Why Aren’t Stories Like “12 Years a Slave” Told at Plantation Museums?

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Watching 12 Years a Slave, winner of the best picture Oscar Sunday night, it was almost as if I were there at Edwin Epps’ cotton plantation in the 1840s, walking past the gorgeous white mansion in the lush, green Louisiana landscape. Surrounded by cypress trees, I could hear the cicadas, and very nearly feel the […]

Singing the Lesbian Blues in 1920s Harlem

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When Gertrude “Ma” Rainey — known as “The Mother of Blues”— sang, “It’s true I wear a collar and a tie … Talk to the gals just like any old man,” in 1928′s “Prove It on Me,” she was flirting with scandal, challenging the listener to catch her in a lesbian affair. It might not seem […]

“Gatsby” Gets Flappers Wrong

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Have you heard? There’s a new swell in town named Gatsby, and he’s bringing flapper flair back into fashion. Baz Luhrmann’s latest cinematic spectacle—his take on The Great Gatsby—promises to be a sensational commercial for Prada and Brooks Brothers, who partnered with Luhrmann’s wife, costume designer Catherine Martin, on the film’s clothing. But if you think […]

Why Ordinary Things Go Pink

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Not long after Bic launched its new line of “Bic for Her” ballpoint pens—boasting an “elegant design” that “features a thin barrel to fit a women’s hand”—women and men alike hopped on Amazon.com to bombard the product page with hilarious and brilliantly snarky reviews. One woman writes, “Someone has answered my gentle prayers and FINALLY […]