Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Woman Warrior Wednesdays-#2 by Kate Krimson

Wonder Woman-DC Comics-#600

4 stars out of 5

In introduction to this issue, which is entitled “Wonder Woman Can Save the World,” Lynda Carter, the actress who portrayed Wonder Woman on the 1970s TV show, says that it is not Wonder Woman’s outfit or accessories who make her who she is, but her inner self, which represents “the ‘secret self’ inside every woman—the beautiful, unafraid, tenacious and powerful woman we know resides within us.”

The introduction is followed by several story lines and art pieces.

Art Piece #1: Adams Hughes’ drawing of “Wonder Woman,” which follows the introduction, depicts Wonder Woman’s ability to be graceful and tough at the same time. She lifts an elephant over her head without breaking a sweat.

Story Line #1 (“Valedictorian”): Wonder Woman is seen blasting through the air and leading a bunch of superheroes, mainly women, into battle. Her companions include Batwoman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Manhunter, Black Alice, Miss Martian, Ravager, Bulleteer, The Question, and several others. They are fighting cyber-sirens, which are hypnotizing men with their beauty. The fight is taking place near the White House. The battle is won. Wonder Woman leaves to attend the graduation of Vanessa Kapatelis, a close friend. They have taught each other valuable lessons. Wonder Woman taught Vanessa to “Keep faith. Trust to love. Fight with honor. But fight to win.” Vanessa taught Wonder Woman that “love endures” even though “circumstances change.”

Art Piece #2: Nicola Scott and Jason Wright created a shiny and flashy Wonder Woman on top of a pillar with ancient Greek architecture and the sea behind her.

Art Piece #3: Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, and Rob Reis display a Wonder Woman that is much like Donatello’s Judith. She is beautiful and feminine, but also a warrior with her sword raised up. The blood on the sword comes from the chopped off head of Medusa, which has eyes that are scarily still open.

Story Line #2 (“Fuzzy Logic”): Wonder Woman, Power Girl, and Batgirl defeat Chang Tsu, a Humpty Dumpty with a side of robot. Power Girl asks Wonder Woman for advice, which at first sounds like romantic advice, but ends up being advice for pet care.

Art Piece #4: Guillem March’s Wonder Woman brings new meaning to “roll with the punches” since she almost seems like a ball of fists.

Art Piece #5: Greg Horn’s life-like Wonder Woman stands proudly amongst a dark and cloudy landscape.

Art Piece #6: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccelato display Wonder Woman’s Amazonian roots in her fighting in a battle with ancient Greeks and with her arrow-struck shield in hand.

Art Piece #7: Phil Jimenez and Hi-Fi’s work depicts the world that created Wonder Woman as well as the world that Wonder Woman created with her standing proudly in the center.

Story Line #3 (“Fire Power”): Wonder Woman and Superman save people from a plane crash, which was caused by Nikos Aegeus. Nikos is using Zeus’ lightning bolts to cause trouble. He wants $100 million or he’ll do something tragic every hour that he doesn’t have his money. He strikes a train bridge next. Superman manages to stop a train from having a horrible accident on the damaged bridge. Wonder Woman traps Nikos in her lasso. Superman distracts Nikos from cutting the lasso with Vulcan’s knife and during this time Wonder Woman lands the winning punch in Nikos’ face.

Art Piece #8: Jock’s Wonder Woman has a lasso that looks like neon light, but an appearance that seems to say vixen instead of warrior.

Art Piece #9: Shane Davis, Jaime Mendoza, and Nei Ruffino have a Patriotic Wonder Woman whose portrayal could be seen between that of Uncle Sam and Rosie the Riveter. She has the American flag waving in the background, sparkles at her feet, and her lasso in her hand, ready for action.

Story Line #4 (“The Sensational Wonder Woman”): Wonder Woman is seen fighting a battle, while someone discusses what made her who she is.

Story Line #5 (“Odyssey: Prologue-Couture Shock”): Wonder Woman appears in her new outfit that is stylish yet comfy. In the new clothes, she is running down the street and bumps into a bunch of men that want to fight her. She kicks butt and manages to leave a “W” in a bad guy’s forehead. The men have explosive devices attached to their chests and blow up. It appears whatever mission they were on has failed. Wonder Woman decides to go see the oracle, a goth girl who hangs out under a bridge. The oracle reminds her of the home that she is trying to save, which now is nothing but knocked over Greek columns.

The issue ends with Jim Lee and J. Michael Straczynski discussing Wonder Woman’s new look in “Behind the Scenes: The New Costume.” Straczynski gives the best reasoning for the new clothes: Wonder Woman needs clothes that she “can fight in, that add to her presence and her strength and power.” As Lynda Carter reminded us in the introduction, the clothes don’t matter, but the woman does.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Artwalk-July 8th, 5:30-8:30 pm by Kate Krimson

Artwalk, Abilene’s free art experience, will have much to satisfy your eyes and your ears on July 8th.

The new exhibit of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL-102 Cedar) is Golden Kite, Golden Dreams: the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Awards, which will feature art from past winners. Some of the artists whose work will be included in the exhibit are Robert Sabuda (Pop-Up Book Master), Tomie dePaola (writer/illustrator of Strega Nona), and William Joyce (Dino Bob and Rolie Polie Olie creator). Two featured artists, Barbara McClintock and Richard Jesse Watson, will be having a gallery talk during Artwalk at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. There will also be a free art activity.

The Grace Museum (102 Cypress Street) will also have a free art activity, as well as some great exhibits. Yosemite 1938: On the Trail with Ansel Adams and Georgia O'Keeffe is fun exhibit for fans of either artists and lovers of the outdoors. Adams’ photographic genius can be seen all over this fine exhibit. Drawing on the Past: Selections from the Bobbie and John Nau Collection of Texas Art features Texan paintings from private collections.

The Center for Contemporary Arts (220 Cypress Street) will have four new exhibits opening. Guns n’ Rosas, an Eric Villarreal exhibit, explores the different interpretations that children of different cultures have when playing with toys, especially weapon toys (like water guns). The Rosas part of the exhibit is paintings of Chicano women. Jessica Cunningham’s photographs in Ranch Stories depict the everyday occurrences of life on a ranch. Katy Presswood and Carol Mitchell, former art teachers and current members of the Center, display their art in Three Score and Nearly Ten. Dirty Drawers, a group that meets to draw at the Center, will hold their annual exhibit.

Cockerell Galleries & Studios (1133 North 2nd Street) has Jennifer Nieland’s “Art of Romance” in the Main Gallery and many wonderful works by many artists in the studios upstairs.

Music is also around during Artwalk. Trippin’ Blu will be rockin’ Minter Park (the corner of Cypress Street and 2nd St). The Abilene Swing Dance Society will be teaching classes at 8 p.m. in the Windsor Hotel Ballroom (401 Pine Street-2nd floor) for $5. Tony Barker will be performing by the Cockerell Galleries.

Come enjoy the local scene at Artwalk. It’s FREE and FUN.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Woman Warrior Wednesdays #1 by Kate Krimson

Welcome to the first Woman Warrior Wednesdays blog. Every Wednesday the world is flooded with new comic books. On Wednesdays, I will try to review a new comic that is either about a woman or written by a woman or illustrated by a woman in order to bring you a drop from the flood. My first comic book review is on Namora. Hope you like it.

Namora #1-Marvel Comics-$3.99

Stars: 3 out of 5.

Summary (Spoiler Alert):

Namora with the help of a whale saves sailors in a submarine that is running low on oxygen. The whale leads her to an old Atlantean settlement. There she runs into a kraken. She soon finds out that it guards the settlement, when some settlers stop her from fighting the kraken. Namora tries to convince the settlers to move to Oceanus, but they say they cannot go because they grow weak whenever they get to far away from their mineral well.

Inside the well, Namora sees her daughter, Namorita, who she thought was dead. She cannot leave the well or she’ll permanently go away. Namora lost track of her daughter, when Lyrrah trapped her in a tomb for 50 years. Namora was freed by a robot who thought that she must be alive. When Namora was free, she went to look for her daughter and learned that she had been in a town where an explosion had taken place during the civil war and thought she must be dead. Namora leaves Namorita, because she believes that she is just an illusion.

At the bottom of the well, Namora finds a giant kraken. She swims up to tell the Atlanteans what she has discovered. She was able to feel the kraken’s memories. It is what is keeping the Atlanteans from leaving the area. It is trying to recreate a world in which it used to be worshipped.

The smaller kraken that lives above the surface grabs Namora. The Atlanteans can get it to drop her. It has grown too strong. Its power is connected to the larger kraken and its influence. Namora, however, is strong and can breathe air, because of her mother’s side of the family. She carries the kraken up into the air and kills it. The Atlanteans no longer feel controlled by the well. Namora tells them to get ready immediately to leave for Oceanus.

Writer: Jeff Parker

Parker brings the whole world of Namora to life and gives the reader enough information to understand Namora, but the need to know more about her.

Cover Artist: Stephanie Hans

Hans magically encases Namora in water that seems to swim with her body and through her hair.

Pencils: Sara Pichelli

Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Pichelli and Rosenberg depict an amazing fighting woman, especially when Namora bursts through the floor of the submarine and when she kills the kraken. Underwater life is seen in their work on the Atlanteans and their settlement. The blue Atlanteans seem a little too Avatarish, but are still interesting characters. The giant kraken’s appearance automatically horrifies the reader in its great, scary detail, but not Namora.

For more information go to

Monday, June 21, 2010

Our Favorite Feminist Songs

Highly Recommended by Yes Ma'am

Just a Girl by No Doubt

"I like the song because it illustrates how people treat women sort of like children, feeling a need to protect our innocence and prevent us from attaining independence. It attacks the idea that women are less competent than men, and uses tongue-in-cheek language to indicate to the listener that the persona will not tolerate being looked upon as, "just a girl," anymore."-Athena Allred

"Gwen Stefani lists many of the reasons being a girl in this day and age can suck and says in a sarcastic tone “ I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite, so don’t let me have any rights” and states the general feeling of most women: “I’ve had it up to here.”-Kate Krimson

Athena Allred's Favorites

Fighter by Christina Aguilera. This song may or may not necessarily be about people discouraging the singer because of her gender, but it's a powerful song about overcoming what other people think of you and growing stronger through adversity.

Mother of Pearl by Nellie McKay. Nellie McKay simultaneously debunks the idea that, "Feminists don't have a sense of humor," and points out that the issues feminists deal with are not to be taken lightly. It's very cutesy, folksy, innocent sounding music--check out the ukelele-- but it has the powerful message the women are not going to stop fighting for their rights, even if we are told to sit down and shut up.

Woman is the Nigger of the World by John Lennon. Interesting that a man wrote such a powerful song about the way women are treated. It uses strong pejorative language to evoke the right feeling, that women are viewed and treated as less valuable than men, citing specific imagistic examples to support that point.

That I Would be Good by Alanis Morrissette. In this song, Alanis challenges the idea that our intrinsic value as people can somehow be muted or diminished by having traits that society deems undesirable. The "undesirable" things that are listed in the song can have special meaning for women, whose worth is seemingly based on outside opinion. The message is that we are all good and worthy, no matter how imperfect we are.

Precious Things by Tori Amos. As with much of her music, this song of Tori Amos deals with being a female child and what it feels like growing up as a girl. It details an incident when the persona was so desperate for male approval that she thanked a boy for calling her ugly. The song goes on to detail the persona's anger at the boys who placed expectations for femininity and purity on her and all the girls in the world that she saw who were easily fulfilling those expectations without challenging them. However, the point of the song is to let go of these things that we have internalized and that have caused us much harm.

 Kate Krimson's Favorites
You Don’t Own Me by Lesley Gore: Gore tells off the boys by telling them that she is not an object. They can’t control what she says or does, because they don’t own her. She loves being young and free. All she wants is “to live her life the way she wants.”

Too Big for My Skin by Desdamona : Is the ultimate positive body image song. A mother tells her daughter “That her hips, could never be too big” and “That those stretch marks don’t mean a thing.” It’s just her “flesh trying to sing.” The mother says,” And if they tell you you're too big for a woman, tell them you’re just too big for your skin” because “a body just can’t hold all this beauty.”

Can’t Hold Us Down by Christina Aguilera and Lil’ Kim: Addresses some of the double standards that women face: “The guy gets all the glory the more he can score, while the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore” or a woman’s bitch if she “speaks what’s on her mind.” It also tells the boys that think they can hold a woman down that “never can, never will.” It has one simple command for girls who are told to keep quiet: “Shout louder.”

Stupid Girls by Pink: Reminds us that feminism still has a long way to go: “What happened to the dream of a girl president? She’s dancing in the video next to 50 cent.” Pink declares that she doesn’t want girls to do whatever it takes to get a boy or to fit in, she wants to see “outcasts and girls with ambition.”

I am Woman by Helen Reddy: this song is considered by many to be THE feminist anthem and for good reason. Reddy declares women have unlimited capabilities: “ I can do anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.”

Queens of Noise by The Runaways: This rockin’ song by one of the first, if not the first, major all girl rock n’ roll bands shows that girls rock just as hard as boys and reminds them that they are “not just one of their toys” they are in fact the “Queens of Noise.”