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Archive for November, 2010

Film critic Erica Abeel recently got James Franco’s attention by revealing she actually knew Allen Ginsberg.  I don’t think I can handle 127 Hours, but I really want to see Howl.

Judith Bernstein, a pioneering feminist artist for whom I used to cat sit, will have an installation at the Alex Zachary Gallery, from Nov. 12-January 15.  You see watch an art critic John Perrault’s introduction to her talk and some of her commentary at the Drawing Center on youtube.  (Probably not safe for work.)
On Sunday, I went to the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibit “Samurai in New York: The First Japanese Delegation, 1860.”  It was the last day, or I would highly recommend going to see it.  It was an interesting look at two cultures coming in contact with each other in a rapidly changing world.   The 23rd mile marker for  NYC Marathon was  just outside the museum door.  The winners had long gone by; the clock read 5 hours and 2 minutes when I got to the museum.  So I cheered on some unsung strangers before going in and some more when I came out.

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Harriet Hosmer: A Cultural Biography has been available to “pre-buy” on Amazon for a while, but now it is in stock.  I was weirdly thrilled to learn people who purchased my book have also purchased books by Nell Irvin Painter and Annette Gord0n-Reed, two of my heroes.  (Of course, I would love people to support great independent bookstores such as Red Fox Books, Three Lives & Co., or The River’s End, but I know sometimes Amazon is the quickest route to a book).

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I will be discussing my biography of Hosmer at the River’s End in Oswego, NY on November 19 at 6 PM.  The River’s End is a wonderful independent bookstore, located at 19 West Bridge Street.  My grandfather, who lived in Oswego and to whom the book is dedicated, loved this store.  My bookshelves, in fact, groan under the weight of the many gifts he selected for me there.  I’m really looking forward to this event, although the fact that my grandfather, who died in 2008, will not be there will make it a little bittersweet.

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This year, I am organizing the Women’s Global Film Series at school.  Tomorrow, as part of the series, I, along with a colleague from the English department, am introducing and moderating Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed.  The documentary tracks the presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress.  I just re-watched to prepare for tomorrow, and it made me feel better on what seems like a dark day.

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Since the Mad Men season ended, I have been turning my attention to Boardwalk Empire, the HBO series set in Atlantic City during Prohibition.  As I had worked on the Margaret Sanger Papers in graduate school, I have been thrilled to see references to Sanger’s pamphlet Family Limitation on the show; that was even the title of last week’s episode.  In response to its first appearance on the show, the Margaret Sanger Papers Research Annex published a post with more information on the pamphlet, including quotes and scans of some its pages.

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I celebrated Halloween by going to see Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, the rock musical about the 7th US president with the tagline “History just got all sexypants.”  The best description I can think of is it is a cross between a History Channel documentary and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  It is clever and charming, and I liked the way it sent up our tendency to either lionize or demonize our leaders and tackled his treatment of Native Americans head on.  And I am a sucker for oddball musicals.  (The Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical soundtrack is some of my favorite driving music).  The script did lean a little too heavily on (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) jokes about effeminate elite male politicians, played broadly through  homosexual stereotypes. I got that the production was commenting on the discussion around masculinity in American politics, but there was too much reliance on those jokes without enough payoff.  But it was ultimately very worth seeing, especially at the discount price I got through the Theater Development Fund. Read the NY Times review here.

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