Guillermo del Toro’s Mythical Mamas


For horror fans, January is both a blessing and a curse. Christened “Hollywood’s dumping ground,” January is where movies go to die. With everyone’s attention focused on awards season, or so the thinking goes, studios can afford to release films from which they do not expect much profit, many of which are horror movies. Though […]

Trains, Pullman Porters and a Woman’s Blues


What do you get when you combine passionate individuals determined to survive with multi-generational family drama and two key moments in African American history? A pretty great new play, that’s what. Opening November 23 at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, Pullman Porter Blues, by Cheryl L. West (Jar the Floor, Before it Hits Home), takes […]

Feminist Guide to Horror Movies, Part Three: Worlds Without Patriarchy


This is the last in a three-part series on watching horror movies as a feminist spectator. Having covered films which reinforce the necessity of the patriarchy, and films which question its value while still punishing challenges to patriarchal norms, let’s look at two movies in which the patriarchy is almost entirely irrelevant. British director Neil […]

A Feminist Guide to Horror Movies, Part Two: It’s Not Just About Vampires


This piece is part two in a series. See here for part one. Since Edward Cullen first graced the pages of a young adult novel in 2005, vampires have been the sexy bad guys du jour. But it’s not just the lingering fear that sex might lead to death that makes these nightmarish manifestations of […]

Lynn Nottage Brings 80 Years of Women, Race and Hollywood to the Stage


Looking for an evening of entertainment that’s humorous, thought provoking and possibly paradigm changing? The West Coast premiere of African American Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage‘s new play By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is your ticket. But it’s not your typical evening of theater. Directed by Jo Bonney and featuring Sanaa Lathan (The Cleveland Show, […]

A Feminist Guide to Horror Movies, Part One: Daddy Knows Best


Monsters in movies are us, always us, one way or the other. … John Carpenter My love of horror movies is a product of both nature and of nurture. My mother loves them. My older brother says I ended up in theaters as a child watching movies that were definitely not rated for my age […]

“The Mindy Project”–Comedy and Contradiction


Watch it while you can: Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project, which premiered last week to mixed reviews, may or may not have a long life. Most of Kaling’s hardcore fans watched it online before it was on TV, so it probably has more devoted viewers than the disappointing ratings it received suggest. But FOX clearly […]

Did Someone Say Vagina?


As a theater director, the first person I thought of when I heard the news from Michigan was Eve Ensler. I’ve directed The Vagina Monologues twice and, despite unsettling doubts that the play does not actually work as the V-Day events intend (to end violence), I loved doing it both times. In theater speak, The Vagina […]

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sandra Bernhard


I have never really understood Sandra Bernhard. It’s not that I haven’t tried. After admiring her fantastic turn as ballsy sexual harassment lawyer Caroline Poop on Ally McBeal, my absolutely favorite show at the time (1997) about my absolutely favorite “dead feminist,” I told a friend, “I’ve never really gotten the Sandra Bernhard thing.” “Have […]

The Bogus Arguments Against VAWA


The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, initially passed in 1994 and reauthorized in 2000 and 2005, is up for reauthorization again. To many, reauthorizing VAWA seems like a no-brainer. The federal law (a) declares that domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking are federal crimes (b) aids criminal justice and community-based responses to such violence […]