Wednesday, January 6, 2010

School of Our Lorde Poetics Unity: Applications Due January 25th, 2010!!!

All that follows is from *here*:

Apply for School of Our Lorde Poetics Unit by Jan. 25th: Available in Durham and the Diaspora!

The School of Our Lorde is comprised of 4 units of Thursday evening sessions that allow participants to deeply engage and build on the work of Audre Lorde as transmitted through the committed (obsessive) research of Alexis Pauline Gumbs on the poetics, teaching practices, political implications and publishing interventions of Audre Lorde’s work (and to enjoy delicious local desserts together) on Thursday evenings.  Participants will also get coursepacks with some exclusive and unpublished materials on/by Lorde.  Participants can choose to participate in one 3 week semester or the entire 4 month process.   Engaging, interactive poetic childcare will be provided at every session with amazing activities imagined with and implemented by Beth Bruch!!!! No one who completes an application and can attend will be turned away.

February 2010: Poetics  ****Applications Due January 25th 2010****

Poetics: Audre Lorde is best known as a warrior poet.  In February, School of Our Lorde participants will get a change to deeply engage Lorde’s poetry (with the benefit of Lex’s archival research on her revisions) and write their own poetry.  We will meet over dessert on Thursday February 4th, 11th and 18th (Audre’s b-day!!!!) and the poets will perform their own new or transformed work at a community reading on Saturday February 20th.

Apply for the poetics course here:  School of Our Lorde Poetics Application (pdf version)

School of Our Lorde Poetics Application
email applications to or drop them off at the Inspiration Station (email for directions)

Distance Learning

For those of you who are not lucky enough to live in Durham, NC right now…don’t worry. Audre Lorde and I both believe in long-distance love.

You can participate in the School of Our Lorde long-distance in  3 ways:

Host Your Own Satellite Campus!:
Why not have School of Our Lorde at your organization or in YOUR living room!? If you can gather 5 or more people to participate in any unit you can get a course packet with the course readings and worksheets to guide you through each session.  You can also participate (along with other satellite campuses) in a monthly interactive BrightTalk session and office hours on LiveStream.

Our vision is that each Satellite Campus will be able to make a sliding scale contribution of $75-200 per unit. No group will be turned away.

To become a host, email with what session you’d like to host and your vision!

Independent Study:
Let us know how the School of Our Lorde poetics, pedagogy, politics of publishing process can support something you are working on with/for your community.  You will get a course packet and worksheets.   You can also participate (along with other satellite campuses) in a monthly interactive BrightTalk session and office hours on LiveStream.

Fill out the application for the appropriate unit here:
and get 7 people to financially support your participation.  Our hope is that each independent student will raise between $50-150 to contribute to the School of Our Lorde.  No one will be turned away!

Lorde as Our Witness:
You can participate in the School of our Lorde through this blog.  There will be weekly video blog updates and reflections from the local participants and you can always post comments and questions here and I’ll respond.  Feel free to spread the good news in your community so one day you can host a School of Our Lorde institute where you live!

Radical Feminist Pat Parker: Summer School Info Session and Celebration Birthday Party Announcement!

What follows is an excerpt from “For Audre”:

I have known you forever
Been aware that you would come
My muse sang of you
Said watch the sky for an ebony meteorite
That will pierce into your darkness
And illuminate your fears…
— Pat Parker

(January 20, 1944 - June 19, 1989)
Pat Parker, 1972
Gelatin silver print
Photographer: Lynda Koolish
(who is the sole owner of this image; it is posted here with her permission)
this image was found at this website:

It's been twenty-one years since her passing, and January 20th would have been the brilliant, wonderful lesbian feminist poet Pat Parker's 66th birthday. So celebrate her life and work!!!! Here are the details on where and how to do just that. All that follows, which contains links back, is from here, which is where the poem, photo of Pat Parker, and all the information below is gathered:

Pat Parker Birthday Party and Eternal Summer School Info Session
January 5, 2010

If I could take all my parts with me when I go somewhere, and not have to say to one of them, “No, you stay home tonight, you won’t be welcome,” because I’m going to an all-white party where I can be gay, but not Black. Or I’m going to a Black poetry reading, and half the poets are antihomosexual, or thousands of situations where something of what I am cannot come with me. The day all the different parts of me can come along, we would have what I would call a revolution.
— Pat Parker, Movement in Black

Hey family!  January 20th is the birthday of the brilliant Black lesbian poet, publisher and activist Pat Parker!  Come celebrate at the inspiration station.  Eat cake and engage quotations from Pat Parker’s inspiring body of work.  AND get applications and information  for the School of Our Lorde and the Survival School series (applications for the February sessions due Jan 25th!)

Wednesday January 20th 6pm
Inspiration Station!
Cake for everyone!
Kids welcome!
Entry Filed under: Uncategorized. .

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julian  |  January 6, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for posting this. Would you mind if I copy/paste AND link back to this post on my blog?
    I hope many show up to celebrate her life and work! She is missed and was gone way too soon, but her work lives on.

  • 2. alexis  |  January 6, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Sure Julian. Thanks for spreading the word.

Nine--count 'em! A Feminist Review from the UK

The Most Sexist & Misogynist Film of 2009 award goes to... NINE!
[image is from here]

Original location for what follows may be found here

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Nine. High on strippers, pointless imitations of arousal, and self indulgence.

I went to see the film Nine tonight with my friend Isobel. Unfortunately the best thing about it was the metre long strawberry roll-up sweet that I bought to eat, and then dropped on the floor. Don't get me wrong, it was sort of enjoyable. If it were possible for me to spend a few hours, brain off, merely appreciating breast-filled imagery, it would have been fine. It wasn't.

You can read the real reviews for a good plot summary, but in essence, it follows an oh-so-tortured Italian film director who tries to make a film, who for whatever reason can't sort himself out for long enough to write a script, who instead spends all his time fantasizing about/interacting with various women. As one other review pointed out, these women are all mothers or whores. Mostly just whores. The one exception to this is the main guy's wife, wonderfully acted by Marion Cotillard (whom I majorly bum, see her as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose). She sort of has a character, but it's another stereotype: the long suffering wife. At one point in the play a Catholic priest (there's a sort of irrelevant subplot involving priests and dialogs about not representing women as whores, which is then undercut by some line like 'oh we all love your films, even though we have to officially disapprove of them' - read: 'we all love the representation of women as sexual objects really, it's just that God officially says no') says something like 'look she's a proper catholic wife because she continually sacrifices herself'. Christ.

Let's examine the parts -

Daniel Day-Lewis - The main guy, the film director - tortured, can't write a play, boohoo, uses the female characters as emotional or sexual crutches upon which he projects his inner angst. I literally couldn't care less about his tribulations. He's basically a parasite. The only bit that made me happy was when his wife (finally!) left him.

Judy Dench - this really cool costume designer called Lily. She comes close, sometimes, to being a rounded character, but not that close. She's a mother figure, you know, she helps him out when he needs it. Because that's what women are for.

Marion Cotillard - the wife - suffers his infidelities for most of the film, good proper little wife. That's what wives are for isn't it. OH MY GOD, but when she leaves him, the song that she uses to demonstrate the fact that she's had enough and is going is A STRIPTEASE IN A BAR FULL OF RAUCOUS LEERING MEN WHO TEAR HER CLOTHES OFF, BECAUSE THAT'S HOW WOMEN BECOME EMPOWERED ISN'T IT. IF SHE AIN'T A WIFE SHE HAS TO BE A WHORE. THOSE ARE THE OPTIONS, ISN'T IT, UNTIL YOU BECOME A MOTHER. My blood literally boiled at this point.

Nicole Kidman - the leading lady - who at one point has a quasi-feminist line. Great, I thought, some sort of sentiment in this hideously misogynist film which is slightly less misogynist. He's telling her about the film, in which she is to play the muse to the main male character. She says, 'I'd rather be the man'. Which was a slightly redeeming line, I thought, but then unfortunately the rest of the conversation was obscured by a song about how she's in love with him. For no conceivable reason, because he's a massive creep.

Penelope Cruz - the mistress - one sacrificial object to be in 'love' with (the put-on-a-pedestal-wife) isn't enough for the massive creep. He cheats on his wife with Cruz; her part is literally just to be a sexual object. She is introduced in a song in which she writhes around in lingerie on some sort of big table. That apparently demonstrates her lust for him. The context of said song is that she's on the phone to him telling him how much she wants him, and I guess the fact that its in his imagination slightly justifies the fact that she's just grotesquely writhing around but, you know, when I imagine a woman being aroused for me (I'm sure it could happen), I imagine it in a way that sort of involves actual arousal for the other person. I guess sexual objects don't really have arousal themselves, they just imitate it for the arousal of others. If the point of this song was to demonstrate the massive creepiness of the main guy, it would have been a well-made point. Unfortunately I think it was just to give the heterosexual male viewers a bit of commercial sexiness to look at. Oh and to make the point that Cruz's character is a sexual object. It is such a shame to have a stellar actress play such a shit part.

Fergie - a beachside whore who the main guy pays to sexy-dance for him when he's a kid - I'm sort of surprised that more notice hasn't been given to the fact that this film contains pedophilia. I guess women aren't considered to be sexually threatening.

Sophie Loren - the mother - there is no point to this part, or the one above. Her part contributes in no way to anything. I would a million time rather have seen all the childhood flashback stuff removed (seeing him as a kid won't make me care about his problems) and have some of the female parts turned into real characters. Maybe Judy Dench could have had a love interest.

Kate Hudson - an American Vogue journalist who wants to sleep with the massive creep. Could have been an interesting part, instead shes's just represented as a sexual object.

Oh also, there's a chorus of scantily clad dancing women, for no particular reason other than that it presumably had the same when it was a musical. One of the most shocking things, actually, is that the director somehow persuaded so many wonderful actresses to play such two dimensional parts.

For all the main guy's flaws, for all the fact that he cheats on his wife, causes his mistress to try to kill herself, fucks around everyone around him, sucks the life out of other people, lies, is a despicable person, uses, abuses, is a creepy little leech, and so forth, he is still in the end represented as a hero who eventually makes the film he wanted to. It just makes me sick.

Apart from this, the film is very beautifully designed.
Posted by raytherah at 16:15


Julian Real said...

Brilliant review. Bravo!!!

(Imagine flowers tossed at your feet. Hopefully that will make up for the dropped strawberry roll-up sweet.)

Thank you so much for saying what I knew was the case, but didn't want to waste any money to find out AND be enraged at the same time. Your analysis hopefully will remind all readers who stop by here that this film, which ignores a reality called women-as-human beings, needs plenty of criticism in the sea of straight men's sexist arousal, I mean accolades. As Rufus Wainwright laments, Oh what a world it seems we live in/Straight man/Oh what a world we live in.

Yes, Marion Cotillard was fabulous in La Vie en Rose". (I surely hope you have seen the completely unrelated film, except by title: Ma Vie en Rose--fib if you must, but please tell me you've seen it!) As you note, what a waste of talent. This project should have died on Broadway and never found its way to Hollywood's silver screen. (I can't believe it won a Tony Award back then!) See Daniel Day Lewis in My Beautiful Laundrette (25 years old this year!) to get that stench of men's misogyny out of your clothes. In that film he plays a proper [gay] man.

Nine better not win any awards this season, or things may likely fly angrily at the screen of my television set. Well, to be honest, I'm not a violent person at all, but I do get enraged when I see misogyny being presented as sexy! fun! daring! cinematography, editing, writing, and directing. Shame on all those who took Federico Fellini’s autobiographical film , added a half inch, and came out with this. I will, in an fantastic act that doesn't involve sexxxualised women and 2D mommies, take that half inch and double it and go enjoy Hedwig instead of bothering with what I recommend we amusingly rename Nein.
6 January 2010 00:29

Shamima Ali, Executive Director of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre in Suva, is honored by Amnesty International

[click on the title just below for to link back to where this was found]

Pacific Women’s Rights Campaigner Honoured    

Press Release – Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand (AIANZ) has granted its first ever Human Rights Defender Award to Shamima Ali, Executive Director of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre in Suva, Fiji.

Ali was presented the award at a ceremony on International Human Rights Day (10 December), in recognition of her outstanding contribution towards improving women’s rights in Fiji and throughout the Pacific.

“Human rights defenders put themselves on the front line, often risking life and limb to stand up for what they believe in. While we may take that for granted in New Zealand, we still need to remember that human rights abuses are happening on our doorstep,” says Patrick Holmes, Chief Executive Officer of AIANZ.

“Shamima Ali has been at the forefront of combating violence against women in the Pacific. We wanted to salute her for the immense courage she has shown in challenging the 2006 military coup in Fiji and in continuing, despite threats and intimidation, to document its impact on the people of Fiji.”

When asked about receiving the award Ms Ali said

“Amnesty International New Zealand should be commended for establishing this award. While I’m the recipient, one must remember the many other human rights defenders in Fiji and the rest of the Pacific who work just as hard. The work doesn’t end – every day we are challenged anew. And this award gives me further encouragement never to give up defending our rights. This is what makes us human”

Ali was selected from a shortlist of five nominees which also included Sue Bradford, former Green MP and activist, Auckland; Kathleen Dunstall of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Christchurch; Deborah Manning former refugee advocate and counsel for Ahmed Zaoui, now Geneva-based with Alkarama Foundation for Human Rights and peace and human rights activist The Very Reverend John Stewart Murray on the Kapiti Coast.

The award ceremony was timed to celebrate International Human Rights Day – the day the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, 61 years ago.

“As we celebrate how far we have come in the fight to eradicate human rights abuses around the world, this date and this award are reminders of how far we still have to go to achieve human rights for all people everywhere” adds Holmes.
Content Sourced from
Original url

To Honor Mary Daly; thoughts for this day

[photograph of Mary Daly is from here]

I hope more people read her work and study what she says about patriarchy and its values, dynamics, lies, and distortions. I hope people reading her work brings forth more activism, particularly from men, who come to understand that it is our job to challenge male supremacy and men's domination of women. I hope it encourages men to not drain the energies of women and to support women having woman-only space.

Sexism really shows itself in white men's attitude towards "books" and what they are for. When I get to know a white man, they are usually class privileged or academically privileged and inevitably they will tell me about their favorite author or volume. I have yet to meet one white man whose favorite book is by a womanist or feminist of color. And I have yet to meet a man who has given any serious consideration to reading and comprehending Mary Daly's work, on any level: politically, philosophically, linguistically, as activism, as prose, as literature. While this doesn't at all surprise me, I am reminded of how many books by white men I was made to read when growing up who demonstrated no awareness at all of women as human beings existing not for men, but for themselves. You'd think men, being caring of women, would want to know what a woman's liberated mind is like. 

The comments around the blogosphere about Mary's death and life are poignant and also troubling. Troubling because there is usually the need to say "I didn't completely agree with her on all things" or "I was never that kind of feminist" or to subtly or not so subtly put down her work as "incorrect" or "too extreme" while men's patriarchal extremity in writing has ever been similarly ostracised or treated as if it had a contagious illness: we liked her okay, but I never wanted to identify with her. I suspect this is, in part, due to her being a lesbian, not the femme kind, and not the fun-for-men kind. Her writing is wild and wonderful and great fun. But women who don't focus on and take care of men emotionally as they write will not be read by men. Whereas misogynist men's writings will always be required reading somewhere.

I noticed how the Mary Daly page on doesn't list more than two of her books, even though all are listed there, separately, or more or less together if you just search "Mary Daly". Maybe that can change, at least. Hey how about collecting all of those titles and putting them on the Mary Daly page? Makes sense, huh?

I leave you with this, a short piece about Mary I found earlier today: