Thursday, July 31, 2008

Buttons For Linking To Cult of Gracie

Buttons for linking to this here blog ~ and promoting the radio show, don't-cha know!

You can find buttons for promoting XXBN here.

Do not hotlink; right-click, save, and upload to your blog or website. Thanks!


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Carnival Of The Liberals

It is my pleasure to be hosting this edition of the Carnival of the Liberals. This is my first time hosting this carnival; it's been both fun and an awesome responsibility to select from the nearly 50 great entries submitted.

Political Bullying, Denial, & Other Errors Of Note:

GrrlScientist does more than share Thoughts on Poverty in America; she's got hardcore facts too.

I'm A Pundit Too announces that Congress Opens Self To Law Suit Over Oil Prices ~ according to the post's poll, readers think it's a good legal action.

Woman Gives Birth Under Torture: Homeland Security Hell, a chilling report by Thinkbridge.

SocraticGadfly says, "Pelosi voted for FISA revisal after knowing THIS?" My question is: "What's going to be done about it?"

Family Values:

McCain's Adultery: Where is the Media?, that's what Atheist Revolution (and I) want to know.

Submitted To A Candid World's The Evangelical Re-Invention of John McCain, and the Sad Paradox of Fundamentalist Family Values:
When a “pro-family” position requires one to sacrifice the best interests of the child at the altar of the Old Testament’s outdated Levitical morality, “family values” cease to be about the family, and become solely about the politics.
At The Republic of T it's even more personal ~ but well debated and equally well-documented: Believing in Our Families.

Religion & Beliefs:

Greg Laden tries to call for 24 hours of silence "as a show of respect for the all those who have suffered at the hands religious zealots around the world and throughout history."

What Is Wrong With Mercy Ministries? Jeffrey Stingerstein at Disillusioned Words will tell you:
Christianity is an oxymoron in that way. On the one hand, it exalts weakness: the meek shall inherit the earth while the Kingdom of Heaven will belong to the poor. On the other hand this is just bait for the predator to trap its prey.
At Bay of Fundie, Reality Denialism and the Limits of Belief:
I have identified two factors at play here. I call them the Technical Limit of Belief (TLB) and the Social Limit of Belief (SLB). When you cross both lines, you have a reality denier.
Rights & Responsibilities:

Human rights; you can curtail them, but you still won't be free of terrorism. The proof is in Terrorism in a police state, at Stochastic Scribbles.

Bound, Not Gagged reports on the Decriminalize Prostitution Initiative on the San Francisco Ballot.

In Hate Speech vs Hate Crime Jason of Washington Interns Gone Bad takes heat for not believing in the lone gunman/nut theory. Echidne Of The Snakes covers the same incident from the point of view of Responsibility.

Toe-to-toe, blow-by-blow coverage of the McCain Healthcare Policy Scam Spam at Home Of The Brave.

Humor & Satire:

One of my favorite areas... Laugh 'til you hurt; laugh because you hurt.

It all may be funny, but Tangled Up In Blue Guy tells us why It’s No Joke.

Virtually everyone's talked about Barry Blitt's Obama New Yorker cover ~ I may be the only exception in this case of folks ~ including liberals ~ not understanding satire. Even if you think you've heard it all, read it all, give A Humorist’s Lament (Covering The New Yorker Cover Brouhaha In Verse) ~ a very funny & creative ode by Mad Kane, who apparently waxes thus on many current events. And if that doesn't inspire a grin, there's Joel Stein's How to make fun of Barack Obama at Against Obama.

Vintage Blasphemy for the Creationists in the Crowd, a must see by GrrlScientist.

Allen at The Whited Sepulchre says, "Brent Rinehart's Comic Book - I need a copy".

(See also Ethan Persoff's George Wallace asks: Is Brent Rinehart an EP.TC Reader? -- or just a natural born stylistic plagiarist?)

I didn't know how else to categorize this one... So how about Honorable Mention:

That long and winding road, by Object Dart.

Talk The Talk & Walk The Walk:

Tonight on Cult of Gracie radio, I'll be talking about some of these very issues; so if they matter to you, listen live and/or call in at 1 (646) 200-3136.

Get ready for the next carnival at Submitted to a Candid World. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of the liberals using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival home page.

UPDATE, 8/5/08: Oops, I forgot to mention that I'll be hosting another edition of the Carnival of the Liberals on September 24th at the XXBN blog ~ so don't forget to submit to me, err, the carnival, then.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Flag Is Nothing To Sniff At

Unless it's a flag used as a saddle by a naked model.

Peru wants to send Leysi Suarez to jail for up to four years for using Peru's flag as a saddle while she modeled "bareback" on a horse.
The suggestive shot of Leysi Suarez, whose main job is dancing for the band Alma Bella, or Beautiful Soul, was splashed on the cover of DFarandula magazine and has caused a political uproar as Peru prepares to celebrate the 187th anniversary of its independence from Spain on Monday.

"These are patriotic symbols that demand total respect, and using them improperly requires punishment," Defense Minister Antero Flores told reporters. "This is an offense."

Flores has ordered a public prosecutor to take up the case and file charges.

Suarez said it was patriotic to pose for the photo.

"I haven't committed a crime. I love Peru and show it with my body and soul," the dancer said on RPP radio.
I'm sure there'd be a line to sniff that flag.

I'm wondering if the trial will include an OJ "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit" moment...

I wonder if there's a porn website for that?

Image via El Comercio.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tom Paine & C. Join The Cult

I'd like to remind you that my guests this evening (Wednesday, July 23rd, at 9 PM central) on Cult of Gracie Radio are Tom Paine & C., the husband and wife behind Polyamorously Perverse fame. The couple amazes me with their discussion of the private & intimate details of their road of exploration & discovery ~ one which often exposes the unforeseen with brutal, if poetic, honesty.
About Tom & C.: Tom Paine and his wife, who goes by the initial C., confronted the problem of a sex life that had gone flat by re-inventing themselves with an open relationship. They have explored swinging, polyamory and simply working on keeping themselves attractive to the other, with the result of a reborn sensuality that other couples would envy. Currently they play with a single woman they call the Strawberry Slut, but both have the option to see other people should the situation arise. Tom writes a blog called Polyamorously Perverse, and is currently exploring options for turning the blog's story into a book.
You can listen live to the show here, and call in with your questions and comments at 1 (646) 200-3136.

UPDATE: Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it) here.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Call For Liberal (And Progressive) Posts

Just a reminder that while shit happens, life continues on...

I'm hosting Carnival of the Liberals on the 30th. So send your posts in before the 29th, yah?

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Just found this info on what SPARK (formerly Georgians for Choice) has been doing in response to Operative Save America being in their town over at Amber Rhea's:

Wednesday July 16th: Our Bodies, Our Lives!

  • 9 am protest at Woodruff Park 84 Peachtree St. Bring your signs.
  • 6-7:30 pm SisterSong panel: Women of Color and Abortion. Aderhold Learning Center at Georgia State University (60 Luckie St).

Thursday July 17th: RJ is Sexy! Positive Sexuality Matters!

  • 9 am sex positive protest at Woodruff Park 84 Peachtree St. Bring your signs and we’ll have some cardboard poetry.
  • 6-9 pm Movie Night at Georgia State University. Library South 8th Floor Colloquium Room (100 Decatur St).

Friday July 18th: Act Up for Reproductive Justice!

  • 9 am Last day for banner drops and sign shaking before we bid farewell to OSA. Woodruff Park 84 Peachtree St.
  • 5-7 pm Protest at Colony Square (1197 Peachtree St) 404-879-2250.

Saturday July 19th: Goodbye OSA! Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out!

  • 9 am Carpool from SPARK at 743 Virginia Ave or meet at Denny’s at 5534 Jimmy Carter Blvd. Bring your signs as we say goodbye to OSA.
  • After the farewell we’ll have a community celebration picnic at Best Friend Park at 6224 Jimmy Carter Blvd near their hotel. Yum.

Contact: Paris: 404-917-7694, Amanda: 770-375-5920, SPARK: 404-532-0022,

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Jennifer Cody Epstein On Women Finding Their Way

I'm interviewing author Jennifer Cody Epstein regarding her book, The Painter from Shanghai, on Cult of Gracie tomorrow. Her fascinating and engaging novel is based on the life of Chinese prostitute- turned- post- Impressionist Pan Yuliang, who stunned China and much of the West in the 20's and 30's by defiantly painting herself in the nude, which went against pretty much every Confucian ethic of the time. We both thought you might like a little bit of info to whet your appetite, so Jennifer kindly agreed to a guest blog:

Growing up, reading obsessively from Woolf and Wolfe, H. James and James J., I’d always imagined patterning my own first book along the same lines. I saw it—quite modestly--as another lyrical, semi-biographical coming-of-age story; something that would draw from my own experiences as a glum, uptight teen in Wellesley, MA (the original home of prep) and somehow morph them into a luminous work of great wisdom and beauty. So how (you might wonder) does one get from that premise to my actual first novel, The Painter from Shanghai, which is based not on myself but on a woman who began life as a prostitute in pre-revolutionary China, broke away from the brothel to become an official’s concubine, and ultimately achieved both acclaim and notoriety for her overtly sensual paintings in a time of conservative backlash?

Well, it certainly wasn’t by design. At least, not at first.

The truth is, at first I actually did start out writing my own story; a not-so-lyrical tale of growing up in a suburb; of (privileged) existential angst; of family drama and expat shenanigans. I stopped for several reasons; the most prominent of which is that I simply didn’t find any of that particularly interesting or original. By contrast, when I first saw a Pan Yuliang painting (a Matisse-esque self-portrait showing her in a window, her face serene and yet somehow subtly challenging) I immediately recognized a woman who was both of those things. I’d also learned by that point that writing about someone else gives you much more freedom; largely because in autobiography, you—the subject—must try to be objective about the things that drive any good story: where the real tension lies. Where the climax should come. At what point you have reached your natural conclusion. Like most people, I suspect, I’m still trying to work that stuff out. But the process is likely far more interesting to my (very excellent) therapist than it would be to potential readers.

It’s true, of course, that taking on a story so (quite literally) foreign to my own was—at least initially—almost as daunting as publicly taking on myself. And yet, after doing some research and tracking down more Pan paintings, what had seemed a startling premise grew into a truly thrilling challenge. To be sure, most Chinese and art historians I spoke to agreed that there was very little factually known about Pan Yuliang’s life. And yet in some ways that was all the more liberating. For one thing, it led me to depend in large part on what had brought me to Pan Yuliang in the first place: her painting. The more I found of it the more they (and she) fascinated me; these gorgeous and defiantly Western compositions (often nude, often herself nude) that had so shocked her countrymen in the last century that Pan herself ended up in permanent exile, in Paris. The images—whether lush pears or lithely curved female bodies—spoke to me of an unrepentant fascination with beauty; with female strength; with sexuality; with the often-fuzzy lines that delineate culture, nationality, morality and artistic voice. If Pan Yuliang’s somber self-portraits (in only one I’ve seen is she actually, openly smiling) gave me a clue to her temperment and harsh past, her vibrant palette and fanciful blendings of post-Impressionism and guohua, of Eastern discipline and Western romance and perspective, gave me insight into her dreams, longings, her unique artistic eye—or at least, so I liked to think. At any rate, in many ways they were the strongest sources I had.

So in the end, I ended up working largely through those images; searching lines and hues and expressions for clues into the life that Pan Yuliang might have lived when she painted them. It was, as I imagined it, a life of beauty, pain and drama; of more than a hint of real darkness. Of a lush love of form and color. Oddly enough, though, as I pieced together this portrait I also--in the process—painted my own, after all. It wasn’t the Woolf -esque meditation on shattered homes and lost loves and painful lessons in the wake of adolescence. But it was a larger story, equally important to me and immeasurably more colorful; a story of an artist, finding her way. Creating her work out of unlikely and—initially—vastly alien materials. In Pan’s case, those materials were nude bodies and Western techniques and the boldly unrepentant tones of the Fauvists. In mine, they were foreign countries (China) and subjects (art; prostitution) and a shaky determination that—at very least—somehow--I would see this thing through to the last word.

And in the end, I suppose, we both succeeded. Despite an Asian art boom that is largely leaving out women, and a life that ended in poverty, illness and obscurity, Pan Yuliang is now experiencing a renaissance in China; the museum in Anhui Province (to which she left all her work when she died) recently has restored many of her paintings, and has dozens of them proudly on display.

As for me—well, Painter may not be a breakout bestseller. And I’m still just a girl who grew up in a rich suburb. But my book is being greeted warmly by the press and readers, which is gratifying. Equally importantly, it’s familiarizing more people in the West with an extraordinary woman and her work. Not least of all, it’s getting me on Cult of Gracie—something I’m fairly certain my own coming-of-age story would probably not have been able to accomplish.


About Jennifer: A Brooklyn-based writer, whose nonfiction and fiction work has appeared in numerous publications, spent ten years writing this, her first book. The work explores such issues as body as art, body as profit, Shanghai in the 20's and 30's, the true nature of sexual love.
Listen live to the show here, Wednesday, July 16, at 9 P.M. (central); and call in with your questions and comments at 1 (646) 200-3136.

UPDATE: Miss the show? Listen to the archived show here. (The same link lets you download it as a podcast too!)

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

That Dame, Gloria Brame

I'm very excited to have Dr. Gloria Brame on Cult of Gracie Radio tomorrow, July 9th (at 9 P.M. central), on XXBN.
About Gloria: Dr. Gloria G. Brame is a licensed clinical sexologist, a leading international authority on BDSM and fetish sex, and a long-time kinky person. You can find out more about Gloria at Gloria Brame Discusses Sexual Freedom in America, BDSM in Film, as well as the review of her book. More information on Gloria is available at her website,, and her blog, Inside the mind of Gloria Brame.
Here's a recent bit from her blog; a post titled At Home With The Brame-y Bunch:

Setting: the three of us sitting on my bed, discussing how we'll have paid off our mortage in 10 years. 10 years! Wow. On so many levels.

Ketzl: (confident) "Of course, by then, we'll have a successful poultry and goat operation going."

Me: (wistful) "If only I had the time, how I'd love to have a dog rescue by then."

Will: (pensive) I would like to start a prostitute rescue.

Click here to listen to the show live, and call in with your comments and questions for Gloria at 1 (646) 200-3136.

UPDATE: Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Who Are You & Why Are You Voting?

From Chloe Jo's fabulous GirlieGirl newsletter:
CASTING For Glamour Magazine's November voting package, we are looking for women who will tell us who they are voting for and why. The challenge is -- every submission must have something interesting/surprising/counterintuitive about it! So I need to hear from people who have surprising thoughts/opinions/plans for their vote. Examples: * the military woman who's voting for Obama because she wants the war to end * the woman who's writing in Al Gore, because she's so concerned about global warming * the Rob Paul-ite * the liberal who wants McCain because he's more fiscally conservative. It would also work to find a few 'demographic' surprises -- the Latina for McCain, the Texan for Obama, etc. If you or someone you know is casting a "surprising" vote, let me know. We'll also need a hi-res digital head shot of you! Anyone game? This is due Wednesday AM. Thanks, Melissa (MENTION you are from GirlieGirl in your email).

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