Thursday, July 31, 2008

Streaking: Remembering Mimi Orner

I've been thinking a lot lately about something my undergrad adviser, feminist media scholar Mimi Orner, once told me. I was feeling very uncomfortable and confused after exposing a lot of personal information in a class presentation. Mimi was empathetic to my feelings and said, "It feels like streaking, doesn't it?"

Lately I've been feeling like that with my Facebook addiction, in addition to uneasiness with public presentations, and especially with this blog. I've been grappling with my conflicting desire to expel and to share freely, and then feeling like I've exposed too much, put too much out into the world without being able to control who can access the information. And, of course, that's part of the thrill. But it's kind of terrifying. I have been trying to put my finger on it. And then I remembered Mimi.

It seems appropriate that 15 years after Mimi gave me a word for the feeling, I would wake up thinking about streaking, and it is immediately applicable. After all, Mimi was on the cutting edge of media practices, and my recent streaking streak is so connected to blogging and online social networks, media practices that are new for me and integral to my media evolution. Mimi’s class- along with meeting Karin Wolf and my subsequent introduction to Women in the Director's Chair- was my entrée into the world of media literacy, to thinking about the relationship between gender and media, to understanding media as activism, and even to making video myself (my first video “Sibling Walls” was a collaborative project for Mimi's class).

Mimi passed away a few years ago after a battle with ovarian cancer. She was too young and too important to go, and it sucked. But it makes me smile to think that her relevance to core developments in my life is just as immediate now as it was in 1993 when she was opening my eyes in ways fundamental to my feminist, activist, and artistic awakening and development, and indeed to my career and passion. And she definitely made me feel like it's OK to streak. But it's still scary, Mimi!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reunited (with the Bank cafeteria) and it feels so good!

Today Zara invited me to lunch at the Bank. What joy! It's been too too long. As I approached the visitor entrance on 18th Street, I was filled with excitement, anticipation, nerves...and hunger!

Zara looked stunning, as usual. And she was very actively engaged in helping me get good shots for the blog.

We reveled in the Bank's glorious art collection as we entered the building.

I liked both of these pieces quite a bit, actually. This one with fish sticking out of the wall was supercute. And the one below reminded me of a vulva & spear piece we have on view at NMWA right now, except this one is more focused on the spear aspect.

Finally we went downstairs to the tray station. I didn't realize, till that moment, just how much I had missed those purple, lime and fuchsia trays. But they replaced the displays of daily offerings with monitors exhibiting the dishes, an "improvement" I hope they'll reconsider. Hovering around digital images of the delights du jour is just not the same as jutting into the hordes of Bankers vying to make these difficult decisions all at once, carefully studying the sample dishes laid out to make our mouths water...

Entering into the cafeteria, finally, after all this was like coming home.

Needless to say, I was the first one through the line.

It was a special occasion for a mysterious IMF friend. He would not let me publish any pictures of him on this blog, because he is a secretive politico, one of those Washington types who makes it difficult to understand what he really does. But I'll tell you he's a European economist and we'll call him "Mr. Big" (this pseudonym is not of my choosing...). This is the back of his head.

Mr.Big actually got really into posing and he became a model...model, making expressive faces exhibiting a range of emotions. But he made me promise to label each of the photos of his face with "DO NOT PUBLISH," and I am a woman of my word. Mr. Big was also quite willing to take pictures of us, and I thought this backdrop was just fantastic, Bankers enjoy SUCH plush and aesthetically pleasing seating.

I appreciated Mr. Big's enthusiasm, especially considering his initial resistance to cooperation. I think at first he thought I was out to ruin his career or something, and you can't be too careful in Economics. He did allow me to photograph his meal.

And after he warmed up a bit, Mr. Big told me about IMF bylaws and things that were mysterious and exciting, explaining Bank/IMF governmental structure for me, illuminating me with tales of complicated statutes and tricks of the trade. We talked about video editing and summer music festivals.

I had a delicious curry and tomato rice dish- I especially like the African & South Asian station, and I made a bee-line for it. And I just love their raspberry iced tea. It's so exotic.

Svelte Zara had a rainbow roll. I know it might look like a normal rainbow roll, but Zara assured me that the rainbow rolls from the Bank are even more mouth-watering and flavorful than any other rainbow rolls anywhere, and I sure do believe her.

When we left the cafeteria, we walked across the street to the Ethiopian/Italian bookstore coffeeshop for the requisite post-Bank Lunch espresso. Mr. Big was getting birthday greetings left and right, and I enjoyed meeting more Bankers and IMF folk. For me, of course, it was overwhelming and wonderful, much like being at the red carpet on Oscar night. But they were so humble and modest, those Bankers, as though they didn't even realize their privilege and magnetism. We ran into Johannes on the street, and he expressed dismay that I was cheating on him. But I think deep down he understands the fundamental freelove that is the World Bank Lunch. Goodness knows, we evoked the name of our beloved Gerold repeatedly during this lunch...

Slowly, I had to prepare to head back to NMWA. It was hard to leave, of course, another emotional rollercoaster. But I made sure to flick off the "President's" residence on my way back to work.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Austrians tend to treat me right

This man can cook. I think he learned these skills at the Bank, in secret cafeteria cooking classes full of secret Bank kitchen wonders and poverty elimination through culinary excellence. And I take advantage of it at every turn, with some bs about wanting to share the viewing of some Herzog movies and blah blah blah.

Caro and her false modesty...

We always end up just watching "Weeds" anyway. I swear, it will be a miracle if we ever get around to the WOYZECK we've intended to watch for practically a year now.

This photograph is a bit embarrassing, exposing my crass American ways. I'm sure that when I wasn't looking, Caro was snickering about all that ice in my water...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

July in DC

My BFF at work, Diane. Diane is just GOODNESS. It's even gooder when we get drinks AFTER work.

Jason treated me to an awesome concert, trumpeter Arturo Sandoval at Blues Alley. So nice...

Friday night at the local bar, the local bar with my chums.

That leads to whooping their asses in scrabble. Of course, I think I was the only one playing competitively. Grandma Mohr would be proud of both my senseless winning and the way we used the whole board.

This was supposed to be a picture of a graceful napkin swan, not of me gracefully plugging my nose to withhold a sneeze.

My G's!

And the following night with...

These people again.

At a pirate bar. You can see signs of piracy all around me. It's all part of being a pirate.

Another day, more drinks. Now with Andrea! God, she gets SO wasted when we go out...

Continuing on at my new favorite bar, the Red Derby.

I guess Pascale and I got married at some point during the evening, somewhere between Asia Argento's armpit hair and the Container Store and this nice butterfly he created for his new wife. You can see in the etch-a-sketch the reflection of the man who we were disturbing with our loud talk of Robert Downey Jr.'s heart vagina in IRON MAN.

Post-African Diaspora Film Fest celebrating with Anneke & Nzingha...

and G. Glad it's over, but it was good.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Love/Hate relationship with Monogamy/Polyamory (but mostly my Love of Polygamy)

I appreciated this article by Tristan Taormino in today's Village Voice, "What If the Bachelorette Was Polyamorous?"

I wish we would talk about this stuff more, but I guess (I hope) we're beginning to. I mean, Margaret Mead identified marriage and that whole hetero-normative trap as outdated and anti-evolutionary back in the beginning of the last century. So how come it's taking us so long to have meaningful conversations about this stuff as a society? I guess because open non-monogamy is so taboo and thus difficult and messy, and because we're so invested in the patterns and the advantages of monogamy to the great institution of patriarchy etc. Dealing with these questions is what has given me my biggest growth spurts as a person, i.e. dealing with my jealousy/love/hate/envy/pain/joy repeatedly in ways that beat me up and also allow me to experience life fully. I am very grateful for this- I wouldn't want it any other way. But it's not easy, and I hope I can have the guts, and I hope that we all can have these conversations together, that it becomes less taboo to talk about these things openly.

I have a friend who has found herself in a situation where she is very immediately faced with all of these issues. And it is SO inspiring to me, like it gives me goosebumps, excited about our collective human growth goosebumps. She and the two people she's involved with are tackling all this stuff head on, really working it out rather than running away from it or giving up. I think they're so brave and awesome- I venerate them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nzingha's Orders

OK, they're not orders, but Nzingha (that's her above, on our trip to, um, Cancun) said that if I wanted anyone (besides me) to read my blog I had to post stuff regularly, like every day. That's difficult because I really contemplate this stuff, and I only post when I'm really inspired and have the leisure. But Nzingha always dishes to me straight (e.g. telling me my legs are actually prickly rather than smooth 2 days after waxing, and telling me that maybe I'm over-analyzing i.e. I should chill the fuck out about stuff). But she does this in a loving way, I mean I know this is coming from a loving and no bullshit place, and she is brilliantly smart, and this is also why I love Nzingha. When I first met Nzingha, I thought she hated me. And maybe she did. But now that I know that she has grown to love me, it means all the more that I thought she hated me. Isn't that beautiful?

So I seem to be into photographs. And I know I should do flicker or something, but as my mom said when I came out to her, "You never did choose the easy path." That's because I'm lost like Frost, mom! Kisses!

Now, I know that I could just post here interesting stuff that I find on line and see on the street and that would be a fine blog. For example, this billboard that's all over DC (now featuring a white couple too, the glorious diversity of the District of Columbia...) makes me gag on many, many levels. My friend Emily had a student who studied the ad campaign and found that it was an abstinence campaign of some rich white guy...

And then there are photos that just appeal to me, good memories or whatever. Like this snap from a White Sox game that was ostensibly my brother's bachelor party. Although Kurt's bachelor party was nothing like the ones that my bachelor party information source has clued me in on (involving Cabo and flight attendants and $40 blow jobs and shit), it was great. Vanilla and decadent. He won a sweet deal from a work golf tournament and we could order whatever we wanted, which included 2 bottles of dom perignon and lots of expensive cigars, courtesy of some big contractor, Mr. Rossi. I had a great time, didn't watch a moment of the game...

Even though I'm not really into horses, I do appreciate what they represent, and there's something I really like this photograph, from my friend, artist Rachel Brenneke...

And this photo of cupcakes that my friend Sara Varon recently made just makes my mouth water. She's been taking baking and decorating classes lately, and she has some serious inborn talent! I can't wait to taste them...

I could blog strictly about film stuff, I guess that would be worthwhile, god knows there is a dearth of women writing about film... This is Gael Garcia Bernal & Diego Luna at the, um, Cancun International Film Festival for the premiere of Gael's DEFICIT in December 2007.

Or even a nice travel blog, that could be fun. Here I am on the Inca Trail with Kelly for Kalindi's wedding in August 2005.

Maybe it's the exhibitionist in me, but I do like to see fotos of myself. My friend Mehrnaz has a son who's 11 and he loves to watch himself so much, that she will tape him and replay it for him and he'll watch for hours, rapt.

But I also just really love to show pictures of my vicarious offspring, because THEY ARE SO FUCKING CUTE!

WAIT! This was supposed to be about World Bank Lunches! I had that all figured out! OK, we're scheduled for Tuesday, I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Twilight Zone train to Würzburg, a wonderful visit... & home again

We have left the villa.
Now back to Munich and points beyond!
And then we board the train from hell. G tries her best to block it out with fascinating stories of Salt.
Nice Flensburger companion, for a while...
A new day! G at the Residenz in Würzburg.
A stop on a very nice walk with Rike.
Part of my series of signs involving depictions of German dogs shitting.
Chemistry in the kitchen!
I love this mother-daughter relationship. Cool women.
a lovely spot for dinner, per Sara's pickin' & courtesy of Ingolf.
Yum, but I'm still hungry...
That's better!
Fast friends.
Mmmmm, gathzpacho!
Giovanna's food looks good too...
Würzburg from above.
Rike from Topeka!
I snapped a picture of these bugs as if to exterminate them...
and David thought I was crazy. Ha!
Please don't let this end!
4:30 a.m. Würzburg-Nürmberg
Pastoral Bavaria at dawn.
Ponder it. How was salt relevant to the creation of this farmland?
I love you, S-Bahn!
Zee end.