Covers are one thing--artists re-interpreting the work of other for homage to irony and everything in between. Standards, I feel, are something else. Beyond the ability of musical reproduction, jazz standards are meant to be continually interpreted and stylized, with little rules outside of a fakebook, plus they seem to stand the test of time--hokey or cliche lyrics that really never seem to get old. Here are some of my favorite female vocalists singing some standards! Playlist after the jump and have a good weekend!
Readers, we are living an era of ill-advised remakes of already great (or at the very least, already classic movies). Titles allegedly in the re-works include: Red Dawn, Red Sonja, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Total Recall, Barbarella, Short Circuit, and The Karate Kid. So this morning's report from Variety about a new adaptation of James M. Cain's novel, Mildred Pierce, had me exhaling a huge sigh. According to the report, Todd Haynes, who wrote and directed I'm Not There and Far From Heaven, is slated to write and direct a miniseries staring Kate Winslet with the possibility that it will air on HBO.
While I'd watch Winslet do anything after her guest appearance on Extras, and she can surely go toe-to-toe acting wise with the original film's star, Joan Crawford, who won an Academy award for the role, I wondered if a new version would have anything different to offer.
This past week the London Paper brings us news of the September unveiling of a fancy (and expensive) new "Sex Pistol" ice cream cocktail at Selfridge's. Loaded with additives like guarana and argenine, it's billed as "claiming to have similar effect to the libido-boosting drug Viagra." Normally, I don't think you can ever go wrong with ice cream, but reading about this made me roll my eyes so hard I thought they'd get stuck to the underside of my skull. Viagra ice cream? Bitch, please. I am so OVER Viagra.
I admit that when I heard Mad Men was going to premiere just as I was starting this TV guestblogging gig in the otherwise rather deserted month of August, I breathed a sigh of relief. If there is one television show that not a one of my communist, death-panel-supporting, child-killing liberal feminist friends is ashamed to admit to loving, it is Mad Men.Mad Men, in short, has an acceptable television pedigree. In my particular case, and I am not kidding about this, I started watching it because it was recommended to me by none other than Joyce Carol Goddamn Oates at a talk I attended a long time ago at the NYPL. Talk about your "I-don't-even-have-a-tv" bookworm street cred. And Feminist bloggers love Mad Men too. In fact, it's just about the only television show that gets universal coverage in the feminist blogosphere, and all week, everybody's been gearing up for the Big Event. DoubleX is live-tweeting it. Some other prominent feminist bloggers, including Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte, are having a salon about it at RHRealityCheck. And pretty much everyone I know who loves Mad Men loves to talk about how very, very feminist it feels to have so many nuanced portrayals of women on a single television show.
I, too, think that there is a lot of feminist merit in Mad Men - more on that in a second post this weekend, and I'll have thoughts on the premiere next week, it's gonna be a Mad Men heavy guestblogging experience - but I find it really problematic as a show to recommend to people who aren't feminists, or who aren't, at the very least, what I would call ready for a serious discussion of gender roles.
Touted by its editors as "Your Daily Dose of Counter-Theory," the folks at Men's News Daily strive to unveil the truth about what it means to "be a man." By reading their mission statement, I learned a great number of things about both men (the "direct sex"...I'm not really sure what this means...when I Googled "the direct sex" my first results included a "Live Video Chat with Hot Girls" and instructions on how to direct a sex scene) and women (the "fair sex"). For instance, did you know that...
--if you consider yourself a 'radical,' you probably are fond of pretending that "the birth of every boy is the moment in which a potential Manson or proto-rapist has entered the world"?
--"males are told that the only route to salvation is feminization"? Additionally, men "must parrot the traits, aspirations, affectations, and behaviors of the fair sex even though their moods are conspicuously less rosy than our own." What!? Men are supposed to be like women in every sense even though everyone knows women are bitches!? I had no idea.
--socialism is to blame for the current state of affiars (i.e., the marginalization of men in society). You know what that means: that gosh darn no good socialist Barack HUSSEIN Obama is behind the winding "road to serfdom" modern Western men find themselves traveling upon.
The mission closes with the following words of real HOPE and CHANGE:
"MensNewsDaily.com was founded in 2001 and remains a sanctuary for men. It is one of the few remaining places where a man can be a man without apology. We thank you for visiting, but encourage you to join us in our mission. Welcome brothers!"
Where a man can be a man...MND, you aren't affiliated with Ketel One Vodka, are you?
Read on for more pearls of wisdom from the wise brothers of MND.
Image from susanphotography at Flickr under a Creative Commons license.
I am just about the only person I know - and certainly the only feminist - who has been religiously watching Showtime's Nurse Jackie (In fairness, Jezebel started out covering it but seemed to lose interest very quickly, and the only regular commentary I see on it is Jacob's excellent recaps at TWoP.) Maybe I should be generous to the fools people who don't watch the show. Perhaps the neglect is due to the unfortunate dead end of July and August. Perhaps it's because the show has the unfortunate timing of airing whilst we are all salivating at the imminent prospect of a new season of Mad Men (more on that tomorrow, by the by), which happens to be everybody's favourite feminist-food-for-television thought nowadays. Perhaps it's because most people I know only watch television shows once they are out on DVD anyway, so all first seasons on cable are kind of a wash, popularity-wise.
Welcome to "YA Lit Bitch," a new Page Turner series about my ever-so-slight (or ever-so-obvious) obsession with young adult literature that's not only good, but represents a wide-open range of teenagers' lives with a feminist heroine (or 2, 3) thrown into the mix. (Can you say Weetzie Bat?) The series will feature interviews with many YA authors about their work as well as feminism, gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and other issues.
We kick off the series with Sara Zarr, who's part of a new generation of YA novelists considered the so-called heirs to grand dame Judy Blume. She is the author of Story of a Girl, (that is, a girl labeled the high school "slut"), which was a 2007 National Book Award finalist; Sweethearts, about the divergent paths taken by two social-outcast friends; and the forthcoming Once Was Lost, which chronicles a pastor's daughter's struggle with faith.
Page Turner talked with Zarr about teen sexuality, feminism, double standards in the YA world, and her own YA lit loves back in the day as a "smart-girl" teen. Read on for more (and please take two seconds to talk about a YA lit love that you want Bitch readers to know about or Page Turner to feature).
In Monday's post I asked if you could name five women directors off the top of your head and encouraged you to share some favorite females behind the lens. And WOW, between us we came up with nearly 70!
Since there are few things I enjoy more than compiling research and sharing information (Heck, it's one of the reasons why I'm a writer) I've put together a list of all the women directors you posted in the comments section, along with the title of one or two of their movies. I hope it will serve as a good reference resource for sister (and fellow) feminist film geeks.
I also wanted to re-raise a question I asked in that post that wasn't addressed: Do you think women directors (and by extension women screenwriters) reflect women's lives and handle women's issues more authentically than men? More responsibly?