Poem of the Day: homage to my hips

these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,   
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!
Lucille Clifton, “homage to my hips” from Good Woman. Copyright © 1987 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with the permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Source: Good Woman(BOA Editions Ltd., 1987)

Lucille Clifton

Biography
More poems by this author

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One week left to Register for CGMA Winter Term!

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The start of CGMA’S Winter Term is one week away. This term is going to be quite special because of the number of studios that have signed up their teams for these courses. It’s amazing that students are not just learning from the best but are also rubbing shoulders (virtually speaking) with other professionals. Whether you are a professional trying to brush up on a skill or develop a new one or a student looking to learn from some of the best in the industry there are still a few spots left. From concept art classes to VFX courses CGMA is truly leading the way in affordable and accessible digital art education.
CGMA has a great Installment Payment Plan option for enrolling and paying for any of their course offerings allowing students to pay 50% up front (and 50% 4 weeks later), making the courses more accessible to anyone on a budget.
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Make sure to check out the 3D Academy and CGWorkshop Programs.
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Fundamentals of Character Design Ahmed Aldoori – 5 seats available!
Perspective Roger Oda – FULL
Perspective Roger St. Pierre – 5 seats available!
Perspective Scott Caple – 2 seats available!
Perspective Poe Tan – 5 seats available!
Dynamic Sketching 1 Peter Han – FULL
Dynamic Sketching 1 Patrick Ballesteros – FULL
Dynamic Sketching 1 Dzu Nguyen – FULL
Dynamic Sketching 2 Eugene Huang – 6 seats available!
Dynamic Skteching 2 Peter Han – FULL
Fundamentals of Design Mauricio Abril – 6 seats available!
Digital Painting Tyler Edlin – 2 seats available!
Environment Sketching Dzu Nyguyen –  3 seats available!
Animal Drawing Shannon Beaumont – 4 seats available!
Analytical Figure Drawing Christian Nacorda – 3 seats available!
Analytical Figure Drawing Ron Lemen – 1 seat available!
Analytical Figure Drawing Rey Bustos – 6 seats available!
The Art of Color & Light Kristy Kay – 6 seats available!
The Art of Color & Light Marco Bucci – 3 seats available!
Digital Portrait Painting Mélanie Delon – 5 seats available!
 
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Fundamentals of Environment Design Kalen Chock – 3 seats available!
Environment Design 1 Aaron Limonick – FULL
Environment Design 2 Gilles Beloeil – 6 seats available!
Environment Sketching for Production Patrick Raines – 6 seats available!
Fundamentals of Architecture Design Tyler Edlin – 4 seats available!
Matte Painting Eric Bouffard – 7 seats available!
Visual Development Mentorship Armand Serrano – FULL
Vehicle & Mech Design Michal Kus – 7 seats available!
 
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Head Drawing & Construction Christian Nacorda – 6 seats available!
Anatomy of Clothing (NEW!) Ron Lemen – 6 seats available!
Character Design for Animation Nate Wragg – 5 seats available!
Character Design for Film & Games Hyong Nam – 6 seats available!
Creature Design for Film & Games (NEW!) Bobby Rebholz – 7 seats available!
Character Design for Production Nate Wragg – 4 seats available!
Costume Design by Clayton Stillwell – 7 seats available!
Storyboarding for Animation – 5 seats available!
2D Animation: Body Mechanics (NEW!) Liane-Cho Han – 6 seats available!

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Cate Le Bon: January 26, 2017 The Bowery Ballroom


[photos courtesy of Will and We All Want Someone blog]

Cate Le Bon’s been awfully busy since we last saw her in 2014: in 2016 she released her fourth (and excellent) LP, Crab Day; she produced Tim Presley’s (also excellent) LP, The Wink; and last Friday she put out a follow up to Crab Day, the companion EP Rock Pool. Fittingly, on her current tour with Tim Presley, Le Bon is pulling a double shift, contributing guitar and vocals in Presley’s backing band before playing her own headlining set. I’ll talk more about Presley’s set when we post it shortly, but the music on The Wink is so informed by Le Bon’s production that the night felt less like two co-headlining sets and more like a conjoined, ongoing collaboration between the two musicians. Later on in Le Bon’s set, Presley joined in on guitar for “What’s Not Mine,” a cover of Presley’s White Fence tune “Chairs in the Dark,” and “Are You With Me Now?” While Le Bon and Presley were obviously the focus of the evening, it would be criminal not to mention their crack shot backing band featuring JT, Stephen Black, and Daniel Ward. This set showcases mostly songs from the off-kilter Crab Day, two new ones from Rock Pool (“Aside From Growing Old” and “I Just Wanna Be Good”), plus a few older tracks like “No God,” “Greta,” “Sisters,” and the fan-favorite “Are You With Me Now?” The Le Bon/Presley tour soldiers on for a few more dates (here) and if you have the chance I highly recommend you not miss out on this one.

I recorded this set from our usual location in the venue slightly to the left of soundboard in the balcony area, with a board feed from Bowery FOH Kenny. As usual for the venue, the sound is excellent. Enjoy!

Download: MP3/FLAC

Stream:

Cate Le Bon
2017-01-26
The Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY

Recorded and produced by Eric PH for NYCTaper.com
Photos by Will Oliver

Soundboard [engineer: Kenny] + AKG C480B/CK63 > Roland R-26 > 2xWAV (24/48) > Adobe Audition CC (align, balance, mixdown, normalize, fades) + Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ) > Audacity 2.0.5 (downsample, dither, tracking, tagging) > FLAC (16/44.1, level 8)

Tracks [1:07:11]
01. Crab Day
02. Love is Not Love
03. Wonderful
04. No God
05. Aside From Growing Old
06. I’m a Dirty Attic
07. I Was Born on the Wrong Day
08. How Do You Know?
09. I Can’t Help You
10. I Just Wanna Be Good
11. Greta
12. Sisters
13. We Might Revolve
14. What’s Not Mine
15. [encore break]
16. Chairs in the Dark [White Fence]
17. Are You With Me Now?

• Website
• • Facebook
• • • Buy Crab Day and Rock Pool via Drag City

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Enough with the Doctor Who gender debate – it’s time

Joanna Lumley (briefly) played the Doctor in 1999 Comedy Relief special The Curse of Fatal Death. Youtube

The Doctor is a 900(ish) year old alien with two hearts, at least 12 different faces and the ability to travel through all of time and space. So why is it so hard to imagine the Doctor as a woman?

Peter Capaldi’s decision to leave Doctor Who at the end of the upcoming season has started speculation about options for his replacement. This is a sport of high stakes for fans – the grief of losing the current lead mixed with the excitement of a new face and new identity.

Doctor Who is now over 50 years old, and over that time television conventions have certainly changed. When the first Time Lord was cast in 1963, the audience and BBC felt an elder statesman and “mad scientist”-type was best to lead the franchise. The Doctor was played by William Hartnell, a proper, older, white Englishman – a grandfather, even – and audiences and the Beeb happily relied on this casting to draw in their desired audience.

Hartnell feel ill soon after he had established the character and the role of “The Doctor” for Doctor Who. Rather than cancel or merely replace him, the show’s creators worked with the science fiction narrative to write in the character’s “renewal,” later to be known as the Time Lord’s process of “regeneration”.

The Doctor regenerates.

Since Hartnell, Doctor Who has covered 12 regenerations and featured 13 (male) Doctors – not counting the other “Doctor” castings in audiobooks, comics, offshoots and parodies. Favourites include the incomparable Tom Baker, the undeniable David Tennant, the hipster cool of Matt Smith and the recently deceased, but eternally wonderful John Hurt as “The War Doctor” for the program’s fiftieth anniversary special in 2013.

During at least the last couple of “regeneration” rounds, questions of casting and diversity have been asked. Why has the lead still be taken by a white man? What about actors of colour? What about, shock, a woman? They got away with it once – Joanna Lumley appeared as part of a joke sequence of swift regenerations for a Comic Relief special – but never as part of the show proper. As British television scholar Lorna Jowett beautifully put it;

Doctor Who should push the boundaries of representation in the casting of its title character because it can. It’s a major science fiction series with a protagonist who is an alien. The Doctor need not be bound by social conventions.

The Curse of the Fatal Death – Comic Relief does Doctor Who.

Jowett’s point gets to the heart, beauty, and genius of Doctor Who as a television story. It’s repeatable in almost any way the producers of the day choose. Adaptable and barely bound by timey whimey wibbly wobbly rules – except when it comes to the last (gendered) frontier.

Sorry fellow nerds – I’m straying from one sci fi galaxy here into another – but you know what I’m saying.

A few weeks ago the US-based “inclusive, feminist community” The Mary Sue offered five reasons why it was finally time for a female Doctor, with author Holly Christine Brown arguing against existing stereotypes of women as villains, romantic distractions or side kicks. Given we know the position will be vacant again soon, we can formally begin regeneration speculation (and campaigns) to have the lucky Doctor number 13 cast by a female actor rather than a male.

Vanity Fair has been one of the first major outlets to raise the issue again, while reports in the iconic British masthead Radio Times have so far tended to avoid recasting talk, instead focusing on the more pressing business of promoting Capaldi’s upcoming (final) series which is still yet to air. The Guardian has also launched a pro-woman Doctor campaign, suggesting actors like the Olivier Award winner Noma Dumezweni as exciting possibilities.

Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermione Granger in stage play Cursed Child, has been suggested as a replacement for Peter Capaldi.
Supplied

Strong female leads are now on the rise across television (thankfully), and reports like Screen Australia’s “Gender Matters” and subsequent initiatives to help address gender in balance are positive steps. Research from The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media also suggests that “Gender balance in casting produces sound financial returns”, and at times, even increased earnings for films that are gender diverse when compared to those that aren’t. So there is some hope that a Doctor Who-like television program lead by an excellent woman could work, and work well. However – are we able to accept the direct replacement of a male actor with a female one?

If reactions to the 2015 Ghostbusters reboot are anything to go by, it seems that any incumbent actor will be in for an uphill battle regardless of how talented she is. Suggestions that the recasting “killed the childhoods” of many angry viewers or was “reverse sexism” were loud, and sadly, got pretty ugly at times.

While all of the cast members received criticism (much of it even before the film was released), the abuse directed at Leslie Jones was downright shameful. It was disappointing that she moved away from the spotlight for a while, but also completely understandable. No one should be subjected to that.

However, we also know that the trolls are not the only people who watched and were influenced – with praise coming from, importantly, new generations of young girls (and boys) who were having some of their first screen experiences with funny, fierce and kickarse women in the lead roles.

So – a message to (Queen) Helen Mirren, (Should Be President) Meryl Streep, (Dame) Sarah Millican, (Lady) Miranda Hart, (Glorious) Meera Syal… and any others who might get a knock on the door or have an agent make a call – don’t let the trolls scare you. Same goes for you, incoming Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall. Take a chance, explore all of time and space – and hand the sonic screwdriver over to a woman, hey?

The Conversation

Liz Giuffre does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

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An Anthem Against Silence: Amanda Palmer Reads Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s Piercing and Prescient 1914 Protest Poem

“To sin by silence, when we should protest makes cowards out of men.”


An Anthem Against Silence: Amanda Palmer Reads Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s Piercing and Prescient 1914 Protest Poem

“Knowing what I do, there would be no future peace for me if I kept silent,” biologist Rachel Carson wrote to her most beloved friend as she was about to catalyze the modern environmental movement with the 1962 publication of Silent Spring.

My recent immersion in Carson’s world and her breathtaking correspondence with Dorothy Freeman led me down a curious path that circled back to our present moment with astonishing pertinence. In a letter to Freeman penned exactly ninety days before the release of Silent Spring, as Carson was coming to terms with the irreversible bravery of breaking her silence about the destruction of nature and the government’s attendant heedlessness, she shared a quotation that had bolstered her courage to speak out:

To sin by silence, when we should protest makes cowards out of men.

The words reached across time to strike me with their extraordinary relevance today, and I set out to find their source. Literature being the original internet, as I’ve long believed, Carson’s letter became a de facto “hyperlink” to another text — the words she cited, though frequently misattributed to Abraham Lincoln, turned out to be the opening lines of a piercing poem titled “Protest” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850–October 30, 1919), from her 1914 book Poems of Problems (public domain | public library), written at the peak of the Women’s Suffrage movement.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

A mighty and mobilizing anthem against silence, the poem stands as an anthem for our own time. So I asked my friend and fellow poetry-lover Amanda Palmer to record a reading of this timeless, timely masterpiece as an installment in our ongoing collaboration on poetry readings. (Previously: “Humanity i love you” by E.E. Cummings, and “Possibilities” and “Life While-You-Wait” by Polish Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska.)

Amanda herself was so moved by the words that she invited her friend Jherek Bischoff — the brilliant composer and multi-instrumentalist with whom she collaborated on their David Bowie tribute — to set the words to music. The piece that buoys the poem is titled “Closer To Closure,” from Jherek’s entrancing album Cistern. Please enjoy:

PROTEST

To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.

Therefore I do protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the mother bears no burden, save
The precious one beneath her heart, until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the land of freedom.

I’d be remiss not to mention that Amanda’s music, like my own work, is supported by donations. At a time when a ruthless administration seems intent on defunding the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, supporting artists with our own patronage is a critical force of resistance and protest. So please join me in supporting Amanda on Patreon and supporting Jherek by buying his enchanting records.


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How to Go to Your Mental Happy Place

When this comic first ran, I received numerous complaints. Nobody complained that I was objectifying women. Rather, they (men and women both) took issue with the specific characters I chose. I got a lot of “Kaylee, not Inara?” and some “Boomer, not Six?”

I always answered that one with “That isn’t Boomer, it’s Athena,” which solved nothing, but made me smile.

The third character shown confused many people. Some thought it was Daphne the Speedster from Heroes, but it was, in fact, Chiana from Farscape. I’m sure you’ll sleep better knowing that.

Note from Missy: How weird that I watched the full runs of both Farscape and Heroes, and while I remember Chiana very well, I have absolutely no memory of Daphne.

 

As always, thanks for using my Amazon Affiliate links (USUKCanada).

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The Eponymist

Eponym (noun): A person after whom a discovery, invention, place, etc., is named or thought to be named; a name or noun formed after a person. An eponym, almost by definition, has some kind of story behind it — some reason it came to be named after a specific person. In this double-feature episode, Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist speaks with Roman Mars about his fixation with eponyms.

Facepalm by Amadscientist (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Take “silhouette,” for instance. Étienne de Silhouette was a politician and the French finance minister presiding over a period of austerity in the mid-1700s. At the time, elaborate portraiture was in fashion, but outline drawings were also becoming popular in part because they were fast, easy and cheap. So a portrait made “a la Silhouette” (showing just a persons outline in black against a field of white) was a bit of a slight — it described profiles that were inexpensive to create.

Or consider “bowdlerization,” named after the English editor Thomas Bowdler. In 1818, he released series of reworked Shakespearean plays designed to be more suitable for women and children. Stripped of naughty scenes and foul language, phrases like “out, out damned spot” became “out, crimson spot.” His eponym now applies to anything edited for vulgar or objectionable content in a similar fashion, and generally has negative connotations (see also: censorship).

The Ballad of Bic and Biro

A lot of designed objects in our everyday environment are eponyms, too, like the “bic” and the “biro” (British words for a ballpoint pen). László Bíró didn’t actually invent the ballpoint (patented in 1888 by John J. Loud), but he was instrumental in perfecting it.

Inventor László Bíró

Born in Budapest in 1899, László Bíró had been a medical student, a stage hypnotist, an insurance salesman, and a race car driver before eventually became a journalist. In the 1930s, he created the pen that would become an everyday item as well as a household name.

Working in the print room, Bíró’s traditional fountain pens would melt and leak due to heat. As the story goes: he saw the way cylindrical printing presses rolled the ink onto the page, and figured there should be a way to miniaturize the process — except a pen roller would have to roll in all directions, not just forward and back. Supposedly, he was puzzling over the problem when he witnessed a group of kids playing with marbles in the street. One marble rolled through a puddle and drew out a line of water in its wake, which gave him the idea to use a ball in the point of the pen.

Bíró’s prototype pens had some issues initially. The ink had to be viscous enough not to leak but not so thick as to clog or jam. So Bíró teamed up with Henry Martin, who worked in the aeronautics industry. To make the pens, you need very fine ball bearings, and the aviation industry makes the best ball bearings. Together during WWII they started manufacturing these ballpoint pens and demonstrating them to potential investors. They also gave some pens to the Royal Air Force (for use in flight to jot down coordinates and such at high altitudes).

Businessman Marcel Bich

Soon, however, another player entered the fray — Marcel Bich, the creator of what would become known as the bic pen. His company licensed the technology from Bíró, but the two companies ended up at odds, variously suing each other over claimed infringements. Still, the Bic Crystal began to take off and still today accounts for a huge percentage of ballpoint pens on the market — there’s even one in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Bic Cristal ballpoint pens

Of course, few people stop to think about the people behind these eponyms — if an eponymous product is successful, the creator’s involvement (and even identity) can end up subsumed by the invention. Bics and biros are well known but more famous than their makers.

Name That Disease

There is an ongoing debate in the medical community surrounding eponyms and their usage in reference to medical conditions. Some industry professionals appreciate the connection to history they evoke while others want to see more scientific precision in medical language. But, as with patients, each individual case is also a bit different.

Creutzfeldt (left) and Jakob (right)

A disease named after a person can be tricky to memorize while also lacking descriptive power — a surname generally says nothing about the condition it denotes. A classic example is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The name means little to anyone who does not happen to be familiar with the work of German neurologists Hans Gerhard Creutzfeldt and Alfons Maria Jakob. The eponym is also not easy to spell.

In this case, the other option is to go with a scientific term: spongiform encephalitis, the latter word tied to Latin and Ancient Greek words and suffixes for things like brains and inflammation. While still a mouthful, this alternative gives a bit more information at the outset.

Heimlich maneuver by Evolution and Evolvability (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From the perspective of a patient, both the eponym and the scientific name can be hard to understand, though sometimes the former is more familiar (and thus more comprehensible) than the latter. Trisomy 21 is a genetic disorder more commonly known by its eponym: Down’s Syndrome. The well-known Heimlich Maneuver is a method for clearing upper airway obstructions for choking victims. Moving away from these eponyms would force the public to relearn something already known.

Aside from descriptive deficits and memorization difficulties, though, there are other arguments against medical eponyms. Discovering and categorizing diseases, for instance, is often a long-term pursuit by numerous parties, not a single person — correspondingly, naming something after one person can oversimplify history. And naming a condition after all parties involved can wind up creating even more complex names, like Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome.

In this case, even the long eponym fails to tell the full story. Indeed, there is documentation about the syndrome dating as far back as the Greek physician Hippocrates in the 5th century BCE. Mayer, Rokitansky, Küster and Hauser all made significant contributions to modern understandings of the condition, but their work spanned generations: Mayer described the syndrome in a paper in 1829, decades before Küster was born and nearly a century before Hauser, who was the one to name the disease Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster Syndrome (someone else added Hauser to the end).

Hans Reiter, physician and war criminal

And then there are conditions named after people who no one wants to honor, like Reiter’s Syndrome, referring to joint pain tied to a form of systemic inflammation. It is named after Hans Reiter, a famous Nazi war criminal who did terrible experiments on inmates at Buchenwald. Reiter discovered the eponymous syndrome in 1916 while treating a soldier during the First World War (prior to his Nazi affiliations). American rheumatologist Ephraim Engleman coined the eponym in the early 1940s but later joined the campaign to replace it in light of Reiter’s war crimes. People trying not to evoke Reiter call the condition “reactive arthritis.” While the usage of the eponymous term has decreased, it is still being used in medical schools and in journals and its usage continues to be debated.

Still, as seen in the case of bics and biros, eponyms can be a window into fascinating individuals and objects, and not just the darkest chapters of history. Whether or not using eponyms continues to be common practice in medical communities remains to be seen, but there are good cases to be made on both sides of the ongoing debate.

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