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22 June 2015

POV returns on June 22nd with "Out in the Night"

In 2006, under the neon lights of a gay-friendly neighborhood in New York City, a group of African-American lesbians were violently threatened by a man on the street. The women fought back and were later charged with gang assault and attempted murder. The tabloids quickly dubbed them a gang of "Killer Lesbians" and a "Wolf Pack." Three pleaded guilty to avoid a trial, but the remaining four — Renata, Patreese, Venice and Terrain — maintained their innocence. The award-winning Out in the Night examines the sensational case and the women's uphill battle, revealing the role that race, gender identity and sexuality play in our criminal justice system. A co-production of ITVS. A co-presentation with the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC). 



I watched "Out in the Night" over a month ago and it still haunts me. This documentary kicks off POV’s 28th Season on PBS.

In our current environment of #BlackLivesMatter, Charleston and countless Black men, women and children being killed by the police, this documentary is poignant and timely. As the summary above states, one night a group of friends, all black lesbians, were out on the town. A dude walks up to them and starts harassing them violently. They fight back. Most of the incident is caught on camera, but it is not enough to save them from prosecution. The majority of the film is about the impact of not just the injustice of the incarceration of four of the women, but the impact of incarceration on their family's lives.

I won't kid you, it is a difficult movie to watch. For those of you who work in the prison abolitionist movement, few things may shock you. But for those who still believe that incarceration is the best way to punish people, your socks will be knocked off.

The strength of the women who were incarcerated is intense. It is not often that I am left speechless to describe a film. All I can say is that you must watch this film. Check your local listings to see when you can catch this moving film.

11 June 2015

GIVEAWAY & Review: Coloring Flower Mandalas by Wendy Piersall


I've been coloring various pages from Coloring Flower Mandalas: 30 Hand-drawn Designs for Mindful Relaxation by Wendy Piersall for a solid month now. And I gotta say, I don't think I've ever been so popular! Everyone wants to chime in on the grown-up coloring book trend. "Oh, I read about that!" "WOW! That's a great pattern." "What do you use?"

To answer that last question, I've bought myself a fresh pack of color pencils. And I carry them practically everywhere I go. And here's what I've discovered...

Instead of peeking at my phone while my mind thinks it needs something to do, I pull out my coloring. I have no idea how to explain the difference in my mind, but it is ore relaxing to kick back with a coloring pencil and a mandala.

I have a few Xena coloring books (I horded in the 90s) and a Wonder Woman one. Because these are rare beings, I only color in them when necessary. I love the feeling of coloring. I always have. Now with the rise of grown up coloring books, the possibilities are endless!

The best part of Coloring Flower Mandalas is that I'm discovering what colors I like to put together. When I bought my color pencils, I got a 24 pack. Now I wish I had a ton more to do more gradients. I guess I could learn to do that with pressure, eh? Anywho, this non-artsy gal is loving feeling like she knows what she's doing with color on these pages. And yes, the images you see above are all from me. Yeah, this is like my fridge display.

Coloring Flower Mandalas comes out in August, but you can pre-order it or buy on eReader. My copy is electronic and I love being able to print out a page or two, stash it in my padfolio and have it handy when I need it throughout my work day. It's a great brain refresher. That's my tip for you!

You can purchase your copy through Powells or IndieBound to support VLF.
==============
GIVEAWAY:

I have three copes of Coloring Flower Mandalas to give away! Here is how you can enter:

1. Leave a comment with your favorite coloring tool (crayon, chalk, marker, etc) and your email. Without your email I can't tell you if you won!
2. Tag me on Instagram or Twitter with a pic of something you drew, colored, or doodled.
3. Post a pic a pic of something you drew, colored, or doodled on VLF's facebook page.
4. Additional entries if you are following me on Instagram, Twitter or like VLF's facebook page.

Sadly, this giveaway is limited to those with US or Canadian mailing addresses.

All entries need to be in by June 18th.

10 June 2015

Support Women's Sports....Join TakePart.com


As you all know, I'm a big sports fan. I started a Facebook community for people who pledge to attend just one women's sporting event a year during the 2008 Winter Olympics. Since then the issue of supporting women's sports continues to grow, but still a conundrum. I noticed last year Chicago's local ABC outlet began to regularly give our Chicago Sky's (WNBA) score in the highlights. And while other stations do as well, ABC is more likely to show a game clip too. So they are getting the props here today. Occassionaly, our NPR station will mention women's college hoops scores or the Chicago Sky's, but I feel like it is just when there were a lack of men's games the night before.

Currently my family has full World Cup fever. Which is why I am excited to share TakePart.com’s newly launched “Equal Playing Field” campaign. It features an original documentary with US National Women’s Soccer team star and Chicago Red Star Christen Press and interviews with Julie Foudy, member of the 1999 US Women’s World Cup championship team, and produced by Frank Marshall, this mini documentary exposes the challenges that professional female soccer teams endure due to the inability to receive the same funding as professional mens soccer teams.

I truly appreciated this mini-doc not just because I am a fan, but I'm raising a soccer player. When you ask Ella what she wants to be when she grows up, she says, "Professional soccer player." And she means it. While we aren't going all Béla Károlyi on her, we do offer her a lot of opportunities to become a better player. Since I am her mom, she also gets a healthy dose of sports politics. I showed her the mini-doc as soon as I was done watching it. Which was also just hours after Press scored the winning goal during the first World Cup match. TIMING IS EVERYTHING!! Since we do go to a lot of women's sporting events, she sees the crowds. She knows the Bandits don't play in front of tens of thousands of people like the Cubs. Same with the Sky and Bulls. But she also sees how engaged the fans are at these games. Having Christine Press make the economic case for supporting women's sports is exactly what this feminist mama needed.

When I have talked with women sports journalists, they cite the lack of attendance for the lack of media attention. But as Julie Foudy says in the mini-doc, without media attention people don't know there's a team to cheer on. My Chicago Red Stars use to play at the same field as our men's pro team, but after the second league busted, they moved to college stadium. This allows them to have a small crowd, but look huge.

I try to get to at least one Red Stars, Sky, Force and Bandits game every summer, but it's hard with our busy lives. Especially with the short schedule the Force plays. And one year I swear I'll get season tickets to at least one of them!

But first up is a cross-town bout in Chicago roller derby and then we're off to the World Cup. OH YEAH!!!!!!!





07 June 2015

#365FeministSelife Update: Logo & Fundraiser

I did not feel the need to create a logo for #365FeministSelfie until we hit year two. And that was mostly because we were planning two retreats for participants to get together. And now, as we plan for our November retreat in Columbus, Ohio (tentatively scheduled for November 7th ant 8th), it was time for a logo. And here it is.

Since I am not a handy person with a pencil and paper, I needed a lot of help. Emily F. from the #365FeministSelfie community helped take my ideas and sketched them out. I took those sketches to Victoria & Alma at Spark the Creative Agency. It was so easy to work with Victoria and Alma. And back to Emily having the ability to take my "what if it looked like this?" words and draw a road map for Victoria and Alma to follow.


In order to pull off a successful and low-cost retreat in November, we need to fundraise. Cara, one of the leaders of our community, has created a t-shirt fundraiser. We need to sell 100 shirts over the next 10 days in order to have a successful fundraiser. Each shirt is $20 and all profits will go towards covering the cost of the retreat. We successfully held the Portland retreat at no cost to participants, I think we can do the same for Columbus. BUT...they only go to print if we reach the 100 shirt mark.

And no restrictions on who can purchase. Whether you have taken hundreds of selfies with us or just a few, no worries! Heck, even if you are like my daughter and have been in a lot of my selfies, but never taken your own but support the project, grab a shirt.

Thanks to Cara for putting this together!



Disclaimer

This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.

What I'm Currently Reading

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces


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