Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So nice I had to share it twice

Today on The Anti-Girlfriend, I put up a holiday card that says "Shana Tova!" the only way my alter ego and collaborator, FEMA Fatale know how to -- very explicitly yet whimsically.

In case you missed it, here it is again in all of its apple-rific glory. Happy New Year!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shtetl Hipsters

Awesome new Tumblr alert -- Shtetl Hipsters.

For those of you tired of playing a game of one-upmanship with your neighborhood hipsters and would prefer to win the battle once and for all, just go back, all the way back to the beginning. To the shtetl.

Because "My Jewish grandparent was cool before you," as the tagline goes.

                                                              Via  Margarita Korol

Just check out the badassness of Margarita Korol's great-grandparents in the Ukraine. Somewhere out there some hipster or gypsy is trying to put together that exact outfit at a Buffalo Exchange.

Our ancestors were cooler than any of those Midwestern transplants currently haunting Brooklyn, thinking that Bushwick is so gritty and real, the ones wearing scarves in all kinds of weather. (Talking to you jogger who I saw with his t-shirt wrapped his neck like he bought it at Urban Outfitters.)

Bushwick gives you street cred? Hell no. Escape from a pogrom or the Cossacks and then maybe we can talk.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More break dancing link love

Sometimes I love my profession, especially when I get to go to a performance of breaking, house and contemporary dance under the guise of "work."

Here are the fruits of that evening spent at Dixon Place watching Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie perform with the talented Mawu crew and several others -- a feature length profile of Ms. Asherie and a short meditation on the state of underground dance and the prospects of building a career out of it. 

About the difficulties:

"With the underground dancers, a lot of the pioneers end up teaching overseas and doing most of their work overseas, which is a really sad things because there is not enough work for them here," Asherie says.

About her hopes for the styles:

"I want underground styles to be appreciated and respected in many different contexts. In the contexts they were created -- the street, the club, battles. But also on stage," she says.

Read the rest here.

Check out a video of her piece, Brothers:

My acting debut

Check me out in this fundraising video that I was a part of for JTA. I'm a little camera shy so I did this kind of grudgingly. And no, I did not provide them with any sincere moments because I don't traffic in real emotions.

Here's Eden's Eleven:

I just want to point out that mere days after shooting this and making that joke, I got an eye infection.


And please stop with the irony -- just because I live in Brooklyn doesn't mean that irony is the only thing I get and appreciate. I enjoy all kinds of things -- sarcasm, stoner comedies, dance. Couldn't you send me a message through one of those mediums next time? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sorry I've been MIA

Sorry I haven't been updating this site too much. It's been a bit crazy with a job (can you believe?) and my new web venture, The Anti-Girlfriend. Having an alter ego is fun but time consuming.

Anyway, here are some updates and links to what I've been getting myself into lately. As the official "pop culture savant" over at JTA, I wrote fairly critical response to the premiere of 2 Broke Girls (yet still managed to pledge my undying love for Kat Dennings. #callme.)

And when you think of the 1930s and fashion, who is the first person that comes to mind? (This question is rhetorical.) Anyway, I will be writing posts on a semi-regular for the JTA archive, presenting a modern take on a fashion/shopping column written in the 30s. Here is my first post as JTA's fashion maven. (A preview: The French will always think we're fat.)

I promise some new original content for this site in the near future and not just linkage. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A bigger, badder feminist than me

Usually, I'm the loudest, most opinionated and crass feminist in any given situation that I find myself in. Well, a few weeks ago I was totally outfeministed (that should be a word but alas it is not) by none other than Roseanne Barr. I interviewed her over the phone (she sounded kind of tired cause it was only 9 a.m. in Hawaii) and it was great fun, at least on my end.

Check out the interview here

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Anti-Girlfriend

So do any of you remember how a few months ago I wrote how I was giving up the writing biz for paralegaling? No? Well, several of my friends do and they're still giving me shit about it. But that's okay. I will have my revenge.

Anyway in that "farewell" post I mentioned that I was working on something new. And it's finally here!

Allow me to introduce you to The Anti-Girlfriend, which will be a web comic and blog that will deal with general (not Jewish) issues about sex, dating and relationships (that's the order I've tended to favor and probably why I don't make it past the first step).

I know what you're thinking -- that the moniker sounds kind of evil, like I'm the enemy of Christendom or malekind or something like that. Well, I was not the one who coined the term. That came courtesy of He Who Will Not Be Named but will be fully explained in the comics and blog posts. Anyway, I decided to reclaim like the gays did with "queer." (Also, I couldn't believe that no one had purchased the domain name.)

You are probably wondering -- I didn't realize you did art, too? Well, I don't. Writing is the only talent I've got. Sorry to disappoint you. But fortunately, I am collaborating with the uber artistic FEMA Fatale, who is responsible for the comics on the site.

I hope you guys enjoy my new project!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Believer does Orthodox Judaism

In the most recent issue of The Believer, a West Coast based periodical read mostly by writers after they've finished The New Yorker and The Paris Review, has gotten in on the Orthodox game. By that I mean, they've written an article about the "strange" ways of observant Jews.

I guess they couldn't let The New York Times have all of the fun.

This particular article is about the tradition of married women covering their hair. This was frequently and very progressively explained to me in school like this: Hair is a core component of a women's beauty and by covering it, she demonstrates that she reserves her beauty for her husband.

On dozens of sites, women describe covering their hair as a “daily struggle.” Protected by anonymity, they leave comments that they’re understandably reluctant to voice in public: “I still hate covering my hair, and it does not help that I originally did so at my husband’s insistence, without having any say (i.e. guts to argue)”; when wearing scarves to work, women claim they “developed poor self-esteem and felt incredibly self-conscious.”

(You can read the rest of the available excerpt here.)

This is hardly shocking. While many women profess a great sense of fulfillment at performing this particular "mitzvah" (I put it into quotes because though it means "commandment," which is technically neutral, it is generally thought to mean "good deed," and obviously this is not a sentiment I agree with), at its core it is a fundamentally repressive act.

Ladies, I don't know about you but I'm not comfortable with wearing a sign of ownership. Unless we can come up with some male equivalent. Any suggestions? What can men cover upon marriage to show that their asses are owned by another?

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Jewkranian Kanye

While we know that Mr. West is not a fan of skinny white teenage girls with blonde hair and pretty dresses who strum songs their guitars about guys who dumped them, what does he think of fabulous, BBH (big booty ho) Ukranian Jewish immigrants who create fantastic urban pop art?

BBH Margarita is on the left.

Though Kanye hasn't explicitly addressed this population, he would probably be heartened to know that at least person in this demographic, the talented Margarita Korol, has given his songs the writerly treatment in an article over at Tablet.

And here is the video for Otis (also featuring this other little known rapper, Jay-Z) because I love the little scream Kanye West gives at the end.

Some feminism for Labor Day Weekend

Because I would never leave you, my fair readers, without some challenge, however small, to the patriarchy that dominates Judaism, I present you with my most recent article for JTA.

In it, I interview the spectacular Galeet Dardashti, a Persian and Middle Easter singer who challenges the norm by singing Persian and Hebrew liturgical poems. Perhaps not so radical when you consider from the Conservative-Reform-Reconstructionist viewpoint, but women cantors are non-existent in the Persian community so this is actually a big deal.

Holy erection in the men's section, Batman!

And here is the article about one of the Persian Von Trapps.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Stop trying to make Judaism happen!

A new academic year, another article about how college kids aren't interested in Judaism and how the Jewish nonprofit industrial complex is trying (and failing) to make itself seem "cool" and appeal to the youngsters who are just arriving at campuses all over the country.

"Faced with polling that suggested students often view organized Jewish life on campus as uncool or too religious, many Jewish groups began trying to shake that reputation," write two college students in the Jerusalem Post.

They cite various failed tactics including service learning trips to speed dating to post-Passover pizza parties. Basically, anything divorced from a discussion and connection to actual Judaism and religious sources is highly suspect and unsuccessful according to the authors.

I'm inclined to agree somewhat with the authors mostly because I loathe all attempts make Judaism "hip" and "cool." (I also actually cringed when I was referred to as a "cool Jew" a couple of months ago.) We are not cool -- at least, we're not cooler than any other religious traditions.

Anyway, this whole "trying to engage young Jews" endeavor often reminds me a lot of this scene in Mean Girls.

"Gretchen, stop trying to make 'fetch' happen."