us At first it was, but now it’s getting old First it was, but now I’m getting cold - “Playing in Subway Stations” I owe my fascination, adoration, and patronage of Anticon artists to my friend Nick. The most taciturn person I know, he is also the reason I became vegan. Not particularly conversant, he may not even know either of these things, though his quiet example has been profound and influential.

Chocolate Rain Soy Candle

To say I was ill prepared when I moved to Denmark for love is quite an understatement. I did not research the stereotypes; when people starting shoving past me on public transit, I was surprised. The prices still startle me. And while I have a working knowledge of geography, I was not prepared for the darkness that accompanies winters so close to the Arctic Circle. A South African co-worker recently asked how I survived last winter in Copenhagen.

BooBoo Unisex Wrist Bracelet, Faded Prints, Burgundy Flower

Fashion designer Renia Pruchnicki began making Truth belts a bit by chance. Previously working as an outdoor gear designer, her employer closed their doors in 2001. From her small studio in Toronto, with a bit of savings, a small loan, and her vault of skills, Truth was born. Renia had no experience working with leather, so she began making vegan belts with faux leather textiles.

Headache Soother Badger Balm

I suffer from migraines. They date from the eighth year of my life, but it took until my junior year as an undergraduate to get much-needed prescription drugs. After a three-day headache left me unable to leave the house, I squinted and hobbled to the nearest bus stop and took a shuttle to the student health center. The kind physician who met with me also suffered from debilitating migraines. “Do you twist your body into weird positions for relief?” he asked. When I immediately nodded my head affirmatively, he began nodding as well.

Arminico Hewa

When I was twenty, I flew off to Japan one spring with a stated mission “to be alone.” While this may sound more glamorous than it actually was, I did accomplish my goal. Unable to speak to anyone, wandering between cities and sights in dazed confusion, I was undeniably alone. It was either the best ten days of my life or the strangest—and really, it was probably both. Japanese band OOIOO recreate the strangeness of that experience.

Limited Edition Demo

Pulling together some of the best feminist talent in dance music today, MEN should be requisite listening if you intend on moving forward in your life as a party-loving progressive. I understand that feminism is not always a celebration; I have often in my life been accused of being too serious. However, I like to shake it. A lot. It would be easy to write about my fan girl love for JD Samson.


From what I hear, Sheffield England is not a bumping metropolis.

Cook Food: A Manualfesto for Easy, Healthy, Local Eating

I’ve long enjoyed Lisa Jervis’ critical analysis, a woman best known in feminist circles as the co-founder of Bitch magazine. Growing into my own love of all things kitchen this past year, I fully expected to be won over by Cook Food; sadly, I was not. It seems like a complicated time to write this book.

Enjoy Your Rabbit

Sufjan Stevens, god of the indie concept album, is the sort of fellow my evangelical Christian minister grandparents can enjoy. This is not an insult. My maternal grandfather, born in Michigan eighty-some years ago, has never admitted that he enjoys the Stevens album Michigan. I nevertheless suspect that my sometimes secular, former music minister grandpa samples some Sufjan when he thinks no one is around.

Troubled, Shaken Etc.

British rock band Sian Alice Group’s latest effort can be categorized somewhere between prog rock, ambient folk, and experimental. Clocking in anywhere between two and eight minutes, their songs wind around and bump up against one another, creating a cohesive sophomore album.

The Coat Hanger Project

Comprised of an impressive array of interviews, statistics, and visual demonstrations, The Coat Hanger Project is an informative documentary about the symbolism—and reality—of the coat hanger and its relationship to abortion.

Dear Science

Once upon a CMJ conference, I unexpectedly encountered TV On The Radio in concert. Crammed into what I think was the Bowery Ballroom, the eclectic men took the stage and took up their horns. The vision—and the music that followed—has haunted me for years. And yet, try as I might, I did not fall in love with Dear Science.

Marimekko Iloinen Change Purse / Red Flashlight Pendant

To an outsider in search of a good meal, what is perhaps most striking about Helsinki are the vegan options. In every restaurant, you will find lactose- and meat-free meals without requesting special treatment. As this aspect of Finnish life becomes more greatly incorporated into the wider culture, it isn’t uncommon to find vegan designers like Pinkkis. Dainty donuts, plastic veggie brooches, and soft cloth pouches are all made from reused, recycled, and all vegan materials in her smoke-free, Helsinki home.

The Sun Came Out

7 Worlds Collide is like an alt-folk “We Are The World” with admittedly fewer people of color. Headed up by Crowded House frontman Neil Finn, the second release from this international supergroup is an OxFam benefit double album featuring completely new material.

Vulva Portrait Pendant / Gush! Menstrual Pads / Vegan Lip Balm

Would you send a photo of your vagina to a stranger online? Sounds like a MySpace porn scam, right? In one particular situation, you’d be totally wrong. As I write, I have a replica of my own vulva around my neck. It is amazingly accurate and arguably one of the more tasteful pieces of jewelry I own—assuming you aren’t offended by my own very special vagina. I’m not. My necklace—and matching charm—are based on a photo and description I sent to Vulva Love Lovely, an Etsy shop that celebrates all things vaginal.

Talking with Television: Women, Talk Shows, and Modern Self-Reflexivity

Some researchers, theorists, and laypeople deride women’s tendency to get together and talk. Whether you call it gossip, chatter, whine, confession, or conversation, among gendered stereotypes, it remains assumed that putting several women within close proximity will likely yield interpersonal communication.

24 City

24 City, a film that expertly mixes documentary footage and fictional reenactments, follows several generations of women living and working in Chengdu City for Xinda Machinery’s Chengfu Group. Factory 420, a not-so-well-kept state secret, has since been turned into residential housing.

The Freak of Araby

The Freak of Araby reminds me of my ten days in Turkey last year, touring around with an Istanbul native who is also one of my dearest friends, crammed into whizzing taxicabs and smoky pubs in which pseudo-mariachi bands crowded around our tables to encourage merriment. At midnight, we would stalk the city’s all-night, open-air diners in search of kebab and twice-baked potatoes.

Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity

It’s easy to confuse Clint Eastwood the actor with Clint Eastwood the director.

Survival Strategies in a Modern World

There are many things to like about the county of Liechtenstein: its tax haven status, its unusually small size, its ski slopes, and its firm resolve to stay out of the European Union. I happen to love the EU in principle, but have an equal amount of respect for wealthy countries that opt to steer clear of large political unions. Did you know that the EU anthem is “Ode to Joy?” Would Beethoven approve? To me, the ideals of a tiny nation like Liechtenstein could easily be represented in a rock band.


They say you can’t live up to a stellar debut record, and this may be true. Lady Sovereign is known as Britain’s white girl grime emcee prodigy, brought to American audiences via the marketing machine that is Jay-Z and compared repeatedly to Eminem.

©ontent: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future

He’s been dubbed the “William Gibson of his generation,” but Cory Doctorow is more than a cyberpunk novelist or futurist. He’s an activist, a Creative Commons advocate, tech blogger, and journalist. I don’t come to Doctorow’s non-fiction work by way of his sci-fi novels.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

You either love European electronica or you hate it. Growing up in a very Mid-American rave scene, I like to believe I’ve moved beyond partying in vacant co-opted strip malls and refined my tastes in all things club music. Camille Jones is a Danish pop singer and producer, but thankfully for her international audience, she sings her breathy tracks in English. Best known for her 2004 single “The Creeps,” Jones’ new release, Barking Up The Wrong Tree is an excellent example of what modern Euro electropop can be. Maybe your definition of club is not mine.

Gold Dust on His Shirt: The True Story of an Immigrant Mining Family

When you think about migrant memoirs of North America, stories of moving north from Latin America often come to mind more than those detailing moves east and west. Flipping around that common assumption, Gold Dust on His Shirt tells the story of Irene Howard’s Swedish-Norwegian immigrant family’s tumultuous life in Canada at the turn of the twentieth century. After the death of her first husband in Norway, Howard’s mother Ingeborg immigrated to Canada.

White Elephant Necklace / Raspberry Earrings / Pig Earrings

I am so thankful that my fabulously dainty ‘white elephant’ necklace does not live up to its name. Neither a possession of disproportionate upkeep costs, or a regift from a bad party game, the newest tiny charm on a chain comes courtesy of Cornyness, a delightful online jewelry shop. Cornyness, run by a super nice gal named Danwei, offers a variety of handmade accessories to suit just about anyone with a taste for the quirky and cute.

Turquoise & Gray earrings

There is something about Scandinavian design that is at once incredibly stylish and timeless. It seems that the further north you get, the more beautiful things are. Norwegian jewelry maker Hilde is an artisan whose work captures the exquisite beauty of the northern Nordic states. In addition to some of her more subtle pieces I now own, Hilde makes a lot of her jewelry from pearls and crystal. Her creations are elegant but reserved, and based on the earrings I posses, I have no doubt about her crafts(wo)manship and style.

Royal City

Whenever I’m having an existential crisis sort of day—yes, it can come in daily doses—listening to songs like Iggy Pop’s “Success” soothes my insecurities and favors my sardonic humor that is both a coping mechanism and a genetic condition. How fortuitous then, among the early tracks from Canadian band Royal City, is a humorously lo-fi cover of Mr. Pop’s infectious tune.

Chestnut and blue bracelet and matching earrings

Amanda Yu—who runs several Etsy shops under her own name and the Exotic Flavour moniker and blogs about her latest creations—has an incredible eye for fun color combinations and visually intricate but simply made jewelry. All of Yu’s Exotic Flavour accessories have a similar look, but the pieces don’t lack their own special charm.