This past weekend was the fifth annual Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, and while I won't spend too much time on the rather decentralized and chill atmosphere of the festival, the focus on independent and alternative comics, and gorgeous weather from the weekend, I would like to showcase some of the women comic artists there! April is Comics Month (at least in this town), so this week I'll profile one woman comic artist a day who was at this weekend's fest and who was RAD. It's called "Rad Ladies Who Draw Comics."
Today is all about Hellen Jo, who was a featured artist at the fest. Bay Area-Based, Jo's first comic book Jin & Jam, about quirkily disaffected teens navigating San Jose (Jo's hometown), is out now from SparkPlug comics. Before her big small-press debut, Hellen self-published a three part autobio comic called Komiches Buch a "teenage horror story" called Paralysis: A Romance, and a serial comic Blister. More after the jump!!
"Forty-three per cent of American women suffer from female sexual dysfunction. Or do they?" Is "female sexual dysfunction" a real disease? Or is it just a marketing ploy invented by Big Pharma in hopes of profiting from "female Viagra"? These are the questions documentary filmmaker Liz Canner set out to answer in Orgasm, Inc.
Next Tuesday, April 28, the amazing Guerrilla Girls are coming to Portland to hang out with us! They are participating in the Bitch/PSU/Willamette Week Feminist Perspectives in Pop Culture Lecture Series, but something tells me this is going to be a bit more than just a lecture. Here are some details:
Bitch magazine and PSU's Women's Resource Center present Feminist Perspectives in Pop Culture
Guerilla Girls, "Art and Activism"
Tuesday, April 28, 7pm
Portland State University (PSU)
Smith Memorial Ballroom, 1825 SW Broadway
7:00pm, doors at 6:30pm
$8 in advance, $10 at the door
Students: $7 in advance,
$9 at the door w/ID
PSU Box Office: 1825 SW Broadway
or Ticketmaster: ticketmaster.com
I know I should probably be writing about the latest older-lady-younger-man dating reality show the Cougar, but if you want to see an impressive 40-something woman on reality TV, I'd recommend you change the channel from Stacy the needy feline and watch Penny Jo Johnson instead.
Penny Jo, along with eight other people, is starring on the Discovery Channel's Out Of The Wild, where they drop nine people with no backwoods experience into the Alaskan wilderness and see if they can hike their way back to civilization. A sensible, tough 47-year-old "body piercer and landlord" from Kentucky, Penny Jo is also the only one on the adventure with any real hunting experience.
For those of you clicking through to the "read" button for the rest of the post, spoiler alert.
Following last week's America's Next Top Model elimination of London because of a 10lb weight gain, I decided to write another post about fat aversion on TV when I came across an announcement for an upcoming show on Oxygen titled Dance Your Ass Off. The show is being dubbed The Biggest Loser meets Dancing with the Stars, and the new reality drama's plot is this: ten women and men between the ages of 21 and 40 get assistance from expert nutritionists and professional dancers in order to compete against each other week after week in a dance competition. The ultimate goal is to lose the most weight. Dance Your Ass Off doesn't debut until June, but tabloid media are already making jokes by calling the show "flabulous".
In that magic few weeks when springtime is imminent, the days are newly long, and the sun, while not in full effect, is at least making its presence known, I can’t get enough of simple, yummy, classic pop songs. Here in Portland, these days have recently been more frustrating than magical, with rain and even hail upstaging the sunny bits and making it unclear when we can expect the springlike part of spring to arrive. So I’m taking a stand, musically at least, with a playlist that all that bashes you over the head with riff-tastic, seasonally appropriate tunes perfect for blasting from your car or your headphones, or perhaps singing along to in the shower with your sponge mic.
In times of war (check), political and economic upheaval(check), and social tension (check), artists are in a unique position to stoke democracy and to put pressure on the state, or, as the case may be, the banks, the corporations, "the man", etc. "In my experience, when things are upside down," actress and writer Anna Deavere Smith said in a PBS interview in 2006, "there's an opening for a person like me. I think when things fall apart, [as an artist] you can see more and you can even be part of indicating new ways that things can be put together."