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.

A Garland of Feminist Reflections: Forty Years of Religious Exploration

Preeminent feminist Buddhism scholar Rita M. Gross’ A Garland of Feminist Reflections is an indispensable collection of her best collected writing from the past forty years. Drawing together theory, philosophy, and religious exploration, Gross’ self-selected anthology is deeply thought provoking and can serve as an introduction to her vital scholarship, or a necessary refresher on important concepts and ideas.

Bleeding Chanel Necklace and Microphone Earrings

What do a straightedge vegetarian German jewelry maker and I have in common? Besides our love of a drug-free lifestyle and animal-free eating, we like the punk-rock aesthetic—and if I do say so myself, a delightful mix of the ideals. PorcelinaZERO, an online boutique run by an exceptionally friendly woman named Tanja, is filled with cute charms, funky rings, brightly colored cameo necklaces, and hip earrings. As I type, lightweight miniature microphones dangle from my earlobes.

Vegan Rustic Cooking: Through The Seasons

I thought Vegan Rustic Cooking sounded like the grounded, salt-of-the-earth read I needed on my shelf. Lately, I seem to be searching online for recipes as I crave on-demand inspiration. I live in root vegetable country, and I thought this might be just the book for me and my potato-loving self.

Outside Love

Pink Mountaintops—a Canadian band comprised of Stephen McBean and his collected associates—is an evocative, addictive blend of psychedelic melodies, fuzzy guitars, and gospel-like lyrics.

Vintage glass earrings and vintage hairpins

It’s funny how a big jewelry gal like me can be so easily persuaded to scale down. Despite my love of large, obnoxious rings and bulky earrings, I recently found myself browsing the classic designs in Karuski’s Etsy shop. Filled with vintage-inspired clutch purses, brooches, rings, earrings, and hairpins, the shop owner Minna keeps things simple and chic, and most of the wearables are on the smaller side.

Tangled Tree Necklace

It’s true that there are hundreds of wildly talented women selling their wares on Etsy. In recession times, when searching for new gems and jewels, one must make conservatively priced choices and perhaps visually simple ones as well.

Forgiveness from a Feminist Perspective

Forgiveness is everywhere. Oprah is extolling its necessity when not engaged directly in seeking it for herself. Female celebrities seem to be forever forgiving (or not) someone, though among the most talked about are unresolved differences between mothers and daughters (a la Jennifer Aniston and Tori Spelling).

Heavy Ghost

DM Stith makes weird music. Heavy Ghost is a weird album. Among his contemporaries, David Stith has been hailed as a genius for his spooky, otherworldly tracks and production.

Organic Original Rice Nectar

A gift box arrived at my home several weeks ago, origin unknown until my partner came staggering through the door, trying to balance the behemoth shipment he’d fetched from the post office. “It’s from Jaimie and Sabrina!” My kind, thoughtful acupuncturist and psychiatrist back in Boston—who share an office space, an affinity for holistic treatment, and unending support for my international move—had sent a care package after receiving a card from us.

Loney Dear (4/5/2009)

It is so ridiculously obvious why the kids are flipping out about this impressively under-the-radar Nordic crooner. It doesn’t matter if gnat-attention-span hipsters can’t name his influences, the history that brought us to now. It doesn’t matter if they forget the album tomorrow (though it’s clearly their loss). What does matter is when amazing music comes forth. What matters is keeping it in our hearts once the fair-weather fans have moved onto the next big college radio hit. When I was coming up, Polyvinyl was a key player among emo purveyors.


re-po (noun, informal): a car or other item that has been repossessed Is Repo a recession nod from the experimental art rock Brooklyn trio, who perhaps knew something we didn’t when they named their album? I don’t suppose it matters because the similarities are striking regardless of intent. The record exists to impress people who don’t know you very well, which is all anyone does in these days of job hunting and resume fine-tuning.

Witnessing Suburbia: Conservatives and Christian Youth Culture

The short disclaimer is this: I grew up in a family filled with the Holy Spirit. My grandfathers were, respectively, a theology professor and a youth and music minister. One of my uncles, after making his name founding a Phoenix-area megachurch in the '90s, currently works as a professional church-grower, teaching other pastors how to rapidly expand their soon-to-be behemoth congregations of believers.

Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle

I once happened upon a Callahan show at Boston’s MFA with friends who are seasoned fans of the Smog oeuvre.

Misogyny and the Emcee: Sex, Race, and Hip Hop

In light of recent events, when speaking about the state of misogyny in hip-hop, it would be inappropriate to ignore the media frenzy surrounding Rihanna and Chris Brown, each sweetly young, fabulously charming, and wildly successful hip-hop stars in their own right. If you don’t read the CNN ticker, or guiltily sneak a peek at People.com, you could have missed the news that Brown allegedly assaulted his girlfriend the night before the Grammys.

A Hole In A Fence

For most films under an hour long, the first ten minutes are critical. In this short window, the story’s framework is established, point of view is explained, and the viewer basically gets to decide if they’re half as committed to following the plot as the film’s director was to sharing his or her vision.  During the first few minutes in A Hole In A Fence, I had no idea what I was watching.


Lush, sonic waves are a departure from the four-track loving woman who previously sang about an anonymous character—“Person Person”—and this is where we must weigh in on what I’ll call the Jefferson debate. Perhaps you’re old enough to have been a Jefferson Airplane fan back when Grace Slick’s voice hadn’t been co-opted by '80s synth. Perhaps you don’t think it was fair for the band to switch directions and keep the Jefferson moniker when Starship was born.

The Life You Can Save: Acting Now To End World Poverty

For his writings against speciesism, most notably Animal Liberation, some people think of Peter Singer as the father of the animal rights movement. Singer is also an accomplished philosopher, ethicist, writer, and bioethics professor. But with academic notoriety comes controversy; Singer has long balanced criticism for his utilitarian ethics perspectives while acting as an advocate for the rights of animals and poverty-stricken people.

Must Read After My Death

Familial dysfunction is rarely poetic, but archival footage can be visually stunning, especially paired with painfully honest audio recordings of diaries, intimate correspondence, and therapy sessions. After his grandmother Allis’ death in 2001, filmmaker Morgan Dews stumbled upon more than 200 home movies and fifty hours of tape-recorded diaries and Dictaphone correspondence which revealed a complicated story previously unknown to Dews.

Our City Dreams

A film is the best way to showcase stories in motion—literally and figuratively. Our City Dreams is a combination love letter to overtly feminist artists and the city—New York City—in which they reside. Representing a range of women artists whose age and work span nearly six decades, the film’s scope never becomes too wide or convoluted. Throughout the movie, the lives and careers of the women shift, as some find new success, some take time off, and several celebrate their own artistic retrospectives and milestone birthdays.

Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made

Fol Chen could be one of those bands in which every member writes his or her own tracks and then, sheet music assembled in a stack, the group comes together to record without any concern for cohesion. This can result in an annoyingly disjointed album, or an inspiring mix of treasures. For this debut release, it’s a bit of both.

On The Ground

Damien DeRose, the musician and songwriter behind the Peasant name, could be any hybrid of melancholy and charming—The Shins meets the late Elliott Smith—a consumable sadness that Wes Anderson will no doubt eventually co-opt for a postmodern movie soundtrack

Merriweather Post Pavilion

There are precious moments that stand out in a life of indie glory. They are countless or few, mostly depending on your memory. There were two times when, temporarily paralyzed, I couldn’t get out of my car until the song on the radio ended; I know the tracks well to this day.

Snowflakes and Carwrecks

Once you’ve mastered an instrument, you have two choices: move on to another, or tinker with the one you know and love. No stranger to critical acclaim, German composer and avant garde pianist Volker Bertelmann’s work as Hauschka makes use of the latter technique.

Letters From Black America

While it would help to appreciate and admire the historical importance of preserved letters, you don’t have to be history buff or correspondence enthusiast to delight in Letters From Black America. In a time of quickly typed emails and SMS, tangible letters hold weight for many who value thoughtful, deliberate communication.

High Places

The experimental, lo-fi, Brooklyn-based duo High Places could be considered an acquired taste. The vocals are whimsically distorted and much of the percussion sounds as though it were made in someone’s kitchen by rattling a silverware drawer (since their self-titled album was made in their home studio, this may actually be the case). High Places starts off awkwardly slow, and on first listen, the short tunes and chanting rhythms may fail to draw you in.

Oh, The Places We’ll Go

It isn’t an accident when my music reviews start to sound the same. I know what I like: progressive hip-hop, experimental electronica, dance-punk, woodsy indie folk, baroque pop, and twee from the Pacific Northwest. My partner teases me that all of my music has to be good for one of three things, if not a combination of them: dancing, driving long distances, and effecting social change.


Grampall Jookabox, nee David Adamson, is as strange as his stage name would suggest. Adamson is from Indianapolis, Indiana, which is also my childhood stomping ground, give or take thirty minutes (in those parts, we count in minutes to be traveled, not miles). With an affinity for home that grows the longer I stay away, Ropechain fills a need in my life, a record that sounds clumsy and aimless when it is anything but.

Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food

Among radicals and vegan activists, farm sanctuaries are well known as safe havens for animals escaping the cruelties of factory farms and slaughterhouses. Having previously volunteered at a small farm sanctuary in Massachusetts, I am convinced that face time with our four-legged friends is the single most effective way to inform other humans about the individual personalities of animals and convince people of our responsibility to overcome the habits of our speciesist culture.

A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World

Memoir can be a tricky genre, with nothing holding its premise together other than the author’s truth. In Marcia Tucker’s case, being an artist and curator also makes her one hell of a writer, a woman with a keen ability to spot details and covey her passion to a larger audience. A Short Life of Trouble is a breezy, enjoyable read as it traces Tucker’s fortuitous rise through the New York art scene, parallel with the surge of second wave feminism in the 1960s.

Feminism and Pop Culture

No matter how sophisticated you believe yourself to be, consuming pop culture is often inevitable in modern life. From reacting to coverage of major news events to understanding how advertising permeates our media landscape, chances are most self-identified feminists have considered how so-called low culture affects our perceptions of our selves and our world.