This Woman’s Job Is To Figure Out What Colors We’ll Be Wearing

Jane Monnington Boddy is a trend forecaster at WGSN who predicts what colors will be big in years to come.
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Books of The Times: The Kathleen Collins Revival Continues With ‘Notes From a Black Woman’s Diary’

This collection of work by Collins, who died relatively unknown but has been championed in recent years, is a grab bag of letters, diary entries, short stories, plays and screenplays.
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Nelly asks for UK woman’s sexual assault claim to be dismissed

The rapper Nelly is asking a US court to dismiss a British woman’s lawsuit claiming he sexually assaulted her after a concert.
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Missing Woman’s Remains Found Burned in S.C. Home — and Brothers Who Lived There Are Charged

Two brothers face multiple charges after the charred remains of a South Carolina woman who had not been seen all month were found last Friday in their home, PEOPLE confirms.

Stacy Davidson Carmack’s burned body was found in the home of brothers Charles Alexander Dogan and Tony Nolan Dogan by investigators last Friday, a Greenville County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson tells PEOPLE.

Carmack, 45, was reported missing on June 13, WSPA reports. She was last seen on the same road as the Dorgan’s residence on May 28 or 29, according to a sheriff’s office news release obtained by PEOPLE.

On Friday, deputies went to the Dogan’s residence to collect forensic evidence in Carmack’s disappearance. During their search, investigators discovered Carmack’s remains, which had been burned.

On Monday, the brothers were taken into custody.

Charles Dogan, 60, has been charged with desecration of human remains, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice while Tony Dogan, 52, has been charged with criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice for his alleged involvement in the case, according to the spokesperson.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter. 

Charles Dogan is accused of burning Carmack’s body and taking “steps to conceal death from investigators by providing misleading statements hampering the investigation,” according to an arrest warrant obtained by PEOPLE.

He is being held at the Greenville County Detention Center on a $ 30,000 bond, according to jail records.

Tony Dogan’s bond was set at $ 15,000, according to jail records. He will be held under house arrest with a GPS monitor, Fox Carolina reports.

Carmack’s cause of death is still under investigation.

It is unclear whether Charles Dogan or Tony Dogan have attorneys. They have not yet entered pleas.


PEOPLE.com

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Florida Woman’s Arm Found Inside Alligator After She Disappeared While Walking Dogs

The body of a Florida woman who went missing on Friday morning while walking her dogs has been found, and police suspect a 12-foot, 6-inch gator captured nearby is responsible for her death.

On Saturday, the law enforcement division of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced that search teams had recovered the body of Shizuka Matsuki from the Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park lake in Davie — not far from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Shizuka Matsuki,” the organization tweeted. “We will be conducting a thorough investigation into this incident.”

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Matsuki, 47, had last been seen at the lake near the Ft. Lauderdale lake walking her two dogs, a witness told Davie Police Detective Viviana Gallinal, CBS News reported. A short time later, she was gone, though her dogs were found still on leeches and barking towards the water.

Trappers pulled an alligator from the lake hours later, NBC News reported. FWC officials then cut the reptile open and found a human arm inside, believed to be Matsuki’s.

“After an initial necropsy, evidence was found that indicates that the victim of this incident was bitten by the alligator that was captured earlier today,” FWC spokesman Robert Klepper said, according to WSVN.

One of Matsuki’s dogs also “got bit by the gator,” Davie Police Major Dale Engle told the Sun Sentinel.

Her husband was out of town at the time of the attack, the paper reported.

A neighbor told the Miami Herald that he had warned his wife not to walk near the nature park. “He had warned her not to take the dogs over to that place because they had seen gators before and it isn’t safe,” neighbor Peter Limia, 37, said. “She was just your ordinary soccer mom. It’s a tragedy.”

The dogs, which are pit bulls, are currently with Broward County Animal Care, reported the Herald.

REALTED VIDEO: Alligator Captured on Video in Same Location Where Boy Was Snatched by Alligator at Disney Hotel

According to the FWC, 401 unprovoked alligator bite incidents have occurred in Florida from 1948 to 2017. Of those, 24 of them were fatal.

The most recent was in 2016, when 2-year-old Lane Graves was dragged into a lake by an alligator and killed while playing on the water’s edge during a family vacation at a Walt Disney World hotel in Orlando.


PEOPLE.com

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An Obsessive, Comprehensive Guide to the Tuxedo Jacket: Every Woman’s Holiday Standby

An obsessive look at the iconic satin-lapeled tux jacket, in time for holiday-dressing season.
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Fiction: One Woman’s Liberation, Set Against the Russian Revolution

Janet Fitch’s historical novel, “The Revolution of Marina M.,” follows a young aristocrat-turned-Bolshevik as she navigates political and personal upheaval.
NYT > Books

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Woman’s Viral Photo Shoot With Fiancé Has An Empowering Message

“I look so in love and confident. Every person should be able to see themselves in that light.”
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Surgeons remove 27 contact lenses from woman’s eye

“A bluish foreign body” turned out to be a “hard mass” of 17 lenses stuck together with mucus.
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Fiction: A Novel Looks Back at a Woman’s Idealistic Days in the Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War casts its shadow over an elderly 21st-century American and her granddaughter in Mary Gordon’s novel “There Your Heart Lies.”
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A Pro Tip to the President: Don’t Insult a Woman’s Face

Is this the lowest of lows yet?

Lifestyle – Esquire

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Why Wonder Woman’s Sword Is Actually The Sharpest Object In The Universe

When talking about Wonder Woman, the tendency is to focus on her sweet bullet-deflecting gauntlets or her truth-seeking lasso. But actually, her sword is potentially the coolest.

Based on some fascinating dialogue in the graphic novel Kingdom Come, Nerdist’s Kyle Hill explains (with science!) why Wonder Woman’s sword would be the sharpest object in the universe.

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Woman’s Powerful Bikini Instagram Shows The Value Of Self Confidence

In just two photos, one woman made a strong argument for why everyone should be able to feel confident at the beach in a swimsuit. 

Rachel Spencer, a confidence and success coach, recently posted two photos of herself to Instagram. In one picture, she is 13 years old in a swimsuit, covering her stomach for the camera. In a present day picture, the 26-year-old is happier and more confident, identifying herself as a “self-love queen.” 

“I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a good caption but this photo just makes me sad when I look at it,” she wrote in an Instagram caption. “So how about I ask you a question: Who taught the young girl on the left to hide her tummy before taking pictures in a swimsuit? Who taught her that at only 13 years old, her chubby little body was unworthy of a photographic memory?” 

Spencer said the reason she hid her body was because of boys who bullied and teased her about her weight. Over the years, she also felt pressured by images and messaging in the media about things like cellulite and dieting. But thanks to a little time and some self love, she’s in a super positive place thirteen years later ― and she has a message for people who need to get to that place. 

“I have a message for all the women who are much older and STILL feel ashamed to show their tummy at the pool: Don’t be,” Spencer said. “Put on that bikini and smile. Don’t feel the need to let other people’s opinions ruin precious memories with your friends and family. Show your daughters what it’s like to flaunt their flaws at the pool. No shame. Your imperfections tell a story. Your body is beautiful. You are BEAUTIFUL.” 

I've been sitting here trying to think of a good caption but this photo just makes me sad when I look at it. So how about I ask you a question: Who taught the young girl on the left to hide her tummy before taking pictures in a swimsuit❓ Who taught her that at only 13 years old, her chubby little body was unworthy of a photographic memory❓ It definitely wasn't her parents or family, so who was it? Well, did you know that this innocent young girl was bullied for her weight? Not by the girls. The girls were nice. But the boys…the boys were mean. From then on out, she never wanted to go to the pool, saw boys as a threat, cried to her teachers, etc etc. Things started to get better in middle school, but then came the media. *Knock Knock* Diet culture, fitness, cellulite cream–CELLULITE?? Why was a 13 year old worried about cellulite??? Because the media told her it was bad. That SHE was bad and needed to change. If you couldn't tell by now, the young girl was me. There's a big difference between the closed off, hiding, young girl on the left and the carefree, happy, open girl on the right. ❤️And that difference is self love.❤️ I taught it to myself. I had to. I had to find a way to be happy. The process wasn't quick. I'm still working on it at 26 years old. But I have a message for all the women who are much older and STILL feel ashamed to show their tummy at the pool: Don't be. Put on that bikini and smile. Don't feel the need to let other people's opinions ruin precious memories with your friends and family. Show your daughters what it's like to flaunt their flaws at the pool. No shame. Your imperfections tell a story. Your body is beautiful. You are BEAUTIFUL.

A post shared by Confidence & Success Coach (@mylifecoachrachel) on

Amen to that. 

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This Woman’s Solution To Finding Nudes On Bae’s Phone Is Genius

Savage.

On Monday, Twitter user @bonnntle posed an important question to the social media site:

Rebaneilwe, a 19-year-old from South Africa, saw the question and was struck by an immediate, funny and pretty petty response.

“It was off the top of my head,” Rebaneilwe told HuffPost. “[I] have never done that in my life. [It was] purely hypothetical.”

Though she came up with her advice spontaneously, people on Twitter were certainly intrigued by it.

Rebaneilwe did admit that some of her past experiences did influence her response, however.

“Shady things have happened to me. Men have deceived me many times so I’ve become a little more petty,” she said.

A little?

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This Woman’s Before and After Photos Show Weight Loss Doesn’t Equal Happiness

Instagrammer Hannah Foster posted two side-by-side photos of her in bathing suits to show how much better she felt when she wasn’t so focused on weight loss.
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A Reddit user shared a horrifying account of a face scrub microbead getting stuck deep into an enlarged pore.
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Chrissy Teigen Casually Pays Off Woman’s Beauty School Tuition

Model Chrissy Teigen just made a North Carolina woman’s dreams come true by paying off her tuition to beauty school.

Mercedes Edney of Charlotte had started an online fundraiser last month to raise $ 5,995 for esthetician school. She had raised about $ 300 by Friday, when Teigen stepped in and paid off the rest, NBC News reports.

In 2012, Edney founded Ixora Botanical Beauty, using her chemical engineering background and knowledge of family traditions to create natural skincare products. On her YouCaring crowdfunding page, Edney wrote that she wanted to “further my skin care knowledge by getting my license in esthetics” but financial aid and scholarships weren’t available.

“I’ve seen this be your passion for such a long time now,” Teigen wrote in a note with her donation. “So excited to see you fulfill your dream!”

She also said she was “really excited” for Edney on Twitter.

Edney tweeted that whens he first saw the huge amount of money come in, she initially thought it was a glitch, and talked about the financial struggles she’d faced since launching her business.

And she said that if she ever met Teigen, she’d give her “the biggest hug on earth.”

We have a feeling that will probably happen sometime soon.

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How Acupuncture Cured One Woman’s Acne

Beauty writer Katie Becker turned to the east to seek treatment for her acne. Here’s how acupuncture helped her get clear skin.
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Zara’s home goods store, Zara Home, just dropped a superchic (and affordable) loungewear line. Here’s where to shop it.
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This Woman’s Skin Cancer Selfies Have Gone Viral to Illustrate the Dangers of Unprotected Tanning

A woman’s skin cancer selfies are going viral in order to illustrate the dangers of tanning—in and outdoors—without wearing proper sun protection.
Allure
Designers Joseph Altuzarra, Jason Wu, and Prabal Gurung wrote letters to Michelle Obama to thank her for her support.
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Pregnancy alters woman’s brain ‘for at least two years’

‘Pregnancy brain’ exists, but not in the way you might think, scientists say.
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Woman’s Tweeted Tale About Picking Up An Uber Driver Is Quite A Ride

She certainly had drive.

A 19-year-old student from Howard University went to great lengths to get an Uber driver’s phone number.

Kelli Amirah, 19, who goes by her first and middle name, began her tale full of twists and turns at the beginning — when she first met the man who reeved her engine …

Being that Kelli wasn’t ready to “shoot,” or ask the driver for his number, yet, she improvised a plan:

Basically, Kelli hit a roadblock here.

“When I didn’t hear back from him at first I felt a little discouraged, mainly because I left my good charger with him and my backup charger is faulty and doesn’t work all the time,” Kelli told The Huffington Post. “So I was probably the most hurt about the charger.”

Uh huh.

Kelli then decided to stop chasing her crush,  parked herself in front of a few books and began to study for a test.

When suddenly …

“When he finally did respond I was excited because: A, I could get my charger back, and B, I can actually see if I have a shot with this guy,” Kelli told HuffPost.

So, now with the plan in motion, Kelli could focus on her test and meet up with the Uber driver the next day.

Her plan on was cruise control, right? 

Exhausted, she passed out. While she snoozed, the man she had been crushing texted her.

She quickly beautified herself:

And she pulled herself together.

She shoots and scores.

And they lived happily ever after.

Uh, actually, we’re lying. 

Apparently, Kelli is no Rory Gilmore.

“When I found out he was married, I was definitely a little upset at first. I’d much rather he told me from the jump so I didn’t get my hopes up,” Kelli told HuffPost.

“It really is such a laughable situation though,” she continued. “So I got over it pretty quick.”

Well, at least he didn’t take her for too long of a ride.

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Spreadshirt Skeleton Woman’s Edition Women’s Long Sleeve Shirt

Spreadshirt Skeleton Woman’s Edition Women’s Long Sleeve Shirt


Women’s Long Sleeve Jersey T-Shirt – Photomontage. Skeleton wearing a leather jacket. – This long sleeve jersey t-shirt has a custom contoured fit and is super comfortable. Its perfect for layering in the cold months and great for a lighter outer layer in the warm ones. A core selection of colors makes this a great mix and match item.100% preshrunk cotton Fabric weight: 5 oz (lightweight)Double-stitched cuffs, collar and waistReinforced shoulder construction retains shape and elasticity, comfort and support cuff and bottom hemImported; processed and printed in the U.S.A. + + + With hundreds of designs – Spreadshirt – is the online destination for your favorite tees. Many of our designs are available in mens, womens, youth, kids and baby sizes and come in a variety of different colors. Check our Rakuten store to see them all!

Price: $
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Working Woman’S Wedding Planner 3Rd Edition

Working Woman’S Wedding Planner 3Rd Edition


Other wedding books may be filled with luscious color pictures, but virtually none are more practical than this no-nonsense, information-packed volume. Excellent summaries cover everything from budgeting and organizing basics to hiring all necessary personnel; planning the invitations, ceremony, reception, and honeymoon; and even handling wills and prenuptial agreements. But the most enticing feature is the wealth of worksheets, making it a cinch to keep track of it all in one easy-to-use format. The large, spiral-bound presentation means you can use the checklists and fill-in forms right in the book (as opposed to photocopying them) to record information on wedding attire, rings, invitation responses, gift lists, potential jewelers, caterers, florists, and photographers, name change and health records, and much more. There’s also advice on handling such tricky situations as family portraits with divorced parents, writing your own vows, and honeymoon complications (lost passport or luggage, missed flights, illness). A bit more attention could have been paid to the bridal couple who want a truly unique, nontraditional approach (rather than the typical reception hall, for example–what about museums, historic houses, arboretums, or other less conventional sites?), but even so, much of the information here will be relevant. In fact, a perusal of the book makes it hard to imagine planning a wedding without it. Madeline Barillo’s Wedding Sourcebook covers certain subjects i
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Night Shift Work May Be Tough on a Woman’s Heart

But study found the effect waned after nurses stopped working odd hours

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A Woman’s Work Is Never Done

It’s no secret that many women are smarter than men. Why? As a rule, women are not just naturally intuitive, but constantly challenged to solve problems relating to home, family, and career while men often have the luxury of delegating or ignoring such responsibilities. During an interview at the University of Colorado in Boulder, the most honorable Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that:

I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]? And I say ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there’ve been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.

It’s easy to see why men would be shocked by Ginsburg’s reply. All one has to do is consider their behavior, as evidenced in these clips from 1957’s The Music Man and 1970’s Company.

Obviously, women see things differently (as evidenced in these two numbers from 1950’s Guys and Dolls and 1964’s Hello, Dolly!).

The battle of the sexes may be as old as time. But men often approach the battlefield armed with belligerence, brawn and bravado while women manage to bewitch, bother, and bewilder them with a potent combination of brains and beauty. In many historical periods men have automatically assumed power while women had to use whatever knowledge was available to gain and assert their power.

* * * * * * * * * *

A newly restored print of a 1920 comedy directed by Robert Thornby turned out to be one of the more delightful surprises at the 2015 San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Wikipedia offers the following summary of the plot of The Deadlier Sex:

Based upon a review in a film publication, Mary Willard (Blanche Sweet), who has taken control of her father’s interests after his death, has become so exasperated at the unscrupulous business practices of Harvey Judson (Mahlon Hamilton) that she has him kidnapped to teach him a lesson and protect her shareholders against him.

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Blanche Sweet as Mary Willard in The Deadlier Sex


When Harvey wakes up in the forest, he initially believes that robbery was the motive until he discovers that no money was taken. He tries to bribe his guide to take him to the nearest settlement but to no avail, and, after two fist fights with a Frenchman (Boris Karloff) who is also in love with Mary, eventually comes up with a scheme which leads to his discovery by his friends.

When Harvey finds that Mary was the cause of this, they argue and he accuses her of trying to ruin him. While on the way to the nearest train station they have an automobile crash that nearly kills them. At the station, after they are told that the government has seized their property, Mary and Harvey decide to work together in the future.

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Blanche Sweet as Mary Willard in The Deadlier Sex

After appearing on stages since she was four years old (Sweet started her career touring with Maurice Barrymore in The Battle of the Strong), the teenaged actress starred in D.W. Griffith’s 1914 film, Judith of Bethulia. Although set to appear in 1915’s The Birth of A Nation, she was replaced by Lillian Gish.

Shot on location in and around Truckee, California, Sweet later referred to The Deadlier Sex as one of the films “I knew I shouldn’t do.” Her characterization of Mary Willard as a sly, intelligent, resourceful, and cunning young businesswoman was a far cry from the stereotypical damsel in distress that was a staple of so many silent films.

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Blanche Sweet as Mary Willard in The Deadlier Sex

In addition to the young Boris Karloff’s portrayal of a macho trapper, The Deadlier Sex featured strong performances by Winter Hall as Mary’s father, Roy Laidlaw as Huntley Green, and Russell Simpson as Jim Willis. With live accompaniment by Guenter Buchwald, the film had a certain rustic charm.

Although Sweet was a major star in silent films (who even managed a brief transition to talkies), few of her films are available today. In 1930’s Show Girl in Hollywood, she introduced the song “There’s a Tear for Every Smile in Hollywood,” whose lyrics read as follows:


You’re like a million others
Who seek the road to fame
But soon you’ll realize
It’s not an easy climb.
You’ll find like all the others
Whose dreams are just the same
The road is not as rosy
As Sunday papers claim.

There’s a tear for every smile in Hollywood
Every mile’s a weary mile in Hollywood
A million dreams are born with each day
A million dreams keep fading away
Like the spider and the fly is Hollywood
Where a broken-hearted sigh is understood
Though fortune seems to beckon to some
There’s a tear for every smile in Hollywood.

* * * * * * * * * *

While women may have felt oppressed for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, at least they didn’t have to fear a legal (and loathsome) form of rape known as the droit du seigneur. A purportedly popular practice in late Medieval Europe, droit du seigneur gave a feudal lord the right to take the virginity of his serfs’ daughters.

That practice is a pivotal plot point in 1778’s The Marriage of Figaro (a play by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais that was adapted into a four-act opera buffa by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1786). Not only must Susanna find a way to keep the Count Almaviva’s hands off her as she prepares to wed the Count’s servant, Figaro, she must also find a way to help her mistress (the Countess Almaviva) save her marriage from the embarrassment of the Count’s constant philandering.

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Luca Pisaroni as the lecherous Count Almaviva
in Le Nozze di Figaro (Photo by: Cory Weaver)

Add to the mix a horny page, a curious birthmark, a drunken gardener, a lusty old spinster who claims to have won the right to marry Figaro if he defaults on a loan, as well as a bitter old man who craves revenge for the way Figaro stole Rosina from under his roof (thus enabling her to marry the Count Almaviva) and you’ve got lots of mischief involving mistaken identities framed by a magical musical score.

As part of its 2015 summer season, the San Francisco Opera revived its 33-year-old production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, populating the cast with five former Adler Fellows (including conductor Patrick Summers), one current Adler Fellow (Maria Valdes as Barbarina), and a veteran of the Merola Opera Program who has performed with the company for more than four decades (John del Carlo).

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Figaro (Philippe Sly) and Susanna (Lisette Oropesa) in
Act I of Le Nozze di Figaro (Photo by: Cory Weaver)

The casting paid off in spades. Philippe Sly’s sonorous Figaro was far more athletic (and almost balletic) than what one usually encounters; as Susanna, Lisette Oropesa glowed with the charm and sparkle of a young woman in love (and sang rapturously as well). Luca Pisaroni’s Count Almaviva was a special delight, nicely balanced by Nadine Sierra’s portrayal of his Countess.

2015-07-31-1438321854-7951174-figaro3.JPG

Former Adler Fellow Nadine Sierra as the Countess Almaviva
in Le Nozze di Figaro (Photo by: Cory Weaver)

In comedic supporting roles, John Del Carlo scored strongly as Bartolo with Catherine Cook as a robust Marcellina. Greg Fedderly was a delightfully meddlesome Basilio while John Easterlin added to the fun as Don Curzio. Bojan Knezevi was a noticeably besotted Antonio.

At the performance I attended Angela Brower easily won over the audience as Cherubino. But what made the evening especially satisfying for me was the savvy stage direction by Robin Guarino, who added telling bits of body language for Figaro, Susanna, and Cherubino.

2015-07-31-1438321892-6298544-figaro4.JPG

Susanna (Lisette Oropesa) and Figaro (Philippe Sly) make up
in Act IV of Le Nozze di Figaro = (Photo by: Cory Weaver)

Looking back over the years, I recall that my first exposure to Le Nozze di Figaro took place sometime in the mid 1960s at the New York City Opera. That was nearly 15 years before surtitles began being projected above the proscenium in opera houses. Even when sung in English, I found it difficult to follow the plot.

These days, surtitles make it much easier for audiences to follow the text and understand the set-up for various sight gags. During one intermission, the house curtain was raised so that the audience could watch the stage crew change the scenery while a member of the company’s staff took live questions from a dedicated Twitter feed. Additional educational tools (like the following video) undoubtedly help those who are experiencing Mozart’s opera for the very first time.

Not only does today’s technology allow audiences to follow the story with surtitles, it also makes it possible for the San Francisco Opera to simulcast a live performance from the War Memorial Opera House to a packed baseball stadium across town at AT&T Park.

I was especially lucky at the performance I attended to be seated down front in the orchestra, where it was much easier to watch how certain artists (especially Luca Pisaroni) crafted their phrasing during arias and worked as part of an ensemble when required to do so by the dramatic shenanigans concocted by Beaumarchais. In an entertainment world that frequently bludgeons audiences into submission with overamplification, it’s a visceral joy to be able to hear an artist’s natural voice and experience a wide range of musical nuances.

Special credit goes to Maestro Patrick Summers, who led a beautiful performance of Mozart’s opera. The following clip offer some highlights from the San Francisco Opera’s production:

To read more of George Heymont go to My Cultural Landscape

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Why Miley Cyrus Is This Woman’s Non-Straight, Non-Binary Role Model

By Kelsey Marshall for YourTango.com

If you haven’t heard, Miley has been up to a lot more than sticking her tongue out and hanging out in her underwear.

In the course of two short days, Miley has kicked-off her foundation for homeless LGBT youth, the Happy Hippie Foundation, and given an interview to Out magazine where she discussed not identifying with any particular gender. She also cavalierly stated she’s had sexual relationships with women.

Miley isn’t playing around anymore. And I’m very happy about it.

 I’m downright enthusiastic.

In the wake of the complete Bruce Jenner tabloid debacle and subsequent (incredibly powerful and inspiring) interview, gender identity has been forced into the forefront of the public debate.

This is no less than amazing. This is something we should ALL be talking about.

Now more than ever, black and white are your two options for any kind of opinion. You either love the Kardashians or you hate them. The dress is either black and blue or it’s white and gold. Everyone should have guns or no one should.

Comment culture has made us into a strongly-opinionated fleet that leaves no room for middle ground. The Internet has taken something extremely valuable away from us: it’s taken away our gray area.

I don’t mean for this to be taken out of context. I am not referring to a gray area between right and wrong, between yes and no. I’m not referring to a gray area where I say one thing and mean another.

I’m talking about a gray area of identity and ownership.

What Miley is doing is perfectly demonstrating how to mean what you say and expect no less than to be taken seriously for it.

When she says she doesn’t identify as a girl or a boy, that in fact she would rather identify as nothing, then that’s exactly what she is. Even calling her “gender-queer” is a bit of a stretch, since she’s not using that word to describe herself.

It’s a complicated thing for a celebrity to identify themselves. No doubt Miley’s words will be taken out of context, flipped, stretched and contorted beyond recognition.

But she doesn’t care — and that’s a very valuable lesson.

Young people, especially young women, grow up with so much uncertainty. We’re told who to listen to, who to admire, what behavior is “slutty” and what behavior will grant us access to a life deemed acceptable.

There’s not a lot of room for understanding your own body, your own intentions, desires and goals.

You’re identified at birth with a gender that carries an incredible amount of social weight. And for some, that weight is so heavy that suicide is the only answer.

When you’re faced with so many decisions that already seem made for you, right down to your gender identity, speaking your own truth is an incredibly terrifying task.

When Bruce Jenner spoke out about his transition to becoming a woman, he was called attention-seeking. Yet, he did it anyway and adamantly. No one should have to be concerned with the outcome of their truthful words or how others might hear them.

The part that matters is the truth.

I can understand Miley’s struggle with gender. I’m a lesbian, and gender and identity is something I struggle with every day. To hear a young woman who faces so much criticism in her everyday life state, “I don’t relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy, and I think that’s what I had to understand: Being a girl isn’t what I hate; it’s the box that I get put into” is incredibly powerful to me.

In fact, it’s freeing.

It isn’t just young people she’s standing up for. It’s every single person that’s ever felt stifled by an identity they were assigned at birth or even an identity they gave themselves. It’s standing up for me and the times when I want to agree that I find a man sexually attractive and don’t say it, in fear that I’ll misrepresent my own identity.

Miley isn’t representing or misrepresenting any identity. She’s just being herself.

Whatever label you put on yourself or the world puts on you, it doesn’t mean half as much as the what you feel inside and your pride to express every worthy thought you have.

Because we’re all worthy of that — celebrity or not. We’re worthy enough to be proud of what makes us unique and what makes us not quite fit into a box. We’re worthy enough to find our own identity and be okay with the parts of ourselves that still might not fit tidily under that umbrella.

What we really need to learn is this: labels and identities aren’t one-size-fits-all. Neither are people.

You’re never going to be just one thing — and that’s f*cking awesome.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.

More great content from YourTango:

5 Things Bruce Jenner Did RIGHT While Coming Out As Transgender

Why Joking About Bruce Jenner’s Transition ISN’T Funny

8 Things Lesbians Are REALLY Tired Of Hearing

Note: Though Jenner has come out as “for all intents and purposes a woman,” he has not yet indicated that he would like to be known by a new name or female pronouns, so this story uses male pronouns.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Knives, Lipstick, and Liberty One Woman’s Journey

Knives, Lipstick, and Liberty One Woman’s Journey


Knives, Lipstick and Liberty – One Woman’s Journey is Jenn’s story, in her own words, on how in five short years she went from not being involved in politics at all to being recognized around the country for her knife advocacy, and her success in changing laws in her own state.”Not only is Jenn Coffey an inspiration for her many New Hampshire constituents, but she has won over scores of knife enthusiasts worldwide for her efforts in championing the idea that their right to own and carry their knives when they want to and where they want to is their inalienable right. In my business, it doesn’t get much better than that.” – Steve Shackleford, Editor, Blade MagazineThe Coffey Chronicles by Annmarie Timmins Concord Monitor staffWatch state Rep. Jenn Coffey on the floor of the House and you’d think she was swaddled from infancy in the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. An Andover Republican, Coffey is pro-gun, anti-regulation and well-versed in the Constitution. She could be the poster girl for the Free State Project, the Republican Liberty Caucus and the Second Amendment Sisters. It was Coffey, after all, who sponsored a bill last year requiring the state to post warning signs at the Massachusetts border so gun owners wouldn’t be caught unaware in the anti-gun Bay State. Turns out, that’s the new Jenn Coffey. Seven years ago, Coffey was a Massachusetts resident (true!) who viewed her husband’s political rants about government intrusion as “background noise,” according to an autobiography she’s written. The title is fantastic: Knives, Lipstick and Liberty.”There were times when (my husband) Billy would point out certain things about the direction our country was headed in, and I would nod my head in a ‘Yes, Dear’ fashion and then forget about it,” Coffey writes. “Sometimes I would tell him he was nuts and getting into conspiracy junk.”The couple argued over radio stations: he wanted to listen to “political crap” and she wanted to hear music. That all changed one day in 2004 when Coff

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The Active Woman’s Pregnancy Log: A Day-By-Day Diary and Guide to a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy

The Active Woman’s Pregnancy Log: A Day-By-Day Diary and Guide to a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy


In the tradition of the best-selling classic The Ultimate Workout Log, The Active Woman’s Pregnancy Log is the daily pregnancy diary for the active mom-to-be — from two of America’s leading fitness writers and experts. At last, a pregnancy journal that doesn’t focus on shower gifts, baby gear, and nursery decor but on your own health during pregnancy, including your fitness, nutrition, relaxation, and general physical well-being. At a time when prenatal fitness is booming, The Active Woman’s Pregnancy Log is your healthy pregnancy headquarters — a portable, one-stop source of inspiration, information, and organizational tools to keep moms-to-be feeling fit and confident and exercising wisely throughout this amazing journey. Spanning forty weeks, this day-by-day diary features: – a quick guide to the "active" pregnancy, including how to work around symptoms as well as exercises for every level through each trimester – eating advice that will ensure baby keeps growing and mom stays healthy – numerous charts, checklists, and places to record important dates, contacts, test results, and more – how to choose proper maternity fitness gear – a bonus section on postpartum fitness
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American Woman’s Home

American Woman’s Home


American Woman’s Home Harriet Beecher Stowe, american abolitionist and author (1811-1896) This ebook presents American Woman’s Home, from Harriet Beecher Stowe. A dynamic table of contents enables to jump directly to the chapter selected. TABLE OF CONTENTS -01- ABOUT THIS BOOK -02- DEDICATION -03- INTRODUCTION -04- THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY -05- A CHRISTIAN HOUSE -06- A HEALTHFUL HOME -07- SCIENTIFIC DOMESTIC VENTILATION -08- THE CONSTRUCTION AND CARE OF STOVES, FURNACES, AND CHIMNEYS -09- HOME DECORATION -10- THE CARE OF HEALTH -11- DOMESTIC EXERCISE -12- HEALTHFUL FOOD -13- HEALTHFUL DRINKS -14- CLEANLINESS -15- CLOTHING -16- GOOD COOKING -17- EARLY RISING -18- DOMESTIC MANNERS -19- THE PRESERVATION OF GOOD TEMPER IN THE HOUSEKEEPER -20- HABITS OF SYSTEM AND ORDER -21- GIVING IN CHARITY -22- ECONOMY OF TIME AND EXPENSES -23- HEALTH OF MIND -24- THE CARE OF INFANTS -25- THE MANAGEMENT OF YOUNG CHILDREN -26- DOMESTIC AMUSEMENTS AND SOCIAL DUTIES -27- CARE OF THE AGED -28- THE CASE OF SERVANTS -29- CARE OF THE SICK -30- ACCIDENTS AND ANTIDOTES -31- SEWING, CUTTING, AND MENDING -32- FIRES AND LIGHTS -33- THE CARE OF ROOMS -34- THE CARE OF YARDS AND GARDENS -35- THE PROPAGATION OF PLANTS -36- THE CULTIVATION OF FRUIT -37- THE CARE OF DOMESTIC ANIMALS -38- EARTH CLOSETS -39- CARE OF THE HOMELESS, THE HELPLESS, AND THE VICIOUS -40- THE CHRISTIAN NEIGHBORHOOD -41- AN APPEAL TO AMERICAN WOMEN

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Hers a Woman’s Guide to Weight Training: Weider Books/Muscle & Fitness

Hers a Woman’s Guide to Weight Training: Weider Books/Muscle & Fitness


New – M&F Hers presents more than 270 pages of expert instruction and advice including: 98 targeted exercises, over 20 progressive training routines, and special home routines. PLUS a high-quality, hardback cover. Also includes a FREE BONUS! Hers Training Log.

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Choko Design Womans Waterproof Snow Bib

Choko Design Womans Waterproof Snow Bib


Choko Design Ladies Waterproof Snow BibShell is SUPPRATECH 400-denier waterproof breathable rugged Oxford nylon with a Teflon protective finish, technically coated for a softer feel. Lining is Ultra Soft polyfill quilted to a top quality nylon lining with a special backing for shape retention. Shell is waterproof breathable 420-denier nylon with 600-denier cordura knees Lining is non-bulky 180 gr. DuPont Thermolite Micro polyfill for a slimmer fit Fleece at knees for extra warmth Inner storm cuffs Ankle-to-waist side zip on both sides Front zip with Choko zipper pull Adjustable elastic suspenders Back waist elasticStyle # 1-90U85PN-000
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Is Fashion a Woman’s Right?

Is Fashion a Woman’s Right?


This book addresses the evidence for the widespread belief that enjoyment of fashion is necessarily inconsistent with feminist values, from a feminist (as opposed to a post-feminist) point of view. It begins by establishing that many feminists in fact hold this belief and argues that disagreeing does not mean claiming that feminism was unnecessary or that it is now rendered redundant by changing social mores. The author describes the historical background as applied to both mens and womens clothing in various cultures, including close reading of the function of clothes in the novels of the Bronte sisters, Thackeray and Dickens, through to the use of fashion as a call to arms for the early feminists, as well as later theorists like Susan Sontag and Naomi Wolf. Issues of personal freedom and political correctness, the claims that fashion makes women sex objects for men, and the charge that the subject is too trivial to merit serious discussion, are all challenged. Allegations of links between fashion and pornography are explored, and the disagreements between feminists on this topic set out. Finally, the issue of dressing for special occasions and whether this practice has a place in the modern world is addressed with candour. Is Fashion a Womans Right? re-establishes the relationship between fashion and feminist values.

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Recessions May Thwart a Woman’s Motherhood Plans Forever: Study

Research found initial impact was most pronounced among women in their 20s, and lasted until they were in their 40s
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Korean Coed Street Fashion at Ewha Woman’s University!

This is the second installment in a series introducing key fashion neighborhoods in Seoul, Korea, which has become quite a fashion hub and a hotbed of street fashion, although you may not have heard  this yet. It’s my goal to familiarize Western readers  with the fact that parts of Seoul are now hotter than Harajuku in terms of fashion creativity and dynamicism, even if it lacks the Cosplay flash. But that’s what makes the street fashion in Seoul all the more real and interesting. These are the fashions of everyday Koreans and those who follow them sartorially, and these are streets worth watching.
After one of the student interns bravely grab her and combine her to pose, turns out she was with one of the many Chinese tourists who are legion at the Ewha front gate, which is apparently a major tourist destination for the Chinese who come to Korea, an

Ewha Woman’s University is one of the oldest universities in Seoul, founded as many were by American Protestant missionaries, and considered to be one of the top universities a woman can attend in general, right behind what Koreans call the “SKY” universities, which is short for Seoul National, Korea, and Yonsei Universities. Doesn’t fit into the acronym, but it’s up there bumping shoulders of those universities in terms of quality and reputation. Now, despite being a women’s University, one has to remember that Korea is still defined by the gender norms of America in the 1960s. Boys are boys and girls are girls, especially at a women’s University, with the social norm being to wear heels and a dress, full-on makeup, and have every hair on the head in perfect place. Ewha Woman’s University is infamous for what’s students only half-jokingly called the “9 a.m. morning fashion show” in which the front gate is stormed by freshly dressed and fashionable women rushing to their first class of the day amidst a cacophony of click-clacking high heels. This is not to say that every woman in Korean college dresses this way, but I think it would be safe for the non-initiated to completely eliminate any idea of the American-style undergraduate rolling out of bed and into class in one’s pajamas and slippers or without at least a long session spent in front of the makeup mirror.

I started out shooting a bit of Ewha Women’s University front gate for this story, with three student interns in tow, when a lady with the best Korean-style sports jersey dress ever pops into view. This is one of the most popular styles on the Korean streets this summer and it was apropos that she appeared on the scene just as we arrived, so I had to snap a surreptitious shot of her outfit just in case she decided not to pose for camera willingly.

Was out shooting a bit of Ewha Women's University front gate for a story on that neighborhood I'm planning for the Huff Post, with 3 student interns in tow, and a lady with the best Korean-style sports jersey dress ever pops into view.

After one of the student interns bravely grabbed her and got her to pose, it turned out she wasone of the many Chinese tourists who are legion at the Ewha front gate these days, which is apparently a major tourist destination for the Chinese who come to Korea, which made sense since we spotted entire tour groups led by guides with flags right in the area we started shooting.  This young lady turned out to be a confident  street fashion model possessed of a Mona Lisa smile. Turns out she’s an exchange student studying somewhere and Seoul and bought her sports jersey dress in Korea.

She turned out to be a confident model with a Mona Lisa smile. Turns out she's an exchange student studying somewhere and Seoul and bought her sports jersey dress in Korea.

You can get a sense of how the mesh works and its transparency with a closer picture using the wide-angle lens, which is more my style, anyway.

You can get a sense of how the mesh works and it's transparency with a closer picture using the wide-angle lens, which is more my style, anyway.

Her and her companion were quite the couple and comfortable with the camera. We were actually pretty wise to arrive on campus around noon time, since we are able to find several real students to shoot in their natural environment actually going and coming from class. The Idae area (as it is known to Koreans by its Korean abbreviation of “Ewha” and University” (ewha+dae-hak-kyo=”idae”) is renowned for its young female fashion, but this is often a misleading place for street fashion photographers to shoot since is a major watering hole for women wanting to be fashionable, whether their students are not. So after school hours or on the weekends, most of the women in the area are not representative of young Korean female student fashion. We made sure to be on the spot during the prime hours for actually catching students attending the campus.

Her and her companion were quite the couple and comfortable with the camera.

We immediately spotted some girls in a coffee shop we went to have a quick meeting and noticed the “West Coast” sports jerseys and were debating whether not to approach them for picture when I noticed that they were wearing matching jerseys T-shirts and that’s cinched it. We had to get them. Find and it turned out they were also Chinese tourists who had just bought T-shirts in Dongdaemun, which they let us know through Google translate, and were eager to show us the very store where they had just seen these shirts earlier and were eagerly pointing it out as I was taking the pictures. They actually wanted to walk us over and show us the shirts on the rack. However, we didn’t have time.

We immediately spotted some girls in a coffee shop we went to have a quick meeting and noticed the "West Coast" sports jerseys and were debating whether not to approach them for picture when I noticed that they were wearing matching jerseys T-shirts and t

It seemed like we were mostly catching Chinese tourists, and we were hoping to get more actual students from the University. Since it was lunchtime, we decided that moving in toward the center of campus would yield more Korean students actually attending the university, who would be walking out of classes toward the surrounding area. However, given the fact that most of the Chinese tourists and exchange students we were catching seemed to be very big fans of Korean fashion and were actually better models for current trends than even the Koreans were, this turned out to be a good thing. All of the young Chinese women we caught on film were eager to tell us where they had bought their clothes — and the new Dongdaemun Design Plaza seemed to be a major stop on the fashion train for all of them.

It seems like room most eye-catching Chinese tourists, and we were hoping to get more actual students from the University. Since it was lunchtime, we decided that moving in towards the center of campus would yield more Korean students actually attending t

We came across something pretty rare these days on the Korean university: an actual demonstration! Well, actually it was more of a quasi-demonstration, a sort of information session designed to get people to sign a petition. I was actually more interested in her hair and her T-shirt then the actual content of the petition drive, and it seemed very much along the lines of something students do. Ewha fashion!

We came across something pretty rare these days on the Korean university: an actual demonstration! Well, actually it was more of a quasi-demonstration, actually a sort of information session designed to get people to sign a petition. I was actually more i

Upon asking this young lady whether or not I could use her picture for the purposes of a street fashion piece, she said that she preferred to not use the picture with her posing without the sign. However, in all honesty, I was more interested in her cool hair color and her T-shirt. But we wish her luck with her cause and in getting more money to janitorial workers in her University, which is I think one of the goals that I heard being mentioned.

Upon asking young lady whether or not I could use her picture for the purposes of a street fashion piece, she said that she preferred to not use the picture with her posing without the sign. However, in all honesty, I was more interested in her cool hair

More toward the interior of the campus, we are bumping into more everyday students doing everyday things, such as carrying their cups of iced coffee. This young lady is wearing one of the most popular skirts in Korea this summer season and we had to ask her to pose.

More towards the interior of the campus, we are bumping into more everyday students doing everyday things, such as carrying their cups of iced coffee. This young lady is wearing one of the most popular skirts in Korea this summer season and we had to ask

No matter how far we got into the campus, tourists were still legion. These two young ladies were walking through campus and more than happy to have their pictures taken by a street fashion photography crew.If anything, the many tourists both in front of and actually on campus were testament to the power of the so-called “Korean wave” in Asia. Korea, at the very least in Asia, has definitely become a place known for being modern, fashionable, and very cool.

The matter how far we got into the campus, Chinese tourists were still legion. These two young ladies were walking through campus and more than happy to have their pictures taken by a street fashion photography crew.

We were now bumping into more Korean students coming out of or going into classes, and we caught this young fashionista on the way into campus, and she was easy and relaxed in front of the camera, a natural model.

We are now bumping into more cream students coming out of or going into classes, and we caught this young fashionista on the way into campus, and she was easy and relaxed in front of the camera, a natural model.

She’s a natural model, like many Korean girls who were trained on a diet of sticker pictures, private photo booths, and cell phone cams. South Korea coined its own word for “selfie” back in around 2004. Young Korean girls our well-trained in the fine art of “selca” (SELf+CAmera) and were uploading their super selfie portraits to eoljjang (best face) sites that became popular around that time as well. The average female Korean college student has about as much de facto amateur modeling experience as the average Western amateur model who has seen the inside of a photo studio.

She's a natural.

We were lucky to meet someone do awesome. Badumbump.

Cool shot of the impromptu Ewha model of the day!

We ended our little foray into the Ewha Woman’s University with a bit more conservative, representative fare for the Koreans students these days. And her heavily-ornamented gladiator sandals are definitely the thing with the kids these days.

We ended our little foray into the Ewha Woman's University with a bit more conservative, representative fare for the Koreans students these days. And her heavily-ornamented gladiator sandals are definitely the thing with the kids these days.

That’s the way you end a street fashion photo foray!

That's the way you end a street fashion photo foray!

As soon as the day ended and I was sitting in my office, as if on cue, our “awesome” model from a few hours earlier sent me a message about her pictures and we quickly decided that it would be cool to do an impromptu studio session since I had my studio equipment sitting in a box in my office ready to go and all you would need to do is find a white wall in a hallway somewhere. Considering what we had to work with, but also the find the picture we came up with but also surprising. but also, considering the natural talent and these which our model possessed, it’s not really any surprise we got what we did. Definitely one of the best street fashion models I’ve ever bump into — and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that she is a true-blue Ewha student.

Our best model wanted to do a bit of studio after her great street shoot. She is indeed awesome.

 

P.S.  Many thanks to my Seoul Fashion Report interns Charlotte Gryson, Yubin Lee, and Junha Kim, without whom I would have had a lot of trouble shooting for this story.
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As Seen Through A Woman’s Eyes

A loving tribute written by Gail Collins to honor political activist and feminist icon Gloria Steinem (This Is What 80 Looks Like) caused me to stop and think about some of the progress that’s been made in the women’s rights movement and the incredible distance that still needs to be traveled.

  • Since 2007, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has embarked on a campaign “to work within the entertainment industry to dramatically alter how girls and women are reflected in media.”
  • Despite signing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law on January 29, 2009, President Obama is still struggling to get Congress to approve equal pay for equal work.
  • In partnership with the Wellesley Centers for Women, Carey Perloff (the Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theatre) recently launched a research study entitled Women’s Leadership in Residential Theatres.

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American Conservatory Theatre’s Carey Perloff (Photo by: Kevin Berne)

If, however, one examines the leadership of the Bay area’s performing arts organizations, there is no doubt that many women are in positions of artistic and/or managerial leadership.

  • In 1983, Christina Augello founded the EXIT Theatre, where she continues to produce the annual DIVAFest and San Francisco Fringe Festival.
  • Carole Shorenstein-Hays is President of SHN and has won six Tony Awards for her work as a theatrical producer.
  • Susan Medak has been Managing Director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre since 1990.
  • Jan Zvaifler co-founded Central Works in 1991.
  • Paige Rogers co-founded Cutting Ball Theater in 1999.
  • Melissa Hillman (who writes the brilliant Bitter Gertrude theatrical blog) has been Artistic Director of Impact Theatre since 2000.
  • Liz Hitchcock Lisle has been Managing Director of the Shotgun Players for 13 years.
  • Susi Damilano co-founded San Francisco Playhouse in 2003.
  • Susie Falk has been Managing Director of the California Shakespeare Theater since 2009.

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Magic Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, Loretta Greco

  • Loretta Greco has been the Producing Artistic Director of Magic Theatre since 2009.
  • Crowded Fire Theater is led by Artistic Director Marissa Wolf and Managing Director Tiffany Cothran.
  • Berkeley Playhouse is under the leadership of Founding Artistic Director Elizabeth McKoy and Producing Executive Director Lauren Hewitt.
  • Sara Nealy is Executive Director of the East Bay’s Festival Opera.
  • Amy Mueller is the current Artistic Director of Playwrights Foundation.
  • When Chloe Bronzan founded Symmetry Theatre, the company’s mission statement trumpeted that “The plays we choose will always have at least as many female characters as male, and in any given show there will always be at least as many Equity contracts given to women as to men. In addition we will produce plays that acknowledge that women’s stories are as important as men’s and, in so doing, we will hope to bring about further awareness to the public and the theatre community at large of the need for more ‘balance on the boards.'”
  • The recently launched 3Girls Theatre Company is dedicated to putting “women’s work onstage, where it belongs.”

On March 15, 2010, Theresa Rebeck gave a rip-roaring speech to the ART/NY Curtain Call annual conference entitled A Thousand Voices in which she described the obstacles facing female playwrights who hope to get their work produced. Perhaps because of the Bay area’s diversity (as well as the number of women in local leadership positions) our stages often play host to comedies and dramas written by talented women.

If, in addition to the organizations listed above, one includes Playground’s incubator program for playwrights and Stuart Bousel’s annual SFOlympians Festival, the Bay area may be ahead of the curve in presenting new works by female playwrights. Recently, two works by formidable female playwrights of different generations were being produced with especially curious results.

* * * * * * * * * *

Ever since her triumph with 1979’s Cloud Nine, British playwright Caryl Churchill has been challenging authority figures, gender roles, and other aspects of the status quo. San Francisco’s Custom Made Theatre Company recently unveiled a new production of Churchill’s 1982 hit, Top Girls (which had its debut at about the same time that Margaret Thatcher and the “Dress for Success” craze were peaking).

In some ways, Top Girls is nearly schizophrenic in nature. Its first act is the fantasy vision of Marlene (Cary Cronholm), a tough, handsome professional woman who has clawed her way to the top of a London employment agency and is about to host a celebratory party in a restaurant. If you’ve ever dreamed of having dinner with some of your favorite fictional and/or historical figures, you’ll be surprised to see who is on Marlene’s guest list.

  • Isabella Bird (Cat Luedtke) was a famous author and world traveler whose lack of interest in a traditional marriage gave her the freedom to explore new and often thrilling horizons. She frequently makes reference to her younger sister, Henrietta, who stayed at home and seemed to be much better suited to a domestic lifestyle.
  • Lady Nijo (Mimu Tsujimura) was a narcissistic 13th-century concubine who, at the age of 14, was forced by her father to sleep with the aged Emperor of Japan. As she describes her endless humiliations (including having her child taken away from her), Lady Nijo basks in the knowledge that, although she later became a nun, at least the Emperor seemed to like her.
  • Dull Gret (Katie Robbins) is a peasant woman dressed in soldier’s garb whose main concern is the food she is about to eat. Gruff, coarse, and often monosyllabic, she is a cartoon of an emotionally shut-down male warrior.
  • Pope Joan (Monica Cappuccini) is a fictional character who started cross-dressing as a young girl, got elected Pope while disguised as a man, and had numerous male lovers. After becoming pregnant and delivering her baby during a papal procession, she was stoned to death.
  • Patient Griselda (Carina Lastimosa Salazar) represents the millions of women who, after marrying and being told that above all else they must obey their spouses, end up in lives of servitude which basically relegate them to the status of a doormat.

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Isabella Bird (Cat Luedtke), Marlene (Cary Cronholm), and
Lady Nijo (Mimu Tsujimura) in Top Girls (Photo by: Jay Yamada)

The second half of Churchill’s play is grounded in the sad realities of life in Thatcher’s Britain. Marlene’s homely sister, Joyce (Cat Luedtke) has had a difficult time raising the hostile and rebellious Angie (Katie Robbins) who is, in fact, the illegitimate child Marlene gave up so that she could pursue her independence, personal dreams, and build a career. Angie’s well-meaning but easily frightened friend, Kit (Megan Putnam), is a neighboring teen with few friends.

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Angie (Katie Robbins) frightens Kit (Megan Putnam)
in a scene from Top Girls (Photo by: Jay Yamada)

When Angie suddenly leaves home to go visit her aunt Marlene at work, she arrives on the day that Marlene has been promoted, effectively ruining the career of a male co-worker who assumed he would inherit the position. Though fascinated by Marlene’s power over others, Angie can’t understand that she has arrived at an inopportune moment and is little more than an inconvenience to Marlene.

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Marlene (Cary Cronholm) and her sister, Joyce (Cat Luedtke)
in a tense scene from Top Girls (Photo by: Jay Yamada)

This production of Top Girls may well have been the most lopsided evening of theatre I’ve experienced in years. While director Laura Lundy-Paine was clearly overwhelmed trying to stage the play’s difficult first act, her work shone through in the subsequent, emotionally-charged confrontations between Angie, Kit, Marlene, and Joyce. Part of the problem was that much of the first act requires two actors to speak simultaneously.

Few playwrights put words into the mouths of their characters with the desire that they be reduced to nonsense syllables or gibbering mush. A skilled director might have tried harder to find a way to make sure that the audience could follow each character’s lines. Unfortunately, Lundy-Paine’s inability to bring clarity to much of Act I was a severe disappointment made worse by the fact that Mimu Tsujimura and Carina Lastimosa Salazar had such poor diction that many of their lines were almost unintelligible. Megan Putnam, however, did some beautiful work as both Kit and Shona.

* * * * * * * * * *

Over the past 50 years, I’ve attended numerous world premieres of operas, plays, and ballets. Few, however, have been as dramatically substantial, historically important, powerfully acted, and emotionally satisfying as Lauren Gunderson’s brilliant and meaty new drama entitled Bauer, which is currently receiving its world premiere from the folks at San Francisco Playhouse.

Considering that this is a one-act, 90-minute play with three characters working on a unit set, one might be inclined to ask just how and why this drama made such a deep impression on opening night. The answer has a lot to do with the mature applications of solid theatrical craft:

  • Bill English’s long-proven craft as a set designer and stage director.
  • Lauren Gunderson’s increasingly dazzling craft as a fearless playwright who can transform heaping piles of love, betrayal, and exposition into dialogue that crackles with dramatic tension.
  • A searing performance by Stacy Ross as the deeply conflicted Baroness Hilla Rebay.
  • Equally moving performances by Ronald Guttman as the artist, Rudolf Bauer, and Susi Damilano as his anguished wife, Louise.

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Rudolf Bauer (Ronald Guttman), Louise Bauer (Susi Damilano),
and Hilla Rebay (Stacy Ross) in a scene from Bauer
(Photo by: Jessica Palopoli)

The inspiration for a play about Rudolf Bauer first came to Bill English when he watched a documentary entitled Betrayal: The Life and Art of Rudolf Bauer. Not only did it tell the story of how Bauer rose to fame in the first third of the 20th century, it described how he was eventually betrayed by his former lover (one of Solomon R. Guggenheim’s most trusted advisers), Hilla Rebay. By the time the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (which had originally been planned to showcase Bauer’s art) opened in New York on October 21, 1959, a legal technicality had nearly destroyed the artist’s legacy.

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Poster art for Bauer

In his artistic director’s note, Bill English writes:

“After seeing the documentary, I was dumbstruck by how this painter, a leader in the non-objective art movement, whose own museum had housed Kandinsky, Klee, Ernst, and many more, who defied the Nazis by painting in prison after he had been jailed for ‘subversive art,’ who had been the darling of Guggenheim and Frank Lloyd Wright, prominently featured in Guggenheim’s first museum and proclaimed by him as ‘the greatest living painter’ could suddenly stop painting at the height of his powers and end up with over 200 canvases relegated to the Guggenheim basement.

How does that happen? How is the artistic process destroyed? How do painters, actors, playwrights, musicians, composers, suddenly lose the thread? How is the creative process undone? To answer these questions, we turned to Lauren Gunderson who, after reading two of her biographical plays (Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight and Silent Sky) stood out as the ideal playwright to tackle this story.”

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Ronald Guttman as Rudolf Bauer (Photo by: Jessica Palopoli)

In their 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Sunday in the Park With George, James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim did a brilliant job of trying to explain what spurs an artist’s creativity and how, in order to be allowed to continue creating, an artist must respond to the pressures of the marketplace.

In recent years Bay area audiences have attended performances of Herbert Siguenza’s one-man show (A Weekend With Pablo Picasso) at Center Rep as well as John Logan’s play, Red (about Mark Rothko) at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Neither of these plays however, really gets into the anguish of the artistic process with the same intensity as Bauer.

Although an online archive of Rudolf Bauer’s work and life history has been created by the Weinstein Gallery, it can’t capture the emotions and the ripple effect of the artist’s decision to stop creating on those who loved him with anywhere near the intensity of Gunderson’s writing. Nor can it deliver the kind of powerhouse performance embodied in Stacy Ross’s portrayal of Hilla Rebay which, with the nervous tremor of a lip, can communicate so much to an audience.

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Stacy Ross as Baroness Hilla Rebay in Bauer (Photo by: Jennifer Palopoli)

In many ways, Gunderson’s play provides the perfect bookend to Sunday in the Park With George by demonstrating how a legal document can so enrage an artist that it will cause him to stifle the creativity which has, for so long, been his life force. It’s almost like watching an angry soul trying to give his talent the silent treatment. As Bill English notes:

“Bauer faces the betrayal of a powerful mentor and the love of his life, who (perhaps unwittingly) conspired to deprive him of his purpose. In our deeply commercialized world, what does the commodification of art do to the artist? Where does patronage leave off and ownership begin? Do artists continue to produce when their inspiration departs? Yes. Should they? How does a man choose between the thing he most loves and his integrity? Art is, by nature, an act of rebellion. Can the decision to ‘not paint’ become an artistic statement in its own right? Once squelched by whatever force of our conformist society, can the artistic flame be rekindled?”

The San Francisco production of Bauer (with the original cast) will take Gunderson’s play to New York this fall, where it will run from September 2 to October 12 at the 59E59 Theaters. Here’s the trailer:

To read more of George Heymont go to My Cultural Landscape
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RIP Loehmann’s: A Jewish Woman’s Lament

Dear Rabbi,

I am writing you seeking guidance on a very grave matter resting heavy on my heart. As you may have gleaned from your wife’s sobs on the other side of the bed, Loehmann’s — spiritual home of many a Jewish woman, temple of American Jewish fashion, female rite of passage rivaling the Bat Mitzvah (all due respect) — is being put to rest after a long life of 98 years.

As a quintessential good girl (OK, there was that lesbian thing, but we’re kosher on that one now, right?), I’d like to know how to mourn this profound loss in proper Jewish form. You may or may not recall your admonishing me several years ago when I stood to say Kaddish for my son’s deceased lizard Sandy Koufax; after we cleared up your confusion about why in 2005 we were saying Kaddish for the long-dead Jewish baseball player, you very kindly instructed my son in the prayer for dead animals.

Mirrors have been covered, and I am sitting on a low stool. The shiva is planned (chocolate babka, check; rugelach, check; sour cream coffee cake, check); my mother, sisters and grandmothers have been notified. But how might we best mourn this passing Jewishly?

We have so many memories: of once-in-a-lifetime bargains and the legendary, humbling open dressing rooms. (The only other time so many people saw me naked was during the birth of my son — it was a teaching hospital). There is the image of myself at various weights, ages, shapes, in mismatched bras and panties, refracted in three walls of full-length mirrors… the moments of intimate fat talk shared between strangers staring straight into the mirror, never directly at each other, asking each other ‘does this make my tush/legs/hips/face/entire body look fat?’ — and replying, whether true or not, ‘That looks FABULOUS on you!’… the epic three-generation fight between me, my mother and my grandmother in a snaking check-out line, arms aching under piles of clothes, over who was paying for what… the time I broke the family record for hours (seven) spent at Loehmann’s on my first visit after months away at college.

Last weekend, I drove three hours (on the Sabbath, yes, and I’m sorry, but I feel certain that Maimonides would allow it) to pay my final respects in person on the first day of the going-out-of-business sale.

Standing in line with a fabulous coral linen $ 30 shirt, it suddenly occurred to me that I might have a Loehmann’s credit slip in my purse. Damn right, it was a $ 95 credit, and so what if I was an hour late to pick up my son, but it’s a sin to let the credit go to waste, isn’t it Rabbi? So I raced to the Back Room and nabbed me a tangerine Theory sweater (100% wool but it feels like butta), retails for $ 298 and I got it for free with my credit slip! Oh, the joy; oh, the pain, that I will never again experience such a bargain shopping orgasm.

Rabbi, what can console us? I know that God works in mysterious ways, but is it really true? Help me figure out how to accept, mourn and move on.

May its memory be a blessing. Next year at TJ Maxx.

Your faithful yet grief-stricken congregant,

Julie Mencher

P.S. You might want to have extra Yahrtzeit candles on hand this time next year at the Sisterhood Shop. You could make a killing (no pun intended).

Julie Mencher is a transplanted New Yorker and therapist in Northampton MA. She has shopped at Loehmann’s for four decades and will be rocking her new Theory sweater at synagogue this weekend.
Style – The Huffington Post
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