Many a Smart Girl, Parks & Recreation fan and Saturday Night Live enthusiast has been waiting in anticipation of Amy Poehler's autobiography Yes Please. I for one am a sucker for an autobiography, particularly of those who have a career I am envious of. Taking a leaf out of any of Stephen Fry's autobiographies (he is the Katie Price of the BBC) Amy starts off with a very long apology. In it she explains she has two young kids and other work commitments etc, etc. You might be surprised to read this because Hadley Freeman and Jessica Valenti have both written about Poehler's wish for women to push themselves forward rather than self deprecate or apologise. I'd have written about this before but I was sticking to the embargo I was made to adhere to via email with the publishers Picador. Being a stickler for the rules and all that. Expectations lowered by Amy we press on.
Performance artist Selina Thompson is fat. Fat. F A T. FFFFFFAAAAAATTTTT TUH TUH TUH. Not curvy, not chubby, not jolly, not 'big and beautiful' not 'larger lady'. Fat. She is fat like she is brown eyed. She is fat like her hair is black. Fat like her skin is brown. Fat. Selina says fat and needs you to say fat because it is fact. A neutral fact. An adjective. Not a negative. Selina talks about this in her one woman show Chewing the Fat. It is the first of a two part body of work titledThe Edible Woman. This is not a feminist piece of art or polemic. It is not a journey of self acceptance. It is purely an exploration of Selina's body image and attitude to food. And it is very nourishing for those hungry for a new approach to body shape, diet and eating.
Last night I went to see comedian Katherine Ryan perform her latest stand up show Glam Role Model at the Brighton Komedia. If you watch TV chances are you have seen Katherine Ryan. She's the female comic who is allowed to speak and doesn't get edited down to appear as 'silent blonde sidekick' on TV panel shows - a fate all too often meted out to other women who appear on comedy panel shows. Why is this? Perhaps it is because of her Canadianess that refuses to be quieted. Or her delivery that can border on brash and can't be ignored. Or maybe just because Katherine Ryan is plain funny. Too funny to edit down to give the men more air time for their bon mots.
Have you seen Pride yet? It's a British film set around the National Union of Mineworkers' 1984 strike and focuses on a group of gay men and lesbians who decide to back the strike and end up setting up LGSM â Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners - and supporting a particular mining town in north Wales, telling the story of how these very different groups end up coming to know one another and work together.
Think about this...Othello, but with the titular role played by a woman, meaning Othello and Desdemona's relationship is a lesbian one. That's an eye-catching idea and I was keen to see this production by By Jove Theatre Company.
The programme explained the rationale further - within Shakespeare strong female characters are limited - "Your options generally are limited to becoming a mad mother, spending most of your time crying, being driven mad or turning to suicide." This production aims to not only recast Othello but also to expand other female roles, reframing the story. To do this, director and writer SJ Brady has created new text, weaving this into the original play and re-ordering some parts, setting the story in the modern-day British army.
Mondays can be a bit meh. It's the start of the week and for some reason you feel like your bed has some kind of human capturing magnet attached to its underside. Why. Can't. You. Get. Up? After drudging through the day there's not much more to look forward to than laptop catch up TV in that very same-pillowed prison. Well not this Monday night! I was off to see Alice Through the Looking Glass at St. Paul's Church in Covent Garden. And it was a sunny summer's night too. The Iris Theatre production was back at this holy house and its green gardens for their 6th year. I had never been before and having the chance to wander into this grand old building was a treat in itself.
People love Vampires right? I was blessed with the coming of the Vampire Slayer; Buffy ran the full length of my teenage years. My 12 year old cousin, not so lucky, received the offering of sappy sparkliness that was the Twilight Saga but for those adults who still have a taste for the undead without the poster boys, the 2008 film Let the Right One In resurrected the classic love and death tale with a oddly mature and retro retelling. Its transformation from Swedish book to Swedish film to American remake (with the more manageable title of Let Me In - yes, five words was too much and we like our film titles to be plaintive!) but our thirst for the little girl vampire centuries old did not stop at this medium.
One of the best compliments I ever got was when someone told me I looked like Courtney Love.
It wasn't true then and it's not true now and I open with it not (just) to put the subliminal idea in your head that I might, in case we should ever meet, but because it wasn't just the way she looks that made it such a great compliment. I was 16, and Love was one of a group of female musicians I was discovering who were opening my eyes to what women in music and outside of it, could be like.
I first encountered New York comedian Abigoliah Schamaun last year, hosting a competition for new female comedy talent. It's a tough gig, hosting. It's an especially tough gig hosting a night in which none of those taking part has more than 5 years experience, and are feeling the pressure. As it happened the night was only mildly patchy but you got the feeling that even if it had been dire Schamaun would have risen to the occasion. She commented positively on the comic material and encouraged warm applause without seeming patronising or insincere. So I was interested to see her new show Abigoliah Schamaun is Working on it at the Brighton Fringe and this yoga teaching New Yorker did not disappoint.
Because we are greedy for Twitter followers (follow us! @SqueamishBikini) we spend far too much time on our Twitter notifications page, just in case we miss something, y'know? We think it makes us appreciate a good Twitter handle all the more, so when @LadyParts_ started following us we were tickled. Because we can be base like that. But when we found out Lady Parts Theatre was interested in providing, well, more lady parts we were interested. The company is based in Liverpool and specialises creating and promoting more roles for women. The company states that: "Women have stories as rich and varied as the stories of men, the only difference - they are not being heard. This is not about sexism - this is about trying to create an even playing field for all theatre professionals to compete on. We work with both women and men at all stages of the process from writers to actors to stage crew."