Posted By Sandra Alland

The new issue of Matrix is out! And there's an online component that features a short film by me and two recordings by Zorras from our CD, We Apologise For Any Inconvenience. Click here to visit Matrix New Feminisms Online.

In other news, there's a trans forum in Edinburgh this weekend sponsored by Scottish Transgender Alliance. Information here.

xo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Thanks to all our friends who came out to the most excellent Christmas party at the ceaselessly amazing Elvis Shakespeare Music and Books. If you're shopping, please shop there! They are a rare last bastion of community-oriented shops. And they have good stuff.

Zorras had a blast and enjoyed all the other bands who managed to cram themselves into that tiny corner among too many records, books, beer bottles and people. We especially dug the Fnords. Pure surf-punk joy.

In other news, please read the following review of Angels of Anarchy (see previous post on this amazing show at Manchester Art Gallery) by London's fantastic Sopher Mayer. I can't tell you enough times to go see this show if you get the chance.

xo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

"In 1994, there were 125 women's bookstores worldwide. Now there are 21." - Quill & Quire, December 2009

And soon there will be 20, unless the wonderful Toronto Women's Bookstore manages to raise $40 000. Please go here to donate.

xo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Wow. Just got back from a much-needed break in Manchester. Unfortunately I couldn't walk as much as I would've liked to (because of post-stressful-employment pain), but wow. Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism is perhaps the best show I have ever seen. Dr Patricia Allmer curated this exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, and has put together an incredible historical collection, as well as mind-blowing art by amazing international artists. There's Frida Kahlo, Kay Sage, Dora Maar, Claude Cahun, Eileen Agar, Lee Miller, Leonora Carrington, Meret Oppenheim & Dorothea Tanning, just for starters. Honestly, it was stunning stunning stunning to see these artists collected so extensively in one place. There are paintings, photographs, films, collages, exquisite corpses, sculptures & books. You really get a sense of what was going on in surrealist art, of how important these women were to that movement, and to art and feminist thought in general.

It was also wonderful to see the work of highly talented artists who have been even more under-exhibited than those mentioned above -- mainly from Argentina, Mexico, India and former Czechoslovakia. Lola Alvarez Bravo, Leonor Fini, Remedios Varo, Ithell Colquhoun, Emila Medkova and Eva Swankmajerova, to name a few. The show gave me a sense of lineage that I've never felt before... this is work by, and often for, women -- and work of such high calibre that relegating it to a separate category (or footnote in the margins of history) is ridiculous. There's also work that explores gender identity in a less binary way (as surrealism itself explored the world beyond binaries), allowing a transgender narrative to enter into art history... if only quietly in the work of Cahun. Yay for Patricia Allmer! Continues to 10 January, do not miss it!

The experience was bittersweet, though, for as you travel throughout the remainder of the gallery everything remains as male as always. The gallery shop has only one small and temporary section of women's and feminist books; the rest of the shop continues to promote male artists through books, posters and calendars. There was one calendar of Tamara de Lempicka, though...

In other art news, Manchester Art Gallery's show of Francisco Goya's etchings The Fantasies, The Disasters of War and The Follies is also stunning, as is the accompanying installation, The Disasters of War, by the Chapman Brothers. As always, the Chapman Brothers' gruesome detail of the horrors of war and occupation left me feeling sad, sick and slightly faint. Goya's work didn't help much... but what more fitting way is there to feel when faced with the atrocities of war. Sadly, despite Goya's fame, these works were not shown or published in his lifetime because of their controversial or disturbing subject matter. Luckily Manchester Art Gallery respects its audience enough to show these still-disturbing and extremely violent works, and without any condescending warnings. This is even more impressive when you consider MAG is known as one of the most child-friendly galleries in the UK... but perhaps it's only Scotland that is so paternalistic with its art-goers as to limit or label what they see?

In accessibility notes, MAG is great... there are audio guides for the shows and large-print versions of text available, plus you can book BSL tours upon request. You can even borrow a wheelchair if you need to! Some of the works could have been hung lower for people using chairs to view, but overall they score four stars for accessibility.

Okay, back to bed with me.


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

The amazing Wisrutta Atthakor reviews Ladyfest Edinburgh here, including Zorras and Sister Spit. Also including an interview with Y and me. Many thanks to Wisrutta and the F-Word: Contemporary Uk Feminism! Check out the site in general, it's stellar.

In other news, I watched Sin Nombre (Nameless) and El Bano del Papa (The Pope's Toilet), two films focusing on poverty in Mexico, and Central and South America. Both films are brilliant and gutting, though El Bano del Papa has much more comic relief. Sin Nombre tells the story of gangs of young men (and boys) killing each other in Mexico, as well as the life-threatening journeys many people make across Latin America to reach the United States. El Bano del Papa is a fictionalised telling of the real visit the Pope paid to Uruguay, when hundreds of families in a small town went broke by investing in schemes to sell food and souvenirs to the thousands of Brazilian visitors that never showed up. The Vatican did nothing to help them, of course...

A Special shout-out to Bosslady Kika for all the quality films she's been feeding Zorras with!

xox


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Ladyfest Edinburgh put on a grand show at The Bowery on Saturday, thanks to them for a superb adventure. And special thanks to the newest Zorra, Ariadna Battich, for all her amazing video and technical work. We would be so fucked without you, Ari! And we'd be having less fun too...

Yesterday I passed by GoMA and checked out the exhibit they've mounted in the space where Dani Marti's work was meant to be (see previous entries for info on the cancellation of Marti's show). The first balcony has been used to highlight all GoMA's social justice work in the past (which to me seems a bit like they are protesting too much that they do good work with marginalised communities). The second balcony is slightly more interesting... it features newspaper articles about the Sh[OUT] exhibition, as well as responses from GoMA, artists, curators, gallery visitors and (other) LGBTI community members. I was impressed that GoMA presented the statements of people who were accusing them (or more specifically Culture and Sport Glasgow and City Council) of censorship and homophobia. However, the information still seems quite biased towards the gallery, as well as incomplete or inaccurate in places. GoMA maintains that Marti's work was never censored, but the reasons for rejecting his work keep changing, and in the end seem quite flimsy. Also, I still cannot grasp why a major gallery would care so much about, or even think about reacting to, what The Daily Mail says. This is the paper that yesterday said refugees are riding a "gravy train" and wasting millions of taxpayers' pounds. If something is queer or trans, they are going to find a way to make it into "porn at the cost of taxpayers." A better strategy is to target positive publicity from papers with a brain and a conscience. But this has not really happened, and from what I understand from Sh[OUT] participants, they were told their shows would be promoted LESS, in order to avoid controversy...argh. Hopefully things will improve, but it seems there is no real dialogue continuing between GoMA and the LBGTI advisory committee to Sh[OUT].

Here are two recent updates in The Guardian regarding the situation: www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2009/sep/22/goma-censorship-row and  www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/sep/29/goma-shout-exhibition

In other news, I saw El Nino Pez (The Fish Child), the newest film by stellar Argentine filmmaker Lucia Peunzo (creator of the amazing XXY). See both films if you can. Puenzo is an amazing director (and writer), and both films also feature the stunning actress, Ines Efron. El Nino Pez is the unlikely love story between a middle-class Argentinian girl and the native Paraguayan girl hired as her housekeeper. It's stunning.

xo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Zorras had a fantastic show at Bar Wotever in London! Thanks to Ingo, to the ever-lovely A for putting us up, and to all those lovely strangers who bought our CDs!

This Saturday at 8pm, we play Ladyfest at The Bowery. It's listed under Ladyfest's Big Gig.

In other news, my short film, Slippery, will be screened at London's GayWise Festival on 14 November. And Zorras play the same festival 21 November! Info here.

xo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Two nights ago, Zorras performed at the Freshers' Week event for Edinburgh University Feminists. EUF are the best! Self-described as "a friendly group of feminists who campaign on issues related to women's rights and breaking gender binaries," they certainly know how to throw a party. The space was great, the mocktails were delicious (I could swear there was rum in that mojito), and the games were hilarious (Throw the Ring Around the Papier Mache Penis, and Pin the Strange Assortments of Body Parts on the Body!). Also, there were crackin readings from the zine, Speak ("an anonymous compilation of sexual experiences"). If you're a student at EU, check them out -- all genders welcome! Next meeting at 1pm on 22 September in the Chaplaincy, and there's a social on the 23rd at 6pm in the Teviot Writing Room.

Speaking of feminists, I've been reading the latest issue of Canada's Open Letter journal, which focuses on women's feminist poetry in Canada. It's quite a tour de force, edited by Kate Eichhorn and Barbara Godard. More indepth thoughts on it soon... it's made me quite emotional in many ways, as it's the first time my work has been been taken seriously in a critical light... and more importantly, the first time this has happened for many writers who have written and/or published way more/longer than me.

xo

 


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Quick Update: Been hellish with fibromyalgia, also enjoying some rare Scottish sunshine. Just turned Older again. Twas fun, but I'd love to skip it next year! I'll finally see a rheumotologist and get into a pain clinic in May. Meanwhile I'm in some physio class that's doing nothing. But I do love hanging with the old folks.

In other news, Feminist Freeschool at The Forest was spectacular! Zorras especially enjoyed the surprise performance (and great new hair) from Pockets, and the brave women who read from the Edinburgh University-based sex zine, Speak.

In still other news, I caught Slumdog Millionaire. It was okay...I liked the performances, and some of the visuals were stunning, but I just couldn't deal with the English. People are okay with subtitles these days, even Heroes and Lost have them. We can handle Hindi, really. Also, I dunno, it was a little too feel-good, romantic crap for me...I wasn't entirely sure what the point was. Dany Boyle has a habit of making difficult subjects seem a little too fun for me. Also, MIA's music rocked, but the other composer thought it would be cool to put some terrible Spanish lyrics and rhythms in the middle of an Indian song, like any "foreign" music is the same or something...

Also, I'm reading Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. I always forget how good Woolf is. Then I pick up a book, and I think, Really?  Man, is she good.

SA


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Last night I rented Ari Folman's stunning and shattering Waltz With Bashir, an animated documentary about the devastation of the 1982 Lebanon War. It's one of the best films I've seen in a long while, though it left me drained. An Israeli soldier suddenly regains his memory after 20 years and has to come to terms with a devastation he helped bring about. The film is a rare glimpse into the confusion and ignorance of young soldiers sent into battle without the slightest clue of who they are trying to kill or why.

In other news, this Thursday 9 April, Zorras play Muse-Ic at The Bongo Club with Ex-Men and Shell-Suit Massacre. It should be a swell night of spoken word bands. Only £5/4, starts at 9pm.

Friday at 8pm is the launch of the latest issue of Lock Up Your Daughters in Glasgow, a great wee zine of queer women's stuff. There's an interview with Zorras in this issue, too! The Flying Duck, 142 Renfield Street.

In still other news, I saw a short theatre piece collated and directed by Stef Smith, Breaking Binary. It was part of Queen Margaret University's presentations, and explored gender variance and transsexuality through several monologues by various writers. A very brave piece to do in Edinburgh, kudos to Smith for that! The piece was visually quite stunning -- different images were created using plastic wrap to divide the space (and performers), and the audience sat on all four sides of the stage. Some of it was bit heady and didactic -- it was hard to know who the intended audience was... I think this a wonderful introduction for non-genderqueers or people not aware of the issues, but perhaps slightly preaching to the converted otherwise. Also it was occasionally confusing in terms of who was talking and when we were listening to a new character -- though I personally love pieces that are not 100% clear and spelled out, this can be problematic with issue-based work if the director wants to say something specific. Overall the piece featured good performers, fairly solid writing, and imaginative direction!

xox

SA


 


 
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