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78 46 ARMED AND DANGEROUS Look out, world: Helen Mirren is packin’ heat. By Mikki Halpin

70 SHE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE Putting female research scientists and their groundbreaking work under the microscope. By Trina Arpin

52 WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY, HEDY? The stunning, true story of how screen siren Hedy Lamarr became the grandmother of modern-day cell phones. By Lynn Peril

58 LESS THAN ZERO One woman’s firsthand account of a winter spent at the most remote science research facility on earth—Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. By Michèle Gentille

76 FEMINIST HULK This Twitter phenomenon is smashing the patriarchy, 140 characters at a time. Produced by Mikki Halpin, illustrations by Rebecca Odes

78 SPELLBOUND Charlotte Kemp Muhl and Sean Lennon of the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger model looks dripping in occult opulence. Photographed by Glynis Selina Arban, styling by Priscilla Polley

64 THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES Mind-blowing closeup photographs of our little honey-making friends. By Rose-Lynn Fisher


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Broadcast South African rappers Die Antwoord are taking over the world; fighting fat talk is easier than you think; photographer Eleanor Moseman hits the road for girls’ education; and more. 12 She-bonics Lady Gaga, Erykah Badu, Kyra Sedgwick, and Anna Paquin for the win. By Whitney Dwire 16 Pop Quiz Remembering the great discoveries of Marie Curie. By Emily Rems 17 Boy du Jour David Cross brings his comedy to IFC. By Sabrina Ford 20 Hot Dates From October to November, we’ve got you covered. By Libby Zay


Real Life Amy Sedaris stretches as a crafter; public-speaking tips sure to get you heard; DIY vanilla extract is mmm-mmm good; and more. 26 Old School Grandma Monty’s German potato salad. By Kat Nelson 31 Buy or DIY Replace your boring old bling with a two-fingered ring. By Callie Watts


Looks A boutique owner shares her fashion flair; treat your ’do with a dry shampoo; Halloween getups that won’t make you throw up; and more. 36 BUST Test Kitchen Our interns give their skin a rub with lip balm, cleansing cream, and body scrub. 38 Page O’ Shit You’ll look mighty fly in these looks inspired by sci-fi. By Stephanie J


Sex Files Buying your first vibrator; and more. 100 Questions for the Queen Dr. Carol Queen’s legit tips for your lady bits. 102 One-Handed Read Trick or Treat. By Erin Lyndal Martin

Columns 14 Pop Tart The cultural shift toward Taylor Swift. By Wendy McClure 15 Museum of Femoribilia Disposable pads were totally rad. By Lynn Peril 22 News From a Broad Men may be better at erections, but gals excel at directions. By Kara Buller 27 Nickel and Dined We dare you not to start drooling after reading these four little words: peanut butter–caramel apples! By Isa Chandra Moskowitz 34 Mother Superior Dad’s trip to the dress-up box sparks a race against the clock. By Ayun Halliday 44 Around the World in 80 Girls Vancouver is for lovers. By Erin Gibbs 111 X Games What the Fuck? By Deb Amlen The BUST Guide 87 Music Reviews; plus the return of Corin Tucker! 92 Movies You Wont Miss Me once The Freebie leads to Orgasm Inc. 93 Books Reviews; plus Erika Lopez scores with her new memoir. 104 BUSTshop 112 The Last Laugh Tammy Pierce is at it again. By Esther Pearl Watson



Regulars 6 Editor’s Letter 8 Dear BUST


weird science ONCE UPON A time, I was a scientist. Through college and most of grad school, I was deep into research, studying the cellular basis of learning and memory. I even worked my way through two master’s degrees in psychobiology. I spent hour upon hour observing rats; I spent the better part of four years inserting electrodes into the tiny neurons of leeches (true story). But at a certain point, I couldn’t take it anymore. I loved the science part— wondering about how our amazing brains work and trying to puzzle out an answer kept me endlessly fascinated. Instead, it was the daily grind that got me. Spending most of my time in a cinderblock-walled lab surrounded by microscopes and machinery (and leeches!), I decided the lifestyle just didn’t suit me and left psychobiology to finish my graduate degree in the psychology of women (whom I like better than leeches). I understand now that I’m part of what is called the “leaky pipeline”—a phrase that describes how, as they get further along in the math and science fields, women drop out at a higher rate than men, leaving them far underrepresented in faculty and research positions. Being a lady scientist is both challenging and demanding, but one of the hardest things about it is that it’s still very much a man’s world (and possibly even a male culture, which I think is what chased me away). Happily, for this, our first-ever Science issue, we were able to find plenty of young women out there who are putting on their lab coats, rolling up their sleeves, and claiming their place in the world of science (page 70). It’s a tough road, but so worth it if it helps get more women into the field. After all, you can’t spell labia without lab! It can be difficult to stick it out day after day in a lab, sure, but imagine if you were locked in there for nine months straight with only a couple of other people to keep you company? That’s pretty much the situation for the scientists and their support staff at the Amundson-Scott South Pole Station. During the winter, folks check in, but they can’t check out—not until it gets warm enough for planes to land. What’s it like to spend a long, sunless winter as one of only 10 women stationed out on “the Ice”? Our writer did it and lived to tell the tale (page 58). Sometimes freezing weather can limit your options, and other times you can just get frozen out of an opportunity as a result of the cultural climate. That almost happened to Hollywood legend Hedy Lamarr. A beauty with brains to match, her opinion wasn’t welcome on scientific matters back in the 1940s. But she had an idea and stuck to her guns until she eventually landed a patent, along with a male collaborator, on an invention that today forms the basis of most cell-phone technology. You can read all about her fascinating life and scientific breakthrough on page 52. Another movie star who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what people think she should or shouldn’t do is Helen Mirren. I’ve adored this woman since I first saw her in the movie Cal back in the ’80s (if you can find it, watch it—it’s great), and I am honored to have our first real Dame on the cover of BUST. Having a successful acting career that spans almost 50 years, all while maintaining her integrity and still looking supercute in a bikini, Ms. Mirren leaves us asking, as Liz Lemon did on 30 Rock, “How is it possible? Is she a wizard?” She’s a true inspiration and—dare I say it?—role model for us all. If you’ve ever wondered WWHMD (What Would Helen Mirren Do?), you can find out on page 46. Halloween seems to be everyone’s favorite holiday around here, and Laurie and Callie are our resident costume queens. Last year, Laurie had the genius idea to go as Tippi Hedren in The Birds, and Callie went as a dreamcatcher. In this issue, we show you how to re-create Laurie’s clever costume, along with some other easy, last-minute ideas, and give you a couple of more ways to make this Halloween a killer: a gingersnap cocktail so good it’s scary, and peanut butter–caramel apples to die for. And if you love dressing up, you won’t want to miss this issue’s fashion spread. Filled with the most spellbinding styles, it’ll help you make every day Halloween. Finally, for a photo essay that’s both tricky and a treat, get up close and personal with insects in our amazing story “The Secret Life of Bees” (page 64). All that plus Amy Sedaris, Die Antwoord, Feminist Hulk, David Cross, and much, much, more. So put away your leeches, and read up. xoxoxo

Debbie 6 / BUST // OCT/NOV

ISSUE 65, OCT/NOV 2010



PUBLISHERS Laurie Henzel & Debbie Stoller DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING + MARKETING Emily Andrews, 212.675.1707 x112, SALES AND MARKETING MANAGER Susan Juvet, 212.675.1707 x104, BOOKKEEPER Amy Moore, EDITORIAL INTERNS: Alison Berry, Catie Colliton, Emily DiRienzo, Nicole Finkbiner, Brittany Jerlat, Nissa Lipowicz Skye Whitley ART INTERN: Kaelah Thomson WEB INTERN: Lisa Kirchner MARKETING INTERN: Sophie Johnson FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS Please email or call 866.220.6010 FOR BOOBTIQUE ORDERS Please email MEMBER OF THE MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS OF AMERICA

WWW.BUST.COM ©2010 BUST, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the permission of the publisher. The articles and advertising appearing within this publication reflect the opinions and attitudes of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publisher or editors. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608 Canada returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2


FOR THE LOVE OF BUST I love your magazine. I love it so much that I have subscribed and told all my friends that they should,, too. I love it enough to bravely saccrifice a few issues to the donation box at my conservative, small-town n public library in the hopes that some poor, repressed woman will come across it and discover the joys of sex toys, riot grrrl music, and kick-ass craftd kick ass craft ing. Then I will know that I have done my part. Kelli via email

REALITY TV TAKEDOWN Thank you, BUST and Ann Hirsch, for urging us to rethink reality TV (“Reality Bites!” Aug/Sept ’10). After my partner and I appeared on The Tyra Banks Show, I was ashamed and embarrassed over the twisted portrayal of our relationship, and I was forced to defend myself privately to friends, family, co-workers, and classmates. Thank you for honoring the many women who have had their character warped, soiled, or compromised by reality TV but who have not been able to express their feelings to the masses. Angela Giacchetti, Purchase, NY

NOT WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED I really enjoy your magazine and am a longtime reader. I think that’s why I was so disappointed by the anecdote included in the Molly Ringwald interview (“Forty-Two Candles,” Aug/Sept ’10) about the girl who wanted to be a nurse and later becomes a doctor instead. I have no objections to little Jenny’s eventual choice of career, but I do have an issue with the way the story was presented: as yet another example of the nursing profession being pigeonholed as “female” and therefore somehow less than the “male” profession of practicing medicine. Amanda “Proud to be an RN” Padilla, San Francisco, CA In your interview with Molly Ringwald, I was disappointed by the way the writer handled a story that Ms. Ringwald related in her book about a childhood friend who, upon telling Ringwald’s mother that she wanted to be a nurse, was met with the question, “Why not be a doctor?” As an aspiring member of this historically ma8 / BUST // OCT/NOV

ligned career, I must point out that perpetuating the paternalistic and disrespectful notion that nursing—a massively female-majority field—is a lesser profession is certainly not the stance I would have hoped for from such an otherwise pro-woman publication. Amelia Johnson, nursing student, Glens Falls, NY

WE GET SCHOOLED ON TEACHING ABROAD Sadly, your article “Lesson Learned” (Aug/Sept ’10) by Jessica Olien tells of a certain percentage of schools that teach English in foreign countries. While I have not taught English in Thailand, I did vacation there several times while spending five years teaching English in Taiwan and Japan. To make a long story short, your article highlights a worst-case scenario. If I had read it [before teaching abroad], I would have missed out on one of the greatest adventures of my life. I’m proud to say that I taught English abroad and met some of the most amazing and inspiring women. It’s a damn shame that Ms. Olien had such an awful time. But it’s an even bigger shame that her article might take away that chance for adventure from some of your readers. Jill D., Austin, Texas I have been teaching English in Prague for a year. Sure, it used to be a matter of showing up and speaking English, but now you’re required to have a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certification at minimum. So while “Lesson Learned” was a good read, it frustratingly painted all TEFL teachers with the same brush. I wish that more people who were actually interested in teaching would come over here and give it a shot. I wish that fewer of my coworkers were partiers and drinkers so that the jobs would go to more motivated and qualified people. Those of us working on changing the profession—one class at a time—would like it to stop being considered something people do between drinking binges. Liz Kellner, Prague, Czech Republic Jessica Olien’s story about teaching English in Thailand was heartbreaking. It can be a truly fantastic way to experience a country’s culture and to learn the language. I was lucky to spend a brilliant year in Madrid in 1991-92. Fast-forward a few years to the summer of 1996. One of my fellow teachers, Charlotte from Los Angeles, sent me a copy of a magazine called BUST. I didn’t know what hit me! Fourteen years and I’ve never missed a copy. Tara Gleeson, Dublin, Ireland

OOPS, WE DID IT AGAIN I just saw the article about me (“Take a Bow,” Aug/Sept ’10) in the new issue of BUST! It stated I retired, and I want to set the record straight: I did not retire. When the Follies closed, I got a better offer. It’s very exciting, and I have many things ahead. Thanks for the sensational story. Sincerely, Dorothy Dale Kloss, the World’s Oldest Working Showgirl

Get it off your chest! Send feedback to: Letters, BUST Magazine, 18 West 27th street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10001. Email: Include your name, city, state, and email address. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


Andrio Abero, who illustrated “She Blinded Me with Science,” is a Filipino-American graphic designer and illustrator from Seattle, living and working in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. His former studio, 33rpm, is internationally recognized and known for projects promoting Seattle’s vibrant music scene. He has proudly worked with Microsoft, Comedy Central, Astralwerks, The New York Times, and Live Nation, producing distinctive work comprising integrated type and image. He is a recipient of the ADC Young Guns 4 award. Trina Arpin, who wrote “She Blinded Me with Science,” is a writer and archaeologist in Boston, MA, where she is a research associate at Boston University. She has written about archaeology, geology, and biology for Research at BU, Triplepoint, and the Broad Institute, and has excavated sites in Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. She once spent a night with a cockroach stuck in her ear, and if you ask her nicely, she’ll tell you the story. Our new News From a Broad columnist Kara Buller has snatched up prizes from Chicago, New York, and other top cities for her biting stand-up comedy. She has performed as far west as Maui and as far sad as a Midwestern memorial service. Deemed “very smart, very funny” by David Letterman’s chief talent booker, she is a member of Chicago Underground Comedy and the comedy girl group Spitfire. Buller can often be found yelling into a microphone south of 14th Street in New York City as well as at When she’s not buying cat toys to prepare for her life of spinsterhood, BUST food stylist Lauren LaPenna is creating highclass pornography…for gourmands. After graduating with a degree in hospitality from Niagara University, LaPenna hightailed it to the Big Apple to pursue her dreams in the restaurant biz but ended up falling in love with food design. She now finds herself regularly strolling through chic markets and placing spoons “just so” to elicit desire deep within the loins of whoever happens to see her work. Rebecca Odes, whose illustrations brought the Feminist Hulk to life in this issue, has co-written and illustrated a bunch of books for women and girls, including the bestselling sex/life guide Deal With It! and most recently, From the Hips. Before that, she co-founded the Web site and played in some indie-rock bands. 10 / BUST // OCT/NOV




WHEN THE VIDEO for “Enter the Ninja” by South African rave-rap crew Die Antwoord debuted online earlier this year, the Internet collectively freaked out over their quick-fire ranting, baby-voiced choruses, and ’80s-inpired gutter style. The group’s site, in fact, was disabled by millions of hits, and almost overnight they became instant viral superstars. But what’s the deal with these previously unknown rhyme spitters? Are the aggressively trashy MCs Ninja [left], Yo-Landi Vi$$er [right] and their DJ Hi-Tek mounting some sort of Ali G.–style prank, or are they really down-and-out Cape Town kids? Is their group an art project or perhaps a send-up of the most redneck aspects of lower-class white South African culture? »

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Vi$$er and Ninja are strange bedfellows

Ironically, Die Antwoord (pronounced “dee ontwart”) means the answer in Afrikaans, but Ninja, whose given name is Waddy Jones, and the pixie-like Vi$$er aren’t telling. And it seems that their fans, who include David Lynch and District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, are too mesmerized by their videos and explosive beats to care. Since they became a Web phenomenon, the group has signed with Interscope, performed at Coachella, embarked on a global tour, and is preparing to release their debut album, $O$, this fall—a collection that promises to introduce their homegrown style of “zef” music to the world. “People relate zef to [redneck], but it’s different in South Africa. It’s poor but fancy,” explains Vi$$er, who’s kicking back in an oversized T-shirt, shorts, and fluffy slippers when I meet up with the two MCs in their posh N.Y.C. hotel room. “Zef style is more like you’re looking fucking fancy or feeling fancy, thinking fancy,” adds the soft-spoken Ninja, sporting a Vanilla Ice haircut, gold teeth, jailhouse-style tattoos, and a gray hotel robe as if by way of illustration.


Relaxing on a sofa while snacking on coffee and French fries, Ninja describes their unique fusion style as “a bit of an accident,” since they were both into rave and rap music when they met. “The beats and the fuckin’ energy levels of this shit are so fucking fierce, but the vocals always suck,” he says of traditional rave music. “So we started putting a futuristic, more advanced style of rhyming over rave.” Vi$$er agrees. “We still have the gangster element, but we also have the funky, next-level, highenergy rap, like, pomp,” she explains, pumping her tiny fist. A pair with undeniable chemistry, Vi$$er and Ninja, who say they are now just friends, have a school-age child together and are often so in tune that they finish each other’s sentences. When I ask how they unwind, Ninja is barely able to explain that he’s tried yoga (“It made me quite chilled,” he says) before Vi$$er jumps in to seal the deal. “Ninja used to live in a temple,” she interjects mysteriously. “I mean, he is a ninja.” [JENNI MILLER]


“Seventy-nine percent of the time, I’m shocked by how people respond [to my videos], because I don’t really think they’re particularly groundbreaking or shocking. I think it’s just me and who I am, and that I’m a feminist.” Lady Gaga in Rolling Stone “Twitter’s so great, because it’s like mini therapy. You just kind of say what you feel. Like, ‘Ooh, tomatoes are hot today,’ or in my case, ‘I just finished walking down the street naked, and I feel liberated.’” Erykah Badu in Vibe “I embrace my flaws and quirks and can laugh at myself. Having children, you’ve got to face your shit or be ruled by it. I really believe that.” Kyra Sedgwick in More “I’ve probably always known I was bisexual. I’m really lucky; I grew up in an openminded, supportive family, so my sexuality was never stigmatized or scary or out of bounds. I’m comfortable with who I am, and it’s not an issue.” Anna Paquin in Self

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princess superstar LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE GOOD WITCH OF POP MUSIC MY BOYFRIEND AND I went on a road trip last summer to a Laura Ingalls Wilder fest in the Midwest. Scores of little girls were running around with their hair braided just like in Little House on the Prairie, no doubt daydreaming about wading in Plum Creek. But it turns out that those

shines apart from all the bedazzled Hannah Montana merchandise or the Twilight sparkle that gleams off the biceps of creepily possessive vampire boyfriends. For one thing, Swift is past her teen years. She also has more career autonomy than a lot of stars her age (she turned

Taylor Swift is Glinda the Good Witch. She appears in a big, shimmery bubble to guide countless uncertain Dorothys making their way through the baffling Oz of middle school and first boyfriends. sweet half-pints also dream about being Taylor Swift. One nine-year-old walked by our table in a restaurant, and when I smiled at her, she stopped in her tracks and declared proudly, “I’m gonna be a singer, and my favorite singer is Taylor Swift!” before marching off to refill her soda. At the time, I thought I knew who Taylor Swift was: another wholesome pop teen sensation who gets hailed as the anti-Britney. But on closer inspection, I can see she’s more than that. Swift’s star

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down one of those artist-development deals so she could perform her own songs), and what appears to make her so sparkly is her utterly charmed life. She reportedly excels at acting as well as songwriting, all while wielding a rhinestonestudded acoustic guitar that looks like it could’ve come from a fairy godmother. Speaking of fairy tales, the princess comparisons are inevitable, with her long blond ringlets, a tendency to wear swirly satin-and-tulle numbers, and, of course,

a song called “Today Was a Fairytale.” But the princess title doesn’t seem to fit Swift either. If anything, she’s Glinda the Good Witch. She appears in a big, shimmery bubble (a video screen!) to guide countless uncertain Dorothys making their way through the baffling Oz of middle school and first boyfriends. She also owes some of her magic powers to the classic country-music wisdom that’s perfectly suited to the needs of young girls. Honey, you’re going to get your heart broken, her songs tell them, and when it happens, it’s OK to be angry. These aren’t the most radical messages, not by a long shot, but for a generation of girls sold short by abstinence-only initiatives and inundated with the depressingly retrograde notion that you’re supposed to wait for “the one,” hearing Taylor Swift sing “Back then I swore I was going to marry him someday/But I realized some bigger dreams of mine,” can only help. No doubt, what speaks as plainly as her lyrics is the fact that they’re autobiographical; her song catalog is an open diary. And while her real-life experiences include dating that Jonas Brother with the purity ring, Swift also refuses to make pronouncements about whether or not she’s “saving herself.” When asked in a magazine interview if she’d chosen to remain a virgin, Swift replied, “I think when you talk about virginity and sex publicly, people just automatically picture you naked.” Notice how chaste she sounds. Then notice how she pointed out the totally hypocritical prurience of our cultural obsession with virginity. Hmm! The religious right loves to tell stories about “consequences” for teens, the kind where girls who have sex suffer endless regrets, but when you hear Swift’s lyrics about sneaking out to meet a boy at night, you can’t help but notice that regardless of what happened, she turned out just fine. Maybe she isn’t as much of a covert feminist as I imagine her to be, but I like that in her world, you’re entitled to a happy ending, not as a reward for virtue but just for being yourself. Or, as Glinda would say, for always having the power all along.



seeing red



PRIOR TO THE late 19th century, most women made their own sanitary napkins. The author of For Girls (1888) explained that these were “square, folded corner-wise into a narrow strip and worn between the limbs, fastened by the two remaining diagonal corners to some part of the clothing, back and front,” usually suspended from a muslin or elastic belt. Linen napkins were more easily cleaned than cotton ones, but all needed “to soak in cold water a few hours before washing,” a laborious process in the days before electricity and automatic washer-dryers. »


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broadcast According to historians Janice Delaney, Mary Jane Lupton, and Emily Toth, the “first commercial disposable pad[s]” were “Lister’s Towels,” marketed by Johnson & Johnson in 1896. A 1907 ad for Lister’s Compressed Napkins notes that they were “to be burned after use.” The problem for Lister’s, however, was that social mores made it impossible to advertise them in general-interest publications. The ad quoted above, for example, was published in The Trained Nurse and Hospital Review. Then, during the First World War, Army nurses stationed in France noticed that the cellulose fiber wadding used for surgical dressings was much more absorbent than cotton—and made an excellent menstrual pad. When paper manufacturer Kimberly-Clark was left with a surplus of the material after the armistice, the modern, disposable sanitary napkin was born. Kotex, named for its “cotton-like texture,”

appeared in drugstores in 1920. Johnson & Johnson followed with its Modess brand in 1926. (Confidets, the first contoured pad, didn’t appear on the market until 1961.) Many young women who made pads at home started using store-bought ones in college throughout the 1920s. These young women, in turn, introduced their mothers, sisters, and other female relatives to these products. Historian Sharra Vostral pointed to a 1929 series of ads called “Modernizing Mother” in which daughters taught their mothers about Modess sanitary napkins and helped them become “modern Americans” in the process. But even the boldest college girl might suffer embarrassment if she had to interact with a male drugstore clerk when making a pad purchase. That’s why Kotex’s vague name and simple blue box provided camouflage—at least at first. “It is now as

easy to buy sanitary pads without counter conversation as to buy hair nets or face powder. The one word ‘Kotex’ has made it so,” proclaimed a 1922 ad. Six years later, Modess did its rival one better when it created a “silent purchase coupon” that a consumer simply handed over to the clerk in exchange for a box of pads. American women eventually got over their self-consciousness, spending $2.5 billion on feminine hygiene products in 2003. And indeed, cost is one reason that some women are now returning to the idea of reusable pads. Concern for the environment is another: one manufacturer of cotton menstrual napkins estimates that the average woman uses 6,800 pads (or tampons) in her lifetime—most of which wind up in landfills. Perhaps the sanitary napkin of the future is one that our greatgreat-great-great-great-grandmas would recognize after all.

1. Maria (aka Marie) Skłodowska Curie was born the youngest of five children in 1867 to a couple who were well known ______. a. circus performers b. teachers c. chefs d. drunkards

6. That same year, Marie announced her discovery of two new elements. What were they? a. lithium and dubnium b. polonium and radium c. tantalum and osmium d. strontium and vanadium

2. Marie’s hometown was called Vistula Land and was part of the Russian Empire. What country is her birthplace in now? a. Czech Republic b. Belarus c. Poland d. Ukraine


3. How old was Marie when she followed her sister Bronisława to Paris, where she obtained higher degrees, did her scientific work, and became a citizen? a. 15 b. 18 c. 24 d. 30

[BY EMILY REMS] A SCIENTIFIC GENIUS born light-years ahead of her time, Marie Curie was the first woman in France to earn a doctorate degree, the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne, and the first person ever awarded two Nobel Prizes in two different disciplines—all during an era when women were discouraged from entering laboratories at all. Think you know why Marie and science had such good chemistry? Then take the quiz!

4. In 1894, Marie met and was attracted to her future husband, physicist Pierre Curie, because of their mutual interest in _____. a. relativity b. pheromones c. frogs d. magnetism

7. Marie was awarded her Nobel Prizes in 1903 and 1911. What were they for? a. physics and chemistry b. physics and mathematics c. medicine and chemistry d. chemistry and peace 8. Which of these family members assisted Marie in her Nobel Prize–winning work? a. Her husband Pierre Curie b. Her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie c. Her son-in-law Frédéric Joliot-Curie d. All of the above 9. Marie died on July 4, 1934, at age 66, from aplastic anemia, a disease she contracted from career-long exposure to _______. a. X-rays b. radioactivity c. lasers d. ultraviolet

10. Complete the following Marie quote: “I have no ___ 5. In 1898, Marie made history when she coined what term except the one I wear every day. If you are going to be kind to describe the penetrating rays emitted by certain elements? enough to give me one, please let it be practical and dark.” a. X-rays b. radioactivity a. dress b. expression c. lasers d. ultraviolet c. coat d. attitude Answer Key: 1. b, 2. c, 3. c, 4. d, 5. b, 6. b, 7. a, 8. d, 9. b, 10. a

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boob tube


COMEDIAN DAVID CROSS PLAYS A SCHMO ON HIS NEW IFC SHOW THERE ARE JUST a few things David Cross has in common with the bumbling idiot he plays on The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, his uproarious new IFC series debuting in October. “He’s just not very bright or competent,” says the razor-sharp 46-year-old comedian, “but we share a number of physical characteristics. We’ve both lost our hair and have a pug nose.” Cross also assigned himself the enviable task of fattening up to make his character “dumpier.” The N.Y.C.-based actor achieved this by enjoying his time in London where the show is filmed, “drinking 10 to 12 pints of beer a day. And I mean every day.”


On the show, Todd Margaret is a lowly office temp who is mistaken for a hard-ass with managerial potential and granted the professional opportunity of a lifetime by his boss (played by the hilarious Will Arnett)—only he’s completely unprepared. The first episode opens with Cross’ character on trial for several crimes, and the rest of the six-episode series explains how he got there. Along the way, we see his misadventures in business and with women. “Once that story is told, the show will cease to exist,” explains Cross. “It’s different than your average comedy where you sort of check in on these characters and they don’t really grow or there aren’t consequences.” »

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The male gaze

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the writing’s on the wall OPERATION BEAUTIFUL’S QUEST TO END FAT TALK ONE STICKY NOTE AT A TIME IT ALL STARTED after a bad day. Juggling work and school last year, 26-year-old Floridian Caitlin Boyle was stressed. “I was standing in a public bathroom, and I was struck by this urge to do something nice for somebody,” she says. “I wrote, ‘You are beautiful’ on a scrap of paper, and I put it on the mirror.” She then took a photo of the note, posted it online, and asked readers to send in their own photos of publicly posted sticky-note affirmations aimed at combating fat talk among women. Three days later,, a place where ladies can share their Post-It photos and stories, was born. Since Boyle launched the site in 2009, Operation Beautiful has become a phenomenon, with hundreds of participants sending in examples of their affirmative handiwork from all over the world. The results were so moving, Boyle compiled them into

a book. Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-it Note at a Time (Penguin) was released in August, featuring 125 of the best notes she has received, stories from the women who posted them, and tips on living a more positive life. When asked which response has been the most memorable for her, Boyle can pick one out right away. It was an email from a bulimic teen. “She was going to purge,” says Boyle. “She had closed the bathroom stall, and then she saw this Operation Beautiful note that someone had left there that told her she was good enough and that she was beautiful just the way she was. She said it really felt like it was a message from the universe that she needed to change her behavior. I wish it was more socially acceptable to talk about how awesome we all are!” [JAMIE FLEMING]


Unlike the hapless douchebag he plays on TV, Cross is lucky in love these days. He’s dating actress (and BUST poetry columnist!) Amber Tamblyn, who he says makes working abroad easier on him by visiting London to guest-star on Todd Margaret and by caring for the couple’s dog, Ollie Redsocks. In return for being such a great partner, Tamblyn enjoys “lots and lots of laughter,” says Cross, as well as his homemade blackeyed peas with ham hocks. And while Todd Margaret must deal with the consequences of too many lies, Cross says he never lies—at least not in his stand-up act. So when he explains in his new comedy CD/DVD Bigger and Blackerer (Sub Pop) that he can’t possibly be racist because he lost his virginity to a black hooker, it’s not just a punch line—it’s true. Fresh out of high school, Cross spent the summer of 1982 in New York “just being a corny romantic 18-yearold who was going to write the great American novel.” After deciding it was time to lose his virginity one lonely night, Cross traveled to Times Square in search of the right opportunity. She appeared in the form of a working girl, sporting a sequined top and booty shorts. “I drank and drank to get my courage up,” says Cross, who, after paying for a service that didn’t technically compromise his virgin status, persuaded the lady of the evening to cut him a break on the price and let him go all the way. “She was the classic hooker with a heart of gold,” he recalls. “I thought it would make a great story for a feminist magazine years later.” [SABRINA FORD]


hot dates


October 8 – 9 INTERNATIONAL BLACK WOMEN’S FILM FEST This Berkeley, CA, film festival has been showcasing work by black women since 2002. And in 2010, the IBWFF will kick off with a sing-along showing of The Wiz before launching into screenings of 10 femalehelmed features and opening up a free, public handicrafts-and-arts fair dubbed Made with Soul. To purchase tickets and more, visit Moseman’s snapshots of her bike and of herself with a new friend in Inner Mongolia

wheels on fire

ELEANOR MOSEMAN’S RIDE FOR GIRLS’ EDUCATION IS AN INSPIRATION BY THE TIME you read this, 30-year-old Eleanor Moseman may well be cycling out of Mongolia to avoid the autumn snow and heading toward western China, where she will follow the Silk Road south (past mustachioed wild buffalo that she says “look like Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I.”). But then again, maybe not. There have been a lot of ups and downs since this American photographer living in Shanghai planned out an epic solo photo/bicycle expedition around Asia. Moseman started her ride in April as a way to raise money for girls’ education worldwide and to get her out into the countryside she longed to explore. She hopes to complete her 10,000-mile ride across China in just under a year, but now that she’s about halfway through her journey, she knows better than anybody that changes in direction and time frame are par for the course. “Sometimes I meet people who tell me, ‘You should check this place out,’ or they’ll warn me, ‘Don’t go there,’” she says, “and so my path is always changing.” If Moseman’s direction wavers a little, however, her sense of purpose never does. Constantly drumming up support for the grass-roots charities Girls Education International (which helps expand educational opportunities for girls in remote regions globally) and Stepping Stones China (which helps migrant girls in Shanghai pass their middle-school exams) as she rides, Moseman says it’s the encouragement she gets from women all over China that inspires her to keep going. “Women will call me sister, or little girls will call me auntie,” she says. “There’s just a very tight relationship between females in this country.” Still, very real dangers exist for a woman traveling alone. In July, Moseman was forced to change her route again, this time to escape a small village not far from the Mongolian border where she was the victim of an attempted rape. But despite this terrifying incident, Moseman decided to ride on. “My mother raised me to not take any shit,” she says. “I just hope that every girl, no matter where she lives, knows she can do something to influence another girl’s life.” To follow Moseman’s progress, read her updates from the road, and donate to Girls Education International and Stepping Stones China, visit [PHOEBE MAGEE]

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October 9 BREAST FEST During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, “Pinktober” celebrations will be raising money across the nation to find a cure, but Baltimore, MD, does it with added flair. Located at Nick’s Fish House on the harbor, Breast Fest will feature live music, drinks, and vendors selling goods for the Tyanna Foundation, named in honor of a mother who died of breast cancer at age 48. Last year the event raised more than $100,000. Click on over to baltimore and find out how to get involved, hon. November 4 – 7 SIREN NATION WOMEN’S MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL Siren Nation is a Portland, OR–based feminist collective whose mission is “to inspire and empower women of all ages to create their own art and to highlight the many achievements of women in the arts.” Year-round, the sirens host performances, exhibitions, and workshops—but their annual fest is their crowning event. Expect to see feminist films, girl-fronted bands, and women-centric art exhibitions. For a full schedule of events, check out www. November 11 – 14 THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S STUDIES ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE The theme of the NWSA conference this year is “Difficult Dialogues” and aims to “explore a range of concepts and issues that remain undertheorized and underexamined in the field of women’s studies.” Keynote speakers include author Renya Ramirez and Andrea Smith, a co-founder of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. The colloquium will take place at the Sheraton in Denver, CO, and students get in for half-price, so register now at [COMPILED BY LIBBY ZAY]

show and tell



REBECCA MORGAN IS extremely comfortable with nudity. The 26-year-old artist and recent Pratt Institute graduate would have to be, considering her larger-thanlife pencil drawings feature her rendered naked or only partially clothed and often contorted into explicit poses. “People always ask me if it’s awkward at shows,” says Morgan, whose work recently appeared at N.Y.C.’s Gasser Grunert Gallery. “But I swear I could just chuck all my clothes off right here and I wouldn’t even bat an eyelash.” Hailing from Clearfield, PA, Morgan claims to be the most vain person she knows, but vain hardly seems to describe the subject of such works as “Salt Lick,” which shows a nude Morgan crouched and lewdly tonguing a block of salt, or “Redneck Picnic,” in which she enjoys a feast of Cheetos and Mountain Dew while draped over a dead buck. Now living in Brooklyn, she calls Clearfield a picturesque but conservative farm town where fine art was usually interpreted as a snowy barn scene. “Growing up, homemaker, mother, teacher, or nurse were the options,” she says. “I’d love to live on a farm in the woods, but I can’t be an artist there.” As a result, Morgan’s work revolves around her love/hate relationship with her upbringing. In her drawings, snaggle-toothed, oversexed girls lounge grotesquely in the woods of Appalachia, surrounded by prize-winning preserves or hunting dogs. “I always come back to the theme of a return to the primitive,” she says. “I like encouraging people to return to the woods and forget social constructs.” Her huge drawings, some of which

Morgan’s seven by four foot graphite on paper drawing “I Love New York”

measure seven by five feet, are rendered with a regular No. 2 pencil and summon a hedonistic otherworld centered on over-the-top sex, gluttony, sloth, and violence. She also riffs on traditional crafting culture with ceramic pieces that recall Precious Moments figurines but depict spread-eagled women instead of big-eyed cherubs and children. “The stereotype of rednecks is that they’re slack-jawed and vacant and blissfully unaware,” says Morgan. “I’m

reclaiming the stereotype of the bumpkin. Every bumpkin that I draw is a selfportrait.” The world of Morgan’s art does deviate in one major way from the redneck stereotype, however: it’s populated almost entirely by women. “I always put women in male spaces,” she says. “Back home, everything is so male-dominated, so I put myself and my mom in place of two guy hunters. I’m reclaiming the male realm. Plus, it’s more fun to draw bad girls.” [EMILY MCCOMBS]

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broadcast NEWS FROM A BROAD [BY KARA BULLER] ate a clearly unconstitutional slippery slope. The ruling also establishes that these moms need treatment, not jail time. “Medical organizations are nearly unanimous in opposing these sorts of prosecutions because they drive women away from the very people who can help them,” says Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, attorney for the ACLU. So whether it’s through Narcotics Anonymous or Pregnant Skiers Anonymous, reckless Kentucky moms-to-be can now seek help without worrying about landing in jail.

WALK OF SHAME Street harassment in Bangladesh leading to suicides

guided by female voices LADY DRIVERS GET YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO GO THE NEXT TIME a Clark Griswold type approaches you at a rest stop all lost and confused, you can help out with confidence knowing that according to a study conducted by St. Joseph’s University, women give better directions than men

while it may be slightly less embarrassing, your dad’s “Three klicks past U.S. 12,” doesn’t help as much as your mom’s “Go past the yarn shop that looks like a big red barn, and then you’ll pass a giant fiberglass loon….”

According to a study conducted by St. Joseph’s University, women give better directions than men do. do. During the course of the study, the Daily Telegraph reports, the research team approached 30 male and 30 female drivers at a gas station, asking each for directions to a nearby attraction. A quarter of the women gave entirely accurate directions, three percent more than the men. And while women were more reluctant to guess how long a journey might take, when they did, their estimates were more accurate. The researchers also noticed that the women took their time giving directions, often pausing and talking out loud as they envisioned the route. So

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REHABILITATION, NOT INCARCERATION No jail for drug-addicted moms in KY According to the ACLU, the Kentucky Supreme Court recently affirmed that a woman cannot be charged with wanton endangerment of her fetus as a result of doing drugs while pregnant. The ruling came after the prosecution of Ina Cochran, a woman who, along with her newborn child, tested positive for cocaine shortly after delivery. Five out of seven Kentucky Supreme Court Justices ruled that using criminal laws to punish women for prenatal behavior would cre-

And I thought I had it bad in Brooklyn enduring the occasional “Hey, Mami” on my way to get a latte! Unwilling to endure the humiliation that is the result of having been the victim of sexual harassment on their streets, 14 girls and women and one father-daughter pair in Bangladesh have committed suicide in a span of four months, according to the human-rights organization ASK. The violations they were responding to, which range from verbal taunts to groping to removal of clothing, all go by the curious moniker “Eve teasing.” And they appear to be on the rise thanks to unenforced harassment laws and a citizenry afraid to intervene in the wake of the murders of three men this year who spoke out against the practice. According to, Bangladesh’s minister of education says fears over young women being disgraced simply by leaving the house have reached such extremes that some schools have closed down, and girls are dropping out of school or entering into marriage prematurely because their parents believe having a husband will save them from these dangers. Many bristle at the term “Eve teasing,” saying its allusion to the biblical temptress implies women are to blame for the come-ons. However, one Indian women’s group, Blank Noise, encourages the term because having a name for this behavior makes it easier for women to admit it’s happening and to get help.


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craftercise AMY SEDARIS SHARES A FEW MOVES TO TRY BEFORE YOU DIY IT IS CRUCIAL to keep yourself limber before crafting. The better range of motion of your muscles, the better they can handle the rigors of crafting. Nothing causes lumbar tension quite like the act of dribble waxing. When crafting, every part of the body is tested, which is why it’s important to stretch from head to toe. That means rotating joints, extending the trunk, grinding the gluteus, maximizing the maximus. Contract all that wobbles. Leave no tendon unturned. Just follow these helpful examples. »


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real life

Excerpted from Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris (November, 2010). © 2010 by Amy Sedaris. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. All rights reserved.


grandma monty’s german potato salad MY GRANDMA MONTY (a child’s corruption of her given name, Monica, that stuck) was a reallife Rosie the Riveter: she worked in a munitions factory and served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. Though fiercely patriotic, she remained proud of her German heritage. A granddaughter of German immigrants, she and her 10 siblings were born and raised on a Minnesota farm. When her father insisted she leave school after eighth grade to help with the farm work, she instead left home and boarded with a family in town, working as their housekeeper so she could continue her education. Grandma enjoyed her independence and remained single until she was past 30, highly unusual for the time and place. Grandma Monty made a humble and delicious German potato salad, which she’d serve up on our family trips to her house in Winsted, MN, where I’d spend lazy afternoons watching General Hospital on her lap. Like my Grandma, this recipe has its roots in Germany, but its no-frills adaptations mark it as solidly Midwestern. To make this mayonnaise-less spud salad, boil 8 medium new potatoes in their skins until done; drain, peel, and cut into 1" cubes. While they’re cooking, fry 6 slices of bacon until crisp, then drain on paper towels, saving the drippings. Add 2 Tbsp. flour to the pan drippings, and blend until smooth. Whisk in 3⁄4 cup water and 1⁄2 cup white or cider vinegar. Boil for 1 minute. Stir in 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1⁄2 tsp. celery seed, and a dash of pepper. Pour this mélange over the hot potatoes, stir in 1⁄2 cup minced onion, and crumble bacon on top. Serve warm. Guten appetit! [KAT NELSON]

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sticky sweet PEANUT BUTTER–CARAMEL APPLES DO YOU LOVE to spread creamy peanut butter on crisp, delicious apples? This recipe takes that heaven and multiplies it by 10, just in time for Halloween. Caramel apples are a sweet treat, but they can cost $5 a pop. And if you’ve tried to go the DIY route, you know that caramel-making is an art, one you might not have time to perfect in between doling out candy to the neighborhood ghouls and crafting up your perfect slutty-angel costume. This recipe dumbs it down with a secret culinary weapon: brown rice syrup. Now, it may not be the cheapest ingredient out there—it costs around $6 a jar—but it pretty much guarantees that your caramel will turn out perfect. It will also save you some money at the dentist! The natural sugars in brown rice syrup are much easier on your pearly whites than the loads of refined sugar found in regular caramel. Roasted peanuts top off the apple, making all your ooey-gooey, sweet-and-salty dreams come true.


INGREDIENTS Makes 6, $1.90 per serving 6 apples (Granny Smith or Pink Ladies are a good choice) 1 ⁄2 cup no-stir, smooth, natural peanut butter, at room temperature 1 ⁄2 cup brown rice syrup, at room temperature 1 cup salted roasted peanuts, well chopped 6 bamboo skewers (Tip: disposable chopsticks from your fave Chinese takeout joint work well too. Plus they’re free!) Parchment paper

DIRECTIONS Stick a skewer through the bottom of each apple. Make sure the apples are secure. Set aside. Spread a piece of parchment paper over a cutting board. Make room in your fridge for the cutting board, because

you’ll be chilling the whole shebang. Combine peanut butter and brown rice syrup in a small saucepan. Gently warm over low heat, stirring constantly with a fork just until smooth and heated through. It should fall from your fork in ribbons. Different peanut butters have varying amounts of moisture, though, so if it seems stiff, turn the heat off immediately and add a little brown rice syrup until it’s fluid again. Use a spoon to spread peanut butter– caramel over the entire apple, just enough to cover. Sprinkle with bits of peanuts, pressing them into the caramel to make them stick (it’s OK if a few fall off). Place apple upside down on the parchment paper, and repeat to make the rest of the peanut butter–caramel apples. Transfer the cutting board with the apples to the fridge. Let set for at least three hours. Now your apples are ready to eat!

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real life

speak easy SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PROUD, WITH THESE SPEECH-GIVING TIPS IF YOU WERE asked to give a speech to a roomful of people, could you do it? For lots of women, public speaking is scary stuff. But if you back away from the challenge, you may be missing out on things like impressing your boss with a killer presentation or giving a moving toast at your BFF’s wedding. Anyone can be a good public speaker, even if the thought makes your palms sweat and your heart pound. I know because over the past six years, I’ve traveled across the country with the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership—a non-profit dedicated to professional development for women— teaching hundreds of mic-shy gals how to deliver a speech. The hardest part is saying yes when given the opportunity. Once you’ve done that, focus on one or two of the following tips at a time while practicing your speech and pretty soon, you’ll feel like a pro.

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ENTER WITH ENERGY Leave your fear behind by walking into the space with enthusiasm and eagerness to share your message, even if you feel hesitant. Spend time visualizing yourself beginning the speech in this way, and imagine the audience smiling back at you with friendly attentiveness.

GIVE UP THE VALLEY-GIRL TALK Many of us fill our speech with like and end definitive sentences with an upward inflection, as if asking a question. In a speech, this keeps people from taking you seriously. Also, stay away from other fillers, such as um and you know.

SPEAK UP Women tend to speak in soft,

CONNECT WITH THE CROWD Make eye contact with your listeners, and use purposeful gestures to engage them. Avoid pacing the room and using excessive hand movements because it will distract from what you’re saying.

high-pitched voices that get even higher when we’re nervous. Talk in a deep, clear voice to convey confidence, and remember to project.

PACE YOURSELF If you are a speedy speaker, your audience won’t have time to process what you’re saying. Taking deep, even breaths will help control the pace of your speech and calm your nerves. Pay attention to punctuation by pausing at the ends of your sentences. Pauses can be very powerful.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS Whether you wear a new suit or your favorite frock, have a dress rehearsal to make sure your outfit is comfortable. You want to be able to focus entirely on your speech, not on whether your skirt is riding up or how much your feet hurt. [TARA BRACCO]



248 BROOME ST. NYC 10002 212-674-8383 check out our blog

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oh, snap! MAKE BOOZING FESTIVE WITH THIS DELECTABLE NEW LIQUEUR ART IN THE AGE is an artists’ collective with a Philadelphia store that stocks clothing, artwork, books, and more, and last year they entered the spirit-making scene. Using organic ingredients, they create unique flavors, and now, just in time for chilly fall nights, they’ve introduced SNAP, a gingersnap-like spirit inspired by a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch cookie. Try it in this tasty cocktail that will warm you from the inside out. To find SNAP near you, go to 1 oz. 1 oz. ⁄2 oz. ⁄2 oz. 2-3

1 1

SNAP rye whiskey orange juice honey dashes Fee Brothers’ Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Shake ingredients with cracked ice. Pour into a chilled lowball glass.

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VANILLA EXTRACT IS a necessary staple in every baker’s kitchen, and a pricey one to boot. Turns out making your own could not be simpler, and once you taste the heavenly flavor of your DIY version, you’ll happily kiss the dullness of store-bought brands good-bye. Make it now and it’ll be ready just in time for holiday baking; plus, homemade vanilla extract makes a great gift for foodies. To make it, sterilize a 1-cup glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid by filling it with boiling water. Let it rest for 10 minutes, and pour out. Using a sharp knife, slice 3 medium (or 1½ large) vanilla beans (affordable beans are available at lengthwise to expose the seeds. Tuck the beans in the jar and fill with light rum. (Though you can use whatever liquor you prefer, provided it’s about 40 percent alcohol, I find rum to be a perfect match to vanilla.) Close the jar, shake it a few times, and place it in a cool, dark cabinet, keeping it there for eight weeks. Shake the jar once or twice a week; the mixture will get darker over time. You can start using your extract at the end of the eighth week. The best part is, as long as you have both ingredients on hand, you’ll never have to wait for your vanilla extract again. When you’ve used about 20 percent of the jar’s contents, simply top it off with more rum and shake again. Add a fresh vanilla bean once or twice a year. If you continue to “feed” it this way, the extract will keep forever; just remove some of the older beans if the jar becomes too crowded. [CLOTILDE DUSOULIER, WWW.CHOCOLATEANDZUCCHINI.COM]




MAKING YOUR DREAM two-fingered ring is a snap. All you need are two plain metal rings and a decorative topper worthy of some multi-digit love. Then sand ’em, glue ’em, and let ’em dry. You’ll go from bare fisted to knockout in no time. »


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DIRECTIONS Start by finding the perfect metal charm or jewelry finding to attach to the tops of your rings. Scour your local bead/craft store (we got ours at www., online supply sites like Epoch Beads (, or thrift-store jewelry bins. The charm needs to have a flat back and extend across two fingers. Decide which fingers you want to wear your knuckleduster on—index and middle, or middle and ring—and get 2 basic, square-edge metal rings (available at most jewelry-supply stores) in the appropriate sizes. The rings should be at least .5 cm wide; the wider the band, the stronger the bond you can create when gluing. Sand the back of your charm and both rings lightly with a brass wire brush to prep the surface. On a piece of cardboard, pump out a dollop of metal epoxy (we used Loctite Metal/Concrete Epoxy Syringe, available at Home Depot). Mix the epoxy with the end of a toothpick, then dab it onto the back of the metal piece where you want to place the rings. Set the rings so they are evenly lined up with their edges touching in order for them to fit comfortably on two fingers. Let dry for as long as the epoxy suggests. If the rings do not set in a straight line so that they are comfortable to wear (and so that the metal charm or jewelry finding is not crooked on your fingers), use pliers to break them apart and reattach with more epoxy. Voilà! You are now lord of the rings. [CALLIE WATTS]


kind of a big deal GET READY FOR SOME BACKHANDED COMPLIMENTS WHEN YOU BUY MULTIFINGER BLING 1. THE LION RING It would be a roar crime not to wear this magnificent beast of a bauble ($78, www.

3. FINGER FANG Once bitten, you’ll look twice as fly in this two-digit ring fit for the Queen of the Damned ($110, 4. PETAL PUSHER Ring around the rosie, you’ll have a knuckle full of posies when you don a dandy garden duster ($45, 5. CRUISIN’ FOR A BRUISIN’ A bicycle built for two fingers is the perfect accessory for high-fives and handlebar rides ($92, [CALLIE WATTS]

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2. SMALL WONDER It’s as clear as the hieroglyphics on the wall, hot hand-ware stands the test of time ($120,

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Shortly after lunch, Greg went digging in the dress-up box as the children leapt around, making suggestions and trying to secure his promise that whatever he wore trick-or-treating he would keep on for the party at the Cohens’, a bash at which the three of us would be reunited with numerous friends from summer camp and he

Not every father is open to parading around in a bonnet that looks like a sheep’s head or his wife’s striped socks. would know virtually no one. After several trips to the mirror, he settled on a pair of antennae sprouting from a yellow headband. “Wait. I’ve got the perfect thing to go with those,” I said, diving for a Jackie O–ish pair of yellow Bakelite sunglasses. In lieu of stems, they have coaster-sized plastic disks weighting the gold-plate chains that drape over the wearer’s ears. Miraculously, he consented. And thus the monster was unleashed. “I need a yellow shirt.”

the deep storage for transparency sheets and performing entomological image searches at an hour when the toddler set is already out ringing doorbells. The pièce de résistance was the stinger, which was not Greg’s idea, but given his insistence on anatomical accuracy, how could he say no? All he could say was, “I’m not going to your friends’ house wearing something that looks like it’s sticking out of my anus! Move it higher up my back. And watch it with those safety pins.”


HOW CAN YOU tell it’s Halloween in a family in which three out of four members are given to running around in costumes anyway? Duh—candy. Additionally, it’s the one occasion when Daddy is open to supplementing his dull plumage with something culled from the dress-up box. Unlike Milo, whose plans for the upcoming year start taking shape on November 1, or Inky, whose full-sized To Kill a Mockingbird ham suit required multiple trips to the hardware store, the loan of a basement, and several days’ drying time, Greg leaves it till the zero hour. Still, it’s nice to be reminded what a good sport he can be. Not every father is open to parading around in a bonnet that looks like a sheep’s head or his wife’s striped socks. Last year Milo was Captain America, Inky was Scout (a literary reference caught by a select few), and I accessorized a brown tweed skirt with a complementary nanny-goat headpiece, black athletic socks sewn into cloven hooves, and a pair of green-glass John Lennon specs with sideways electrical-tape pupils.

“You don’t have one?” As Chief Laundry Officer, I know there is a layer of virtually unworn colored shirts stacked beneath his daily uniform of frayed gray and blue logo tees from a job held more than a decade ago. “It has to have long sleeves, and you have to sew black stripes on it. Like a bee.” I cast a harried glance toward the clock. “You have plenty of time, woman.” When we first met, I was working in a costume warehouse. This seems to have inflated his expectations with regard to what I’m capable of pulling out of my ass at 2 p.m. on October 31. Luckily, our neighborhood is blessed with several down-market discount stores, and one of them had a rack of mustard-colored thermal tops. I noticed an employee swapping out the rubber spiders and skeletons that had been displayed by the door since August for a metric heinieload of Santa hats, ornaments, and huge red velvet bows. Apparently, my husband is the only person in Brooklyn to leave his Halloween needs until actual Halloween. Back at the ranch, I was informed that bees have wings. A tad testy from 45 minutes spent dabbing black paint onto polyblend waffle weave under a barrage of criticism, I cut some out of a manila folder. “No! See-through wings!” “Daddy’s having a tantrum,” I muttered to the children. “If you mean I’m interested in doing things properly…” This is how we got roped into rifling


elsie flannigan BOUTIQUE OWNER SPRINGFIELD, MO Tell us about this outfit. I’m wearing my favorite hairpiece, a Starlette crown by Giant Dwarf (; it cost $50. The mod vintage dress is from a random seller on Etsy. It was a steal at $14.99, though I can’t remember the name of the shop. The vintage cowboy boots are from my store, Red Velvet Art. How did your boutique come about? Red Velvet was a little group I started 10 years ago with my sister and best friend. We began by selling handmade clothing and accessories at music festivals, and three years ago, we opened our first brick-andmortar and online stores ( We recently purchased a large vintage store [in Springfield, MO] and are remodeling it to make our new shop, where we’ll sell handmade items, tons of vintage, and cupcakes! You’re very into vintage, I see. I’d describe my style as vintageinspired with lots of handmade elements. When I was a teen, as soon as I got my driver’s license, my sister and I would go thrift shopping after school every single day. I especially love wearing floral motifs, lots of plaid, bright colors, ascot ties, and housewife dresses. Is there a fashion era you feel particularly drawn to? I fell in love with ’50s and ’60s style when my grandma gave me some pieces of clothing she had worn back then when she was in her 20s. Some of my favorite icons hail from those decades as well, like Judy Garland and Twiggy. It was such a great time for advertising and styling. I spy some lovely ink! I have several craft-themed tattoos, all done in the classic style. So far, I have a Polaroid Land camera, thread, a pincushion, and buttons. I’m planning to add a midcentury sewing machine to my tattoo collection sometime soon! [TRICIA ROYAL]


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headcase SKIP SUDSING YOUR HAIR WITH THESE DRY SHAMPOOS WHEN IT COMES to good-looking hair, there’s a golden window between washes when tresses achieve an effortless balance of clean and dirty. Dry shampoo—a powder that soaks up oil and adds volume and texture—promises to extend this period of eternal cool. It may also be the perfect way to keep the grease at bay when life is too hectic for a shower, or when you’re just too lazy to take one. I put my hair on the line to see which dry shampoos really leave you high and dry (which in this case, is a good thing). [KRISTA CIMINERA]

test kitchen

Pssssst Instant Dry Shampoo ($5.99, available at drugstores) is the ol’ classic. It's been around for decades and even the new look of its packaging retains a vintage feel. The aerosol can allows for easy application, and the spritz feels like a cool breeze. A few sprays does the trick, making my hair fuller and cleaner-looking in just a couple of minutes.

Hurraw! Mint Lip Balm, $3.79, The Body Deli Botanical Butter Scrub in Pumpkin Spice, $28, J.R. Watkins Daily Cleansing Cream, $9.99,

The All Nighter Styling Powder ($18, is an all-natural alternative, with rice and tapioca starch acting as absorbents instead of difficult-to-pronounce ingredients. It’s packaged like baby powder rather than hair spray and comes in a variety of colors. The light tangerine scent is fresh, and the dark brown/black powder matches my tresses to a T, but precision is key— my first application left streaks on my face and neck. It’s a small price to pay, however, to banish blow-drying.


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Batiste Dry Shampoo in Blush ($7.99, available at drugstores) is a modern take on dry shampoo, with a cute floral can design. Its thin aerosol can makes it easy to hold and Batiste gives my hair more volume than Pssssst, but the strong scent is reminiscent of old-lady perfume. Like Pssssst, it comes out white, so don’t use too much of either, or they’ll leave your hair looking gray.



This minty-fresh balm kept my lips soft all day with only one application. The mint actually worked as a breath freshener too, by masking the garlicky hummus I had for lunch. It has a permanent home in my purse!

Having used a bajillion varieties of mint lip balms, this one rated “OK” for minty-ness, and “eh” for stayon factor and smoothness. On the plus side, it didn’t melt in my pocket like many other organic lip balms have.

This balm was a little glossier than most, but it still packed a smoothing, healing punch. The fresh mint scent was definitely pleasant, and the unorthodox oval shape made it easier to find in the bottom of my bag.

Not only did this scrub smell and look delicious enough to eat, but it also made my skin soft for days. I was afraid I would smell like pumpkin pie, but I was left with only a hint of sweet spices.

This smelled so delicious! Excellent for pampering yourself before curling up with a good book and something hot to drink. I wasn’t too fond of how greasy the scrub initially felt, but it soaked in quickly and left my skin silky.

I loved this exfoliant’s scent and especially appreciated that I didn’t smell overwhelmingly pumpkin-y afterward. It was slightly oily, but it was just what my dry skin needed. I felt supersmooth for the rest of the day.

I usually go for a grainy scrub for a cleaner feel, but this milky cleanser felt great for dry winter mornings. The natural oils seemed greasy at first, but after a minute my skin was moisturized sans lotion!

This cleanser had a neutral smell, didn’t get sudsy (no burning eyes from wayward bubbles!), and left my face with a cool, tingly, clean sensation. It also didn’t dry out my skin like some face washes do.

Though I’m not completely sold on this cleanser, it certainly smelled clean, and at least I didn’t break out. But I didn’t really dig how oily it left my face, considering I’m usually fighting to keep grease at bay.

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2 3


6 5






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dress for success THE UNIFORM PROJECT GIVES CHARITY A STYLISH SPIN cided the Uniform Project was far from over and launched phase two in August. This year, 12 fashion-forward folks from around the world will take on their own mini Projects for a month to raise funds for a charity of their choosing. Each participant will wear a custom-designed dress, a limited-edition run of which will be available for purchase to anyone who wants to integrate Matheiken’s vision of compassion and sustainability into their lives. “One of the main reasons I wanted to start this as a fundraiser was to make charity fun and inspiring,” says Matheiken. “There are just too many somber initiatives out there already. I wanted to take a daily routine, something that everyone can relate to, and make it consequential.” Go to to shop, contribute, or simply be inspired. [SIRI THORSON]


IN AN AGE of fast fashion, when many wardrobes are subject to rapid turnover, it can be difficult to imagine donning the same dress every day for a year by choice. But that’s precisely what New Yorker Sheena Matheiken elected to do when she launched the Uniform Project in May 2009, turning an experiment in style sustainability into a yearlong fund-raiser. Drawing attention by pledging to wear one handsewn black dress (she had seven copies of it) for 365 days, Matheiken started a Web site to track her daily creatively accessorized outfits and raise money for Akanksha, an organization devoted to educating underprivileged children in India. Fastforward 12 months and the Uniform Project not only garnered support for conscientious fashion but also amassed $103,410 in donations. Once her year of one-dresswearing was up, Matheiken de-

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CLAUDIA KISHI FROM THE BABYSITTER’S CLUB Claudia, the most creative of the famed childcare coalition, is known for her artistic take on dressing and often wears outfits with abstract themes (like the Cubist art movement or the ocean), so let your imagination run wild. Use lots of various prints, men’s clothes, tons of layers, and handmade accessories. Stick to bright sneakers or black boots. Wear your hair in braids or a side pony. Grab a candy bar and you’re

SPIDER To be an eight-legged lady, throw on a long-sleeved black shirt and a pair of black shorts. Get 3 pairs of large black opaque tights. Stuff each leg to arm’s length with dark clothes and tie off. Cut 1" off the waistbands of two pairs, and save intact; knot the waists together, and lay horizontally. Lay the third pair of tights vertically on top, and fan the legs—3 on each side. Knot each


leg to the one right below it, as close to the stuffing

Even while being brutally pecked by de-

as possible. Pull the tip of 7' of invisible hanging wire

monic birds in the Hitchcock classic, Tippi

through the fabric at the toes of one bottom leg and

Hedren was the picture of grace. Thrift a

secure with a triple knot. Make another triple knot 15"

green early-’60s dress or skirt suit in a heavy

from the first, then run the wire through the toes of

fabric. Pull your hair into a French twist and

the middle leg. Repeat for the top leg and cut, leav-

sweep any bangs to the side. Buy an as-

ing 7" of wire. Create a wrist holder by knotting the

sortment of fake birds (available at floral-

wire to one of the saved 1" waistbands. Repeat this

and craft-supply stores). Sew the birds to

process on the second side. Then lay the spider legs

your suit in a variety of places by wrapping

across your shoulders so 3 dangle on each side. Pull

the thread around their feet; you can also

the untied waistband over your head like a hood; slip

attach them with U-shaped greening pins

your arms over the knotted waistbands to make a strap

(also available at floral-supply stores). Don

across your back. Wrap each band around your wrist,

light-green eye shadow, lots of fake blood,

and grab a can of silly string to weave a web.

and brown heels to complete the look.

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ready for business.

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THEY’RE COMING TO GET YOUR FOOD, BARBARA Protect your grub with these infectiously cute, flesh-eating refrigerator magnets. Who knew the undead could be so attractive? ($20 for a set of 4,

ONLY FOOLS FALL FOR LOVE MOLECULES Add some warmth to any room with this hand-embroidered oxytocin particle—nicknamed the “cuddle hormone” because it’s a key player in female reproduction. Now, that’s some titillating decorating ($57,

IT’S THE ELEMENTS, MY DEAR WATSON Start sending cards periodically to your favorite Mr. Wizard with these supersmart salutations ($4.50 each,

HUSTLE AND GROW Don’t let the bustle of city life or a dreary dorm-room dwelling keep you from getting in the garden state—all you need to raise these seeds is water and sunshine. No planter or soil necessary; it’s all in the bag! ($8,

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GO-GO GADGET PEN Take note: this Echo Smartpen simultaneously writes, records audio, scans your scribbling, and more—it’s the ultimate gizmo for lecture-loving ladies. It’s accompanied by a special-paper-filled notebook that enables its functions, and you can tap anything you’ve doodled to play back audio recorded at that particular time, so even if your mind drifts, you won’t miss a thing. It’s easy to upload the pen’s notes and audio files to your computer, making them searchable and sharable ($199.95 for 8GB,

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By land or by sea, Vancouver's the place to be

Bridge over untroubled waters

Dressew's got craft aisles for miles


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SET IN STUNNING natural surroundings on the British Columbian coast, Vancouver is known for phenomenal skiing, glassy green architecture, and endless beaches. Locals are passionate about creating an enviro-friendly city; we ride our bikes everywhere and were all about buying local long before it was cool. But don’t let the West Coast vibe fool you. We’re more than recycling, Gore-Tex, and outdoor activities in the rain (which we get plenty of). The bridges that span False Creek, a picturesque inlet that runs through the heart of Vancouver, connect the city’s vibrant downtown to neighborhoods that are home to thriving fashion and food scenes, a diverse cultural mix, and creative folks that make the city as metropolitan as it is granola. Start your day by swinging through the Kitsilano neighborhood on the west side. A vegetarian institution since the ’70s, The Naam (2724 W. 4th Ave.) serves up hearty brunches (and its legendary sesame fries with miso gravy) 24 hours a day. Creaky wood floors and folky tunes complete the hippie-dippy experience. Then stop in at Gravitypope (2205 W. 4th Ave.) for some serious shoe shopping before crossing the bridge to get downtown. Grab a cup of joe at Caffé Artigiano (763

Hornby St.), where award-winning baristas will artfully decorate your cappuccino. You’ll need the energy to navigate the aisles of the two-story craft institution Dressew (337 W. Hastings St.) where an amazing and affordable selection of fabric, costumes, and yarn could reveal the steal of the century. Then head over to W2 (151 W. Cordova; moving to 100-111 W. Hastings St. late fall), a community art-and-media space. With its workshops, exhibits, parties, and talks, you’ll find inspiration there on any given day or night. Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, stop by Nuba (207-B W. Hastings St.), a modern Lebanese restaurant that attracts vegetarians and omnivores alike; enjoy Najib’s Special, a citrusy cauliflower dish. Or slide into a retro booth at The Templeton (1087 Granville St.), where you can pop quarters in the jukebox, chow down on burgers, and slurp up the city’s best milkshakes. From downtown, go east to get a taste of Vancouver’s fashion scene in historic Gastown. The Block (350 W. Cordova St.) is a boutique that carries painfully cool international collections, plus the ghostly silhouettes of local line Mono, in a lovely brick-walled room. Gentille Alouette (227 Carrall St.) showcases wearable art in an inviting space replete with a fireplace; expect


The author shows off her city's green side

Herbacious goods at the Trout Lake Farmers Market

Tasty grub at Bandidas Taquería

Sip a cup ofcoast Konawith at Bogart's Café Vancouver's the most

reworked vintage classics and one-of-a-kind pieces like feather shrugs. Offering up DIY goods like buttons, silk-screened T-shirts, and tie-dyed leggings, Blim (115 E. Pender St.) fosters art and craft in an innovative way. Look for features on local artists and art-film screenings. After all that ambling, why not chill out with a brewski? Alibi Room (157 Alexander St.) pours beer from near and far. Try the sampler and complement it with the Mezze Plate—olives, feta, hummus, and deep-fried bread. The space is so cozy, you may as well stick around while the evening turns to night. Or for a glimpse of Vancouver’s creative, quirky side, hit up Guilt & Co. (1 Alexander St.), a bar and improv spot that brings together artists, musicians, and comedians for unique performances. After a good night’s sleep, head to the diverse Commercial Drive and Hastings-Sunrise neighborhoods. For a tasty brunch, order the Hicks Benny—guacamole-smothered eggs Benedict—at lady-owned Bandidas Taquería (2781 Commercial Dr.). Or make your own meal with local produce and baked goods at the Trout Lake Farmers Market (Victoria Drive at East 15th Ave., Summer Market;

Feminine frocks at Gentille Alouette

Wise Hall,1882 Adanac St., Winter Market). With a full belly, saunter up the Drive and peruse the wacky inventory at Mintage Vintage (1714 Commercial Dr.) for retro or upcycled threads. You can satisfy your sweet tooth at the brightly painted La Casa Gelato (1033 Venables St.) with a scoop of something classic, like vanilla, or something crazy, like durian or avocado, in a house-made waffle cone. Eat it on your way to the non-profit Spartacus Books (684 E. Hastings St.) to search out the best in political, feminist, and punk lit. Grab a seat and pore over your new ’zine, then trek east to Baaad Anna’s (2667 E. Hastings St.), a yarn shop that boasts local and envirofriendly fibers as well as the most helpful staff around. Stay for a Stitch ’n Bitch session and meet some Vancouver knitters. Over in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, make a beeline for Urban Source (3126 Main St.), an alternative art-supply shop that recycles crafty materials from local industries, where you’ll find an ever-changing bounty of goods like reflective iron-on material, leather scraps, and beautiful papers. Then pay a visit to Spool of Thread (101-649 E. 15th Ave.), a sewing lounge stocked with gorgeous fabrics, fun pat-

terns, and rent-by-the-hour sewing stations. Head back to Main Street for some shopping at the dark and moody boutique Twigg & Hottie (3671 Main St.), which stocks its own line of structural, sustainable pieces, along with items from other local designers. At Front and Co. (3772 Main St.), scour the mélange of new, vintage, and consignment clothing, and take in the imaginative window displays. For the type nerd in all of us, whimsical shop The Regional Assembly of Text (3934 Main St.) is stocked with stationery sets, T-shirts, notebooks, and more. Its in-shop gallery highlights local artists and provides a quiet spot to peruse their ’zine library. Then refuel with fresh and charmingly plated sushi, like a spicy cactus roll, at Zipang Sushi (3710 Main St.). Wrap up another great day at The Biltmore Cabaret (395 Kingsway) watching live indie rock (the Vaselines and Clinic both have shows here this fall). Karaoke, talent shows, burlesque, and comedy may also be on the schedule at this lovably rougharound-the-edges joint. Vancouver is the magical kind of place where city life and nature peacefully coincide. In other words, it’s aboot time you get yourself to Canada, eh.

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Screen legend Helen Mirren is best known for playing various members of the House of Windsor. But in real life, the boundary-busting actress is anything but restrained. Here, she talks about her films, her family, and why it’s great that young women today can just say “Fuck off”


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AM 45 minutes late for my onset appointment with Helen Mirren. As a punctual person, this is my worst nightmare come true: sitting in a rental car, stuck in traffic, surrounded by Yankee Stadium–bound partiers, all the while knowing that The Queen is waiting. I die a thousand deaths and mentally write a 500-word apology that I’m prepared to deliver on arrival. Thankfully, the production Mirren is working on is also running late, and I end up hanging around the set waiting for her to finish while remembering what it’s like to breathe. Then, just like a totally normal person, Dame Helen Mirren walks up to me and says, “It’s very

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nice to meet you. Why don’t we talk in my trailer?” We’re just outside N.Y.C. on the set of Arthur, a remake of the 1981 film that originally starred Dudley Moore as a wealthy, childlike drunk and Liza Minnelli as the woman he loves. In this new version, Russell Brand and Jennifer Garner play the Moore and Minnelli parts, respectively, and Mirren plays Arthur’s former nanny. “In the original, Arthur has a butler,” she tells me. “But they changed it to a woman for me.” I can tell she relishes this. As she walks me to her trailer, I notice a superweird thing: they had to make Helen Mirren up to look old. Her hair is gray instead of its usual white-blonde,

and her skin has been powdered to look crepey and aged. She’s wearing just what you’d think an elderly former nanny might wear—a knee-length skirt, sensible shoes, and a proper blouse, buttoned all the way up. This isn’t red-carpet Helen Mirren, the one who, at age 65, still regularly turns it out with dramatic makeup and cleavage-baring gowns. She laughs when I mention the costume and says, “Well, yes, I suppose they did have to make me look more like what people think an older woman looks like. I don’t normally dress like this.” So what would she be wearing on a typical day at home in Los Angeles? “Probably a cotton dress,” she says, “or jeans and a T-shirt.

Something comfortable.” When I observe that there seem to be a lot of “rules” out there about what women at certain ages can and can’t wear, she dismisses this notion crisply. “I never follow rules. You should wear what makes you feel good. If you want to feel sexy, wear something sexy. If you want to feel comfortable, wear something comfortable.” Helen Mirren has been famous most of her life. Born in 1945 to working class parents—her father, a Russian émigré, drove a cab and played viola in the London Philharmonic—by age 18, she was playing lead parts in Britain’s National Youth Theatre and subsequently with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She quickly became known for her talent— and her sexiness, which threatened to overshadow her work at times. Mirren has talked openly in the past about her anger over the sexism she encountered as a young woman, both from reviewers and directors. I bring up an incident from 1975, when a 30-year-old Mirren appeared on Parkinson, a BBC interview show hosted by Michael Parkinson, who was sort of the British Johnny Carson at the time. The video of her appearance is amazing (and easily findable on YouTube if you enter “sexist Parkinson interview”): Mirren is announced, and as she makes her way to the stage, shyly glowing, hair down, carrying a feather (it was 1975, after all), Parkinson rambles at length about her sultriness, noting that she had been called “an amorous boa constrictor” and that she was particularly good at “projecting sluttish eroticism.” Most women would have cringed, gotten angry, or fakely laughed it off (all valid responses), but Mirren simply and serenely walks up to her chair and sits down, staring at Parkinson as if daring him to continue while looking her in the face. Through the rest of the interview, she brilliantly refuses to play his game, pretending not to understand his patronizing jabs. When Parkinson asks how she feels about being known for certain “physical attributes,” gesturing at her chest, she holds up her hands and says, “My fingers?” looking genu-

inely confused. “It was enraging,” she says of the interview now. “But it was par for the course to a certain extent. It was fairly common, that kind of attitude. Looking back, I think I handled it really well. It was the first time I had ever done a talk show, ever. I’d only done Shakespeare before, and I was a serious actress. I was so nervous, terribly nervous, and I was mortified by the end of it. But when I look back, I see I handled it with humor, but I wasn’t taking it.”

“I’ve worked with female directors, great, but to see women having roles on the technical side is really, really exciting.” Mirren goes on to say she thinks it’s easier today for women just starting out in the industry to get the respect they deserve. “At least now young actresses can say ‘Fuck off’ and still work again,” she says. “If they want to, they can use [their sexuality], and if they don’t want to, they can just say ‘Fuck off.’” She then tells me of a development in the movie business she considers even more groundbreaking: “For the first time in my whole career, on this film

[Arthur] we have a female camera crew. The whole camera crew is female, and it is the first time I’ve ever seen that. To me, this is the most exciting thing. I’ve worked with female directors, great, but to see [women] having roles on the technical side is really, really exciting.” It’s cool watching Mirren take pleasure in this, because she’s rather reserved. Don’t get me wrong—she’s incredibly pleasant and warm—but she doesn’t do any of the let’s-pretendwe’re-best-buds-please-like-me stuff that a lot of celebrities do during interviews. She’s present, but she’s not going to kiss your ass. It’s a good survival strategy—it’s been almost 35 years since the Parkinson interview, and she’s probably done hundreds, if not thousands, of them since. I ask if she still gets nervous even at this stage of the game, and she admits she does—but about her work, not about doing press. “I get nervous whenever I start a new project,” she tells me. “It’s the whole thing. Meeting new people, you’re never quite sure if you are going to achieve what you want to, whether it’s going to work out, and how you will deal with new personalities. I get nervous the first night if it’s in the theater. I get nervous before parties, actually. I’m not naturally gregarious. I have to force myself into dealing with people.” One of the reasons Mirren gets nervous before a project is that she consistently chooses challenging roles across a multitude of genres. She appeared alongside Malcolm McDowell, Peter O’Toole, and John Gielgud in the notorious financed-by-Penthouse art-porno Caligula (1979); played a widow who unwittingly falls in love with her husband’s IRA murderer in Cal (1984); was an adulterous wife who cooks her dead lover and feeds him to her husband in Peter Greenaway’s epic The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (1989); portrayed the alcoholic, workaholic detective Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect, the hugely popular British crime series that ran from 1991 to 2006; won an Emmy in 2005 for her performance

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in the title role of the HBO/Channel 4 miniseries Elizabeth I; and turned in an Academy Award–winning performance as Queen Elizabeth II in the movie The Queen (2006). She was also on the TV series Frasier in 2004, as a kleptomaniac caller on Frasier’s radio show. (Helen Mirren is no snob.) Next year, along with her role in Arthur, she will also be appearing at a cinema near you in The Tempest, director Julie Taymor’s adaptation of the Shakespeare play, as Prospera, a gender-shifted interpretation of its protagonist Prospero, the Duke of Milan. “The really interesting thing about Prospero is that one of his most famous speeches is a woman’s speech,” she tells me. “It’s a very old speech that Shakespeare lifted almost word for word from, I think, Aeschylus…” A former Classics major, I offer that it might be Euripides. (Turns out we were both wrong—the speech is from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and it is spoken by Medea.) Mirren is excited about the crossover regardless and continues, “It’s a woman’s speech, a witch’s spell, an incantation—‘Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves…’” Suddenly, despite her grayed hair and nanny outfit, she exudes something mystical, reverent, and angry. Then, just as quickly, she clicks out and smiles at me. “Look it up,” she says. “It’s fantastic.” When I ask Mirren if she sometimes chooses roles to be provocative, she grins. “You think, Oh, this is a terrible mistake,” she explains. “But you jump in anyway. I felt that way with The Queen, and I feel it again with Prospera.” So how did she end up in her latest film, Red (coming out October 15), in which she plays a former CIA assassin who comes out of retirement, alongside Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, and John Malkovich? I tell her I picture the movie’s star, Willis, calling her up and asking her to be in the movie, kind of like asking someone on a date. “I wish it was like that,” she laughs. “But it came the normal way, through my agent. That was one I had no question about. I just said, ‘Yes, this is

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great.’” She makes it sound like a casual decision, but in the next breath reveals how conscious she is of the impact of her career choices. “There are certain roles that take over your life,” she says. “Prime Suspect was one of them. The reason I stopped doing Prime Suspect is because I was beginning to feel like if I was knocked over by a bus, people would say, ‘Tennison sadly died yesterday. She was knocked over by a bus.’ So I had to reclaim both myself and my capability to do other things. I successfully moved away from that, and then The Queen came along. Now I’m ‘the queen’: regal this, regal that. It’s rubbish.” Mirren sees Red, a spy-action movie replete with speedboats, conspiracy theories, shootouts, and karate chops, as a way to thrust herself into another new genre with an entirely new audience. “I kill people, dear,” her character sweetly says, and that’s pretty much enough to banish any thoughts of The Queen you might be harboring. Especially when you see her actually do it. Repeatedly. Despite the expert gunmanship she displays in Red, Mirren is ambivalent about firearms. On the one hand, she says, “The only place a gun has any business is on the battleground and in a soldier’s hands. They’re such cowardly things. It is so easy to cause serious damage without thought or consideration.” But she can also see their appeal: “They’re very visceral. And not just for men. With them, it’s obvious—the penis, ejaculation. Obviously there’s a connection there to men. But [it happens] when girls have guns too. You just feel fantastic holding it.” She then reels off a catalog of the weapons she used in Red: “A fantastic sniper rifle, a huge, great Gatling gun, some straight-shooters,” she tells me enthusiastically before adding more prudently, “They’re horribly dangerous, especially the small repeat-firing guns, the mini machine guns. Terrible.” You read that right. Helen Mirren said penis and ejaculation. It wasn’t even that weird and I’m pretty sure I maintained my cool. She also asked me about a tattoo I have on my ear and complimented

“Guns are very visceral. And not just for men. With them, it’s obvious— the penis, ejaculation. Obviously there’s a connection there to men. But it happens when girls have guns too. You just feel fantastic holding it.” me on it. She has a very small tattoo on her left hand that she got while working with the American Indian Theater Ensemble on a reservation in Minnesota in the early ’70s. It’s an image comprising two interlaced triangles forming a Native American symbol called a lakesh that means “equal but opposite.” She has said before in interviews that she is unhappy with her tat now, because she got it to be different and shocking, and now “it’s become completely mainstream, which is unacceptable to me.” Mirren’s commitment to being part of the counterculture is evident in her autobiography, In the


As Caesonia in Caligula, 1979

Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures, where she tells of living on a kibbutz, taking acid, and traveling through Africa with a theater group that eschewed language and communicated only through sound and gesture. (In the ’70s of course!) When I ask if this independent spirit was present even when she was very young, Mirren tells me about her childhood. “I grew up in an intellectually middle-class family in an economically working-class environment,” she says. “My parents had no money. They lived on my father’s earnings as a cab driver, and then he joined the civil service and became a driving examiner. There was no inherited money.” Her mother, one of 14 children, experienced a childhood of poor circumstances, and her father, whose family came from Russia with nothing, had also grown up with little sense of security. “They met and fell in love in the late 1930s, in a time of incredible economic instability—nothing to fall back on, no real welfare system in England, an incredibly entrenched class system,” she says. “Their life was very economically insecure, so they instilled in us children the incredible importance of education and the incredible importance of never being in debt. I’m of that generation where you never get in debt. If you can’t afford something,

With John Malkovich in Red, 2010

you don’t buy it, you can’t have it.” She learned a lot about self-reliance from her mother, who Mirren sees as a feminist but notes that she would not have called herself one. “She never wanted us [Mirren and her sister] to be dependent on a man,” she says. “She was dependent on my father, and she wanted to work, but she couldn’t. She was caught up in that terrible thing when you’re a working-class woman and you can’t work because you can’t afford childcare, and you are caught in that trap.” “My father also very much believed that us girls, my sister and I, should be absolutely independent,” Mirren says. “He never, ever suggested to us that our future would lie in marriage or our security would be in marriage. Now when I talk to women of my generation who did get married, they say, ‘Oh, that is the thing you were supposed to do.’ But I think, Who told you that? I didn’t feel that. How did you feel that? But that’s what our generation was taught.” Even though we all think of Mirren as mega-British, she has been living in Los Angeles since 1986 with director Taylor Hackford, whom she wed in 1997. She’s become so Americanized, in fact, she confides that she sometimes wishes she could lose her accent. “I love being British; I’m very proud of my

As Prospera in The Tempest, 2010

country and my culture,” she says. “But I don’t like to be what Americans think of as British. I feel very uncomfortable with that sort of cliché. I’d love to be able to not stick out like a sore pinky, but I can’t.” She laughs when I say I think she’d probably still be recognizable if she changed her accent. In Red, Mirren’s character first appears as a woman who has embraced posh country living—her house is decorated with tastefully crafted pinecone centerpieces, and the staircase is looped through with color-coordinated ribbon. There’s no hint that the house’s occupant is a retired assassin. But when her past comes calling, in the form of Bruce Willis, she reveals that not only is she ready to once again take up arms but also that she never stopped. “I take the odd job now and again,” she tells him, her hands full of dried pussy willows—and you have no doubt that she does. To me, this is the magic of Helen Mirren: that she is able to portray the complexities of women’s lives, whether it’s a flower-arranging killer for hire, a queen who must hide her emotions in the face of incredible public scrutiny, or a shoplifter calling up Frasier Crane for advice. She brings dignity and empathy to every part she plays, and she’s pretty good with a machine gun, too. B

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Hedy Lamarr in Ziegfeld Girl, 1941

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Thesurprising truestoryofhowone of Hollywood’smost alluringactresseshelped create amiracleof moderntechnology BY LYNN PERIL

Lamarr as Eva in Ecstasy, 1933

OUR CELL PHONE has a glamorous secret. The technology that makes it possible for you to have a conversation without everyone in the world listening in is based in part on a torpedo-guidance system patented by none other than movie star Hedy Lamarr. In her Hollywood heyday, she was known as the most beautiful woman in the world, but the frequency-hopping mechanism Lamarr conceptualized and implemented (with the help of avant-garde composer George Antheil) during World War II is also the basis for the multibillion-dollar wireless-communications industry. In the words of Dave Hughes, technical consultant on Face Value—an upcoming film about the Lamarr-Antheil collaboration starring Rachel Weisz—if “Helen of Troy is known as the face that launched a thousand ships, Hedy Lamarr’s is the face that launched a million [computer] chips.” Born Hedwig Kiesler in Vienna, Austria, in 1914, the young actress first garnered what became a lifetime of notoriety when she appeared completely nude in the Czech film Ecstasy (1933). Perhaps even more scandalous than the sight of the young woman running naked through the woods and swimming in a lake was a closeup of her face as she simulated orgasm. Lamarr always maintained that a zoom lens had been used for the nude scenes without her knowledge and that the expression flitting across her face was not ecstasy but pain: at just the right moment, the film’s director, dissatisfied with what he considered her wooden performance, jabbed a safety pin into her behind. But in her new and definitive biography, Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film (University Press of Kentucky, 2010), film historian Ruth Barton notes that Lamarr almost certainly knew that nudity was required for the role. The same year that Ecstasy appeared in theaters, the 19-year-old Lamarr married Austrian munitions dealer Fritz Mandl. A control freak who considered his beautiful wife little more than arm candy (and reputedly sought to buy up all the prints of Ecstasy), Mandl expected Lamarr to play hostess at the dinners he regularly held for Nazis and other Fascist bigwigs to whom he hoped to sell arms. One topic of conversation at these get-togethers was the way in which radio signals from a plane or ship could be used to control a torpedo speeding toward its target. A major drawback of radio control was that because the systems used a single frequency, all an enemy had to do to disrupt the torpedo’s accuracy was find that channel and create enough electromagnetic noise to jam the frequency. The charming Mrs. Mandl, sitting quietly among them at the

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dinner table, was far too pretty to understand a word of such shoptalk—or so the menfolk no doubt assumed. Three years of Mandl’s controlling nature and abhorrent politics (though she kept it a secret all her life, Lamarr was Jewish) was all she could handle. According to Lamarr’s highly entertaining but not necessarily reliable autobiography, Ecstasy and Me (1966), after Mandl thwarted several of her attempts to leave him, she drugged a maid, then snuck out of the house dressed in her uniform. She took nothing with her but a few items of clothing, a package of jewelry, and as Ruth Barton notes, the intellectual property she picked up at Fritz Mandl’s dinner table. Lamarr fled first to Switzerland, then London. Finally, in 1937, she embarked for America on the ocean liner Normandie. Also onboard was MGM head Louis B. Mayer; by the time the ship arrived in New York, Hedwig Kiesler had a movie contract and a new name. Lamarr was a full-fledged Hollywood star and married to her second husband, Gene Markey, when she met George Antheil in 1940, with films such as Algiers (1938) and Lady of the Tropics (1939) under her belt. Antheil was a concert pianist best known for his Ballet Mécanique, a surrealist composition scored for 16 player pianos, 3 xylophones, and 3 airplane propellers, among other noisemaking devices. He was also fascinated by endocrinology, as it pertained both to criminology and how to pick up women; his articles on the subject were published in Esquire. According to his memoir, Bad Boy of Music (1945), Lamarr was curious about Antheil’s theories and summoned him to a meeting at the home of mutual friends. Could gland extracts be used to make her breasts larger? Lamarr wanted to know. Antheil stuttered words to the affirmative. She scrawled her phone number in lipstick across




his windshield, and when he called the next day, she invited leaving enough untouched to do no harm at all.” She may well him for dinner. Afterward, they discussed the war in Europe. have heard similar ideas discussed at Fritz Mandl’s dinner Antheil recalled that Lamarr “said that she knew a good deal table, but it was she who refined the concept, aided by Antheil, about new munitions and secret weapons, some of which she whose knowledge of synchronization was honed by his work invented herself.” She was, she told him, “thinking seriously with player pianos. Indeed, the patent for the “Secret Commuof quitting MGM and going to Washington, D.C., to offer her nications System” granted to Hedy Kiesler Markey and George services to the newly established Inventors’ Council” (which Antheil on August 11, 1942, utilized perforated paper rolls and solicited civilian inventors for defense-related ideas). An- 88 frequencies—the exact number of keys on a piano. (A protheil thought Lamarr’s idea for a new kind of radio-directed fessor of electrical engineering from CalTech helped them iron out the bugs.) torpedo was so good that Movie stars were suphe “suggested she patent posed to help the war effort it and give it to the United by dancing with serviceStates government.” men at the Hollywood CanRuth Barton quotes anteen or by going on the road other, unpublished account to sell war bonds, not by deby Antheil of his first meetsigning military weaponry. ing with Lamarr. In this (Lamarr was no slouch in version, Lamarr invited this department either; she Antheil to her home, where was credited with selling he was shocked to find $25 million in war bonds her living room filled with during one 10-day tour, $7 drawing boards where the million of it in a single day.) movie star worked on her Nor was a woman as beauinventions. He speculated tiful as Lamarr supposed to that she had purposely be intelligent; Antheil apsought him out as a collabprovingly yet condescendorator, having discovered Lamarr in Southhampton, NY, 1950 ingly noted that she had that Antheil had “at one “a natural aptitude for the time been a government inrather unfeminine occuspector of U.S. Munitions.” pation of inventor.” That His knowledge, he admita glamorous star was also ted, was “a bit dusty, neveran inventor was a publictheless I was undoubtedly ity coup for the Inventors’ the only ‘munitions brain’ Council, at least as much available at the time, and as a “secret” device could Hedy had decided that I be. “Actress Devises ‘Redwould have to do.” (Lamarr Hot’ Apparatus for Use in didn’t mention the collaboDefense,” was the subhead ration or the patent that reon a small article that apsulted from it in the pages peared in The New York of Ecstasy and Me, focusTimes in October 1941. Her discovery was so vital “to the naing instead on her raucous love life and six marriages.) However they met, the collaboration that followed was re- tional defense that government officials will not allow publicamarkable. Lamarr’s contribution was the concept of “frequen- tion of its details,” except that “it was related to remote control cy hopping.” As described by Hans-Joachim Braun, professor of apparatus employed in warfare.” A similar article appeared of modern social, economic, and technological history at the in the Los Angeles Times the following week. Ruth Barton University of the German Armed Forces in Hamburg, frequen- notes that, “under normal circumstances, the Patent Office cy hopping is a way of broadcasting a signal “over a seemingly would have issued a secrecy order” and speculates that the random series of radio frequencies, switching from frequency news was leaked “not because they planned to use the invento frequency at split-second intervals. A receiver hopping be- tion, but for public relations purposes.” Ultimately, the Navy tween frequencies in sync with the transmitter can pick up the proved uninterested in providing support for further research message, while any eavesdropper will hear only random blips. for the radio-controlled torpedo—they thought the paper rolls An attempt to jam the signal will knock out only bits of it, often too bulky to be useable; Antheil argued they could be made

Lamarr invited Antheil to her home, where he was shocked to find her living room filled with drawing boards where the movie star worked on her inventions.

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small enough to fit in a watch casing—but they classified the look stupid,” she allegedly said. Despite her obvious brilliance and gift for technology, she was limited by the era in which she patent anyway. Could it have worked as designed? Hughes told The New lived and its beliefs about women, beauty, and intelligence, not York Times in 2004 that the patent was “the damnedest Rube to mention the paucity of opportunities available to them for Goldberg [device] you ever saw…but the seminal idea was scientific study. Playwright Elyse Singer, whose multimedia there.” And what an idea it was: Lamarr’s patent formed the work Frequency Hopping was staged in New York in 2008, basis for an electronic version of frequency-hopping tech- thinks that if she were alive and young today, Lamarr “would go to MIT or CalTech. Perhaps nology later developed by engishe’d still do some modeling on neers from the Sylvania Electhe side to pay off her student tronic Systems Division that loans. But that wasn’t really an was employed on ships during option for her in the 1930s.” the Cuban Missile Crisis in Instead, Lamarr “knew that 1962. But it was with the digital her looks were her capital and revolution and development of feared what would happen when extremely fast computer microshe aged,” says Ruth Barton. processors that frequency hopIn 1985, the government ping (now known as frequencydeclassified the Lamarr-Anhopping spread spectrum techtheil patent for military use. nology, or FHSS) really came Around the same time, the nainto its own as a component of scent mobile-phone industry the Code Division Multiple Acadopted CDMA as the industry cess (CDMA) technology used standard. Thus Hedy Lamarr’s in mobile phones. frequency hopping became the Even though Lamarr’s patbasis not only for wireless coment expired around 1959, it remunications but also for the mained classified, so neither of Milstar defense communicaits inventors were aware of the tions satellite system and GPS. developments that were being Lamarr with James Stewart in Come Live with Me, 1941 On March 12, 1997, at the age made based upon their idea. In of 83, Hedy Lamarr became the any event, Lamarr’s later years toast of the technology world were not particularly happy If she were alive and young when the Electronic Frontier ones, and she may have suffered Foundation bestowed upon from an undiagnosed mental illtoday, Lamarr “would go to her a special Pioneer Award ness. She sued to stop the publiMIT or CalTech. Perhaps she’d for “blazing new trails on the cation of Ecstasy and Me, calling electronic frontier.” (Antheil, it “false, scandalous, and vulstill do some modeling on the who died in 1959, also received gar”; she lost, and the book shot the award.) As the EFF noted to the top of the best-seller lists. side to pay off her student at the time, frequency hopping This was just one of a series of loans. But that wasn’t really an may not have helped the Allies odd lawsuits, among them a $10 defeat the Nazis as Lamarr and million invasion of privacy suit option for her in the 1930s.” Antheil had hoped, but ironiagainst Mel Brooks for naming cally, the “tool they developed a character in Blazing Saddles to defend democracy half a cenHedley Lamarr (she settled for $1,000) and a $3 million libel suit against the owners of a two- tury ago promises to extend democracy in the 21st century.” headed goat bearing her name. She sold all her belongings at A slew of other awards followed. “It’s about time,” she said. Hedy Lamarr died in 2000. But two years before her death, auction not once but twice, was arrested on several occasions for shoplifting, and often rambled incoherently during inter- Canadian technology company Wi-LAN purchased 49 perviews. Her legendary looks were destroyed by repeated plastic cent of the patent (though it was long expired and its intelsurgeries. She disinherited one of her children and had rocky lectual property was part of the public domain) from Lamarr, in what technology writer Steve Stoh called “a symbolic and relationships with the other two. Lamarr had always been ambivalent about Hollywood. very generous gesture.” It was the only money she ever made “Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and from her invention. B

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file:///Users/elizabethcareysmith/Desktop/pdf 65/bus1010p058 log [9/24/10 6:16:11 PM]

True tales from the fearless females who winter at the South Pole—the most remote science station on the planet WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY MICHÈLE GENTILLE

True tales from the fearless females who winter at the South Pole—the most remote science station on the planet WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY MICHÈLE GENTILLE


[left] Beardmore Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the world and one of the earliest routes to the South Pole; [right] The old dome Pole station at Amundsen-Scott

OOKING THROUGH THE kitchen windows of the science station, I marvel at the majestic plateau of ice stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s October of 2008, and after a year and a half of applying, I’ve finally landed a gig perfectly suited to my adventure-seeking personality. As one of three sous-chefs hired to work at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, my contract spans the beautiful four-month austral summer in Antarctica, a time when the sun shines 24 hours a day. Socializing with a large group of 250 co-workers, my first time on what we call “the Ice” is filled with dancing, music, cross-country skiing, and plenty of fun and exploration. The experience is so engaging, I decide to go back for the winter season. But life in Antarctica during the winter is a whole different story. I arrive for my second stint at the South Pole in mid-February 2009, just before Amundsen-Scott closes its doors to the world for the epic Antarctic winter. This long, dark, ninemonth season represents a kind of physical and psychological boot camp. The U.S. Military even awards a civilian medal for the service, and an official psychological examination is required before going, for one very important reason: The winter temperature in Antarctica makes it impossible to leave early. Sometime in mid-February, it drops to -50 degrees Fahrenheit, and it keeps dropping until it hits a low of about -100 in the middle of the season. It doesn’t warm up again until October. That’s too cold for an airplane to land, making flights impossible for the better part of the year. The isolation is without remedy, and winter staffers are left to deal with the elements, each other, and their personal demons without reprieve. For these

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reasons, the team at the Pole shrinks to just 43 during the winter of ’09, and among this skeleton crew, I am one of only 10 brave women who dare to call the station home. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is a science-research facility that sits on a windy, frozen desert plain in the middle of Antarctica, a continent about one and a half times the size of the United States, where the sun rises and sets only once a year. October through February, the sun burns brightly 24/7. Then a month-long sunset begins, followed by four months of dark so intense it can be impossible to see one foot in front of the other. Established in the 1950s, the station is a ninehour flight from Christchurch, New Zealand, and has several buildings for research, operations, and storage. The centerpiece of station life is what locals call the “elevated building,” a kind of hotel on legs positioned above the snowdrifts. It has the geological Pole in its backyard, and its research focuses on climate issues, cosmology, and astrophysics. Our sister station McMurdo, the largest U.S. station, is where scientists study everything from geology and volcanology, to biology, climate change, and ecology. Palmer, the smallest of the Unit-

The Pole is no place for sissies, and Erin Wilkinson, a good-natured 24-year-old with a marine-biology degree from the University of Maine, knows this from experience. We worked together in the kitchen, but while I hovered over a nice warm stove, she was busy grocery shopping in the natural outdoor freezer, earning her the colloquial title Grub Lugger. With a million pounds of groceries stored in crates around camp, bringing the food indoors, throwing out the garbage, and keeping track of it all constituted a full-time job for her. During work hours, I wouldn’t have recognized her without a knit cap, hard hat, and lamp strapped to her head. Sometimes I’d walk out to the back deck where frozen vegetables were stacked to find her dangling from a harness clipped to her back as she hauled huge crates to the third-floor kitchen on an outdoor hoist in the dark. She hid a kind of herculean strength under a T-shirt and jeans and managed to smile serenely through most of it, but her cheeks often smarted red from the elements, with each eyebrow and lash layered with frost. “The toughest part of the job is probably the cold,” Wilkinson acknowledges. “The hoist, cargo elevator, and

These women didn’t whine at discomfort or worry about blow-drying their hair. If you’re going to work at an isolated science station you can expect to feel miserable some of the time and look a mess for plenty of it.

ed States’ stations, focuses on marine life and birds, including penguins. And it’s only recently that women have been welcome as either scientists or support staff at any of these Antarctic stations. From 1959 to 1974, these outposts were run by the Navy, and girls were not allowed. A few female scientists trickled through McMurdo during the ’60s, but it wasn’t until 1978 that 27-year-old Dr. Michele Raney became the first woman ever granted a full year’s contract at the Pole as the station’s physician among 16 men, opening the door for future women like me who also wanted to work there. In the winter of ’09, the 10 ladies who chose to work through this most rigorous season were an unconventional lot. Some operated power tools or developed theories on astrophysics, while others helped feed everyone or were trained to save your life should you run afoul of the ruthless environment. These women didn’t whine at a little discomfort, nor did they worry about blow-drying their hair⎯after all, if you’re going to work at an isolated science station on the planet’s coldest continent, you know you can expect to feel miserable some of the time and look a mess for plenty of it. But despite the drawbacks, all these women were passionate about their assignments, and they all had great stories to tell.

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loaders won’t operate when it drops below -80 degrees, and I was responsible for the food, so it was a worry. I often found myself dropping other chores at a moment’s notice to take advantage of a slightly warmer temperature.” In my experience, most ladies generally felt appreciated professionally by their male colleagues at the Pole, but the strains of masculine bravado could still, on occasion, be felt. “During the pool tournament here, I was the only female in the top eight,” inventory control specialist and volunteer firefighter Emily Wampler, 28, tells me. A gracious, athletic woman from Virginia, she ended up in third place out of 16 players. A new phrase even emerged on station to describe losing to her: “getting Wamped.” “During one match, a male opponent missed a shot and reprimanded himself by saying, ‘I’m shooting like a woman!’” she recalls. “But he immediately apologized. I think seeing women thrive in this harsh environment has helped a few of the guys become aware of their own biases.” Historically it was these biases that prevented women from exploring remote work in places like Antarctica. Over my winter, I was especially moved by the stories of two women in our group who came of age in the 1960s and whose tenures at the Pole represented the culmination of a lifetime of

struggle to realize their professional dreams. The station physician, Dr. Ella Derbyshire, 58, came to the Pole from Kotzebue, AK, an Inupiat community located just above the Arctic Circle. Under a mane of long silver hair, Derbyshire is quick to laugh, but her life path is one of early frustration foiled by sheer determination. She’d wanted to go to medical school as a young girl, but in her era, teachers and parents agreed women shouldn’t bother with challenging careers. Instead, she raised six kids and worked at a phone company in upstate New York. But when her kids got older, she enrolled in night school. A grandmother by the time she graduated from college alongside two of her children, she then went to medical school. And that’s when she really ran away from home. During her residency in Michigan, she received a recruiting card from the Kotzebue hospital, took one look at the picture of a dog team on the front, then picked up and moved there. “Sometimes I had to take medevac flights to see patients in the villages, and making house calls by four-wheeler, snowmobile, or boat was just part of the job,” she says. “Where else would I get to do that?” Obviously, the only route left for a woman like Derbyshire was to end up at the South Pole. Like the doctor, Lee Parker also has a tale of struggle. “I joined the Air Force in 1971, when I was in my late teens,” she says with her signature crooked smile. “I wanted to be a pilot, but the U.S. Military didn’t allow women to fly back then. Instead, I started in supply, moved to computers, then left to settle in Juneau, Alaska, where I joined the National Guard.” She never did become a pilot but instead channeled her thirst for adventure into an unbelievable 10 seasons on the Ice, including at the South Pole where she was one of three powerplant operators. Parker also worked at McMurdo, where she had a side job manually resetting pins in the bowling alley. Derbyshire and Parker represent the outer reaches of the long trajectories many women staffers have taken getting themselves to the Pole. But what would motivate any woman to leave her life and family behind just to spend nine months in the dark, cold wasteland of Antarctica? For Laurie Brekke, a cheerful, irrepressible 32-year-old with degrees in African archaeology and criminal justice, it was a love of the cold and a lifelong obsession with the continent. “When I was in second grade in northern Minnesota, I read about the race to the Pole and was captivated by [Roald] Amundsen, the guy who first got there in 1911,” she says. “So as a child, I started to acclimatize myself for frozen weather by keeping the window open at night in winter and sleeping with almost no blankets on.” Having previously worked on the North Slope of Alaska doing pipe fitting and welding, Brekke nabbed a gig as an environmental health and safety engineer at the Pole. Genevieve Ellison, 45, was also long smitten with the South Pole. After reading the ecopolitical science-fiction novel Ant-

[clockwise from top left] Grub lugger Erin Wilkinson; Dr. Ella Derbyshire; meteorologist Krissie Shiroma releasing a weather balloon; volunteer firefighter Emily Wampler; neutrino researcher Camille Parisel

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[top right] The author in the tunnels under the Ice where the temperature is -60F; [bottom right] Dr. Jude Gregan examines ice crystals on a tunnel wall

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arctica by Kim Stanley Robinson, she knew it was the place for her. “My favorite season was always winter, with its stark, white landscape,” she says. “Antarctica sounded like an absolute fantasy wonderland, and it sparked dreams that lasted for years.” When she learned there were jobs cleaning toilets and washing dishes there, it took her four long years to get a contract. “I finally went as a shuttle driver at McMurdo,” she recalls. “I thought I was the luckiest person in the world. I would have swum all the way if that’s what it had taken.” Ellison’s degree in women’s studies from Mount Holyoke didn’t prepare her for heaving enormous bags into crates and plunging her bundled-up hands into vats of refuse for sorting, but that’s exactly what she elected to do over the winter of ’09. The vigorous redhead held the title of waste-management specialist at the station, and we referred to her as the Wastie. Camille Parisel, a wickedly funny French woman in her 30s with a pixie haircut, had to wait until 1999 for the French station to begin allowing women so she could apply to do her neutrino research there. “When it finally opened to us, there were still men complaining about it,” she says in a soft accent. Parisel had an interest in the sciences practically since birth. And as soon as women were considered for work at the Pole, she applied. “I had degrees in mathematics and software engineering and was starting a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence, but with no field experience, I didn’t get in the first time I applied,” she says. “Later, in 2001, I was given a position in atmospheric chemistry—lots of air sampling, water, and snow.” Not every woman I met that winter had such a long wait, however. Jude Gregan, 36, the physician’s assistant for the season, was working as a junior doctor when she got a call from a representative of the United States Antarctic Program. The person hired for the winter job at the Pole had not physically qualified at the last moment, and they were in urgent need of a replacement. A New Zealand native with a gentle smile and soothing manner, Gregan was thrust quite suddenly into a tiny community of foreigners. But it didn’t take long for her social life to blossom, and as the season came to a close, her sadness at leaving friends behind was palpable. As she tells it, though, living far from the rest of the world is a kind of communion with the self. “Being distant from everything gives you a perspective about your life you can’t get any other way,” she says. “There are nice things about being away from the world⎯no ambulances rushing down the road, or noisy neighbors, or the six o’clock news. If you stayed here too long, though, you’d forget how to handle it.” When asked what the best thing was about spending the winter of ’09 at the South Pole, almost all of the women said the “community,” although that held a different meaning for each one. For those who are artistically driven like myself, there were available collaborators to be found right next door,

and this created its own kind of community. Forming a fourwoman a capella group was something I would have had a hard time organizing outside the station, but we all lived down the hall from each other, so it made rehearsals easy. And since our audience was both captive and made up of familiar faces, performance nerves weren’t a factor. Many others shared their talents as well, including Gregan, who played the ukulele, and Brekke, who read us her poetry. “I’m going to really miss it here, it’s so lively all the time,” Gregan tells me. She had bonded with a group of people with similar work hours who regularly ate or watched movies together, and she felt happily connected. You might think that with only 10 women on site, we would all hang out together for support. But surprisingly, this wasn’t a regular aspect of our lives. At one point, we had a “women’s night,” organized by Lee Parker, when all 10 of us sat around sipping raspberry vodka and playing word games. It was fantastic, but it happened just once, in spite of our mutual admiration. The rest of the time, each woman had friends she spent time with and didn’t always co-mingle outside that, even in this small world. Perhaps this was because the Pole is so secluded and intense, we all felt more secure in smaller social circles. One of the cooks in the kitchen often liked to say, “I love this place, I hate this place, I love this place, I hate this place, I’m never

incredibly intimate conversations. After it was over, we hung out for the first time ever off the Ice and again found ourselves having to reframe what we were doing together. Powerful feelings remained, but neither of us had a master plan for our lives, never mind our relationship. Not all relationships forged in Antarctica end up so vaguely defined the way mine did, though. I asked Krissie Shiroma, a petite, vivacious meteorologist, what her secret to a healthy Antarctic relationship was when I encountered her with her boyfriend on base that winter. She had met her guy, who worked in the IT department, at the Pole the previous summer. They then moved back there together for the winter and were happy as clams. “We make a good couple because what we have in common has nothing to do with the South Pole,” she says. She makes it sound simple, but I can’t help but feel there’s a little more to it. Isolation can bring out the best and the worst in people, and for some, this life is too intense; the season becomes one long waiting game before they can go home. When it came time for me to leave the 2009 winter behind, I was ready. Exhausted and experiencing sensory deprivation, I wanted to visit the bathroom without running into another human, walk on a green lawn with bare feet, eat an avocado, or drink

One of the cooks in the kitchen often liked to say, “I love this place, I hate this place, I love this place, I hate this place, I’m never coming back—see you next season!” coming back—see you next season!” And that captures the extreme, conflicted feelings that are a by-product of intense community life. It’s a beautiful, difficult environment where deep connections are forged, and that is doubly true when talking about love on the Ice. Relationships that spark during the summer, when escape is still possible, are common, and some conduct long-term relationships on a seasonal schedule with breaks in between (women involved in these arrangements are sometimes called “ice wives” by the men). I myself got involved with a man while we were working together in the kitchen that first summer. We felt an extraordinary connection and had lots to talk about. “Did I really have to come all the way to the South Pole to find you?” I asked him. He took a contract to stay for the winter as a carpenter, but there were no jobs available for me, so I had to leave him behind. It was awful. We spoke on the phone almost weekly but didn’t see each other for an entire year. We finally reunited for the 2009 winter, but after such a long separation, we had to completely renegotiate the relationship. It was rocky at first but evolved into something quite profound. Living in the bubble of winter had a distilling effect and produced some

a beverage that didn’t come from a can. Because there is no air traffic for eight months, no fresh food comes into the station over the winter. We are dependent on what is frozen and stored, as well as on a limited amount of greens that are grown in our indoor hydroponic growth chamber, so anything grown on trees or underground fills our imaginations. Entire conversations revolve around what fresh things we would eat back in “the world.” Sushi is high on the list, as are goat cheese, fresh fruit, and real eggs in a shell—pretty much anything that’s impossible to find at the bottom of the globe. When I left Antarctica and descended from the plane at the Christchurch airport, the smell of green grass and humid air overwhelmed me. “It smells like cows,” I thought, and it felt weird to be there. I hadn’t even seen a housefly in months. I’d also just said goodbye to 33 men and 9 women who’d spent nearly a year with me, most of whom I may never see again. All of them remain an inspiration, especially the adventuresome women⎯not only because of what they do but also because they took an unpredictable, meandering road, dismissed all obstacles, and continued to the very end without knowing what would happen once they arrived. And then they handled it. B

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Life of

Using microscopic technology, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher takes a closer look at the honeybee and reveals the beauty in science

HE FIRST TIME I looked at a bee’s eye magnified I was amazed to see a field of hexagons, just like honeycomb. I wondered, is this a coincidence or a clue? Is it simply that hexagons are ubiquitous in nature, or is there a deeper connection between the structure of the bee’s vision and the structure she builds? For me, the honeybee symbolizes and embodies a congruency ofform and function, vision and action, spirit and matter, all being of the same essence. I offer these photographs in celebration, respect, and gratitude for all that they do and are.


Excerpted from Bee by Rose-Lynn Fisher (Princeton Architectural Press)

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• Sabine 15x

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• Antenna 1100x Pollen is inadvertently collected by hair all over the bee’s body.

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â&#x20AC;˘ Sting 37x The sting is a modiďŹ ed ovipositor (the organ for laying eggs). A bee will sting only in self-defense or in defense of the hive. When threatened, she releases a pheromone, a chemical signal that alerts other bees, triggering a defense response. // BUST / 67

[counterclockwise from top left]

• Antenna 1700x The sensory terrain of the flagellum

• Elliptical dome of bee eye 190x Honeybees perceive the range of the color spectrum from yellow to ultraviolet light; red is perceived as black. Ultraviolet light reveals patterns, contrasts, and markings in flowers that are imperceptible to humans, but visible and attractive to the honeybee, informing her where to land and where to find the nectar and pollen.

• Pollen press 85x View of the rastellum and the auricle where the tibia meets the basitarsus on the inner side of the hind leg 68 / BUST // OCT/NOV

She Blinded Me with Science From archaeology to physics, ladies with the drive to discover are makin’ moves in their male-dominated fields BY TRINA ARPIN ILLUSTRATION BY ANDRIO ABERO


HERE IS A big, black hole at the center of our galaxy. And thanks to 30-year-old Sylvana Yelda, a graduate student in the astronomy and astrophysics department at the University of California, Los Angeles, we are learning more about it. The classic picture of scientists may be a bunch of old dudes in white lab coats, but because of Yelda and other women like her, that picture is changing. In research labs around the country, experiment-minded gals are mapping stars, manipulating atoms, and more. In spite of the hard work, frustration, and sexism these women face in their fields, their passion, dedication, and love of discovery keeps them in the lab, paving the way for future generations of science-loving ladies. Like many kids, Yelda loved astronomy growing up. Her parents gave her a telescope when she was five or six, and she had a subscription to an astronomy magazine. But in college she decided to major in psychology, a field

of study more populated by women, relatively speaking. It was only after graduating and contemplating her career possibilities that she realized her heart was still in astronomy. After hearing UCLA professor Andrea Ghez, 45, lecture about her work on black holes, Yelda found inspiration in the fact that a woman was doing exactly the kind of research that excited her. She applied to the university in order to work with Ghez. Astronomers had speculated for years that a black hole existed at the center of our galaxy, but our planet’s atmosphere interferes with photos taken from earth-based telescopes. Looking at these photos used to be like looking at an X-ray: things tended to be quite fuzzy, and even if you saw something suspicious, it was hard to know exactly what it was. Ghez and her students are researching ways to filter out the visual noise and produce sharp, clear images using a technique called speckle interferometry— taking thousands of snapshots and correcting for the dis-

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Astronomer Sylvana Yelda studies space on her screens

The classic picture of scientists may be a bunch of old dudes in white lab coats, but because of Yelda and other women like her, that picture is changing. tortions. They used this filtering method to prove that there isn’t just any old black hole in the center of our galaxy but a supermassive one. Now they’re trying to understand how it shapes the whole galactic neighborhood. But along with giving us insight into the stars, their research is also helping to save the lives of women here on Earth: their filtering methods are so good, they’re being used to sharpen other types of images, including mammograms. For Yelda and the other students in Ghez’s laboratory, the core of their research comes from photos of deep space taken by the Keck telescope in Mauna Kea, HI, which UCLA operates. The students get to spend 10 nights a year in Hawaii, observing the center of the galaxy firsthand. “It’s a really busy time,” says Yelda. “We come in at 8 or 9 p.m. and sometimes leave at 8 or 9 a.m.” But she admits that it’s not all work; they still manage to find “some beach time on the weekends.” When she’s not in the field, much ofYelda’s daily duties involve writing computer codes that analyze the telescope data she collects in Hawaii. “It sounds boring,” she says, “but it pays off in the end.” For Yelda, that payoff is figuring out how and where a group of stars orbiting the black hole formed. “We know they formed recently, but it’s hard to form near a black hole. So did they form far away and migrate quickly, or did they actually form near the black hole?” In answering this question, Yelda is filling out the picture of how our gal-

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axy, and others like it, operate. “I love what I do,” she says. “I just really love astronomy.” And because of Ghez, Yelda can explore her passion in an environment that is supportive, regardless of gender. Archaeologist Cheryl Makarewicz finds that her gender doesn’t affect her getting respect from colleagues—though it probably helps that she’s the boss. Still, she acknowledges that it can be a challenge. “Women in science—it’s a tough road,” she says, especially if you want to have time for a family life. “The hours you put in for a bench science [research done in a lab] are really high.” But for Makarewicz, 31, studying societies of the past was a natural fit. “In college, I liked history, science, traveling, and people, so archaeology was where it all came together.” She has been running an excavation at a 10,000-year-old site in Jordan, south of the Dead Sea, since 2004 (when she was a graduate student at Harvard). She oversees 15 to 20 undergrads, grad students, and archaeologists during each four-to-seven-week field season, when they excavate the remains of houses, burial sites, and animal bones. Turns out those animal bones can actually tell us a lot about humans. For more than a million years, people lived by hunting animals and gathering plants, migrating from one place to another every few weeks or months. But about 10,000 years ago, people in villages like the one Makarewicz is excavating

Astronomer Andrea Ghez reaches for the stars

“The first impression is, if you’re a girl you can’t do physics,” Banerjee says. “You have to work twice as hard to prove yourself, not just to teachers but to students.” started to plant and harvest grain and other crops. They then domesticated goats, sheep, and later cattle, radically changing human cultures across the globe. This agricultural revolution enabled people to store food and live in one place year-round, leading eventually, some argue, to architecture, cities, writing, and science—in short, the world as we know it today. One of Makarewicz’s goals is to understand how and when people made this radical change. She believes she can do this by analyzing isotopes (a type of atom) found in the collagen of sheep and goat bones. She argues that early farmers altered animals’ diets by feeding them over the winter, rather than allowing them to migrate and graze, and that changes in the isotopes are proof of this. Although the summer fieldwork may be the most exciting aspect of her job, the difficult part comes when she gets back to her lab. “There are a lot of starts and stops,” she says. “The collagen extraction takes weeks. From the time in the door, it takes about three months [to analyze each sample].” But so far, the work is paying off: her hypothesis seems to be right. While Makarewicz studies atoms to understand the past, Jayita Banerjee, 27, is using them to propel us into the future. As a Ph.D. candidate in physics at the University of Connecticut, Banerjee spends her days zapping atoms with lasers to slow them down and make ultracold molecules, a very hot topic in the field of physics. “At room temperature,” she says, “mole-

cules move really fast,” about 1,100 miles per hour. “If you slow them down, you have more control over them,” because they stop bouncing. The ultimate goal of this type of research is to take a few ultracold atoms, activate them with light particles, and use them to make computers small enough to sit on the tip of your finger but that are billions of times faster than the supercomputers of today. These so-called quantum computers will be revolutionary, making your laptop or smart phone look like an old clunker. For Banerjee, this is a hands-on activity. “I work with a table full of optics and homemade lasers. Every day, I have to start everything and tune them.” By aligning the lasers to just the right wavelength, she can get the photons in them to hit an atom and slow its spinning. Banerjee is justifiably proud of her research. “Learning all of the optics and the first time I saw those atoms, it gave me great pleasure,” she says. But the satisfaction she finds in this work does not make up for the marginalization she’s encountered in her field simply because she’s a woman. “The first impression is, if you’re a girl you can’t do physics,” Banerjee says. “You have to work twice as hard to prove yourself, not just to teachers but to students.” It’s this ridiculous bias that can make careers in science particularly challenging for women. And the trouble starts long before they’re ready to join the workforce. A report released in March 2010 by the American Association

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file:///Users/elizabethcareysmith/Desktop/pdf 65/bus1010p074 log [9/24/10 6:17:10 PM]

of University Women (AAUW) found that some persistent beliefs about innate differences in male and female abilities discourage girls from pursuing science fields once they get to college. In other words, the old “boys are better at math” chestnut still holds ground, and a belief that scientific skills come from nature, not nurture, is prevalent. But a look at actual data proves otherwise. Differences in math scores between boys and girls have evaporated over the past few decades among all but the highest math achievers (and girls have drastically narrowed that gap as well). On average, girls have been getting higher grades than boys in math since at least 1990. And studies have found that girls can make rapid gains in spatial-temporal reasoning skills—the one area in which boys outscore them—with short practice courses. Luckily, many girls are building on these skills and forging ahead with science-oriented college careers, despite the unfounded bias that they are naturally unequipped to handle them. In fact, in 1966, women were in the minority in aca-

degree in physics from the University of Connecticut, is all too familiar with this problem. “I was one of two girls in the department,” she says. “Personally, I tend to have disgusting faith in humanity, and I never believed that gender discrimination existed. [But in school,] I felt like I worked 3 times as hard to get 10 times less credit,” she says. What’s worse is that Lamb noticed that her male classmates, who had treated her as an equal when school started, began to emulate their professors’ gender bias. “Watching my class move through the physics program, freshman and sophomore years we were the best of friends,” she says. But junior year, when the students began working more closely with physics professors on special projects, her male classmates changed. “It was like guys who had supported me turned into the mentors [they worked with],” adopting their professors’ tendencies to openly doubt her abilities and intellect. Because of these issues, both Lamb and laser-wielding physicist Banerjee have decided not to remain in physics, but

As women move from undergrad to grad school to postdoctoral research and faculty research positions, their percentage continues to shrink, a phenomenon described as a “leaky pipeline.”

demic science fields—earning just 25 percent of all biology degrees and a mere 5 percent in physics. But today, female undergrads earn the majority of biology degrees (60 percent), their fair half of chemistry degrees, and 20 percent of physics degrees. That last statistic may not sound like much, but it represents a fourfold increase. Yet even those determined women who study science in college are less likely than men to stay in the field and make it into the most powerful jobs, like tenured faculty positions. Multiple studies, including the most recent one by the AAUW, point to negative stereotypes, bias, and work-life issues as obstacles that discourage women from staying in science. The proof is in the numbers. As women move from undergrad to grad school to postdoctoral research and faculty research positions, their percentage continues to shrink, a phenomenon described as a “leaky pipeline.” Women make up about half of all graduate students in life science, but they constitute a much smaller percentage in math, engineering, and especially physics, where women earn only 15 percent of Ph.D.s. Sarah Lamb, 22, who just graduated with a bachelor’s

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neither is giving up on their love of science—they’re simply looking for a better environment for their hard-earned skills. Lamb is applying to grad programs in engineering, where the percentage of women is still small but higher than that found in physics. Banerjee is considering applying her work with lasers to another field, like biology. Though the challenges Lamb and Banerjee face are discouraging, a lot of women, like Yelda, have had much more positive experiences in the lab and are setting the stage for generations of girls to come. Many describe a supportive work environment and say that having female role models in the field is critical to their success. “At Caltech, there were very few women,” recalls UCLA’s Ghez, who got her Ph.D. there. “I asked to be a teaching assistant, and I saw how having a female TA really made a difference [to female students].” Ghez, who was influenced by her female high school chemistry teacher, in turn inspired Yelda, who now works with her. Studies have shown that female students interested in science who have female role models in the field are more likely to pursue science degrees. Meghan Salmon, 31, a Ph.D. candidate in geography

of University Women (AAUW) found that some persistent beliefs about innate differences in male and female abilities discourage girls from pursuing science fields once they get to college. In other words, the old “boys are better at math” chestnut still holds ground, and a belief that scientific skills come from nature, not nurture, is prevalent. But a look at actual data proves otherwise. Differences in math scores between boys and girls have evaporated over the past few decades among all but the highest math achievers (and girls have drastically narrowed that gap as well). On average, girls have been getting higher grades than boys in math since at least 1990. And studies have found that girls can make rapid gains in spatial-temporal reasoning skills—the one area in which boys outscore them—with short practice courses. Luckily, many girls are building on these skills and forging ahead with science-oriented college careers, despite the unfounded bias that they are naturally unequipped to handle them. In fact, in 1966, women were in the minority in aca-

degree in physics from the University of Connecticut, is all too familiar with this problem. “I was one of two girls in the department,” she says. “Personally, I tend to have disgusting faith in humanity, and I never believed that gender discrimination existed. [But in school,] I felt like I worked 3 times as hard to get 10 times less credit,” she says. What’s worse is that Lamb noticed that her male classmates, who had treated her as an equal when school started, began to emulate their professors’ gender bias. “Watching my class move through the physics program, freshman and sophomore years we were the best of friends,” she says. But junior year, when the students began working more closely with physics professors on special projects, her male classmates changed. “It was like guys who had supported me turned into the mentors [they worked with],” adopting their professors’ tendencies to openly doubt her abilities and intellect. Because of these issues, both Lamb and laser-wielding physicist Banerjee have decided not to remain in physics, but

As women move from undergrad to grad school to postdoctoral research and faculty research positions, their percentage continues to shrink, a phenomenon described as a “leaky pipeline.”

demic science fields—earning just 25 percent of all biology degrees and a mere 5 percent in physics. But today, female undergrads earn the majority of biology degrees (60 percent), their fair half of chemistry degrees, and 20 percent of physics degrees. That last statistic may not sound like much, but it represents a fourfold increase. Yet even those determined women who study science in college are less likely than men to stay in the field and make it into the most powerful jobs, like tenured faculty positions. Multiple studies, including the most recent one by the AAUW, point to negative stereotypes, bias, and work-life issues as obstacles that discourage women from staying in science. The proof is in the numbers. As women move from undergrad to grad school to postdoctoral research and faculty research positions, their percentage continues to shrink, a phenomenon described as a “leaky pipeline.” Women make up about half of all graduate students in life science, but they constitute a much smaller percentage in math, engineering, and especially physics, where women earn only 15 percent of Ph.D.s. Sarah Lamb, 22, who just graduated with a bachelor’s

74 / BUST // OCT/NOV

neither is giving up on their love of science—they’re simply looking for a better environment for their hard-earned skills. Lamb is applying to grad programs in engineering, where the percentage of women is still small but higher than that found in physics. Banerjee is considering applying her work with lasers to another field, like biology. Though the challenges Lamb and Banerjee face are discouraging, a lot of women, like Yelda, have had much more positive experiences in the lab and are setting the stage for generations of girls to come. Many describe a supportive work environment and say that having female role models in the field is critical to their success. “At Caltech, there were very few women,” recalls UCLA’s Ghez, who got her Ph.D. there. “I asked to be a teaching assistant, and I saw how having a female TA really made a difference [to female students].” Ghez, who was influenced by her female high school chemistry teacher, in turn inspired Yelda, who now works with her. Studies have shown that female students interested in science who have female role models in the field are more likely to pursue science degrees. Meghan Salmon, 31, a Ph.D. candidate in geography

Sarah Lamb gets physics-cal

at Boston University who uses satellite images to understand global irrigation, appreciates the gender equality in her research environment. “I have a great adviser. I have a sense of apprenticeship and of learning a variety of hands-on things,” she says. Her adviser is male, but she says the faculty in her department evenly comprises men and women. For the women, though, balancing work and family life can be one of the trickiest aspects. Carol Greider, 49, a molecular biologist and mother of two who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine, knows this from experience: “Fifty percent of my class was women. That has stayed the same, but only 30 percent of assistant professors are women. People have said it’s a pipeline issue, but clearly it’s not. It’s an issue of culture in science and culture in general. In a two-career couple, who makes the compromise? What about kids? The questions are somewhat different for women than for men. They don’t have to be, but they are.” Greider asserts, however, that a career in science can be a good choice for women who want a gratifying job and a family. “If you want to have a high-power career, science is very rewarding because the hours are very flexible,” she says. “I can take an afternoon off if I need to.” News stories about her Nobel Prize were quick to report that she was at home folding laundry the morning she got the call. When asked what it takes to succeed as a woman in science, Greider responds, “You need blinders. You have to be good at ignoring things that are distractions.” One would imagine that people who dismiss your capabilities as a scientist based on gender might fall into this category. Others

point out that, as in most careers, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. “It’s not a job you can put down,” says 35-year-old Beth Shapiro, a microbiology professor at Pennsylvania State University. “I’m on maternity leave, and I go in to the lab three times a week.” Of course, in any field of science, an inquisitive nature is imperative. “There are a lot of ways to succeed,” says Ghez. “For research, you have to figure out what to ask that can be answered with today’s technology, something that’s doable and interesting.” The final ingredient, many women agree, is mental toughness. As physics grad Lamb says, “To be able to succeed, you can’t crumble when people say things to you.” For students like Yelda, Banerjee, Lamb, and Salmon, getting a degree is the first step to success. And with role models like Makarewicz, who just landed a professorship at the University of Kiel in Germany; Ghez, who recently won a MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant”; and Greider, who continues to do the molecular-biology research for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize, women just joining the fields are more likely to stay. For generations, female scientists have responded to society’s doubts about women’s ability to succeed in science by, well, succeeding in science. And while achieving gender equality in the field is still something they struggle with, determined women across the country are plowing ahead with their science-minded dreams despite the many challenges they face, doing new research while breaking down old biases. It is these women who are shaping the world of science for a better, girl-friendly tomorrow. B

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spell bound Charlotte Kemp Muhl and Sean Lennon look enchanting wearing fashion fit for the season of the witch, and give us the scoop on their new musical collaboration, the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger



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HE GHOST OF a Saber Tooth Tiger is the musical project of lovebirds Charlotte Kemp Muhl and Sean Lennon. Muhl, a 23-year-old model, and Lennon, the 35-year-old son of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, were the perfect subjects for our witchy, forest-nymph fashion story—their sound is playful, sometimes spooky, and a little mysterious. We hung out in the woods of upstate New York for a day, taking pictures and listening to tunes. Here the duo talks about their first full-length album, Acoustic Sessions, out now on their label, Chimera Music. When did you two get together? Charlotte: Our satellite-esque flirtation began when I was 17, and a year later we were inseparable partners in crime. Our initial bonding was over sketchbooks in cafés, cuddling in hotels, texting geeky

soliloquies—not music, per se. But after spending every day with one another for a few months, we realized we wanted to write songs together, too. Who plays what on the album? C: Sean plays all the guitar parts, including slide, banjo, and 12-string. I play the piano, vibraphone, flute, cello, and cuica [a Brazilian drum]. We feel like kids in a sandbox with all these musical toys lying around. Do you write the lyrics together? C: Very much so! It’s really like we’re creating our children out of consonants and vowels rather than flesh. These songs are genetically half me, half Sean. I love the single “Jardin du Luxembourg” that Mark Ronson produced. How did you like working with him?

Sean: Mark and I have been friends our entire lives, so being in the studio with him felt really fun and natural. The three of us wound up reworking a lot of songs as a band with Charlotte on keys, Mark on bass, and me on drums. He’s really a remarkable bass player, which surprised everyone including him, I think. Mark’s influence on our sound was very positive, he injected a lot of energy. Tell me what the track “The World Was Made for Men” is about. S: That was the first song Charlotte and I wrote together. It's about the feeling today that the world is spinning out of control, that we’re facing a sort of cultural Armageddon, and that everything’s been done— every inch of our world explored and conquered. It’s clear that we’ll either evolve into a wiser species or just flicker out. \ // BUST / 83

Have you toured together? C: We have done a few small acoustic tours, playing Tokyo, Paris, London, and several cities in California. My favorite feeling is driving through the desert or mountains, blasting old records, with Sean behind the wheel while I’m munching on berries and dangling my feet out the window, our amps and gear knocking around in the backseat as we race to our next gig. I love that you were into the mystical and witchy vibe we were going for 84 / BUST // OCT/NOV

in this fashion spread. Is it something you’re naturally drawn to? S: It’s funny, both Charlotte and I went through pagan periods during adolescence. She was casting spells, a teenage priestess of her own coven; I was going to full-moon ceremonies and collecting crystals and candles. It’s sort of embarrassing, but we both have a soft spot for most anything that takes place in the forest, has feathers on it, or wears moccasins. C: Yes, I did practice Wicca when I was younger. I even dabbled in some white

voodoo and was known to dance naked under the harvest moon a few times. But now we’re insatiable for science and consider quantum physics to be the greatest magic of all. Do you believe in ghosts and spirits? C: As someone who’s worked closely with electricity for recording ’s sake, I can tell you poltergeists are real! I’m not sure I’d call them ghosts, but energy never dies, it’s just transformed. [ LAURIE HENZEL ]


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the bust guide


ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS Swanlights (Secretly Canadian) Antony and the Johnsons’ fourth release, Swanlights, is as beautiful as its name. As usual, it includes a eulogy, a thank-you, and a prayer, in addition to all the other emotionally driven piano songs that will make your heart swell. “Thank You for Your Love” turns into a bit of a rocker, incorporating drums and horns, but the record is primarily piano paired with Antony’s intensely affecting vibrato. The majority of the tracks are more happy and hopeful than sad, including the enchanting “Salt Silver Oxygen,” on which Antony sings over flutes and airy strings, and “Flétta,” a quiet piano duet with Björk. On the standout “Ghost,” Antony’s piano playing is equal parts ecstatic and dramatic, accompanied by a flourish of strings, as he pleads with the ghosts in his heart to “Chase the river, chase the sunlight.” His message of hope and renewal runs through the album’s 144-page companion hardcover art book, also titled Swanlights (Abrams), which features Antony’s illustrations, photographs, album lyrics, and other writings. [ELISABETH WILSON]

AZURE RAY Drawing Down the Moon (Saddle Creek) After a seven-year hiatus, the ladies of Azure Ray are back, and their fourth record, Drawing Down the Moon, is sweeter than sweet tea. Alabama natives Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor’s light, airy voices contrast with their thematically diverse lyrics. The duo layers synthesized sounds with a strong Southern flair that gives the album a casual, country feel. “Signs in the Leaves” and “Love and Permanence” showcase the intricate layering of vocals, fingerpicked guitar, and electronic background noise. “Larraine” stands out the most, telling the story of an abused, young woman; the end of it suggests that Larraine is the songwriter’s mother, giving it a raw, emotional feeling characteristic of Azure Ray’s heartfelt lyricism. Drawing Down the Moon is the perfect soundtrack for the changing seasons. [ERICA VARLESE]

tamaryn THE WAVES (MEXICAN SUMMER) MUSIC, LIKE FASHION, goes in and out of style in cycles. Though buffalo check plaid, a closet staple of the ’90s, will always be ugly, revisiting the Clinton years has provided some gorgeous inspiration for San Francisco outfit Tamaryn. Composed of lead singer Tamaryn and instrumentalist Rex John Shelverton, the duo clearly spent a lot of time listening to Mazzy Star CDs while recording their debut. Though Tamaryn’s influences show through pretty heavily, there are enough twists on The Waves to establish it firmly as the band’s own creation. Shelverton adds fuzzed-out distortion worthy of the Jesus and Mary Chain to tracks like “Haze Interior,” while Tamaryn’s breathy vocals echo with that booming depth perfected by Siouxsie Sioux. On the opening title track, Tamaryn asks her listeners to “Come down to the shadows,” like some kind of acid-dropping sorceress beckoning you to your doom. It’s a dreamy, psychedelic ride she’s offering, and definitely a trip worth taking. [ELIZA THOMPSON] // BUST / 87

the guide MUSIC THE BLACK ANGELS Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon) Austin quintet the Black Angels orchestrate another welcome contribution to the psych-rock renaissance (embodied by other loud outfits like Black Mountain and Warpaint) with Phosphene Dream. The Angels' name nods to one of their influences—it comes from the Velvet Underground’s “The Black Angel’s Death Song”—and the group creates a primordial sound, much like the Doors’, that descends on the auditory system like dark clouds. Their third release is spooky rock, heavy with distorted surf guitar, a drone machine, wicked keyboards, noisy percussion, and singer Alex Maas’ incantation of a voice, which sounds like that of Grace Slick in her “White Rabbit” prime. Plodding tracks like “True Believers” put a spell on the ears, and this ain’t white magic, people. Still, these Angels recognize that even fans of the musical dark side like to dance, and they get down with “Telephone,” a raucous, dirty little hipswinging head banger that might make the White Stripes proud. [KATIE BAIN]

BLACK MOUNTAIN Wilderness Heart (Jagjaguwar) Wilderness Heart, the third full-length by this Canadian psych rock fivepiece, starts off brilliant and strong with brawny guitar riffs and powerful vocal harmonies between Stephen McBean and Amber Webber. The album builds itself up nicely in the first six tracks and winds down to a calm, mellow vibe by the time “Buried by the Blues” rolls around. The combination of male and female vocals and the haunting slide guitar make this song the gem of Wilderness Heart. The title track brings back the intensity the album began with, as Webber’s bluesy vocals take the lead and are backed by furious drumming. There are hints of the band’s progressive rock influences on the song as well, although this is definitely an eclectic album. Black Mountain will take you on a wild trip that you won't want to come back from. [AURORA MONTGOMERY] 88 / BUST // OCT/NOV

THE CHAPIN SISTERS Two (Lake Bottom) The Chapin Sisters started out as a threesome on their first album, Lake Bottom, but Lily and Abigail (nieces of famed folk singer Harry Chapin) are currently working as a duo while sibling Jessica takes a maternity leave, hence the title Two for their latest release. The Chapin Sisters’ pristine harmonies are immediately evident on the album’s opener, “Sweet Light,” which has an echo-chamber, synth-backed sound reminiscent of Joni Mitchell’s “Shadows and Light.” Other songs, like “Paradise,” “Birds in My Garden,” and “Boo Hoo,” float along with a haunted folk/Americana feel, similar to ballads from Neko Case, Patty Griffin, and Chan Marshall. “Digging a Hole” is set to a lounge-meets-tribal-rhythm as the Chapin gals chant, “I’m chopping a tree, but the tree is bigger than the world” through the chorus. The record’s final track, “Trouble,” sets a twangy country-blues vibe that brings to mind blowing tumbleweeds while banjos and guitars are strummed all around. [MICHAEL LEVINE]

DARK DARK DARK Wild Go (Supply & Demand) Dark Dark Dark’s sophomore full-length waltzes deftly between the hauntingly eerie and the sweetly precious. The band’s first release, 2008’s The Show Magic, established a hungry fan base that will be satiated by Wild Go, which is nothing short of beautifully tender. The sextet from Minneapolis, New York, and New Orleans layers lively horns, bouncy accordions, and warm piano beneath milky female vocals, à la Mirah or Regina Spektor. Dark Dark Dark is consistently, well, dark, and with chilling minor-chord harmonies and moody, broody lyrics, they favor the dramatic. On tracks like “Heavy Heart,” a pained voice croons of unspeakable things and whispering winds. But the band shines most on its lighter ditties like “Celebrate,” which features an upbeat waltz and a happily meandering squeezebox. [ERIN GRIFFITH]

DEERHUNTER Halcyon Digest (4AD) Deerhunter’s latest opus, Halcyon Digest, completely obliterates the fine line between the band’s “traditional” rock and frontman Bradford Cox’s airy bedroom project Atlas Sound. Whether Cox intended for there to be a sonic divide between the two bands or whether the difference is in the names only has never been entirely apparent, but with Halcyon Digest, Cox and company have unleashed pop elements that were once piled under layers of atmosphere and feedback. Opener “Earthquake” is the perfect example of how Halcyon’s tracks have an interloping quality that would have made them sound at home on either Atlas Sounds’ Logos or Deerhunter’s Rainwater Cassette Exchange. That’s not to say Cox has decided to sit pretty on his past musical stylings; tracks like the Southern rambling “Revival” and the saxophone-laden “Coronado” show just how little we’ve seen of his songwriting chops. With their driving drums and lazy vocals, “Desire Lines” and “Fountain Stairs”—tunes penned by guitarist Lockett Pundt—may be the most Deerhunter tracks on the album. [PETER WENKER]

FRANKIE ROSE AND THE OUTS Self-titled (Slumberland) After keeping the beat as an original member of Vivian Girls and playing drums in Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls, Frankie Rose has a band she can now call her own. On this self-titled debut, Rose wrote 10 of the 11 songs (all but the Arthur Russell cover, “You Can Make Me Feel Bad”), proving that her talent goes beyond the drum kit. Rose’s confidence is audible on this record and affirms the rocker’s decision to stake her own claim musically. There is a thematic intensity in her songwriting that makes Frankie Rose much more than just another pop record. The opening track, “Hollow Life,” brings to mind English psych-rock band Spacemen 3, while “That’s What People Told Me” is all reverb-laced

with haunting harmonies. Despite the mishmash of styles, Rose creates a clean, tight sound—the best we’ve heard from her yet. [ANDIE RISHOI]

GLASSER Ring (Matador/True Panther Sounds) In the tradition of Kate Bush and Bat for Lashes, symphonic/electro-project Glasser makes music that is not only beautiful but also exciting. Despite the complex, intensely layered quality of the music, Los Angeles native Cameron Mesirow is the sole member of Glasser, and her debut is sure to please anyone interested in the use of unconventional instrumentation. Ring contains lush vocal harmonies and inspired melodies, with accents of baritone sax, steel drum, marimba, bells, and handclaps—all with a backdrop of drum-heavy synthpop. Standout track “Mirrorage” has a droning, tribal-drum quality with an overlay of electronically distorted vocals. It’s Mesirow’s melodies, however, that make this album so good. [ELISABETH WILSON]

INTERPOL Self-titled (Matador) I’ve been trying to figure out how to say, in the least pervy way possible, that Interpol’s self-titled fourth release is, well, sex music. When frontman Paul Banks sings, “You don’t have to say that you’d love to/But baby please, that you’d want to/Some day” on “Memory Serves,” the next thing you hear is panties dropping worldwide. The boys of Interpol have been consistent with their sophisticated sleaze-rock sound since their start, in New York in 1997, and this album shows a return to the mournful seductiveness of their first, Turn on the Bright Lights. It’s made even more bittersweet by the fact that it’s bassist Carlos D.’s final money shot; he hung up his holster after Interpol was finished. “I know the way you will make it up/Make it up for me,” Banks sings on “All of the Ways,” backed by droning guitar and an afterthought of a drum beat, like someone staring you down out of the corner of his eye. And while, yes, he could be singing about almost

MUSIC anything, my mind once again returns to the gutter. [KELLY MCCLURE]

JENNY & JOHNNY I’m Having Fun Now (Warner Bros.) Jenny Lewis has such a distinct voice and style, if you’re already a fan of her work with indie favorite Rilo Kiley and have been following her barefoot-bumpkin solo stuff, you’ll probably like this too. Jenny & Johnny is a side project Lewis formed with Johnathan Rice, a singer/songwriter in his own right and also her steady boyfriend (last I read). The two were introduced by Conor Oberst in 2005, and Rice has been a member of Lewis’ touring band ever since. Seems only natural that the two would pass the time together by coming up with some songs of their own, and the result is I’m Having Fun Now. The creative chemistry between Lewis and Rice is part sun-bleached pop and part previously mentioned bumpkin with a jangly early-’90s vibe à la the Lemonheads’ Evan Dando/Juliana Hatfield heyday. It’s sort of perfect. The melding of their voices on tracks

such as “Switchblade,” will still be just this sweet and just this sincere long after they part ways and head toward other, uh, collaborations. [KELLY MCCLURE]

LES SAVY FAV Root for Ruin (Frenchkiss) The ears aren’t the only body parts that enjoy a good pounding, but I’m at work and my employee manual is quite clear as to what I can and cannot shove into myself. Earbuds barely stay in my greasy holes, and my spastic headshaking probably doesn’t help, but cut me a break—I’m listening to the new Les Savy Fav. Root for Ruin is spunky and punky, but not without a melodic hook to keep you “High and Unhinged,” as their song goes. The quintet’s ringing guitars can move booty (“Appetites” and “Excess Energies”) and mood (“Sleepless in Silverlake” and “Poltergeist”), and represent rock stripped to its raw core. The album rages so intensely, I momentarily forget my workaday job drudgery. But my boss just poked his ugly head into my office to call me into a meet-

ing, lips flapping incoherently. With Les Savy Fav still blasting in my ears, all I hear is a riot. [PETER LANDAU]

MARNIE STERN Self-titled (Kill Rock Stars) Virtuoso guitarist Marnie Stern, she of the flying fingers, is back with her third full-length. She continues to finger-tap her way into giant drum arrangements played by longtime collaborator Zach Hill, but her music has matured into grander orchestrations of layered sounds oft created by her vocals and guitar. The staccato, soldier-like march of “Building a Body” is an even mix of desperation and strength and probably the first song by Stern that will make it on to the dance floor—not that that’s her intent. While this work reveals a more polished and even poppier Stern, her style is still focused on a heavy-metal sound. With a drummer like Hill, she can’t help it. “For Ash,” the album’s single, highlights new psychedelic vocals for the guitarist/singer, her voice rising and falling in a way that could become a New Age chant

if it weren’t for Hill’s speedy drumming keeping pace. Marnie Stern seems to be becoming more comfortable with Marnie Stern, hence this album’s namesake. [MARY-LOUISE PRICE]

MELIGROVE BAND Shimmering Lights (Last Gang) Ontario’s Meligrove Band used to be a power-pop group that loved sweet piano melodies and sunny, Brian Wilson–inspired harmonies. They’re still a power-pop group, but in the four years since their last album, they seem to have gained a new appreciation for the word power. Handclaps, keyboards, and horn sections still abound on Shimmering Lights, but the quartet sounds less like the Beach Boys and more like Arcade Fire’s jealous younger brothers. Try as he might, frontman Jason Nunes still has a touch of the ’60s in his smooth vocals and piano stylings, even on “White Like Lies,” when he bangs on the keys like he wants to break them. The Meligrove Band sounds like they’re trying very hard to prove they’re more than vintage AM-radio


EVERETT TRUE’S FIRST LADIES OF ROCK The best girl bands you’ve never heard of [BY EVERETT TRUE]

ALLO DARLIN’ Allo Darlin’ is twee pop par excellence from London. If you’re the type to shudder at the thought of how cute kittens look when they’re rolling around, chasing string, then you probably oughtn’t come close to this. If, however, you dig Belle and Sebastian and the Ramones and ’80s U.K. underground femme pop, then this is your band. Singer Elizabeth Morris also plays in the crushworthy Tender Trap with indie icon Amelia Fletcher.

NEVEREVER There’s so much of this awesome, echo-drenched, femme pop around, and I sure ain’t complaining. My absolute crush of 2010, L.A.’s Neverever (featuring ex-members of Glasgow indie band the Royal We) is immaculate, heartwrenching—the sort of breathless, edgy music that makes you never want to give up your Dansette record player. Anyone who’s ever had her hand held by Jane Wiedlin knows what I’m talking about.

VERONICA FALLS London group Veronica Falls (also made up of ex–the Royal We members) is subtly gothic in the way 16-years-olds’ diaries always are, and insatiably catchy. Everything is bleak, windswept, and maudlin, but with a beating, pop underbelly. Drums clatter and splatter, vocals are gorgeous four-part harmonies, voices yearn and shiver. You’ll never want to be old again. Is there reverb? Is there reverb?! Lashings and lashings of it.

WOOM WOOM is staccato, irregular, and angular, but never liquid. The duo is way more weird Americana (like Terry Riley) than early-’80s minimal gothic (such as Young Marble Giants), but draws from both: a little school recorder and wood-block action here, some feedback there, even a hint of Ciccone Youth. You could call it cute, but only because it’s melodic and inventive and sweetly surreal and blissfully refreshing.

Think: the Go-Betweens, Talulah Gosh, Marine Girls Sarah Records factor: 10 Sarah Jessica Parker factor: 0

Think: Dum Dum Girls, the Go-Go’s, Best Coast “We Got the Beat”: 10 “Heaven Is a Place on Earth”: 3

Think: the Concretes, Flowers, the Smiths Shadow Morton factor: 9 DJ Shadow factor: 1

Think: Young People, Miu Miu, Xiu Xiu Brigitte Fontaine factor: 8 Brigitte Bardot factor: 4

// BUST / 89


grrrl grown up CORIN TUCKER, THE VOICE OF SLEATER-KINNEY, IS BACK WITH A BAND OF HER OWN AND A NEW RECORD THAT’S ALL ROCK-’N’-ROLL FUN FOR THOSE OF us who hold riot grrrl dear to our heart, the beginning of our cool years (meaning that fine moment we swapped baggy T-shirts and cords for Docs and dresses) can be traced back to the first time we heard a Sleater-Kinney song. With their energetic yelping, ferocious guitar, and powerful lyrics, Sleater-Kinney was and is the perfect intro to the feminist punk subculture. The trio’s sound was driven by the vocal stylings of Corin Tucker, who helped found the Olympia, WA– based band in 1994 and kept its heart beating until 2006, when she and bandmates Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss decided to take a breather. Tucker, now 37 and a wife and mother of two toddlers, is at least partially rested from her break and ready to play us something new. 1,000 Years (Kill Rock Stars), her first release as the core of the Corin Tucker Band—featuring post-punk peers Sara Lund on percussion and Seth Lorinczi on just about everything else—reveals a sound that is more refined than angsty, more rock than punk. I spoke with Tucker on the phone one afternoon, and she told me all about what went into making her new album, how it feels to grow up, and what she thinks about Lady Gaga. It seems like your music’s evolved from the stuff you started out playing in your first band, Heavens to Betsy, and Sleater-Kinney. You’ve managed to change your sound while other artists can’t seem to make that happen. That was my hope. I think with most punk bands, from inception to the release of the album, it all happens in the same month. That’s the one benefit of being so goddamn old—you can make yourself stop and think, How can we make an actual record that’s something somebody would want to listen to more than once? What was working on the album like? Seth has his own studio in his house, and he’s a parent so he has the same schedule as I do. I’d be like, “OK, it’s 9:30 a.m., I’m coming to your house! Make coffee, and we’ll work on the songs!” Which is so incredibly nerdy and embarrassing, but you do what you gotta do. Like, we work in the morning, and the kids are in playgroup or whatever until 1 p.m., and that’s how we made this record. Do you plan on making more albums as the Corin Tucker Band? I think we’ll just take it as it comes. It’s still in the experiment phase. I mean, we’re all bringing our babies on tour, and that’s insane. Three toddlers on tour? But we all love music really deeply. So we’re just gonna go for it. We all worked really hard on this record, and we want people to hear it. After having a few years off, did you have to work your way back to belting it out like you used to? Yeah, I would say it did take me a minute to just let it out. But once Sara started playing drums, it was like the years rolled back for all of us. We were like, “Oh, my God, we’re in the basement, and we’re playing the loudest music ever.” 90 / BUST // OCT/NOV

It seems like the riot grrrl style of music is coming back around. Is any of that catching your ear? Honestly, I’m not really as current in my music listening as I was, so I’m not the best person to ask about that. There’s not much I’ve heard in terms of new bands where I’ve been like, “Oh, that’s completely inspiring.” I love the new Quasi record. That’s the best new album I’ve heard in a long time. I think my musical taste is kind of formed. I’m not into the whole Lady Gaga thing. It’s really just like, “I want lots of diamonds.” I don’t relate to that music, and I don’t like those lyrics at all. I recently read a blurb about Frances Bean Cobain, and it mentioned that she’s 18, which blew my mind because I remember when she was born. When you were 18, where did you see yourself at 37? Unfortunately, I don’t think I had the wisdom at that point to think about my life and plan things out. I was a pretty impulsive young woman. We were starting the riot grrrl revolution at that point. We were trying to take over the world. I had really high expectations for how we were gonna change things at that age. But I have to say, looking back, I feel really fortunate. I’m at a really good place in my life. To still be friends with all those girls and have the experiences we had together, it’s really awesome. [KELLY MCCLURE] PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOHN CLARK

MUSIC enthusiasts, but the group’s at its best on tracks like “Bones Attack!,” which highlights the lilting keyboards and dreamy harmonies that worked so well for them (and their heroes) in the past. [ELIZA THOMPSON]

NO AGE Everything in Between (Sub Pop) Nothing is straightforward nowadays; it’s all about what’s in between, and nothing illustrates that better than the new record by No Age. Being dyslexic and lazy, I misread No Age as New Age or New Wave or No Wave, which, in a weird way, sums up their sound. The duo has a kooky pop sense that is propulsive on cuts such as “Shred and Transcend” and even tips toward the traditional with the la-la-la-la’s of “Skinned.” Instrumentals “Katerpillar,” a dreamy merrygo-round, and “Positive Amputation” look to Eno and shoe-gazers for inspiration, making this sound like tuning in to a dozen satellite-radio stations simultaneously. It’s the noise from a young band that’s steady on their feet and enjoys stomping around. I like it. [PETER LANDAU]

OF MONTREAL False Priest (Polyvinyl) Have you ever wondered what might happen if an ageless Marc Bolan popped up in the 21st century and immediately digested all the pop music

he’s missed out on since 1977? Well, if he arrived in Athens, GA, he might have become Of Montreal ringleader Kevin Barnes. The glamorous, polymorphous sexuality of Bolan’s T. Rex is only one aspect of the glittering diamond that is False Priest, a very contemporary example of what psychedelic pop means. “Our Riotous Defects” plays like a white, neurotic Prince, all pompfunk and glazed synth, with Barnes intermittently speaking and wailing falsetto. “Hydra Fancies” is antiseptic science-funk, pristine vocal multitracking roughed up by squelches, and “Casualty of You” delivers on the downbeat title with solitary AM-radio piano and haunted strings. Of Montreal continue their mutations, well on their way to being some kind of neon butterfly. [TOM FORGET]

RAH DIGGA Classic (Raw Koncept) Following the release of this Flipmode Squad alum’s first solo album, Dirty Harriet, in 2000, viral trickles of her work-in-progress left me sure that rapper Rah Digga would be back with a vengeance. But after listening to her latest, Classic, I was left wishing she’d given us more from that rhyme book she’s been working on for 10 years. The album opens with narrative promise and a killer beat that could be at home in a Tarantino martial-arts epic, but unfortunately doesn’t live up to its auspicious beginning. On a truly classic rap record, lyrics are so perfectly

GRINDERMAN Grinderman 2

paired with awesome beats, you can’t imagine them working any other way. Here, the verses and beats, though expert, are more or less interchangeable. And while her lyrics are sharp as ever, they lack an emotional depth Rah Digga seems especially poised to relate—being one of few chicks tough enough to stick it out in rap’s boys’ club, this lady has built up a wealth of history, yet only skims the surface of her pool of insight. [JULIA ABRAHAM]

ROBYN Body Talk Pt. 2 (Cherrytree) Swedish electro-pop songstress Robyn continues to walk the walk and talk the talk on the second installment of her Body Talk trilogy. On it, she teams up with her fellow Swedes, producers Kleerup, Klas Åhlund, and Savage Skulls, as well as Philly’s own DJ Diplo, for a truly hot album. If her propulsive club hit “Dancing on My Own” left you salivating for more mind-bending dance anthems, prepare to rock your body and then some, especially on the euro-dance vibes of “In My Eyes” and kinetic grooves of “Criminal Intent.” Style is far from sacrificed throughout this eight-song set, as Robyn’s approach is flawless and glam, from the string-laden acoustic “Indestructible” to the jagged hip-hop flavors of “U Should Know Better,” featuring Snoop Dogg. On the tasty pop of “Hang With Me,” she sings, “Just don’t fall recklessly, headlessly in love with me.” Sorry, Robyn, we already did. [MACKENZIE WILSON]

{heavy rotation}


(Anti) THE WEB SITE for Nick Cave–fronted Grinderman’s album features a clip that tells you all you need to know about it. Menacing music rumbles as a woman slowly rises out of a bathtub, followed by a brief shot of a beast’s face and the quote, “You think your husband will protect you. You are wrong.” It’s a line from the first single, “Heathen Child,” but it’s wonderfully descriptive of the primal racket this quartet revels in creating. When Grinderman first reared its ugly head, fans foretold a return to the challenging heyday of Cave’s first band, the Birthday Party, but that’s only half the story. True, there’s a brute intensity

here that the creepy crooner has refined on his albums with the Bad Seeds, but more than anything, there’s a focus on creating a hypnotic groove. Slow burns like “When My Baby Comes” twist until they snap, with psychedelic guitars swirling around stalking rhythms like knife fighters circling each other in perpetuity. [TOM FORGET]

THE THERMALS Personal Life (Kill Rock Stars) The Thermals have inspired plenty of critics, trying to describe their sound, to take a stab at coining new genres. The Portland, OR–based trio’s brand of quasi-rock has been called no-fi, pre-post-punk, neo-grunge, and postpower-pop. We’ll call it post-punkpop, the latter part of which is on full display on Personal Life, the Thermals’ fifth studio album. Opener “I’m Gonna Change Your Life” chugs in between hooks with enough flutter and jagged guitar lines to flourish in both the punk and power-pop arena—like Green Day without major-label marketing concerns and singer Hutch Harris playing a nervier Billie Joe Armstrong. “I Don’t Believe You” sounds like Apples in Stereo. “Never Listen to Me” crackles with top-40 urgency, yet maintains a dark lyrical edge (“Follow the sound/Follow me down/Follow me down”). It’s a solid formula that allows Personal Life to be sweet and not too tangy. Pretty post-punk powerpop, indeed. [DYLAN STABLEFORD]

Y LA BAMBA Lupon (Tender Loving Empire) If you pine for the day when Astrud Gilberto records some lounge-inspired Mexican songs with Devendra Banhart, then Portland, OR’s Y La Bamba is totally your jam. Produced by the Decemberists’ Chris Funk and masterminded by smooth chanteuse Luzelena Mendoza, Lupon is a haunted collection of avant-folk stunners, from the laid-back cool of “Soy Capitan” to the upbeat but nearly monastic first single, “Juniper.” Aside from Mendoza’s warm beach of a voice, her most striking talent is religious imagery—she reportedly turned to songwriting after a serious illness rattled her Catholic faith— and she captures every ethereal reference à la Leonard Cohen, with breathtaking fervor. And though the album’s full-band songs are lovely, it’s the more subtle tracks, like “Crocodile Eyes” (featuring an eerie handsaw) and the stark processional “Winter’s Skin”, on which Y La Bamba truly showcases their absolutely gorgeous sound. [MOLLIE WELLS] // BUST / 91

the guide MOVIES Dr. Carol Queen gives off good vibes in Orgasm Inc.

THE FREEBIE Written and directed by Katie Aselton (Phase 4 Films) The couple that strays together stays together. That’s the premise of The Freebie, an intimate little love story about the kind of married people who like to cuddle and do crosswords, are great guests at your dinner party, and want to try having sex with other people (just once). Katie Aselton, who wrote, directed, and co-produced the film with her director husband Mark Duplass (The Puffy Chair, Cyrus) also stars as Annie. Annie has been married to Darren (Dax Shepard) for seven years, and the two live in Los Angeles, where they frequent a favorite coffee shop and drink wine with their sardonic, selfaware friends. Overall, their partnership is a success, save for one thing: Annie and Darren sure do snuggle a lot, but they can’t remember the last time they had sex. Like the film itself, there’s a lot of interesting talk in their lives but very little action. Bed is a place for conversation, and it’s in bed one night that Darren and Annie come up with an idea to jump-start their sex life. They grant each other a one-time-only night of sex with someone else—a freebie. Aselton then shows us, in nonlinear order, the consequences of this conversation. Shot on video from a 6-page outline in only 11 days, The Freebie, which was filmed mostly in Aselton’s home, feels natural and warm, and so do the performances. As a director, Aselton elicits 92 / BUST // OCT/NOV

Stella Schnabel cozies up in You Wont Miss Me

a surprising and sensitive performance from Shepard. But for such a closely focused story, the script is plagued by holes. Annie and Darren discuss everything except why they are physically affectionate but are not having sex. And with no clues given about their professional lives or personal backgrounds outside their relationship, there’s no way to understand who they are apart from each other. [PHOEBE MAGEE]

ORGASM INC. Directed by Liz Canner (Astrea Media) Medical professionals have long been on a quest to find cures for women’s numerous sexual “dysfunctions,” and documentary filmmaker Liz Canner knows this crusade all too well. A pharmaceutical company had hired her to edit erotic videos that were to accompany drug trials for a cream meant to increase orgasms in women, and Canner jumped at the opportunity to chronicle our culture’s newest medical craze: the creation of something like Viagra for women. Big Pharma’s race for FDA approval of remedies designed to combat female sexual dissatisfaction has been extensive. And nearly a decade after she started shooting, Canner has completed an excellent historical record of their pursuit, investigating fully this new business of labeling and curing the alleged sexual dysfunctions that plague Western women. The scope of the doc is wide. Interviews with the folks who produce

these drugs and devices—one is called the Orgasmatron—are staggered between visits to the offices of doctors, psychologists, sex-toy retailers, and health-care professionals who oppose the medicalization of women’s sexuality. Women who believe they are afflicted with dysfunction have their say too, and all these elements come together to reveal just how Victorian our orgasm mania really is. Throughout the film, Canner retains a good sense of humor, frequently having a laugh with her subjects, but she doesn’t sugarcoat how problematic she believes this business to be. She challenges viewers to think historically about the question of sexual dysfunction and dares to ask, What might really be preventing women from orgasming? Look for campus tours and screenings of this endearing, sex-positive flick in your area at [ANNA BEAN]

YOU WONT MISS ME Written and directed by Ry Russo-Young (Helavanna Productions) Coming-of-age stories tend to err on the side of melodrama: apparently there are quite a few 20-somethings walking around with serious drug habits and a nagging suspicion that they ought to kill themselves. That’s why it’s refreshing to see a movie like You Wont Miss Me, in which the protagonist struggles with problems that are more relatable to anyone who’s ever been young and confused.

The film follows Shelly (Stella Schnabel, daughter of Julian), a 23-year-old aspiring actress who wanders aimlessly around New York City looking for jobs, boyfriends, and a sense of direction. It wouldn’t hurt her to log a little time in the therapist’s office—she has issues with her absent mother and thinks she needs to be hospitalized for nonexistent psychological disorders—but director Ry Russo-Young is more interested in documenting Shelly’s everyday life than she is in diagnosing her mental state. Shelly does the same things any young adult does: she goes to boring parties, she goes on bad dates, she goes on unsuccessful job interviews. At times, her disinterest reads as nothing but laziness, but in a scene where she tells a potential director that she doesn’t want to work on his “pretentious” movie, she seems to know more about what she wants than anyone else thinks she does. It’s difficult not to wonder, though, how she pays for food and rent without landing any roles, a detail that some viewers won’t be able to overlook while trying to empathize with her restless, histrionic character. Ultimately, however, in You Wont Miss Me, Russo-Young and Schnabel (who co-wrote the script) give seemingly familiar scenes the kind of gravity and respect rarely granted to these sorts of moments in the lives of emotional young women. And that alone is noteworthy. [ELIZA THOMPSON]


Katie Aselton contemplates The Freebie

the guide



GIRLS TO THE FRONT: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution BY SARA MARCUS (HARPER PERENNIAL) IF YOU’RE A fan of BUST, chances are the riot-grrrl movement had a substantial impact on your formative years. Girls to the Front takes readers on an exclusive tour through the history of riot grrrl, the iconoclastic mix of punk rock, girly clothing, DIY culture, and third-wave feminism that rose from the Pacific Northwest in the early ’90s and spread throughout the United States, heavily influencing mainstream culture, female musicians, and feminist theory in its wake. The book focuses primarily on Kathleen Hanna and her legendary band, Bikini Kill, but also showcases the groups Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, L7, and Huggy Bear. It also highlights noteworthy ’zines such as Jigsaw, Girl Germs, Girl Fiend, and Hit It or Quit It, as well as significant concerts and conferences during the movement. Though the book will doubtlessly evoke nostalgia in women who grew up with riot grrrl, Marcus is quick to point out that the time was anything but picture-perfect. Interspersed among stories of raging concerts, ’zines, activism, and sisterhood are inevitable tales of arguments, mosh-pit fights, disorganization, and media misrepresentation that ultimately led to the movement’s fizzling out. Despite the drama, riot grrrl played a significant role for many young women by validating their voices and concerns, presenting a vision of female “cool” dissociated from mainstream cultural expectations, and providing outlets for grrrls to come together to talk about feminism. Marcus’ enthusiasm for riot grrrl is infectious, and Girls to the Front may well inspire readers to again start chanting, “Revolution girl style now!” [ANTONIA BLAIR]

BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women By Rebecca Traister (Free Press) Salon senior writer Rebecca Traister begins her debut book with a personal anecdote about her first trip to the voting booth in 1984, at age nine. “I hope that someday you’ll have the chance to vote for a woman at the top of the ticket,” her father said. Yet when the 2008 primaries rolled around, Traister was backing John Edwards—until the force of a still-sexist nation moved her into Hillary Clinton’s camp. Tracking the election, Traister tells the story of Clinton’s rise and fall and the campaign season that catalyzed a countrywide discussion of gender and sexism. She nimbly weaves in various elements that informed the political landscape, from the history of suffrage to the acerbic commen-

tary of bloggers and contemporary pundits. For our reading pleasure she brings back some unforgettable YouTube moments (remember the “Obama Girl” video?) and includes original interviews with the likes of Gloria Steinem, Amy Poehler, and Katie Couric. The occasional frustration is that while Traister regularly looks back, the timeline never flashes forward. There’s no direct Clinton-Palin analysis until the last third of the book, when Clinton’s out of the race. But Traister does remind us of Clinton’s late and painful embrace of feminism at the Democratic Convention, where she talked about the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. This became “the place from which Palin launched her candidacy,” Traister says, when the vice-presidential hopeful began exhorting the women of America to “shatter that glass ceiling!” Traister’s breezy style makes what might be a fact-filled slog read like feminism’s coming-of-age tale.

For those of us who were there, it’s impossible not to relive the emotions; for those of us who were too young or distracted, this should be required reading. [LISA L. KIRCHNER]

D.I.Y. DELICIOUS: Recipes and Ideas for Simple Food from Scratch By Vanessa Barrington (Chronicle Books) When it comes to DIY dining, you probably think cooking in instead of ordering pizza, or making your own burrito from tortillas and beans instead of just zapping a frozen one. But when Vanessa Barrington thinks DIY, she really means it. In this adorable new cookbook, everything is made from scratch, even things you didn’t know you could make yourself. There are directions for how to make your own mustard (using mustard seeds!), ketchup (tomatoes and

cinnamon!), sauerkraut (cabbage and...turnips?), peanut butter (start by roasting raw peanuts), and corn tortillas (no, thank Maude, you don’t have to grind your own corn for this one). There are also things you already knew you could make, such as yogurt, cheese, butter, all kinds of breads, and pickles, but even those are presented with extra deliciousness (think fig-rosemary jam). And of course, there are recipes that let you use each of the ingredients you’ve made, like barbecue sauce with your own homemade ketchup (that’s so many layers of DIY-ness, it hurts my head). For Barrington, it’s not just about preserving peaches, but it’s also about preserving the skills and memory of her aunts and grandmother—that Depression-era generation of women who did everything themselves. While most recipes can be made in an evening from easy-to-find items, some require a few odd ingredients (“vinegar mother”?) and lots of patience // BUST / 93

BOOKS (wine takes four months to become vinegar). But you’ll most likely want to track down those items and make the time, because this book is so inspiring—with thick, glossy pages and gorgeous photos—that it feels less like a cookbook and more like a wintertime weekend fun book for grown-ups. This is slow food at its absolute slowest, and it’s wonderful. [DEBBIE STOLLER]

EVERYTHING’S GOING TO BE GREAT: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour By Rachel Shukert (Harper Perennial) Drunken debauchery in a language you don’t understand. Sex with foreign men…and their foreskins. Being so broke you’d do anything just to save a couple of bucks. If you’ve done any kind of overseas traveling in your yoot, these may sound like familiar scenarios. Rachel Shukert’s been there too, only she’s done something you haven’t: she’s written up the tales of her trek in a hilarious memoir (it’s her second, btw, and she’s only in her early 30s). This is no Eat Pray Love but instead a Sedaris-esque, comedic romp in which Shukert details the various mishaps that made up her two-year stint as an American expat living in Vienna and Amsterdam. Whether she’s discussing her affair with an older Austrian gentlemen who may have Nazi roots (Shukert is Jewish), her difficult relationship with her mother, or a sexual encounter with a pair of Italian medical students that gets a bit date-rapey, Shukert writes with crap-cutting honesty, serious smarts and an outrageously sharp sense of humor. The fact that she’s able to maintain that tone even while describing the aforementioned experience with the Italians is what makes her stories both so relatable and unforgettable. Interspersed with the narrative are Shukert’s lengthy sidebars on, among other things, what to do when you meet a foreskin, an outline for a TV comedy called Adolf’s Family, and how to deal with being mistaken for a prostitute—it’s 94 / BUST // OCT/NOV

the kind of clever literary device one might expect from an author who has written for McSweeney’s and keeps company with This American Life contributors, and it keeps the mood light and the writing quoteworthy. (Just thinking about her guide to Amsterdam street names still makes me laugh.) Reading Shukert’s fresh and extremely entertaining travelogue will leave you selfishly hoping that she continues fucking things up, if only so she can write about those adventures in her next memoir. [DEBBIE STOLLER]

THE LOST AND FORGOTTEN LANGUAGES OF SHANGHAI: A Novel By Ruiyan Xu (St. Martin’s Press) The last thing Li Jing sees before the Shanghai hotel in which he is dining collapses around him is the faint struggle of live shrimp to survive a swim through a flaming bowl of oil. It is with the same sense of wounded urgency that Li Jing wakes up amid the rubble and realizes he has lost his ability to speak Chinese; the only words he can now speak are phrases of disjointed English he learned as a child growing up in Virginia. Worried about the fate of her husband’s speech, Li Jing’s wife, Meiling, hires Roslyn Neal, an American neurologist, to help Li Jing recover his Chinese. But Roslyn is as lonely in the glittering city of Shanghai as Li Jing is isolated in his inability to speak with his loved ones. As Li Jing digresses in his attempts to recover Chinese and reconnect with his family, a dangerous intimacy develops between him and Roslyn. Author Ruiyan Xu moved from Shanghai to the United States as a child who did not speak English, and her debut novel poignantly channels the fears of living in a world in which silence renders one invisible. Intricately woven with metaphors and abstractions, Xu’s romantic prose challenges the morality of the decisions her characters make and chronicles the differences between


THREE GRAPHIC TALES TO EXPAND YOUR WORLD A DRUNKEN DREAM AND OTHER STORIES By Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics) Moto Hagio is known as the founding mother of modern shoujo manga—animé geared toward young girls. The stories here are plucked from her sea of accomplishments, span four decades, and feature such common themes as friendship, siblings, death, the woods, the future, and love. Most come across as either quite poignant, deliciously odd, or frickin’ creepy. “Hanshin: Half-God” depicts twin girls, joined at the hip and faced with separation; “Iguana Girl” denotes a woman’s dilemma in love due to her resemblance to a lizard. Set up to be read from back to front, A Drunken Dream includes a Hagio interview, in which she discusses several of her stories in depth, and an article relaying a quick history of shoujo manga—which, after reading Hagio’s primer, could become something of an addiction. [WHITNEY DWIRE]

HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL IN 60 DAYS OR LESS By Sarah Glidden (Vertigo) Sarah Glidden is a young Jewish woman from New York with a goy boyfriend and a mistrustful impression of Israeli politics. In order to understand more about the country, she leaves behind her guy and her books about the war-torn Promised Land and immerses herself in a 10-day Birthright Israel tour. Glidden is certain her tour guides and fellow travelers will be bubbling over with pro-Israel propaganda, and she goes armed with a host of provocative questions. But as she absorbs the local perspective of Israel’s history, she begins to examine her own faith and moral code. This graphic memoir is beautiful; each image evoking as much emotion as Glidden’s memorable words. Glidden’s honest and challenging inquiry is a must-read for those examining their religious and political loyalties. [RACHEL BRAVMANN]

SPECIAL EXITS: My Parents, A Memoir By Joyce Farmer (Fantagraphics) Joyce Farmer first shocked readers through her Tits and Clits comic series, a feminist response to the misogyny and sexism of the underground comics scene. With this new graphic novel, Farmer once again shocks, but this time through her honest depiction of aging and death. Special Exits tells the story of Farmer taking care of her aging father and stepmother. As the couple’s health declines, she finds herself playing nurse, taking over more and more of the basic daily tasks that the two are unable to perform. Farmer censors little, rendering her stepmother’s nude, deteriorating body in stark, realistic drawings, showing us the sadness of her frailty and her eventual suffering at the hands of an inept nursing home. Although a little more backstory for the characters would have helped to make the couple’s loss of life more moving, Special Exits provides a painfully honest depiction of coping with death and aging. [ADRIENNE URBANSKI]

BOOKS idealized infatuation and loyalty to the ones you love. [NISSA LIPOWICZ]

LOUISA MAY ALCOTT: A Personal Biography By Susan Cheever (Simon & Schuster) There’s a common misconception that Little Women was Louisa May Alcott’s memoir. And while it’s true that the book was rooted in her family experience, there are huge divides between the happy March family and the destitute Alcott clan, a group of women who revolved around an eccentric (if charismatic) father figure. For anyone who read and loved Little Women as a girl, Susan Cheever’s biography will serve as a sort of decoder ring, a compelling glimpse into Alcott’s confusing childhood in an experimental household, her surprising rise to fame, her battles with illness, and her solitary adult life. Cheever provides a fascinating view of the times in which Alcott lived, touching on her family’s close ties to Emerson and Thoreau, 19thcentury ideas about medicine and health, political philosophies about education and industry, and much more. If the book has a weakness, it is in Cheever’s inconsistent habit of inserting herself to comment on the life of the writer or the nature of the muse. Perhaps she could have resisted recalling her own experiences as the daughter of an author, which are distractingly tossed into an otherwise engrossing read. But in the end, this is a well-crafted, meaty book, likely to please anyone interested in biography, early feminism, American history, or literary lives. [LAUREL SNYDER]

MEEKS By Julia Holmes (Small Beer Press) This Kafka-esque debut novel by Rolling Stone editor Julia Holmes tells the story of two men—one delusional, one despairing—both isolated in an unnamed, allegorical city. Following a military stint, Ben returns home to find his mother dead and his house

assigned to a different family. According to the laws of this brutish dystopia, he can’t work until he has a wife, but he can’t get married—or date, really— without owning a proper “bachelor’s suit.” The tailor refuses to make him one, so Ben’s stuck in purgatory, subsisting on the fringes of this miserable society, first in a Bachelor’s House of down-on-their-luck single men, and then alone, out of his backpack. The other homeless, park-dwelling protagonist, Meeks—named after the father of this city-state, Captain Meeks—is convinced he’s a member of the police, a falsehood he tells anyone who will listen. The annual Founders Day marks the deadline by which bachelors must find a wife or be consigned to civil service, factory work, or prison. This dubious celebration features a play, in which Meeks is cast this year. As the date draws near, so too does the sense of desperation and imminent doom. Meeks offers surprising humor and cutting satire, calling to mind Margaret Atwood’s classic novel about spinsterhood, The Handmaid’s Tale. Ben’s failure to land a wife, and the reader’s sympathy for his plight, brings up larger questions about marriage, brotherhood, patriotism, and the alleged security of belonging. [SARAH NORRIS]

NEWS FROM HOME: Short Stories By Sefi Atta (Interlink) This collection of 11 short stories by Sefi Atta is a glimpse into the lives of Nigerians—mostly women—living in Africa and abroad. Just as Atta’s first book, Everything Good Will Come, was awarded the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, this tenderly explosive second read captured the 2009 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. These literary notches are well deserved. In News from Home, Atta explores the struggles of African women trying to survive under shari‘a (Islamic law). In “Hailstones on Zambara,” a woman trapped in a polygamous marriage risks her life to pursue an affair with a man who respects her. “Spoils” tells of a village girl who turns against her // BUST / 95

the guide


BFF when her friend decides to travel to Lagos to get a life. The title story follows a young nurse who leaves Nigeria for Jersey to nanny the children of two Nigerian doctors; the woman is torn between her own dreams of becoming a nurse, her responsibilities to the doctors, and the mother she left behind. Each of Atta’s stories is a touching morsel, painfully human, and yet her witty writing keeps the tone upbeat. Although Atta has lived in Mississippi for more than a decade, she has yet to catch the attention of American critics, but with this precious second book, I’m sure that obscurity will soon end and she’ll have more good news to send home. [MICHELLE KEHM]

RAT GIRL: A Memoir By Kristin Hersh (Penguin) If the churning excitement of the band Throwing Muses never burrowed into your soul, you should go listen, right

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now. At the very least, you’ll want to hear Kristin Hersh’s darkly brilliant music after inevitably falling for her in this memoir, which is based on a year of journal entries from 1985, when Hersh was 18. Unlike most girls’ diaries, Hersh’s describes sleepless nights squatting in haunted houses with comrade musicians and artists, driving to gigs with her beloved band, fevered possession by the demonic force of songs demanding to be written, hallucinations, suicidal cutting, bipolar disorder, and a surprise pregnancy. Peppered throughout are scenes of early childhood and bursts of lyrics that illuminate and reverberate powerfully. More than a tale of manic-depression, meds, and the sudden responsibility of parenthood, Rat Girl is also a love song to making music, to the Muses, and to best friend Betty Hutton, the 1940s film star who became Hersh’s college classmate when she went back to school to get her degree and who died before this book was finished. Hersh’s storytelling gift seems

to have expanded effortlessly from her dense song poetry to this deliciously insightful, articulate narrative. It has an amazing you-are-there quality, despite the somewhat unimaginable conditions—physical, mental, spiritual, and psychical—that she’s trying to capture, and it leaves you hoping for a sequel. [FRAN WILLING]

SUB ROSA By Amber Dawn (Arsenal Pulp Press) It’s hard to explain what Sub Rosa is about without going into a lengthy description of the exotic world Amber Dawn has conjured up. Sub Rosa is a glittery, sensual place where the lost boys and girls of the city become Glories, charmed courtesans who entertain visitors from the city. “I don’t have a perfect word to describe it, so I’ll call this place a street,” says the narrator, Little. “No other street intersects it. No map will lead you there. No one has directions com-

mitted to memory.” Still, the Glories’ clients, or “live ones,” find their way there, drawn almost by instinct. Our heroine, Little, is rescued from her crappy life of couch-hopping by Arsen, one of Sub Rosa’s famed Daddies. On Sub Rosa, there are debut balls, a psychic manicurist, delectable food, beautiful jewels and clothes, and, looming nearby, the Dark. The Dark is a horrible place full of bugs, zombie men, and mysteries, and each new darling must earn his or her dowry there before becoming a Glory. Little becomes a legend when she finishes her Dark Days in record time, and afterward, nothing on Sub Rosa is quite the same. Dawn’s story is a sinister fairy tale, as intoxicating as any of the Glories but also an allegory for the emotional hazards of sex work. Little forgets her city life—she even forgets her real name—after coming to Sub Rosa. Only by traveling through the Dark that encroaches upon them can Little remember herself once again. [JENNI MILLER]


write on!



RAGS-TO-RICHES stories are a dime a dozen. But what about the other side of this well-worn genre? What about the rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags story? If this topic feels extra relatable right now (and in this economic climate, chances are good that it might), then The Girl Must Die, the new illustrated memoir by Erika Lopez, should be the very next thing you read in the café at Barnes & Noble while everyone else is at work. The biracial daughter of two civil-rights activists, Lopez, 42, overcame a chaotic childhood shuffling between various relatives and foster homes to become a big-deal San Francisco–based writer and cartoonist with a huge cult following in the 1990s. From 1997 to 2001, she published four books, including the comic book Lap Dancing for Mommy (Seal Press), and a trilogy of celebrated illustrated novels with Simon & Schuster: Flaming Iguanas, They Call Me Mad Dog, and Hoochie Mama: The Other White Meat. Then everything kinda fell apart. Disillusioned by promotional snafus and staffing shake-ups at her publishing house, Lopez ditched Simon & Schuster after Hoochie Mama’s release and quickly found herself broke and depressed. Her experience going from glamorous book parties to interminable afternoons in the welfare line became fodder for a performance-art piece, Nothing Left But the Smell, which Lopez performed in small venues across the U.S. and in Europe for years. It is the script of this show, alongside illustrations and anecdotes inspired by her tumultuous life, that make up The Girl Must Die, the debut print offering from Lopez’s new multimedia company, Here, Lopez opens up about the experiences that made her the artist she is today and reflects on sex, her mom, and life on the dole. The Girl Must Die is an ominous title for a memoir. Why did you call it that? The Girl Must Die was born when I realized that in every movie I like, the women all had to pay for any transgressions they made against society. I also called it that because I didn’t know how to transition into being an older woman. There are no rites of passage for us. In some older cultures, they would nail a boy’s penis to a board and say, “There! The boy is dead! The boy must die. The boy is a man now.” And thinking about that, it became my title, because I did have to kill my own girl. The section in your book about your childhood focuses a lot on you becoming sexually active when you were quite young. [Lopez writes about being pegged as the neighborhood “ho” at age 11, before losing her virginity at age 12 to a 21-year-old man.] Why did you feel it was important to delve into this particular aspect of your history? I didn’t want to write about this stuff at first; I was very secretive. But I just

wanted to show that everything that we think is holding us back is really what makes us stronger than we ever realized. This stuff is true. It’s real, and I felt guilty about it for a long time, but I realized that when I was young, I thought I was weak—but I was actually very powerful. Your passages describing your ’70s-era, lesbian, feminist, absentee mom are really funny. But they’re also heartbreaking because they’re in the context of how hard your life was without her there to protect you as a kid. Do your associations with your mom color your ideas about feminism now as an adult? With all mothers and daughters it’s very complicated. My mother has apologized for everything that happened when I was young, and I don’t give it another thought. But I think feminism right now is going through a bit of a change. The feminism of the ’70s helped out a lot of educated and middle-class women. So now we’re starting to see those feminists either getting Botox or thinking it’s OK that their daughters are pole dancing. What kind of feminism is that? What are we fighting for? Women have fought for the right to go to very nice colleges so they can work for a few years and then stay home with the kids. It’s very confusing right now, but I’m very much a feminist. You spent years doing performance art about being a “welfare queen.” What advice do you have for women who have to visit welfare offices for the first time? Keep your sense of humor. I mean, that is it. [EMILY REMS] // BUST / 97

sex files

what’s the buzz? POINTERS FOR PROCURING YOUR VERY FIRST VIBRATOR GONE ARE THE days when women had to sneak down a dark alleyway to buy a vibrator from a creepy guy in a grimy, low-lit store. Today, women-owned adult-toy boutiques and female-friendly online shops provide a range of options for gals ready to explore new pleasure territory. Still, no matter how worldly and sophisticated I thought myself to be, shopping for my first vibrator was a scary proposition. Here are a few things I’ve learned since then about what to look for and what to avoid so that shopping for your first vibrator is almost as much fun as getting it home. Vibrators—which are not necessarily penis-looking dildos but any device that pulsates—come in an overwhelming variety. Most of them are not intended to be inserted but rather held on your clitoris. You’ll find everything from bullet-shaped vibes that fit in the palm of your hand to wands angled to hit your G-spot to dual-action vibes meant to simultane-


ously titillate your vagina and clitoris (like the Rabbit Pearl made famous by Sex and the City). The bells and whistles, not to mention adorable animal figures, may be tempting, but start simple instead. There’s nothing like having to fumble with switches, awkward shapes, and multiple moving parts to ruin your mood. Our most sensitive spot is on the outside, after all, so an appealing vibration is the most important factor; all that extra stuff can sometimes get in the way. Models like the Silver Bullet or the classic Hitachi Magic Wand offer a good starting point. They’re easy to use, focus on your clit, and have just a few different speeds and intensity levels. Material and care instructions are important too. Look for a vibe made of water-resistant silicone—it’s free of toxic phthalates, will be softer on your lady parts than a hard plastic toy, and can be cleaned with mild soap and water. Taking the time to find a women-run

shop is worth the effort. Whether you’re young or old, straight or gay, salesclerks in stores like Good Vibrations and Babeland are never judgmental. Questions you might think are embarrassing are ones they field all day long, and they’re great at providing helpful, straightforward answers. If neither has a brick-and-mortar outpost near you, look for a local, independent female-friendly shop, and if none exist in your ’hood, hit the Web.,, and other sex-positive sites like and are perfect for first-time vibe buyers—their products feature customer ratings and even offer details on how much noise the various vibes make (helpful if you have a roommate to keep in mind). The most important thing, however, is not to be embarrassed. Entering the world of sex toys will change your life between the sheets, with or without a partner, and everyone deserves to feel the vibration. [DENISEN HARTLOVE]

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sex files



Q. A.

I have a condition referred to as vaginismus. I used to cringe at the idea of putting a tampon in my vagina, let alone an erect penis. I’ve reached a point where my boyfriend is able to hold a lubed finger in there for a few minutes if I am laying down and he is talking about something that calms me. However, when we are both aroused, my vagina tenses up, and if he is able to squeeze his finger in there, it’s certainly not pleasurable. Is there something we can try (other than my visiting a psychoanalyst) so that we can have a normal sexual experience? Closed for Business

There are lots of versions of “normal” sex, but you mention only penis-vagina penetration. This can be awesome or awful, even for women who don’t have vaginismus, so I hope you’re engaging in other pleasurable things like cunnilingus and masturbation. If not, you aren’t sending your body the signals that erotic play is pleasurable, so utilize every opportunity short of penetration to practice (and enjoy) loving sex and erotic touch. One reason women have difficulties with penetration is that in our culture, the vagina is asked to carry an extremely disproportionate weight when it comes to sexual experience. The more pleasure you can experience in other ways, the more likely it will become that your vagina can share in it. As for resources, has lots of information, and I highly recommend When a Woman’s Body Says No to Sex by Linda Valins and Susie Orbach. It’s out of print but worth scoping used-book sites for. And though it sounds like you don’t want to talk to a therapist about vaginismus, it may indeed be a good idea, depending upon the condition’s genesis (if it follows traumatic experience, the mind is a necessary ingredient in healing the body). Think of therapy not as something you dread doing but as an opportunity to get the sex life you want.

I enjoy all sorts of intercourse (oral, penetration, clit stimulation) and masturbation (manual and with toys). But however pleasurable these forays are, I never seem to be able to orgasm. I’m not even sure what an orgasm feels like. Eventually I either plateau or the sensations just start to become almost painful. Is it possible to be physically unable to achieve climax? Am I destined to an orgasmless life? So Close, Yet So Far

If I had to guess, I’d say that you sometimes do achieve orgasm, but that it is not especially strong, and whatever notions you have about the “Big O” aren’t close enough to the experience you are having to allow you to make the connection between the two. I say this because it is a pretty common response to get supersensitive after orgasm. Kegel (a.k.a. pubococcygeal, or PC) exercises are one of the most important things you can do to increase the sensation you get from orgasm, because these muscles rhythmically clenching are what cause the pleasurable pulsing feeling of climax. (The rest of the experience happens in your head.) To do them, squeeze your vaginal muscles as if stopping a stream of pee. Then repeat, 10, 20, 100 times, whenever you think about it. For many women, these exercises have made all the difference. Betty Dodson (former BUST columnist and author of Sex for One) would want me to remind you to breathe deeply and evenly. While some people seem to be able to come by holding their breath, deeper breathing is a better bet and can unlock orgasm when you’re almost there. Plus, it’s relaxing and gives you something to focus on besides your worry that you might not be able to come; you have to let arousal be a physical process. Fantasy is another good way to get over the top, as is adding more stimulation—a stronger vibrator, more erogenous zones in the mix. Also check out the wonderful I Love Female Orgasm, by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller. They’ve collected all manner of orgasm-related knowledge and put it into a fun and informative book. You are by no means doomed to an orgasmless life.

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Got a sex or relationship question you need answered? Post it at



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trick or treat A GAL GETS HER SUBMISSIVE THRILLS IN THE AFTER HOURS OF A HAUNTED HOUSE “ARE YOU A moaner or a screamer?” he asked me. “I mostly wander,” I responded, checking out this hot coworker whom I had not yet met. “Well, we made it through another night working the haunted house,” he said, clinking his plastic cup of beer against mine. I looked down at his costume. “I’m guessing you’re a skeleton?” “What gave it away?” he teased. Bones were printed onto a tight black costume that showcased his body. I could sense muscle, sinews, and all sorts of organs skeletons aren’t supposed to have. “Murdered bride?” he asked. I nodded. As he looked down at my strategically ripped wedding gown, I swear the skeleton got a boner. “Wanna grab some more beers and go back in the haunted house?” he asked. We filled a couple of pitchers from the keg outside where our fellow haunters were celebrating, and tiptoed cautiously through the now-empty building. We stopped at a makeshift bedroom decorated like a Victorian boudoir. “Is this the spot where you met your fate?” he asked. “The very one,” I replied ominously. “They say you can still catch the scent of my bridal bouquet.” “Let’s see if that’s true,” he said, walking in. “And this bed? You died here?” “On my wedding night,” I answered, sitting down on it forlornly. “Your wedding night should have been special,” he said flirtatiously. “It should have been different.” He sat down, leaning in. “How should it have gone?” I asked, dropping a shoulder so my dress slid further down my arm. “Well,” he began slowly, pressing me gently back onto the bed. “Your husband, if he were any kind of gentleman, would have come in here and kissed you.” I expected a full kiss on my mouth, but instead his hot breath grazed my face, the tip of his tongue hovering devilishly, deliciously near my ear. He licked my earlobe, and my insides

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screamed for more. I smiled at him coyly. “But even a gentleman is just a man, and the man in me wants to fuck you for days.” I squirmed in excitement as desire flickered through me, the skeleton’s ever-hardening cock pressed against the layers of my dress. “Do you want to be my wife? Are you going to be a good wife?” he asked, adopting a dominant tone. I nodded weakly, whimpering, titillated by my submissive role. “Good,” he said. “First I have to give you a test.” He leaned back, and for an awful moment I thought he was going to leave. Instead, he yanked up my dress and pulled off my panties, which carried the warm scent of my pussy. He opened my legs, and I saw him grow weak looking at my pink folds, waiting in hot wetness for him. He darted a finger into my soaked opening, then another. I moaned as they plied me, as he opened me wider and got me wetter. He leaned over, placing his head between my legs, and gave teasing little laps with his tongue. He licked me in shapes I had never imagined, discovering new arcs of pleasure. His fingers kept a rhythm, thrusting inside of me, setting every part of my sex on fire. Finally, as I felt his whole tongue enter my cunt while his fingers kept it wide for his touch, I came loud and hard, my orgasm echoing through the empty house. He kissed me, tasting of the musky orgasm his very mouth had provoked, then placed my fingers on the waist of his pants. I slid them down, exposing the hard, beautiful curve of his cock. Aftershocks of my climax jolted through me as I saw it, wanted it. I held his shaft, then leaned in and began to lick it. “Wife,” he said suddenly, his hand on my head. “You swore to honor and obey. Did I say you could suck my cock?” he asked.


“Sir, no, sir,” I replied. “You must be punished. Come with me.” He led me down the hallway into the torture chamber, where various clamps and straps and realistic-looking devices surrounded a table laced with wrist cuffs. “Take off your dress,” he murmured hoarsely. I swallowed hard, watching him as I slid my gown off. “Very good,” he said, stroking his dick. “Lie down.” He motioned to the torture table. Trembling with anticipation, I did as I was told. He snapped the cuffs around my wrists, kissing me, tenderly licking and nipping at my breasts. “God,” he said, slipping out of character. “I just met you, and already, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to drive you wild.” I pulled against the restraints, feeling the drenched warmth of my pussy against his hovering cock. I smiled. “I’m so happy to be your wife,” I said. “Do you want me to fuck you till death do us part?” “I do.” His penis entered me like a bolt of molten silver. Every precious inch of it corresponded with my cunt. His voice became a deep rumble of rapture as he fucked me hard. I felt my wrists bound, I was powerless to do anything but lie there and be fucked, ravaged and charmed by the cock inside of me. I could feel my juices covering his shaft as he sank into me again and again. He stopped for a moment then pressed into me slowly. I savored the luxury of those languid strokes but wanted the hot friction of quickness. “Fuck me,” I pled, trembling. He complied, plunging into me as one final, mutual shout of joy rose up from our mouths. The hot liquid of his ecstasy filled my body as the wetness of my cunt embraced his cock. I was beginning to like the married life.

BUST (ISSN 1089-4713), No. 65, Oct/Nov, 2010. BUST is published bi-monthly in Feb/Mar, Apr/May, June/July, Aug/Sept, Oct/Nov, and Dec/Jan by BUST, Inc. 18 West 27th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY, 10001. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Subscription prices, payable in U.S. funds, are $19.95 for one year (6 issues). Additional postage: In Canada add $10 per year, and in all other foreign countries add $20 per year. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to BUST, P.O. BOX 16775, NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA, 91615.

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what the fuck? 67. Small fry 68. Scand. nation 69. This crossword puzzle has one


Across 1. Forehead-covering hair style 6. What some people do when they’re in the pits 10. Bra cup shape made infamous by Madonna 14. First hit single off the 1987 Heart album Bad Animals 15. Online auction site with PowerSellers 16. Over yonder 17. Euphemism for sex 19. Leave slack-jawed


20. Morning hrs. 21. The Facts of Life actress Charlotte 22. 67-Across might be made from them 24. Euphemism for sex 28. Suffix with Manhattan 29. Aired again 30. Rock guitarist Ford, subject of 2010 film The Runaways 33. Allegation 34. Leaves in the afternoon? 37. Pie preference 40. Burlesque necessities that might be tasseled 42. Deli sandwich 43. Buddies in Britain 45. Leave one’s mark on 46. Shopping reminders 47. “___ we having fun yet?” 49. Euphemism for sex 54. 1999 U.S. Open champ 55. Yank’s foe 56. Highlands negative 59. Yarn nub or irregularity 60. Euphemism for sex 64. Inadvisable action 65. Actress Skye 66. Playground retort

1. Gilda Radner’s “___ Wawa” 2. Many a homecoming attendee, for short 3. Chinese-food order, briefly 4. Econ. statistic 5. Pointillist painter Georges 6. Free-for-all 7. Japanese sash 8. Freelance writer’s encl. 9. Old-time diagnosis for female horniness 10. Get started knitting 11. “Come here ___?” 12. World’s tiniest Pacific island nation 13. Surrealist Max 18. Long look 23. TV and film star Edie ___ (wife of Ernie Kovacs) 25. Actor Neeson of Chloe (2009) 26. Music-video show hosted by Carson Daly that ran on MTV until 2008 27. Oodles 30. Big pooch, for short 31. Off one’s feed 32. Sylvester, to Tweety 33. That: Fr. 34. Breast, slangily 35. Common Market inits. 36. Fire residue 38. Leaves out 39. Brightly colored African pullovers 41. Overflow 44. Count ending? 46. Greek island said to be the birthplace of the poet Sappho 47. Fashion model Wek 48. Vibrator model known for its clitoral stimulator 49. Lacks, in brief 50. White house? 51. Intimidate 52. Rainbowlike 53. Hole-___ 57. Elementary particle 58. 90 degrees from norte 61. Gender equality org. founded in 1966 62. “We’re number ___!” 63. ___ Kosh B’Gosh // BUST / 111


112 / BUST // OCT/NOV

issue 66  

issue 66, Helen Mirren

issue 66  

issue 66, Helen Mirren