Angie Bowie Holly Hunter Patricia Bosworth:
The Glory Years
Women in Film & TV Fringe, Fashion, Rock Gender, Sex & Identity w/ Lucy Vives, Teale Coco & The Rialto Report
02 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
HERS â€¢ SUMMER 2017 | 1
Photo by @sheerperfectphotography
2 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Happy 40th Anniversary
NYWIFT July 13, 1977 - July 13, 2017 WOMEN CALLING THE SHOTS See page 52 for more exciting details! Left: Meryl Streep in her NYWIF(T) jacket Photo courtesy of NYWIFT Above: 2015 Muse Honorees: Gabourey Sidibe, Patricia Clarkson, Sarah Barnett (President and General Manager of BBC America), Blythe Danner, Victoria Alonso (Executive Vice President of Physical Production at Marvel Studios) Photo: Rowena Husbands
HERS â€¢ SUMMER 2017 | 3
Dear Reader Welcome to the fifth issue of Honeysuckle, a New York City-based magazine of contemporary musings and outcry. We devote this issue to exploring HERS, the domain and experience of the feminine in our culture—or our lack of culture. Where does SHE live? What belongs to HER? What doesn’t? Where is SHE loved and revered, where is SHE resented, menaced, violated? This theme is vast, not exhaustible in one issue of a magazine. Our hope is to introduce different voices and perspectives, ways of considering HER at this moment in history. Women in democratic societies now face a paradox: on one hand, we enjoy unprecedented freedom—including the options to pursue ambitious careers, to marry a man or a woman, to remain unmarried, even to transition out of womanhood. On the other hand, we’re experiencing a tragic and galling backlash against women’s rights and many other personal liberties. How do free-thinking women and men sustain our dignity under fire? What does feminism mean, and can it help? What do we love most about our lives and what nourishes our will to fight for it? What strength can we draw from turning within to find liberation when the noise outside is so loud? Ronit says, “To me, femininity is allowing yourself to play within the contradictions. You are allowed to be humble, expected to be sweet. Weak, even. But if you are strong, you can surprise people and they’ll never see you coming. Have fun with your sexuality and the power of your own mind. They’re yours, to do whatever you want with.” Most of our contributors to this issue are women. Some are well-known, others are becoming better-known, and still others are under-the-radar, and have contributed anonymously. We are privileged to include testimony from luminaries and cultural legends, from rising stars, and from those who, like Emily Dickinson, prefer an air of privacy and discretion.
Ronit Pinto, Founder and Publisher Naomi Rosenblatt, Editor-in-Chief and Art Director Honeysucklemag.com
4 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Teale Coco photo Sean Higgins
HERS â€¢ SUMMER 2017 | 5
ISSUE V •HERS
SUMMER 2017 Publisher and Founder Ronit Pinto Editor–in-chief Naomi Rosenblatt Senior Editor Kirsten Chen Guest editor Dorri Olds PR/Editorial Nadya Rousseau Art Director Naomi Rosenblatt Cover Design David Soto Illustrators Lee Brozgol Gea* Emerging Brands Adrie Mendonez Regional Sales Norman Cole Promotions Chris Sanders @eyehunee Publicity Jordana Guimaraes Creative Agency Blck Neon firstname.lastname@example.org Cover Photograph
A Photographer’s Visual Diary
Through My Husband’s Eyes
Sculptor Sarah Haviland
SPIRIT: On femininity
Girls Who Rock
Emma Bell as Emily Dickinson
Trump and the Lives of Women
Visible femininity + Drag
Exotic White Guy
Ready to Roll
Various + Sundry
Keeping It Real Black Art is my Story
Women in Food: Spilling the Beans Talks Creative Clusters, Misogyny, + Clothers
HERS Feature: Kirsten Dunst Happy 40th! Holly Hunter, Zoe Kazan, + Women Who Kill
Trans Child through Her Mother’s Eyes JTSFU w/ Samuel Clemens Long FILM: Bad Mom TECH: Women in VR with Lena Young Books in Progress Read on...
clm-agency.com 6 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
email@example.com • NYC, NY • 646-632-7711 • printed by first-lineprinting.com, NYC
Regular Contributors Bryan Colin is a professional in investments, gaming, hardware, and real estate. As one of the early innovators of modern VR/AR, he and his team have 18 patents pending, as well as 14 unique algorithms in the VR/AR space. He is the founder of VirtualApt.com Brittany Goss is a Brooklyn-based writer and astrologer. Her mission with Rebel Astrology is to show people what is unique about them. rebelastrology.net Alex Harsley, director of the Fourth Street Photo Gallery, founded Minority Photographers, Inc. in 1971. He has since exhibited generations of artists in his warm and eccentric salon. the4thstreetgallery.com Lori Lipten is an international best-selling author, world-renowned medium, contemporary shaman, empowering retreat leader and teacher. She holds a Master of Arts in Clinical and Humanistic Psychology and has devoted her life to normalizing intuition. llipten.com Samuel Clemens Long is not Mark Twain, in this incarnation. He is a photographer, filmmaker, writer, director, and mischief lover. SamCLong.com , BlckNeon.com Theresa Reed (aka “The Tarot Lady”) has been a full-time Tarot card reader for close to 30 years. She is the author of The Tarot Coloring Book, an illustrated tour through the world of Tarot. thetarotlady.com Rialto Report is a series of podcasts and documentary archives from the golden age of adult film in New York and beyond. rialtoreport.com Matt Saber lives a quiet life in suburban Michigan and dreams of one day day developing a passion for something other than sarcasm. Eli Neugeboren is an illustrator and professor who lives and works in Brooklyn. www.elineugeboren.com Mark Jason Williams is an award-winning playwright and essayist. In addition to Honeysuckle, his work is published by the Washington Post, Salon, the Denver Post, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Out, the Daily Dot, Stuff, and Good Housekeeping. markjasonwilliams.com Many thanks to all the contributing poets, artists, and photographers!
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 7
8 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Teale Coco, Photo: Sean Higgins
WOMAN One could do worse than be an unmarried Woman Waiting for the big day When the right man Would slip into your life Like a fish that appears In the clear water Of a moving stream. One cannot do worse than marrying Because it is your time A somebody who comes along Who will not know you But gives the roof, the food, The melon out of season And the martini every evening. One could do worse Than being alone and lonely Working from hand to mouth Making your dinners And waiting on yourself, Having the boss look at you slant-eyed Because you’re late, Often. Because, because, because If you’re tied To the wrong one You can’t dream anymore.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 9
Lucy Vives Lucy Vives, activist, musician and daughter of Grammy-Award-winning artist Carlos Vives, talks to Ronit from Honeysuckle about her individuality, Latina upbringing, and staying true to herself.
What is your favorite part about being a woman? I carry within my identity the beautifully heartbreaking history of my gender’s past, both within my ancestry and outside of it. As a woman, I carry a sense of nature and compassion that fills me with light as long as I don’t ignore it. Women are healers by nature; we are life-givers and whether we fulfill that natural ability or not, each of us carries a unique bundle of intuition and raw empathy. I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world. Photos of Lucy Vives: @raulhiguera
How did you discover your own identity, what was your path ? I don’t believe I ever discovered my identity, definitively…not yet, at least. Part of me thinks I never lost it to begin with. My grandmother always said I was born with a very particular identity that I’ve managed to maintain, at least partially, and hopefully will continue to. However, I believe I discover a little more about my identity with nearly every passing moment. I think the key is to actually believe in yourself and your actions before, during, and after you take them. Even if they fall into mistakes, believing and being aware of yourself is everything when it comes to an identity and a path.
Have you faced challenges with loved ones about identifying yourself? Family tends to have certain expectations when it comes to “their own.” They often act in ways you don’t understand, out of passion and fear that perhaps you can’t take care of yourself, not be on your own, without them having a say in it—all of it. It’s a natural fear that we often make a reality for our parents when we fall or fuck up and do exactly what they tried so hard to teach us not to do. The beautiful part about family and friends, and humanity in general, is that we are all consistently growing alone and together. We are learning how to react to ourselves and those around us, and we are literally making it up as we go. I faced certain challenges growing up in a relatively traditional Latin, patriarchal family with hints of liberal ideals from my young parents. I was always very much myself, which was a challenge for those around me, but I never had a problem with me. Eventually, they either caught on, or got tired of making something so insignificantly natural and incredibly out of their control, a challenge. As long as I maintain my values, ambitions, morals and at least some of my virtues, we have nothing to argue about how I identify myself.
10 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
What would you say to other young girls who are struggling to find their unique individuality? For starters, I’d suggest they choose their sources wisely. The magazines they read, the celebrities and social media accounts they follow, and most importantly, the role models they choose to have. Though I’ve very much enjoyed the beat of my own drum since I was a kid, I can’t deny that I’m influenced even minutely by the things I like, by my generation, and the frequencies I surround myself with. All this tends to be overlooked when it should be treated delicately and not loosely. Stop reading bullshit magazines, stop following bullshit blogs and all the regurgitated sources the people you went to high school with are feeding you. Do your own thing. Your own thing may be exactly what you’ve been up to all along, or it could be something completely different, but you’ll never know unless you give yourself the opportunity. It’s okay if after that you realize you’d rather listen than play, but now you’ll know what it is YOU want to listen to, and what social media accounts you believe in, what magazines you find interesting, what books and what activities make you happy, independently from everything and anyone else. We’re blessed with a variety of choices and paths, it’d be a real shame to feel like you’re stuck anywhere.
How do you suggest they come out to friends and families who want them to confirm or behave in a certain manner? It’s funny, since my last relationship became public and happened to be with a woman, I’ve gotten some passionately aggressive comments on shoots I’ve done with men, or photos I post even nearly suggesting I’m heterosexual: “Wasn’t she gay?”, “Isn’t she a lesbian?” Regardless of how vocal I’ve been about the ambiguity of my sexual preference—and that subjective relativity cares very little for gender, which is extremely unnecessary to begin with—it seems people have an incessant need to have a definitive answer. They want me to be a lesbian or they want me to be straight or they want me to at least be some sort of vocal bi-sexual person that finds it imperative to speak constantly about my bisexuality as though it were the most interesting facet of my being. But I’m not. I’m a twenty-one-year-old Puerto Rican woman, studying philosophy and fighting for the women’s rights movement as a humanitarian activist. I am a writer, and a musician and I love to love, be it a man or a woman. I would resist the need to explain myself if I didn’t have the wonderful platform I’ve been given and the demand for tolerance and guidance regarding this subject in my generation, and the Latin community to be specific. All I have to say is that you do not have you conform to anyone’s label of who you are; define yourself by your actions and how you make others feel. Be as unapologetically honest as possible. Those who love you will recognize the joy and comfort that you feel when you finally live your identity. No matter how long it takes, be patient of tradition, but never apologize for yourself.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 11
Black Art is My Story
Performing topless on the streets of New York City
When I think of being an artist, I cannot help but rupture into my own fragile struggles to define myself—as a black, cis-gendered bisexual woman outside the boxes laid to ensnare and entrap me before I even knew what my own identity was; the fight behind claiming and reclaiming my own language and imagery, again outside of what others thought—be they friend or foe. I’ve known full well that seizing such power would indeed make more of my friends into my foes. “All that and then some” has created the black artist whose words you’re reading here. Black art itself is about consciousness, the ability to raise awareness to not just a higher perspective, but a more intimate one. One that not only sheds light on our existence, but also on the absence of our presence in entitled spaces. And yet black art is greatly feared not only by whites but also by blacks in America—who, on one hand crave the representation of black faces in white spaces, such as in cinemas, but remain absent in their financial support of accessible shows, viewings, and creative processes of black and brown artists. This isn’t a coincidence, it is erasure at its most poignant and pivotal. It is a fear that I have been fighting for nine years as an artist, and thirty-six years as a person. For what can be done with artists—with people who do not fit into stereotypical roles? How do you encase the idea, or rather the ideal of representation, of voice, of spirit and history into the rhetorical, safe waters that it has consistently known, without sacrificing the possibilities of nurturing new voices? It has not and cannot be done. My only alternative has been to search and integrate into spaces that repel this standard, this false 12 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
brand of art and lifestyle. Spaces like The Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics. It was from “Hemi” that the “Ain’t I a Woman (?/!)” Project was born. The purpose of “Ain’t I a Woman (?/!)” is to create a social conversation about the realm of women’s bodies. This conversation begins with race and body politics—especially the favoritism that happens in societies prone to body-shaming, sexism, and misogyny, like American culture. Through my topless exposure, body art and performance, the precipice of body-shaming and body-acceptance are pushed to the forefront immediately because it is a live public performance. When I first performed/displayed the piece, the notion of the objectivity of the black female form was indeed prevalent, and still is a preference in these earlier stages of the project. However, what makes “Ain’t I a Woman (?/!)” so poignant is that it is a malleable construct that can be performed on an individual basis, or expanded to include numerous and various female participants: for example, members from both cis- and transgender communities, as well as women from multitudes of races, financial class backgrounds, and body shapes, to create a cipher of dialogue for audiences to observe and ponder in the moment. The work was founded upon abolitionist Sojourner Truth’s 1851 declaration “Ain’t I a Woman?” and my interpretation of the declaration and how it relates to women now. For some women, the performance was a display of female eroticism, for others feminist/womanist power, and still for others a trite demonstration in exhibitionism. I saw it as a mimicking performance or a reenactment of
sorts through minor movement and posing, positioning and repositioning myself for the entire 45 minutes to a 1-hour span. I allowed myself to become both canvas and sculpture—canvas, due to the insurmountable opinions launched my way. And sculpture, again, via my posing. Through the canvasing, pedestrians themselves become part of the piece. Whether through insult or through praise, their comments and actions stimulate the emotional entrails of the work. I will respond emotionally, for example, depending upon whether they obey the “No Photos” policy with—or without—fuss. In this way, I become a living stone. It is my hope to expand upon the project, including up to 2025 women out of both the cis- and transgendered communities. Through this the project I will be able to expand the conversations about the objectification of cis versus transgendered bodies—regarding the “realness” of womanhood, and explore #blacktranslivesmatter in terms of how the fight for the survival of black people has been divided due to transphobia as well as “transface”—a term exploring the media white-washing of transsexuality. However, what makes “Ain’t I a Woman (?/!)” both challenging and rewarding is its spontaneity. As much as it draws attention to multifaceted issues, it isn’t bogged down by diatribe. I offer no solutions to the questions I raise. I can reflect upon the give-and-take in the moment and its after-effects. I believe this is the same for those who witness the spectacle, since it occurs on the street and is not mediated through film or photography. On the street, the performance presents a narrative—one that combines pedestrians, the “guardians” who observe the prohibition of photography—and lastly, myself. All of these human interactions, connections, disconnections, and possible reconnections with something beyond societal limitations happens like a whirlpool on the NYC streets. It is both exhilarating and exhausting. Looking back on the initial performance, I am able to reflect on black art as a whole. In every project, there is controversy within the realm of conceptualism. This often means: the better and more politically direct the art is, the more controversy it generates—even if said controversy isn’t the proposed result. Political art isn’t necessarily black art. All art that boldly tackles society’s designations, on a personal, intimate level exposes perspectives that we are constantly told to ignore in order to survive. By stripping myself of my clothes, I exposed these layers within myself—all of the derogatory body-shaming pumped into my self image, all of the racism I did not speak out against, all of the sexism that has silenced me daily. Getting to the core of honesty; that is the power and nature of black art. To learn more about Nicole Goodwin and “Ain’t I a Woman (?/!)” visit www.patreon.com/ngoodwin and www.honeysucklemag.com
Nicole Goodwin by Marvin Mendlinger
“Black art itself is about consciousness, the ability to raise awareness to not just a higher perspective, but a more intimate one.”
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 13
WOMEN’S WAGES THE COPY EDITOR Here in the autumn cool I think of the heat that summer the five dollars an hour I felt lucky to have, bent over until my sweating arms lifted from the page the words I found wanting and I watched my own, worthier emerge not for money but the uncommon worth of truth payment enough for that heat payment enough THE DRIVER One summer I couriered tests for NYU. I’d rise at three, be on the street by four, pick up the forms and get my car by five, then drive to sites I’d never expected to see, like the farthest place in Queens before you hit Long Island Sound. One Bowery morning, past John’s garage and the men’s shelter and the shuttered plumbing supply, a voice rose, hailing: “Hey Miss—hey, hey,” and I turned, surprised…. “You working?” he asked, into my naïve confusion. What was my answer? I can’t remember, as any explanation would have been the wrong one. Because it was work searching the unfamiliar roads with no hint in the dark of what I’d find at the end.
14 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Photo: Alex Harsley
But that wasn’t the kind of work he wanted, so we parted when I smiled and shook my head and went along my working way into the slowly breaking day. —Hettie Jones
Nina Simone Photo: Alex Harsley
“There are notes between notes, you know.”
Sarah Vaughan, Birdland, 1959
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 15
Photo: Alex Harsley
“A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, gradually reveals our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth.”
A Photographer’s Visual Diary “Some birthdays get to you more than others,” she commented. When this photographer turned eighty, she kept a diary of images and writing for half a year. She has agreed to share bits of it, anonymously. “The birthday may have been ‘just another day,’ but it was also a turning point, a crossing over into true old age. In spite of my lymphoma, I generally felt good in my seventies and was able to live with a certain amount of ‘age denial.’ “But even before my eightieth birthday, my body was giving me messages of change: poorer hearing, difficulty staying upright when walking, greater fatigue. Old age was whispering in my ear, ‘I’m here to stay.’ The good news is the lymphoma is in remission. “Generally, we never know how or when our life will end. Perhaps a visual diary will help me face it.”
“I can’t believe I actually took nude pictutres! Seeing images of myself goes way beyond looking in the mirror so far as confirmation of my aging face and body. The unedited lens doesn’t lie. It’s a little painful to see, but it helps me accept what’s there...” “...a mixture of feelings swirls inside me: still, still, the crumbling denial of my mortality, the sadness of losing M., and the breakup of my marriage years before. Uncertainty about how to best use my time. Worry about the world we’re leaving for grandchildren...”
“Little jolts catch you off-guard. Inspecting myself in a dressing room mirror some years back, I suddenly wondered: ‘Who is this rounded, white-haired lady? What happened to that slender brunette?’” 16 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
“Interesting that the skin that’s exposed to the elements—face, hands, arms, neck—ages more rapidly than what’s been covered up all these years.” “Last Wednesday was a sad day, the first anniversary of M’s death. I miss him terribly, but have gotten used to living by myself again. I am alone, but I don’t feel lonely, because of my family, friends, and photography. “I’m glad I have photos of M with the dog who visited from Hospice. These photos show him accepting his fate with incredible grace, having joyful moments—with death just weeks away. Will I be that courageous? “I’m grateful for the impulse I had to grab my camera and start shooting...” “I’ve been living on the practical level, with little time for reflection. Just trying to do what has to be done and berating myself when it doesn’t get done fast enough. Not too different from life BEFORE eighty, if I must say so. Even if I feel myself in new terrain, I’m still the same old me, I guess. Still starting every day reading the Times and feeling depressed about the whole messy world. And then going to the computer, obsessing over photographs I’m not sure of, Brahms playing on iTunes while I fiddle around in Photoshop.”
“My back is all tangled up —like a Florida tree.” HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 17
SAME SATAN (for Carole James)
collage by Kenyon Gordon
18 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
1. Yesterday, wanted a photo of Carole’s tulips which always bloom the month before she died. This year, kept pushing it off because I knew tomorrow they’d be just as beautiful, because I’m usually averting my eyes or turning my cheek opposite the violence of the swinging pendulum that strikes to mark the days which force contact, that /connection/ 2. Pre-coffee, my consciousness drags sideways like a match across pavement— the certainty of not being ready to proclaim this body. How will I fill these hips. Then today, I noticed her peonies and the encroaching crocus: full blown and gorgeous, like a spoon-fed girl from a 17th century painting, or like your own pillow tossed hair is perfect when you first see it before the judgments assemble, like stanzas or cumulous 3. Carole, part of not knowing how to belong to anything or b o d y, has freed me to love and be loved by anyone but also you, stepmother I was never supposed to love… What’s still true are the days I wake up limping and the nights I earn it, in bed with the same Satan I banished that morning.
Patricia Bosworth: Women (Including Me) Through My Husband’s Eyes A conversation with journalist/biographer Patricia Bosworth about the work of her late husband, photographer Tom Palumbo
My husband Tom Palumbo was part of a legendary group of photographers, among them Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, who worked at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue during the glory years of fashion—the 1950s into the ’60s— when women were idealized and stylized. In this era they became fantasy figures—mysterious, impenetrable—and so did male photographers, immortalized in movies like Blow-Up. Sexy macho adventurers, world travelers, they loved women and they often left them broken-hearted. Luckily, I got involved with Tom after I’d been married twice. I’d known him a long time as a friend; I knew what he was like and what I was getting into, and none of this bothered me. He was the kind of man I wanted at that point in my life. Yes, he was complicated and moody and dark sometimes. But he was also, without a doubt, the most joyful man I’ve ever known. I remember when I realized this. We were walking down West 46th Street—it was a beautiful afternoon, he had his arm around me, and we were laughing about something, and I thought, This guy really enjoys life. He embraces life! Tom loved women and they loved him. Maybe because he appreciated women—he listened to women when they talked to him; he took women seriously. Many men don’t. Tom treated his models with respect (unlike some photographers who are chauvinist pigs, demeaning and bullying models). If they were nervous, Tom would compliment them and make jokes.
Fashion outtake for Bazaar by Tom Palumbo, circa 1953
He’d serve the women coffee and might gossip with them for awhile, and then finally they’d get around to posing. Tom knew how to light a face, which is an art in itself. He cared about the composition, the setting, of a photograph. There was always drama and emotion and mystery in Tom’s pictures, like the couple on the windswept beach, above. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 19
Anne St. Marie by Tom Palumbo Harper’s Bazaar, 1954
Here is Tom’s second wife, Anne St. Marie, truly one of the greatest models of the 1950s. She was Tom’s muse; he took thousands of pictures of her. She knew how to pose—artfully, gracefully. Sunglasses on her head, holding a piece of fruit. Towels wrinkled by her side. Tom took that picture in her studio, not on the beach—and yet a beach and sun are suggested, aren’t they? Anne was patient and Tom was patient. The sitting took hours and there are dozens of contacts from that shoot. He knew what he wanted to achieve with Anne, something memorable. And he did. I’ve spent the last eight years archiving and organizing a book of Tom’s photographs, which will be published later this autumn. Anne is a big part of it, and she should be. She was integral to his career. Did I feel jealous? Not in the slightest. I never met the woman—she had already died by the time I started living with Tom—but she was an important part of his past and I respected that. Of course, I was very much part of his present. 20 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Self-portrait with Patricia Bosworth by Tom Palumbo, 1988
Tom did snap candids of me. My favorite is a reflection taken in our bathroom mirror and I love it because it expresses our delight in being a team. We collaborated on all sorts of projects together: We did magazine assignments for Conde Nast Traveler and other publications, and for a while we ran a little theatre in the Berkshires where Tom directed one of my plays. We developed projects at the Actors Studio. (Tom was one of only two photographers to be accepted for lifetime membership at the Studio. The other was Bert Stern.) I produced a number of his shows, including one at Lincoln Center, a tribute to Proust featuring Zoe Caldwell. Tom had always wanted to be in theatre and late in his life he was. HERS â€˘ SUMMER 2017 | 21
Untitled by Tom Palumbo, circa 1954
But he kept his cameras near at hand, and he continued photographing womenâ€”the actresses he worked with, family members, women friends. He captured their essences in his pictures, and they energized his life.
2017 books by Patricia Bosworth:
DREAMER WITH A THOUSAND THRILLS: THE REDISCOVERED PHOTOGRAPHS OF TOM PALUMBO powerHouse Books Hardcover December, 2017 22 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
THE MEN IN MY LIFE: A MEMOIR OF LOVE AND ART IN 1950S MANHATTAN HarperCollins Hardcover + Paperback January, 2017
Photo by Naomi Rosenblatt
Reflections by the Sculptor’s Daughter
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 23
Misericordia Cabinet (2001), photo by Sarah Haviland
My mother, Sarah Haviland, has always been a source of strength for me—her ceaseless impulse to be helpful and her capacity for kindness have infused my life. As I have grown and matured, I’ve also come to realize that my mother’s artwork—a facet of life I’ve always taken for granted, something that existed almost in the background—has no doubt influenced me, too. From where I stand now as a strong feminist who believes wholly in the importance and power of women, I appreciate the work my mother has been doing with a new understanding of what it has meant to her. I spoke to my mother about her work as a sculptor of primarily female forms. A few excerpts from our interview are represented here, along with some of my own reflections. I began the conversation with the first piece I could remember as a child. Misericordia Cabinet (misericordia means “mercy” in Latin) presents a life-size, naked woman carved from polar wood standing inside a wooden cabinet, along 24 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE with four smaller, child-like carved figures.
The picture shows me at age eight, mimicking the arm gesture of the woman; as a child I often explored and imagined in my mother’s studio. Sarah explained that she was carving it when I was a small child, and it was a different sort of sculpture—rather ambitious as her first wood carving—from what she’d been doing since graduate school at Hunter a few years before. I remember feeling a connection with the little figures, and she confirmed that “I do consider the little figures to be like children”; she added “they also relate to the Italian tradition of the Misericordia—which is about compassion.” Compassion is also part of the Quaker tradition in which she was raised. Misericordia came directly after a transition in her work from more geometric sculpture to the curvo-linear figures that I grew up with. Sarah referred to it as a figure “that is just more lifelike and naked than anything I had dared to do.” The naked woman, as well as the opening and closing cabinet doors, represented myriad complexities of emotion: mixed thoughts on traditional roles of women, a new feeling of being visible and vulnerable as a young mother, but also a desire to protect the vulnerability of her new-born child, all wrapped up with a sudden willingness to expose the self and literally open up with compassion. As a child I certainly didn’t appreciate the full, multi-layered meaning of this powerful sculpture; I no doubt just liked the towering figure who looked vaguely like my mom, and I was in awe of her talent as an artist. I grew up doing small art projects with my mother, as well as at summer arts camps, and I really enjoyed art—but I always knew, somehow, that my medium would be words.
HERS â€¢ SUMMER 2017 | 25
Rise Above (2017), Flatiron Prow Art Space, photo by Richard Kranzler
I’ve also loved reading for as long as I can remember, and can appreciate a good narrative anywhere—like the story that I’m realizing my mother’s work tells throughout her career. Her work with strong women figures in history, particularly ancient Goddesses, and the Madonna as protector, evolved into open arms and then wings in the later bird-women, which are now settling down into bird-benches that welcome and support. “There is a kind of progression, emotional progression,” Sarah confirmed, that “tells a story: of being more reserved and self-contained, literally turning inward—and then opening out, becoming welcoming, and of leaping and flying.” These recent birds with spread wings seem to embody more action than her previous work; gesture was always important, but these birds—and women—are more poised to fly, to perhaps explore their own potential. About halfway through our conversation, my mother acknowledged that “the feminism that is in my work has always been quiet.” Although I agree with her, I think that the quiet desire to have viewers interpret the pieces for themselves is also one of her most feminist impulses. There is such important freedom in that decision to not directly label a piece as “harpy” or “angel,” but to avoid simple categorization and allow anyone to interpret the pieces in the way most meaningful to them. As a millennial
I’m used to having daily conversations about what feminism means to me with friends (and not-friends), but through my conversation with my mother I realized that she didn’t have that openness and connection as a young woman. Feeling like she couldn’t talk directly about feminist topics, even with female friends, she channeled those impulses into her art. I’m sure my nine-year devotion to my all-girls summer sleepaway haven, Chimney Corners Camp, has also helped me to come to my current position on feminism and female friendship, as has my work as a Gender & Sexuality Studies minor at Swarthmore College. But growing up with a mother who created art from the female body, without any shame or stigma, allowed me to begin understanding the body as something powerful and independent. To combat the constant inundation of media and advertising that use the female body to sell things through sexual imagery, I believe that an exposure to the body as something not always sexual was a powerful thing. Delving into how my mother’s work has shaped my early understanding of women, and their roles socially and emotionally, has been eye-opening and important for my continued understanding of my own feminism—and I discover, once again, that I have endless respect for the art my mother makes and her quiet devotion to what is important to her.
Columbina (2013), photo by Sarah Haviland
26 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Sarah’s studio, 2016, photo by Naomi Rosenblatt
Black Kite Bench (2015), Keelung, Taiwan, photo by Da-go Ku
Sarah Havilandâ€™s abstract-figurative sculptures and public art installations have been exhibited widely in galleries, parks, museums, healthcare, and educational settings, including commissions at the National Marine Museum in Taiwan; Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ; Pratt Sculpture Park, Brooklyn; Sprint Flatiron Prow Art Space, and NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC. Her awards include a Creativity Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, fellowships from the New York and New Jersey State Arts Councils, and residencies at Sculpture Space, Skowhegan, and Yaddo. Sarah Haviland earned a BA from Yale University and an MFA from Hunter College, and maintains a studio at the Hat Factory in Peekskill, NY.
Sarah in 1981, photo by Naomi Rosenblatt
2017Blunk | 27 Sarah and Emma in the studio, 2017, HERS photoâ€˘ SUMMER by Jonathan
Photo: Christian Oâ€™Grady, for a Honeysuckle production by Ronit Pinto Dress: Matthew Richmond; Hair: Sandy Bambi Additional photography: Sam Long Smoke effect: Greg Campbell Model: Windsor Marie
28 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Spirit By Lori Lipten, Psychic Medium and Spirit Channeler
HOW DOES SPIRIT VIEW THE FEMININE POWER? “We are beings of light, known as the Rays of Orion, and exist as both male and female energies, flowing in union with all that is. In the earth plane of consciousness, you experience duality, which allows beings to express varying forms of paradox. Feminine energy is an expression that is the polar opposite of that which you experience as masculine. Feminine energy is an expression of the power of receptivity, nurturance of life, compassionate and reflective. It is the energy of allowing, creativity, endurance, timelessness. It is not less forceful, significant or relevant than masculine power. The feminine aspect of the divine is a powerful creative force in the world, to be accessed by all beings—male and female. Feminine power can be expressed through intuition: the expression of knowing and sensing the world without the filter of the ego. Intuition is the foundational energy of feminine power. When intuition is flowing, the deep wisdom of the soul moves you into harmony and nurturance of life at its highest levels. It is a creative force that expresses supreme love, understanding, guardianship and nurturance for all life.”
HOW IS FEMININE POWER BEING EXPRESSED DIFFERENTLY FROM THE PAST AND HOW IS IT LIKELY TO BE EXPRESSED IN THE FUTURE? “Feminine power is a resource that must now be fully honored, revered, and expressed. Long ago, the feminine power of human consciousness was expressed without limitations. Subsequently, humans began perceiving the Divine as a masculine force and revering the energies of masculine power. When this is done at the expense of its partner— feminine power—life falls out of balance. For women and men to flourish, we must honor feminine energies within and around us. This balance urgently needs to be restored. Women are awakening in large numbers and their awakening will serve a resurgence of harmony on the earth. But it is imperative that women do not mimic masculine power or attempt to react to that power. Rather, feminine power must include the reverence for masculine energies to create true harmony of life. This is the era for divine feminine power to surface into its full expression on the earth. Women will lead the way for awakening consciousness, when these powers are embraced.”
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 29
Photo by Shari Drewett
HOW DOES THIS NEW AMERICAN ADMINISTRATION AFFECT FEMININITY FROM A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE? “Now, this question reveals the subtleties of suffering within the human consciousness and the addiction to ego. This administration lays bare the worship of the material gains at the expense of the divine feminine. It reflects the current state of human consciousness: fearful, soul-fragmented, dissociative and narcissistic. This administration’s deep disdain for women and therefore, for true feminine power, is not subtle. It holds women as objectified beings serving the patriarchy. It does not know the price it pays for this level of disregard and yet, its energy is harming the earth, humanity and most living organisms. This administration’s lack of awakened consciousness reflects the wounded patriarchy’s attempt at maintaining its privileged status of class, ‘race,’ and gender. It is seeking to hold on to that which must shift. Through desperate clinging, it encourages people to live from fear and alienates them from their intuitive wisdom. It pushes individuals away from their soul and aligns them with the illusion of attaching to that which is temporary. We cannot fight this power with its own energy. Rather, we must use the awakened energy of a higher consciousness to bring about change. Do not participate in the illusion of fear; in the identification with the patriarchy and status-quo. There has never been a more poignant time for honoring the divine feminine power of your being. All humans must embrace this power to restore balance on the earth. When we awaken to our immutable essence, the divine feminine power within each of us will guide us into proper actions that serve all of life. Remember this: love is the highest frequency of divine expression available to all humanity. When feminine and masculine powers are unencumbered and fully aligned with love, this harmony will create exquisiteness on the earth.”
30 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Shari Drewett and MK Washko
Women in Food
A chat with Naomi Rosenblatt of Honeysuckle Photos courtesy of Shari and MK
Naomi: We’re sitting in your charming Hell’s Kitchen cafe, Better Being 940, sipping rosé and eating salad and it couldn’t be more delightful. It’s an oasis in here. How long have you been open? MK: We opened here at 537 9th Avenue five years ago this October. Shari: Which makes us 78 in ‘restaurant years.’ Naomi: Haha. Have you found it difficult in this neighborhood? MK: We were dubious at first about being behind Port Authority, but the neighborhood’s embraced us. We love it here. Naomi: You do a lot of catering as well. Namely, photo shoots? Can you tell me about the world of photo shoot catering? Shari: It’s a magical place where glamorous people eat beautiful food prepared by Better Being.
Married New Yorkers, Shari Drewett & MK Washko, muse on love, art, and catering photo shoots @betterbeingnyc
Naomi: I want to go there! What’s in the name Better Being? Where did it come from? Shari: Years ago, one of my teachers was lecturing about living a meaningful life. She literally said the words better being and I snatched them up. They resonated. MK: We loved the name then, but it’s taken on more meaning as the years have passed. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 31
Shari: If you’re not getting better— MK: Or at least trying— Shari: What’s the point? Naomi: So would you describe your food as health food? Shari: Food, like everything else in this world, is changing. ‘Organic’ has become a marketing tool and ‘all natural’ is something to run from. Health food means different things to different people. Naomi: What does it mean to you? Can you describe your food?
Naomi: This salad is superb. Warm chickpeas with feta & tomatoes? MK: And a dill hummus caesar dressing. Shari: Don’t forget the pita croutons. Naomi: How did you end up catering photo shoots? Shari: 23 years ago MK was a gifted young chef. A photographer friend called to see if she could cater a photo shoot. Having no idea what that meant, I said ‘of course!’ MK: Thanks a lot, BTW.
MK: I’m a painter so I’ve always cooked with color. I love vegetables and global flavors. Fresh herbs, of course. The simplest ingredients with the simplest preparation makes the most elegant food. I appreciate a beautiful plate & the comforting aspect of a well-prepared dish. But not comfort food. I wish I had a snappier description. Shari: Beautiful, globally inspired, market-driven, comfort(ing) food with a conscience. MK: hashtag! 32 |Haha, HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Shari: Haha. If MK had answered the phone, we’d be having a different conversation right now. Her favorite word back then was ‘no’. MK: I used to feel differently about a lot of things. Especially anything involving risk. In this case, I probably would’ve been afraid to fail. Shari: But she got past that and succeeded spectacularly. More jobs came from it. Within six months Vogue was calling. It was huge. She was cooking out of our tiny apt. with a 24-inch stove and a half refrigerator. She called me and said ‘Vogue!!!’ I went straight out and bought her a Helmut Lang jacket —which she wears to this day.
Soon, our phone was ringing off the hook. I saw how hard she worked and the effect her food was having. I joined the company and never looked back.
MK: I walked in and saw Shari polishing glasses and I thought ‘oh dear, another one.’ Haha. She’d never waitressed before but she had the same attitude she has with everything: “how hard could it be?”
Naomi: Wonderful story. How did you meet?
Shari: (whispers) A little harder than I thought, turns out.
Shari: It was my first (and only) waitressing job at a little french bistro in the village. I was polishing glasses when a taxi pulled up. The sun shone on her impossibly golden curls. I was awestruck as she walked over to me, lowered her shades and said “hey sister.” Love at first sight.
MK: It always is. You were so enthusiastic, people almost didn’t mind when you screwed up their order. Shari: I was young. I liked people. MK: You still like people. Shari: It’s true. With all their complaints and bad decisions, I still like ’em. Naomi: Haha. You two practically finish.... Shari & MK: Each others sandwiches!
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 33
Behind the Scenes Our interview with a living legend
My driving goal is to be respected for the work. My work is writing and story-telling, the publishing of books, contriving plays, poetry and lyrics—and then the added pleasure of staging, performing/acting, directing and scripting shows for theater and stage. I love to promote my gifted colleagues. That is the external work we undertake to polish up our profile on this grand stage of life. We have seven books published so far: Free Spirit, Backstage Passes, Bisexuality, an essay, The Cyprus Essays, POP.SEX, Cat’Astrophe with illustrations by Rick Hunt. He’s New Hampshire Abenaki artist who has produced the largest artwork in the state according to our friend Rick Broussard, publisher so far. Then there’s my poetry and lyrics anthology Fancy Footwork. There are six more books due in the next three years. Creatives thrive when we cluster. It takes so much ‘alone’ time to produce art, a gathering of artists is a fanfare to creativity, an immediate fiesta, a time to appreciate the community of creative thought and the processes through which art is delivered. One of the most rewarding convocations of public interest are the street fairs and art festivals that have become more prolific and impressive after a couple of millennia of existence. We crave the time to chat, exchange adventures and describe our processes and what inspires us to spend all that time alone and often having a fit trying to perfect our vision of songs, of writing, of painting, of performance.
34 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Our genetic memory craves the market place and its dynamic appeal with colors, fruit, vegetables, art performance, and dancing. We are lifted from the familiarity of our routine by the unexpected pleasures of the market place, and this excitement has been transferred to social media on the Internet. The marketplace is accessible through your very own portal, phone or computer. These technological advances mean, for artists: One day you are in the Dark Ages and the next day the Renaissance begins. So much art goes beyond pleasure and enjoyment to present another slant on an issue with which we are familiar or have an opinion. Creativity is a template for the happiness and well-being of the talented multi-taskers, delicate and fragile, sturdy and yet challenged personalities. These folks medicate their souls by creatively examining the shadow areas of the brain. They unravel the chaos that our fast-moving, data-rich environment offers. Do you feel life has changed significantly for women in America since the glam rock age? Life may have changed for women from fifty years ago but certain long-standing problems faced by women have yet to be solved. The condition of women’s health and welfare (education and employment opportunities, the freedom to marry without permission from male family members) has not improved at the speed and by the numbers as well as it should have. The fate of women around the
Photo by Sergio Kardenas
world is mirrored in the same problems of women in Europe and the United States. The displacement of women from countries enduring the upheavals of war—Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia—and the influx of immigrants has been brought home to us in the West through testimonial of the folks with eye-witness accounts, enhanced by the Internet and social sites that give us a window into news as it is happening. The abuse of women changes its form, and its ‘modus operandi’ —but what never changes is the motivation. That motivation is greed, viewing women as a business resource or ‘property.’ Many young women lack empowerment without education, and are often desperate to eat. They are, understandably, open to being exploited.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 35
Sexual trafficking has not diminished. No ment that collects taxes to protect the sovermatter how many wars are declared on abuse eignty of the country. But what about safeand gangsters, the sex trade and nail salons guarding the welfare of its people with base and hairdressers are kept in servile detention line health care, available and free to all? until their travel expenses, grossly inflated of And education up to and including college, course, have been paid off. work and study free to all? Facts are more important than the decade The future life span of humans has not classifications. The Glam Rock Age occurred been added into the educational mix, nor do within the 1970s, prepped by the 1960s. Afwe anticipate that folks will be returning to ter the 1970s, the US Christian Coalition college as our life expansion reaches in to 80 and British Conservatives tried to subjugate and 90 even 100 years of age. We must be women into obeisance prepared to enjoy and by the 1980s, after all stimulate our brains as the progress that had the time we are alive been made in the twenlengthens. We need more ty years since the end prep, to attack life with of the 1950s, including vigor! With this prothe de-mobbing of miligressive and futuristic tary forces after WWII. mind-set, education is The backlash against especially important for women’s empowerment women. We can learn a during the time of war is great deal about how to another reason one must help improve conditioweigh women’s progress ons for women around with skepticism. Mithe world. sogyny runs rampant in Also, we have to share the devolution of ‘alert the benefits of education Photo by Rebecca G. Wilson activity,’ which meant runwhen there is an issue, an ning the munitions factories and guarding the interest, a field you need to study. With our homelands in the olden days. Now women extended life span we have the joy and the have the privilege of losing limbs and being pleasure of attending college every twenty killed because our planet has still not yet esyears or so, we can check out what’s going tablished a reasonable and happy balance for on, see how they are re-writing history and peaceful enjoyment of our spaceship earth. crank up the new ideas that enrich art and For women in industrialized societies, the science politics and marketing. glass ceiling has not been broken for equal compensation in industry and only some So while there’s lots of possibility, I’d still fields of endeavor compensate women fairly say: No. Things hardly ever change for womand equally to their male counterparts. The en, and those who have been disempowered United States of America has still not electthrough centuries of neglect. Robbing folks’ ed a female president; still does not support pride and dignity are the easiest strategies a multi-genre health care system within the for power-seekers, in both the domestic and purview and as a right owed us by a governcommercial spheres of our lives.
36 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
When you had your first bisexual experience, bisexuality was hardly spoken of in our culture. How did you process it? Where did you turn for understanding of it? How would you advise bisexual women today? Bisexuality is an enormous subject as per the essay on my website. I am glad you narrowed it down! Well, I am very fact-oriented so when my father and I agreed that I wouldn’t have sex with a dude until I was 18 (when I could be relied upon to take proper birth control measures) I wasn’t upset. I thought women were just as attractive as their male counterparts. So there were no issues there. But the “anti-gay officials” at Connecticut College for Women decided that we should be punished by
Photo by Sergio Kardenas
forced psychiatric care, which they inflicted on my girlfriend. I decided they could spit in the wind and I returned to Cyprus, where I was born. American university was not what I had in mind. I was a very serious student who had studied arts, languages, and academic for years at St. George’s in Switzerland. When I returned to Cyprus and my parents, I tried to rustle up some sympathy. I mentioned that I was appalled at the American educational system, which at that time was very hypocritical—as many teachers and professors were gay, but they wanted to keep that privilege to themselves due to the problems they had within the workplace regarding their sexuality; they could not be totally open. My father was incredulous at my naivete. I had no idea sex was so frowned upon in the United States in the 1960s! He told me I should pray that the British college that had refused me because I was too young in 1966 would still have a place for me in 1967. He made it clear that I was not to sit in Cyprus, attracting scandal, seeking boyfriends and fouling up his professional reputation. I totally understood. My father was a colonel, a war hero, and a mining engineer. I didn’t argue with him. But I had to carry this load and this burden. My mission was to unveil the benefits of treating folks of all gender preference in the same way as everyone else. I was without a country; I was born in Cyprus to American parents, and now unable to live there. I was accepted to college in England, where my dad kept me in line.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 37
Performing in 1985
We believed we could change the world forever. I had to carve a niche for myself. I wondered what would happen… In our youth we need that type of discrimination and marginalization so that we have something about which to spit thunder and carry the flag to the top of the hill. That is what being a youngster and a student is all about. Young adults work so hard to mature, become enlightened, learn what’s important to them. They discern which tracts of society’s rules they will espouse and which they will sweep under the carpet out of sight. As young adults we search for a love, a life, a job, and the approval of our family and friends. Achieving those goals does not come easily, or without pissing half the population off! Why do you love vintage clothes? What kind of vintage piece do you consider to be real finds? I love clothes—vintage or retail makes no odds to me. I am a fashion hound. I love to see men and women DECKED! But vintage clothes do hold a particular appeal. Role-playing requires costumes and as we try on the various personas we are going to emulate, as we create our own personalities, we costume them with details that evoke our deepest efforts to become more. We want to be better, visionary, in the Now, and impactful—to solidify the message around which we will build our motivation. Real finds are only of importance to me when I realize twenty years have.= passed and I am still wearing them. 38 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE That impresses me. Chuckle! Hahahahaha!
You do so many creative things. How do you find the time and the focus for it all? I donâ€™t! I wish I did. It takes staff, and staff have to be friends. Staff requires payment and so I accumulate some capital and that provides the fuel to move on with various projects. I was spoiled during the 1970s because the promotional budgets (which were available through the 1990s) for film, music, and books allowed me to finance my creativity and achieve success for my partner and husband, David Jones.
Photo: Tina Paul
Angie and David Bowie at their wedding on March 19, 1970
Photo: Federico Mastrianni
For books and more information please visit www.angiebowie.net Film rights available for Backstage Passes: Life on the Wild Side with David Bowie; publication rights for new books, HERS â€˘ SUMMER 2017 | 39 including a tribute to David Bowie. For more information please contact April Sandmeyer, firstname.lastname@example.org
https://www.alisonclancy.com https://www.lovingyoumusic.com Photos courtesy of Alison Clancy
In Girl Bands Our interview with an equal-opportunity singer/songwriter/ lead guitarist What is your favorite part about being in a band? The unique friendships that develop from shared creative purpose and facing the world as a united front. It’s magic to create something bigger than yourself. What are your favorite part about being a girl band? Women are beautiful, especially when making music. I cherish raw beauty and sensuality wherever I can find it. What are the differences? I hesitate to generalize the qualities of male and female musicians, because every person I work with is totally unique. They’re all inspiring, lovable and challenging in their own special ways. Perhaps women are more quick to accept me in leadership roles, whereas some men have a harder time taking direction or suggestions. Some dudes sense of what music “should sound like” can be a bit more rigid and conversely some women can be hesitant to fight for their ideas. But I’ve definitely experienced blatant contradictions to these stereotypes on both sides of the gender binary, so I think it has more to do with personality than gender.
40 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Do girls get petty or competitive? I try to avoid these vibes in general, but everyone has the capacity for it. What are your experiences and overall impressions of women in music? Many of my personal heroes are female musicians: Chan Marshall of Cat Power, Beth Gibbons of Portishead, Bjork, Patti Smith, Marnie Stern, Kathleen Hanna, the whole WARPAINT crew. Something these artists all have in common is a complex aesthetic. They are simultaneously beautiful, grotesque, delicate, vulnerable, angry, fierce, broken, loving. They do not conform to traditional models of feminine expression and seem to embrace the full capacity of themselves. I try to give myself the same freedoms. My favorite quality in a musical collaborator is dynamic sensitivity: the ability to swing gracefully through tempo, volume, and mood changes. Sensitivity is perhaps a feminine quality, but most men I work with embody this trait sublimely as well. How is it working with your boyfriend? Do you inspire each other or is there ever a power play? I was a huge fan of Chris’ music before we were involved creatively or romantically. So I often sit back like “wow, I am so blessed to work with this brilliant person.” Mostly it is inspiring, cathartic, passionate, healing... all the magic things one could hope for. There is a foundation of mutual respect. What’s your worst experience working in a girl band and what’s your best? The worst girl-band experience was when two band members got romantically involved, then married and divorced. That was high drama. But when women are playing beautifully together it’s super powerful. At it’s best it feels like we are a herd of apex predators uniting with siren songs to devour the world with our immense love and rage; a collective hurricane drowning out all sorrow with flowing locks of hair and tangled melodies.
Are you friends with the girls you play with? Yes. Creative work naturally folds into family-like experiences and vice versa. We get to know each other well enough to understand each other. And in my mind understanding is the same thing as love. How many bands are you in? Name them please. What are your upcoming shows? Too many bands…and never enough...I’m a creative junkie workaholic addicted to collaborating. I just finished my debut solo album Psycho Tyko, produced by CityGirl. We’re having a listening party on July 13th at Amy Van Doran’s Modern Love Club in the East Village, NYC. Loving You is the duo with my boyfriend, the epically talented cellist Chris Lancaster. We’re playing shows in Los Angeles in August. A project called HUFF THIS! has had many iterations. It started as a 2- girl duo, then Chris joined, eventually it transitioned to an all-boy band + me, and in its most recent form was a 5-piece girl-band with a mob of feline dancers. I also had a band called Electric Child for a while. What are some challenges you’ve noticed women face over men in the music industry? As a teenager I never imagined myself doing music. The music scene in my hometown was bursting with talent, but was a boys club I found to be both fascinating and intimidating. Obviously I listened to lots of great female artists, but It wasn’t until my friends Joanna Newsom, Alela Dianne and Mariee Sioux started coming out of the woodwork producing beautiful albums and captivating performances that I ever considered it for myself. Seeing women I knew making bold moves really inspired me. Having role models and peers you identify with is a powerful catalyst in any field. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 41
Teale Coco fetish fashion
1. Tell us about Teale Coco Teale Coco began as a concept for custom-fitting accessories that I could wear under or over clothing.They had such a great response online, so I came up with the idea for manufacturing and selling them during a modelling trip in Japan.
2. Do the clothing or the brand reflect your own sexuality? I think it is most definitely an expression of myself. I take my designs as personal projects that represent my creativity in styling and art. I am a very submissive person in my sexuality. In my character, I am more dominant and in control. 42 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Styling, hair & makeup: Teale Coco Photos: Sean Higgins
3. Your personal instagram is Evil Angel – why did you pick that name? That is the nickname my mother has given me since I was a child. She used to say I was beautiful like an angel but evil like a devil; all in a playful manner, of course. Hence, EVIL ANGEL was born.
4. What are the unspoken elements of fetish culture? I think that it depends on your fetish. Most people just like to feel comfort or restriction. People have described my designs as feeling as though they are being given a hug.
5. Do you think fetish culture brings us closer to our human nature or animal nature? I think that it brings it closer to our animalistic roots of desire and pleasure. We should do what feels good and comes naturally.
6. do you ever have a hard time reconciling your own beauty with the desire to include all ‘others’ in your brand? we understand you create adjustable sizes to cater to all sizes, yet you are beautiful in a modelish-sense. And thin. We wondered how you reconcile those things or if they ever come up? All my designs were based upon the concept of adjustability because I have seen the fashion industry first-hand through modelling and noticed where it was lacking. I wanted to create something that EVERYONE—regardless of shape or size—could wear COMFORTABLY! That is most important. I like to show my designs on people of all genders and sizes so people can feel comfortable knowing it will fit their bodies.
7. What are some of your favorite aspects of femininity? I think that we need both feminine and masculine characteristics in our personalities to be able to empathise and truly connect with each other. The best part about embracing our femininity is being in touch with creation of life and earth...to truly connect with our emotions and communicate that with empathy and passion.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 43
8. You tend to post pictures with motivating statements or quotes beneath them; is one of your goals to motivate women?
To inspire and motivate all sexes. I write quotes or I focus on one subject and talk about it in an optimistic, positive away. Everyone has their struggles and we often share the same ones. I hope to inspire people to do their best, live their life and be who they want to be. 9. What was your favourite time in history fashion-wise?
I would have to say 90’s fashion. I was born 92’ and a huge influence on myself as a child that continues into my current fashion inspirations. 10. What is next for Teale Coco—what would be your ultimate goal?
Expanding more into the clothing side and out of accessories.
44 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
tealecoco.com instagram/tealecoco twitter.com/tealecoco www.facebook.com/tealecoco666
HERS â€˘ SUMMER 2017 | 45
KIRSTEN DUNST: A TRIBUTE
ollywood has convinced so many women to fix their “imperfections.” Not Kirsten Dunst. When the actress showed up on the set of her first Spider-Man movie, she was told to get her crooked teeth straightened. Dunst refused. “I was like, ‘No, my teeth are cool!’” Now, at age 35, Dunst has once again delivered a firm “No” to a filmmaker’s request. She was asked to drop some pounds for her role as Miss Edwina in the new Southern gothic thriller, The Beguiled but Dunst said (I’m paraphrasing here), “Nope, not gonna happen.” Oh, the irony—it was her close friend and long-time collaborator, director Sofia Coppola, who asked Dunst to slim down. Yet it was also Coppola who advised a sixteen-year-old Dunst never to change her teeth during their first work project, 1999’s The Virgin Suicides. That was the film that some would argue really put Dunst on the Hollywood movies map. In 2006, Coppola also directed Dunst in Marie Antoinette.
Kirsten Dunst on the set of The Beguiled. 46 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE Photo: Ben Rothstein / Focus Features
Kirsten Dunst and Sophia Coppola on the set of The Beguiled. Photo: Ben Rothstein / Focus Features
The Beguiled is Dunst and Coppola’s third time making a film together. It is a remake of the 1971 movie starring Clint Eastwood, and both films are based on a novel by Thomas Cullinan. The scenes are lusty and tense, and loaded with director Coppola’s love of atmosphere and high drama. It’s a thriller that takes place in Virginia during the Civil War. In the opener, young Miss Amy (Oona Laurence), is out picking mushrooms when she spots a Yankee soldier, Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell). He is suffering with a badly wounded leg. She feels sorry for him and helps him back to a plantation that used to be a boarding school for girls. During wartime, it has become a shelter for six women. Dunst’s character, Miss Edwina, is a school teacher. Miss Martha, the headmistress, is played by Nicole Kidman, who teeter-totters between seemingly very good and kind, and capable of dastardly deeds. Elle Fanning plays one of the students. With six women living under duress, McBurney’s arrival creates quite a stir. He’s not a particularly good guy in that he manipulates the women and pits them against each other by using his seductive wiles. While the women tend to his wounds and a houseful of sexual electricity sizzles. I must say, it is so refreshing to see a female director’s decision to keep all of the women clothed, but turn the man into a bare sex object. There is a humor amidst the intensity.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 47
Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen. © Dorri Olds
Recently, Dunst appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. After congratulating her on both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her role in the FX series, Fargo, Fallon urged Dunst to dish on her engagement to Fargo co-star Jesse Plemons. A blushing Dunst said that she really wanted to keep things private—especially because her fiancé and their families were watching. She confirmed the engagement and added that she was glad that she and Plemons had become really good friends first. Fallon, continuing to press for more juicy deets, pointed out how amazing it was that by agreeing to work on that television show, Dunst met the guy she is going to marry. The actress threw her arms up in the air in mock exasperation and said, “Yes, that is amazing. I’ll name my kid Fargo Season 2.” Her great sense of humor and quick smile are endearing and I feel lucky to have witnessed them up close when I interviewed Dunst myself on a few occasions related to her earlier movies. In 2014, I chatted with Dunst, alongside her sexy co-star Viggo Mortensen. That film, The Two Faces of January, opens with Colette (Dunst) and her husband, Chester MacFarland (Mortensen) looking very well-off, gorgeous and Great Gatsby-ish. We see them enjoying a carefree vacation in Greece, looking happy and in love. While sightseeing at the Acropolis, they meet Rydal (Oscar Isaac), a young American working as a tour guide. Rydal is dazzling gullible tourists right out of their dough, when suddenly he spots Colette and Chester. The opportunist first noticed Collette for her beauty, but then immediately sizes her up as another potential patsy. What Rydal doesn’t realize is that the slick and dangerous Chester had already been spying on the conman. When I interviewed The Two Faces of January director and screenwriter, Hossein Amini, I asked him how he had chosen Dunst to play Collette. “I’d seen her in so many movies,” he said. “What I was really struck by is how smart she is. She has this extraordinary intuitive sense of a scene. She knows what’s going to work and what’s not. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up being a fantastic director. There’s an intelligence and sensitivity and almost telepathic understanding of the people she’s working with.” Oh, how right Amini was! Dunst will be making her feature film directing debut in 2018 with The Bell Jar, an adaptation of the only novel by poet Sylvia Plath. Dakota Fanning will play the lead role of Esther Greenwood, the semi-autobiographical Plath character who descends into mental illness. Dunst and Nellie Kim co-wrote the screenplay. She has cast her fiancé Plemons to star opposite Fanning. 48 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
unst told me one of her reasons for doing that film was that she’d met Viggo before. Dunst shot him her signature dimpled smiled and said, “We were also both in On the Road, but we didn’t have any work together.” She mentioned that Mortensen also knew her then-boyfriend, On the Road co-star, Garrett Hedlund. She added that she’d also already known Isaac. “I immediately felt like I trust, and feel comfortable, with these people, which is very rare to happen.”¬ When I asked about challenges during the making of that film, Dunst said, “Sometimes for me, I felt like it was all about the boys. Sometimes Colette is objectified, since she’s the only female. But I wanted to be a part of this film because I loved the script so much, and Viggo was already attached.” She explained, “I wanted to make Colette as much of a character as I could. But it’s also about the guys, so that was probably the hardest thing for me—I wanted to make her as full as possible, when she could have easily just been a throw-away character.” She added, “What’s interesting is that when I watch movies that are only about boys, and there aren’t any interesting female characters, I don’t really end up liking it that much.” An earlier time I met with Dunst was in 2012, a year after she had finished Melancholia and really wanted to do a comedy. “I hadn’t done one in a while,” she said. “People don’t see you in that light unless you’re a comedic actress,” she said. “I didn’t want be pigeonholed in any type of mood, because I got a lot of scripts after Melancholia that were heady, weird, depressing. I’m like, I’m not gonna repeat this again. It’s boring for me and for everyone else, too.” That’s how she decided on the edgy Bachelorette, which was released the following year. “I got this script, Lizzy [Caplan] was attached to and met Leslye [Headland, the director] and then I was like, this is hilarious and I would love to go completely opposite and be in this project.” Due to the title of the movie, she mentioned the reality television show, The Bachelorette. “I like those TV shows,” said Dunst. “They’re just so ridiculous; everyone vying for a rose.” She laughed, flashing that awesome smile. “It’s so dramatic,” she said. “It’s just amazing trash television that you can watch with your mom and grandma on a Monday night!” Dunst enjoyed her character in Bachelorette. “We look like a mess in the end of the movie,” she said. Isla Fisher chimed in, “We’re bad people doing bad things and, frankly, it’s not glossed over.” Dunst agreed and said, “I think that’s refreshing.” Bachelorette won Official Selection at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and also starred Isla Fisher and Rebel Wilson. When I interviewed director Headland, she bounced right into a midtown Manhattan hotel room, talking fast with her blonde hair flying. She has a deep ballsy laugh yet also projects an endearing, almost childlike, vulnerability. Headlund said, “Meeting Kirsten was nerve-wracking. I remember driving to meet her and I’d smoked like 37 cigarettes and had like 18 shots of espresso. I just really wanted her to do this movie and I didn’t know what I should do to get her to say yes. Directors that I look up to—like Kubrick and Altman—have reputations of being manipulators but I’m so not like that. I’m such an open book. I thought I was going to really have to talk her into doing it.” Much to Headlund’s delight, Dunst happily signed on. “It was a gift from God that Kirsten, who I was a huge fan of, liked the character,” said the director. Dunst is doing all right for herself, eh? This A-lister began her career as a three-year-old child fashion model for TV commercials. She signed on with Ford and Elite modeling agencies. At age six she was in her first feature film, New York Stories, where she appeared in Woody Allen’s section titled, Oedipus Wrecks. A year after that, she co-starred with Tom Hanks in 1990s Bonfire of the Vanities. Her biggest movie breakthrough came in 1994, when Dunst was 11 and played Claudia in Interview with the Vampire with Brad Pitt. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 49
Kirsten Dunst in Woodshock. Photo: A24
On September 15, you’ll be able to catch Dunst in A24’s arty and haunting thriller, Woodshock. She plays Theresa, an isolated, grief-stricken woman who becomes paranoid after taking a powerful, reality-twisting drug. The film is the directing debut for Los Angeles fashion designers and screenwriting sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy. Until its release, you can check out the movie’s psychedelic, trippy trailer. “It’s kind of your job as an actress to define what kind of things you want to do, and the types of people you want to surround yourself with,” Dunst told me. “It’s really your taste and what you want because everything is out there. It’s just how you go about your own process and what’s true to who you are and what you want to put out in the world.”
For all of her strength, smarts, and success, we celebrate Kirsten Dunst as the woman with the HERS spirit for this issue of Honeysuckle Magazine.
50 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
All From SEOUL
Join Honeysuckle Magazine for the launch our fifth issue, HERS.
Premium Leggings like a Jean
Friends, contributors, sponsors are welcome Wednesday, July 26th 6:30 pm
The Finest Way to Fill Your Wardrobe
Norwood Club 241 West 14th Street RSVP: www.norwoodclub.com/events
The Center of Korean Fashion HERS â€¢ SUMMER 2017 | 51
Happy 40th Anniversary
July 13, 1977 - July 13, 2017
NYWIFT member Barbara Moss with Muse honorees Holly Hunter and Charlayne Hunter-Gault at the 1993 NYWIFT. Muse Awards. Photo courtesy of NYWIFT.
TIMELINE: We started with the historic New York City blackout in the summer of 1977
Honoree Goldie Hawn at the 1984 NYWIFT Muse Awards. Photo courtesy of NYWIFT.
The first group of NYWIFT members met in an apartment on July 13th, 1977, the same night as the great New York City blackout! Legend has it that the creation of NYWIFT is what caused that fateful power surge. We’re kicking off our year-long 40th anniversary celebration with a networking event this coming July 13th in tribute to that first meeting. Our first board President, Marilyn Casselman, took the legal steps to get NYWIF (as it was known then, before we added the T for “television) incorporated. It was incorporated in July 1978, exactly one year after the first meeting, which is why we will celebrate the anniversary all year long. The kickoff party will be followed by a symposium on the status of women in the industry in September, and more special events throughout the year.
OUR INITIATIVES: THE WRITER’S LAB The Writers Lab, presented by NYWIFT and IRIS and funded by Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey, brings promising scripts from women screenwriters over the age of forty together with outstanding professional female filmmakers for an intensive four-day screenwriting retreat. Mentors advise participants in one-on-one meetings and via panel discussions. The conversation continues at mealtime and at after-hours gatherings. Interactions are designed to inspire the artists; to prompt rigorous creative exploration; and, through revision, to cultivate first-rate cinematic stories. The Lab is now in its third year. Submissions are being reviewed and this year’s participants will be announced in August.
52 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
NEW YORK WOMEN IN FILM AND TELEVISION www.nywift.org
“We look forward to a new landscape where the female narrative is in equal proportion to the male narrative.”
Presenter Julia Roberts with honoree hair stylist Lyndell Quiyou at the 2006 NYWIFT Designing Women gala Photo: Victoria Medina
We feel it is critical to nurture the voices of mature women that have not been heard and are in danger of being lost entirely. We look forward to a new landscape where the female narrative is in equal proportion to the male narrative, sharing our stories to strengthen our ties to one another and empower younger generations. The Lab aims to combat the dual problem of ageism and sexism that women past a certain age inevitably face, as it becomes even harder to break into the “boy’s club.” Those women are also often saddled with the additional challenges of child and elder care at that stage in their lives, and the entertainment industry is notoriously difficult to navigate while also being a parent. (Which is why we are thrilled to have our own NYWIFT Mom’s Network group of members, and are pleased support Mathilde Dratwa and her Moms in Film Group with their upcoming initiatives in regards to child care on set.) It’s not only women writers who face this problem, which is why we also offer the NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Grant to support a woman second-time feature film director who is over 40 years of age in the production of a dramatic feature film. Grant funds may be used for pre-production, production or post-production. The grant is specifically for the director’s second feature as it’s often much harder to get your second film off the ground than the first one; with the first the filmmakers often max out their credit cards, and need to turn to outside financing the second time around. We’re taking submissions for this year’s Ravenal grant through July 15.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 53
OUR INITIATIVES: RESTORING FEMALE-CENTRIC FILMS
Comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jeannie Gaffigan at NYWIFT’s Annual Comedy Makers panel in November 2016 at Caroline’s on Broadway. Photo: Lauren Miller
Orange is the New Black stars Uzo Aduba and Kate Mulgrew at the 2015 Designing Women gala, where they presented the Variety Ensemble Awards to the hair, makeup and costume design team from Orange is the New Black. Photo: Rowena Husbands
Current NYWIFT Board President Simone Pero and Orange is the New Black star Berto Colon at the 2015 Muse Awards. Photo: Victoria Medina 54 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
The NYWIFT Women’s Film Preservation Fund (WFPF) is the only program in the world dedicated to preserving the cultural legacy of women in the industry through preserving films made by women. It was founded in 1995 by NYWIFT in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art. The WFPF’s goal is to ensure that the contributions of women to film history are not forgotten. To date the WFPF has preserved a remarkable spectrum of more than 100 American films in which women play key creative roles. These include works by early feminists, women of color, social activists and artists that represent a unique and irreplaceable part of our nation’s cultural legacy. The films already preserved range from Barbara Koppel’s Harlan County USA (1976) and Cinda Firestone’s Attica (1974) to productions by pioneering early film directors Lois Weber and Alice Guy Blaché and experimental and animated films by Maya Deren and Mary Ellen Bute.
UPCOMING INITIATIVES We’re taking submissions now for our annual From Script to Pre-Production (FS2P) workshop, which is a sixmonth program for women writer-directors that guides them through the process of setting up an independent low budget feature. We just wrapped up the submission cycle for our other grants (outside of the Ravenal Grant mentioned above): the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant, our in-kind post-production grants, and the Nancy Malone Marketing & Promotion Grant. We will continue to give annual scholarships; we’ve supported over 50 students since the fund’s inception in 1995.
S U N I O J
YO Yeah ...
Our membership is growing, particularly in the last few years, due in part to the fact that the New York entertainment industry is growing. There are more productions, expanded tax incentives, and therefore more opportunities. The women that work in the NY industry are often the only woman in the room, be it in an office or on set. NYWIFT provides an oasis for them. It’s a place where they can come to a networking party or panel and be surrounded by like-minded women who understand the challenges of being that lone woman alongside the boys. We have created a supportive community – our members can not only network, grow professionally, and find job opportunities among one another, but they have a unique opportunity to commiserate and join forces. It’s a “safe space.” Plus, we have some members who are guys, and it’s great to have them in the room listening and offering support as well, so it feels less like “us” against “them” and we can focus on moving forward together.
Participants in the 2017 Production Workshop for First-Generation and Immigrant Women at Maspeth Town Hall, presented by NYWIFT in collaboration with Third World Newsreel as part of NYWIFT’s Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories series. Photo: Easmanie Michel
NYWIFT members at NYWIFT Designing Women, 2015. Photo: Rowena Husbands
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 55
Dorri Olds: Hats
Off to Holly Hunter
She continues to blow us away
Academy Award-winner Holly Hunter (The Piano) continues to hit it big. With a career spanning 35 years, she remains an electrifying force. In our sadly still-patriarchal society, it is impressive to see any actress who is past 40, still landing the high-quality and sought-after parts. At the age of 59, Hunter is holding her own in an industry that hands over much longer shelf-life to male counterparts. Hunter’s voice still has that sweet-Georgia-peach twang, even though she has long been a New York City resident. But her Big Apple attitude gets her to where she’s going. It was a thrill to meet her recently at Manhattan’s Four Seasons hotel. She was there to talk about The Big Sick, the runaway hit she has a starring role in. The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20 to glowing reviews. It was picked up by Amazon Studios and Lionsgate and given a limited release on June 23. The critics are still raving. It opens nationwide on July 14. Hunter plays Beth, a wife and mother, married to Terry (Ray Romano). Early in the film—not a spoiler, it’s in the trailer—the panicked couple rushes to the emergency room where doctors need to put their daughter Emily (Zoe Kazan) into a medically-induced coma, to save her life.
56 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Left: Holly Hunter in The Big Sick Photo: Nicole Rivelli Opposite: Holly Hunter in Strange Weather Photo: Brainstorm Media
Labeling The Big Sick as a romcom is a tad misleading—not because it isn’t funny. It is. And the plot is about a romance, but, if we were gazing at a dating site, the box checked would be: “It’s complicated.” The story is based on the odd, real-life love affair between Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) and his now-wife, Emily V. Gordon, a former therapist. The couple co-wrote the script but went through many rewrites. It was really a group effort and took three long years until it was ready. Just before speaking with Hunter, I had a private chat with The Big Sick’s handsome co-producer, Barry Mendel (Trainwreck, Munich, The Sixth Sense). I asked him what it was like working with Hunter. “Uh, a little bit scary,” he said. I laughed and asked why. “Because she’s kind of like a very, very good bullshit detector. You really have to be on your game and ready to answer questions like ‘Why are we doing it this way?’ Or ‘Why is the story done that way?’ You have to get up to her level and when you do, it’s exhilarating!” He smiled, and then whispered, “But, it’s a scary proposition.” To clarify, I asked if he meant that she’d made suggested changes to the script. He nodded his head emphatically. “Yes,” he said. “A lot of suggestions. Many things in the movie came from her own experiences. She contributed a lot of herself to the movie.” Hunter expressed a lot of respect for the producers, her co-stars, and especially for Gordon and Nanjiani. “It was interesting,” she said, “It’s a testament to the kind of overarching confidence that just manifests its way through the whole movie.” She explained that it began with the co-producers Mendel and Judd Apatow. Then she praised Nanjiani and Gordon: “They did this, Kumail and Emily. I mean they walked through fire in some ways to put this down on paper. I would imagine it couldn’t have been an easy thing to accomplish. Then we come along and we’ve got all these ideas, you know, Barry and Judd, Zoe and Ray and I, had tons of ideas….Then there was this kind of open-armed process of accepting all those ideas. Seeing if they might fly.” She described an intense rehearsal period discussing ways to rework the script to make the scenes even richer. “That’s not always received as openly as it was with this project,” Hunter said. “There was just this whole other act where it was like,” throwing her arms up she said, “It was like ‘Come on, you guys, what’ve you got?’” Then she compared it to theater: “Like in a play, and working it into shape to fit it on stage.” She described that what she loves is “to make a movie feel lived in, which I think is a very hard thing to do. With a lot of movies, you watch them and it’s pretty easy to feel like they’re fake. I think the things that we strived to do, and that because the acting was so good, we were able to [make it] feel lived in and real—like the wheels.” You gotta just love the way this woman expresses herself. The true story behind The Big Sick is when Nanjiani met Gordon ten years ago. He was a fledgling standup comic and she heckled him from the audience. They ended up spending the night together, intending it only as a one-night-stand. Complications ensued, however, when accidentally they fell in love. Nanjiani’s traditional Muslim parents wanted him to marry a Pakistani woman and being too chicken to oppose them, he broke up with Emily.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 57
The high drama kicks in when Nanjiani finds out Emily is in the ER and realizes how strong his feelings for her really are and he rushes to be by her side. It is in the hospital’s waiting area where he awkwardly meets Emily’s folks for the first time. Hunter is getting tons of awards buzz for her exquisite portrayal of an incredibly pissed-off mama bear. Beth can’t stand even looking at Nanjiani because she and her daughter are close and Emily had confided in her. Knowing that her daughter had been dumped in such an abrupt and cowardly way, makes Beth despise him. That scene comes across very realistically—if I had been Emily, my own mother’s loyalty would’ve made her behave in much the same way! I am not usually a big fan of romantic comedies; I’m drawn to darker fare like twisted psychological thrillers. But this is not a typical story, the acting is stellar and it is a very satisfying film. Hunter and I also spoke about her upcoming HBO series with Alan Ball (Six Feet Under). “It’s called Here, Now,” she said. “I’ve done one episode so far.” She plays the lead, Audrey Black, who was a therapist before switching gears and joining the corporate world to make more money. Her husband Greg, played by Tim Robbins, is a philosophy professor who is questioning his life and purpose, sliding into depression. It’s a much-anticipated 10-episode series that revolves around this middle-aged couple who adopted children from Colombia, Somalia and Vietnam, then have their fourth kid while they’re in their forties. Audrey’s marriage is straining at the seams and one of their kids begins seeing things that may—or may not—really be there. She also spoke about her movie Strange Weather, premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Hunter had nothing but great things to say about writer-director Katherine Dieckmann. The indie is a portrait of Darcy Baylor (Hunter), who is forced to deal with her son’s death many years after he had committed suicide. Hunter told Deadline Hollywood that her character, Darcy, “really uses revenge as the gasoline that she puts in her car to drive it.” Despite the heavy subject matter, Hunter has once again found a film with a lot of humor in what she referred to as “very unexpected places.” For anyone not familiar with Hunter’s background, her career has had an amazing trajectory since she began in the early ’80s. Her first big hit was 1987’s Raising Arizona. She played an ex-cop named Ed, who was the love interest of Nicolas Cage’s character, an ex-con. When the two find out they’re not able to conceive a child, they steal a baby. The quirky comedy is the brilliant brainchild of the fabulous Coen brothers—hence, it is hilarious. Also in 1987, Hunter had another huge hit with Broadcast News, another romantic comedy drama co-starring William Hurt and Albert Brooks. Hunter’s big Oscar win came in 1993 for The Piano when she played Ana, a mute woman in a steamy drama about love, music, and an arranged marriage. It is worth mentioning the other Academy Awards the film raked in: Anna Paquin won Best Supporting Actress as Ada’s daughter. The 11-year-old Paquin had beat out 5000 candidates and it was her first acting role. If you’ve never seen Paquin’s acceptance speech, check it out. It’s precious. The Piano also won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and writer-director Jane Campion became the first woman to ever win the Palme d’Or, the highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
So, yeah, for being strong, sassy, and awesome, we knew Holly Hunter had to be included in Honeysuckle’s HERS issue.
58 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Zoe Kazan Wows ...as actress, screenwriter, and playwright
For one-third of the now-playing hit movie, The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon’s fictionalized character, Emily Gardner, is off-screen in a medically-induced coma. Zoe Kazan, 33, was the first choice to play Emily. Everyone involved on the film was thrilled she said yes to the part. When I met Kazan two weeks ago, to talk about the movie, I was startled by how slim and tiny-boned she is. She appeared, at first look, as almost childlike. But as soon as she opened her mouth, the experienced thespian and playwright’s intelligence and sophistication took over and transformed her appearance.
Zoe Kazan in The Big Sick. Photo: Nicole Rivelli
“I was so taken with the script,” she said. “The story wasn’t like other things I’d read. I was impressed by the deftness of tone Kumail and Emily achieved.” She described the screenplay as “emotional, funny and scary all at the same time.” Kazan offered high praise for The Big Sick co-producer, Barry Mendel: “I never worked with a producer like Barry before. He’s so detail-oriented and I never feel like he was in and then he’s out. He blew my mind with his deep film knowledge and love and I felt like every element of this film has Barry’s touch on it.” And she described that as “incredibly rare.” “What drew me in from the start was the script. It wasn’t like it needed anything, but I felt that process actually helped me come to feel that I had intended to put some of myself into it as well so it didn’t feel like I was trespassing on someone else’s life all the time. And I think that allowed me to feel a little bit more comfortable making it my own on set, and not worrying about having Emily [Gordon] at the monitors watching what I was doing. In fact, what I came to feel like was that we were co-parents of the character—which I guess you’re always doing as an actor: you become co-parents or co-guardians of the character on the screen.” Speaking of parents, Kazan is the daughter of screenwriters Robin Swicord and Nicholas Kazan. Her grandfather was famed Greek-American director Elia Kazan (A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden) who was married to Kazan’s grandmother, playwright Molly Day (Thacher) Kazan. “Because my parents are both screenwriters, and because I came up as an actor in the theater, I was drilled that the text is sacred,” Kazan said. “It’s your job as an actor to fulfill the text and not alter the text.” She then shared that on previous projects, improvising has felt uncomfortable. Not so for this film, though. Next up, you can catch Kazan in HBO’s 8-episode upcoming series, The Deuce, which is set to start September 10. It is set in and around Times Square, New York City, and stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco. It was created and written by author and former police reporter David Simon and his frequent collaborator George Pelecanos. To learn more about Kazan, read Lena Dunham’s ode to the actress in Lenny. Dunham gushes about “the brilliant actress” and her long-time dear friend. Dunham, who directed Kazan in Max, an HBO TV movie, also discusses seeing Kazan’s play Ruby Sparks and then seeing her onstage again, in Love, Love, Love. Be sure to check out Vice’s gorgeous high-fashion photo display of Kazan with hair teased up to there and big blue eyes you can’t look away from. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 59
Lesbians Obsessed with Women Who Kill
Ingrid Jungermann (Writer, Director, Performer), Women Who Kill. Photo: Diane Russo
Women Who Kill is a feature film written and directed by Ingrid Jungermann who also stars as main character Morgan, a commitment-phobe. While screening the film, I fell in love with Jungermann’s striking face. Angular and piercing, it grabs you and becomes more and more intriguing via her black-as-soot humor and deadpan delivery. Her long, lean model build is perfect for a movie screen but it’s her wit and quirks that stand out most of all. I was thrilled to land an exclusive interview with Jungermann. It was right after the July 4 holiday when she returned to New York. Despite exhaustion—and directly due to my pleading—the rising star made time for the interview. It did not take any convincing for my editors to say she was perfect for this HERS issue of Honeysuckle. Women Who Kill debuted at Tribeca Film Festival in 2016 and received the jury award for Best Screenplay. Indiewire described it as the “Best Lesbian Horror-Comedy Ever.” I have to agree. The film racked up a slew of awards at film festivals: Best Screenplay at Outfest; and Weekend. It won Best Narrative Feature at Indie Street; Seattle TWIST Queer; Melbourne Queer; and Oslo Fusion International. It also won Outstanding First Feature at Frameline.
60 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
It is a love triangle between two ex-girlfriends, Morgan and Jean (Ann Carr), who still live and work together. They’re true crime podcasters with a show about female serial killers. The exes spend so much time together, it has impeded letting go of the relationship. The heat dial turns way up when Morgan meets beautiful new love interest, Simone (Sheila Vand). Soon the high drama kicks in when the podcasting lesbians obsessed with murders begin to fear that Simone may be one. Let’s get to the interview! Dorri Olds: Want to tell if she is a murderer? Sheila Vand and Ingrid Jungermann in Women Who Kill. Photo: Diane Russo Ingrid Jungermann: I can’t. [Laughs] What planted the seed for this story? It’s funny, when I first watched the film at Tribeca, and throughout the whole finishing process, and then over the months of screening at festivals, I saw that the movie was clearly a personal film about my own struggles with relationships. It was my version of a romantic comedy in a twisted way. The new script that I’m working on right now is a romantic comedy, but it’s a satire about the genre. It’s like a queer person’s first experience with love, especially with a religious background, which is not a positive experience because you’re working through feeling all these dark emotions, when you really should just be feeling the pure emotions. What religion were you brought up with? Jehovah’s Witness. I’ve heard the followers are judgmental. Yeah, exactly. I came out as soon as I left home at 17, when I went to college. That year I realized I was gay, or at least became more comfortable with it. I was probably one of the last people who realized I was gay. I don’t think it was a big surprise to many people. I grew up in Florida and there is no language for it. No allowance for the feelings. You walk around with a secret. I worked at Blockbuster Video and I remember seeing the queer section and that was one of the ways I could put language to how I was feeling, but I still didn’t realize at that time that I was gay. Did you experience any self-loathing? People in the arts can be more sensitive and are naturally gonna question things about themselves, where other people might not. Certainly, self-loathing was part of it. Internalizing some of those views, yeah. That’s something that takes many years to get at and hopefully unravel. Then you come out on the other side, understanding that self-loathing was really unfortunate. I feel we’re trained to be that way. It takes a long time to get out of that. Then years of therapy. How do you feel about the vitriol in America right now, thanks to Trump? I definitely feel the hatred. He’s given people a free pass on that kind of language. The vitriolic language and darkness everybody is feeling is at an all-time high. We are experiencing a collective depression. Anything new and exciting on the horizon? Yes, I’m in development for my next feature with Cheeky Entertainment, who worked with Blumhouse on Get Out. Great movie! Yeah. So, I’m writing this satirical romcom. It’s formulaic except it’s a commentary on formula. I like formula and structure and playing with the genre, and shaking it up and making a joke of itself. Any nod to classic movies? This was inspired by Tootsie. That idea of dressing up as someone you’re not. I’m also studying films from the 40s and 50s—going back to see how romantic comedies started and what they became. It’s fun.
Women Who Kill next screens in New York, July 26–August 1 at IFC (wwwkmovie.com). HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 61
Emily V. Gordon The true story behind The Big Sick American writer, producer, and podcast host, Emily V. Gordon, was quick to smile as she talked about The Big Sick on June 20 at Manhattan’s Four Seasons hotel. The film is based on her own love story with now-husband, Pakistani-American comedian, Kumail Nanjiani (HBO’s Silicon Valley). The couple co-wrote the script, with a lot of help from the producers Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel, and actors Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, and Zoe Kazan. When asked if she and Nanjiani could extract themselves from every detail of the script, Gordon said, “Judd and Barry were both good at not wanting us to be precious with our own story. It needed to go from being OUR story to being A story at some point and everybody was collaborating on it and everybody had input. We were encouraged to always have the emotional truth of things but to make sure we were upping the stakes, changing things, moving things, so it would make the movie more dramatic [and funnier] while keeping an emotional truth to it.” Gordon and Nanjiani agreed that “Mendel is a very tough boss.” Nanjiani described the producer as “living, eating, showering the film.” He mimicked Mendel saying, “So, why aren’t you?” Gordon chimed in: “It’ll be like midnight and Barry will be like, ‘Okay, so we’ll meet here tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. You’re not doing anything else, right?’ And I was like, ‘Uh, I guess I’ll cancel!’” But, Gordon admitted, “It was kind of nice to have so many people weigh in on it, because the actual story got back to being our story. It helped me feel more okay.” Director Mike Showalter often told the couple to separate themselves from the script. “It really made the movie better, I think,” said Gordon. What’s even funnier than the very comedic film, is the fact that in real life Gordon and Nanjiani got married only three months after she became ill. When Gordon suggested including that in the script, everyone else poo-pooed that idea. The reason? It was too ridiculous to ever be believed. Gordon became a fulltime freelance writer in 2010 after working for five years as a therapist. You can find her writing in The New York Times and in magazines Bust, Dame, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, GQ, Lenny, and Refinery29. In addition to writing, Gordon produces comedy. You can keep up with her on Twitter @emilyvgordon.
Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. Photo: Sarah Shatz 62 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
HERS â€¢ SUMMER 2017 | 63
Bell of Amherst Actress/director Emma Bell on women’s empowerment and Emily Dickinson Photo stills are from A Quiet Passion. Photo courtesy of Music Box Films.
Good art comes out of pain or repression or times when it’s not all beautiful and abundant.” Emma Bell’s words perfectly encapsulate the themes of her recent film A Quiet Passion, where she plays a young Emily Dickinson in the restrictive pre-Civil War era. However, at this moment Bell is speaking not about the thought-provoking biopic, directed by British auteur Terence Davies and starring Cynthia Nixon as the older genius poet at her most frustrated, but about her love for Tarot. “Sometimes you might get a card that seems devastating, like The Tower or Eight of Cups, and you’re just like, ‘Oh no, it’s going to be a lot of change or a lot of pain.” But that’s only one layer of it. Change and evolution come [from pain and repression] too.” Bell herself is a woman with endless layers. Best known for playing the doomed Amy on The Walking Dead and her work in horror movies like Frozen (a skiing thriller, not the Disney musical) and Final Destination 5, she’s also a devoted environmentalist and women’s rights advocate, as well as a singer and budding director. Our conversation runs the gamut from spirituality to art to politics and back again. I can’t get enough of her articulate exuberance and feistiness. Neither, it seems, could Terence Davies. Just before Bell auditioned for A Quiet Passion, the two had been standing in the same line for the restrooms at the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles. When Davies pushed in front of Emma, she retorted, “Sir, in this country we wait for ladies to use the restroom” —not realizing that this was the man who would be hiring her a few minutes later. 64 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
“I gave him a little piece of my mind,” Bell recalls, “but in a very tongue-in-cheek way. And then I think he thought that was utterly charming, which was wonderful because I was very embarrassed when I realized what I’d done.” Obviously Davies saw her inner Dickinson. She got the part, and gives a tender, appealing performance as the sensitive young girl who transforms into Cynthia Nixon’s tormented recluse. (The film’s most stunning sequence actually shows Dickinson, posing for a daguerreotype, morphing from her teenage to mature adult self. Its punch must be seen to be believed.) Throughout her scenes, Bell endows her Emily with an ultra-modern confidence and an innocence that hints at the behaviors which will eventually drive her to isolation—doing so with such fine subtlety that she’s unconsciously mesmerizing. In many ways, the film reflects the female experience in America – brilliant, unconventional women stifled and forced by those who don’t understand them into silently traumatic lives. It’s not far afield from other stories Bell has helped tell. One can almost view it as a horror movie of the heart. I point out that Emma has the tough job of making the audience care about her Dickinson before we can even begin to think of Cynthia’s, as we’re with her from the movie’s first frame. That was really fun to play for me,” Bell says. “I get to play her being a little snarky and a bit of a rebel. [Cynthia as] the reclusive Emily gets really heavy. She’s very studious, intellectual and very smart, and put a lot of work into her Emily, which I think is apparent in her performance.
“But Terence was really the captain of our ship. No matter how much work [Cynthia] or I did together or separately, this was his vision. And he is the ultimate Emily nerd. He would say to me on set, ‘I feel like I’m the gay male Emily.’ A Quiet Passion might have been Davies’s vision, but both Bell and Nixon create masterful portrayals of a Dickinson struggling against perpetual oppression. “I really latched onto this idea of her being just a more modern woman for her time,” Emma explains. “I think she was far too smart as an intellectual to be what society wanted for a woman back then. She had this sister Lavinia who was the picture-perfect woman of the day—beautiful, kind, she knew how to sew well, she took up all the habits that women were supposed to have. And in Emily’s mind, her sister was the perfect one. She refers to herself as ‘a kangaroo amongst beauties’ in her family.” Interestingly, both repression and empowerment have shaped Bell’s family history. Her maternal grandmother, the wife of a diplomat, divorced her husband in her early fifties, becoming an actress and a teacher because she always wanted to work in the arts. Bell’s mother, former 60 Minutes producer Theresa Horan, chose to leave her high-profile career in the late 1980s to take care of her children. Emma actually credits her mom with getting her started in entertainment; the duo performed a mother-daughter cabaret act at New York supper club Don’t Tell Mama’s when Bell was just twelve years old. Domestic repression is clearly a theme that inspires Bell’s work. Last year she completed Scratch, her first short as a director, which follows a 1950s housewife left alone by her philandering husband only to discover her hallucinations about noises in the house may be real. Shades of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s feminist classic The Yellow Wallpaper surface in Scratch, which has already been selected for international film festivals including Screamfest and A Night of Horror. Emma is evidently a natural in the director’s chair. “It’s a path I’m pursuing as I go further in my career,” she notes. “Being a director was wonderful because as an actor everything’s so out of your control, even your performance. But when you’re the director it’s your say. You do get to pick what the actor’s final performance gets to be, because you’re working alongside the editor. You get to pick the music that’s accompanying the emotion. But what I’ve found really true is that every single department of a movie—every single person on set—is the most important part of that movie. Makeup and wardrobe and gaffing and Crafty and producing—they’re equal. My ultimate goal is to have everyone on my set feel nurtured and nourished and heard. Every single person I worked with onScratch said they felt heard and respected by me. That’s really important, because there are times as an actor when I don’t feel that way.” It’s especially telling that works like A Quiet Passion and Scratch are gaining traction with audiences, pointing to the growing terror that surrounds women’s rights in the current political climate. Bell believes that futuristic shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale also reflect the need to take action. “It just shows you we have so much farther to go,” she states. “We still have a lot of inequality. In the proposed healthcare bill, apparently just being a woman is a pre-existing condition. As Bell prepares for a busy year, which includes filming seasons two and three of the Go90 series Relationship Status, a slew of directing projects, and a mysterious assignment which she hints will be “very empowering to women,” viewers at large should ready themselves for excitement. I, for one, can’t wait to see where this lady’s (not-so-quiet) passion will take her next. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 65
UPSTAIRS SHE TIES HER POEMS IN STRING: HOMAGE TO EMILY DICKINSON
Upstairs she ties her poems in string And thus her heart at last flies free— Though hope is surely not the thing On fire within that none can see— But words that sear and blind her eyes— While in the room below her room Her upright brother bucks and cries And spears his secret lover’s womb. Because she cannot stop the sound These two entwined downstairs create— She opens wide a Mind that’s found A world sublime and inchoate. —Jay Neugeboren
F CK SAVING FOR COLLEGE.
The best little guitar shop in NYC.
73 East 4th Street New York City 10003 212.505.5313 66 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
I’m from Brooklyn, New York and I’ve always have been a creative and a performer. Modeling is just another way I do that. I love being able to not only tell a story but represent and inspire people. Being plus size means to me that you’re a bit bigger than the typical extremely skinny look society tries to push down women’s throats. I don’t feel tradition “sample size “ women are unhealthy but I do feel that pushing that, that’s the only way to look is super problematic and unhealthy. Photo by Ken Robinson www.oiproductions.com
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 67
Photos by Kate Walter
NYC Pride Weekend, 2017 On Saturday night, June 24th, thousands of fierce dykes romped down Fifth Avenue, took over Washington Square Park and splashed in the fountain. On Sunday afternoon, Fifth Avenue became a sea of rainbow flags as more than a million people marched and cheered for LGBT rights. This year, the energy was super-powerful. Resistance groups against Trump were in the lead contingent of the march, coming out in full force to fight for civil rights, health care, and gun control. The festive crowd grew hushed as forty-nine marchers, veiled and dressed in white, marched by solemnly carrying name cards and pictures of victims of the Pulse night club massacre. The queer community is famous for its ability to mix performance art, politics, and partying. NYC Pride 2017 showed the world we know how to celebrate and drum out a message.
We are energized to resist the Trump agenda.
68 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
We will not be silent and we will never go back.
Trump and the Lives of Women Q and A with Kirsten Chen
On the early-June morning I called Sunny Frothingham for this interview, I googled “Trump” to see what might come up in the search results. While the Paris climate accord appeared first, a “Covfefe” article on CNN and a Fox News article highlighting Trump’s accusations of Obama-era spying followed directly in suit. This administration makes more impossible headlines than any other before; it also creates more deflections and distractions. In light of the constant influx of breaking news, we must not lose sight of last week’s policies in our effort to respond to this week’s tweets. We have to continue to do our homework, inform ourselves, and make efforts to inform others. What follows below is my shot at doing those three things by way of an interview with Senior Research from the Center for American Progress, Sunny Frothingham.
I know I’m casting a wide-net, here, but generally speaking... what, to you, seems to be the most dangerous aspect(s) of the Trump presidency so far when it comes to women? It’s an oblique question—the answer is so long. Trump has literally rolled back progress in every direction for women: undermining their legal rights, leadership roles, health and safety, everything. So, from a legislative standpoint, what are some concrete examples? Well in the first week, he reinstated the Mexico City policy which blocks funding for non-government organizations that provide abortion counseling or advocate to decriminalize it; that’s essentially punishing open education and controlling women’s bodies. He also rolled back Title X, the only federal grant program dedicated solely to ensuring access for family planning and preventative health services for low-income or uninsured individuals. The most extreme example is the rollback of the Affordable Care Act… We’re always hoping to see more women in the White House. For all our hopes and wishes, we’ve got Ivanka Trump. Your thoughts on her involvement? It’d be great to have a strong advocate for women and families, but where was she when the admin began cutting early childhood education programs like Head Start? Where was she with the leaked birth control rule that expands religious exemption? Where was she when the administration cut funding for the domestic violence hotline? She’s a façade. Any time we’re talking about Ivanka and the role she is supposedly driving, we must look deeper.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 69
Photo: Shari Drewett
Collage: Kenyon Gordon
Some say he’s less erratic, others say he’s even more dangerous: Would Pence be better or worse than Trump? I don’t want anyone buying into the “nice guy Pence” impression, or even the idea of “reasonable adult Pence.” He’s a long-time advocate of the anti-choice agenda. He’s tried to re-define the definition of rape by permitting coverage for abortion only in cases in which the rape would be considered “forcible.” In an interview on MSNBC, he said he’d rather shut down the government than provide funding to Planned Parenthood. In his own home state, he passed cuts that forced multiple Planned Parenthood centers to close, one of which was the only clinic that tested for HIV in the entire county. A few years later, he had to declare a state of emergency because the HIV outbreak in that same county was so bad. During his campaign, we heard Trump say women should be punished for abortion, but Pence lives through that ideology. Don’t mistake him as the better option. Trump talked a lot about helping low-income families. How is he measuring up to those promises? Let’s discuss his Childcare and Paid Leave proposal. There should be no illusion about this plan; it’s not for regular people. It’s a tax-cut for the wealthy. The way these policies are presented, I mean, the proposals are insulting! At CAP, our analysis shows that for his childcare plan, Trump-swing families (i.e. the people who won him the election), would receive an average of $5.50 after paying the cost of childcare. Now, for instance if you take a typical family from Ivanka’s old neighborhood, they receive $7,300 after paying the cost of childcare. As for Trump’s Paid Leave plan, his proposal requires states to provide six weeks of parental leave primarily through unemployment insurance. The problem is that fails to help the most vulnerable families and women who are more likely to work part-time jobs or low-wage jobs that make it difficult to be eligible for such insurance, due to not racking up the hours requirement or hitting the income minimum. The plan doesn’t cover caregiving and it offers no funding assistance to states either, placing an enormous burden on Unemployment Insurance programs. Currently, only 20 states would be able to support their workforce in even a mild recession. The plan is under-funded, under-inclusive, unworkable.
70 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
How do women of color stand at an even further disadvantage with this administration? Each issue absolutely has a disparate impact on women of color. Women of color already have less access to good jobs with good pay and economic stability. When we discuss raising our kids with clean drinking water and a childhood free from violence, women of color are the most affected; they live at the intersection of Trump’s attacks and policies. Not to mention the hateful rhetoric from Trump and his cabinet and how that’s affected the social landscape we live in today. Families are living in literal fear because of Trump’s policies. For example, we hear more and more stories about Latina women who avoid reporting rape and assault in fear of being deported or even having someone deported. Economic issues are women’s issues. Immigration issues are women’s issues. Women of color face the harshest repercussions of this administration. Trump still obtained about 42% of women voters in 2016. Do you have any strategies when trying to speak with those women and change their minds? It’s a big challenge; I think about it a lot as a North Carolinian whose state went blue for Obama, but swung hard in the other direction for Trump. My role at CAP is to push back and expose. I think we need to continue to do that. Finally, you wrote an article “100 days, 100 ways the Trump admin is harming women and families.” Is there *anything* positive that the Trump administration has given us thus far? The one positive I can think of is the movement that has organized in his response. We see Republicans fleeing town halls when their constituents defend ACA. The women’s march was one of the largest in history. Since the election, 13,000 women have signed up with Emily’s List to run for office. To be clear, there are no positives of the administration’s own doing, but I’ve been inspired and heartened by the women rising to resist his agenda and rhetoric. A political force has risen.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 71
Collage: Kenyon Gordon
When you shatter the glass ceiling Try running for president. Disclose fifteen years of tax returns, and run against two men who each reveal only one page of one year to the public. You will be called “dishonest” and “untrustworthy.” Your private email server was never successfully hacked. Your opponents who now hold office use rogue devices and unsecured servers, and even divulge sensitive intelligence to foreign adversaries. But you “can’t
handle classified material.” You never once declared war. Yet, you’re a “war-monger.” You’ve never been convicted of murder. Yet, you’re a “murderer.” Your legislation has helped women, children and families. Yet, you’re a “child trafficker.” Oh, and you “owned slaves.” According to state and national polls, you under-performed against your male opponents in the primary and general elections. Yet, curiously, both accused you of “rigging the vote.” Try being Speaker of the House and passing landmark legislation. You’ll be blamed when a Democrat loses a special congressional election in a Republican district and be told “the party needs new leadership.” In the Senate? You’ll be cut off in confirmation hearings by the Majority Leader for invoking the words of Coretta Scott King. The next day, four men will read the same passage without interruption. Yet you “were
warned, were given an explanation.” And nevertheless, you persisted. As you interrogate for the Senate Intelligence Committee, you demand clear answers and don’t let witnesses off the hook easily. You are called “corrupt” and accused of “sleeping your way to the top.”
Successful women in American politics ...are called corrupt, crooked, whore, unqualified, can’t be trusted, over-prepared, unexciting, unlikeable, flawed, Pocahontas, loud, strident, shrill, monster, criminal. 72 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
It’s noisy when glass is shattering.
TOO CLOSE TO THE TREE Raised by a bigot you learned to go blonde go straight (in all its meanings) mesmerized by blue eyes your own kind best kind only kind for a girl like you you don’t mind the blue of the bruise from your own kind best kind only kind for a girl like you born a wild haired mermaid tail slapping music out of the sea born wanting what all want to be you to be free raised in fear of Black Power unchained men of resistance envy of women alive in their bodies marching through the heatwave of Jim Crow in cool defiance of sound mind and steady feet a quiver of books strapped on full knowledge in the chambers of their guns history learned and understood
Fred Hampton’s execution backdrop to forbidden love genius in a Black Man feared that hate is nothing new you took it on the day you reached for love that wasn’t love because it looked like you Born white into privilege you lost everything giving up Black Love for the whiteness for the blonde for the bruise. Black Lives Matter. You’d still be alive, sister if those lives had mattered to you. Born to a bigot, so what? you still had the chance to choose. —Magdalena Gómez
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 73
Sexuality, Relationships, and Orgasm Culture A Conversation with Kirsten Chen and Samuel Clemens Long When I first reached out to Gail Guttman, a renowned Couples Relationship and Certified Sex Therapist, I sent her a list of sample questions to help provide an idea of the conversation we wanted to have for this issue. Every question was directly related to the female orgasm. After all, this issue is about HERS, and in a society that very often prizes a man’s pleasure while shaming a woman’s, we wanted to balance the playing field. We wanted to demystify the conversation—celebrate it even. So my initial questions focused on the female orgasm itself, the different ways to achieve it, and the scientific research involved. But Gail pushed back. She didn’t feel she was the right specialist, for one, but more importantly she noted something interesting: people are so driven toward orgasm, and maybe we should talk about that. Once she said this, it seemed so obvious. Women enjoy and often need more foreplay; but here I was, a woman myself, losing the forest for the trees. Could “orgasm culture” be a thing? We’d be doing better justice to women (and men!) everywhere by exploring and promoting not only the orgasm, but the importance of pleasure, sexuality and healthy relationships in general. And so, in broadening the scope of our conversation, we hope to do just that. Kirsten: So how’d you get into relationship and sex therapy? Was there an ah-ha moment or any obstacles along the way? Gail: There wasn’t exactly a glorious story; when I was in my 20s, I got a job in a place that did sex therapy so I learned it. But over time, I realized sex therapy by itself primarily focused on how cognitive behavior therapy could address sexuality. I wanted to explore more, so I delved into couples therapy too. During the past 10 years, I’ve focused on how we, as a field, can further integrate couples & sex therapy. Too often therapists in either field aren’t connected. You mentioned via email that we can’t separate sexuality from relationships; that’s what I focus on. Sex and relationships have so many complexities. Sam: Do you know why, or can you take a guess, at why the fields were separated to begin with? Gail: If I had a guess, it may have something to do with people’s inherent discomfort talking about sexuality. I would say that for many therapists that come to me—as I oversee a program for sex therapists—a major issue is getting over the anxiety of talking about sex. There’s an intensive workshop required for sex therapists to help even them get more comfortable talking about it. Kirsten: In dealing with various couples, what are some common points of contention? We want readers to know they’re not alone; that what they’re dealing with may be pretty normal. Gail: Honestly, I can’t think of anything I don’t think is normal. Everyone has sexuality glitches and I don’t know what would make us think that, especially in long-term relationships that people won’t have something go wrong in their sex-life. And if it’s always gone well, I can tell you 100% that changes as they age. There are the physical issues; lack of orgasms, lack of desire, coming too quickly or taking too long. But the other piece of the puzzle for many people is just that it gets boring! People do the same things over and over again and think it’ll be fine. So it becomes: how do you bring in new things and keep it playful versus about performance?
74 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Sam: So do you run into people who are trying for open relationships to spice things up? What’s the track record there? Gail: There’s a big culture surrounding opening up relationships in many different ways. I’ve worked with therapists who have it as their main population, and it can work if certain guidelines are dealt with; for instance, no secret keeping. In a polyamorous relationship there’s often an assumption that’s there’s one primary relationship, so that has to be taken care of. The challenges surround jealousy and boundaries and coming to an agreement on those boundaries. I think people are able to successfully do it. What shows up in my practice oftentimes though is couples who want an open relationship after an affair has already happened; and that doesn’t work so much as the betrayal already exists. Kirsten: Now, the female orgasm is generally portrayed as very male-driven; as in, all you need is penetration to get it done. But isn’t a vaginal penetration-only orgasm actually pretty rare? Gail: First of all, the clitoris, which has nerve fibers that run through the entire pelvic floor, contains 8,000 neurofibers in it; a woman’s entire pelvic floor has about 15,000 nerve endings. What they’ve found is that the least amount of nerve endings that women has are in the inner 2/3 of the vagina; that’s the least sensitive part of a woman’s entire vulva. So yes, penetration orgasms are a male-driven concept and they don’t work physiologically for women; it is true that the majority of women can’t have orgasm through intercourse only since they don’t get enough stimulation on their clitoris to have one. It’s *really* important for women to not feel that intercourse-alone is the only way for an orgasm to happen. We’ve had women who come to us and once they realize that, they are so much happier because then they’re enabled to figure out what they want. Kirsten: Even the word “vagina” is interesting to add to this conversation as it only refers to the opening but is used in society to refer to the whole thing; also male-driven. Gail: Yes, the vulva is everything; and the lower area of the vagina actually has more nerve endings in it; as well as the front wall, about 1/3 of the way in which can help facilitate an orgasm and may be able to stimulate female ejaculation. But everyone is different.
Wanna read more? Continue this article at honeysucklemag.com HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 75
Collage: Naomi Rosenblatt
Photos and question by Justin Bullock (“What ‘s Your Favorite Part of Being Female?”)
Last night Justin asked me what I like the most about being a woman, I immediately responded sex. Honestly was the first thing that came to my mind. Either we are not getting enough, having too much, trying to look sexy, changing our bodies to look more desirable, or looking for that outfit that screams sex appeal. What I love most about being me is my sex appeal. I embrace my sensuality and femininity with my modeling because I have a 9-5 that I am constantly trying to dull that part of my life down. Nothing about wearing scrubs is sexy. Our culture is finally embracing the curvy woman and I dig it.
Beating the odds. Doing things that are not expected of me simply because I am a woman. While still being able to obtain beauty. I love being a woman because we have a special type of power. @Mani_Nuheazy
@_flowerbomb_ I chose Mani and Flower Bomb because they both have very dominant personalities and these two models take initiative in their careers as artists. Also, they take pride in being women—mainly because Mani and Flower do what they want when they want off of intuition. These are two of my creative muses. —Justin Bullock (JERRBUL)
76 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
HERS â€¢ SUMMER 2017 | 77
Photos: Amy Zapata
Latina drag queen Jean Decay talks Tina Fey, being raised by women, the fluidity of femininity, and why it’s so important to see ourselves reflected in TV and entertainment. I always said that I felt like an old white woman growing up, a sentiment created out of the otherness I endured throughout my childhood. Already in kindergarten, kids knew that I didn’t fit in. Juxtaposed by the hard-edged living of my home, San Bernardino, I was undeniably effeminate and opinionated. I existed in the traditionally feminine. Girl video game characters, girl singers, girl actresses, girly colors, girly interests, all contrasted against my cropped black hair and brown skin. I was un-mistakenly Chicano, a body that took me years to love. My dysmorphia did not stem from gender identity but a feminine crisis. I grew up believing my brown skin/male body did not match the pinks and soft hues I loved dearly. Kids everyday reminded me that I was not natural or normal, certainly not accepted. When I was twelve, my sister’s ex argued to the point of yelling at her for letting me watch the exceedingly inappropriate tv-show “Golden Girls.” This is pre-Born this Way, post Will and Grace. “That’s just not something a young boy should watch.” Homophobia coded in claims of concern. An older white man, he went on the attack to fight for what he believed to be real. My sister yelled back, defended me and told me to keep on watching the show. That moment has been repeated in my life so many times. A privileged voice, disconnected from WHAT being “othered” means, as they slash their tongues and invalidate the lived experiences of the oppressed. My sister, strong-willed, Chicanx, and unafraid of her femininity, is what still inspires me to this day. She was never gonna let a man tell her what to do, especially in regards to her little brother. The youngest of three girls and one gay brother, my pull to the feminine is evoked in my passion, drag. As I paint my armor on, I think of my strong-willed sisters, my hard-working mother, my gentle-giant dad, and my brother playing with his Spice Girl dolls. My references exist where femininity meets intersectionality. There can be no discourse in the absence of race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Jean Decay is founded on that premise.
78 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
The general consensus regarding Latinidad in connection to femininity is that machismo reigns champion. Like every culture, there are plenty of issues within toxic masculinity. However, this idea that Latinx people are somehow more indoctrinated, erases a lot of the realities for many in the community. The statistics actually argue that lgbt families of color are more accepting than their white counterparts. A lot of my drag in relation to the feminine is to dismantle the notion that we as people of color are the true disparagers of it. Culturally, all I had growing up was La Virgen de Guadalupe, Selena, and Frida Kahlo (now I have Adore Delano and Valentina as amazingly talented cultural markers to get inspired by.) The Latinas popularized in pop culture today play the same few one-dimensional roles. The hot-blooded wife who goes “Ricky Ricardos” at any slight, the exotified mistress, and maid. With these limited tropes, the idea where Latinx people fit within the feminine can be constricting. Because of that, my exposure to the feminine at a young age centered itself around the strong women who, while not Latina, represented the ideals I found important. Besides my sisters, La Virgen, Selena and Frida Kahlo, are my cultural markers for strong women and are not Latinx. I had a picture of Gwen Stefani glued to my math book as I wore a Harajuku Lovers watch and put my lunch money in a Harajuku Lovers wallet. She was (and honestly to this day) my everything. Much like my family, her music provided a space where I was a strong feminine individual who was unashamed in feeling emotions and writing from a place many disparage. In her Luxurious video, an ode to the Latinx community she grew up in, she places herself in the middle of scenes I knew all too well: low-riders bumping, cholos n’ cholitas getting ready, parties at the park, and lots of pinatas. Cultural appropriation arguments aside, I remember being so excited to see myself on the tv. I was her. I was that white girl at the party who couldn’t speak Spanish, tried their hardest to fit in and yet still stuck out like a thumb with a limp wrist. I often still feel like that, even in the drag community. As an overly-analytical, snarky, awkward person, there is only woman in the whole world that truly gets me: Tina Fey. People nod their heads when I say that Tina Fey is my lord and savior but they don’t realize how deep my love is for her, almost obsessive. I recently did a mix to Katy Perry’s “Bon Appetit” dressed as Liz Lemon as a way to subvert the sexually objective premise of the song. I purposely wore my “boy” clothes and “boy” shoes as I swayed my hips with as much sensuality as I could muster. Who is to say that Liz Lemon’s brand of femininity is less sexual than Katy Perry’s? Why can’t a 22-year-old gay man who dresses up as 40-something-year-old fictional character with commitment issues be feminine, sexual, AND funny. The brilliant part of drag is the ability to challenge what femininity is. Does it always need to be soft, pretty, delicate? The simplest answer is of course not! Drag is still a microcosm of the world and the same inhibiting rules can still be enforced on you.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 79
The Santorini Collection A brief Q and A with fashion designer Jody Bell on her latest Grecian-inspired collection
What are the ideas behind your designs and the Santorini collection. What’s your connection to the Mediterranean? The collection was inspired by my visit to the Greek island of Santorini. It’s just so beautiful; it’s really stolen a piece of my heart…the white and blue houses that sweep the landscape. Everyone should go. What was the impetus in starting the brand? I had been designing couture pieces for many years and moved to Spain with my family eleven years ago. The sunshine vibe got me into making pieces for myself and then Jody Bell was born. Do you have a background in fashion? I do. I was designing couture pieces for private clients for many years before Jody Bell. Are you retail or sold exclusively online? We started only online, but now have a few exclusive boutiques across the globe that sell the brand. We’re expecting to grow. What do you plan for the future? What’s next in line? Shoes and swimwear! Are you a wife or a mom? If so, how do you juggle both family and career? I’m a mom to two beautiful boys are 12 and 15. They are by far my greatest achievement. Juggling work and home life is always tough, especially as I’m the founder of wegrantawish.com, my own charity. It’s all very time-consuming, but somehow I manage and I’m extremely lucky and never take a moment in life for granted.
www.jodybellofficial.com 80 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
A Mother’s Words Anonymous
Photo: Alex Harsley
When did your child commit to transitioning from male to female, and how surprising was this decision to you? She officially transitioned at the beginning of grade 6 (middle school). That previous summer, she wore female clothes every day. When 6th grade started, she went to school with a ponytail and head band, girl skinny-jeans, and boy tee shirts. She was easing into it. One or two months into 6th grade, she announced to me that she was going fully dressed as a female. I was not surprised at all with her decision but I was very concerned with how she would be treated by her peers. At the time, there were no other known trans children in her school. Hoping to protect her from bullying and hostility, I asked her if she could wait until high school to be fully dressed as a girl/woman. She indicated that it was life or death—she could not wait until then to be who she really is. My husband and I were supportive. We both knew this was coming. From the time she could first speak in sentences, she had cried out: “God made a mistake. I am supposed be a girl.” She dressed in private as a female ever since she was able to choose her clothes. Family support for a trans child is crucial to the child’s self-esteem. As her parent, I took action by calling an urgent meeting with the school administrators and counselors, to let them know about her transition. They also seemed to know this was coming and they luckily took it very seriously. As a woman yourself, and a beautiful one, you know the ups and downs of being a female in this society. What issues or anxieties have been raised for you? I am less concerned about the ups and downs of her being a woman in this society, and more concerned with how she will fit in and be accepted as a trans woman. I do feel a loss at times when I see her boyhood pictures. It is a short-lived feeling, however. I realize she is still the same person inside. How does her transition stand now, and how is she treated at school? She is almost fifteen now, on hormone blockers and estrogen. She is in a tough place, where her girlfriends are starting to like boys and vice versa. She is perceived differently by boys than the girls around her are. She is worried that she will never have a boyfriend and she gets upset when she hears cruel comments. At those times, she tells me this is not anything that she wishes for herself. I tell her to hold on, that these years right now might be tough but this will get better. I tell her to stay strong and that we are all there for her. Overall, she is treated very well at school, however, she was overtly bullied this past year. The school reacted quickly, and I was glad with how seriously they took it. We have been very lucky with the school’s acceptance and diligence in making sure that my daughter is safe while there. Do you feel the United States will be a safe and nurturing home for her in years to come? Why or why not? Last year at this time, I felt hopeful. But unfortunately, the current administration has made a certain choice that greatly concerns me, regarding trans kids’ rights at school. There is a great deal of fear and lack of understanding, which leads to anger and violence. I have a perspective and understanding that many do not. I so wish that others could view this as I do, or at least try to. Progress for trans rights previously was being made and I hope that will continue again very soon. I wish that the world were a safer place for her, and all others like her. My daughter just wants to fit in with everyone else around her. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 81
Samuel Clemens Long
ASK AN EXOTICALLY WHITE GUY IN NYC I’M ALMOST “SPECIAL EXHIBIT AT THE MET” WHITE. Rules of sexual harassment: a PSA to guys. What should you say if you see a pretty woman and would like to compliment her on her *insert (feet, hair, eyes, outfit, prominent roman nose)? NOTHING. Absolutely fucking nothing. Why? Because rape. Confused? So was I, so let me rewind the tape a ways. (Honeysuckle’s print readers will know what I’m talking about, if you’re reading this on your smart phone, google it kiddo) I was on my way to meet up with some girl friends in Astoria, and I was walking along the west side highway and there was this woman waiting at a stop sign on her bike. She was wearing shorts, and had an absolute screaming set of legs. Like she obviously rode her bike everywhere and put any one short of an Olympian to shame. I had a sudden urge to tell this woman what a nice pair of peddle pushers she had. An innocent compliment. But something inside of me said “you should probably shut your mouth.” And for once I listened. So I meet up with my lady friends, they are all twenty something actors, and we have a conversation about what had just happened. And it ends up that I’m right about what I’ll coin as the JSTFU rule (Just Shut The Fuck Up). It ends up that all of them get at least one jaw dropping comment a week, some daily (they’re PYTs). Ranging from innocuous to “I bet your cunt tastes great” “I can smell your pussy from here” to men touching themselves. Seriously. Straight up Silence of the Lambs level commentary from men of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. And that’s not actually the worst part. What happens next is that now anytime someone shows them any kind of unsolicited attention, they are on high alert. If they get off the train, is he following me? Walking down the street, is he following me? They can’t go back to their apartment, so they duck into a bar where they know someone, or even a bar they don’t know someone and then call a friend to come meet them there. These women have a real fear of being raped by the person who just wanted to compliment them. So next time you just have to let that woman know that her eyes are a dazzling blue, no matter how innocent you think you’re being, no matter how much joy you’d like to spread into another person’s life: JSTFU. Of course there are caveats to this rule. Starting with the question: do you know this person? If you do then you are in a whole different world. Because obviously people compliment each other. Members of both sexes enjoy getting compliments and giving them. If you’re married it’s highly advisable to compliment your wife (some would argue mandatory). Also women complimenting women seems to be Kosher. Dudes complimenting dudes, although a rare unicorn, seems to be cool. All of the caveats share a balance of power. So let’s run through a checklist: Do you have the best of intentions? No: JSTFU. Yes: move on to the next round. Do you know this person? No: JSTFU; Yes: Keep it PG and you’re limited to once a month. 82 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
FILM: Bad Moms: A Hollywood Film with Strong Female Characters (Trust me. I’m a man.) As a white male, I have learned that the most effective arguments usually involve blanket statements about minority groups that I am not a part of; so I would like you to know that Bad Moms is the most empowering film for women that Hollywood has ever released. I know that Wonder Woman just came out, and you may still be riding that hype train—but Wonder Woman was dumb. I haven’t seen it. I just know. Because I am a man. Bad Moms stars Mila Kunis as a thirty-twoyear-old mother of two. She is head of sales for a coffee company and is married to a lazy manchild who could easily represent every thirtyyear-old male that I know. When Mila catches her husband masturbating online to a woman with a large bush, she kicks him out of the house. It is unclear whether the bush is the deciding factor; but if I’ve learned anything from pornography, it’s that female pubic hair is probably feminist foreshadowing. Due in part to her husband’s infidelity, but mostly because of the oppressive rules governing a school-related bake sale, Mila Kunis decides that she is done putting up with other people’s bullshit. She skips a PTA meeting, gives her kids Arby’s for lunch, and brings donut holes to aforementioned bake sale because she doesn’t give a fuck about gluten. She’s decided that being a good mom is just too hard, so in the first of many awkward title call outs, she tells her friends that she is committed to being a “bad mom.” Of course, any man could tell you that she’s about to become a strong, independent woman. So throw your hands up. Bad Moms is Mean Girls for the middle-aged. The opposition to Mila’s new, easy-going at-
titude comes in the form of Christina Applegate; the fully grown Regina George running the PTA—and by extension, the school. At the previously mentioned bake sale, a feud begins that rages for the rest of the film. I had never realized how serious gluten actually is, but now I fully understand that your stance on gluten is an essential part in defining your womanhood. Mila is not alone in her rebellion. She’s joined by Kristen Bell—a stay-at-home mom with fantasies of being hospitalized as a brief respite from her children; and by Kathryn Hahn—the flirty, single mom who is always ready to party. The chemistry between these three provides a lot of the laughs. They banter about their kids, the snobby PTA moms, and even objectify the male body. These lines are sharp and well written, although it did seem unfair to make me feel insecure about my body image since—as a man—I’m unaccustomed to facing the unwelcome realities of my physical state. In the end, the irony of Bad Moms is that by no longer stretching herself to be the image of a “good mom,” Mila Kunis actually becomes a better mom. She rejects gender and parental tropes and empowers those around her to do the same. By refusing to follow societal norms she doesn’t support, she ends up being happier, more successful at work, and her son learns to make elaborate breakfasts. Everything works out better in the end because she rejects the expectations the world has set for her. This is the role model the children need: a strong woman who disregards expectations and carves her own path—not some leather-clad hussy with an S&M truth lasso. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 83
Bryan Colin & Lena Young
Tech: Women in VR
What is women’s involvement in the field? Are there many female AR / VR technologists and of so, what are some differences they bring to the field. Are there any differences between men and women technologists and innovators in that space? I think there’s a major shortage of women choosing to enter Virtual and Augmented Reality. Most companies, including ours, are trying to have as much diversity as possible. We are limited by our source of talent to hire from because only 20% of graduate students in computer science programs are female, and there are more than four times as many men enrolled in engineering programs. In 2010, women engineers who earned master’s degrees were 22.6 percent, while bachelor’s degrees among women reached 18.1 percent, and doctorates were higher than any time in the past, at 22.9 percent, according to the American Society for Engineering Education. PBS points out that “only 19 percent of software developers are women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A new paper looks at yet another area where women are lagging: patents. Only 5.5 percent of commercial patent-holders were women, according to the paper.” Our inbound resumes for engineers, computer scientists, math scientists and robot operators are significantly male dominated. For marketing roles, we had a slight majority of female applicants. As a technology development company, we are trying to compete for the top talent from the top graduate programs. I think that a solution is finding a way to bring a balance in the education system by encouraging women to enter these fields earlier, by having female role-models that are successful in the field, and by eliminating any preconceived notion that this is a man’s or woman’s job. I don’t see any difference in the attitudes, skills, or performance of our employees related to their gender. We have been rejected for investment twice because my co-founder and I are both male. I never had a problem with that; many of the statistics I read show how much harder it is for female-led companies to get funding at a fair valuation. I think it is our role to level the playing field as much as possible to benefit everyone equally in the long run. When we read about the lawsuits against UploadVR, Uber and many other companies, we are shocked by the workplace etiquette and behavior. It is mandatory to be up front about what is inappropriate behavior, have a strict sexual harassment policy, and a company culture that favors people being nice and professional.
Sources http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/science-engineering-and-the-gender-gap/ 84 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Ready to Roll: Books in Progress x It’s typical enough to buy a book from Amazon or other online retailers these days. It’s still a pleasure to find a book in a store, or even left in the laundry room by a neighbor. But how many books do we get to peek into as they’re still manuscripts in development, or being pitched by a literary agent—or freshly launched by a publisher? “Books in Progress” will deliver just that: excerpts from under-the-radar books that pertain to our issue’s theme. They may come from a mainstream or indie press, from a literary agent, or from the author him or herself. Some have just been published, others are still percolating. The following excerpts, from forthcoming and hopefully forthcoming books, express different aspects of HERS—from the closet to the stage. We are honored to include the a chapter of the stirring memoir Spent by Antonia Crane, recently published by Barnacle/Rare Bird Books, and a chapter from Lisa E. Davis’ riveting exposé of a lesbian FBI informant, Undercover Girl. If you like what you see here and want to read more, you can find them on Amazon or other retail sites. For the others...you’ll have to wait. —Naomi Rosenblatt
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 85
...from The Feud by Catherine Hiller novel, forthcoming, Heliotrope Books 2018
What was sadder, drinking alone in a bar or drinking alone in your apartment? Roberta pondered the question as she sat on a barstool in her favorite dim neighborhood bar, finishing her second glass of Chardonnay. Maybe neither was sad if you were drinking for celebration, as she was. She had allowed herself a special solitary . . . well, binge, because of her engagement, and if she was alone, it was because she didn’t really have drinking buddies. Oh, Marlene would have wine with dinner when they ate out, but it wasn’t essential to her, whereas Roberta would up and leave a restaurant if it didn’t serve wine. Paul was like Marlene, a social drinker with no special enthusiasm for alcohol, but Roberta loved the stuff. Two glasses of wine on an empty stomach definitely gave her a buzz, and to better feel the buzz, to say nothing of avoiding the calories, she’d been careful to shun the peanuts. Now she slipped a bit as she stood up and rummaged through her bag for her wallet. Bags were either too small, so you had to take everything out to find one thing, or too big, so you had to sift through many items to find what you wanted—or, like hers, too well organized, with so many pockets you could never remember what you put where. She gave a giggle of relief when she finally found her wallet, in the medium-sized zippered compartment. She took out some cash and told the bartender to keep the change. She never put wine on her credit card, so she never had to know how much she spent every month on her tipple, either by the glass or by the bottle. It was only two blocks to her apartment. She supposed she should get some dinner on the way home, so she picked up half a roast chicken and some potato salad. Paul was with clients tonight; she was on her own; she intended to keep celebrating; the food would probably wait. There was a bottle of white chilling in the fridge. She opened it and poured some into a small juice tumbler. She preferred not to use a wineglass because that would be easier to knock over. She walked with her wine to the living room and looked about. She had paid for and chosen everything her eye fell on, and it was all good. All new looking: Roberta didn’t like antiques. She drank this glass of wine very fast, thinking of Paul and the moment she’d touched the little velvet box in the glove compartment. Now the fifteen-yearwould-she-get-married tension was finally over! With this third glass, she definitely felt that warm and festive confidence wine often brought her. Alone in her glass and marble living room, Roberta felt beautiful, irresistible. Of course Paul wanted to claim her, to make her his own! She looked down at her engagement ring. She was a fiancée, soon to be a wife. When she got married, Roberta would miss some of the pleasures of living alone, including moments like this, but Paul’s apartment was large enough to let them each indulge in privacy. It was a six-room apartment in an older building on the Upper East Side, on a high floor with a good view. Roberta more or less had to like the apartment, because Paul would never leave it. What bound him to the place was neither sentiment nor charm but the fact that the apartment was rent-stabilized. If he paid market rates, he would be paying an extra two or three thousand dollars a month. He said that when they were married, Roberta could use one of the bedrooms as a study, and she was pleased with the idea of having one room which would be unequivocally hers. She could paint a wall mauve if she wanted. She poured herself another tumbler of wine and took a sip and suddenly felt both dizzy and nauseous. “Stop right there,” she told herself and put the glass down.
86 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
...from Spent by Antonia Crane memoir, Barnacle/Rare Bird Books 2017
Time was a hurricane with Bianca: weeks and months of snorting and fucking; more former than latter. Then silence. She ignored me so I stripped more, moved on to a bigger and better strip club called Crazy Horse. We stopped talking. We grew chilly from the speed and from the neglect that happens when two people love each other plenty but love their drugs more. When I wasn’t at Crazy Horse, I worked part-time at a used clothing store, Wasteland, sorting clothes and arranging shoes with all the local punks. Marya swaggered in one day to shop for a belt buckle. She was the Rhinestone Cowboy of dykes with black leather motorcycle pants, steel horns pierced through her chin, and spurs on the heels of her black boots. She passed me her number on a torn piece of binder paper, which I wrote on the beam upstairs in the break room with a black sharpie. I called her on my lunch break. “What are you doing later?” she asked. My heart flopped out of my rib cage and onto the floor, begging for water. “Not much.” “When are you off work?” “I live with my girlfriend,” I said. The next day, she came into Wasteland again. She brought me a six-dollar burrito and a huge orange soda in a white cup. I crossed and uncrossed my legs in a plastic chair that wobbled and made a farting sound when I shifted. We made each other laugh, and I realized it had been months since I had been touched by someone who wasn’t paying me. “I’m one year sober,” she said with one hand on my knee. “I’m going to a meeting on Capp Street at ten o’clock. You could come.” I was snorting a quarter of speed every couple days. I’d soak the baggie in my morning coffee to get out of the house and on the train to the Haight. After work, I walked to the empty apartment Bianca and I shared, uncorked a bottle of red wine that was on the kitchen counter, and took a swig. I found a ripped red and black slip and put it on with fishnets and platform boots. Then I walked across town to the AA meeting where I knew Marya would be. The AA meeting was in a tiny, bleak, dark room. Marya glowed under an old, dusty fringed lamp. The coffee tasted like dead water but I drank it anyway, listening to addicts complain about their rent being raised. I sank into a stained couch that smelled like pee. Winos and hookers wandered in from the dim streetlights and doorways, looking for cookies and shelter from the relentless night. The guy reading from a white paper said that anyone who had consumed a drink or drug in the last twenty-four hours should not share but just listen. I bristled with anger and guilt. Marya tapped me on the shoulder. “I’m sending a driver to pick you up from Crazy Horse—Friday at seven.” She put her arm around my neck and looked down my slip. “I can’t. You should leave me alone,” I said, jutting my nipples out at her. Bianca and I chose meth over sex. Marya woke up something else, something that scared me. I went home and snorted a fat line of speed, praying it would save me like a God. Friday at Crazy Horse, I piled my costumes into my locker and faked a headache when Marya’s truck showed up with the hazards on out front. I got into the truck. “Hi,” I said. The girl who was not Marya drove in silence with a smirk on her face until we got to the top of a hill, across from a park where gay men sucked each other off in the bushes. She parked and opened my door and pointed toward tiny cement steps leading down to a basement apartment. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 87
Marya opened the door and nodded to the chick then she grabbed my arm, tugged me inside, and slammed the door. She held a long knife to my face. I wished she would. “This is what you’re gonna get if you say anything but yes,” she said. Her grin was greedy. She pushed me toward the black leather sling in the middle of the living room. She flogged me for a long time with a leather paddle, then fucked me with a huge black silicone cock while choking me. It was so much better than doing meth and listening to Joni Mitchell with Bianca. “You’re mine now, ” she said. Hours later, I took a taxi back to work at Crazy Horse, covered in bruises and hickeys, bloated from the maple sugar candy Marya had fed me. I made my usual lap dancing dough, which I brought home to Bianca. “I made a mistake,” I said. Bianca’s eyes were closed. Her stomach was concave and her hip bones poked out of my favorite flannel plaid boxers. It was rare to see her sleep. She was still and quiet. She had been up for three nights, swallowed a couple Zanny’s, and crashed hard for twenty-four hours. Her breath was shallow and slow. She was my favorite Bianca when crashing. “I slept with someone else,” I said. I rolled over beside her and faced her. “You slept with what?” She shot up and leapt across the room. She wouldn’t look at me. “She came into my work. I slept with her.” A fat line, the burn down my throat, to get gone. I wanted to fall inside her and fill the space between us with speed. I wanted to fix her, fix us.
“I want to stop. I’m going to AA,” I said. “You’re one of them now.” She was right. I was one of them. An addict, a coward, and an AA clone quitter. On top of that, I was a cheater. I knew how to stop all this. I grabbed a serrated knife from the drawer and held it in the air. She looked at the knife, and then me, and cried “no, no,” in a nasal voice that seemed to come from the next room. I held it up. The knife was something we could agree on. I hurled it at my left wrist. I didn’t feel the cut at first, but I knew it was there. I collapsed to the floor slowly on my knees. I felt dizzy, light-headed relief and there wasn’t pain exactly, just a floating. I stared longingly at a bottle of Jameson. I heard The Pixies CD on shuffle and imagined dancing in PVC buckle boots. My limbs buzzed. The knife was bloody and must have dropped from my hand because it was on the floor, too. Blood squirted onto the yellow tiles. My right hand drifted over to my left to cover it up like a piece of paper over a random turd. Bianca tied my wrist together with a faded blue bandanna that she had around her forehead earlier. I watched her lips say, “Don’t look down. You’ll freak out.” But I saw the inside of my arm, the veins and tendons and deep red river, paused, not flowing. The voices stopped.
88 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
...from When Love is Nothing by Patricia McNamara a developing tennis memoir
“What happened?” my father asked. “You should’ve pounded her shots and put them away.” We both stared straight ahead at the road, he in the driver’s seat with me next to him, as we made our way back to Dallas from Waco. Once again, I had lost to a “moonball pusher”—a baseliner who runs down every shot on the court returning it with absolutely no pace, high in the air, forcing the usually more skilled player to close the point with a winner at the net. But once again, I was choking, unable to do anything except hit moonballs back. Flushed with embarrassment, I just wanted to get the hell off the court. I started playing tennis at age ten, the only kid in Essex County, New Jersey who loved tennis clinics in the park. I lived and breathed the sport, became obsessed with it, and watched it as much as I could on television in that pre-cable era. Sixteen year-old Chrissie Evert was the bomb in my book, and pretty soon I was emulating her signature two-handed backhand. I would give myself until I was thirty years old to “make it” as a pro. That would give me plenty of time. At thirty, if I hadn’t succeeded, well, there would be only one action to take and that would be to kill myself. I had the talent, but I was a big fish in a small pond, being a standout in the clinics and winning matches in the local town parks. I was soon about to be tested on a much larger stage. When I was fourteen, my father’s job transferred him to Dallas, Texas. Off we went after my ninth grade school year ended—father, mother, me (the oldest), three sisters and brother—driving in our wood-paneled Chevy station wagon to the Southwest. And it could’ve been to another country, that’s how foreign Texas was to us. People spoke slower and with a drawl; the girls my age were blonde and beautiful, seemed more mature and had boyfriends who wore cowboy hats. The three young ones—my brother and two little sisters, acclimated easy and made a lot of friends. Kate, the second oldest and eleven months my junior, had a new boyfriend within a couple of weeks. I kept myself busy working in the bakery of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket, and gained weight. I was a fish so out of water walking around the halls to my classes those first couple of weeks of school, but then I tried out for the tennis team and made it. I played in one of the doubles positions on the girls’ team and soon was having a blast on and off the court. A few of the really cool girls in the high school were on the team. Teammates apparently stuck together because they took this naive New Jersey alien under their Texan belle wings. Soon I was waving “Hi” to their popular athlete boyfriends in the hallways. And I was developing a reputation as a pretty good tennis player. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 89
...from Chapter One, Village Gossip Angela Calomiris took her time emerging from the closet as informant/witness. Rumors about government connections and stories about famous people she had known made the rounds in the gay community. But no one came forward with details until the 1980s, more than thirty years after Angela’s appearance on the witness stand. An older lesbian who had known Angela well in the homosexual underworld of Greenwich Village finally broke the silence, but quite by accident and unintentionally. She was Buddy Kent (aka Bubbles Kent, exotic dancer, aka Malvina Schwartz of East New York, Brooklyn) who, like Angela, had lived in the Village since the late 1930s. In an interview with gay historians, Buddy talked about a time when unconventional people—artists, Bohemians, political radicals—flocked to the Village, and lesbians felt safe from catcalls and violence. But it was also a time when identities were closely guarded, when silence and loyalty were community values. Buddy did not intend to name names, in fact she never did. Instead, like a mystery writer, she wove a series of clues into her interview. Sharing old photo albums, Buddy mentioned gay friends and acquaintances long dead. She added a few observations about Eleanor Roosevelt in the Village before she was asked, “Who else would you see in the street sometime, or hanging around here?” Buddy didn’t hesitate. Remembering stage and screen personalities she had known, she began, “Not too much theatricals, ‘cause they were afraid then. But Judy Holliday…” Buddy paused. She had named one of the brightest screen stars of the 1950s, who had won an Oscar for Best Actress as Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday. The plot thickened when Buddy added, “She was going with a female who was a cop.” 90 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
“Bubbles” Kent, back in the day
This bit of Village gossip was followed up by more sensational rumors about Judy’s unnamed girlfriend. She had her own story, Buddy explained, because “somebody blew the whistle on her being a Communist. And she had quite a bad time. She couldn’t get work for about eight years because of this.” “Was this in the fifties?” the interviewer responded, “during the McCarthy period?” It was a time when the hunt for Communists, former Communists, and Communist sympathizers (“fellow travelers”) was at its height. “During the war, I think,” Buddy replied. “1946, yeah, ’46.” While Buddy may not have been political in the larger sense, within the closeted homosexual world of the Village, she did take a stand on principle— the one about not informing on gay people. Talking about the betrayal of Judy Holliday’s girlfriend, Buddy struggled to control her anger. “And it was a gay girl who blew the whistle,” she said. “In fact, I wasn’t friendly towards her until quite recently. ‘Cause I figure you can’t have somebody wear a hair shirt the rest of their lives. ‘Cause everybody’s allowed one mistake in their life.” Careful not to name anyone, she added, “In fact she [the informer] is around today and I don’t want to mention her name.” Buddy described the stoolpigeon in different terms when she summed up: “And there was ‘Petite Feminine Girl on Stand Tells Her Undercover Work for the FBI.’ And that was this dyke who put the finger on one girl who was on the police force and she was going with Judy Holliday. And she [the girlfriend] never really came out of it well. She was in therapy after that.” By adding newspaper headlines and a courtroom context, Buddy deepened the mystery. When did the FBI hire lesbians to work undercover? And if
this one had made headlines when she appeared in court as a witness, what had she been witness to? Without a name for the informer, her secret was safe. By chance, it was Victor Navasky, in his blacklist classic Naming Names, who brought everyone out of the closet. Early on he mentions some “confidential informants” who reported on Communist Party activities to the FBI, and cites two who “surfaced to testify in the key 1949 Smith Act trial in Foley Square.” One was an Angela Calomiris, whose name Navasky repeated, and quoted extensively from Red Masquerade, the book she had published about her undercover work. “Angela Calomiris,” he writes, “a witness in the Dennis trial, won a citation for patriotic assistance to the FBI.” Navasky struck a resonant chord. That name Calomiris, Angela Calomiris. It was that name, and Buddy Kent on tape… Calamares, Calomiris, Angie, Angela. Maybe Buddy Kent had revealed the name without meaning to. She would have welcomed a new supporter (Angie “Calamares”) to the SAGE socials, but she could not forget that this was also the FBI informer who had made accusations against Judy Holliday’s girlfriend. At that time, in 1983, there were many people around who remembered. Some confessed that they had known “an Angie Calomiris.” “Oh, sure, but I didn’t like her,” said Miriam Wolfson, who once lived on West 4th Street in the Village. When Miriam was confronted with an ancient copy of Red Masquerade: Undercover for the F.B.I., she quipped, “Angie wrote a book? You gotta be kiddin’.” And when offered a passage or two to read from Red Masquerade, Miriam also observed, “She’s talking about picking out the right dress for the trial and doing her hair. That would be the only time she ever wore a dress.” HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 91
...from Opening Night by Lisa Faith Phillips A novel in progress
Molly leaned back against the bar at The Comic Strip and watched Nellen out of the corner of her eye. Nellen. She didn’t know if it was his first or last name but that was what everyone called him. And they said it with a mixture of awe and irritation because they craved his approval and resented the power he had over their lives; if he liked you and your ten-minute audition, he would “pass” you and let you come back and hone your craft at this well-known and popular comedy club on the Upper East Side. Molly was surprised how small he looked, with dull brown thinning hair, pulled back into a scraggily pony tail. Molly took a sip of water and looked her notes. She needed to focus on her audition. “I hear he doesn’t like women comics.” A woman behind her fretted. Molly hadn’t seen any women in the line-up of comics so far that night. Was that why? “I hear he doesn’t like aggressive women,” a skinny comic added. Molly frowned; it was hard to imagine shy retiring women being drawn to stand-up comedy. “No off-color material, that’s what I heard,” a tall man joined in. What did that leave? Shy, retiring, clean humor? “How do you know if he likes you?” Molly asked. “You’ll know,” Mike, the comedian next to her who would follow her, said solemnly. “After your set, if he doesn’t talk to you—” he made a buzzing sound, drawing his finger across his throat. “If he talks to you then you got a chance.” “You know Seinfeld started here,” another comic reminded them and everyone nodded wisely. The Holy Grail. Of course, they had all heard that; that was one of the reasons they were there... The emcee touched Molly’s shoulder; she was on next....She hurried up the steps. She had worn the same fitted red dress and heels, with rhinestone earrings and her hair teased-up just a little to give it volume. But this time her heel caught on the stair and she had to grab the railing to keep from falling, somehow she managed to right herself and make it onto the stage but she felt shaken. Should she make a joke about it or had they even noticed. Better to stick to her set. She kept a grin stretched across her face as she thanked the emcee. She tried to radiate complete confidence because nothing would lose her the audience faster than giving them any inkling of the fear that was trying to take over. Now it was time to show them they were going to have fun together. Molly looked out over the wall of faces through the lights; she liked seeing the audience so she could play off them. But tonight she was too nervous. This was New York, this was the big time. She had to control the desire to pull away from the audience and run. She started “I was going to come out tonight and talk about love and sex,” the audience looked up expectantly. “But I’m worried.” The first chuckle. She was rushing. How was anyone going to follow her? Calm down. Let them come to you. “I was just reading in the paper that the Federal Government is doing to the Navajo Indians. These Indians have lived on the same land for generations and the federal government is forcing 10,000 of them to move off the reservation. They’re giving them little tract houses in the suburbs. Can you imagine if they tried that somewhere else?” Eyes peered up from the tables. Molly was too nervous to invite someone in the audience to suggest a neighborhood like she had during the first audition. “All right everyone on the Upper East Side, I’m afraid you’re going to have to move. We’ve got a great little reservation for you just south of Trenton, New Jersey. No, you won’t be needing 92 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
those suits and ties; from now on you’re going to be hunters and gatherers.” The audience laughed and there were a few claps. Molly rode the moment, then picking up the rhythm again... (After the show): Molly walked to Nellen’s booth, trying to radiate confidence in a demure unassertive way. “Hello, I’m Molly Allen.” She slid into the booth, reminding herself that Jerry Seinfeld might have sat right there after his audition. Nellen leaned back in the wooden booth and studied her. His eyes moved down to her breasts and seemed to linger there. “Not a bad set,” he finally announced almost grudgingly. “It’s not that often you see a woman doing cerebral political comedy.” Molly began to breathe again. “But you come out all dolled up,” he sneered. “Looking sexy. The men are to going to respond to you as an attractive woman, and their dates will get jealous. So you’ve started off by alienating half your audience. Then you got to win them back! Makes your job twice as hard.” Molly’s cheeks burned. “I thought it was funny.” “It’s not. It’s confusing. You’re sending out contradictory messages.” Molly tried to look on the positive side; he was after all saying she was attractive. And then he said it. “I’ve never thought women were funny.” The words hit her like a slap. Molly couldn’t believe he had actually said it. The man who chose the talent at one of the most important comedy clubs in New York had just said that he didn’t find women funny. Molly tried to think of something to say but they all sounded aggressive and some were definitely off-color. She felt like her head was suddenly stuffed with a great wad of cotton but a polite smile remained plastered on her face. She was always laughing with her women friends; why they laugh so much if they weren’t funny? “I just figured women never learned how to be funny,” he went on. “Women weren’t brought up to be funny.” At least he wasn’t saying it was genetic, or when God took a rib from Adam to create Eve, it wasn’t the funny bone. “A woman makes jokes about PMS, it’s not funny to me,” Nellen continued. “Fifty men can joke about football and I’ll laugh. PMS? Five years ago no one talked about PMS, now everyone talks about it. A woman feels bad once a month, look at her family, it’s because her mother lies around feeling bad so she thinks she has to. It’s all environmental.” This was going from bad to worse. “Don’t you think part of it might be biological?” Molly offered, her voice tightening. “95% environmental,” Nellen replied as if that put an end to it. “No question it’s got to be tough for a woman in this biz. I work as a casting agent too and I know most directors and producers don’t find women funny. But like I said I like your jokes because you don’t do the usual PMS, I-can’t-get-a-date material. I’d like you to come back. You can work on your material here. I’m not going to pass you just yet, but you can get up after eleven, fine tune your act, then we’ll see.” This was good. Even though he didn’t think women were funny, he liked her jokes. So she should probably go now. The final comic had gone on and the audience was filing out. But Nellen talked on seemingly unaware of how long she had been sitting across from him... This was getting weird. When was he going to tell her to go? She had to be at work in the morning And then he said it. “My wife doesn’t understand me. I’m really suffering from blue balls.” What? Blue balls? Molly suddenly felt wide awake. She hadn’t heard the term since high school. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 93
The Tarot Lady July 2017 tarot card for Honeysuckle Queen of Wands • July is going to be a scorcher but you don’t need to worry for this month will bless you with the grit and courage to handle any hot messes that may land in your lap. The key here is channel the energy of the Queen of Wands— she’s bold and a highly creative thinker. Her gifts of leadership inspire everyone else to up their game. No matter what July has in store, you must stand firm and be ready to take action. Nurture your dreams and goals. Let nothing get in your way. There is protection in action—the more willing you are to stand up, the more progress you can make. You have a big vision for where you’d like to go so this is not the time to act small. The resources you need will be made available to you. Take those and use them to your advantage. You may be called to take a risk but don’t let that scare you. Take a deep breath and tell yourself “I’ve got this.” Because you do. In love, passion will be the theme. This month could be steamy! Whether you’re single or partnered, the best way to turn up the heat is by laying it on the line and saying exactly what you want. Get out of your comfort zone for love and you may be creating your own fireworks all month long. For August, see honeysucklemag.com
Theresa Reed (aka “The Tarot Lady”) has been a full-time Tarot card reader for close to 30 years. She is the author of The Tarot Coloring Book, an illustrated tour through the world of Tarot with coloring sheets for every card in the deck. Learn more about | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE her94at: thetarotlady.com
HERS â€¢ SUMMER 2017 | 95
We dance on the bar, We sing, We are comics.... We encourage all women to celebrate their individualities, as soon as they walk in our bar We are bad ass bartenders... YES! We are Coyote Ugly Made in New York..
“Lil, founder & CEO”
Mondays Cuervo margaritas Tuesdays Wild turkey & honey Wednesdays Bud & Bud light Thursdays * Ladies night * flavored vodka & rum HAPPY HOUR: Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm BOGO Sun-Mon
96 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
by CARRIE CHEN
ANTONIO PRIETO SALON 127 West 20th Street New York, N.Y. 10011 212-255-3741 www.antonioprietosalon.com
Activate the world around you. Smart, interactive digital displays. Digitized & monetized. Find out more today.
HERS â€¢ SUMMER 2017 | 97
The Rialto Report is a recurring column where we explore the nuances of the adult film industry and the community involved. All photos courtesy of the Rialto Report. HOW DOES THE ADULT INDUSTRY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST WOMEN? During the golden age of adult ﬁlms, women were deﬁnitely treated differently from men, but not in all the typical ways. Unlike their male counterparts, the women in the industry almost always earned more as it was the female talent that drew in viewers while men served a more functional role. Looks mattered, but more often than not there was a niche to create or fill. Androgynous like Sharon Mitchell? No problem. Older like Jennifer Welles? Happy to have you. Disabled like Long Jean Silver? You’re hired. And there was no need to sleep with the producer or director to get the part. Actresses like Andrea True spoke about being propositioned at mainstream industry auditions regularly whereas adult industry filmmakers often treated her and fellow actresses with respect. And many women choose whom they would—and would not—work with. That said, it was often men who were making the real money in the business. Producers and distributors were mostly male, controlling revenue as well as narrative. It wasn’t until women like Candida Royale moved from in front to behind the camera in the early 1980s that dynamics began to shift, albeit slowly. 98 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
HAVE THE EXPERIENCES OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY BEEN MORE NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE? Some women describe their time in the industry enthusiastically, focusing on positives such as financial independence, a caring work community and feelings of sexual liberation. Other women have shared tales of family rejection, social ostracization and personal shame. But for the majority of women we’ve spoken with, the good outweighed the bad during their time in the business. It has been their time since leaving the industry that can often be more complicated. Even for women whose time in the industry basically amounted to a summer job 40 years ago, repercussions can persist today. Decisions they make now can be in part driven by whether they are public about their past or not. Some women have only recently embraced their adult history, finding community on social networks like Facebook. Others describe trying to lead quiet lives and at times receiving threats of being “outed” at work or in their communities. As for nowadays, adult actress Lorelei Lee recently wrote about the benefits and drawbacks of working in adult films in a piece called ‘Once You Have Made Pornography’. She discusses how the allure of the industry—focused for many on financial stability – will quickly slide into the consequences of participation. You will be judged and reduced. You will be outed and used. Lorelei writes “If you continue to do this job, it will become harder and harder to have a life outside of it. More and more, it will be the people you work with who will understand that your work in pornography doesn’t tell them who you are, and it will be civilians for whom the knowledge that you’ve been naked for money will be a kind of flattening — a thing they cannot see around.” Lorelei’s post is not necessarily an admonition—it is instead a reminder that the benefits the industry brings are often accompanied by disadvantages. The same holds true for the women of early adult film. And the balance of pros and cons largely came down to the individual.
IT’S BEEN SAID (AS I’VE HEARD) THAT CONTRARY TO TRADITIONAL HOLLYWOOD, WOMEN IN ADULT FILMS ARE TREATED AS THE ‘STAR’ AS THE PLOTS ARE OFTEN REVOLVED AROUND THEM AND THEIR PLEASURE. WE WONDERED WHAT YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT? These women with experience in both industries could compare and contrast. The vast majority described better treatment in the world of adult film. The pay was good and yes, they might have a starring role in pornography, whereas in the mainstream they were lucky to get a bit part. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 99
But few actresses raved about the quality of adult scripts or the deep thespian experience of their porn colleagues. And many described grueling days, often running to eighteen hours or more, driven by the cost of production versus a film’s budget. A red-carpet premiere or review in the New York Times next to a mainstream feature could make up for a lot. But when all was said and done, there was scant belief that a starring role in an adult film was in any way equivalent to one in the mainstream. HOW HAVE THE PERCEPTIONS AND TREATMENT OF WOMEN CHANGED OVER TIME IN THE INDUSTRY? It all comes down to whose perception or treatment by whom. Has the mainstream become more accepting of women from the adult industry? You can cite examples like Sasha Grey in The Girlfriend Experience, but they tend to be few and far-between, and not so dissimilar from when actresses like Linda Lovelace would appear on mainstream talk shows. What about the media—any change there? News article with titles like ‘This porn star can do anything you want her to’ and ‘Former Porn Star Finds Jesus, Abandons Adult Filmmaking’ suggest not. The media has always loved attention-grabbing headlines and continues to exploit women in pornography to write them. And what about the industry itself—has it changed its treatment of the women who fuel it? Here we probably see the greatest change thanks to technology. Whereas men were typically the gatekeepers of pornography in the golden age, nowadays any young woman with a camera can directly reach a willing audience. Women have always been at the heart of the adult industry—the central point made by Susan Faludi in her landmark 1995 article ‘The Money Shot’. But even with the mainstreaming of pornography and its widespread reach online, the saying ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’ holds true. Within the industry, acceptance abounds. Outside the industry, the biggest consumers of pornography can often be the first to judge the women that make it.
100 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Double Tug A New Yorker’s firsthand account
Illustrations by Lee Brozgol
The subway car that opened its doors at Astoria Boulevard was deserted, but I had my guitar to keep me company. The rehearsal with my duet partner, a flautest, had lasted into the night and the windows of the elevated train that returned me to Manhattan revealed a dark city speckled with lights. As it made stops, the few new passengers sat far away from me. Restlessly, from my lonely corner, I made the gamble of taking my guitar from its soft case and setting it on my knee. I was eager to play, with our reherarsal so fresh in my mind and fingers. I strummed quietly, seeing only peripherally the one or two people who entered or left as the train drew closer to Queensborrough Plaza. Newcomers appeared to take as little notice of me, a woman slumped over her guitar, as I took of them. Or so I thought! After reviewing the gavottes and minuets, I noodled some blues and was astonished to realize that they had summoned a dancer to his feet. He was a big man. I presumed him to be homeless because of his stained, disheveled gray sweats. Closer than I wanted him to be, he
jogged in place, his eyes rolled, his open palms floating in front of him. So odd were his gestures that I couldn’t be sure if he were responding to my music or oblivious to it. I instinctively took note of the other riders. My plan was to wind down my blues and serenely return my guitar to its case, no contact made with the strange man in his dirty clothes, no offense taken. But I was too late. As the train surged forward, the dancing man threw himself down, overtaking three seats—a massive walrus in his gray ensemble. From above his waistband he withdrew an erect penis. It appeared to have the length and circumfrance of the paddle of a row boat and, to my shock, in sweeping, mastabatory strokes… he began to row. Red Alert! No longer playing for this tango! In a nanosecond my guitar was zipped away and I was on the other side of the car. Waiting for the doors to open, I was joined by a mustachioed businessman in a cashmere overcoat. The plaid ascot neatly wound at his throat and his attaché case made a welcome sight. You will literally not believe what comes next... HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 101 see honeysucklemag.com
Chat with a Goddess An interview with a BDSM Mistress
I had the honor and privilege of being able to sit down with a woman who has been a trailblazer in the NYC
Fetish scene for over fifteen years. Voluptuous, whip-smart and steeped in intoxication sensuality, Mistress Malika has worked in some of New York City’s premier and elite S/M and private events. We spoke about how, as women of color, her race and Caribbean background played into the Fetish world, and how she handled being an “exotic” and “different” look in an industry that promotes, and often capitalizes, on White or Asian fantasies. Now, living as an artist in the sultry Caribbean, Mistress Malika finds pleasure at the end of a paint brush instead of a flogger.
How old where you when you first encountered the BDSM lifestyle? The BDSM lifestyle was presented to me when I was fifteen years old. I was fortunate to work at my first BDSM dungeon at age seventeen. As a woman of color, did you face special challenges? As a woman of color, I faced racism in the beginning of my career. Clients and fellow Doms were shocked that I was well-spoken and traveled. They assumed all women of color were uneducated and “loud.” I was told early on that I was “rare.” What is the most important thing about being a Pro-Domme? The most improtant thing about being a Pro-Domme is to remember that you are a fantasy. Those that choose this profession must sustain that fantasy as their personal reality, in order to be successful. The whimsy of them must shine at least once in the realm of a session. If this important fantasy factor is lost, most Dommes become overwhelmed by their personal and professional lives intermixing. What did your friends and family think about your lifedstyle choice? Once I decided that I wanted to dive into the lifestyle, I lost many friends. They thought I was crazy, weird, or simply a prostitute. Yet a few saw that BDSM was my calling and were very supportive. My family accepted that my natural personality matched my desires and were supportive early on. My mother often jokes when I tell her about someone I’m dating—“Do they know you like to beat people?” Do you still work as a Pro-Domme? As with any beauty-based profession, I reached my peek early in professional domination. I no longer do professional sessions. Yet it will always follow me, and I occasionally receive requests from dedicated former clients. 102 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
What’s your favorite part about BDSM and/or working with clients? My favorite aspect of BDSM is the vibe of BDSM. I have always felt a part of a secret world that only the brave, whether submissive or dominant, enter. Once you feel the “high” of dominating someone, the addiction never leaves you. Did you ever regret any choices you made? No, everything from the horror stories to the lavish gifts have taught me strength. The only moments I wish to return to are the ones where I wished I could have helped fellow Dommes. I watched many Dommes suffer from drug addiction, legal trouble, and/or homelessness as a result of the BDSM world. I always keep them in my heart. What would you tell other women who are seeking the lifestyle or interested in becoming a Pro-Domme? If seeking the lifestyle, do alot of reasearch, attend alot of events, and get opinions from many respected individuals. If not, BDSM can be very dangerous for a naïve novice who jumps in head- first. Any woman who is interested in becoming a professional should only do so out of the love for working in a respected dungeon, or the craft—not because she desperately needs income. If her confidence isnt at its peek, and she is inexperienced, BDSM can be a very dangerous world to be involved in. As you have grown wiser do you feel that your view about being a Pro-Domme has changed? I do feel my view of Pros has changed. Being behind the scenes of the glamour has taught me many secrets—secrets that I never want anyone to experience. I feel women of today are at a disadvantage for not receiving classic BDSM training, so techniques of today are not as perfected as they were years ago. I was trained by elder Dommes who had trained around the world; many younger Pros will never experience this as it is no longer required by management or clients. How do you feel about the new generation of women Pros? The new generation of Pros are mostly women who need extra money. Many are not Pro because of the love of BDSM. Many are brats who feel they should be respected immediately. Those that actually love the craft will shine as long as they undertstand what it takes to be a true dungeon Domme. I enjoy watching their journey and keep them in my prayers for their safety.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 103
harder My first dick was all pen and ink. My mother sitting at our kitchen table explaining sex, or more so, my sex, or more so, the way that my sex worked. My mother trying to answer a question. My mind thinking long and hard about the two men across the street who were old and together and loved to sit on their porch and didn’t seem to be going anywhere, didn’t seem to be parting anytime soon, didn’t seem to be leaving each other, didn’t seem to need anyone else, any women. I understood it. Didn’t feel I needed it
to ask about sex. now is as good a time
Something about them said as any.
this might be the time sex. Said ask,
So Mama at our kitchen table in August and my chin resting on top of the soft damp wood and her hand sketching a dick in pen on the back of tomorrow’s grocery list. I recount this experience to you the other night. You ask me about my first time and this is how I choose to answer instead of telling you about the time I was undressed on that same kitchen table eight or so years later I guess when I actually saw one but I tell you this instead and laugh as I remember understanding the facts how it worked —the whole thing— within just a few minutes of my mother beginning, but pretending not to understand. Drilling question after question into my mother one after the other waiting for her voice to crack a little more in every truth. Sadistic little daughter. I just wanted something more than an explanation like my mother’s mouth to wrap around the words penis, vagina, erection, sperm, orgasm, orgasm, orgasm orgasm.
...read theMAGAZINE rest of this 104 | HONEYSUCKLE
poem by Mallory Baker online at honeysucklemag.com
Guilty Pleasures: “Closure” in an open releationship I shuffled back and forth in the airplane seat, hoping the one-hour plane ride from LAX to SFO could be extended by a magic mist or rainstorm. I was engrossed in Spent, a memoir written by my now-friend Antonia Crane, an eloquent interweaving of the painful loss of her mother and evolution of her sexuality through different relationships and sex-work. I listened to melancholic rock—the Cranberries I think—and glanced over at my girlfriend, Lauren, who listened to her own music beside me. Her long arms and legs sprawled out as if she was in a deep sleep, yet her eyelashes continued to flutter; her dark hair pushed back into her seat like a ballooning cloud, her honey-brown skin appearing softer than usual. Maybe she had opted for extra self-care in advance of this trip, knowing she would be meeting a girl she had spoken to online for two weeks, a girl that wasn’t supposed to know about me until just the “right” moment to ensure optimum timing. If our open relationship were to be described as a break in the ground’s surface, it would be asymmetrical, narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. A wideness so open, overt and rule-bending that it could only turn back on its creators with a stifling rigidity that had never even existed before. In that moment, I wanted to kiss her, hug her, and cry a simultaneous apology and accusation. Why the fuck do you need to meet this stupid girl, this generic, basic, girl?? It was May 2014, and we were one month away from our ten-year anniversary, and a month away from a year in an open relationship governed by forever-evolving, pseudo rules. Gay marriage was set to be legalized on a national scale. Like many other committed same-sex couples, settling down was becoming less of a dream floating in the ether and more a tangible possibility. Ten years in a relationship is a significant feat. Coming of age with that person is an even bigger feat. Doing both while in a same-sex interracial relationship? Well that’s another thing entirely. Our families fed us cocktails of resentment mixed with denial. People stared at us on the street—especially guys. Both of us are femme, so there’s no way we could *really* not want a dick just because, right? The fact that Lauren and I both identified as bisexual, rather than lesbian added yet another layer of confusion for those on the “outside.” I don’t think my mother ever referred to Lauren as my girlfriend once—we remained “roommates” for over ten years. I felt guilty a lot while we were together. Guilty because of Lauren’s childhood being what it was—or what it wasn’t. Guilty because I had privileges she didn’t. Guilty because she grew to hate Los Angeles while I grew to love it. Guilty seeing others want to serve me before her, or ignore her entirely. I felt guilty that she had been laid off from a day job we both worked, that she couldn’t find photography opportunities in the city, in spite of being showcased at the Louvre. We were flying to San Francisco for a vacation that had more to do with Lauren meeting this internet chick than anything else. I told her in a passive aggressive style that I was down for a threeway, when in reailty, I hated the whole thing. I resented that it took an open relationship to be open about our relationship, period. In fact, we were hardly open before we began dabbling with the idea of seeing other people for fun. We were open only in confinement, in the safety of our apartment or in the open environment of West Hollywood, the great gay enclave of the Los Angeles area. Confined yet open. Open yet confined. Our weekend in San Francisco ended with me in tears in a Macy’s fitting room, where I waited for her to finish her coffee date with the internet girl. Our relationship ended six months later, when I met someone the complete opposite of Lauren—a guy. I thought that’s what I needed to center myself—a monogamous heterosexual relationship. It would prove my bisexuality, it would prove I was better than the chaos of a same-sex open relationship. What I failed to recognize is how I contributed to that chaos. The heterosexual relationship was an abusive nightmare. We lasted nine months. I failed to recognize a lot of things. HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 105
Nadya Rousseau U.S. Director, Organizein | Creator & Host Nadya’s Identity Files
106 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Interviewing My Daughter A gay, white dad speaks with his adopted black daughter, Katherine Many balked at the notion of a single man raising a daughter—a son, maybe, but a little girl? Many insisted a white man could not raise a black child. Others were outraged that he was gay. When the agency overseeing the adoption learned the adoptive father was HIV-positive, they did their best to stop the adoption. Besides, he was too old (44) and who would do her hair? Every naysayer, every voice in his head, every sugar-toned bit of advice from the well-meaning: all of it merely strengthened his resolve to adopt the baby that he knew would be his daughter in every conceivable way. While he saw the barriers, he also found a way to silence them, destroy them, vanquish any hurdle that presented itself. As it turns out, that he was me. My daughter Katherine came into the world with a host of challenges. But as she’s about to turn twenty-three years old, she is a sturdy young woman with varied interests (including the television and film industry) and ongoing issues that plague those of us who march—no, dance—to a different drummer. Katherine has taught me, and continues to teach me—even though I have been an activist for decades—about issues of race and intersectionality that have decidedly informed my work and my day-to-day life. As a single parent, I embraced my female self from the get-go but I also perceived the bias that mommies face but daddies don’t. As a daddy who did mommy things with ease, there was a subtle sense of emasculation that I’d feel in spite of the ostensible praise for my gender fluidity. Even though we live less than a mile apart in Los Feliz, where she was brought up, I interviewed her by email. When did you realize that being black was a challenge? I’m not sure that I see my blackness as a challenge. I’m sure it’s challenged others, but it hasn’t challenged me. I think being a woman of color is a struggle that I deal with every day, but to answer your question, I probably first realized that my race held me back when I went to college. I was in a foreign country; I didn’t know anyone and had no one to shield me from the real world. I didn’t experience overt racism, or I subconsciously ignored it. But I definitely had to prove myself in ways that my counterparts didn’t. When did you realize that being female was a challenge? Again, I think it’s more of a struggle. It probably starts in pre-school, in spite of my having gone to very progressive schools. It’s a battle to treat girls equally to boys, even at an early age, when it’s a concerted effort. Most boys simply come hard-wired with privilege. Little girls have to fight, and little girls of color read the cues more acutely and respond accordingly. It doesn’t change. And ultimately, I think being a woman is hard enough as it is, but being a woman of color adds another layer. Continue reading this endearing story online honeysucklemag.com
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 107
A love letter to the City of Light â€“ and all that Paris represents, past and present
Paperback coming in October 2017 Kindle available now 108 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Narrated by a dying, 92-year-old paraplegic in 2015 who lovingly remembers a soldier named Jerry, M. J. Moore’s debut novel concocts Salinger’s years as a Second World War G.I.— and the life of one woman who adored him.
“In For Paris~ with Love & Squalor we share not only the narrator’s memories, but also her passion for literature, for music, and for film; plus her insightful zest for life that leads to a love affair with one of the great authors of the 20th century. A smart and poignant journey through a life well-lived . . . at once lighthearted and bittersweet.” ~ Kenneth Slawenski, author of J. D. Salinger: A Life
“The plucky heroine of this inventive novel may be paralyzed and dying, but her vibrant mind is a treasury of her generation’s politics and culture…” ~ HILMA WOLITZER, author of An Available Man
“M. J. Moore proves that not all compelling, worthwhile stories about WWII have yet been told or imagined…I wish my father were alive to read it.” ~ ERICA HELLER, author of Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller Was Dad, the Apthorp Was Home, and Life Was a Catch-22
An offbeat love story that brings together the soundtrack of Swing, the legacy of America’s most elusive author, and one woman’s echoes of an era M. J. Moore is a biographer and book reviewer. His writing has appeared in The Paris Review~Daily, Neworld Review, the International New York Times, and Literary Hub.
HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 109
• Excerpts from For Paris~With Love & Squalor by M. J. Moore • “There were no strangers that day in liberated Paris. The women who joyfully asked the Allied soldiers rolling through the city to take a moment and behold (literally) their little ones, to cradle their babies in newfound freedom, they trusted those guys. The guys were an angelic presence, with grit, heart, and Lucky Strikes, plus their expressions of wonder, awe, and absolute exhaustion. I’m grateful beyond words for my dreams this morning. Such reminders are just like prayers.”
“Just before a turn that leads off the ChampsÉlysées to the boulevard going right to the Hotel Ritz, a crowd had already formed and you could tell it was something ugly. A perceptible shift was in the air. A palpable difference could be felt. A mob in the making was well along in the act of shearing the hair of women accused of bedding down with the Nazi occupiers. There was more than hostility in all this. But even before sorting out varied thoughts and feelings, there was the shock of the visual. “First things first: Believe you me, his demeanor changed. It started with the way he hit the brakes. I’m surprised the jeep didn’t jackknife. He stomped that brake pedal.” 110 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Ask Our ASTROLOGER
“Dear Rebel” WHAT ARE THE FEMININE PLANETS AND SIGNS?
MOON: The moon in astrology is feminine, complemented by the masculine sun. The moon represents our unconscious, our deepest needs, and our emotions. She is associated with women, and especially with the mother. VENUS: Venus, named for the Roman Goddess of Love, is complemented by her masculine lover Mars (God of War). She represents the archetypally feminine qualities of beauty, grace, charm, love, and relationships, as well as value and money. WATER SIGNS: The water signs (Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio) are considered yin, receptive signs, and therefore feminine. The water element represents feelings, the subconscious, and intuition. Water reflects. It has depths, layers, and undercurrents. It flows through and around things, and takes the form of the container into which it’s poured. EARTH SIGNS: The earth signs (Capricorn, Virgo, and Taurus) possess feminine qualities as well. Earth is also a yin element, accepting seeds into its soil and cultivating their growth. Like the moon, earth is associated with the mother. We even call her Gaia, Mother Earth. The feminine qualities of earth signs are nurturing, giving, patience, and endurance.
TiYanna Long Brings Social Impact: Women in Cannabis We all see the profit reports as more and more people publicly join the push for cannabis legalization. But for whom, and how long, will the results of legalization be beneficial? The aim is “forever.” However, as the cannabis community advocates for recreational legalization, it is failing to address a big problem—negative circumstances that are bound to exist and contribute to further destruction in marginalized communities. Read more at honeysucklemag.com and keep up with TiYanna & Medisi Ventures @tiyannalong @medisillc HERS • SUMMER 2017 | 111
“Don’t try to be a guy, don’t play like a guy, don’t work like a guy. Be a woman.” —Alessandra Gold, Creative Director kruzinfootwear.com 112 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
HERS â€¢ SUMMER 2017 | 113
114 | HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE
Honeysuckle Magazine's 5th printed edition HERS. Features stories of New Your Women in TV and Film, Kirsten Dunst, Angie Bowie, Teale Coco,...
Published on Jan 7, 2018
Honeysuckle Magazine's 5th printed edition HERS. Features stories of New Your Women in TV and Film, Kirsten Dunst, Angie Bowie, Teale Coco,...