Feminism

Friday, August 24, 2018

Reason's In-depth with Backpage.com's Founders

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2018 at 2:42 PM

Sex Workers and their supporters gathered in Minneapolis to protest the recent raid and arrests at Backpage, in October 2016. Protesters say sites like Backpage.com allow them to work independently to screen clients and shutting them down exposes them to more risk. - FIBONACCI BLUE
  • Fibonacci Blue
  • Sex Workers and their supporters gathered in Minneapolis to protest the recent raid and arrests at Backpage, in October 2016. Protesters say sites like Backpage.com allow them to work independently to screen clients and shutting them down exposes them to more risk.

For an update on the Backpage.com shutdown and a deep dive into what led to the website's closure, check out Elizabeth Nolan Brown's great reporting.

Backpage started as the literal back page of the Phoenix New Times. Co-founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin started the weekly paper in 1970. And from the get-go, they were radical.

In Arizona, that meant taking ample swipes at Sheriff Joe Arpaio—who would eventually demand years' worth of personal data on New Times readers and have Lacey and Larkin jailed for writing about it—as well as anyone who cozied up to Arpaio, Republican Sen. John McCain, or his wealthy wife, Cindy. The paper would report on the McCains for their involvement with savings-and-loan scammer Charles Keating; dredge up Cindy's dad's connection to mobsters and murdered Arizona Republic journalist Don Bolles; and out Cindy as an opioid addict who forged prescriptions and stole pills from the children's charity she founded.

"We weren't trying to curry favor," says Larkin. "We didn't line up with the establishments in any city that we were involved in….We didn't really care what politicians saw in us. And that's come back to haunt us."

Nolan Brown speaks with the two men, arrested in Backpage's closure last spring, and looks at the case against the media moguls and the history of the Phoenix New Times and Backpage. 

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

New York State Senate Candidate Supports Sex Worker Rights

Posted By on Thu, Aug 23, 2018 at 12:11 PM

New York state Senate candidate Julia Salazar - COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo
  • New York state Senate candidate Julia Salazar
Supporting human rights seems like a no brainer, but for sex workers that has, unfortunately, not been the case. Even Bernie Sanders voted for SESTA-FOSTA, the so-called anti-trafficking law passed earlier this year that shut down Backpage.com and other sites where sex workers could post ads and vet potential clients in a way that was safer and more empowering.

But just as laws that hurt sex workers become more extreme, people are throwing more support behind political candidates who openly oppose such laws, support sex worker rights and even call for complete decriminalization of the industry.

A state Senate candidate in New York is doing just that. Twenty-seven-year-old Julia Salazar, who heads into a Sept. 13 primary against an eight-term incumbent, has attended sex worker advocacy meetings and even has a decriminalization platform on her website.

The Intercept goes deeper into Salazar's advocacy as well as looking at some of the other political candidates standing up for the human rights of sex workers.
Salazar’s platform outlines steps toward decriminalization that include
an end to raids on massage parlors; working with district attorneys to
stop charging sex workers with crimes; and creating a network of
optional social services to address workers’ needs, such as housing,
child care, syringe access, and job training. Her platform would also
make it easier for sex workers with criminal records to access housing
and jobs, along with repealing the exemption for sex workers under New
York’s rape shield law.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Laughing Stock: Going with the flow

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 3:28 PM

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“I like how shocked people are when you say 'c*nt.' It's like I have a nuclear bomb in my underpants, or a mad tiger or a gun.” So says Caitlin Moran, London Times journalist and author of "How to Build a Girl." She recently confirmed that "Lady Bird" star Beanie Feldstein will play the lead in that bestseller’s film adaptation.

While we’re waiting for that, we can continue to enjoy Tucson comedy's celebratory riffs on a girl’s anatomy.

Mo Urban and Steena Salido present another in their series, C*nts being C*nts Talking About Their C*nts! at 8 p.m., Friday, July 13. The show is 21+ and admission is $5 at Can’s Deli, 340 North 4th Ave. A portion of the proceeds goes to the YWCA of Southern Arizona Project Period, a program that provides sanitary menstrual products to those who can’t afford them. Donations of sanitary products for the program are also welcome.

Standup comedians include imports Amy Blackwell, who performs regularly at the Scottsdale Laugh Factory; Phoenix area favorites Leslie Barton, April Walterscheid and Kerrilynn Gallagher plus Hannah Tighe of Gilbert and Nikki Dinnella of Chandler. Tucson newcomers Chinna Garza and Megan Gossen make their C*nts debut.

Tucson Storyteller Gina Grande Santos and music by DJ Plastic Disease round out the show.

Estrogen Hour Remembers J-Fin

On Sunday, July 15, The Estrogen Hour, launchpad for a dozen or so women now prominent in Tucson comedy, honors one of the funniest, Jennifer Finley, who died last month of cancer.

Organizers Nancy Stanley and Mary Steed launched the Estrogen Hour a decade ago to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. According to Stanley, “We're departing from our usual fundraising to celebrate the life and comedy of our late friend whose candor and creativity made her a crowd favorite.” Proceeds go to Finley’s family to help defray her funeral expenses.

Stanley will host the show, a lineup of top local women comics and one featured “Guestosterone,” Dominic DiTolla. Comedians include Amber Frame; KXCI’s Bridgitte Thum; Cindell Hanson; Edna Meza Aguirre; Jessica Stapp, who also performs with Tucson Improv Movement; Mo Urban and Steena Salido, co-hosts of C*nts being C*nts Talking About Their C*nts!; Noel Hennessey of FST (Female Storytellers); and Suzie Sexton, host of the annual Comedy for Charity show at the Fox Theatre.

The Estrogen Hour takes place at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, July 15 at Laff’s Comedy Caffe. Tickets are $15 and there is a two-item minimum. The show is 21+ All proceeds benefit Finley's family.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Laughing Stock: Marga! Plus Parts and Flowers

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 11:17 AM

Marga Gomez channels her father in Latin Standards Feb. 14 through 18. - MARGA GOMEZ
  • Marga Gomez
  • Marga Gomez channels her father in Latin Standards Feb. 14 through 18.

Marga!

“I grew up thinking I'm an artist because I didn't know any other way,” says actor, stand-up comedian and writer Marga Gomez. “My parents were both creative. All their friends were performing artists, so I was very comfortable in this world.”

Thus did Gomez become a Cuban Liza Minelli, only lesbian, del pueblo and a lot more savvy.

Her mid-century upbringing, although periodically rocky, surrounded Gomez with humor and filled her with drive. Her mother was a professional dancer; her father was a comedian and songwriter, and a producer of popular, Follies-scale variety shows for New York’s large community of Spanish-speaking immigrants. The hustle to stay on top of the entertainment business defined her family.

Between them, her parents have inspired half Gomez’ output of a dozen popular solo stage shows. The latest is Latin Standards, her tale of the father-daughter entertainer dynamic. Its title refers to the genre of her father’s music; “The comedy is a survival tool,” Gomez says. The New York Times named the show a Critic’s pick when it opened last year at The Public Theatre (Hamilton).

Borderlands Theatre presents Gomez performing Latin Standards February 14 through 18 at the Steinfeld Warehouse, 101 West 6th Street. The run opens with a Valentine’s day fiesta, including live music and food. Details and reservations are available at tinyurl.com/LatinStandards.
“I started writing solo shows because my parents were important but forgotten,” Gomez says. “I wanted the Latino community to know about these people and their times.

“At the end of the show, the great thing that people tell me is, even though I'm a Latina, I'm a lesbian, I'm from New York and I'm neurotic, people can totally relate to the father-daughter story, and they see their own father.”

Parts & Flowers

Mo Urban and Steena Salido bring their third C*nts Being C*nts Talking About C*nts Comedy Show to Flycatcher, free, at 9 p.m., Sunday, February 11 (after the Estrogen Hour benefit at Laff’s at 6). C*nts, etc., features seven comedians, including Genevieve Rice from Phoenix; poet Janet Spencer, and the all-woman rawk band, Sugar Stains. The event benefits the YWCA’s Project Period.

For Valentine’s Day, Hotel Congress presents Rebecca Tingley’s talk-show-format comedy show, Let’s Talk About Sex Baby, also featuring Randy Ford and Tammy King. Local comedians play truth or dare and answer audience questions.

Also on Valentine’s day, comedy siren Lisa Landry headlines a show at Laff’s where every woman will get a rose. Visit laffstucson.org for details.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Anti-Racist Protesters Demand Supervisor Miller Resign

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 10:09 AM

About 600 protesters waving familiar posters gathered in front of Pima County’s Administration Building on Tuesday evening: Refugees Welcome, Black Lives Matter, No Human is Illegal. In an age where almost every week, people take to the streets to voice their outrage with the government, people are getting creative. “Dumbledore's Army accepting members” and “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” are a few of the more creative signs.

The focus of Tucsonans Against Racism Protest and Rally was County Supervisor Ally Miller, who announced her white pride on Facebook, only hours after a white supremacist mowed down a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12. For the last week, citizens and fellow board members implored her to apologize for her comments.

And now it seems the time for apologies has passed, at least for the hundreds that gathered on Tucson’s downtown. People want her gone. It was no accident this rally was planned on the day Trump addressed supporters in Phoenix. Inside the Phoenix Convention Center, Trump hinted at pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for illegally continuing racist practices, and Trump decried the “very dishonest media,” blaming them for the backlash to his “many sides” statement following Charlottesville. Outside, thousands protested and were finally dispersed when police set off tear gas into the crowd. In Tucson, people chanted—families with toddlers in strollers, old ladies waving American flags, teenagers standing up for their future.

People of every age, creed and color shouted, “This is what democracy looks like,” and held their signs high as cars passed, honking their approval.


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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Stories Can Change Our World: How Kore Press Keeps Fighting the Good Fight, Despite the Odds

Posted By on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 4:31 PM

Kore Press Grrls: Bowden and three participants from Kore's Grrls' Literary Activism Workshop at Cornel West lecture. - COURTESY KORE PRESS
  • Courtesy Kore Press
  • Kore Press Grrls: Bowden and three participants from Kore's Grrls' Literary Activism Workshop at Cornel West lecture.

The mighty Kore Press is a Tucson-based nonprofit independent publishing house and literary justice organization. For 24 years, the press has worked to ensure that marginalized voices: women, people of color, queer and trans folks, have a forum. Founder Lisa Bowden is trying to raise $20,000 for book printing, publishing staff, anthology editorial/artist fees. The Indiegogo campaign has currently raised 13 percent of its goal. Funding for literary endeavors is never easy, and the odds are stacked. Fewer people are reading books for one thing. That, and Bowden and Kore are publishing voices that’d go unheard into the mainstream.

Creating a people-powered publishing house has become the most sustainable route for extending Kore Press. A significant portion of the budget comes from support by the NEA, NEH and associated funding sources. With NEA and NEH funding on the chopping block in Trump’s 2018 budget, here Bowden opens up about what mainstream publishing is missing today and what we can expect for Kore Press' fall season.
Lisa Bowden. - COURTESY OF KORE PRESS
  • Courtesy of Kore Press
  • Lisa Bowden.


Kore Press has been running since 1993. What made you want to create this press?

After graduating from the UA and working in the Tucson literary community, I wondered why we weren't exposed to more women writers in school, especially when Tucson is so rich with talent. After working for five years with another press learning printing and binding, and acquiring my own equipment, Karen Falkenstrom, Kore Press co-founder, and I discovered we both wanted to make a feminist/social justice impact with the literary arts, and so, Kore Press was born.

The way people consume media has largely shifted to an online format. What is it like running Kore Press in 2017? How has it adapted?
We publish online as well as in print, and have been growing our digital presence as reading, activist and communications culture has shifted. Digital printing allows us to keep producing books in much smaller runs of our titles, which is more economically feasible for small presses.

What does Kore Press look for in a prospective author?
We are focusing in recent years on writers who are interested in experimental forms, or content, that have potential for social impact. We have done, and plan to continue doing, community programming around certain artists or works to create larger public conversations which engage folks in innovative ways.

What is mainstream publishing missing? Why aren’t marginalized groups able to tell their stories in that forum?
Mainstream publishing is commercially driven, market-driven, so, it's missing a lot in terms of diversity. That is and has always been the strength of small presses—to take risks, work with all kinds of writers and voices.

With the proliferation of social media and personal technology, we have experienced a democratization of "publishing"—anyone with access can tell their story, can have an audience. Mainstream publishing, like mainstream media of all kinds, is largely governed by corporate forces, so you tend to see the same issues of systemic racism, sexism, capitalism—intersecting oppressions—that we see in large institutions and governments.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Secret Sisters and Other Indie Heartbreakers

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 9:40 PM

The Secret Sisters play an Americana Ladies Night at SXSW. It's the first time Lydia and Laura Rogers bring their melancholy old-timey ballads to the festival in Austin, Texas. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • The Secret Sisters play an Americana Ladies Night at SXSW. It's the first time Lydia and Laura Rogers bring their melancholy old-timey ballads to the festival in Austin, Texas.

The Secret Sisters are as joyful on stage as their songs are depressing. Laura and Lydia Rogers love the dark days.

“We sell antidepressants at our shows,” Laura jokes on stage at Cooper’s BBQ’s Americana Music Association showcase, which became Americana Ladies’ Night when the organizers realized all their headliners were women.

In front of a brick wall with a neon Budweiser sign over the shape of Texas, the Alabama women sing “Bad Habit,” a song their mother calls “intense.”

The huge head of a longhorn bull looks down on them as they harmonize with a rapturous twang. Over 100 people sit on the floor, fill the tables and stand along the walls. The whole room is silent, enchanted.

Between songs, Lydia tunes her guitar, and Laura chats with the audience, joking and telling stories. Chewing gum, she tells them about meeting the Everly Brothers. Laura says she was so excited, she burst into tears, and they weren’t pretty tears. She looked like she’d “just been born—red and shiny and wet."

The sisters love music from another time, and most of their favorite musicians are dead. It shows in their music—an old-timey feel with a sadness that’s older than they are.

“And now we’re going to segue into happier material by playing a murder ballad,” Laura says. It’s a sequel to their first murder ballad and will be on their next album, “You Don’t Own Me Anymore,” produced by Brandi Carlile and out this summer.

“Don’t tell us if you don’t like it,” Laura tells the audience, laughing. “That’s like telling someone they have an ugly child.”

The women get a lot of their inspiration from failed relationships, which is why Laura hasn’t written a song she likes since she got married to a “redneck from Alabama” last April. So they play the last good song she wrote: “He’s Fine,” about the last man who broke her heart.

Continue reading »

Saturday, January 21, 2017

At least a 1/2 a Million New Friends at the Women's March in DC!

Posted By on Sat, Jan 21, 2017 at 10:00 PM

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Amazing day! We heard there were 500,000-800,000 people joining us at the Women's March on Washington

We apologize for not posting during the day but overall we heard everyone had problems reaching the internet...

Here's our summary of the March on the ground.

Priscilla: Immediately when we reached the Washington Mall area, we saw a lot of people giving their perspective on Donald Trump and how he treats women, especially from all the speakers.

Ella: There was chanting from the crowd with lots of different chants. Chants like: "show me what democracy looks like" and "thank you Obama" and "thank you Michelle."

Priscilla: The weather was dark and in the morning we couldn't see the Washington Monument through the fog. We arrived at the Mall around 8:30 a.m. and stood at 4th and Independence.

Ella: It was humid and damp and our Arizona shoes/feet got cold and chilly.

Priscilla: Ashley Judd was my most memorable speaker. She read a poem from memory. It was inspirational and she said everything from her heart.

Ella: She had such confidence and all agreed it was really passionate. Michael Moore was really funny and was talking a long time and they had to cut him off to get him to stop talking. Everyone agreed that he was talking to us like a friend. He gave us ideas of what we could do, like call our legislators every day for 100 days.

Priscilla: We didn't like getting surrounded by tons of people next to the street and three out of four of us felt like we might pass out. We went up by a building and we met new friends and we played games to relax after the crowd-stress and we waited for the crowd to thin.

Ella: It was cool because so many people felt the same way and the signs inspired me.

Priscilla: Some signs were shocking but still accurate.  

Here are some pictures we took today! We are exhausted from our long day. We had to call to get a ride back to my Uncle's because the subway was sooo full that it stop letting people in. We met a lot of new people today from all over the country! We aren't alone, that's for sure.

We'll post more tomorrow! Thanks for reading about our awesome day.
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Editor's Note: Priscilla and Ella, ages 12 and 9, are Tucsonans traveling to Washington DC for the Women's March on Washington. Ella is a 4th grader and likes playing volleyball, traveling, playing with her cats, and designing clothes. Priscilla is in 7th grade and loves gymnastics and television. The comments section is going to remain closed on their posts.


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