Elevate Difference


Afro-Punk Festival (7/3-7/12/2009)

In preparation for writing this review I watched the Matt Davis' documentary that inspired BAM's Afro-Punk Festival. Afro-Punk is a movement that gives “a voice to thousands of multi-cultural kids fiercely identifying with a lifestyle path-less-traveled,” particularly those who are into indie, punk, and hardcore music.

Crazy Enough (6/12/2009)

Her mother tried to poison her with turquoise "chicken noodle" soup, she tried to become a "dick whisperer" at age twelve, and she was addicted to heroin by age twenty-one. Is Storm Large "Crazy Enough?" Decide for yourself before this show ends August 16, or spend the rest of the summer regretting that you missed her.

A Night of Shorts (06/05/2009)

The Wellesley Project’s inaugural show, A Night of Shorts, brought six single-scene dramatic performances and two choreographed pieces to the WorkShop Theatre for a short-run at the beginning of June. While home for the Project is New York City, its namesake—Wellesley College—figures as the catalyzing spirit behind the Project’s conception. Its founders, Caitlin Graham and Janice Yang, envisioned the Project as an artistic medium for women to pursue opportunities in both theater and production.

Letting Go of God

The nation appears to be greatly moved by the election of our first African American President. I eagerly await the election of the first open atheist to the highest office in the land, or at least the public consensus that religious practice or lack thereof is someone's own business, and by no means indicates competence as an executive.

Let Me Down Easy (4/28/2009)

If you're squeamish, like I am, on the topics of death, dying, and illness, you shouldn't let that stop you from experiencing Anna Deavere Smith's Let Me Down Easy. However, you might not want to see it during a global health scare.

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.

Thursday Night Supper Club and Urban Sustainable Living (3/26/2009)

If you are concerned with economy, food security, and health, a vegetable garden makes perfect sense. The first family's organic plot is underway, and instead of being daunted by some potential setbacks (the condition of urban soil, limited space, a non-existent budget), I have decided to be inspired by their example and undertake an attempt to grow my own produce. Therefore, I was delighted when the Backstory Cafe offered a presentation on urban gardening.

Left Forum 2009 (4/17-4/19/2009)

Left Forum is an annual meeting of liberal intellectuals, academics, activists and students hosted by a New York City college or university. The conference is divided up into panels that take place in classrooms scattered across the campus. As I sat listening and astutely taking notes at the first panel I attended, a sudden feeling of nostalgia washed over me. I couldn’t help but feel transported back to my years as an undergraduate. Choosing panels was like choosing between courses.

Circle of Water Life Suite (2/27/2009)

There was a sparrow lose in Kovler Family hall. "Excuse me," I sotto-vocced to a worker. "Are you aware that there is a sparrow loose in here?" She nodded. "It's been here since five." The feathers fluttered overhead. It did not chirp, nor did it crap on the carp of bronze, or the verdigrised octopi that hold the chandeliers' lamps to their chains.  Although the interloper did not follow us into the hall and improvise, the scheduled singing was splendid, particularly 21st Century Sharecropper's Blues—"Give me my money. Give me back my mind." Consuming culture recalibrates.

Chicago: The Musical (4/1/2009)

A few years ago, I took my two twenty-something nieces to see the Oscar-winning movie Chicago and was aghast at the plot. I thought, to borrow their words, “OMG!” Surely, my nieces would tell my family their “radical” aunt took them to see a movie where women imprisoned for killing men belt out, “He had it coming!” while doing the fiery Cell Block Tango.

Lessons Learned from WAM! 2009

This past weekend, I attended the [Women, Action & the Media](http://www.centerfornewwords.org/wam/" target="_blank) Conference (WAM!) in Boston. It was a great weekend that offered over forty workshops and panels, a film series, two keynote talks, and a "genius bar" allowing conference-goers to sign up for time with media experts throughout the conference. I started on Friday with the session PR: Getting Your Work Out There. It definitely set the tone for the rest of the conference—we'd be learning new skills, sharing our own experiences, and making new connections.

Strange Interlude: The Neo-Futurists (03/06/2009)

What is a reviewer to think as she is sitting and watching a production: austere set, minimal furniture, iconic ghost image of a handsome soldier in a size usually used to honor Mao, selected text excerpts in bright blue type sans serif typeface and what is the significance of the serif is it phallic?—the viewer, sitting and waiting and watching the production?  Oh so outré, so unconventional, so smashing of convention, oh yes, so smashingly surreal and unconventional and aren't we clever that we “get it” ha ha ha oh yes insert droll laughter here, as the considerably older and more affluen

Ani DiFranco (03/18/2009)

At the Ani DiFranco concert in Pompano Beach, FL, a woman next to me hadn’t heard Red Letter Year. But she wouldn’t have missed the show: “If it’s Ani, then I’m there.” I confess. I’m the same. I don’t have the new album. But it’s Ani. So I was there. Allie Evans, who works on Ani’s tours, talked about the audience response: “The economy may not be strong...

She Said, She Said (3/18/2009)

As a Wellesley alum, I am probably the perfect person to review Kathryn Chetkovich’s She Said, She Said, an intimate portrait of a group of friends who met at a women’s college and are now, years later, forced to contend with many of the sociopolitical issues they faced in the seventies. The triad of feminists, now in varying degrees, is shaken to the core when one of their own, Jamie (Shelley McPherson) reveals that her recent ex-husband Ross (Mark Hofmaier) has raped her.

Swap n' Stores: We Must Cultivate

A 'swap n' store' is an opportunity for dedicated gardeners to exchange from their seedstock, providing not only for their lots and pantries, but also for the genetic strength and proliferation of the plants. My interest in gardening has been piqued not only by health and global fiscal conflagration, but also because I finally got around to reading Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire.

Rose and the Rime (2/22/2009)

Folktales, fables, and fairy stories: all have a universal quality, display a certain timelessness and generality of place, and seek to instruct. Pedagogic confectionary. The Rose and the Rime provides a splendid and entertaining example, wrapping wry smiles and aesthetic enjoyment nougat around a crunchy nugget of Nietzsche. Radio Falls, Michigan is frozen in a perpetual winter due to a witch's curse one generation previous. The narrative unfolds beneath pretty fields of white with red accents and menacing chartreuse lights.

John Legend and Raphael Saadiq (12/2/2008)

John Legend and Raphael Saadiq are already viewed as icons of neo-soul, but each artist possesses a distinct pallet from which they conjure their melodic visions. Legend has clearly become the more well-known star out of the two, having put forth three major albums that have garnered both critical acclaim and solid record sales.

Yours, Mine, Ours, or Theirs?: Accessing and Controlling Oil and Water

Humanities lectures and art openings are consistent sources of free entertainment, so I was delighted to attend “Yours, Mine, Ours, or Theirs? Accessing and Controlling Oil and Water,” a conversation hosted by the Illinois Humanities Council. Panelists provided an engaging and far-ranging forum regarding two globally vital substances of incomparable importance.

Homens ao Mar (Sea Plays) (1/28/2009)

Companhia Triptal's staging of O'Neill's Sea Plays refuses a fourth wall through three sets and forced-march participation, a “Blue Waterman Group,” perhaps. There was a risk of getting damp, but the audience was not pelted with salt pork. The plays are set on the S. S. Glencairn, a cargo freighter packed with dynamite heading from Baltimore to Britain. Viewers gather in the Owen Theatre and first hear intermittent singing, one presumes sea chanties—fifteen men on a dead man's chest, a yo ho ho and a bottle of rum—except in Portuguese. Supertitles were not provided, but a synopsis was.

Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture Around the Bay of Naples (10/19/2008 - 3/22/2009)

Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture Around the Bay of Naples provides one with the sense of being transported to the area of Naples in the first century AD. The gateway to the exhibit is graced with a reproduction of a tile mosaic stating “cave canum” (beware of dog)—complete with a reproduction of a ferocious canine showing his teeth.

Letter from a Feminist After Attending the Inauguration

Dear Feminist Review readers, Having received the opportunity to attend the Inauguration of the first African American President, I did experience some nervousness. My companions in the motorcoach were virtual strangers to me. Except for the staff, most of the travelers were college students. Some had families; they had seen their own sons and daughters off to higher education and had finally chosen to pursue it themselves. Others were barely eighteen. The anticipation was palpable among us all regardless of our political affiliation.

The Emperor Jones (1/07/2009)

"I learn more when I'm being entertained," a student wrote in a journal last year.

The Hotel Café Tour (11/1/2008)

The Hotel Café began as a tiny coffee shop in Hollywood, California. Since then, it has developed into a twenty-one-and-older venue. In its initial cozy environs, the performers created a warm, collaborative environment, sharing the stage and watching each other perform. Four years ago, the Hotel Café began to tour with some of its most promising acts. The particular show that I attended in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was an eclectic collection of indie-folk festivities.

Nine Inch Nails (12/7/2008)

I've never been a diehard Nine Inch Nails fan, but have listened to them on and off since high school. I've never seen frontman Trent Reznor or his music as misogynistic; in fact, "Closer" is one of my all-time favorite songs. And to be fair, the only semi-nude images on visual display in this show were equal opportunity, male and female. Whatever else you want to say about them, NIN gave fans in Portland, Oregon their money's worth.

1st International Body Music Festival (12/05/2008)

I love step teams, hand-clapping games, and beat-boxing. I even once had a plan to create a band out of fat people playing drumbeats on our stomachs (it was going to be called “Bongo Jam”), but I never thought of this as falling into a specific category of music. Body music, of course. I was lucky enough to attend the opening night performance of the first International Body Music Festival, an extravaganza of performances and workshops, which took place over a weekend in the Bay Area.

1st International Body Music Festival (12/07/2008)

I wasn’t sure what to expect. What is body music anyway? It’s more than music you can see, and dance you can hear.

Under the Cherry Tree, Japanese Dolls from the Collection of Hatsuko Ohno (11/5/2008 - 2/22/2009)

For the first time a number of Japanese traditional dolls from the collection of Hatsuko Ohno (1915-1982), a renowned doll maker, are touring Vienna, Austria in the exhibit Unter dem Kirschbaum, Japanische Puppen aus der Sammlung Hatsuko Ohno (Under the Cherry Tree, Japanese Dolls from the Collection of Hatsuko Ohno). Her dolls have spent some time in Poland, Hungary, and Italy. Call it an exhibit within an exhibit.

Culture Project presents... In Conflict (11/11/2008)

There was no better way to celebrate Veteran’s day then going to see In Conflict. Not only will it remind you of the trying times our soldiers are facing in Iraq, but also why you are proud to be an American. Based on journalist Yvonne Latty’s 2006 book of the same name, Douglas Wager digests Latty’s interviews with Iraq War Veterans, who have just returned from their tour of duty, into a series of monologues.

Arts and Crafts Market (8/30/2008)

These are tough times we’re living in, and it seems as if it has become increasingly rare for people to act out of the kindness of their hearts and the courage of their convictions. The economy is failing, the country is on the cusp of one of the most important presidential elections in American history, an ongoing war is costing the country trillions of dollars and many of us have to choose between paying the electricity bill and putting food on the table. So, what can we do in these times of great hardship?

Musicfest Northwest (9/3-9/6/2008)

Now in its eighth year, Musicfest Northwest was held over three days in Portland, Oregon. Born from the ashes of the North by Northwest festival, MFNW is hosted by Portland’s less trendy, free weekly newspaper, the Willamette Week, and has grown rapidly since its inception, largely due to corporate sponsorship.