Archive for June 2009

Mama at the Movies for Father’s Day: Mary Poppins and Finding Neverland

I found unexpected Father’s Day fodder in the films Mary Poppins and Finding Neverland; here’s an excerpt from my latest column:

As my family counts down the days to a summer trip to London, I decided to prepare my sons the way I know best: by watching movies about the place. Of course, my choices might not be the most realistic visions of the city, but we’re not ready for A Clockwork Orange or The Elephant Man here (we may never be). I wanted to show them the London created by my childhood reading, the London of corner flower shops, chimney sweeps, and nursery tea, the London of Mary Poppins. I’m planning to read the books with the boys on our trip, but at home we started with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in Robert Stevenson’s 1964 musical film.

You can click on over to Literary Mama to read the rest!

DadsDudesDoingIt: A Conversation among feminists in honor of Father’s Day!

Girl w/Pen and her cohorts ask, “When are men giong to care about work/family balance? And what is the role of men in the feminist movement anyway?” Join panelists Deborah Siegel, Courtney Martin, Gloria Feldt, and Kristal Brent Zook in a Father’s Day conversation at the Brooklyn Museum, this Saturday, June 20 at 2 PM.

For a taste of their work, you can check out this YouTube video from one of their past events:

Support the Afgan Women’s Writing Project

Novelist Masha Hamilton started the Afghan Women’s Writing Project to allow “Afghan women to have a direct voice in the world, not filtered through male relatives or members of the media. Many of these Afghan women have to make extreme efforts to gain computer access in order to submit their writings, in English, to the project.” She writes,

“Many of our students and women writers, especially outside of Kabul, cannot get to an Internet cafe due to security considerations. A laptop at home and a jump drive would allow them to write their pieces, and then ask a male relative to send the work at an Internet cafe. A $20 donation will buy a flash drive and $500 in donations will buy a laptop for our women writers. No contribution is too small.”

Cari Luna is holding a literary raffle, with many great donations, to support the Afgan Women’s Writing Project. Some of the prizes: four signed paperbacks from Junot Diaz, one year subscription to the Kenyan Review, one year subscription to Tin House, a bunch of wonderful signed CDs from Diane Krall, Melody Gardot and others… All donations are tax-deductible. Please spread the word!

Who Does She Think She Is? in San Francisco!

For those of you in San Francisco and near by, don’t miss the screening next week of Who Does She Think She Is?, the documentary by Pamela Tanner Boll which profiles several mother-artists; the film will play at the Red Vic Movie House on Haight Street, Wednesday June 10th (2, 7:15, 9:15 PM) and Thursday June 11th (7:15, 9:15 PM). Pamela Tanner Boll will be present for Q&A; following screenings Wednesday at 2:00, 7:15 and Thursday at 7:15.

I’m just a little bit of fond of this film, as you may be aware; my column on it is here, and my interview with the director, Pamela Boll, is here. The film’s not out on dvd yet, so make the trip out to see it on the big screen!

Book Giveaway: The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life

Stuck in a rut? Try baking a wedding cake (number 17), creating a sacred space (number 40) or blowing off the day (number 99). Have some money to burn while you shake things up? Then try hiring a personal shopper (number 47), painting your house a wild color (number 70) or have a cosmetic surgery procedure (number 33). If you need to spark things up on the cheap, then maybe spending 24 hours in bed (number 89), kissing a total stranger (number 60) or living with less (number 93) is the way to go. The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life, by Gail Belsky, offers 94 other ideas, ranging from serious to silly, for ways to jump start a slow day or a sluggish period in your life. I’ll give away a copy of the book to one commenter who offers their own idea for shaking off the blahs. As for me, I’m off to join an ambulance crew (number 7)…

An Interview with filmmaker Pamela Tanner Boll

As a college student, I interned with Women Make Movies, an organization that helps female filmmakers at every stage of their projects. I caught a glimpse of how difficult it was for women to get their stories to the screen, but I never saw into these women’s private lives, didn’t know if any were mothers; now that I’m a mother myself, I think about the intersection of motherhood and creativity all the time. So after I watched and wrote about the documentary, Who Does She Think She Is?, which profiles several mother-artists, I decided to interview the woman behind the film, director Pamela Tanner Boll. The result of that conversation has been published at Literary Mama this week; here’s a brief excerpt:

Caroline: How do you write a documentary film? Do you start with a loose script and then adapt based on interviews? Are there certain questions you have in mind before you begin, or do you leave yourself open?

Pam: I did not “write” the documentary until we began editing. I had a very firm conviction that I would follow these awesome amazing women as they made their way through their days, their art studios, their breakfast dishes, and errands, and loneliness and see what happened.

I wanted to stay open to the story. I did have certain questions, the main one being, what made it possible for these women to not give up on their dreams? What made it possible for each of them to believe in their voice, their talent, their truth despite lack of support and often, little recognition?

Caroline: Who are some filmmakers and writers you admire, or who influences your work?

Pam: I am more influenced by writers than filmmakers. I grew up reading, reading, reading. Some of my favorite books and authors are Virginia Woolf, especially To the Lighthouse; George Eliot’s Middlemarch; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; The Color Purple, just to name a few.

I was an avid movie watcher all throughout my childhood and early adult years. I loved all the Walt Disney films and the Tarzan series with Johnny Weismuller and Bonanza — big family dramas.

Click on over to Literary Mama to read the rest!