About courtneighs

Student. NYC. Fashion. Broadway. Flim.

Well This Has Been Awkward

This project was so hard to do. It was the end of our class time together which is so sad but it’s also THE MOST AWKWARD thing I have ever had to go through but it had to be done. The two readings that identified most with Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and The Urban Bush Women readings

I think the Felix Gonzalez-Torres reading really applied to our project because it talks about the his works more specifically “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) . This piece of Art consisted of 175 pounds of candy that represented the ideal weight of Felix’s lover Ross as viewers see the piece they are encouraged to take a piece of candy to represent his lovers diminishing weight, while he suffered with an AIDS related illness. In our project we asked all of are participants a few questions that mad them very uncomfortable. Each question was molded and shaped around the person we asked and that really made things get awkward.  Felix’s piece lovers fit with our project because each person we asked questions to got something out of the experiment. After we were done and I saw one of the participants who lived on my floor she asked me how did my project go and she said  even though she was uncomfortable  she liked that the questions made her think about things she usually would not  think about. Much like Felix’s piece, the uncomfortable nature of our experiment allowed someone to take something from it; just like the piece of candy. The other reading that our experiment made me think of was the Urban Bush women readings because they were all about celebrating some uncomfortable.  In a strange way our project did the same thing it highlighted the uncomfortable nature of the questions asked and made people celebrate the fact that some things that we tend not to talk about still need to be discussed. Although the questions were awful we did get a lot of very positive answers. We can celebrate the fact that our generation is moving forward with a fearless and open mind.

Someone I read about that we did not discuss in class was  photographer Diana Arbus. Diana is a photographer that  celebrates the strange qualities in people and highlights the  beauty of them she has said

“Most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience. Freaks          were born with their trauma. They’ve already passed their test in life. They’re  aristocrats”

She decided to celebrate these so called aristocrats because she wanted to force the looker to see things that they would usually turn away from she wanted to accept people to accept people for there flaws.  Our experiment reflects her work because we didn’t allow people to run from the questions they had to answer them, they had to care they were in a way forced to look at a car accident, and I believe our participants couldn’t turn away they felt compelled to look.

In our group project. We collectively thought of the questions and concept. I  interviewed the participants.   I really appreciated this experiment because it opened my eyes to Overall I have really fallen in love with this class we all brough a unique view point to the course and it was the perfect way to being my first semester of collage

Works Cited

Bernstein, Jeanne Wolff. “Unlocking Diane Arbus.” Studies In Gender & Sexuality 8.4                 (2007): 333-336. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

George-Graves, Nadine. Urban Bush Women: Twenty Years of African American DanceTheater, Community Engagement, and Working It Out. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010.Project MUSE. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://muse.jhu.edu/&gt;.

Takano Chambers-Letson, Josh. “Contracting Justice: The Viral Strategy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres.” Criticism 51.4 (2010): 559-87. PFD

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a final thought… for now

If you want the rainbow you have to have the rain. I love the idea of art being a sickness. It supports positive thinking. When we think of art we usually just think of how beautiful the art is and what it means. We rarely understand the pain that the artist has to go through.  We mention it but we don’t understand it because we are not the artist we emphasize but still we don’t understand. There needs yo be note appreciation in the world. When we have a cold the first thing we think of how happy  will be when it’s over. I think more value needs to be placed in waking up in the morning and not waking up and being  happy to grab a cell phone and check our messages. There could be a new connotation to the word because a virus is allowed to contaminate people because of positive interactions: a hug or kiss.  And even though the virus is a critic it is a positive one because good or bad art is being recognized and that is a positive thing. My last note that could never happen unless the world was a Utopia is there should be a kindness virus. The symptoms would be random complements and smiling at strangers.  Just a thought.

The Beauty of Queens

I LOVED OUR FIELD TRIP!I have never been to Queens and quite frankly I was kind of scared to go. Queens isn’t really known for being a great area. I didn’t really know much about Graffiti Art except it was on a lot of trains and it’s usually illegal. My favorite part was 5 Pointz. I. It was honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The color the technique and just the vibe that 5 Pointz gave off just made me happy. It was breathtaking. I also think I liked it because there was a high level off repsepct at 5 Pointz. When Graffiti first came around it was about painting over other peoples people art to show that yours was better. At 5 Pointz all the art seemed to in one way or another mesh together and coexist. It was great to accually see what we had been talking about in Linda’s class for quite some time.……. Also….. we watch 120 of Sodium that was gross  and I still can’t believe it happened like I just can’t. But overall this field trip was a great way to end our class and I’m glad we went out on such a good note.

Urban Life

There were two things that really stood out to me in this weeks readings the “Hair Parties” and the phrase and “People are being validated.” Both of these things have to do with two particular forms of community. The first has to do with the community of black children and I really feel like the second half refers to the same people, but it now focus on them as adults. For me the Hair Parties were all about understanding your own idea of beauty and how  it relates to people in you immediate community. When the girls shouted out words when girls shouted out what they thought was beautiful hair each child had their own idea of what it was those different idea were then discussed. I think that the whole idea of a hair party was to realize that everyone has a different idea of what is beautiful. The main thing to take from the experience  is working on the acceptance  of other peoples ideas in you community from a young age. The second experience was really strange for me to begin reading about because when I first saw It I really hated the idea of a person being validated because a person is a person they should have the idea that they are exceptional human beings for the simple fact that they are human beings.  As I continued reading I started to like the ideas of getting communities involved in positive ways. 

THE CIRCUS IS WOW

The WOW café is a New York City theatre company that started as an international women’s theatre festival in October of 1980. The company grew and slowly became a successful theatre group for all women.  WOW was and is a safe place for all women lesbian or straight, single or married. It is a place to express their theatrical ability while promoting strong opinions of women and setting examples for younger generations.  It is understood the WOW  café theatre could not function as a specific homogeneous community, or rather not a specific one; instead of just having only lesbians or a certain type of lesbian WOW fashioned itself as a community of women trying to do something good for women as a whole. WOW became a safe community of “anything goes” which allowed the women to express themselves freely and fully.

Chapter 4 of Lady Dicks and Lesbian Brothers really capitalizes on the idea of safety. Growing up in Chicago I have always been fully aware of the idea of safety and believe there are truly 3 main types of safety. The first is personal safety like security.  For example, no one wants to be robbed at gunpoint, have their house broken into or fall into another dangerous situation that affects the safety of their well being. The second type of safety is financial safety; everyone seeks the safety of being able to afford the things they need in life. The final type of safety is emotional security meaning having a group of friends and a place where one can feel safe and confortable. The WOW Cafe is just that for the women who decided to participate in any WOW cafe event.  Chapter 4 opens with a quotation from Carole Vance, “…there is no safe place unless we make one” WOW is a place that is made safe by its participants. It is almost like a carnival or circus. As a kid I always thought running away and joining the circus would just be a fun thing to do but the women at WOW realized that running away and joining the hotchpotch circus is something they had to do. WOW is a place of safety for outcasts. WOW is the circus that every woman felling neglected could use in her life. 

            In the popular imagination people who were considered outcasts would running away from home to find the family they never had. Most children at some point in their childhood contemplate running away and joining the circus. The first time I saw a carnival, the first thing I thought of was a carnie or the people that work in the carnival. Why were they there, was this there only home, did they even enjoy their job? Most people who identify with the carnival or circus being home feel they do not have safe family environment at home.  The whole idea is that a carnival is a group of “freaks” (as labeled by society) who come together to make an unconventional family. Or we can look at Jennifer Miller who states, “Circus Amok performances prove that diverse audiences can join us in envisioning a more empowered life of community interaction while enjoying a queer celebratory spectacle.” She wants to show that just because people are different they can still learn from one another, and that idea makes everyone equal.  WOW became that carnival where all different types of women freaks were allowed to be who they are because each person there could learn something from someone else.  All the women became a family that could comfort, grow and learn from one another.

No family is complete without its fair share of drama. I really found the bits discussing WOW’s issues with trying to find equality in the gay community to be interesting.  Women are constantly trying to find equality in a man’s world.  Straight men are allegedly superior to gay men, and lesbian women are seen as lower than them. I really identify with the idea that in society, women will always be viewed as less valuable as men. Here comes the preachy part: no matter what a woman does no matter how well she does, it someone with more authority and power will come along and say that a man could do her job more efficiently because that is just the way the world is conditioned to work.  There is simply a stigma that men can do a woman’s job better and WOW was and still is trying to destroy that idea, and make a place where women could be equal to men. 

The idea of desire is the final thing that really hit home with me. I like the idea that WOW was a place to fill your desires not just sexual ones but anything you wanted. WOW allowed women and others who identified with women to have the chance to fulfill all their desires by allowed the stage to be a medium to freedom. I know when I perform its a freeing experience that I get an adrenaline high from being on stage. The desires of the wow café women could have never been achieved WOW didn’t exist.

Overall the WOW café was the carnival cruise of the 1980’s  literally. It is a place where women who didn’t fit it could escape and try to express them selves freely and comfortably with out being judged or discriminated against. WOW really is the safe place that every person longs for and for the lucky women who were there during the origins of WOW.  It was the safe place they deserved. 

How Fierce is Hip-Hop

Aside

I loved both Articles we read this week. I think I liked them so much because they are completely relatable to each other and to hip hop music today. There is such controversy about gay rappers and female rappers.  And one of the main reasons for this if a girl says some risqué things in her song and asserts her self as a powerful person she is viewed as a vulgar bitch; or she is no longer viewed as feminine.  And if a gay rapper says something about another man he looses his “man card”. Recently Frank Ocean announced he was gay and I think he is one of the few gay rappers who has came out and actually had some positive feed back. There was the speculation that all of his songs were actually about men and that made more gay men listen to Frank Ocean and less straight men like him, but I really agree with the Sisters Spin article that hip-hop is literally like a family reunion. There are tons of different types of people in the hip hop community and it just so happens that gays and female rappers have the relationship that you have with your  cousins. You have tons of inside jokes but you also look out for each other and have a really cool bond.  Female rappers have always had close relationships with gays.  Azealia Banks, just to talk about another female rapper has gone so far to make a whole entire song entitled “Ima Read” where she discusses having a ki ki and reading someone. She also has a song called “ Fierce” where she uses snip its from Franklin Fuentes Where he talks about a ball and being fierce and working it. I personally love the fact that women rappers and gays have this symbiotic relationship hopefully hip-hop will open its doors further so even more types of people will be welcome.

*these songs can be a little vulgar *

Frank Ocean Song that could be about a man

Azelia’s song Fierce 

And this is her song Ima Read  

The Circus is… WOW

     The WOW café is a theatre company that started as an international women’s theatre festival in October of 1980. the company grew and slowly became a successful theatre group for all women.  WOW was and is a safe place for all women lesbian or straight, single or married. It is a place to express their theatrical ability while promoting strong opinions of women and setting examples for younger generations. In Chapter 4 the WOW café’s history is addressed.  It is understood that WOW could not function as a homogeneous community, or rather not a specific one. Instead of just having only lesbians or a certain type of lesbian, WOW became a community of women trying to do something good for women as a whole. WOW became a safe community of “anything goes” which allowed the women to express themselves freely and fully.

     Chapter 4 of the Lady Dicks and Lesbian Brothers really capitalizes on the idea of safety. Growing up in Chicago I have always been fully aware of the idea of safety and believe there are truly 3 main types of safety. Personal safety like security.  For example, no one wants to be robbed at gunpoint, have their house broken into or fall into another dangerous situation that affects the safety of their well being. The second type of safety is financial safety, everyone enjoys the safety of being able to afford the things they need in life. The final type of safety is emotional security meaning having a group of friends and a place where one can feel safe and confortable. The WOW Cafe is just that for the women who decided to participate in any WOW cafe event.  Chapter 4 opens with a quotation from Carole Vance, “…there is no safe place unless we make one.” WOW is a place that is made safe by all who went there. It is almost like a carnival/circus. As a kid I always thought running away and joining the circus would just be a fun thing to do. However, the women at WOW realized that running away and joining the hotchpotch circus was something they had to do. WOW is a place of safety for outcasts. WOW is the circus that every woman feeling neglected could use in her life. 

            WOW is like a carnival/circus. This idea of a circus comes from people who were considered out cast would running away from home to join the circus to find the family they never had. Most children at some point in their childhood contemplate running away and joining the circus. The first time I saw a carnival, the first thing I thought of was a carnie or the people that work in the carnival. Why were they there, was this there only home, did they even enjoy their job? Most people who identify with the carnival or circus being home feel they do not have safe family environment at home. The whole idea is that a carnival is a group of “freaks” (as labeled by society) who come together to make an unconventional family. WOW is definitely a make shift carnival family atmosphere where everyone involved became part of an unconventional family.

Speaking of family, no family is complete without its fair share of drama I really found the bits discussing WOW’s issues with trying to find equally in the gay community to be interesting.  Women are constantly trying to find equality in a man’s world.  Straight men are allegedly superior to gay men, and lesbian women are seen as lower than them. I really identify with the idea that in society, women will always be viewed as less valuable as men. ( here comes the preachy part). No matter what a woman does no matter how well she does ,it someone with more authority and power will come along and say that a man could do her job more efficiently because that is just the way the world a conditioned to work. There is simply a stigma that men can do a woman’s job better and WOW was and still is trying to destroy that idea, and make a place where women could be equal to men.  The idea of desire is the final thing that really hit home with me.

 I like the idea that WOW was a place to fill your desires not just sexual ones but anything you wanted. WOW allowed women and others who identified with women to have the chance to fulfill all their desires by allowed the stage to be a medium to freedom. I know when I perform its a freeing experience that I get an adrenaline high from being on stage. The desires of the wow café women could have never been achieved WOW didn’t exist.

Overall the WOW café was the carnival cruise of the 1980’s  literally. It is a place where women who didn’t fit it could escape and try to express them selves freely and comfortably with out being judged or discriminated against. WOW really is the safe place that every person longs for and for the lucky women who were there during the origins of WOW.  It was the safe place they deserved.