The fourth season of Dexter premiered this Sunday, and I was rather more excited about it than I would like to admit. I started watching back in the day because it was Michael C. Hall, and I was a Six Feet Under fan from waaaaayyy back, and I made it my business to ensure that the wonderful actors of that show continued to be employed for the forseeable future. As it turns out, Dexter was about as different a role from David Fisher as one could hope for, and I still loved Hall anyway. And then Dexter turned out to have a fallible narrator, which is a favorite literary device of mine. And then, also, it turned out to be bloody. And it had Julie Benz (Darla from Buffy and Angel)! Also there were Latino actors who were not total background characters! I've been hooked ever since. It's camp, and camp can be thoroughly enjoyable when it's as well-written and acted as Dexter is.
But that aside, I tend to have a lot of difficulty justifying my love of Dexter to myself in feminist terms. The macabre is not terribly woman-friendly, after all. Horror movies tends to feed on the startling contrast between blood and really hot blonde chicks, and there's more titillation in it (pun intended), one supposes, than anyone would like to admit. I don't know what makes us morbid; I do notice, though, that the ratio of men to women of my acquaintance who hate horror, and don't like "dark" themes in their arts and entertainment, is roughly 1:1. So perhaps it's an experience that's less gendered than I might otherwise be inclined to say.
Late summer in Portland is characterized by the days-long indy jam extravaganza Music Fest NW. This year's lineup had something for everyone- from Tara Jane O'Neil to Japanther- but Bitch librarian and contributor Danny Hayes and I went to just one show: Erase Errata and Team Dresch. Life goals #473 and #291 achieved! Read more after the jump!
Born and raised in Copenhagen, and influenced by reggae, disco, rock, R&B, and then some! No news of an album release in the US, but if you're in Denmark look for it in February. Til then you'll have to tide over with her first single, "Deep Sleep" about staying in bed, which is ironic, cause it's a song that makes you want to get up and dance! It's a got a boppy sort of teenage feel but there is a really great interlude that incorporates a Malian lullabye.
Elly Jackson is half of this duo who've established themselves in England but have yet to make it big in the States. Between her lungs and Ben Langmaid's synth they are makings some impressively infectious electronic pop! (And she's cited David Bowie, Madonna, Annie Lennox, and Molly Ringwald as influences.) When I heard "Bulletproof" it reminded me of the Gossip(!) at first, but and then it made me think of Ace of Base (!!), and then and by the time it over I realized that La Roux is awesome on their own was and striking out to make their own sick version of synthpop.
This trio started out punk, but bassist Shingai Shoniwa had too powerful a voice to play London's warehouse-squat scene forever (so I'm told by the New York Times. Also check out Venus Zine's 2007 interview with them!). You might recognize the dance-y "Don't Upset the Rhythm" but they've got a whole album of pop-electro-punk that just got released in the US last week (which hopefully means they'll be heading back here soon for a tour!).
I wanted to let readers get the last word on the "Is No Sex Sex-Positive" post--between Bitch, Facebook, Harpyness and e-mails I received, it was clear that everyone had an opinion about not having sex, and why/whether conscious celibacy is an inherently feminist or sex-positive decision. Once again, people thought of aspects to the debate that I hadn't, including discussion of non-intercourse sex acts and asexuality. There was much back-and-forth over what constituted "sex" and "being sexual." What about all that fun non-penetrative stuff? Are you really celibate if you're giving/receiving oral sex? How about mutual masturbation? It was clear we all had just as many opinions about the feminist implications of NOT having sex as we do about the many different ways we have it.
In a world where feminism means a zillion different things to a zillion different people, there is really only one thing that it seems we feminists can agree on these days. That thing? That Mad Men is f#@$ing awesome. We love it. Feminist blogs that typically have nothing to do with television are falling all over themselves to review each episode, and this feminist right here sets aside each Sunday night for a little quality time with Sterling & Cooper. (You do too, right?)
That being said, in the midst of all that Mad Men love, there is a burning question that remains: How on earth do the employees at Sterling Cooper drink so much during the workday? Did people really used to do that? Well, the staff at Slate's Double X decided to find out what happens when completely sane and sober women drink like Mad Men. Check out the video results:
To the three or so people out there who did not dress as Sarah Palin for Halloween last year: Fear not. This year you can go as Sarah Palin, bestselling author! That's right, the former governor of Alaska and perpetual wackjob has a book out on November 17 entitled Going Rogue: An American Life. It will undoubtedly be available at a corporately-owned and homogenized chain bookstore near you in time for the holidays. What a maverick!
Only the rogue-iest of rogues would publish a memoir with HarperCollins!
Roman Polanski raped a child. Let's just start right there, because that's the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in "exile" (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never -- poor baby -- being able to return to the U.S.).
Though I appreciated and enjoyed "Wall-E," I took issue with the baffling insistence of the filmmakers to gender the robots. A love story between machines is an interesting prospect with very queer implications, but clearly signaling gender seems like a counterintuitive safeguarding against an overly-sensitive and ultimately homophobic population.
Here's my transparent attempt to segue into an untimely essay about Lost (which won't premiere until January but my guestblogging stint ends next week): the promos for Flashforward were so ubiquitous - I first remember seeing one after the Lost finale in May - that I found myself watching it Thursday night with a sense of obligation rather than pleasure. It was, in fact, so terrible that I turned it off after fifteen minutes of wordy expository dialogue that leapfrogged over any compelling sense of dramatic tension the show might have possessed. Which is funny, because this is the show that's supposed to replace Lost for us, when Lost airs its final episode this spring. And yet, Flashforward is thus almost the mirror opposite of Lost.Lost's watchwords are mystify, obfuscate, contradict. Flashforward's are explain, tell, lecture. And so, other than observing to yourself how much Joseph Fiennes is, as he ages, resembling Ralph ever more, particularly in profile... well, there's very little to get interested or invested in in Flashforward. (Oh, and spotting the Oceanic Airlines billboard.)
In fact the only thing that Flashforward and Lost really have in common is that they both belong to this new generation of mainstream fantasy/science fiction - the kind that has better production values than Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica combined - that has finally made its way into network television in primetime slots. These shows have come up with the mainstreaming of ComicCon and the sudden retroactive chic of comic book culture, which, it seems to me, started emerging around the time Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay came out. It's not that we haven't had sci-fi and fantasy in primetime before; it's just that these shows aspire to a sort of network television legitimacy we haven't seen before. They don't just want to be invited to the Emmys; they expect to receive one. And actually, we, the audience, tend to expect that too, on their behalf. And being an obsessive reader of, say, Lostpedia, just doesn't have that stigma attached to Trekkieism, does it? The mainstreaming of fantasy may be good for formerly underdog geek culture, and certainly it seems some people have felt their inner nerd liberated by the trend. But it is still very much the kind of thing that plays out with men, among men, by men and about men. I'm not trying to be dismissive here; I can see that writers of this genre are struggling to find a place for women within it. But they haven't made much headway.