Monday, October 20, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-19 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 20 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-03 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 04 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Urban Outfitters Shelves Women

I wanted to do a quick Banned Books Week post ~ and eventually I will ~ but I got distracted by this pile of puke:



On the surface, a woman's tee which says "I Love Wild Things" may seem cute, but it's a real slice of pop culture misogyny pie.

You're likely surprised that a sex positive gal like me wouldn't be among the first to order such a tee, but, as Allison notes in Urban Outfitters Makes Me Cranky, this is the only t-shirt for women in Urban Outfitters "literary classics" line. While men get Jack Kerouac's On The Road and even a retro Reading Rainbow, we women get stuck with sexual innuendo replete with shades of pedophilia & bestiality.

And don't you dare try to defend this crap by saying that women can wear men's shirts; that's not the point. If ability to stuff yourself into a shirt were the issue, then why do have men's shirts and women's shirts? The point here is that they are marketing this one shirt to women but saving all the literature and bookish adoration to the more learned, smart, intellectual men. Or, they are selling these women's shirts to men, men who will give them as gifts to women, using the male fantasy of female sexual availability as the lure...

That's even worse.

I guess I'm just lucky I can understand the references on the men's shirts, let alone be able to read them... What with all the "loving" of "wild things" I must do, how'd I manage to read books?

Yeah, I know, I probably just need to be laid; then I won't take this all so seriously.

Seriously, WTF?

I guess Urban Outfitters thinks sexy for women equals females advertising their availability, not reading; which is a shame-shame-on-you, Urban Outfitters, because, as Allison also notes, Sarah Utter ~ and everyone else ~ knows that Reading Is Sexy, no matter who you are.



If all of this doesn't make you too upset to do anything but sputter (and I hear you!), why not see some examples of how we sexualize our daughters and sons with tees & other fashions too ~ guaranteed to make you boycott the mall.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jeremy Edwards Joins The Cult

This week's Cult of Gracie Radio has the wildly talented (and mildly mad) Jeremy Edwards to discuss not only his own written erotic works, but the Ultimate Burlesque anthology.

The Ultimate Burlesque anthology, edited by Alyson Fixter & Emily Dubberley, is the teaserotic September release (published by Xcite Books) that is part of Burlesque Against Breast Cancer. Proceeds from the book will help raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

To tempt you into purchasing, Jeremy will be reading an excerpt from Laura The Laugher, his contribution to the book, live on the air!

While the stories in the anthology do more than tease, the part Jeremy will be reading will be teasing, tempting, and fun, but not explicit ~ just like burlesque. *wink*

We hope this helps you support a great book ~ and for a great cause.

So tune in to Cult of Gracie on XXBN, Wednesday night, August 27, at 9 PM (Central) for an hour long show.

As always, you can join the fun by calling in at 1.646.200.3136.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cult Of Gracie Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders

Wednesday, August 6th, on Cult of Gracie Radio at 9/10 PM Central/Eastern, I'm interviewing Mark Pickering, author of Story of the Sand, a novel which illustrates the world of post-traumatic stress disorder and other often-overlooked struggles veterans face upon their return home.

To prepare for his novel, Pickering conducted in-depth interviews with real-life American war veterans from WWII, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and newly-returned soldiers from the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq; so while Story of the Sand is a novel, we'll also be using this time to discuss what happens to veterans when they return as well as the issues, concerns, & policies surrounding their return. On-air callers are welcome at 1.646.200.3136.

One reviewer, Terri at A Soldier's Mind, wrote:
I almost get the feeling that this novel is an attempt to shout to the world all that Pickering finds wrong with the military and the government, while not addressing the things the military IS doing to address the problems of PTSD and TBI and the substance abuse and homelessness that unfortunately sometimes goes hand in hand with these disorders. The novel doesn’t go into the fact that often those who suffer from these disorders, often don’t see themselves as having a problem and the fact that they often refuse seek treatment for these problems, even when those treatments are readily available to them.

While I agree that the military and the American society needs to do whatever is necessary to ensure that treatment is available for our returning veterans, we also have to acknowledge the fact that the military has stepped up their care for veterans returning and more and more is being done every day, to ensure that our Soldiers and Veterans receive the appropriate care for their problems. New methods of treatment are being explored and those that are proving to be successful are being incorporated into the treatment plans of the Soldiers seeking help.

Story of the Sand, might be an entertaining book to some, however, it covers a subject that I take seriously and I believe that the way it was written does more to cause harm to our Troops suffering from PTSD and other mental disorders related to their time in combat, by possibly causing people to look upon our returning Troops as people who have the extent of problems of the character in this story. I feel this story just detracts from the issue at hand, and will do more harm to our returning Troops, than it will to help them.

I'm going to save my comments on this for the show; but now you know at least some of what's going to be discussed. *wink*

You can listen to the show live, online here; and if you miss the show, the same link is where you can listen to the archived show &/or download a podcast.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

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.

J

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 Sex-Kitten.net: 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, GloriaBrame.com, 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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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio with Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc

Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, award winning author of Horror Sinisteria, will be on the Cult of Gracie radio show on XXBN tonight, June 18th, at 9 p.m. central.

Called “One of the most unique and twisted authors of our generation,” Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc is a best selling, three-time award winning author of Horror Sinisteria. From ghosts to the paranormal, from the Occult to pirates, Andrea can write it, write it well and keep her fans and critics begging for more. A force of nature, Andrea has blazed a path through a genre most often dominated by men. She is routinely sought out for appearances at everything from private functions to public venues to conventions, where she appears as a celebrity guest.

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

Andrea has titles with Ephemera Bound, a publisher Gracie works with.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio Show Line-Up

The current line-up of show guests for Cult of Gracie on XXBN:

June 11 Dr. Michael Goodyear, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Canada's Dalhousie University, whose main activities are in responsible human research governance, particularly ethical aspects of research. He is interested in issues of women's health ~ and is an avid supporter of sex workers' rights.
About Michael: Michael has a longstanding involvement in women's health and studies (including family planning, social justice and ethics), and the problems associated with those on the margins of society. Well-versed in the research, as well as the ethics and methodology of research, Michael's been very active in identifying social determinants of marginalization and speaking out both for decriminalization and against the myths of sex work. For more information, see his Marginalisation of Women and Sex Work page.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

June 18 Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, award winning author of Horror Sinisteria, with titles published at Ephemera Bound*.
About Andrea: Called “One of the most unique and twisted authors of our generation,” Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc is a best selling, three-time award winning author of Horror Sinisteria. From ghosts to the paranormal, from the Occult to pirates, Andrea can write it, write it well and keep her fans and critics begging for more. A force of nature, Andrea has blazed a path through a genre most often dominated by men. She is routinely sought out for appearances at everything from private functions to public venues to conventions, where she appears as a celebrity guest.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

June 25 Jack Hafferkamp, of Libido magazine and Libido films.
About Jack: From 1988 to 2000 Jack Hafferkamp published/edited Libido: The Journal of Sex and Sensibility with Marianna Beck. Since then he has operated Libido Films, which specializes in gender-equal explicit erotica. Libido films have been honored at the annual Erotic Awards in London and featured at New York's Cinekink festival. Jack holds a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, specializing in Erotology, which is the material culture of sex.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

July 2 J. Eric Miller, author of Decomposition * (Epilogue by Susannah Breslin) & Animal Rights & Pornography.
About Jason: Mild mannered English prof by day; author of shocking, dark, subversive fiction by night. Jason's works, as their titles imply, explore taboos.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

July 9 Dr. Gloria Brame, a licensed clinical sexologist and leading international authority on BDSM and fetish sex.
About Gloria: Dr. Gloria G. Brame is a licensed clinical sexologist and a long-time kinky person. You can find out more about Gloria at Sex-Kitten.net: 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, GloriaBrame.com, and her blog, Inside the mind of Gloria Brame.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

July 16 Jennifer Epstein, author of The Painter from Shanghai, a novel 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, even though it went against pretty much every Confucian ethic of the time.
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.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

July 23 Tom Paine & C. the husband and wife of Polyamorously Perverse fame, who continue to amaze & educate as Tom discusses 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.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

Confirmed guests, with dates not yet scheduled:

Amber Rhea, co-founder of the Georgia Podcast Network, a portal site for Georgia-based podcasts, and the founder of Sex 2.0, an "unconference" focused on the intersection of social media, feminism, and sexuality.

Still working to reschedule with Dr. Susan Block, sex educator, cable TV host and author, regarding what we can learn from bonobos.

Another session with
Dr. Jane Vargas, a PhD in human sexuality & expert in tease and fetish, talks cross dressing.

*Disclosure Note: Gracie Passette is an editor with Ephemera Bound.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio With Amanda Brooks

Today Amanda Brooks, a retired escort (and former stripper) and author of The Internet Escort's Handbook series, will be on Cult of Gracie radio at 9 pm (central).

Amanda is also an activist, serving as a board member of SWOP-East and, as a board member of Desiree Alliance, she writes at the popular Bound, Not Gagged blog.

I'm very excited to have Amanda on the show. Not only is her book is brilliant, but I've found her to be amazing, passionate and dedicated ~ she even started Pledging Action, SWOP-East's response to the anti-prostitution pledge that international organizations were required to abide by in order to receive USAID funding. (Pledging Action gives condoms to international organizations that support sex workers.)

Amanda can even hold her own against Bill O'Reilly on his home turf of the The O'Reilly Factor (Monday, May 26, 2008).

Amanda's been on TV three times, each time on FOX... Where the conservative sexploitation never stops, like this gem: When most schoolgirls were playing with their Barbie dolls, Amanda Brooks was dreaming of growing up to be a prostitute.

Here's a clip:



Please join us tonight. Listen to the show live here ~ call in questions welcome!

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio with Randall Radic Post-Show Notes

Randall Radic was my second guest on Cult of Gracie Radio and he was as interesting as I thought he would be ~ perhaps even more so as he touched upon an area I'm very passionate about, namely the fact that sex and love, while not mutually exclusive, are not the same thing and ought not be confused for one another.

This is something explored in his recently published memoir, The Sound Of Meat (published by Ephemera Bound*), and while Radic is self-effacing, claiming his self-knowledge was gained via lessons as painful and obvious as being hit in the head with a board, this a valuable life-lesson most could use. It's a topic which I hope to explore more with Radic in another interview ~ after I've read his book.

Radic also mentioned upcoming books of his (Dining With Cannibals: A Priest's Memoir of His Six Months in Jail, and a non-fiction book on priests who have embezzled) to be published by ECW Press. Both are presumed to be out in a year or so; keep an eye on ECW for news.

I don't know if it's appropriate to call a convicted felon "charming & intelligent", but I'm going to. Randall Radic was a charming and intelligent guest.

If you missed the show, you can listen to the archived show (and download as a podcast) here.

As mentioned, there will be no Cult of Gracie Radio on May 7th, as I will be on vacation; I recommend giving a listen to SWOP East's XBN.

*Disclosure Note: Gracie Passette is an editor with Ephemera Bound.

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Father Felony Joins The Cult of Gracie

Radio, that is. *wink*

Tonight on Cult of Gracie Radio:

Randall Radic, also known as 'Father Felony' or 'Daddy Radic,' is the Ripon, CA pastor who pleaded guilty to embezzlement after he sold the First Congregational Church without the knowledge of his congregation.
About Randall: His recently released memoir, The Sound Of Meat (published by Ephemera Bound*) covers his earlier life as a professional swim coach and priest, including his eight fiancees & two wives. "I used to try and save souls without ever examining my own," says Radic. Now, with this memoir, he puts pen to his mission, voice to his sin, sadism to his redemption.
Just click here & press the orange button to listen live!

Call in at (347) 838-8467

Can't be there live? Watch the blog for post-show info and downloads!

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio

Cult of Gracie Radio launches Wednesday, April 23, and (other than the first week in May, for my much deserved vacation) will air Wednesday evenings at 9 p.m. (central time). All shows are live and you can call in ~ so who knows what will happen?

Here's the show calendar:

April 23 Dr. Jane Vargas, a PhD in human sexuality & expert in tease and fetish, talks cross dressing.
About Jane: After dating a fetishist, she started X-traordinary Talk as a hobby. It grew very quickly and she quit her job as a magazine editor to grow the business which is now nearly 15 years old. She earned her PhD in 2002, with a dissertation on the sexual expression of tease (as distinct from flirtation and seduction) and how tease has manifested in artwork thru the ages. All while raising two strong, feminist daughters.
Update: Dr. Jane Vargas Post-Show Notes here.

April 30 Randall Radic, also known as 'Father Felony' or 'Daddy Radic,' is the Ripon, CA pastor who pleaded guilty to embezzlement after he sold the First Congregational Church without the knowledge of his congregation.
About Randall: His recently released memoir, The Sound Of Meat (published by Ephemera Bound*) covers his earlier life as a professional swim coach and priest, including his eight fiancees & two wives. "I used to try and save souls without ever examining my own," says Radic. Now, with this memoir, he puts pen to his mission, voice to his sin, sadism to his redemption.
Update: Randall Radic Post-Show Notes here.

Update: Note shows after my vacation will run on XBN.

May 14 Dr. Susan Block, sex educator, cable TV host and author, discusses what we can learn from bonobos.
About Suzy: A familiar face on HBO's late-night programming through her #1 Nielsen-rated specials, Radio Sex TV with Dr. Susan Block as well as her episodes on Real Sex, she's not only an educated sexologist, but a hot chick with a grand sense of humor to boot.
Listen to the show live here.

May 21st Call In With Gracie Passette

Ask me anything, or hear me ramble about issues that matter to me. *wink*
About Gracie: If you don't know me, check out my bio & keep reading the blog.
Listen to the show live here.

UPDATE: There's been a change in the line-up. Tonight at 9 p.m. (central) Cult of Gracie on XXBN will have as guests DJ Ashba and James Michael from the band SIXX:A.M. See more info here.

May 28th Amanda Brooks, a retired escort (and former stripper) and author of The Internet Escort's Handbook series.
About Amanda: Amanda is also an activist, serving as a board member of SWOP-East and, as a board member of Desiree Alliance, writer at Bound, Not Gagged.
Listen to the show live here.

June 4th Searah Deysach, owner of Early to Bed & maker of lesbian porn films.
About Searah: Frustrated with the lame sex toy scene in her hometown, Searah Deysach, with help from her friends and family, opened Chicago’s first woman-owned sex shop Early to Bed in 2001. Now Searah spends her days spreading the good word about sex positively and the joys of masturbation through her store, writings and a busy schedule of talks at colleges and community groups. She is also the sex columnist for (the now defunct) Punk Planet Magazine and the online community ChronicBabe.com. She lives in Chicago with her girlfriend and their bunny.
Listen live here.

June 18 Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, award winning author of Horror Sinisteria, with titles published at Ephemera Bound*.
About Andrea: Called “One of the most unique and twisted authors of our generation,” Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc is a best selling, three-time award winning author of Horror Sinisteria. From ghosts to the paranormal, from the Occult to pirates, Andrea can write it, write it well and keep her fans and critics begging for more. A force of nature, Andrea has blazed a path through a genre most often dominated by men. She is routinely sought out for appearances at everything from private functions to public venues to conventions, where she appears as a celebrity guest.
June 25 Jack Hafferkamp, of Libido magazine and Libido films.
About Jack: From 1988 to 2000 Jack Hafferkamp published/edited Libido: The Journal of Sex and Sensibility with Marianna Beck. Since then he has operated Libido Films, which specializes in gender-equal explicit erotica. Libido films have been honored at the annual Erotic Awards in London and featured at New York's Cinekink festival. Jack holds a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, specializing in Erotology, which is the material culture of sex.
Confirmed guests, with dates not yet scheduled:

J. Eric Miller, author of Decomposition & Animal Rights & Pornography.

Jennifer Epstein, author of The Painter from Shanghai, a novel 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, even though it went against pretty much every Confucian ethic of the time.

Dr. Gloria Brame, a licensed clinical sexologist and leading international authority on BDSM and fetish sex.

*Disclosure Note: Gracie Passette is an editor with Ephemera Bound.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Domestic Violence History Lessons

In Wife-beating in Ancient Rome, Joy Connolly, professor in the Department of Classics at New York University and author of The State of Speech: Rhetoric and Political Thought in Ancient Rome, explores the issue of domestic violence and more.
Uncountable by any statistic was the abuse that might be dealt out by a violent husband. As in modern times until very recently, wife-beating was not much talked of by classical writers beyond the odd aside, as when Augustine in his Confessions recollects the bruises he saw as a child marking the faces of his mother’s friends, or when Herodotus and Suetonius report that the Corinthian tyrant Periander and the Emperor Nero beat their pregnant wives to death. Plutarch hints at the frequency of abuse in his Roman Questions, a quirky study of Roman religion and customs, when he wonders why Romans avoid marrying close relatives. He suggests three reasons: Roman men may seek to expand their influence by marrying into different families; they may fear that domestic over-familiarity breeds contempt; or they might prefer an exogamic system where sisters and daughters, should they suffer abuse, could seek help from male kin unrelated (thus under no obligation) to the abuser. The Greek preference for endogamy, Plutarch implies, caught women in a familial trap from which there was no easy escape.
One, or at least this one, cannot help but wonder if these are the very same reasons for the "moral" dictate given for marriage laws. Science has proven that marriage and its breeding practices are not harmed by offspring between cousins, for example, so there's no reason for those without knowledge of genetics to even think of such problems. (See also.) In fact, there is quite a bunch of historical documentation of such marriages, and there seems to be evidence that favors such family ties:
One of the basic laws of modern evolutionary science, quantified by the great Oxford biologist William D. Hamilton in 1964 under the name "kin selection," is that the more close the genetic relationship between two people, the more likely they are to feel loyalty and altruism toward each other. Natural selection has molded us not just to try to propagate our own genes, but to help our relatives, who possess copies of some of our specific genes, to propagate their own.
So, it stands to reason that the notion of forbidden familial marriages has more to do with something else... Perhaps it is even more horrible than the notion, expressed in Forbidden Relatives: The American Myth of Cousin Marriage, that "the U.S. prohibition against such unions originated largely because of the belief that it would promote more rapid assimilation of immigrants".

Maybe, it has more to do with the ability to control ~ and even abuse ~ women.

It certainly is a common step for abusers today to isolate their victim from friends and even their own families.

But let's get back to Connolly's article.

Using Sarah B. Pomeroy's The Murder of Regilla: A case of domestic violence in antiquity, and Caroline Vout's Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome, Connolly brings up one historical case study, if you will, and the practical matter of interpretation from our current cultural vantage point.

The case study, of sorts, in our historical lesson on the acceptance of domestic violence is the story of Appia Annia Regilla Atilia Caucidia Tertulla.

A Roman woman born into a powerful family closely linked to the Antonine dynasty, Regilla married "far outside her family, to the celebrated Greek politician and orator Herodes Atticus". Regilla died in her mid-thirties, eight months pregnant with her sixth child ~ punched or kicked in the belly by a freedman acting on orders from her husband. Regilla's brother, Braduas, brought Herodes, Regilla's husband, up on a murder charge, "but the absence of witnesses, Herodes’s insistence that he had not intended his freedman to administer such a violent beating, and his extraordinary public expressions of grief (including the dedication of the Acropolis Odeon to his dead wife) got him off."

Connolly takes issue with Pomeroy's work, saying, "Pomeroy’s reconstruction of Regilla's life, especially her education and her relationship with her husband, seizes most of many opportunities to cast the Roman matron as a victim."

I cannot fully agree. How else would you paint a woman (and her unborn child) who were murdered? "Victim" seems apt here.

However, there is, if not a twist, then at least a point to consider...

Enter Vout, whose work poses the question of our ability to "ever be able to understand the degree to which sexuality is a 'locally constructed' or a transcendent, 'trans-historical experience of Eros'". This begs the question: Is the story of Regilla's murder even true?

I must read the books in order to be close to the answer; and thanks to Connolly, I'm too intrigued not to. The wish list & reading pile grows...

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Collective Adoration of Earl Kemp

SPS, Silent Porn Star, sent me an excited email when she began her interview with Earl Kemp, saying, "He's rapidly making the short list for who I'd like to be stuck on the deserted island with." After reading the first few parts, I'm inclined to wrestle her for that honor.

Kemp, you should know, is the hetero "Godfather of gay publishing" who served just over 3 months in prison for distributing obscenity. You can find out more, of course, by reading the interview series:

Here's the Introduction, Kemp on science fiction, and, perhaps my favorite (so far), Kemp on censorship and politics.

As SPS said, here, there are many reasons for The Collective Adoration Of Earl Kemp:
As for the other reasons to form an Earl Kemp Mutual Admiration Society, I think they all lead back to passion. Certainly there was a passion behind standing up for Big Beliefs -- 10 years of government stalking gave you plenty of time to reconsider the personal cost. But there also is a passion for writing, the sf genre and the community. No one can describe Earl Kemp as apathetic. Even while you mock & paint yourself as the tired man of so many years, here you are.

In an age of apathy, what's not to admire about Earl Kemp.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

High-Five Fridays #13

1) Free books at Ephemera Bound ~ buy one for you, get one for your mom for Mothers Day. Applicable to any book purchased on the site by April 18, 2008. (Note: I this is my publisher, so I am biased; but free books are always a good deal.)

2) Cogitamus is new to me, but so far, I'm interested in what I read... Perhaps a sidebar link lurks in the future.

3) Motherhood Metamorphosis: Where else can you read about the magic of nature, the pragmatics of life with special needs kids, and spend an evening at Auspie Improv?

4) My girl Slippity-Do-Da (of A Slip of a Girl fame) tells us of the The Pink & Blue Project at her "secret" blog, A Tad Too Much Tan For Taupe.

5) A rare personal post from SPS (Silent Porn Star). In Of Art Nouveau & Sublime Curves she writes about one of the every day joys of being female:
In all honesty, I've put off posting this for quite some time as I'm beginning to think (fear) that all roads lead back to Girlie Town. That somehow, in my mind, there's nothing really to point to other than a romanticism of the classic female variety, for which I feel on the defensive -- as if admitting my gender, created in no small part by (and also in spite of) our pervasive & insidious culture, is some how a fault, a flaw which will haunt me... rendering any past and all future posts to simply the opinions of a girl.

While I cannot be other than what I am (even if in my entitled position of "being in process"), there's something about being stamped A Girl which undermines credibility.

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!

Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).

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