Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Unapologetic fun: German food, Rembrandt and My Mom

We tripped giggling about some inappropriate joke on the patio at Black Forest Inn for a pre-lecture dinner. Hip blondes in red lipstick ironically eating their heritage and suburbanites in their polo-shot-and-khaki-best filled the garden on a recent crisp night. Minneapolis and Saint Paulians cherish our fleeting sun and prefer our patios ivy covered, restaurants sans outdoor seating lay barren through the warmer months. We should offer hearty thanks to this local culinary institution for adding its award winning beer garden with fraudulently bubbling pond in the mid-1970s. 

"Spaetzle is a must," I said once we calmed down from our laughter over my mom's surprisingly original that's-what-she-said joke, coming from a mom makes even the most cliched sex joke particularly comedic. Since 1965, Black Forest Inn has been lovingly turning egg, milk and water into fluffy squiggles of spaetzle comfort. That night, they welcomed my creamy, succulent beef stroganoff into their delicacy with the wise encouragement of my grandma at Thanksgiving dinner: "You're ass is grass if  you don't eat my stuffing." In this case, I'd have to punish myself if I didn't forget the wavy, slippery egg noodles of previous stroganoffs and remember the homemade Bröchten to soak up any gravy not attended to by the spaetzle.

Too bad my family's intense matriarchy and ill timed Anthony Bourdain reference made my efforts to split the sauerbraten aspic pre-meal unsuccessful. Happily, she generously shared her Alsatian sauerkraut casserole. Rich, smoked sausage, hearty potatoes and onions tempered the strength of sauerkraut not normally welcome on my tongue. I'm not a very good German. A third Paulaner Salvator and definitely the plum and custard tart would have been ordered,  if timing had not prevented us. The Fantasy & Reality: An Examination of Dress and Jewelry in Rembrandt  in America lecture started ten minutes after we signed our bill.

The lecture hall lights were brought down and the young lecturer hard already started umm-ing her way through the PowerPoint slides. The culprit for our tardiness: a small bladder requiring a quick pit stop, and maybe that second beer. By the time we found seats, I was wishing I'd gotten a third. However, after a rough beginning of nervous speaking belying her strong background on the subject, Ann Tozer really tickled some controversy out of the audience. Broaching the theory that religious figures who dressed solemnly were perhaps "just as, if not more, proud" in their attempts to contrast themselves with the bejeweled and ruffled dress of the wealthy scandalized two older women sitting next to us. They left quickly, huffing "impossible" and "sacrilegious" while they noisily gathered their designer handbags and denied themselves the chance to debate Ms. Tozer's well-researched argument. We laughed at their departure on the way home to nurse a happily growing food 'baby'.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Get outta here, brolympics.

It’s been ten days since the Olympics closed out, and most of us (if we tuned in at all) have already forgotten they happened. In two years, we’ll go through this craze all over again, the hype, the big ceremonies, the medal count. We’ll pick up fleeting interest in obscure sports. For two weeks, athletes will be the medium through which we are exposed to other cultures, and the catalyst for commentary on our own. And then it fades away as quickly as it pops up.

It’s been ten days. I’m a little late, but I’m sitting on something. Something that I think really matters.

Maybe you heard the same comments I did. Thank god they still wear bikinis in beach volleyball. // Oh, a tongue piercing- whoring it up for the Olympic village! // Look at the ass on that one. As one of the world’s strongest women rounds the track to move towards the gold in the 200 meter dash, the words picked to describe her years of work, her raw determination, and her unmatched physicality are I’d do her?

Fuck you very much, double standard for female athletes.

I spent fifteen years swimming competitively. Society, you ordered up pointy shoulder-blades and parallel thighs free of inner leg-fat. Swimming, you gave me back muscles and a thick neck. In high school, I skipped meals to make up the difference. I hated what strong looked like, and I hated what weak felt like. Who could tell the difference between strung-out and sexy? Why did I only feel like my accomplishments would make an impact if I weighed less than 130 and had a flat stomach?

Where was this pressure coming from, and why did I have to pick between affirmation from others and respect for myself?

Because, despite the fact that it’s 20-fucking-12, this country can’t tell the difference between a woman’s physical accomplishments and her sex appeal. I don’t think I could differentiate them for you in a ladies swim team locker room. I sure as hell can’t in this shitty sports bar. And as this guy keeps spewing this, it suddenly occurs to me that he still has the power to verify this Olympian just by labeling her 'hot'. Just as easily, he can dismiss her by deciding she's too muscular, too manly. God damn it. This guy just got his genitals all over the sport I was trying to watch and no one batted an eye?

I can’t help but think we can do so much better than that. We can separate bodies from objects. We can watch the beauty of movement that these athletes embody without feeling the need to sexualize it. Really, it’s as easy as taking women in sports seriously. It’s as easy as giving a little respect where it’s sorely deserved. It's choosing to not make the women and men that are competing into sex objects, and it's saying something when someone else does it.

So, we’ve only got about two years ‘til the next opening ceremony. That is just about enough time to make up some real witty come-backs. I'm going to get on that. Spread the word.

(A little diversion from the monthly science topics, which I'll send out again soon! I'll probably be writing on social issues once in a while.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fontlove Studio gets me organized

Goods from Fontlove Studio's Open House
Now that I no longer "work" weekends, I get to do things like go to brunch and take part in the many wonderful things that happen during this time, which is awesome. One thing I did this morning was accompany long-time C.L.A.P. supporters Lisa and Jake Luck (along with their little man, Ira), to check out Fontlove Studio's Open House.

Fontlove Studio, located at right 708 W. 26th St. behind Common Roots in Minneapolis, is the brainchild of Elana Wolowitz, self-professed "iron tamer and ink slinger" of the shop. Using traditional letterpress methods and new technology, Elana can provide you with customized work and also has a stockpile of sweet prints, coasters, calendars, cards and more available at her shop

Old To Do lists!
New, sexier To Do lists!
 I came away with some practical goods I am always in need of: To Do lists and Thank You cards. AND I also got to print my very own "to:/from:" card (see above, the tag that says "Type"), which was radical. Success!

Speaking of printing, if anyone out there has any suggestions for printing presses that do small runs of books, please let me know! I have a project cooking that is going to be OUTTA THIS WORLD!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Presenting...The Coathangers and Heavy Cream!

The Coathangers: (in no particular order) Crook Kid-guitar, Minnie- bass, Rusty- drums, BeBe- keyboard. Photo by Jason Travis
For the second year in a row, C.L.A.P. was proud to sponsor Alanta band The Coathangers at the Triple Rock. This year, they were joined by Nashville's Heavy Cream and favorite local band Cadette. Even though it was a hot, sweaty Monday, these ladies knew how to bring it. For more on The Coathangers and Heavy Cream, check out their band pages and their thoughts on touring, why we shouldn't talk about female vs. male musicians, and why next time they are in town, you should check them out.

Part of Heavy Cream's line up (the whole band= Jessica McFarland: vocals, Mimi Galbierz: guitar, Olivia Scibelli: bass and Tiffany Minton: drums)
Coathangers: You describe yourselves as not being able to play your instruments when you first started as a band. We just ran a piece by a female musician who talks about how she just "faked it until she made it," in the same capacity. Why do you think it is important for women to just go for it if they want to make music? 

Julia (AKACrook Kid Coathanger) of the Coathangers: No one knows what they are doing when they first start making music. It's important to just go for it....male or female.

What is your creative process like? 

CKC: We hang out with each other and see what come out...brainstorming; jamming; drinking pbr, fireball whiskey, and cherry juice.

Olivia Scibelli of Heavy Cream: We just get together and jam out. Sometimes someone will bring a riff to practice or an idea for a song, but usually we just play what we like and make it a song.

How your hometowns in terms of artistic, especially music, scenes? 

CKC: [Atlanta is] Awesome. Check it out.

OS: Nashville is a wonderfully creative city. Musically, there are great venues (including house spaces) tons of bands from every genre, and a nice supportive crowd for everyone. It's not just a town for country music, it's a town for any musician; it's Music City!

How do you feel about touring? Some musicians seem to love it, others hate it, and now some view it as no longer relevant (or cost effective) in today's world—what are your thoughts on it?

CKC: Tour is the most relevant thing you can do. We are road warriors. Live shows are an extension of an artist's expression. it's the truest representation of the music....a real interactive experience.

OS: We absolutely love touring. We try and tour as much as possible. Like a lot of bands in Nashville, we have built our lives around it. From our jobs to living situations, we have made it so we can tour as often as we like. It is very important and necessary for us to tour. We want people to hear our music and watch us perform. It's also a source of income for us.

What things get you totally amped?

CKC: SF Red Bull, wal-phed, huffing kittens and puppies, the grand canyon, and playing shows.

OS: Treasure trolls

Any advice for women who want to be in a band?

CKC: Don't be scurred. Do it.

OS: Just go for it. There's no wrong way to play music. Unless what you're playing isn't fun. That's definitely wrong.

Even though there seems to be a growing number of all female bands, rock continues to be male dominated. How (if at all) has being an all female band shaped your experience? 

CKC: Being in a band is a subjective experience. Every individual experiences and processes it differently. we are women in a band...that's the only way we can experience this. Continuing to focus on male/female differences perpetuates the division.

OS: Being an all female band is pretty much the same as when we had dudes in our band. We get some attitude every once in awhile, but we always have. Gender and genitals don't dictate talent or ability, and the places we play and the people that we surround ourselves with understand that, so mostly it's great! Sometimes people still say they've never seen an all-female band before, which is shocking because in 2012 it isn't uncommon to see women as musicians. It's time to start treating that as matter-of-fact by not having to constantly remind people that we are female and begin retiring the gendered modifiers like "girl band" etc.

Why should people come see your live shows?

CKC: See answer #4. It's fun!

OS: The energy of our music is more easily felt in the live show.

Describe your "sound:"

CKC: We can't separate ourselves from it. You tell us. [Editor's note: Awesome].
What are you currently promoting? 

OS: Our new LP called "Super Treatment" is out on Infinity Cat Records. We also have a split 7" record coming out on Suicide Squeeze w/ The Coathangers. Look for that announcement soon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guerrilla Girls Benefit! This Saturday! Art=Power!

As you may have noticed from our Facebook feed, there is an off-the-charts awesome event happening this Saturday in Minneapolis. Cult Status Gallery will be hosting the "Guerrilla Girls Benefit," to raise money for a Guerrilla Girls Billboard Campaign against the marriage and voter ID amendments, which is quite literally, the coolest thing we have ever heard of.

In addition to a silent auction featuring local art (including a four-pack of C.L.A.P.s and a future subscription to our zine!), the event will include jams, eats and guerrilla masks. In other words, it is going to be amazing. 

 Keep reading to find out how event creators Joan Vorderbruggen, Freelance Storefront Designer and Arts Coordinator for Artists in Storefronts, and Erin Sayer, Owner/Operator of Cult Status Gallery hatched the plan to make this event happen, what is in store for the event and why YOU should vote "no" on the marriage and voter id amendments this coming November.

Tell us about yourselves and how you got involved with the Guerrilla Girls Benefit:
JV: I wrote the Guerrilla Girls a letter via their website describing the hateful amendments on our ballot this November, Marriage and Voter ID. I asked if they would consider participating in the MN electoral process in any way they wished to help us defeat them. Honestly, I didn't think they'd respond, I sent the email out like a little wish in a bottle tossed in the ocean. I nearly fell off my chair when one week later I listened to a voice mail from "Frida Kahlo of the Guerrilla Girls" stating that they were intrigued by my letter and to call her back. Several phone calls later we had coordinated a billboard campaign and are now hosting a benefit!

ES:I have been following Joan's meteoric success with the AIS program, and when she said she wanted to work with the GGs, I thought CSG would be the perfect venue for the event. I contacted her, and the rest is history.

How have the Guerrilla Girls influenced you? 

JV:They demonstrated the power of public art in protest of something you need to speak out against. Not only that it can be done but that it can affect change.

ES:The GGs have been tantamount to my development as a woman in art. I went to an all women's college, and of course studied the GGs in art history. Their message (about under-representation of women and minority artists) really spoke to me, and I have been very aware of the role of women in art, and the changes to our society and the perception of women artists, and how that has changed since the GGs came onto the scene in the 80s.

Why is what you are aiming to do with this campaign important? 
JV:These amendments aim to create hateful and discriminatory changes in our states constitution that will eliminate the possibility for same sex marriage in the State of MN as well as exclude members of our community from the voting process.

ES:This is so important on so many levels. a) If the marriage amendment is defeated, Minnesota will be the first state to do so in the country. I believe marriage equality is a human right, a civil right, and I have dozens of close friends who will be directly affected by it. Our society is so close to being ready to accept the natural progression of gay coupledom, gay parenting, and gay rights, it is hanging in limbo; and we have an opportunity to say to the nation that Minnesota has a very forward thinking, compassionate, and intellectual voter base. 

b) The Voter ID amendment is poll taxing in sheep's clothing. How would the government finance state issued IDs to hundreds of thousands of people? Obtaining an ID is a hardship for many people who have a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to vote. And everyone tends to forget, the US denounced the USSR in the 60s and 70s for making their citizens have a government issued ID. They considered it a harbinger of 'totalitarian communism.' And now, they want to do it to our citizens, not 30 years later. A voter ID would contain information that our current regular driver's licenses are missing, e.g. whether you are a felon or not. Also, having to prove where you live? How many people have the wrong address on their IDs right now (hundreds of thousands)? How much does it cost to change ($40), and how much of a pain is it to get done (a total pain)? Essentially, thousands upon thousands of people will be asked to shill for their own government tracking device. How long will it be before they start implanting babies with computer chips? Also...I can't believe the GOP is on to this, considering the vast government intervention and funding needed to get this program going. And, as far as voter fraud goes, it's hard enough to get people out to vote ONCE. Who will be riding around to different polling stations to vote multiple times?? OMG I could go on an on about this....  

If you needed to convince someone to vote no on these amendments, what would you say? 

JV:This is a defining moment in our states history, the next chapter of civil rights in America. This isn't conservatives versus liberals. It's discrimination versus human rights. It's as simple as that.

ES: See above!

How did you get involved in political activism as an artist? 

JV:This is my first foray, however I am a public artist in very many respects with both my storefront designs and my large scale public art project in Whittier. I am also a professional nurse so marrying my concerns for the community and human rights with a public art campaign is a natural evolution of much of what I do.

ES:I haven't been involved in activism myself, but it is an area I think I could explore in the future. It would be a natural direction for me to take my work. For many years I subscribed to the 'art for art's sake' school of thought, but now I know how powerful art can be, and adding depth of meaning to my work is something I would like to explore further.

What do you have planned for the event? 

JV:We will have an incredible silent auction with over 30 pieces donated by various local artists! DJ Ladyheat and Venus DeMars will spin, we will have live mural painting as well as a food truck, body painting, and gorilla masks!!!!

ES:We have a ton of local artists putting their talent where their heart is! We will have a silent art auction, awesome music, a food truck, and a photographer so you can get your picture taken either in a gorilla mask, or with one of us wearing a gorilla mask, and a lot of great company all organizing and coming together in support of our friends, loved ones, and our immigrant neighbors.

If people want to attend, or get involved, what should they do?
JV:Come out to the benefit Saturday August 7th at the Cult Status Gallery from 7-1am 2913 Harriet Avenue. If you simply want to make a tax deductable donation you can send an inquiry to info@artistsinstorefronts.com and I can tell you how to do that! :)

ES:To get involved creatively, all art will be accepted from 7-9 tonight and Wednesday night. Otherwise, show up in support!

What are you most excited about in terms of the event, and if you achieve your goals, the campaign? 

JV:You know I realize that this campaign would be more effective if it were addressed in a rural area versus the city, that whole preaching to the choir notion. Still I feel that bringing the local arts community together to have a voice regarding these issues in this way that is so energizing and exciting with legendary artists like the Guerrilla Girls as our collaborators, that if we can see what we created together to stand up and speak out, my hope is that will inspire people to continue to create and affect change through public art. And I want to make a stamp where I live that screams, hey we refuse to stand for these hateful agendas, and we want the community to see that! I mean, we are artists after all, with much power in our talents.

ES: First, I am excited to work with and get to know Joan, I love her enthusiasm and unending well of energy. Secondly, it has always been a dream of mine to work with or to be involved with the GGs in some way. I also can not wait to see what they come up with for us!

Is Saturday night a one-time shot? Or is there a way for people to contribute if they aren't able to make it to the event? 

JV: The benefit is a one night shot but we are contemplating doing an indie go go campaign to fund as many billboards as possible for the month of October. You can also send a check to the Whittier Alliance with a note that it is to fund this project, or Artists in Storefronts.

For more information on the Guerrilla Girls Benefit, or to RSVP, check out the event invite here!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New look! New look!

Hello new friend!
Farewell old friend!
While I have a lot on my plate (including the upcoming August issue of our newsletter, which you won't miss by signing up here; several Q&A's to write and send to amazing women we will soon be featuring; a Winter issue to send out to our first out-of-country/continent purchaser (from AUSTRALIA! HOLLER!); AND a media kit and business cards that need finishing up), something that I've been wanting to do forever is redesign the C.L.A.P. blog. While I will always have a place in my heart for the original look that C.L.A.P. sprung from (and will continue to embrace the handmade!), it was time to clean things up and add more information on what we are about and have been doing!

In addition to making the blog more user-friendly, with a sleek (and easy to change, when we get the whim to do so) look, I've have added additional pages with lots of information for anyone interested in contributing to, advertising in, buying, selling, or planning events with C.L.A.P. I also added a F.A.Q under our 'About' page and included an 'Issues' page with a rundown of all the issues we have put out so far (six in total! can you believe it?!). Our 'Contributors' page is also updated, with our new Summer 2012 additions. If you are a contributor and would like your personal bio and/or pic updated on the 'contributors' page, send your updated info to creativeladiesarepowerful@gmail.com.

Don't forget! We are now accepting submissions for the upcoming Fall 2012 issue, themed "Peace, Love and Happiness." Deadline is September 1st, so contact us at creativeladiesarepowerful@gmail.com if you would like to contribute!

With that, I am going to reward myself with a cookie for a day's work well done! And then I am going to watch the last half of the extended version of Return of the King! It is going to be AWESOME.