BUST News http://bust.com/ en-gb no-reply@bust.com (BUST ) Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:31:36 -0500 JSitemap Pro On Aziz Ansari And "Bad Sex" http://bust.com/feminism/194067-aziz-ansari.html http://bust.com/feminism/194067-aziz-ansari.html azizansari 860e2 


Yesterday, I read a piece in Babe. You know the one.

babe f49a1

The piece by Katie Way tells the story of a young woman, whom we know as Grace, who met Aziz Ansari, went on a date with him, and then engaged in sexual contact with him that was deeply uncomfortable and upsetting.

The allegations against Ansari open up the next, harder, messier chapter in the #MeToo movement, one in which the vast majority of us are no longer able to simply say, "If you're not with us, you're against us." The line in the sand is hard to see here. This is the one that is forcing me into a place where I'd rather not go. This is scary to write and publish.

So far I as I can tell, these are the teams.

In Grace's corner: 

This was a sexual assault. 

Twitter is hopping with women coming forward with their own hookup stories that run the range from mildly icky to flat-out horrifying.

In Ansari's corner: 

This was really bad sex. 

People are starting to roll their eyes at what passes for sexual assault these days.

And The Atlantic published a piece called "The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari," subtitled, "Allegations against the comedian are proof that women are angry, temporarily powerful — and very, very dangerous."

(In unrelated news, hi, The Atlantic. If you want to find out how dangerous angry women are for being called "temporarily powerful" and also for having their anger once again weaponized against them in an attempt to shut them up, then give me a call.)

(In other unrelated news, if The Atlantic burns down today I'm going to need an alibi.)

In the "I'm freaking out" corner: 


(texts a friend:  Did you see this Ansari thing? Hmm.)

I wouldn't presume to speak about why any other women are struggling to stand with Grace on this one, so I'm just going to tell you why it's hard for me.

Yes, this one is hard for me. Please keep reading.

I read Grace's story with amusement, embarrassment, and creeping unease.

I was not outraged. Well, I am outraged at The AtlanticLiam Neeson, and Twitter. But I was not outraged at Ansari. I felt uncomfortable.

Grace's story is so familiar that I laugh at it without smiling. It's the story of so much bad sex.

I have had my fair share of what I'd call "crappy dates." And what I call crappy dates looks an awful lot like what Grace calls sexual assault. It's like we went on the same dates, wrote down the same details, and told two very different stories.

Here's mine:


And be honest.  

If you got to choose a narrative for your life, which cut would you pick? The one where Clarice descends into cannibalistic hell and fights for her life? Or the one where she's caught in a jaunty love triangle with a couple of quirky gents?

And that's the thing: We do get to pick how to decide to tell our stories, at least to ourselves. I've dated a few Dr. Lecters, and like Clarice Starling, I escaped with a few tears, a few shivers of disgust, and a few stories that I rarely tell. I decided not to call those encounters assault. I decided to make those nights the bad-date montage in act one of the story of my happy life. 

That's how I moved forward.

Grace's story is common. It's so common that I don't have to imagine it because I remember it. I laugh about it without smiling. It's the story of so much bad sex. And when I hear that bad sex described as a sexual assault, it forces me to reexamine my own history. And see, I just started feeling strong again.  

I believe her; I don't agree with her. 

I'm telling you this not because I think she is wrong, but because I think I am. 

You have to understand that many women approach humiliating and uncomfortable sex from a place of "it's not that bad." Part of "not that bad" is a preemptive minimization of our experiences. You know, the way Fat Amy calls herself Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect so that the other girls can't do it first? It's our armor.

I know what people will say when I tell them that I had a professor who put his arm around me (I was 19) and asked why we weren't dating, while his hand stroked the bare skin of my shoulder (it was spring).

I am waiting for people to say, "So he just... put his arm around you?" I am waiting for them to ask for a gasp-worthy punchline: Actually I was 12, a tit grab, a ten-pound helmet into his lap, an offer to exchange nude selfies for a better grade. They're already imagining there is more to the story. There really isn't.

I don't want to have to up the ante, tell another, worse, story to prove that I had the right to be uncomfortable when my professor stroked my bare shoulder in a dark theater. I don't want to have to buy my friends' support with maximum humiliation.

I have no interest in turning my sexual history into social currency; exchange rates are so unpredictable.

So I hurry up to add, "It wasn't that bad." That way, the people I'm telling have to convince me, "No, that really wasn't cool." If you push, people push back, that's just human nature. If you pull away, they come to your side and find you. They can't resist.

So I say, "It's not that bad," and I hope they'll come over to my side, and find me.

Does that make sense? This is complicated.

Ansari's behavior, as it is described in the article, is fucking awful and ordinary. So many men learn how to perform sex by watching porn, itself a performance of sex that for the most part treats women like props.

Women have had so much bad sex that our scale for sex has been skewed so it shows every shitty sex encounter as 10 pounds less shitty than it was.

Jabby and fumbling and pushy and transactional? He convinced you to say yes even though you said no a bunch of times? OK, but did he leave bruises? No? Did he leave the condom on the whole time? You think so?

Then we're going to call that one, "meh" and lock it up in the "Not that bad" vault. You don't want to make a big deal out of this — people will ask why you didn't just leave

But Grace's story re-zeroes that scale, and suddenly everything in my past that's already beyond fixing is +10 worse.

Jabby and fumbling and pushy and transactional? He convinced you to say yes even though you said no a bunch of times? 

That's coercive, nonconsensual sex. You have a right to feel violated. 

No! It was meh! We already decided, no take-backsies!

I'm a kid in a corner kicking the wall with my fingers in my ears.

No, no, no! I don't wanna! I'm rom com Clarice! I'M ROM COM CLARICE!

this isn't creepy
it's fine
this isn't scary
it's nicesee?
he just said hi
with nice eyes
and she was like
oh yousee?
it's fine
i'm fine
everything's fine

Women have already taken enough of a painful personal inventory to be able to say #metoo; I am not eager to go back over what I've come to comfortably accept as "crappy hookups," or "shitty sex," and come to realize that yes, that was sexual assault, too. 

If we begin to call all sexual assault what it is, we will have to voluntarily admit more pain into our lives, pain that we have up to this point refused to let in the door. If we call this kind of sexual encounter an assault, then women who have been weathering what they call "bad sex" will suddenly have justification for the icky feelings and shame that follows them home in the cab. And yet, we'd really rather just hit the showers.

I've taken that cab, crying. And I've taken that shower. And I would never have told the story, because I would have been afraid of someone thinking, "That's not that bad," the way I just fucking did. I don't have to imagine what happened to Grace because I remember it.

This is complicated.

And yes, guys, what Grace described is totally normal for a woman. This is a normal sex encounter. The women that you're seeing scoff at her? They aren't scoffing because they think a guy would never do that. They're scoffing because they believe every single word she said. They don't have to imagine it either.

This is a common, normal hookup. A shitty, painful hookup where Grace's comfort and pleasure were like #7 on the priority list. Mean, punishing sex is normal. And awful. Our normal is awful. 

People are quick to label sex crimes as deviant or aberrant, but the truth is that sexual violence is socialized into us. Men are socialized to fuck hard and often, and women are socialized to get fucked, look happy, and keep quiet about it. 

Aziz Ansari has been socialized.

And if we don't like the way socialized men do sex, then we need to take a hard look at our society, friend.

Now, I want to be clear. Ansari is 100% responsible for what he did. He behaved like a sexual bully who hurt and humiliated a woman while he acted out a fantasy that was his and his alone. He treated her like a prop. And if you don't understand why that's shitty, ask yourself how much your hand enjoys jerking you off. Ansari is responsible for knowing better, and caring about whether his sexual partners are comfortable, safe, and enjoying themselves. Even though nobody ever taught him that's a "normal" way to do sex. It's his job to help change the normal.

As a woman, I am supposed to take what's given to me, to shrink my pain, ignore my bad feelings about what just happened, and generally be FINE WITH EVERYTHING! Also I have to have a good banana bread recipe.

so like that
except instead of being in a room on fire
you're in an apartment and someone is sticking his fingers in your mouth
over and over again

What I'm realizing now, after reading Grace's story and the responses to it, is that when I shrink my own pain, I also shrink my empathy for women who feel the same pain and feel it full-size. I resent Grace for talking about her hookup as if it's an assault. I'm mad at her for talking about it at all.

But that's not because she was wrong to talk about it. And it's for sure not because she was wrong to go on a date, drink wine, or try to have a pleasurable sexual encounter. She wasn't. She wasn't wrong.

It's because if what happened to her is a violation, then we are all violated. And everyone is a violator. And that's a scary fucking world to live in. I don't want that to be the world I live in.

Can it be that we are so okay with being hurt as women  that we are skeptical of the idea that sex shouldn't be humiliating or scary?



If you shared my hesitation to stand up with Grace on this one, I'm just asking you to hang out and ask yourself why. You don't have to come up with answers. It's enough to notice and wonder.

These uncomfortable conversations are part of #MeToo, as much as the truth telling and hearing. The only easy day was yesterday, when we found ourselves mostly in agreement that Weinstein is a slimy bag of dicks, and Spacey is a scummy, flesh-eating bacteria.

This was never going to be easy or smooth. It's absurd to think that we'd be able to push through what Frances McDormand called a tectonic shift without revealing fault lines we didn't know were there. We're going to find ourselves on opposite sides of things. We're going to disagree. And we're going to get uncomfortable. Remember that you, too, are socialized. Even though you've been hurt, you are also trained to hurt others. I am; I do. I'm trying to do better.

My 5-year-old Chicken told me the other day, "I think the opposite of brave isn't scared. The opposite of brave is quiet."

Remember, we don't fail when we disagree. We fail when we go quiet and walk away. Stick around. Be honest. Don't be scared. Or be scared, but don't be quiet.

And if you need a break, you can always just pop in a rom com.


This  post originally appeared on katykatikate.com and is reprinted here with permission.

top photo: Master of None

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Feminism Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:51:11 -0500
Read Lydia Lunch's Controversial Statements On #MeToo And Sexual Assault http://bust.com/feminism/194063-lydia-lunch-metoo.html http://bust.com/feminism/194063-lydia-lunch-metoo.html  

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Lydia Lunch, a musician, writer, and public speaker who emerged in the ’70s New York no-wave scene with her band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, has always been known for her controversial statements and art on feminism, sex, and rebellion. Yesterday, in an interview with Tonya Hurley and Tracy Hurley Martin on the podcast Stories of Strange Women, Lunch made some divisive — and, at many points, unsettling — comments on the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

Lunch has been open about her past experiences with sex work, and she’s spoken candidly about being molested by her father both in her art and in her Strange Women interview. Though she raises some great points about the movement of speaking up against powerful men in Hollywood — the extreme focus on privileged, white women, for instance, and the importance of teaching young women at a young age not to tolerate sexual violence —much of the following transcript might be upsetting to survivors of sexual assault. Read at your own discretion, and let us know your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.

Below are Lunch’s comments. You can check out the full podcast here.

Look—people need to speak out. This needs to be addressed. What I don’t like is the movement started by a woman of color coopted by Hollywood harlots. And by the way, they’re not actresses, they’re celebrities. What is a Hollywood star but a prostitute to profit the corporation, the pimp, that they work for, who doll themselves up to unfathomable excess with or without surgery and stylists and makeup artists to create an image that nobody else can live up to while they mouth somebody else’s words pretending they’re somebody else? What is a fucking prostitute? Now, excuse me, I gave handjobs to take my first band to Europe. Somebody wants to pay me a hundred thousand dollars to not talk about fucking them? I don’t think that’s a bad deal. I always thought that pussy has a high price on it. And let’s go even further with this—I blame it on the mothers. And now you know I’ve blamed fathers my entire life and the patriarchy.

Mothers, at the age of five, little girls have got to be taught if someone touches you and you don’t like them, you punch them in the fucking nuts. You scream your fucking head off. You run out of the room, okay? Boys have got to be taught respect. So I’m blaming the mothers, because it’s got to stop there. If you see a bear in a cage, you don’t go into that cage. I never saw a dick I couldn’t crack. Somebody wants to grab my pussy, I’m gonna grab their fucking nuts and twist. It’s that simple. So I’m not blaming the victims, I’m blaming the mothers of the victims for not teaching them self-defense.

This is my other issue—what the fuck? Everybody, why did it take a hundred women twenty years? Why did they all go into his office and get naked? They could’ve cracked his dick, end of story, he wouldn’t have done that again. I don’t get it. But I mean, I’m gonna admit, as somebody that was molested by family members, I never had any shame, and I don’t know why. And I know that shame is a heavy burden for people to bear, especially men that are abused. But the bigger issue is, these are all women that should’ve known better. You don’t go into a room with a bear, with a monster, with an asshole. And not only go in, some of them went in again and again.

And it’s white women of privilege. Okay, glad that you are making a statement. If I don’t want you to grab my pussy, I will grab your fucking nuts and twist and that’s it. I mean, learn some self and verbal defense. Funny, I haven’t had any sexual harassment outside my own home. Maybe people just look at me and know, I’m not gonna fuck with that bitch.

[My experience with molestation] started at three. It wasn’t violent, but it still is molestation. At nine, I was conscious enough to go, stop this shit, and also figure out that it didn’t start there, because I saw my father’s brother doing the same thing and I realized, wait a minute. And this is part of the horror that women or men who have been abused have—you feel alone. And this is why this movement is actually good, because it’s showing people they are not alone. The spectrum is what bothers me. First of all, you’re dealing with one of the most lecherous, corporate pimps in the world, which is Hollywood, which exploits what? Young, beautiful women dressed in skimpy costumes, playing victim. They can’t complain when they’re actually becoming the victim. And what are they anyway but a commodity? Again, selling what? Selling movies. So I mean, take some responsibility personally. I have a very aggressive opinion about this and I’m not victim-blaming, I’m mother-of-the-victim-blaming. By twenty, you should know better. What year were you born? Please—and you know, if you really want that career, and you want to be a high-class call girl, then you might have to suck a dick or two. You don’t want to? You leave the fucking room.

Top photo via lydia-lunch.net

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Feminism Fri, 12 Jan 2018 14:14:59 -0500
What You Need To Know About The 2018 Women's March http://bust.com/feminism/194062-women-s-march-2018-preview-power-to-the-polls.html http://bust.com/feminism/194062-women-s-march-2018-preview-power-to-the-polls.html  

Screen Shot 2018 01 12 at 1.25.57 PM 79a21

Last year, five million people gathered on seven continents to join the Women’s March and support their mission: to end violence and support reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, worker’s rights, disability rights, immigrant rights and environmental justice. This year, there will be marches in DC, NYC, Chicago and hundreds of other locations. But they are all secondary to the Power to the Polls event in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday, January 21st.

Nevada was chosen to host the event for many reasons, including that the state was home to the Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest mass shooting in American history, as well as the fact that Nevada has had its share of sexual assault and harassment allegations directed at state-elected officials. Nevada Congressmen Ruben Kihuen was the most recent recipient of a harassment allegation back in December of 2017.

According to the Power of the Polls website, the event will be the second stage of action in the movement for a safer, more equitable and just world. The purpose of the event is to promote voter registration in swing states and political engagement around the country and it will be followed by a national voter registration tour. It will bring together grassroots activists, musicians, and politicians for a large-scale gathering.

You can RSVP and donate to the Power of the Polls event in Los Vegas HERE.

If Vegas is far from home, you can march in Chicago, IL; New Orleans, LA; Nashville, TN; and hundreds of other locations on Saturday, January 20th.

Here is some general info on a few of the largest planned marches this year:


The NYC division of National Organization of Women is hosting the march in New York City this year.

There will be a rally at 11:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

And the official march at 1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.

Click HERE for the route map


And find out more on the NOW website or the event Facebook page!

Stay tuned for more plans if you'd like to march with BUST.


The Women’s March in Los Angeles amassed 750,000 Angelenos last year. This year, the march will take place at 9:00 a.m. in downtown Los Angeles.

You can find all the general info about what to bring, where to go and how to get there by clicking HERE or on their Facebook page.



The Women’s March on Washington is being sponsored by March Forward Virginia. Thousands of people will meet at the reflecting pool facing the Lincoln Memorial.

There will be a rally at 11:00 a.m.

And the march starts at 1:00 p.m.

You can learn more on their Facebook page and website.


If your city isn’t listed above, no worries! There will be hundreds of marches on all seven continents, and you can find a march near you if you click HERE.

Photo via Facebook/@Women'smarch2018USA

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Feminism Fri, 12 Jan 2018 15:27:52 -0500
Zoë Quinn's "Crash Override" Is A Must-Read Memoir About Surviving Gamergate http://bust.com/books/194061-crash-override-review.html http://bust.com/books/194061-crash-override-review.html  

crashoverridecrop d6c04

Unlike abuse that happens IRL, some people seem to think online abuse is avoidable. Game developer Zoë Quinn knows this all too well as the target of Gamergate, the topic of her memoir, Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate, which goes into agonizing detail over the incident, and reveals how simple it is for anyone to become a victim of online abuse, and how utterly screwed we are when it happens.  

Gamergate started when Quinn’s abusive ex posted a manifesto in an attempt to ruin her life. He rallied a bunch of men’s right activist types who posted nude photos of Quinn along with her personal information, mailed violent and graphic packages to her apartment (she was thankfully in hiding at the time), and issued a barrage of death and rape threats if she dared to continue working in the gaming industry or attend industry events. But wait! There’s so much more — more than any book on the topic could possibly cover. Somehow, all this abuse was disguised as a rally cry for ethics in gaming journalism, after the trolls fabricated a story about Quinn exchanging sex for a positive review of her game “Depression Quest.”

Thankfully, Gamergate isn’t the book’s sole focus, as it’d make it too tragic of a read. My favorite part of the book was reading about Quinn herself, the extremely rad person behind this shocking tale. I was amazed to learn just how similar my upbringing was to hers. Growing up in a nothing town with chronically poor and constantly warring parents is all too real to me. So is relying on music, video games and the internet to escape the sad reality that defined my formative years. I, too, stole pages out of my public library’s magazines to decorate my teenage bedroom. And the internet was my first entry into a world that let me know there was so much out there than my super-limited surroundings and circle of friends. Of course, you don't have to be from a small town to feel alienated from your surroundings. We're all alone in this world.

And Quinn was frightfully alone, too, in her fight against Gamergate abusers. Thanks to zero protections in place for victims of online abuse, she was forced to fend for herself. Even in instances where online abuse is absolutely illegal and a police matter — like death threats, the publishing of private information, defamation, revenge porn, and more — little to no intervention occurred. It’s all too easy for the police to say it’s out of their jurisdiction or force the victim into doing the police work for them. Even more laughable, perhaps, are instances where Quinn discusses having to print out the internet because police refuse to accept a USB drive filled with evidence. Why are the police still treating the internet like the Wild West? Mind=blown.

crashoverride f0d87

Similarly, tech companies don’t want to uphold their own terms of abuse and act helpless in addressing the issue, when they clearly have the power to protect victims of online abuse. Quinn writes:

The incentives for these companies to remove abusive users are not as compelling as they should be. I want to believe that it’s not intentional, but it’s hard to understand why episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’ are wiped from places like YouTube within nanoseconds while chronic abusive users are allowed to flourish.

Though it’s not surprising that tech companies would choose to support major corporations by removing copyrighted materials over helping victims of abuse any day of the week, it’s still a major flaw in how these companies run and choose to selectively care about its users, and testament to the “business as usual” mentality we continuously endure in a changeless world.

Quinn switches gears a lot in “Crash Override,” going back and forth between telling her story about Gamergate, its aftermath, and her work on Crash Override, the company she started to help victims of online abuse. I wish she would have talked more about herself — after all, it's her memoir. I hoped to learn more about her life before and after Gamergate, instead of immediately getting into chapters about how to resist online abuse. Her story felt unresolved, and untold, in parts. That said, Quinn fills many chapters with valuable information regarding internet security issues, which we’re all vulnerable to when using the internet at any capacity.

As someone who just experienced a security issue, and for anyone worried about the Equifax breach, the chapter about digital hygiene provides valuable insights for anyone putting way too much information on the internet. I knew a lot of this stuff already from dealing with stolen phones, identity theft and crazy exes — and I learned everything reactively — so this information would’ve been good to know beforehand to protect myself better, instead of just reacting to crappy circumstances as they arose. I learned a lot from Quinn aside from what I already knew, and found a ton of tools and resources I never heard about prior to reading this book.

Quinn’s insights on how to use technology effectively will help anyone struggling to connect online. As she so rightfully points out, there’s a ton of noise on the internet, and the information out there is not created equal, even if algorithms treat it equally — so most of the information people share on social media outlets like Facebook is absolute clickbait garbage. She warns readers on the dangers of sharing loads of disaster porn to friends around the clock, and covers how to talk like a human on the internet. This is all advice that’s much needed, as people typically act in a way they’d never dream of behaving IRL on the internet. Even if you’re not a troll, you’re probably doing something wrong — and Quinn points out several ways to be a better citizen and friend online. Crash Override is an essential read on how to survive the digital age — one that’s hilarious, heartbreaking and brilliant throughout.

top photo: detail of Crash Override

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Books Fri, 12 Jan 2018 13:34:46 -0500
This Indian Prince Opened A Palace Refuge For Vulnerable LGBTQ People http://bust.com/feminism/194060-indian-prince-creates-palace-refuge.html http://bust.com/feminism/194060-indian-prince-creates-palace-refuge.html  

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In the same week that President Shithole tried (and failed) to negotiate a racist and bigoted immigration plan in an Oval Office meeting, an actually decent political figure decided to open his doors to LGBTQ folks in need. As reported by NPR, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s only openly gay prince, announced that he would open his palace doors to vulnerable LGBTQ people.

Same-sex relations are illegal in India, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and the country does not recognize same-sex marriage. Additionally, Indian law does not protect against discrimination for LGBT folks; criminalized by law, ostracized by the public, and often disowned and estranged from their families, the LGBTQ community — and homeless LGBTQ youth especially — face a heightened risk of violence.

In a conversation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Prince Gohil, heir to the throne of Rajpipla in western Gujarat state, explained that while coming out in larger Indian cities aren’t as difficult (there are more LGBT-friendly spaces in Mumbai and Delhi), coming out in a small town, where traditional values reign and heterosexual relations are the norm, is incredibly hard: “People still face a lot of pressure from their families when they come out, being forced to marry, or thrown out of their homes. They often have nowhere to go, no means to support themselves.”

Sounds familiar. A study published by UCLA School Of Law found that in the U.S., while LGBTQ youth make up only about 10% of the population (probably a low estimate), they account for over 40% of the homeless youth population.

Disowned by his own family after coming out, Gohil dedicated his life to helping the LGBTQ community in India, and is recognized internationally as a champion for gay rights (he has even appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show); he has a charity, the Lakshya Trust, which fights for LGBTQ rights, and provides sexual health education and resources to combat HIV/AIDs.

While it looks like the Indian government might soon change the law criminalizing homosexuality (India’s top court recently stated it would reconsider the 2013 verdict to uphold the colonial era ruling), Gohil isn’t waiting around. He has already started constructing a center on his ancestral, 15-acre abode that will give housing, medical care, ESL and vocational skills training for vulnerable LGBT people. He intends for the center to provide support before and after the court’s decision. “Lifting the law will encourage more people to come out and live their lives freely. But it may also mean more people in need of support,” Gohil explained to Reuters.

Top Photo via Facebook

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Feminism Fri, 12 Jan 2018 15:01:58 -0500
One-Sentence Reviews Of Every One Direction Song http://bust.com/music/194059-every-one-direction-song-reviewed-in-one-sentence.html http://bust.com/music/194059-every-one-direction-song-reviewed-in-one-sentence.html musicvideo2 4706f
 On January 13, 2016, US Weekly reported One Direction had broken up. The band’s reps claimed hiatus, but the truth stands: In two years, each of our sweet boys has released solo material, and there has been no whisper of a reunion. 

What do we do with this boy band-shaped hole in the universe? How do we commemorate 730 Directionless days? To process my own grief at the passage of time, I wrote a one-sentence review for every single One Direction song — a tribute, a memorial, a true labor of love.

Up All Night

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"What Makes You Beautiful" — Yes, this song is toxic, but it’s also catchy as hell.

"Gotta Be You" — ”What a mess I’ve made upon your innocence” is a LOT for Liam to say in the second song of their first album.

"One Thing"" — All the boys really shine in their own unique ways, plus it’s really satisfying to clutch at your chest and sing the chorus as earnestly as you can.

"More Than This" — The synth backing and saccharine, vaguely sexual lyrics of this song seem especially embarrassing given that they were tiny infant babies when they recorded this.

"Up All Night" — I literally never want to stay up all night and jump around until I see the sun again in my life, but I appreciate the sentiment.

"I Wish" — Look, they can’t all be winners.

"Tell Me A Lie" — Kelly Clarkson wrote this song, and it SOUNDS LIKE A KELLY CLARKSON SONG.

"Taken" — This song reminds me of being a middle schooler in a way that makes me feel bad about myself.

"I Want" — A musical theatre-style sequel to Veruca Salt’s "Golden Goose" song in Willy Wonka.

"Everything About You" — The song that brings us the line, “All we want to have is fun but they say that we’re too young.”

"Same Mistakes" — Do you ever feel like you’re in a cycle of ineptitude, like, maybe all of your life is just obsessing over one boy band after another until you die?

"Save You Tonight" — Has the CW used this as the theme song for a sexy teenage superhero show yet?

"Stole My Heart" — This sounds like it came from the soundtrack from a Disney Channel Original Movie about preteens in the year 3000.

"Stand Up" — Be comforted in the fact that it hurts 1D “to think that you’ve ever cried.”

"Moments" — This album-ending track taught me that sex should be powerful and full of yearning and, sure, you should both be crying.

Take Me Home

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"Live While We’re Young" — A reminder that no matter what age you are, 1D will always have more youth than you.

"Kiss You" — The best 1D single, the best 1D music video, the worst song to choose at karaoke.

"Little Things" — When Niall croons “You’ll never treat yourself right, darling, but I want you to,” I believe in love again.

"C’mon, C’mon" — Trying to be chill about the song where 1D reaches for your hand and says, “Hey, I’ve been watching you all night.”

"Last First Kiss" — Teens, no, you don’t have to marry the person you are kissing right now!

"Heart Attack" — One of the best choruses to sing along to from the entire discography--ow!

"Rock Me" — Gotta respect a beach love song that begins with, “Do you remember summer ’09?”

"Change My Mind" — In the Is This Us documentary Liam changes the lyrics to “Baby if you want me to drive to KFC.”

"I Would" — This reference to having “27 tattoos” came at a time before Harry covered himself with bad clip art.

"Over Again" — Niall and Liam do a synchronized hand motion at “hole in the middle of my heart like a polo” and it’s really satisfying to do it yourself when you listen.

"Back For You" — Wow, this album is full of bangers, and this is one of them!


"Summer Love" — As someone who never experienced a teen summer love, this song makes me bitter.

"She’s Not Afraid" — Strong female lead.

"Loved You First" — This song makes me remember my middle school crush, so it also really triggers my anxiety.

"Nobody Compares" — Any song that begins with “You’re so pretty when you cry” has me cringing till the final note.

"Still The One" — A great bop to end a super solid pop album.


Midnight Memories

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"Best Song Ever" — "Best Song Ever" is, ironically, sort of just fine.

"Story of My Life" — Sweet, slow single with a rousing Harry chorus.

"Diana" — Wow, love a teen suicide bop!

"Midnight Memories" — The title track that taught me Addison Lee is a British car rental service.

"You and I" — 1D also released a perfume of the same name that was my first purchase when I got a full-time job.

"Don’t Forget Where You Belong" — Once I was singing along to this song in my old roommate’s car an I started crying because I was never on my own and the proof is in this song.

"Strong" — This song reminds me of the romance from the teen dystopian novel Divergent, which I was coincidentally pretty into when this album came out.

"Happily" — A little dose of the folk-pop that would inform the next album (and the rest of Harry’s career).

"Right Now" — I forget this song the minute it ends which means it’s a perfectly serviceable pop ballad.

"Little Black Dress" — This song is sort of objectifying but I HAVE A LITTLE BLACK DRESS, IS IT ABOUT ME?

"Through the Dark" — When I have to stay late at work I imagine Niall leaning in and crooning in my ear: “Don’t burn out.”

"Something Great" — A surprisingly optimistic song about having a crush.

"Little White Lies" — This song is problematic as hell and clear, enthusiastic sexual consent is necessary and also I love to sing it at the top of my lungs in the shower.

"Better Than Words" — Check back in for my forthcoming dissertation, “Better Than Words: The nihilistic power of pop song linguistics in the modern age.”

"Why Don’t We Go There" — The Niall bridge is a real highlight.

"Does He Know?" — Once I was walking a dog in an alley at night and a man started walking towards me singing to himself and I felt really nervous and then I listened and HE WAS SINGING THIS SONG AND I KNEW IT WOULD BE OKAY.

"Alive" — The therapist the boys go to in this song should lose her job because she gives terrible, terrible advice.

"Half a Heart" — When Louis sings, “If you could spare an hour or so we’ll go for lunch down by the river,” I’m like, “OKAY!”


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"Steal My Girl" — When this single dropped we drove around Chicago for hours waiting to hear it on pop radio.

"Ready to Run" — Great track for every road trip playlist.

"Where Do Broken Hearts Go" — Can’t write a review of this song because I’m busy screaming the chorus so loud I get evicted.

"18" — Ed Sheeran wrote this one and ugh, aw, it’s cute.

"Girl Almighty" — The chorus that birthed 1,000 One Direction tattoos (that are all dope as hell).

"Fool’s Gold" — The metaphors in this song are very English 101 and our sweet boys get a passing grade.

"Night Changes" — I thought this would be about werewolves, and I’m still disappointed.

"No Control" — It is a CRIMINAL MISTAKE this song wasn’t a single!

"Fireproof" — This is the song I would play my dad to win an argument that One Direction is good. 

"Spaces" — Are these heartfelt lyrics about goodbyes a portender to Zayn’s fast-approaching departure?

"Stockholm Syndrome" — Too sexy!

"Clouds" — The chorus is a little pop punk-y, a little “group chant at a high school pep rally.”

"Change Your Ticket" — A fanfic where the boys beg you not to leave their hotel room, and how can you tell them no?

"Illusion" — Harry sings, “This is not an illusion / There’s magic between you and me” but illusions ARE magic?

"Once in a Lifetime" — Of course this boring-ass song got relegated to the deluxe edition bonus tracks.

"Act My Age" — The Dropkick Murphys are shaking.


Made in the AM

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"Hey Angel" — This song is bland, vaguely '90s, and a terrible flat note to begin the album.

"Drag Me Down" — 1D’s turn at arena rock works bizarrely well.

"Perfect" — Harry sings the chorus, and it’s — dare I say it — PERFECT??

"Infinity" — A girl from college who never ever posted about 1D once @‘d me that this is the most romantic One Direction song, and I was like, “huh.”

"End of the Day" — This song has the insane twist of being just excellent until it hits the chorus, where it becomes horrifying.

"If I Could Fly" — This sounds like a Niall solo single, which means it’s Fine.

"Long Way Down" — Harry-heavy songs on this album are the best.

"Never Enough" — The album’s number one BANGER backed by the chanting fish from Finding Nemo.

"Olivia" —1D does The Beatles and, man, it works, it works!

"What A Feeling" — The chorus of this song feels bland in a way that really highlights Zayn’s absence.

"Love You Goodbye" — This is a song the boys are singing to me because this is their last album and we’ve had a wonderful time but ultimately, some of us are going on to better things (Harry, me).

"I Want To Write You A Song" — A ballad designed specifically to twinge your heartstrings and god, yes, I do want Louis to give me a boat.


"Temporary Fix" — Yes! Let’s! Go!

"Walking in the Wind" — “Goodbyes are bittersweet, but it’s not the end — I’ll see your face again:” READY FOR THE “WALKING IN THE WIND” REUNION TOUR.

"Wolves" — This song gets a pass because wolves are dope.

"A.M." — You know at some point head 1D songwriter Julian Bunetta was like, “The first album was Up All Night, and now… Now, it’s the morning.”

 top image: still from "What Makes You Beautiful"

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Music Fri, 12 Jan 2018 12:38:41 -0500
Luka Kain Plays A Genderqueer Teen In The Beautiful New Musical "Saturday Church": BUST Interview http://bust.com/movies/194058-luka-kain-plays-a-genderqueer-teen-in-the-beautiful-new-musical-saturday-church-bust-interview.html http://bust.com/movies/194058-luka-kain-plays-a-genderqueer-teen-in-the-beautiful-new-musical-saturday-church-bust-interview.html  

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Saturday Church, a visually striking indie musical that has been making the rounds since its debut at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, is heading to theaters this weekend. It’s a coming of age story about a shy 14-year-old genderqueer person named Ulysses, played spectacularly by Luka Kain, struggling with his identity after the death of his father. Born into a military family and raised part time by his strict, religious aunt, there is little room for self-exploration. It isn’t until Ulysses meets Ebony, Dijon, and Heaven, who take him to a weekly program called the Saturday Church, that he’s able to step into his true identity.

Earlier this week, BUST spoke with Luka over the phone about the importance of Saturday Church, playing Ulysses, and what he hopes audiences will gain from the film.

How did Saturday Church come to you?

It came through my manager, who is also my mom. She originally got it for another client of hers but when she saw the breakdown of Ulysses, she asked me if I wanted to tell that story because of the kind of stuff that’s going on in the news, the political climate. I’m very passionate about this stuff. I also have a member of my family who came out as trans — after we finished shooting the movie actually — but we knew a little bit about her journey beforehand, so I wanted to tell this story for her. So yeah, that’s kind of how it came to me and why I decided that it was a story that I really thought needed to be told. I saw that it was a film that represented the LGBTQ community and also the people of color within that community, which is something that rarely gets represented in entertainment. It was really amazing opportunity.

With the current political and cultural climate, were you hesitant about the role?

All of my hesitations weren’t about the story, but mainly my ability to do the story justice. When I first read the script, I cried, I thought it was beautiful. I was on my way home from school on the bus. It was a little awkward. I was already attached to the character and really proud of Ulysses for their transformation into becoming an individual and accepting themselves. It was just a beautiful character arc. That’s what really sold me. It was also helpful to have people on the set, the cast, crew, and Damon, everybody was very professional and brought their A-Game. It was a 20 day shoot — which isn’t long — and nine hour days. The union has rules for minors and I was 16 at the time. It was really hard to have such a short schedule, such a short shoot time. It was stressful. Damon was our captain, a great leader in making sure that the shoot stayed on track while also giving us the creative freedom to fully dive into the characters. He also had consultants that would help him in creating the most authentic story possible — he wrote the script [and he brought in consultants] because even though he’s a man in the LGBTQ community, he’s still white and the majority of the cast is people of color. So there were a lot of times where he would stop and make sure that everything that was said, the events in the story were genuine and truthful. He made sure that he was making a story that wasn’t voyeuristic — this is something that he says all the time, I’m quoting him — but he wanted to make it wasn’t voyeuristic or exploitative in any way and just really wanted to shine a light on the story and the Saturday Church program.

The story emerged from [Damon Cardasis]’s experience, correct?

Yeah, there’s an actual program at the St. Luke in the Fields church in the West Village where LGBTQ youth on the streets can go and get counseling and job advice and be taken care of. He volunteered there for a couple of months. He found out about the program through his mom, who is actually a priest at another church in the Bronx, so he went there and volunteered. He was talking with these kids there and they all had these horror stories about being beaten half to death by their loved ones or being kicked out of there homes or just having family and friends who rejected who they were. It was awful, but they were all still hopeful because of this program and next to the church was a gymnasium where they hold balls and vogue. It was really that escape that inspired [Damon] to make the movie a musical. That’s why it’s such an important aspect of the film because it’s an inherent part of the community.

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How were you able to connect with Ulysses?

For me, I feel like the story is universal in the sense that Ulysses goes through their first crush, they go through not fitting in, they go through family disconnect. There are a lot of experiences that I could connect with and that I think the audience can deeply connect with as well. It wasn’t that difficult because Damon wrote a story that was first and foremost a human story. It helped me as an actor to embody the character more, because even though there were some things that I couldn’t relate with, there were tons of places in the script that I could really dig my hooks into and become Ulysses. Mainly, the shy teenager aspect, that’s completely me! And though I haven’t experienced the kind of abuse that Ulysses has experienced in school, there were definitely times when I felt like an outcast. In high school, everyone feels like an outcast. It’s a universal experience.

People have been describing the film as Moonlight meets La La Land. Do you agree? How would you summarize the film?

Ya know, I’m very flattered by the comparisons, but it’s definitely a unique film. Moonlight was a beautiful film that did an amazing job of representing people of color and the LGBTQ community, like [Saturday Church] does, but they’re two completely different stories and completely different settings, even though they have similar premises. They’re both equally important. But sometimes I feel like that comparison is a little dangerous because they’re just shoving the two together in the “gay-movie” category. Moonlight was definitely an amazing foot in the door. There’s been a shift in Hollywood where “nontraditional” stories are becoming more profitable, which is a gross way to say it. But it’s exactly what we need because I think that that representation can help a lot of people in accepting themselves and moving forward. Another big part of Saturday Church that I haven’t really seen in a lot of other films is this sense of found family, the kind of family that Ulysses finds in the program with Ebony and Dijon and Heaven. It’s not only a beautiful relationship but it’s just as valid as any blood relation that he has with his mother and his aunt. You can see the relationship with his aunt isn’t even one that needs to be…just because they’re blood relatives doesn’t mean that it’s a relationship that’s healthy or one that should even exist. That core idea of found family is really important in the film.

photos via Saturday Church

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Movies Fri, 12 Jan 2018 11:50:41 -0500
This Art Show Celebrates One Year Of Resistance Against Trump http://bust.com/arts/194057-one-year-of-resistance-show.html http://bust.com/arts/194057-one-year-of-resistance-show.html  Elisa Garcia de la Huerta

The Untitled Space gallery in Tribeca will open a group exhibition called "ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE" on January 16. The exhibition is curated by gallery director and artist Indira Cesarine, and features the work of more than 80 contemporary artists that responds to the social and political climate of America since the election of Donald Trump.

"ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE" is a follow-up to the gallery’s critically acclaimed show "UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN," another group-based exhibition that opened the week of the 2017 presidential inauguration.

The gallery will feature artwork of all mediums that address issues such as immigration rights, health care, reproductive rights, climate change, transgender rights, white supremacy, gender equality, gun control, sexual harassment, as well as many others that have sparked protests throughout the country and the world.

Indira Cesarine -Equal Means Equal-, 2018 Neon Sculpture - ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgIndira Cesarine - "Equal Means Equal"

In a statement, curator and artist Indira Cesarine said that the exhibition “give voices to artists from all backgrounds, genders and ages in light of these controversial issues that have brought millions to the streets in protest. Throughout history, art has always played a significant role when it comes to representing the sentiments of the populace. It is crucial for the voices of the people to continue to be heard.” 

Featured artists include Gabriela Handal, Allison Jackson, Miss Meatface, Joel Tretin, Touba Alipour, Bradford Scott Stringfield, and many more. The Untitled Space will raise funds for the ACLU through the exhibition.

Find more information about the show here, and check out some of the pieces below.

January 16 - February 4
Opening Reception January 16 (VIP Preview 4 PM – 6 PM // Opening 6 PM – 9 PM)
Lispenard Street Unit 1W NYC 10013 

Michele Pred_My Body My Business_2017_ Vintage Purse EL Wire_ - ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgMichele Pred - "My Body My Business"

Touba Alipour-America-2017 - ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgTouba Alipour - "America" 

Leah Schrager - Flash Burn - ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgLeah Schrager - "Flash Burn"

Kristin Malin-Coathanger 1.0-2016-pencil and charcoal - ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgKristin Malin - "Coathanger"

Janet Braun-Reinitz, Sarah Maple 19 - IslamONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgJanet Braun-Reinitz, Sarah Maple 19 - "Islam"

Annika Connor - Blind Faith - ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgAnnika Connor - "Blind Faith"

ANNA RINDOS - Altar - 2017 - Acrylic and Paper Collage on Wood - ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgAnna Rindos - "Altar"

Alyson Provax - His Words (Not Mine) 007 - 2017 - ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgAlyson Provax - "His Words (Not Mine)" 007

Alison Jackson TRUMP_LEGS - ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgAlison Jackson - "Trump Legs"

Desire Moheb Zandi – Fences – 2017 – Weaving  - ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE - The Untitled Space.jpgDesire Moheb Zandi – "Fences"

Top photo: Elisa Garcia de la Huerta, "Blood Coming Out"

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Arts Fri, 12 Jan 2018 11:33:09 -0500
How Well Do You Know Audrey Hepburn? Take This Quiz http://bust.com/movies/194056-audrey-hepburn-quiz.html http://bust.com/movies/194056-audrey-hepburn-quiz.html

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A brilliant actor, dancer, model, and humanitarian, Audrey Hepburn was one of the most beloved performers of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Think you know how she got so deeply and importantly talented? Then take the quiz!

1. Born on May 4, 1929, in Brussels, Belgium, Audrey’s birth name was _______.

a. Audrey Geraldine Lorde
b. Audrey Justine Tautou
c. Audrey Kathleen Ruston
d. Audrey Hamburg Landers

2. Audrey’s mother was a ______ baroness.

a. Dutch
b. Austrian
c. Bulgarian
d. British

3. Audrey was nominated for five Oscars but only won once, for her role in _______.

a. Roman Holiday
b. Sabrina
c. The Nun’s Story
d. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

4. Audrey died on January 20, 1993, at age 63 from ______.

a. a heart attack
b. a drug overdose
c. injuries from a car accident
d. cancer

5. Complete the following Audrey quote: “I know I have more _____ on the tip of my nose than many women in their entire bodies. It doesn’t stand out a mile, but it’s there.”

a. feminism
b. talent
c. sex appeal
d. charisma

ANSWERS: 1. c, 2. a, 3. a, 4. d, 5. c

top photo: vintage

By Emily Rems

This article originally appeared in the December/January 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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Movies Fri, 12 Jan 2018 11:27:26 -0500
The New Podcast Switchblade Sisters Cuts Through Hollywood Bullshit http://bust.com/entertainment/194055-podcast-review-switchblade-sisters.html http://bust.com/entertainment/194055-podcast-review-switchblade-sisters.html  

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In its own words, “Switchblade Sisters is a new podcast providing deep cuts on genre flicks from a female perspective. Every week, film critic April Wolfe sits down with a phenomenal female film-maker to slice-and-dice a classic genre movie — horror, exploitation, sci-fi and many others!”

Produced by Maximum Fun and available on iTunes, Switchblade Sisters is a podcast by women in the film industry  dishing about the film industry. Using genre films — Pan’s Labrynth, The Others, and Snowpiercer, just to name a few — as jumping-off points for conversations about the inner sanctums of cinema, film critic April Wolf interviews female Hollywood heavyweights — writers, directors, actors, and producers—about their history, work, and experiences in Hollywood, while examining the film's meaning from a female perspective.

The podcast features cool guest hosts (including Stranger Things writer Jessie Nickson-Lopez) and Wolf elicits interesting analysis with a distinctly feminist tinge. The films Wolf and her guests review are also often divisive and controversial (take for instanc,e the episode about Rosemary’s Baby, where the women theorize that Roman Polanski was able to write female terror so well because, as a predator in real life, he was the source of much of it). All in all, the podcast boasts good film recommendations and interesting observations, but it's mainly geared towards folks who enjoy a more serious cinematic analysis. Still, it’s definitely worth a listen for film buffs and novices alike.

Top Image courtesy of Maximum Fun

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Entertainment Fri, 12 Jan 2018 12:49:57 -0500
Week Of Women: January 12-18, 2018 http://bust.com/entertainment/194054-week-of-women-january-12-18.html http://bust.com/entertainment/194054-week-of-women-january-12-18.html  

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This week of women brings us Taraji P. Henson's new movie Proud Mary, new music from SZA, and a trio of buzzed-about books. We haven't watched, listened to, or read all of these ourselves, but we'll include a note or a link when we have. Enjoy!


Proud Mary

Taraji P. Henson stars as a successful hitwoman who has to take care of a young boy after a hit gone wrong in this action movie directed by Babak Najafi. Out Friday, January 12.

My Art

Laurie Simmons writes, directs, and stars in this film about a 60-something artist going through an existential crisis. Out Friday, January 12. Read our review on BUST.com here.


NAACP Image Awards

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Anthony Anderson hosts this year’s NAACP Image awards, with nominees including Mary J. Blige, Issa Rae, SZA, Danai Gurira Ava DuVernay. Airs Monday, January 15 on TV One. 

TGIT returns

The Shonda Rhimes-produced shows Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and Grey’s Anatomy all return to ABC on Thursday, January 18. 


“Finesse” (Remix) by Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B.

We’re obsessed with this In Living Color-inspired music video by Bruno Mars and Cardi B. Out now.

“All The Stars” by Kendrick Lamar and SZA

This song from the Black Panther soundtrack is getting us sooo excited for the movie. Out now.

“Fireworks” by First Aid Kit

The sisters of First Aid Kit go to an ‘80s prom in this music video off their upcoming album, Ruins.



 When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele. 

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Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Khan-Cullors tells her story in this memoir, co-written by author and journalist asha bandele, with a foreword by Angela Davis. Out Tuesday, January 16. See BUST’s February/March issue for review.

 Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

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Zumas explores the lives of five women in a near-future where abortion and IVF are both illegal in this novel that’s been compared to The Handmaid’s Tale. Out Tuesday, January 16. See BUST’s December/January issue for review. 

 Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee 

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Lee follows two sisters after their mother’s death in this buzzed-about debut novel. Out Tuesday, January 16. See BUST’s December/January issue for review.

 top photo: Proud Mary

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Entertainment Thu, 11 Jan 2018 15:23:05 -0500
Serena Williams Had To Fight To Get Doctors To Take Her Post-Pregnancy Complications Seriously — And She's Not Alone http://bust.com/feminism/194053-serena-williams-birth-complications.html http://bust.com/feminism/194053-serena-williams-birth-complications.html  

serena 064aa

In her Vogue cover story released on Wednesday, Serena Williams opened up about her marriage, her daughter, and the pregnancy complications that threatened her life.

It’s both surprising and scary to hear that the U.S. has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world. According to an article written by ProPublica, an estimated 700-900 women in the U.S. died from pregnancy-related issues in 2016, with black women dying at a rate more than triple that of white mothers.

For Serena, her successful emergency C-section was immediately overshadowed by post-pregnancy complications that included a pulmonary embolism, hemorrhaging, a re-torn C-section wound, and a surgery to insert a filter that would prevent more clots from traveling to her lungs.

Serena recounted the struggle she had with doctors to Vogue. The article reads:

The next day, while recovering in the hospital, Serena suddenly felt short of breath. Because of her history of blood clots, and because she was off her daily anticoagulant regimen due to the recent surgery, she immediately assumed she was having another pulmonary embolism. (Serena lives in fear of blood clots.) She walked out of the hospital room so her mother wouldn’t worry and told the nearest nurse, between gasps, that she needed a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin (a blood thinner) right away. The nurse thought her pain medicine might be making her confused. But Serena insisted, and soon enough a doctor was performing an ultrasound of her legs. “I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” she remembers telling the team. The ultrasound revealed nothing, so they sent her for the CT, and sure enough, several small blood clots had settled in her lungs. Minutes later she was on the drip. “I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!”

All in all, Serena was lucky. Many other black women don’t fare as well. While some of the disparity between maternal mortality rates of white women and black women can be contributed to economic factors, researchers have found that women who deliver children in “black-serving” hospitals are more likely to suffer from serious complications than those who deliver at hospitals that serve fewer black women.

ProPublica found that SUNY Downstate Medical Center, located in the East Flatbush neighborhood of New York, has one of the highest hemorrhage rates across the states of New York, Illinois, and Florida, and 90 percent of the woman who give birth there are black.  ProPublica writes, “On average, 34 percent of women who hemorrhage while giving birth at New York hospitals experience significant complications. At SUNY Downstate, it’s 62 percent. In New York, on average, high black-serving hospitals had complication rates 21 percent higher than low black-serving hospitals. In Illinois and Florida, high black-serving hospitals had complication rates 11 percent higher.”

ProPublica also limited their patient pool to only healthy mothers between the ages of 25 and 32; the pattern largely remained the same, indicating that differences in care and patient characteristics were affecting the health of delivering mothers.

Frighteningly, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. has risen over the past decade. In an article from September 2016, the New York Times reported that the rate had risen by more than half since 1990. Though the research points some much-needed attention towards maternal mortality, we're still left wondering how so many would-be miracles turned into too many disasters.

Photo via Vogue

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Feminism Thu, 11 Jan 2018 13:36:55 -0500
The Creator Of The “Shitty Media Men” List Reveals Her Identity In A Powerful Essay http://bust.com/feminism/194052-the-creator-of-the-shitty-media-men-list-i-still-don-t-know-what-kind-of-future-awaits-me-now-that-i-ve-stopped-hiding.html http://bust.com/feminism/194052-the-creator-of-the-shitty-media-men-list-i-still-don-t-know-what-kind-of-future-awaits-me-now-that-i-ve-stopped-hiding.html  

Screen Shot 2018 01 11 at 1.24.08 PM 3d4ca

Moira Donegan came out as the creator of the “Shitty Media Men” list in an essay she wrote for The Cut on Wednesday night. The list, created in October, was a Google spreadsheet for women to add names of the men working in media who sexually harassed or assaulted them, and to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault perpetrated by male media figures. The intention of the list was so women could anonymously post these incidents to warn others while being protected from the threats, disbelief, and violence many accusers experience when contacting police or going public with their accusations.

The essay Donegan wrote was in response to rumors that journalist Katie Roiphe was going to publish a story in Harper’s magazine about the list that would out Donegan.  Since the rumours, Roiphe responded in an interview with the New York Times, saying was not going to “out anyone.”  However, Donegan maintains that a Harper's fact-checker contacted her and told her that Roiphe planned to identify her in the piece.

Read some of Donegan's most critical points from her essay below:

On why she created the list:

Too often, for someone looking to report an incident or to make habitual behavior stop, all the available options are bad ones. The police are notoriously inept at handling sexual-assault cases. Human-resources departments, in offices that have them, are tasked not with protecting employees but with shielding the company from liability — meaning that in the frequent occasion that the offender is a member of management and the victim is not, HR’s priorities lie with the accused. When a reporting channel has enforcement power, like an HR department or the police, it also has an obligation to presume innocence. In contrast, the value of the spreadsheet was that it had no enforcement mechanisms: Without legal authority or professional power, it offered an impartial, rather than adversarial, tool to those who used it. It was intended specifically not to inflict consequences, not to be a weapon — and yet, once it became public, many people immediately saw it as exactly that.

On why accusations don’t always indicate guilt but that there are strength in numbers:

I added a disclaimer to the top of the spreadsheet:  “This document is only a collection of misconduct allegations and rumors. Take everything with a grain of salt.” I sympathize with the desire to be careful, even as all available information suggests that false allegations are rare. The spreadsheet only had the power to inform women of allegations that were being made and to trust them to judge the quality of that information for themselves and to make their own choices accordingly. This, too, is still seen as radical: the idea that women are skeptical, that we can think and judge and choose for ourselves what to believe and what not to.

On the consequences of creating the list:

In the weeks after the spreadsheet was exposed, my life changed dramatically. I lost friends: some who thought I had been overzealous, others who thought I had not been zealous enough. I lost my job, too. The fear of being exposed, and of the harassment that will inevitably follow, has dominated my life since. I’ve learned that protecting women is a position that comes with few protections itself.

Donegan ends the essay by thanking the people who have helped her in creating the document. She wrote, “The women who used the spreadsheet, and who spread it to others, used this power in a special way, and I’m thankful to all of them.” Donegan has recieved much support since revealing herself as the creator of the document. Many people have taken to Twitter to voice their support and tweet the hashtag #IstandwithMoira. 

If you want to read more, you can read the full essay HERE.

Photo via Twitter/@MoiraDonegan

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Feminism Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:27:33 -0500
Mira Sorvino Apologizes To Dylan Farrow For Working With Woody Allen http://bust.com/movies/194050-mira-sorvino-open-letter-of-apology.html http://bust.com/movies/194050-mira-sorvino-open-letter-of-apology.html  intruders e6784


Mira Sorvino, amongst the first wave of women to publically accuse Harvey Weinstein of despicable behavior, apologized to Woody Allen’s daughter Dylan Farrow in an open letter published in the Huffington Post on Wednesday.

In this excerpt, Sorvino explains what propelled her to star in Allen's 1995 film, Mighty Aphrodite, even as allegations of child sexual abuse were swirling around Allen:

I confess that at the time I worked for Woody Allen I was a naive young actress. I swallowed the media’s portrayal of your abuse allegations against your father as an outgrowth of a twisted custody battle between Mia Farrow and him, and did not look further into the situation, for which I am terribly sorry. For this I also owe an apology to Mia.

What I have to say next is not a justification, simply a description of my background with Woody at that time and since. As an adolescent, I cherished my copy of his book “Without Feathers.” I played the Diane Keaton role in a high school production of “Play It Again, Sam” and had grown up, like so many in my generation, in awe of his films. As a young actress I landed the dream role of Linda Ash in “Mighty Aphrodite,” and the artistic license he allowed me to create the character was thrilling. We were friendly though not close, but in no way did he ever overstep his bounds with me; I never personally experienced what has now been described as inappropriate behavior toward young girls.  But this does not excuse my turning a blind eye to your story simply because I wanted desperately for it not to be so.As a young actress I landed the dream role of Linda Ash in “Mighty Aphrodite,” and the artistic license he allowed me to create the character was thrilling. We were friendly though not close, but in no way did he ever overstep his bounds with me; I never personally experienced what has now been described as inappropriate behavior toward young girls. But this does not excuse my turning a blind eye to your story simply because I wanted desperately for it not to be so.

It is difficult to sever ties and denounce your heroes, your benefactors, whom you fondly admired and felt a debt of gratitude toward for your entire career’s existence. To decide, although they may be fantastically talented and helped you enormously, that you believe they have done things for which there can be no excuse. But that is where we stand today.

Later, she offers a sincere apology:

I am so sorry, Dylan! I cannot begin to imagine how you have felt, all these years as you watched someone you called out as having hurt you as a child, a vulnerable little girl in his care, be lauded again and again, including by me and countless others in Hollywood who praised him and ignored you. As a mother and a woman, this breaks my heart for you. I am so, so sorry!

We are in a day and age when everything must be re-examined. This kind of abuse cannot be allowed to continue. If this means tearing down all the old gods, so be it. The cognitive dissonance, the denial and cowardice that spare us painful truths and prevent us from acting in defense of innocent victims while allowing “beloved” individuals to continue their heinous behavior must be jettisoned from the bottom of our souls. Even if you love someone, if you learn they may have committed these despicable acts, they must be exposed and condemned, and this exposure must have consequences. I will never work with him again.

Sorvino is not the only actress making amends and trying to justify working with Allen. In a conversation with the New York Times, Greta Gerwig, who just took home a Golden Globe for her film Lady Bird, spoke about her role in Allen’s 2012 film, To Rome With Love

If I had known then what I know now, I would not have acted in the film. I have not worked for him again, and I will not work for him again. Dylan Farrow’s two different  pieces made me realize that I increased another woman’s pain, and I was heartbroken by that realization. I grew up on his movies, and they have informed me as an artist, and I cannot change that fact now, but I can make different decisions moving forward.

Farrow's op-ed, detailing how Allen molestated and abused her as a child, was published in 2014, two years after Gerwig worked with Allen. By that time, the allegations made against him in 1990s were often discounted, seen in Hollywood as a dusty memory of a failed custody case that was swept under the rug. In 2014, Allen again denied Farrow's allegations, calling them “tabloid stupidity,” as reported by The Guardian. Concurrently, and in solidarity, Allen’s son, Ronan Farrow wrote a piece in The Hollywood Reporter confirming his sister’s story and condemning the media for not holding Allen, and the stars he worked with, accountable.

Although the sexual abuse accusations leveled against Allen didn't include sexual misconduct suffered by the stars themselves, it’s surprising that so many actors are choosing to keep quite about Allen's history, especially given the new vehemence with which they are working to support women who suffer from assault outside of the industry. (#TIMESUP). While many women are quick to denounce Harvey Weinstein and other famous and powerful men, the conversation has largely spared Allen — with many actors actively dodging the subject — as Dylan Farrow pointed out in a 2016 piece for the LA Times.

Hopefully, this will change and more actors will join Sorvino and Gerwig join Ellen Page in the ranks of thse publicly regretting their choice to work with Allen, and denounce Allen in the process. Their statements show a similar hope for the industry's future; even if they can’t change the past, they sure as hell can change the future, working to exile Allen and other vile men from the industry and replacing them with visionary women.

top photo: Intruders/BBC

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Movies Thu, 11 Jan 2018 13:32:47 -0500
In "This Is The Place," Women Write About Home: BUST Review http://bust.com/books/194049-this-is-the-place-review.html http://bust.com/books/194049-this-is-the-place-review.html thisistheplacebi ef2a4



There’s no place like home. Like the yellow brick road Dorothy travels, only to discover Kansas is the only home for her, we all take our own journeys in life. Some find no comfort in their Kansas and desperately flee home, trying to find Oz, wishing it lives up to the fairytale — instead of discovering it’s only a smokescreen. Home takes on numerous meanings, and in This Is The Place: Women Writing About Home, a book edited by Margot Kahn and Kelly McMasters, thirty women writers explore an array of possibilities for the loaded term. The book pulls together so many distinct perspectives in exploring the theme of home that the collection’s pure poetry.

In their essays about home, various writers approach the idea of home as a tension between comfort and discomfort. Some writers never felt at home in their childhood homes and attempt to escape humble — or not-so-humble — beginnings. In “The Privilege Button,” Maya Jewell Zeller discusses moving to the suburbs in a house that afforded her way more than she needed, and the privileged life she'll never feel at ease with because she grew up in poverty and has always lived well within her means. Zeller ponders her struggles with letting go of the past to embrace her new lifestyle, and questions how to relax the tension that comes with trying to reconcile the two.

On the flip side, Sonya Chung’s “Size Matters” examines the writer’s comfort living and working at home in a tiny NYC apartment — that is the perfect size for her. She finds solace in the small space, after growing up in a home too big to allow closeness and warmth in a family home ruled by an angry, inaccessible father. Chung explores living large versus small, and all the comforts she finds in the latter. She writes:

How much space do you really need? What you need and what I need are different. In a small space, however, the question must be asked, over and over again. The persistence of the question is the thing. In 450 square feet, there is no auto-pilot, no passive accumulations or retreating into your pod. You have to — I won’t shy away from the word — curate your life; the result of which is more likely to be beautiful, truthful, healthy. Whatever it is, you are always, every day, figuring it out. Together.

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Tiny living often places emphasis on sustainability, an ideology that other writers explore through the theme of home as both a community and global issue. In “Nuclear Family,” Amanda Petrusich talks about growing up in the community that homed the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant located about thirty miles away from New York City, which was considered a terror target post-9/11 and has the potential to wreak havoc on millions of people if an earthquake were ever to hit the area. That essay precedes Terry Tempest Williams’ “Keeping My Fossil Fuel in the Ground,” where the writer buys auctioned-off land around her home in Utah to protest — and protect it from — the drilling of fossil fuels. These stories explore the earth as everyone’s home — a home to be cared for and preserved.

For other writers, thanks to atrocities like colonialism and racism, the United States has never been a safe, stable home. In her essay “Annotating the First Page of the First Navajo-English Dictionary,” Danielle Geller annotates dictionary entries with relevant stories from her life, family, and tribe’s history in an artfully crafted literary nonfiction style. She discusses complex issues the Navajo tribe has to suffer through in the U.S., as a result of having their homes stolen from them, their communities destroyed, their people killed, with none of the protections most non-native citizens are afforded. These stories are often told, yet so rarely heard.

Similarly, in “We Carried Ourselves Like Villagers,” Catina Bacote revisits Eastern Circle — the projects in New Haven where she grew up — as an adult, which had been gutted and changed completely, as if razing people’s homes cleanses the world of racism. Her grandfather, known as Dada by all, was murdered while protecting residents from gang members. In its heyday, Eastern Circle had a mural memorializing Dada and other lost community members. But the mural, like everything else, was destroyed, in a devastatingly normal attempt to erase history. Bacote writes:

The city, like the nation, stamps the past with one battle or another. Statues are built to remember the fallen, to honor sacrifices, to recognize all the terrible losses, and I think there should be a marker for those who died in Eastern Circle, something more lasting than the mural that was painted on the brick wall. I can’t imagine a shrine or a heroic bust but I can envision a stone pillar etched with the story of what happened—and acknowledgment of the drug epidemic that swept the country and ravaged our community. It would make it harder for the violence to be forgotten, or denied, or justified, or diminished. I’d hold it in my mind as a stark contrast to all the monuments that put forward the idea that American splendor and victories serve everyone to the same degree.

The essay serves as a powerful conclusion to “This is the Place” — and a harsh reality that too many Americans don’t want to talk about, and too many others have to suffer through every day. But conversations need to happen, and more of these stories need to be told. Just like "home," "the U.S." is a loaded term, meaning so many things to so many different people that live here. Yet, the essays in “This is the Place” come together to show an honest portrait of the U.S., pieced together like an imperfect American quilt. In reading these stories, and finding the common ground that is shared in our concepts of home, it’s easier to see beyond the differences — and to see the bigger picture. We need more books like “This is the Place” in the world, to remind us of the humanity amid all the chaos.

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Books Thu, 11 Jan 2018 12:57:57 -0500
Roxane Gay Exposed The Midwest Writers Workshop For Fatphobia On Twitter http://bust.com/feminism/194047-roxane-gay-exposed-the-midwest-writers-workshop-for-fatphobia-in-a-twitter-thread.html http://bust.com/feminism/194047-roxane-gay-exposed-the-midwest-writers-workshop-for-fatphobia-in-a-twitter-thread.html  

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In a string of tweets, author Roxane Gay called out the Midwest Writers Workshop for not giving a woman a public-faciing position because of her size. In the tweets, she told a story of Sarah Holloway, a writer who has worked for MWW for five years.

You can see her full response on Twitter or below:


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In a field in which it would be expected that aesthetics and beauty standards would be insignificant, writers are still affected by and participate in fatphobia. For people who are unaware of fatphobia, it is an irrational dislike and fear of fatess and fat people and is seen everywhere in America, from sizing that caters exclusively toward thin people to fat people getting worse medical care

A representative from MWW made a statement on the Facebook page Wednesday, apologizing for their "mistake." In the statement, the representative  praises Sarah for being an accomplished writer and then claims that the woman who made the insensitive comment about Sarah has been fired from the executive planning committee.

The representative wrote, "I ask our faculty, friends and alumni to understand that the mistakes that were made do not change Midwest Writers’s core mission to welcome everyone — attendees and faculty alike—to our conference and as members of our committee. And by everyone, I mean all people, regardless of their weight or appearance, gender or sexual preference, age, race, or whether they show up in the same model of wheelchair in which I sit."

In response, Gay wrote, "This is a start. I hope you give Sarah the time and space to feel hurt and consider your apology. I hope this never happens again. It should have never happened in the first place. I hope you make it right with her." 


Hollowell wrote, "I'm grateful that I have a lot of friends whose advice I trust and for all the support I'm getting from people I don't know. I still don't know what to do. MWW has meant so much to me and this isn't easy. I don't like that it's happening. We'll figure it out." 


Picture via Facebook/@roxanegay74

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Feminism Thu, 11 Jan 2018 11:27:19 -0500
Greta Gerwig On Woody Allen: "I Will Not Work For Him Again" http://bust.com/feminism/194046-greta-gerwig-woody-allen.html http://bust.com/feminism/194046-greta-gerwig-woody-allen.html  

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In a New York Times op-ed published yesterday, Lady Bird writer and director Greta Gerwig finally spoke up about Woody Allen, who she once called her “idol” and worked with in 2012. “If I had known then what I know now, I would not have acted in the film,” Gerwig said. “I have not worked for him again, and I will not work for him again.”

Allen allegedly molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, at seven years old. Farrow first wrote about the abuse in 2014, and about a month ago, in a piece for the Los Angeles Times, asked why the #MeToo revolution has spared Allen. She pointed to several women, including Gerwig, who have publicly denounced predators like Harvey Weinstein but continued to support her abuser’s work. “It breaks my heart when women and men I admire work with Allen, then refuse to answer questions about it,” she wrote. “The system worked for Harvey Weinstein for decades. It works for Woody Allen still.”

Many women in Hollywood have hesitated to criticize Allen—just earlier this week, Gerwig awkwardly dodged questions about him at a Golden Globes backstage interview.

“It is something that I take very seriously and have been thinking deeply about,” she told the New York Times. “It has taken me time to gather my thoughts and say what I mean to say. I grew up on his movies, and they have informed me as an artist, and I cannot change that fact now, but I can make different decisions moving forward. Dylan Farrow’s two different pieces made me realize that I increased another woman’s pain, and I was heartbroken by that realization.”

Last night, Farrow tweeted, “Greta, thank you for your voice. Thank you for your words. Please know they are deeply felt and appreciated.”

Top photo by Nadya Wasylko for BUST

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Feminism Wed, 10 Jan 2018 13:41:27 -0500
Mark Wahlberg Was Paid $1.5 Million For The "All The Money In The World" Reshoot While Michelle Williams Made less Than $1,000 http://bust.com/entertainment/194043-mark-wahlberg-was-paid-1-5-million-for-the-all-the-money-reshoot-while-michelle-williams-made-less-than-1-000.html http://bust.com/entertainment/194043-mark-wahlberg-was-paid-1-5-million-for-the-all-the-money-reshoot-while-michelle-williams-made-less-than-1-000.html  

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Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for reshooting his scenes in All the Money in the World while co-star Michelle Williams was paid less than $1,000, reports USA Today.

In August, Forbes named Mark Wahlberg the highest paid actor of the year despite the failings of his recent films at the box office. His most recent Transformers film grossed $601.1 million from a $217 million budget and flopped on Rotten Tomatoes with a rating of 16%. He stayed true to his notoriety of being remarkably overpaid for roles as he took the $1.5 million in the reshoot for All the Money in the World while Williams did it almost for free.

After Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual harassment by actor Anthony Rapp in an incident that occurred when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26, many other accusers came forward and director Ridley Scott cut Spacey from All the Money in the World after all of the scenes were already filmed. Christopher Plummer was recast in Spacey’s role and the reshoot cost $10 million.

Ridley Scott said in an interview with USA Today that the reshoot was was inexpensive because “everyone did it for nothing.” Scott refused to get paid, as did most of the cast including Michelle Williams, who told USA Today, “I said I'd be wherever they needed me, whenever they needed me. And they could have my salary, they could have my holiday, whatever they wanted. Because I appreciated so much that they were making this massive effort."

Williams is represented by the William Morris Endeavor agency, the same agency as Wahlberg. Yet Wahlberg had his agents negotiate $1.5 million for the role, a fact that Michelle Williams was unaware of, reported USA Today.

There are many takeaways from this news: Michelle Williams should be applauded for lending her time for free in order to reshoot after the Spacey scandal broke. Despite this, her agency should have at least revealed to her how much Wahlberg was going to make. And finally, why the heck is Hollywood paying Mark Wahlberg so much money when he has a history of racism and abuse?

Photo via All the Money in the World

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Entertainment Wed, 10 Jan 2018 13:44:29 -0500
This Art Exhibit Will Take You Into A Different World http://bust.com/arts/194038-this-art-exhibit-will-take-you-into-a-different-world.html http://bust.com/arts/194038-this-art-exhibit-will-take-you-into-a-different-world.html  

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Rootkit, an art installation by Julia Sinelnikova is opening at the Superchief Gallery in Brooklyn on Friday, January 12th. Sinelnikova uses performance, light, sound, and sculptures created from hand-cut mylar to create a fictional universe.

Sinelnikova has held multiple solo exhibits in New York and her light exhibitions have been featured Internationally. She primarily works with holograms, performance and visual culture and the show will feature use of projectors and large screens in the gallery.

Opening the show will be performance called Snow Crash, featuring JJ Brine, Cornelia Singer, and Montgomery Harris. There will also be DJ sets by Picture Plane and a performance by Cecily Feitel.

The exhibition will go from January 12th-February 9th.

Learn more about it here and check out more photos below.

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All pictures courtesy of Neesmith Onzeur

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Arts Thu, 11 Jan 2018 15:21:09 -0500
There's A Sexual Assault Epidemic Affecting People With Intellectual Disabilities — And We Need To Talk About It http://bust.com/feminism/194036-sexual-assault-epidemic-affecting-those-with-intellectual-disablities.html http://bust.com/feminism/194036-sexual-assault-epidemic-affecting-those-with-intellectual-disablities.html  thearc b7910

Earlier this week, amidst the hubbub of the Golden Globes drawing attention to sexual assault in Hollywood, NPR quietly released a report revealing that a deafening amount of sexual abuse is happening to the most silent demographic — those with intellectual disabilities.

Intellectual disability, the prefered term for what was previously diagnosed as “mental retardation,” is "characterized by significant limitation in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behaviors,” according to the The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Those with intellectual disabilities often exhibit physical and neurological difficulties and a struggle with social skills—  they have a difficult time dealing with other people, following rules, and are highly pliable, having trouble avoiding verbal and physical victimization — and practical skills, which include being unable to tend to their “health and safety.” Sometimes, they suffer from difficulties with motor function, which can affect their ability to speak clearly and coherently, if at all. They fall under the larger umbrella category of “developmental disability,” a label that includes folks with physical differences, like those with cerebral palsy, and those on the autism spectrum.

NPR's written article is paired with a 12-minute audio segment and weaves in assault statistics with the story of Pauline, a 46-year-old sexual assault survivor with intellectual disabilities. NPR cited upublished Justice Department data that they obtained over the course of their yearlong investigation; the statistics say that “people with intellectual disabilities — women and men — are the victims of sexual assaults at rates more than seven times those for people without disabilities.” Compared to the rest of the population, they also experience higher rates of assault during the day, have a higher chance of repeated assault, and are more likely to be assaulted by someone they know. Their assailant, often "a person they have been taught to trust and rely upon," tends to abuse them in locations “where they are supposed to be protected and safe" — such as in their home or group home, by their caregiver, family, and peers with disabilities.

Pauline’s story is not unique, but one of many. She was repeatedly raped and abused by her caregiver’s sons in the the home they all shared. When she told her caregiver, Cheryl McClain — whom Pauline called “mommy” and whom she had lived with for over 20 years — McClain called the police. The boys, ages 12 and 13, were arrested and were sentenced to juvenile detention. After the arrest, however, afraid of losing the social security checks and the small income Pauline brought home from her job as a busser in a Brooklyn pizza parlor, McClain recorded herself trying to persuade Pauline to change her story, urging her to tell the police that she "wanted to do it" and threatening to kick her out if the boys were imprisoned.

But when McClain played the recordings to the investigating officer, intending to use them against Pauline, the officer realized that McClain was intimidating Pauline in the recordings and assigned Pauline her own lawyer. McClain was charged with six felonies, including intimidating a witness and interfering with an investigation, and two misdemeanors. Prosecutors later dropped the felony charges and the court sentenced McClain to two years of probation and  $15,000 in fines.

What is unique about Pauline’s story is that she was able to not only speak out, but also be believed. People tend to discredit those with intellectually disabilities at a higher rate than any other demographic. Why? According to Nancy Thaler, a deputy secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Human Services, “They are people who often cannot speak or their speech is not well-developed. They are generally taught from childhood up to be compliant, to obey, to go along with people. Because of the intellectual disability, people tend not to believe them, to think that they are not credible or that what they saying, they are making up or imagining." It is not only incredibly difficult for survivors to come forward, but this attitude contributes to an environment where folks with disabilities are afraid to speak up for fear that they won’t be believed; they cannot do anything to stop their abuse when the people they depend upon to help them live will not aid them, or worse, are the perpetrators. 

Additionally, folks with disabilities are considered unreliable witnesses; they are socialized to be compliant, a learned trait that can harm them when faced with a threatening situation or a demanding investigator. Even Pauline’s lawyer, Syzane Arifaj, was surprised by her unwavering testimony: "A lot of people who have intellectual disabilities are very malleable. So if you just repeatedly tell them this happened and this didn't happen, they're sort of prone to taking the suggestion," Arifaj told NPR. Additionally, intellectually disabled people often have difficulty speaking clearly and explaining things in detail. They tend to present information out of sequence and without a clear timeline. Because of this, law enforecement find it hard to follow up on cases or leads, and in an astonishing feat of victim-blaming, most prosecutors decide instead not to believe their reports.

Their inability to speak up and be believed compounded with their learned compliancy, and social and physical issues, leaves those with intellectual disabilities very vulnerable to assault. Predators not only have unlimited, intimate access to their victims, they also feel confident that they won’t get caught, leaving disabled individuals as easy targets for repeated abuse. Additionally, healthcare professionals often have little or no experience talking about sexual violence and abuse with their patients who have disabilities, according to The Arc, a national orgnization that advocates for those with intellectual disabilties. As part of its Talk About Violence Program, the Arc provides training tools for healthcare professionals.

Pauline’s story may, on the surface, appear very different from those of the glamorous women representing TIME’S UP.  But sexual assault does not happen because of appearance, revealing clothing, or sex appeal. It happens as a result of one person choosing to wield their power over another. Predators choose victims that they can dominate and bully into silence, doing it over and over again, without consequence. But now, thanks to all of the women who have shared their stories, their time is up.

Top photo via The Arc

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Feminism Wed, 10 Jan 2018 12:20:00 -0500
In This Comic, Batwoman Is A Baseball-Playing Lesbian Superhero Fighting Fascism In The 1930s http://bust.com/books/194034-bombshells-united-war-bonds.html http://bust.com/books/194034-bombshells-united-war-bonds.html batwoman detail af9fa

In the fall of last year I introduced you to Bombshells United: American Soil, the second book in DC's Bombshells series. The Bombshells are back at it again with#8 Bombshells United: War Bonds! This time the focus is on Batwoman and her relationships. What makes Bombshells special is its representation of women in an era where women were seen as “tools for the war.” We had our Rosie the Riveters, but stories about women during that time are a little more complex than our American history books like to show.

In Bombshells, Batwoman is fantastic baseball player, a superhero and a lesbian. This particular detail of her being an LGBTQ-identified person in a comic book set in the 1930s and 1940s shows how much the comic book industry has grown. More importantly Maggie Sawyer’s — AKA Batwoman — sexuality is not seen as a tool but is a part of her identity. The story does not hinge on her sexual identity, but instead focuses on her relationships and how those relations play into her life and the larger story. BUST had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Bombshells artist Mirka Andolfo about how she used illustration to depict Batwoman’s story.

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This comic has a lot of history. What were some of the images that inspired your illustrations?

Before starting a new chapter of Bombshells (but also in general), I always try to find good references and inspirations, according to the kind of story I have to illustrate. In this case, it was very interesting for me to search for inspiration. In particular, I really enjoyed working on a Spanish setting with a melange of different cultures and influences. I found many of my references in books, movies, and of cours,e the internet. Then, I had the opportunity to play with mixing various architectural elements.

When developing this story, were you able to have some input in the character development?

As for the story, it’s up to [creator] Marguerite [Bennett]: her scripts are always very precise and accurate, and I can simply understand how she wants a character to be developed. Then, after so many pages together, we have a very good feeling, and I’m happy to have the chance to play with the development of single characters, chapter after chapter. Every character in the Bombshells universe has a strong personality; they’re all well-rounded characters. As for me, I try to do my part letting the reader guess the personalities and the development of each character in their looks and expressions.

DCBOMBUN 8 1 1fb16

Is the character Renee supposed to be from the DR [Dominican Republic]?

Yes, she is. I have to admit I didn’t have a strong visual idea for the people from DR, but I had some references, so I had a quite a lot of work to do.

This comic has a lot of archaeology, and Renee is a scientist. What role did science and specifically archaeology play in your research and development of her?

Well, Renee is an archaeologist, and she has a different background in comparison to other characters in Bombshells, but I think that this is sensed by the reader from small details: maybe a look, an attitude. Apart from that, in the chapters where I “met” her, she was fighting, escaping, and a part of a lot of action sequences. That was so fun to draw!

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This comic also includes a same-sex couple and a fight against fascism — both these topics are very relevant. When you are creating artwork with such important topics, how do you use images in order to showcase empathy or understanding?

When I have to draw an image showing the love between two characters, I never think before about their gender: if it is a female and female, a female and a man, or a man and a man, well, I don’t care. I think that the most important part is to represent the feeling and the relationship between the two characters in an empathetic way.  And that’s the same for every poignant topic we “talk” about in comics… I think it's important, especially in drawing, to try not to be didactic. An important message must be well conveyed by a beautiful story, compelling, and well told.

In general, I really like to work with expressions and body language. I think one of the most important thing in making comics is to let readers know what the character is thinking about and what they are talking about wordlessly, as well as with the text. I hope the readers will understand what’s important to the person who wrote and drew the comic.

DCBOMBUN 8 5 026c3

The comic also touches a lot on mythology and religion. What images inspired the character Talia Al Ghul, and what was it you are hoping comes across with your art work?

To be honest, the original design of almost all the main characters in Bombshells universe is by [DCU illustrator] Ant Lucia, so it was simple to me, I had an excellent starting point. Apart from that, I always enjoyed a lot of Talia as a character in the DCU, and I’m very interested in mythology (and religion, too), so I did look for references and symbols, and I enjoyed that a lot. I really like Talia's clothes, and I tried to show she has a strong personality, especially working on her eyes. I hope I will have the opportunity to work again on her.

Bombshells United: War Bonds #8 and #9 can be found at your local comic books store. Issue #10 will become available on Jan. 17.

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Books Tue, 09 Jan 2018 12:51:15 -0500
These Feminist Folktale Collections Belong In Every Young Girl's Bookshelf http://bust.com/books/194033-feminist-folk-tales.html http://bust.com/books/194033-feminist-folk-tales.html huntermaidendetail 21273

In a world full of heroes, we need more heroines. Just like real life, most of the leading roles in fairy and folktales have been given to men. These tales blur the line between fantasy and reality — by connecting the two worlds in myriad ways. One such way, of course, is how underrepresented women are in both worlds — and why history and fiction need to be rewritten for the present and future to do better. Author Ethel Johnston Phelps saw the importance in doing this work, and she sought to write a collection of feminist folktales for future generations to enjoy. Her work, which is brought to light in the Feminist Folktales from Around the World four-volume collection, rewrites old fairy and folktales to tell HERstory. Forget Disney — these are the stories parents should be sharing with their girls. Here we find the role models young girls truly need, and the tales that are sadly absent from the classics.

Phelps spent three years reading and studying thousands of fairy and folktales for these collections. She took the stories that she found had the most powerful female characters and rewrote the tales to make them more relevant to contemporary audiences and women-centered, so they’d truly be feminist folktales — not just tales where women play a small part or are treated as pawns for the story’s hero. As Phelps points out in the books’ introductions, strong women in fairy and folktales are often negatively painted as witches, evil stepmothers, wicked stepsisters or haggard trolls. Virtuous women in these tales are usually the object of affection for the stories’ hero, and are only known for their beauty, commitment to a husband, or for being a mother to a powerful man. These are not inspiring tales for our girls.

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In Feminist Folktales from Around the World, women can get trapped, captured or endangered in myriad ways. But they're no damsels in distress. They outsmart villains and escape — and save their families, husbands and suitors from harm’s way. Usually, wit rules over violence as the means to overcome harm, as violence is more of an inkling of the patriarchy. In “Duffy and the Devil,” Duffy barters with the devil in order to avoid the loom work she dreads. She tricks the devil to avoid joining him in hell, the punishment she receives if she cannot solve the devil’s riddle. Later, she tricks her squire husband to avoid the hell he wants her to live — a lifetime of weaving socks and blankets.

The heroines in these feminist folktales aren’t entrapped by the single life, as they appear to be in the typical tales. Instead, these heroines run free and possess the same qualities commonly attributed to heroes in the storybooks — self-confidence, strength, wits, courage, fearlessness, independence. They live freely, happily ever after, without restraint or the duties kept women are expected to perform. In Maiden of the North, a maiden who does not wish to marry eventually is won over by a humble bachelor who is also happy being alone. Here, love at first sight doesn’t exist; instead, love is earned through devotion, acts of commitment and affection, and a mutual respect and desire to be loved over owning or claiming these heroines as property.

huntermaiden bb5e2

With no heroes in sight, women get to save the day in these tales. Although seeing girls run the world is simply the norm in Bey’s modern day, such a role reversal was rather extraordinary long, long ago — which is painfully clear in these texts. With her brothers dead and parents too old to hunt for survival, "The Hunter Maiden" insists on using her brothers’ hunting gear to save her family. She had, after all, watched them hunt as a child, and it was the only way, as she was the only family member alive and capable of the mission. Similarly, in "Wild Goose Lake," Sea Girl discovers a way to save her village from a drought one day as she’s fetching bamboo for the fire.

Gender role reversals play out in other ways, in “The Husband Who Stayed at Home,” where an arrogant husband complains about his wife’s ability to perform “woman’s work,” which prompts her to challenge him to stay at home and allow her to do his job instead for the day. You can probably guess how this one plays out. After the husband learns his lesson, the two form an agreement built on respect for the difficulty of household chores — which the husband learns is far more difficult than his typical day of work — and Phelps concludes the tale with this important key to a happy, healthy relationship: “With this compromise they lived quite peaceably, and neither the husband nor the wife complained very much at all.” Amen.

kamala eb1f9

For this review, I read volumes three and four of the Feminist Folktales from Around the World collection, titled Sea Girl and The Hunter Maiden, respectively, and I’ll be reading the previous two (Tatterhood and Kamala) ASAP, because I simply can’t get enough of these folktales. The books themselves are simply adorable and would fit perfectly into a children’s book collection (my copies blend in nicely with my grown-up books, too). The brightly colored cover art complement these vivid stories perfectly, along with the illustrations decorating each new chapter and throughout, all done by Suki Boynton, senior graphic designer at Feminist Press.

I wish this collection was around during my formative years, as I definitely didn’t relate to or aspire to be a Disney princess as a young girl, and was starved for strong female characters. Fortunately, these books are an inspiring read for young girls and women alike, so I can enjoy them now just the same. This collection is a much-needed break from the classics — the popular stories we’ve all heard from Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and the watered-down tales made into Disney movies. Unlike those tales, Feminist Folktales from Around the World offer hope to young girls, pushing the envelope and gender roles aside to afford them the same opportunities as the boys — from the start.

top image: detail from the Hunter Maiden

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Books Tue, 09 Jan 2018 12:13:21 -0500
Lemuria’s "Recreational Hate" Gives Us Humanity In Times Of Global Madness: BUST Review http://bust.com/music/194032-lemuria-recreational-hate-review.html http://bust.com/music/194032-lemuria-recreational-hate-review.html  

Lemuria 129e2

“I’m not saying it’s your fault. This year has been harsh," Lemuria sings on their new album Recreational Hate (Turbo Worldwide). And they’re not wrong. It’s been a tumultuous year for so many of us and somehow — in between the global madness of firearms and saying farewell to some huge heavyweights — we’ve clung on like weather-beaten barnacles. It’s not surprising then that the Buffalo bunch latest record is steeped in reflection.

There’s a strong focus on improving, whether rightly or wrongly. Vocalist Sheena Ozzella bids to “be a better sister” in colossal hook on "Sliver of Change" (good luck trying to dull that down for the next few weeks), which captures those all-consuming anxieties as we’re all told to knock out a new "you."

But that’s the thing about a band like Lemuria. Of course, there has been change. The band has come a long way since their humble beginnings on the landing of an apartment stairway above Buffalo diner Amy’s Place. But 15 years of touring, four albums, and a recent 10th-anniversary release and tour has cemented this band as a titan of solid riff writing and blissful melodies.

"More Tunnel" artfully demonstrates that knack, crashing in like a Weezer great (a nod to production duties from Chris Shaw) with cyclical frustrations deep in the melody: "Closer I get, less I see." Standout track "Christine Perfect" awakens the anxieties again: “I can’t relate and I feel guilty” plays out over seven or eight syllables with a Cramps-style shudder. But it’s not all misery in the mire. The track also awakens hope and faith in humanity as Ozzella blasts, "You make me a better living person."

Western sparks fly in "Kicking In" with some serious steel guitar, but the middle-America road trip stretches a bit too far in the timid "Lake Below" and "Trembling Leaf," which hang a little stark. Warmth resumes with "Marigold," a shimmering ode to selfless love: “Just because she’s sad to see me go, doesn’t mean she isn’t happy. She gives me everything without ceremony."

Recreational Hate is a release that shouldn’t be without ceremony. For a band who built up their following in sweaty dive bars teaming with punk fans, it grapples earnestly with issues they’re no doubt feeling now too. Vocalist/drummer Alex Kerns sums it up succinctly in album closer, "Best Extra." We’re all just "searching for humanity." And we’re all trying really, really hard.

photo courtesy Lemuria

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Music Tue, 09 Jan 2018 11:39:48 -0500
Hole Drummer Patty Schemel On Addiction And Getting Sober: BUST Interview http://bust.com/music/194031-patty-schemel-interview.html http://bust.com/music/194031-patty-schemel-interview.html  

Patty aee6e

The name Patty Schemel might not be at the top of your list of musicians made famous by the Pacific Northwest’s music eruption of the 1990s, but as far as the “story of grunge” goes, Schemel’s life as the drummer of Courtney Love’s band Hole is crucial. First described in the 2011 documentary Hit So Hard: The Life & Near Death Story of Patty Schemel, her trajectory of fame, addiction, rehab (and rehab, and rehab), and recovery is now the subject of a new memoir, Hit So Hard (Da Capo Press).

The book allows for a more detailed and personal narrative, beginning with Schemel’s small-town upbringing: the awkwardness of puberty and the realization that she was a lesbian; the irony of being born to two recovered alcoholics too caught up in AA to notice their young daughter was drinking; the catharsis of learning to drum at 11. This is followed by her first years in Seattle, in a scene that was about to explode. By the time Schemel joined Hole (and became close friends and roommates with Love and Kurt Cobain), the turbulent ride had begun.

Schemel writes with wit and easy humor, but as her memories grow darker, so do the bleak realities of her addictions to heroin and crack cocaine. You won’t find the typical bloated glorifications of a rock star’s “cocaine ‘n’ limos” days here—Schemel prefers to keep it real, laying out the gritty details of her time living on the streets. Now 12 years clean (working as a dog walker helped her recovery process), Schemel is married with a daughter, teaches drums to kids, and plays in the L.A. bands Death Valley Girls and Upset. Here, she opens up about the female perspective in recovery, playing music again, and the always-prevalent cheesy rock dudes.

I loved the documentary. Did you know you were going to follow it up with a book eventually?

No, not at all! When [the documentary] was complete, I did Q&As after screenings, and there were so many questions afterward—recovery questions, music questions—there was a lot more to talk about.

I imagine there’s a big difference in telling your story through writing versus through film. Was it difficult to go into detail for the book?

I was a little apprehensive at first because it was really difficult to go through the storytelling for the documentary. For the book, it was even more detailed. You go there in your head—you smell the room, you can feel all the stuff. So once again, it was a trip into that time machine. I would leave a session of writing and have to reemerge into the world. It left me so heavy.

There are so many autobiographies by male musicians centered on addiction. Do you think it’s important that the female perspective be represented there?

Yes, exactly. Women get so much more disrespect for being addicts because we’re supposed to be moms, and we’re supposed to be caretakers. Sharing that feeling, that story, in so many rehabs with women—from street-level addicts to the millionaire wives who lost control on their yachts—it’s all the same, we’re all the same, and we all talk about how we need each other. When I read memoirs from recovering rock guys, it’s always like, “There I was, in the limo….” And it’s like, wait a minute, really? Are we gonna do the whole coke on the boobs thing? [laughs] 

Was it difficult to play music again after getting sober?

Once I started to play, I started to get back to the original reasons why I like drums. When I left Hole and got clean, I couldn’t be just that person anymore. I was Patty—the drummer of Hole. But there’s a lot more. Now I teach art to kids at a Waldorf school, I do stuff I didn’t know I was good at. Woodworking! [laughs] And that gives me the balance I need so I can do things like writing and drumming and be excited about it because it doesn’t have a bunch of shit attached to it.

Does your daughter have an interest in music?

She does! She goes to rock camp with me every year, even though she’s not of age yet. It’s so important for her to just be around that—a girl laying out her guitar changing the strings, or soldering and fixing a pedal. Just to have that stuff around so it’s not seen as a weird thing that girls don’t do.

Has being a female musician changed from 
the ’90s to now?

I don’t want to be negative, but it’s so fucked up. Those [sexist] things still happen. Like, when we were loading our gear in to play a show, Nicole [Snyder, Upset’s bassist] just set her amp down, and the sound guy was like, “Uh, your amp doesn’t go that way.” It was so condescending. Still! I think—to use a ridiculous metaphor—it’s like we planted a garden in the ’90s. We planted the seeds, but I don’t know, maybe we should have tended to it a little bit better, you know? It’s still happening, but now we just know about it more, which is great.

By Emily Nokes

This article originally appeared in the December/January 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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Music Tue, 09 Jan 2018 11:20:01 -0500
This L.A. Event Basically Features Your Inner Riot Grrrl's Dream Lineup http://bust.com/music/194029-women-of-rock-oral-history.html http://bust.com/music/194029-women-of-rock-oral-history.html rockarchiveheader 18119

This Thursday, rock stars and aficionados alike will meet at Zebulon Café Concert in Los Angeles for a night of music, history, and empowerment. The Women of Rock Oral History Project, a collection of digital and written interviews documenting the careers of women in rock n’ roll, is primarily located at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, but the women highlighted by the project will be in L.A. for the initiative’s launch event.

Tanya Pearson, an archivist and curator, founded the Oral History Project, hoping to carve out a space in history for female, trans, and nonbinary musicians. “Artists and music that fit easily into the existing masculinist ‘sex, drugs, rock n’ roll’ narrative are more likely to find a place in rock history, whereas those that do not are more likely forgotten or marginalized,” Pearson says on the project’s website.

The Tuesday event will feature panel discussions and live performances from artists including Patty Schemel of Hole, Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses, Julie Cafritz of Free Kitten, and Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile. Check out the event and full lineup on Facebook, and buy tickets here.

rockarchive1 70f43Photo via Facebook

Top photo via Flickr / Guido van Nispen

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Music Mon, 08 Jan 2018 17:41:50 -0500
The Story Of Recy Taylor, The Woman Oprah Honored In Her Golden Globes Speech http://bust.com/feminism/194028-oprah-recy-taylor.html http://bust.com/feminism/194028-oprah-recy-taylor.html  

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Last night was full of iconic moments all around at the 2018 Golden Globes, but the biggest win went to Oprah Winfrey, who became the first black woman to win the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille award for outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry. In an acceptance speech that made all of us cry, Oprah lauded “all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue.” One of these women was Recy Taylor, who passed away two weeks ago at the age of 97.

Taylor was abducted and raped by six white men on September 3, 1944 while walking home from Rock Hill Holiness Church in her hometown of Abbeville, Alabama. The men threatened to kill her if she spoke up —but she did. Taylor’s case never went to trial, even after one of her rapists confessed.

“I didn’t go out at night. And then I got afraid of living right there after that happened too, ’cause I was afraid that maybe something else might happen,” Taylor told NPR decades later in 2011.

Her story was brought to the attention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Rosa Parks helped to organize a national campaign. It was only in 2010 that the case resurfaced with the publication of historian Danielle L. McGuire’s At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance. Finally, following the book’s publication, the Alabama Legislature released a public apology, calling their failure to take action “morally abhorrent and repugnant,” according to The New York Times.

“She lived as we all have lived,” Oprah said. “Too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men.”

Taylor is the subject of an upcoming 2018 documentary, The Rape of Recy Taylor.

Watch Oprah’s acceptance speech here:

Top photo via Vimeo

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Feminism Mon, 08 Jan 2018 15:12:55 -0500
The Four Sisters Who All Became Mistresses Of Louis XV http://bust.com/feminism/194027-whores-the-sisters-that-ruled-versailes.html http://bust.com/feminism/194027-whores-the-sisters-that-ruled-versailes.html marie anne de mailly 94e82 a6fd3

As anybody with a sister can attest, there is no relationship in the world that includes so much love and so much loathing. Seriously though, it’s some complicated ish.  And no set of sisters quite embody this weird relationship as the de Mailly sisters. 
Growing up in 18th century France, the five sisters were beautiful, noble-born and all set to become good wives…but they didn’t. Instead, four of the five sisters would all go on to become mistress to the same man: King, Louis XV of France. 

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In their positions as mistresses, Louise, Pauline, Diane and Marie de Mailly wielded unprecedented power. Their lives would be risked, and sisterly bonds would be built and broken. They’d know fame and famine alike, and by the end, all but two would be dead. 

Side note: The middle sister, Hortense, didn’t go into mistress-ing. A valid career choice, but it means that for the reminder of this article, we’re gonna wave goodbye to Hortense and focus on the other four.

KardashianThis gif is kind of a historical mirror. See, The de Maillys were pretty much as famous, divisive, and slut-shamed as the Kardashians.


louise de mailley 9089aLouise de Mailly

Sweet, witty, but very clumsy, Louise was the eldest of the sisters.  She was newly unhappily married to her cousin (yay for history and its never ending parade of gross marriages) and dreamed that her life would become more than just a long stream of extremely related babies. At 19, she got what she wanted…thanks to her mother dying. Yeah, less than ideal.

Still, as the eldest daughter, it was Louise’s duty to take up her late mother’s role as a lady-in-waiting to the Queen of France. And Just like that, Louise was shipped off to Versailles. A mourning teenager dumped into the snakepit that was royal court…it could have gone tits-up so easily!

Yet Louise remained strong. Though her clumsiness meant she was far from elegant, she let her intellect and wit take center stage. Soon enough, she was a court favorite. And it wasn’t just the court that was infatuated — Louise caught the eye of the king.

king louis xv of france bcc5cMeet Louis XV, King of both France and blue balls

The king could be as in love with Louise as he liked…she wasn’t biting. Louise took her marriage vows seriously, and it would take a lot more than a royal crush for her to break them. This was incredibly unusual; the general rule was that if a king wanted to have sex with you…then, like, you should probably start making your way to his bedroom. But Louise stood her ground — and she made Louis work. 

DianneDianne ain't gonna get with you for nothing!

It took Louis over a year to even get a kiss…but that kiss opened the floodgates to a whole lot more. *wink.* Pretty soon, Louise and Louis were official. (Plus, their names match, so it was clearly meant to be.)

princess bride

Louis and Louise weren’t a flash in the pan. She was in love and soon she was Louis’s official main mistress. But as all big sisters know…the minute you get something good, your younger sister is immediately there, wanting a piece of it.


pauline de mailly a4aa5Pauline de Mailly
The second eldest of the sisters, Pauline wrote to Louise, begging to be brought to court. As a good big sister, Louise let Pauline come stay (while probably also reminding Pauline not to embarrass her in front of her cool new courtier mates).

The bright lights of Versailles suited Pauline to a T. She was loud, funny, and the life of the party. More than this, though, Pauline was unashamedly ambitious. She wanted to squeeze her sister's new position for everything she could get.

And boy, did she do that. Like Louise before her, Pauline quickly caught King Louis’s eye. Unlike Louise, Pauline was happy to pursue the king...

hillary duffThat's breaking all kinds of sisterhood codes!

King Louis may have loved Louise (#L+L 4ever) but he also reeeeally liked her sister. It was all kinds of dicky and icky, but the King's penis wants what it wants. And so, though Louise got to remain top mistress, Pauline joined the ranks of official mistresses.

yikesLike I don’t think it counts as incest. BUT STILL.

Pauline LOVED her new role, and, unlike Louise, she used her position as mistress for everything she could. She created political sway for herself, bagged a rich husband with a title (who’d have to remain cool with her extra-marital duties), and snagged herself countless expensive gifts…including an actual castle!

Needless to say, the rest of court was somewhat jealous of this new upstart. They began to loathe Pauline.  But Pauline didn’t care. She had power, riches, and now she was pregnant with the King’s kid — meaning nothing could topple her…right?

Nope! Turns out giving birth before decent medicine and pain relief was a killer....literally.  

birthing pains


 Except don’t…because the likelihood of survival during this era, well, it's not exactly Vegas odds. Though Pauline delivered a healthy baby boy, she died in childbirth.

Both King Louis and Louise were grief-stricken. It was arranged for Pauline’s body to be placed in state, to allow for mourners to pay their respects…but then, something truly horrific happened. A mob broke into the chapel housing Pauline's body. Seeking to exact punishment on the woman they saw as a "whore," they mutilated her body. Louise was devastated. Her little sister was not only dead, her body was defiled, too. Louise sunk into a pit of despair, turning to religious rituals as a way of offering penance. 

Louise wasn’t the only one mourning Pauline’s death. Political heavyweights were just as bereft. Without Pauline, there was no woman with the ear of the king who was happy to push political plans.
See, Louise was in love (#L+LAlways), and therefore uninterested in using her relationship for power. But the politicians weren’t out of luck. Another de Mailly sister had Pauline’s ambitious streak:


marie anne de mailly 94e82Marie Anne de Mailly

The youngest of the sisters, Marie Anne had a serious case of last-born syndrome — meaning that she felt she had something to prove. That, mixed with her devastating looks, smarts, and endless ambition, made her the perfect political mistress. So she was brought to court with the intention that she would take Pauline’s place. 

Slight issue…Marie Anne didn’t want to become the king's mistress. She already had a lover and she didn’t want to drop him to become the king's sloppy seconds (well, thirds). King Louis had other ideas. He was now desperate to bag Marie Anne as his latest conquest…and so he sent her lover off to war (as you do). Sadly for the king, Marie Anne’s lover came back from war alive, intact, and a war hero.

But it wasn’t quite game over! The king’s friends were desperate to get the king a mistress who would play their political games…so they arranged for another woman to seduce Marie Anne’s lover. Then they sent the pair's illicit love letters to Marie Anne, who was understandably heartbroken. So she broke up with her lover and fell into the king's bed to spite him.

French court — officially more of a bitchy headfuck than high school!  

 janiceFor reals though…who the fuck does that?

But Marie Anne refused to be a pawn. She wanted three things:

1. A more powerful king than the one she had.

2. Power and wealth of her own.

3. To be the top mistress.

Luckily, one and two were pretty easy to tick off. Marie Anne persuaded the King to secure his power by not only going to war, but actually joining the battle as a true military leader. In return, King Louis gave Marie the title of duchess, which meant a HUGE pension.

Becoming the top mistress would be a little more difficult. After all, the woman in charge was Louise, Marie Anne’s own sister. But Marie Anne was resolute that she would kick her sister out of the top spot.

uh ohThere is literally no way this can end well.

Things weren’t looking great for Louise. After Pauline’s death, she’d been down and had drifted away from the king. She was still very much in love with him (#L+LForLife). But when faced with not only her sister, but the king's friends desparate for her removal, would love be enough? What made things even worse for Louise (if that was possible) was that she refused to believe that Marie Anne would plot against her. After all, they were sisters.

And…Marie Anne used this against Louise. She convinced Louise to resign her post as one of the Queens ladies…meaning Louise now had no official reason to be at court.

way harshEven for these sisters…that is cold!

 Every day, the king was falling more and more for his new squeeze Marie Anne. He spent his evenings with Louise proclaiming how desperate his was to get off with Marie Anne…which for some reason, made Louise burst into tears! And so, King Louis grew less and less fond on his old — now very emotional — mistress. The only thing he wanted her for now was to please Marie by ditching her.

So he had all of Louise’s furniture removed from her apartments and told her she was to leave Versailles. Louise didn’t take this well, falling to her feet and begging to stay…but it was no use. Louise was out and Marie Anne was in. 

But Marie Anne wasn’t taking any chances. Just to be sure that Louise couldn’t return her lost love, she ensured that Louise was sent to live out the rest of her days in a convent.


Now top mistress, Marie Anne enjoyed all the influence and power that was now at her disposal. She was in early twenties, a newly minted duchess, and rich beyond her wildest dreams. I was time to pay it back.  Enter:


diane de mailly d077eDiane de Mailly
Diane, Marie Anne's favorite sister, came to join Marie Anne in court, where Marie Anne hooked Diane up with a fancy new husband and a new gig as (you guessed it!) one of the king's mistresses...with Marie Anne remaining top dog, naturally. Together, Diane and Marie Anne travelled with King Louis to the battlefield during the war of the Austrian Succesion, where, on Marie Anne’s advice, King Louis once more joined the fray as a true military leader. What could possibly go wrong?

Yeeeeeah, King Louis fell ill…like horrifying-battlefield-full-of-nasty-diseases-and-no-sanitation-ill.

 leslie knopeLiterally!

 Injured and sick, the King took to his deathbed surrounded by his mistresses.  He realized things weren’t looking good for his immortal soul.

So he decided to denounced his main mistress Marie Anne, beg repentance for ever having been associated with her and her kin, and had her sent packing (you know, I’m starting to think this guy might be an asshat). On the road home, Dianne and Marie Anne’s carriage was met by an angry mob (sound familiar?).  These women had put the King’s soul in danger, and now they were going to pay.

The mob threw urine and rocks at the sisters. They threatened to lynch them, and the pair barely got away. The ordeal didn’t end there. Marie Anne almost immediately fell ill — and she suspected poison.   


Miraculously, King Louis survived his illness…but Marie Anne would not be so lucky. She was summoned back to court, but whatever had caused her sickness had wrecked her immune system. Almost as soon as Marie Anne returned to Versailles…she was dead.

With two sisters dead and one locked in a convent…things weren’t exactly peachy for the de Mailly sisters. Diane managed to survive as a mistress for a few months longer before King Louis tired of her.


fuck menWell, at least King Louis!

 History has been rough on the de Mailly sisters.  Remembered as "wanton whores," or just not remembered at all, I kinda feel like these ladies got the short shrift. Sure, they aren’t winning any best sister prizes soon (or ever), but they were ambitious. They created power, wealth and forms of independence for themselves. They had faults (okay, maaaaany faults), but these ladies are way too interesting to be slut-shamed out of history!

This was interesting, where can I find out more? There aren’t that many solid non-fiction books on the ladies, BUT there is a good historical fiction book. The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie is a fun popcorn read; kinda like The Other Boleyn Girl, but in Versailles.

This post originally appeared on F Yeah History and is reprinted here with permission.

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9 Moments To Pay Attention To From The 2018 Golden Globes http://bust.com/tv/194026-golden-globes-2018.html http://bust.com/tv/194026-golden-globes-2018.html  

 oprah 826b1

Last night, the Golden Globes were held — and were especially notable because this was the first awards ceremony since the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement started. And Hollywood acknowledged the moment in a big way — or at least, the women did. Almost every celebrity woman — and eight activists, including #MeToo creator Tarana Burke, who attended as celebrity women's plus-ones — wore black and spoke out against sexual harassment on the red carpet. But men, with a few exceptions, did not speak out (in interviews or in speeches) about the culture of sexual harassment and assault in their industry.

The wins were varied, too. Lady Bird took home Best Motion Picture: Comedy, but Greta Gerwig didn't even get a nomination for Best Director. Several accused abusers, including Gary Oldman and Kirk Douglas, were honored. Many pointed out the hypocrisy of those who chose to wear #TimesUp pins while continuing to work with accused abusers (looking at you, Justin Timberlake) and/or not donating to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.

Read on to see nine moments to pay attention to from the 2018 Golden Globes.

1. Almost everyone wore black on the red carpet. 

timesup 73067via Instagram/@TimesUpNow 

As had been rumored, almost everyone who attended the Golden Globes wore black — and it wasn’t an empty statement, as we had worried it might be. Eight celebrity women brought activists as their plus-ones, and many others spoke out about sexual harassment and assault in red carpet interviews — even when they weren’t directly asked about it. Many also pointed out, correctly, that Hollywood isn’t the only industry fighting rape culture. Additionally, the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which supports those in every industry who are affected by sexual harassment and assault, has now raised over $16 million — in just 19 days.

On the other hand, many people correctly pointed out that it was overwhelmingly women speaking out against sexual harassment and assault, while, with a few exceptions, men stayed silent — and that quite a few celebrities of all genders wore #TimeUp pins but didn’t renounce their support of accused abusers like Woody Allen and Roman Polanski. Wearing black at the Golden Globes was not an empty statement — again, over $16 million has been raised to help people fighting sexual assault in all industries — but there is still a lot of work to do.

 2. Activists were honored and celebrated. 

Eight activists attended as celebrity women’s plus-ones: #MeToo creator and Girls For Gender Equity founder Tarana Burke, National Domestic Workers Alliance director Ai-jen Poo, workplace justice advocate for restaurant workers Saru Jayaraman, Imkaan (a UK-based organization that fights violence against black and minority women) executive director Marai Larasi, journalist and community organizer Rosa Clemente, farmworkers advocate Mónica Ramírez, Native American treaty and water rights activist Calina Lawrence, and women’s and LGBTQ rights activist Billie Jean King. In many cases, the celebrity women expertly pivoted their answers to interview questions into opportunities to celebrate the activists, who then spoke powerfully about their work (as above).

3. Debra Messing and others called out E! News for their gender pay gap.

Last month, longtime host Catt Sadler publicly left E! News after she discovered her male counterpart was making more than twice her salary. Several celebrities called this out during their E! red carpet interviews. Debra Messing was the most blunt, saying, “I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn't believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts. I miss Catt Sadler, and so we stand with her.” Laura Dern, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Eva Longoria also brought up E!’s wage gap in their E! interviews. 

4. The women of Big Little Lies used their speeches to send a message.

Many women used their acceptance speeches to share an activist message, but perhaps the most powerful came from the women of Big Little Lies. Nicole Kidman, who won the Best Lead Actress in a Miniseries award for playing a woman who leaves an abusive relationship, said that her character “represents something that is the center of our conversation right now — abuse. I do believe and I hope we can elicit change through the stories we tell and the way we tell them.” Laura Dern, who won the Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries award, called for everyone “to not only support survivors and bystanders who are brave enough to tell their truth but, to promote restorative justice, may we also please protect and employ them."

5. Oprah’s speech was EVERYTHING.

The most powerful speech of the night went, hands-down, to Oprah. In her speech accepting the Cecil B. de Mille Award (becoming the first black woman to win this award), Oprah talked about the importance of representation and the life and legacy of Recy Taylor, a black sharecropper who was raped by six white men in 1944 when she was 24 years old, and whose pursuit of justice — helped along by Rosa Parks — was a catalyst in the Civil Rights movement. “She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men,” Oprah said of Taylor. “For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.”  You definitely want to watch her speech, above.

6. Women-centered entertainment won big…

Several women-led TV series took home multiple awards — Big Little Lies, the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and The Handmaid’s Tale. On the movie side, Lady Bird won Best Motion Picture: Musical Or Comedy and Lady Bird star Saoirse Ronan won Best Actress In A Motion Picture: Musical Or Comedy.Allison Janney won Best Supporting Actress In A Motion Picture: Musical Or Comedy for her performance in I, Tonya.

7. But no women were nominated for Best Director — as Natalie Portman pointed out.

Following Oprah’s speech, Natalie Portman introduced the nominees for Best Director with “And here are the all-male nominees….” In fact, the only woman to be honored for a non-acting award was Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which won Best TV Series: Musical Or Comedy.

8. And very few people of color — and no women of color, besides Oprah —  took home awards.

This year’s Golden Globes winners were overwhelmingly white — only two people of color won awards, three if you count Oprah. The two awards went to Sterling K. Brown and Aziz Ansari, for Best Actor In A TV Series: Drama and Comedy, respectively. With these wins, Brown became the first black man to win in this category, ever, and Aziz Ansari became the first Asian-American to win a Best Actor award in a TV category, ever. The snubbing of Get Out, Insecure, and other media created by and centering people of color particularly stung because Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — which has a highly-criticized storyline about the redemption of a violent, racist cop — took home four major awards, including Best Motion Picture: Drama.


9. Accused abusers won awards — and people noticed.

allysheedy 97175via Twitter/@allysheedy

People on social media were quick to share past sexual harassment, assault, or abuse allegations against award winners Gary Oldman and James Franco, nominees Christian Slater and Jude Law, presenter Kirk Douglas, red carpet interviewer Ryan Seacrest, and guest Justin Timberlake.  Several women shared new allegations against James Franco following his Best Actor in a Motion Picture: Comedy win. It’s disheartening to see accused abusers wear #TimesUp pins and accept awards — but it’s encouraging to see so many notice this hypocrisy and call for justice.

top photo: NBC/YouTube

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Journalist Carrie Gracie Quit The BBC Because Of Their Gender Pay Gap http://bust.com/feminism/194025-bbc-journalist-quits.html http://bust.com/feminism/194025-bbc-journalist-quits.html   

carrie gracie bbc china editor 2b729


Iceland made the news recently in regard to a law that just passed that requires companies to prove that they are paying women and men equally for the same work. The pay gap is no stranger to the news these days as stories break constantly regarding unequal pay. Journalist Carrie Gracie became the latest headline concerning the pay gap when she quit her job as China editor for the BBC to protest unequal pay, reported The Guardian. Gracie, who worked as a BBC journalist for three decades, decided she could no longer be linked with the BBC, citing the BBC's failure to pay women and men equal salaries for the same work.

In July 2017, the BBC released the salaries of its top earners and The Guardian reported that viewers were not happy to learn that the highest paid female star earned just a fifth of what the highest paid male star made. Gracie published an open letter on Sunday night in which she responded to the pay gap report, referring to it as “pay discrimination” and “ illegal.”

She said on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Monday morning,“I could not go back to China and collude knowingly in what I consider to be unlawful pay discrimination. Nor could I stay silent and watch the BBC perpetuate a failing pay structure by discriminating against women.”

Gracie told her readers in her open letter that she does not want more money from the BBC. Instead, she said, “The BBC must admit the problem, apologise and set in place an equal, fair and transparent pay structure. To avoid wasting your licence fee on an unwinnable court fight against female staff, the BBC should immediately agree to independent arbitration to settle individual cases.”

Other reporters and writers from BBC have responded positively to Gracie’s move. #BBCwomen shared this tweet in support of Gracie:

Screen Shot 2018 01 08 at 12.24.20 PM f23f8

Others have supported her decision by tweeting the hashtag #IStandWithCarrie.

It is about time people in powerful and influential positions like Gracie act radically so that others can benefit. Hopefully, her decision will speed up the BBC’s pledge for equal pay by 2020

Top Photo via carriegracie.com 

Bottom photo via Twitter/@charlottebsmith

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This Indonesian Metal Band Is Shattering Stereotypes About Muslim Girls http://bust.com/music/194023-this-indonesian-metal-band-is-shattering-stereotypes-about-muslim-girls.html http://bust.com/music/194023-this-indonesian-metal-band-is-shattering-stereotypes-about-muslim-girls.html

vob e42e4

A teenage girl shouts into a microphone in a shaky YouTube video viewed over 160,000 times. She’s backed by two other girls, all three dressed in skinny jeans, sneakers, white tops, and white hijabs. This is Voice of Baceprot , an all-girl metal band formed in the Indonesian town of Garut in 2014, with Firdda Kurnia on vocals and guitar, Euis Siti Aisyah on drums, and Widi Rahmawati on bass. (Baceprot means “noisy” in Sudanese.)


Along with original songs, the girls’ repertoire includes Metallica, Muse, and Slipknot covers. “Metal music has the truth to break a bad system,” the band tells BUST. VoB has performed across Indonesia, shattering stereotypes about what Muslim girls can, and should, do. Their answer to those who are surprised? “Everybody has a freedom, and we have a freedom to choose our own way.”

By Erika W. Smith

Photo by Ruli Lesmana

This article originally appeared in the December/January 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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"Tales Of Endearment" Is A Book For Lovers Of Fashion, Vintage, Stories, And Photography: BUST Review http://bust.com/books/194017-tales-of-endearment-review.html http://bust.com/books/194017-tales-of-endearment-review.html spread.jpg

“A love for the discarded, the recycled, and the nostalgic.” That’s the motivating force behind Natalie Joos' book, Tales of Endearment: Modern Vintage Lovers and Their Extraordinary Wardrobes. Joos' blog, one of our favorites, Tales of Endearment, makes vintage clothing a focal point; the book is no different, just more tangible. (The blog even feautured BUST's own Laurie in 2013!)

In gathering together 58 vintage clothing lovers and their stories, Joos traveled to North London, the Bronx, Milan, Paris, Istanbul, Australia, Santa Monica, Santa Fe, and many other faraway places. From Paz Lechantin of the Pixies, to model Waris Ahluwalia, scarf connoisseur Emmanual Demuynck, and 17-year-old Isabel Musidora, each vintage junkie has a story, but, as Joos puts it, “It’s not about taste or money or age; it’s a lifestyle.”

talesofendearment .jpg

Joos does something I wish more interviewers did: She takes her time. Fight the temptation to skim the words and skip to the pictures — she put time into each and every interview, and it shows. Joos has a knack for style and prose, and she’ll take you through her subjects’ closets, as well as their tea-making rituals, visits to grandma's, and that one year they only wore Barbie bridal dresses.

tales1 43971

Refreshingly, the book provides variety; it’s not just models like Stella Maxwell and Staz Lindes. There’s Damian Yee in a chic pair of Louis Vuitton slides and Wendy Henry with her love for blue jeans and white T-shirts (she’s lost track of how many pairs of jeans and tees she’s bought in her life), as she poses in a pair of her custom-made cowboy boots she sells to the likes of Tom Ford.


It’s nice that Joos lets the clothes speak for themselves, but the book, sadly, doesn’t provide much information on the individual pieces that Joos has photographed her subjects wearing (I’m dying to know the story behind a pair of feather epaulettes).

Fortunately, she doesn’t just capture the clothes; she captures the environment that they inhabit, an easily overlooked background that gives the reader just a bit more insight into the owner and their collection. Linda Ramone stands outside of her “Pepto-Bismol pink” house, Eleanor Wells perches in her colorfully painted convertible, stretch limousine, and Zoë Bleu Sidel sits atop a yellow ducky pool float on the front cover.

The book really is the "who’s who" of vintage. It’s part biography, part story, and part loving ode. In her interview, Catherine Baba reminds us, “Vintage has soul!” and this book is full of it too. 

Tales of Endearment: Modern Vintage Lovers and Their Extraordinary Wardrobes is currently available for purchase.

All photos via Tales of Endearment, Natalie Joos, powerHouse Books. 

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Laurie Simmons Lets You Escape The Real World In “My Art” : BUST Review http://bust.com/movies/194004-laurie-simmons-my-art-film-bust-review.html http://bust.com/movies/194004-laurie-simmons-my-art-film-bust-review.html  

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 12.54.55.png

“It seems like art,” says John Rothman’s character towards the end of My Art, and it is. The film, directed by and starring Laurie Simmons, follows Ellie Shine (Simmons), an artist in her 60s who is going through an existential crisis, one she hopes will be cured by escaping the busy city for a summer retreat in upstate New York. Cemented by a superb cast and a witty, dry humor, My Art is the kind of film that will make you feel like you’re escaping, too.

Ellie is a single art teacher living in New York City. Surrounded by successful friends and young ambitious students, she heads to the isolated home of a famous friend to reset her life and her work. Arriving at her "retreat," Ellie finds a dozen bottles of white wine, drugs stuffed in ice cream containers, and the ground’s gardeners: two out-of-work actors named Frank (Robert Clohessy) and Tom (Josh Safdie).

The film continually flips between reality and the surreal, as Ellie’s artistic eye dreams up sets and scenes, often mimicking the black and white films of Hollywood she attempts to recreate in her DIY art videos.

But "recreate" isn’t the right word; Ellie would shake her head. She tells Frank she wants to embrace the “impossibility of us being them,” the Jimmy Stewarts, the Marlene Dietrichs, and the Marilyn Monroes. Ellie recruits Frank, Tom, and her failed date John (Rothman) to help her with these improbable recreations. Together they make their own Jules and Jim and A Clockwork Orange.

Simmons shines as Ellie, creating an unassuming character who, though creative and expressive, somewhat struggles socially with her awkwardness and blunt nature. But she’s hilarious, and instead of grimacing after she responds to Frank missing his deceased wife with, “You know, Frank, you’ve mentioned that like 500 times.” We laugh because it’s "just Ellie," who eats pot cookies for dinner, lights her cigarette with an extra-long lighter, and takes her disabled dog Bing on "walks" by carrying him in her arms up and down the road.

The film’s cinematography successfully measures up to its writing. From the early shot of Ellie sitting alone outside the museum with the cityscape lounging behind her, to the brief interlude of a beautiful underwater scene (tip your hat to cinematographer Tom Richmond), the artistry is obvious. But even as we watch the dreamy underwater sequence, Simmons reigns you in with Bing awkwardly, hilariously, and adorably swimming in his safety vest.

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 15.18.17.pngSimmons plays Ellie in My Art

Other characters include Tom’s wife, Angie (Parker Posey), a sporadic psychotic delight (we’re introduced to her as she placates her husband and poorly attempts to climb a tree), and Meryl, played by Simmon’s daughter Lena Dunham, who provides the young successful perspective that Ellie needs to jumpstart her personal revolution.

The most refreshing aspect of the film is that Ellie’s journey of self-discovery and, eventual, redemption is not dependent on a male love interest. Though she goes on a date and sleeps with a man, Ellie is focused on her work and her love of old Hollywood. Her love affair is with her art (and partly with Bing). There is a purpose to each character and each scene. Moments and scenes that initially seem unnecessary come into play later on in the film, and you feel guilty for temporarily doubting Simmons and her genius. 

Though I originally had some reservations about Simmons playing her own lead character (the first act comes off a bit rough), by the end, you realize that she is the only person who could play Ellie. 

My Art opens on January 12th in New York City at Quad Cinema, and on January 19th in Los Angeles at Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts.

All photos via My Art, dir. Laurie Simmons.

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