Bobby Moynihan on Some Strange Days at ‘SNL’

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“Bobby Moynihan was part of one of the most heartbreaking episodes of Saturday Night Live last week. Before Kate McKinnon took the piano as Hillary Clinton for an emotional rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to start the show, the cast was working overtime to find the humor in America’s decision to elect the most inexperienced, openly racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic President in history. It wasn’t easy to be funny, but the show must go on. I talked with Bobby Moynihan about the election fallout, David Pumpkins, and the Secret Life of Pets.” 

READ THE REST ON SPLITSIDER HERE

What To Do When You’re Raped: An ABC Handbook for Native Girls

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Graphic Art from What To Do When You’re Raped: An ABC Guide for Native Girls 

“‘What do I tell my daughter when she is raped?’

This was the question posed to Charon Asetoyer, CEO of the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center by a young mother on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in Lake Andes, South Dakota.

“The feeling … I can’t even begin to explain how that made me feel. Not if she’s raped, but when she’s raped,” said Asetoyer of the Comanche tribe. “We’re aware of how bad the problem is in our reservation community, but when somebody puts it to you that way, you realize it’s even worse than you thought it was.”

Asetoyer is well aware that Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes than all other races in the US and that more than one in three Native American women report having been raped during their lifetime. She speaks with survivors of sexual assault in her community every day.

Recognizing an immediate need to prepare and support indigenous young women in the likely event of a sexual assault, Asetoyer and her colleagues teamed up with graphic designer Lucy M Bonner to create a graphic novel entitled, “What To Do When You’re Raped: An ABC Handbook for Native Girls”. The book is available to download free online or to order in print.”

Read the full article for The Guardian here

If this story moves you, Charon Asetoyer and Pamela Kingfisher say there are many ways you can help. Call your local government representatives and tell them this is unacceptable. Buy Plan B in bulk and donate it to your local Native American community. Donate to the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center and women’s shelter here.

Feminist Art Historian Olesya Turkina on Russia’s Fleet of Canine Cosmonauts

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Image Courtesy of FUEL Publishing

“In the aftermath of World War II, the USSR and the USA became locked in an ideological conflict between socialism and capitalism. Determined to demonstrate the superiority of the socialist way, the USSR launched a secret space program. Eventually a human cosmonaut would fly into outer space, but first came Laika—a dog.

Laika’s launch was kept a secret until a few days before take-off. As Russian feminist art historian Olesya Turkina explains in her book, Soviet Space Dogs, “the secrecy of the space program was justified by the notion that socialism could not be seen to fail in any of its endeavors. In this sense, space travel was the most imperative achievement of such a society.” According to the official Soviet story, the valiant little mutt launched into orbit, died a heroic death, and became the first icon of space exploration.”

Thank you to Olesya and Damon for taking the time to answer my questions and for creating such a special book. Check out FUEL Publishing’s “Soviet Space Dogs” by Olesya Turkina, published by Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Mother Nature

 

Photo: Sydney Parker

Photo: Sydney Parker

“…to speak of them out loud, to speak of their hunger and pain and loneliness and humor, to make them visible so that can not be ravaged in the dark without great consequence.”― Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues

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Photo: Sydney Parker

“Now, should we treat women as independent agents, responsible for themselves? Of course. But being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them.” – Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth

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Photo: Sydney Parker

“Volumes upon volumes on exploration, war, violence, the life-threatening transformative journeys of man. But you can’t talk about this. The fucking, the sadness, the dark, the blood, the light. They will burn you at the fucking stake for this shit.”― Elisa Albert, After Birth

What’s the Deal with the Lenin Statue in Fremont?

“The Fremont Festivus weekend is upon us. An annual celebratory event when locals gather around a bronze, dead dictator adorned with lights, for food, live music and Fremont Festivus games. Wacky activities include “airing of grievances, feats of strength, and the Chicken Dance ‘round the Festivus pole,” reports the Fremocentrist and the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.

This breed of odd mayhem is par for the course in the quirky Fremont, Seattle neighborhood. But then what’s the deal with the Vladimir Lenin statue? What is a symbol of mass oppression and totalitarian violence doing at the center of such a free spirited community?”

 Read the full story here!IMG_20151204_095650212_HDR

Photo: Sydney Parker

Read the full story here!

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Photo: Sydney Parker

The Fursuit of Happiness: High Fashion in the Furry Fandom

Candy Canines by Beastcub

Candy Canines by Beastcub

“It’s the freakin’ weekend. A blessing of rainbow unicorns dance around you. Your heart bursts with joy at the sight of a dairy cow and an otter gingerly embracing. Sweat drips down your face. You remove your head and wipe the sparkling droplets away with the back of your cerulean paw. A rabbit wearing paisley suspenders invites you to hop with him in a circle. You radiate happiness inside and out. You are not dead. You are not on acid. You are at a furry convention.”

This piece was a treat to write for Racked. Read the rest here.

Space Womb

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Original reporting done in 2009 by Sydney Parker. 

Art is gestating in Long Island City’s Space Womb. The new gallery conceived by artist Jongwang Lee features installation art, interpretive dance and music inspired by the spirituality of the female uterus. Mr. Lee envisions his exhibition as a home for embryonic life, “where one can leave material reality behind and return to the Utopian world of the mother’s womb.” He hopes to promote his vision while fostering the growth of developing artists in the community.space womb gallery

“It’s a little weird, but it’s nice to look at,” said Patricia Toranovich, manager of Court Square Diner located across the street.

Diners enjoy cheese Danish and a full view of the gallery’s galactic “Space Womb” sign imposed on a jet-pack black exterior and swathed in tongue-pink swirls extending all the way onto the sidewalk.

“The name is so strange, nobody knows what it is,” said Tina O’Brien, a bartender at The Shannon Pot, an Irish pub a few doors down from the gallery, “everyone is afraid to go in.”

Mr. Lee credits much of the inspiration for his art to his grandmother who was a famous Shaman in Korea.“During my childhood I was deeply impacted by her performance and felt a strong contact with the spiritual world,” says Lee swooping back a mass of long, dark hair.

Upon completion of his studies at prestigious art Universities in Seoul, Korea and Tokyo, Japan, Mr. Lee moved to New York, New York. He missed the familiarity of his birth country, but wanted to be reborn in the culturally and politically free American climate. His womb-themed art has been featured in group and solo shows throughout museums in California, Washington D.C. and New York. In June 2009 he opened his own gallery at 22-48 Jackson Avenue, LIC.

Space Womb’s address has a reputation in the working-class neighborhood as a haunt for eccentric proprietors. The storefront church, Iglesia De Dios that previously occupied the space held raucous Wednesday night prayer meetings much to the displeasure of neighboring businesses.

“They were singing and screaming late at night. I couldn’t stand the noise,” says Kenny Kang a sign constructor at nearby Eden Signs & More. The owner of the church was later committed to an insane asylum and the church sold to current landlord, Gregory Wolkoff.

The businesses bounding 22-48 Jackson Avenue are relieved by the quietness of their new neighbor. Mr. Lee’s unusual gallery provokes more than a few eyebrow raises, but doesn’t disturb the ebb and flow of the hard working Long Island City citizens arriving off the 7 train zooming overhead.

“I hope that my work encourages people to look within themselves and realize the unbelievable power of life and the dormant potential within each of us,” says Lee.

Mr. Lee is pleased with his gallery’s relatively soothing presence and hopes to continue infiltrating the neighborhood with his artistic and spiritual revelations.

“I like the name Space Womb, it’s funny,” says Michael Stein, a dreadlocked, 6’ 5” elevator mechanic taking a cigarette break in front of Colonial Elevator Corporation. “What the hell do they do in there?”