swaldman: A cute fluffy sheep curled up dreaming of Dreamwidth. Labelled "Simon: Bodger". (dw-dev)
[personal profile] swaldman posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
So my pull request re posting notifications of new Dreamwidth entries to Twitter got reviewed, and has comments that need to be addressed. However, I don't have time or headspace to devote to DW dev work at the moment, so if this is going to make it in before it bitrots completely, it would probably be best if somebody else took it on. This leads to two questions,
  1. Anybody want to take this on? I think it's mostly there, but needs tweaking as per comments. And probably some fairly thorough re-testing, since things may have changed with Twitter and Net::Twitter since I wrote it 18 months ago.
  2. More generally, what should I do in this scenario? Is there some way in which I can unassign myself from the PR? (I'm not sure that there even is an Issue to unassign myself from; I did this work while we were in bugzilla)

Candidacy Deadline Extended

Sep. 29th, 2014 05:01 pm
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Posted by Kiri Van Santen


Banner by Diane of a 3 line checkbox with the choices 'OTW', 'Elections News' and a checkmark next to 'Make your voice heard'

Elections Committee is happy to report that 3 candidates have so far come forward to declare candidacy for the Board of Directors.

However, since that means we have the same number of candidates as open seats on the Board, we have extended the deadline by one week. The new deadline for declaring candidacy is October 3, 2014.

We will be announcing the names of all candidates once this extended deadline is past. If, by the end of October 3, no new candidates have come forward, the election will not be contested.

News topic tags: 
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Posted by Arturo

By Arturo R. García

It was perhaps inevitable that Sebastian del Amo’s Cantinflas would fit Charlie Chaplin into the proceedings. Much like Richard Attenborough before him, del Amo finds himself needing to make room for not just a performer, but a singular persona.

And there are moments when it feels like a more introspective film wants to burst through amid the usual hagiography. But a few choices do make this take on Mario Moreno and his life’s work more interesting than the trailer would have you believe.

SPOILERS under the cut

The film’s biggest asset, thankfully, is Óscar Jaenada in the title role. It might seem scandalous for Jaenada, a Spaniard, to inhabit the role of Mexico’s signature comedic character. But as both Morenos and Cantinflas, he buoys the film adroitly enough to placate concerns.

Crucially, Jaenada manages to recreate the signature rhythm of Cantinflas’ verbal riffing, though the film chalks his discovering his voice up to an encounter, perhaps apocryphal, with a heckler during one of his first monologues. Once his act was fully developed, Moreno made it plausible that his lovable underdog persona was able to dominate rooms full of people, like this one in El Super Sabio:

The film leaps ahead in time in large part because its centerpiece — Moreno’s appearance in Around The World in 80 Days — takes place after Moreno has established himself as a labor activist and entrepreneur on top of his success as an actor.

Moreno’s inclusion is framed as the linchpin to Around The World being made, since he confirms his involvement alongside a literally from-out-of-nowhere Frank Sinatra, and their participation, it seems, entices Elizabeth Taylor (Barbara Mori — how’s that for a racebend?) to sign on.

But the decision is also positioned as his first step toward redemption after cheating on his wife Valentina (Ilsa Saenz) and allowing the Cantinflas brand to go from representing Mexico’s lower socioeconomic classes to making money off of them, as shown rather pointedly in a scene where celebrities attend the lush unveiling of a mural honoring the character, while the poor people he’s supposed to represent strain for a peek from outside the hall.

Óscar Jaenada as Mario Moreno as Cantinflas in “Cantinflas.”

It makes for a feel-good ending and a statement of balance between Moreno’s life and his work: we see him win the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical (this really happened) and announce that he’s both leaving Hollywood and adopting a child with Valentina. One of these statements is true: the couple did adopt a child, one he conceived with another woman. But they did remain together until she died in 1966.

In real life, however, Moreno didn’t immediately stop attempting to crack the U.S. market. Despite being warned not to do his schtick in English, Moreno attempted to do just that in 1957 with his second American feature, Pepe:

Unfortunately, not even appearances by Sinatra and Judy Garland, on top of a second Golden Globe nomination, could make Pepe a hit. Three years later, he appeared as the mystery guest on What’s My Line?:

The film has already been selected as the Mexican entry into next year’s Academy Awards, but as things stand, two factors hurt its chances: besides the historical omissions, del Amo and co-writer Edui Tijerina come up short in showing us Moreno in action as the fully-developed Cantinflas. We get snippets of directors learning to adjust (or else) to his verbal performances, but unfortunately, the only glimpse of him as a physical presence comes during the end credits, when Jaenada does his version of the eponymous sequence from El Bolero De Raquel. As he does throughout the movie, Jaenada does justice to the original, seen here:

We also don’t get any inkling of why U.S. stars like Sinatra and Taylor would hitch their wagon on Moreno’s talents, or why Chaplin would vouch for him to Around The World producer Michael Todd (Michael Imperioli, bravely battling both studio politics and an unflattering wig).

Showing Moreno gain credibility with “bigger” American performers would have fit in nicely with the narrative of the brand overtaking the man. And perhaps more importantly for Academy voters, the extra time could have helped del Amo present this story as the kind of epic a performer of Moreno’s stature deserves. After all, if Attenborough’s biography of Chaplin biography could command 143 minutes, why limit Cantinflas to 102?

The post Funny Business: The Racialicious Review of Cantinflas appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

bruce of the citydwellers

Sep. 29th, 2014 11:58 am
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September 29th, 2014next

September 29th, 2014: I have been writing some short walkthroughs for various parts of To Be or Not To Be. Here's one and here's the other!

– Ryan

OTW Fannews: Caution, Advice Ahead

Sep. 28th, 2014 04:13 pm
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Posted by Janita Burgess


OTW Fannews Caution Advice Ahead

  • Advice columnist Prudie from Slate reassured a mother who discovered her 13-year-old daughter reading "fan fiction for a very popular all boy band which describes in explicit detail sex acts between the male band members." (One guess?) In her response, Prudie reminisced on her own illicit Playboy reading as an adolescent and suggested that the mother address the issue but understand she can't police everything. "Your discovery is the kind of thing that does call for a talk," she wrote, "but first you have to both gather yourself and find your sense of humor." She finished by speculating that "the writers of this series didn't think their most avid fans would be teenage girls!"
  • Of course, not all advice is always well understood. Writer Michelle R. Wood discussed her discovery of the OTW's mission to protect and preserve fanworks but stated, "It's important to remember that technically, all of this work is still illegal. Without authorization from the author, publisher, or studio, a fan work is still in violation of copyright." In fact, as the OTW's Legal Advocacy project often explains, fanworks are creative and transformative, which are core fair uses.
  • Then there's also advice that isn't advice at all, such as a post in The Guardian that raised the hackles of some fanfic writers. Its author later apologized, saying "Piece was meant to be quite tongue in cheek, but as we've presented it as a 'how to' that could be misleading. I know fanfic is a big universe, and people do it for all sorts of reasons, inspired by a ton of different ideas. I love that it exists and as far as I'm concerned the more people that are writing stories the better. Sorry to offend!"

Have words of wisdom for other fanfic readers and writers? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
The workflow given in http://wiki.dreamwidth.net/wiki/index.php/Routing_and_Template_Cookbook:_BML_Conversion_Workflow doesn't indicate what to do when you find yourself in the presence of a widget, like for htdocs/support/submit.bml. Some questions an addition could cover:
- Can/Should I use the widget itself directly in a controller?
- Which parts of the widget need to go where?
- When is it safe to get rid of the widget itself? (eg, how do I know it's not used anywhere else)

I probably forgot some questions/issues. Discuss here and I'll try to summarize to the wiki?
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Posted by Jennifer Rose Hale


Image of male and female icons with text OTW Fannews Putting Out a Welcome Mat

  • At Suvudu, Matt Staggs urged fans to be more welcoming to others. "The first thing that those of us who have identified as geeks or nerds need to accept is that there’s nothing marginal about our interests anymore. Liking comic books, games, collecting action figures doesn’t make me or you or anyone else part of a subculture. Far from it, as a matter of fact: It’s all mainstream. Want proof? Go ask your parents or grandparents if they know what Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead are. Face it: Like the Borg always threatened (the ‘rents probably know about them, too!), we’ve been assimilated."
  • At The Houston Press, Chris Lane was more specific about who should be welcomed. "I personally feel that many of the classic comic mythologies are at least partially to blame. Most of the Silver Age comics that still seem to steer comic fandom's boat started out as wish fulfillment fantasies for powerless teenaged boys. There's a deeply rooted idea that a formerly weak and ostracized protagonist can earn the romantic attention of the girl he wants if he just is heroic enough, in essence 'earning' her affection. The problem is, real women and real romance don't work like that. It's why being a woman's close friend doesn't ensure that the friendship will ever blossom into romance. I think a lot of men have a serious problem understanding that, and accepting that scenario when they encounter it."
  • There are certainly many fans who continue to believe that tests of fannishness are a standard feature of fandom, but at Blackgate Sean McLachlan pointed out why excluding people is not the way to go. "Having celebrated my 45th birthday at this year’s Worldcon, I’m old enough to have seen a lot of these controversies, and they seem to be getting uglier. As women, gays, and ethnic minorities ask for real equality instead of just window dressing, the pushback is getting more venomous. A lot of white guys who claim they’re all for equality get downright nasty when they’re told to actually treat people as equals. This is only making the activists more committed. They say that as female, gay, or black fans, it’s up to them to make the community more equitable. They’re wrong. It’s up to us — straight white men like you and me. We’re the problem, so we need to be the solution."
  • Knowledge at Wharton posted a podcast with Mallika Dutt, who uses pop culture to defeat gender inequality. "I’ve found that using culture to change culture is an effective way of engaging people.  When I say 'using culture,' that includes social media, television, radio, print, short animations, documentaries, street theater, traditional theater and comic books. We’re not focused on one form of storytelling. We use all storytelling forms to bring people into the conversation. Media, arts and technology have been crucial to Breakthrough’s work. We’ve created several multimedia campaigns, three music videos, three video games and multiple documentaries."

How welcoming have the fandoms you've taken part in been? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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Posted by Arturo

By Arturo R. García

Aside from addressing many of the questions posed in last year’s finale, Scandal‘s season premiere focused on two more: Who is Olivia Pope without her Associates? And does she even want to be Olivia Pope anymore?

SPOILERS under the cut

Given the circumstances, the elegiac tone permeating “Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia” was appropriate, and possibly cathartic for the cast on some level. There was a “case of the week,” sort of — more on that in a second — but the centerpiece of the episode was the erstwhile Gladiators forcing themselves to reunite for Harrison’s funeral. Given Columbus Short’s real-life actions, this was not unexpected:

Jake (Scott Foley) knows what’s coming once Olivia (Kerry Washington) returns to D.C.

OK, so it wasn’t the first scene, but certainly the most important. The news that Harrison was indeed killed at the hands of B613 is enough to shake Olivia out of a life of island bliss as “Julia Baker” with poor genre-savvy Jake, who knows what will happen as soon as she gets a whiff of life in Washington again.

While Olivia is reacquainting herself with her old identity, most of the rest of her team has been trying to develop new ones: while Quinn seems to enjoy her post-Charlie life, Huck has resigned himself to life as “Randy the Smart Guy,” and Abby has found her attempt to be the Grant administration’s new Olivia (uh, in a professional capacity) blunted; not only is Abby not the new Olivia, she’s not even “Abby.”

The redefined balance between Abby and Olivia will no doubt be a focus of the upcoming year. As will the return of the Olitz teases, and the eventual return of Maya, and Charlie, and the question of what David will do with the scaaaary B613 files. But here’s the biggest question for the show after a slow-burn start: are viewers still interested in following this journey, or will How To Get Away With Murder steal Scandal‘s thunder?

Abby (Darby Stanchfield) isn’t Olivia’s No. 2 anymore.

Scandalous Notions

  • A Republican arguing for equal pay? And this show’s not on Syfy?
  • So what does Jake do for a job now? It’s not like Rowan is going to hire him back … or is he?
  • Ominous Words, Part I: “Get some power and use it.” You sure you want to say that to an ex-partner who now has the goods on the whole government?
  • Ominous Words, Part II: “When you see her, you will tell me.” Who knows how many thinkpieces are about to be devoted to Mellie’s mental condition, but the old Whedonista in me heard this and thought: From beneath you, it devours. The implications look rather similar at this point.
  • Always good to see Portia de Rossi. Here’s to hoping “Lizzy Bear” and Olivia cross swords sooner rather than later.
  • As things stand, Olivia doesn’t get a very varied skillset with just Huck and Quinn back on the team. So let’s have some fun: which actors would you like to see emerge as Harrison and Abby 2.0?

The post Funeral For A Gladiator: The Racialicious Review of Scandal 4.1 appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

At least it's not next week

Sep. 26th, 2014 08:24 am
yvi: Scully in foreground, Mulder in background (X-Files - Mulder & Scully)
[personal profile] yvi
Sick at home since yesterday. Headache, sniffles, alternating feeling hot and cold (but no fever). Meh.

But at least this isn't happening next week. Only 10 more days until Seattle and California, oh my...

Speaking of which, there was a mild fuck up where we accidentally booked our rental car to be returned at Los Angeles instead of Las Vegas, but after some brave phone calls by the husband that has been changed.

By the way, anyone want to meet up in either Seattle (October 7 or 8) or San Francisco (evening of October 9, October 10 and 11)? I can't promise anything yet because of course I have to check with the husband, but I think it would be nice to meet someone if there's a chance.
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Posted by Kendra James

Gotta catch ‘em all– the history nerd’s pokemon

By Kendra James

Like most of my friends in elementary school, I was obsessed with The American Girl dolls and books The dolls lacked comprehensive diversity back then, in that they had one single doll of colour until 1997. I owned Felicity Merriman, a white girl who lived in colonial Williamsburg, but received Addy Walker, a former slave who escapes from the South into Philadelphia, soon after she debuted in 1993. As per my mother’s rule, I read all six of Addy’s books before being gifted the doll. But unlike Felicity’s, I didn’t often revisit them for pleasure. In my constant search for American historical fiction with protagonists of colour written for young readers, I often come across the same problem I did when I was younger: it’s all really depressing.

Addy Walker’s story begins in Meet Addy while she’s still enslaved, and I have vivid memories of one paragraph where her overseer forces her to eat tobacco leaf worms. If you had asked me, when I was younger, to state a fact about Harriet Tubman I would have told you about the time her mistress threw a porcelain sugar bowl at her head. Meanwhile, Felicity’s biggest worry in life in Meet Felicity was saving a horse. My favourite young adult historical fiction author, Ann Rinaldi, wrote stories that spanned across races, but her romantic stories about southern belles and women of the revolutionary war were always more fun to read than her sanitised retellings of the Jeffersons and the Hemmings or Sioux boarding schools.

In pre-Mattel age when the American Girl Doll franchise was still owned and partially run by Pleasant Rowland and her Pleasant Company, I devoured their 90 page novels about young girls scattered throughout various points of American history. Back then they were a genuinely decent source of early education and introduction into various facets of American history for an 8 year old girl. I credit the dolls and their books for the love of middle and young adult historical-fiction I took into my adult life, but that doesn’t mean they were all fun.

Maybe I fixated on strange things when I was younger, but it was always the worst elements of these books, American Girls and others, that stuck with me, and I get the feeling that’s not the experience for the little girls with a wider variety of characters who look like them to choose from.

White characters not only get a wider variety of books to choose from, but books in a wider variety of settings. Characters of colour in American hist-fic tend to exist strictly within certain boundaries of time or not at all. African-Americans exist within the boundaries of slavery, the Jim Crow South, or the Civil Rights movement. Native Americans exist in the mythical west until about 1870 or so, Asian-Americans exist during World War 2, only in the west (and only from Eastern countries), and I had to reach out to our followers to fill in the gaps my childhood reading material left when it came to Latin@s.

These stories need to be told, of course. Diverse literature for young readers is extremely important. The world needs YA literature about Japanese Internment during the Second World War, but they shouldn’t be the only books Japanese-American children get to see themselves reflected in. This isn’t to encourage the erasure or minimalisation of the realities that people of colour have historically faced, but rather a desire for authors and publishers to realise that all of us existed in America outside the times of our most publicised oppressions. And that, even during the most difficult times, we still had lives that didn’t necessarily completely revolve around the overhead political themes of the day.

With that in mind, and because I’m 26 year old woman who still reads almost exclusively YA and middle grade fiction, I’ve compiled a list (that is by no means complete) of historical fiction with POC characters that might allow young and middle adult readers to have a little more fun with their reading escapism.

American Fairy Trilogy, by Sara Zettel: Having received an advanced copy of Dust Girl, the first book in this series, from Random House, I set it into my ‘Donate’ pile because neither the jacket flap or cover read as interesting to me. Callie, the book’s main protagonist, is a mixed race girl living with her mother in the middle of the Kansas dust bowl during The Great Depression. Not only is she mixed race (a white passing mixed race Black girl whose hair is a dead giveaway), she’s also half-faerie. Now, only one of those things was obvious from the cover or the description of the first book, and I’ll let you guess which one that was. It wasn’t until the publisher sent the third book in the series that I peered at the cover and wondered to myself, “is this series about a Black girl?”

After a quick Google to confirm my suspicions I started the series and couldn’t put it down. Callie’s story goes from the Kansas dust bowl to the golden age of Hollywood, and out into jazz age Chicago as she searches for her father who’s been kidnapped by the Unseelie Fae. Actor Paul Robeson is a significant minor character, topics like minstrelsy, interracial relationships, and passing are discussed, the fantasy world is well constructed, and the fifteen year old characters act like fifteen year old characters.

Lesson learned: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: I haven’t gotten to Aristotle and Dante myself and would normally be hard pressed to consider a book set in 1987 to be historical fiction (I am not that old, thank you). But rave reviews from friends and suggestions from our readers prompted me to include it here. It’s described as a gay coming of age novel, one that doesn’t seem to have a dedicated plot, but instead tracks an evolving friendship between two boys in Texas.

From the official summary: “Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.”

The Diviners, by Libba Bray: Plucky girl psychic Evie O’Neill is the main character in Bray’s book, but much like in her last YA historical fantasy series, A Great And Terrible Beauty, she rounds of her cast of paranormally gifted main characters with an MOC, Memphis, a healer, and his younger brother Isaiah, a prophet. Both live in Harlem in the height of the renaissance. The Diviner’s greatest flaw is an annoying protagonist whose attitude and overuse of 1920s slang I never could quite accept. The rest of it — a richly painted New York City that ranges the backstages of Broadway theatres to the abandoned mansions of Harlem, a plot filled with magic and murder, and a fun cast of supporting characters– makes that one flaw an easy enough one to overlook.

More than just long, this is a densely written book, with a lot of vivid detail for those of us really looking for the ‘historical’ in historical fiction. Some much younger readers may be turned off by how long it takes to get through a chapter, but for the rest I encourage you read it before the sequel comes out in 2015.

…And Now Miguel, by Joseph Krumgold: I include this book with a caveat– it was written in 1953, based off a movie of the same name. While I remember enjoying it when I was younger, I don’t remember clearly whether or not it is written in a style that may reflect attitudes and language of of the 1950s.

That said, this is definitely a book for younger readers. Mexican-American Miguel lives in New Mexico with his shepherding family and wants to go with the men in his family on their annual herding trip up the mountain. He prays to his town’s patron saint to allow him to go, and his wish comes true, but at a cost. His older brother is drafted into service for World War Two, and so Miguel has to go on the herding trip in his place. It’s an easy ready with an easy, obvious moral for younger readers: Be careful what you wish for.

If I Ever Get Out Of Here, by Eric Gansworth: These days I don’t read many books with male protagonists (I know, I know– a misandrist to the end), but Gansworth’s book tells the story of two teenage boys (one Native American and one white) bonding over rock n’ roll in upstate New York in 1975. Given my love of 1970s rock I am, at the very least, intrigued enough to include it here. The summary reads:

Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he’s not used to is white people being nice to him — people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family’s poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan’s side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis’s home — will he still be his friend?”

A Spy in the House, by Y.S. Lee: I’d hand this book to the teenager that’s already devoured the BBC’s Sherlock and/or loves Elementary. Taking place in Victorian London, Lee’s book is a slight departure from the rest of the list. Mary Quinn is an Asian-Irish orphan saved from the gallows by a school that specialises in training women spies. Her first mission has her going undercover as a lady’s maid in a London to discover the whereabouts of stolen goods from India. Her work leads not only to her first successful mission, but the unlocking of her past.

Keisha Discovers Harlem (The Magic Attic Club), by Zoe Lewis: The Magic Attic Club books were similar to the American Girl Doll franchise, but existed at a slightly lower price point. The books revolved around a group of girls who discovered a steamer trunk of clothing and a magic, time traveling mirror in a friends’ house. This was not the world’s best series (there’s a reason the company folded in 2007 while American Girl lives on), but Keisha got to do a lot, and they tended to have a lighter tone than the AGD books, while still being equally as informative.

Flygirl, by Sherri Smith: This one is downloading onto my kindle as we speak. Elementary School Me was obsessed with World War Two and plowed through books like When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Summer of My German Soldier, Number The Stars, Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, and several others. Like school curriculum, much of YA discourse focuses on the Holocaust and the European Theater. Literature about the American side of the war is heavily focused on white protagonists, with Under The Blood Red Sun and The Bracelet(a picture book) being the two Asian-American focused stories that stick out from childhood.

Flygirl is about a mixed race girl named Ida who lives in Louisiana during the war. Her father was a pilot and all she wants to do is sign up for the Women Airforce Service Pilots. She could do so by passing as white, but has to consider what that means for her family, life, and identity. This is potentially heavy material, but I’m recommending it solely because this is exactly the kind of book I would have been looking for back in the fourth or fifth grade.

Mare’s War, by Tanita Davis: The same goes for Mare’s War, another book I haven’t read, but will since it’s about Black women serving in the Women’s Army Corps (something I still imagine myself doing). The summary reads as follows:

Meet Mare, a grandmother with flair and a fascinating past.

Octavia and Tali are dreading the road trip their parents are forcing them to take with their grandmother over the summer. After all, Mare isn’t your typical grandmother. She drives a red sports car, wears stiletto shoes, flippy wigs, and push-up bras, and insists that she’s too young to be called Grandma. But somewhere on the road, Octavia and Tali discover there’s more to Mare than what you see. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less-than-perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American battalion of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.

Told in alternating chapters, half of which follow Mare through her experiences as a WAC member and half of which follow Mare and her granddaughters on the road in the present day, this novel introduces a larger-than-life character who will stay with readers long after they finish reading.”

Bud Not Buddy & The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis: Two books mired within the Great Depression with two equally spunky child characters searching for their fathers. I haven’t read Bud since middle school, but I’ve yet to ever go wrong recommending Curtis, a Coretta Scott King and Newbery Award winning author.



The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman: Another caveat: I haven’t read this one yet, and it’s only caught my eye because it deals with Chinese organised crime in the 1920s. Your 9th grader probably shouldn’t be watching Boardwalk Empire, but in case they do and they’d like a different take on organised crime during the same era, here we go. The summary:

Seventeen-year-old Jade Moon was born in 1906, the year of the Fire Horse, an ominous sign for Chinese girls. It signals willfulness, stubbornness, and impetuousness, all characteristics that embarrass her father and grandfather and cause derision and cruelty by her too-small village. So when Sterling Promise, a long-lost adopted cousin, appears and proposes she immigrate to America using false “paper son” papers, Jade Moon and her father agree to the plan. Jade Moon views this offer as escape and freedom; her father as the only opportunity to marry off his undesirable daughter. The interminable boat ride—and even more onerous imprisonment off California’s Angel Island—finally transitions to her treacherous entry into America. Jade Moon’s disguise as a young man and her homelessness pave the way for her involvement with the tong, a Chinese organized crime syndicate, and breathtaking danger at every turn.”


As I noted, this is by no means a complete list. Think of it as a jumping off point, rather than a comprehensive study guide. Here’s hoping it’s somewhat helpful to those of you looking to supply young readers (or yourselves) with some happier reading memories.


The post #WeNeedDiverseBooks: Historical Fiction and Making Reading Fun appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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September 25th, 2014next

September 25th, 2014: YOU GUYS, Todd emailed me to let me know we all forgot to change the footer here to the summer version, and now it's fall! And yes I absolutely said "we all" there as a way of diffusing blame across every single person who reads this comic. Anyway, it's too late for summer, but just in time for fall, so that's what we've got now. It's a really pretty fall scene that you can see if you scroll down to the very bottom of this page on a non-mobile device, THE END.

– Ryan

OTW Fannews: Defending Porn

Sep. 24th, 2014 04:01 pm
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Posted by Kiri Van Santen


graphic by James Baxter featuring two men kissing

  • io9 shared a slam poem by Brenna Twohy to explain why people love erotic fanfic. "Twohy's message here is a clear and powerful one as she juxtaposes Harry Potter-themed pornography with more mainstream pornography—and how important (and valuable) it is to many consumers of erotic fan fiction that the sex is just one part of a larger story and that they know the personalities, names, and faces behind the genitals."
  • Carolyn Cox at The Mary Sue reviewed porn parodies of Doctor Who and more. "From what I’ve seen of Woodrocket, their adult films do have some similarity to slashfic in that the writers are cognizant of a fandom’s politics and pet peeves. That’s not always the case for porn parodies...there are a lot of ways to get your rocks off on this strange little world of ours, and if any of those ways for you involve certain characters or pop culture entitties (halp!), Wood Rocket likely won’t offend your politics or your fan sensibilities."
  • Hollywood may already be taking note of what The Telegraph discusses about women's interest in gay porn. "That ability to connect seems vital to the legion of women engaging with gay porn. Because they're not just watching it. They're writing it, talking about it - and even directing it. Dore, who has been directing porn for ten years and calls herself a feminist, identifies this new confidence in women's porn-viewing habits as political...“Women have a right to explore their sexuality in the same way that men do,” she adds... But, it's important to consider whether we're just turning the male gaze in on itself. Are women becoming the oppressor instead of the oppressed? Are we just fetishising another marginalised community?"

How is erotica used in your fandom? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.


Must Read: Guernica’s take on Class

Sep. 24th, 2014 02:00 pm
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Posted by Latoya Peterson

From Guernica

From Guernica

Guernica, the magazine of arts and culture, dedicated their latest special issue to the class divide. But, as most of us reading this blog know, race and class are not so easily separated. And in spite people online and in activist circles arguing that the social issue of our time is no longer race, only looking at one issue in a vacuum means that our proposed solutions to societal ills will always feel incomplete.

Two essays in the issue beautifully and painfully explain the paradigm Patricia Hill Collins outlined in Black Feminist Thought. Race, class, and gender are interlocking systems of oppression:

Viewing relations of domination for Black women for any given sociohistorical context as being structured via a system of interlocking race, class, and gender oppression expands the focus of analysis from merely describing the similarities and differences distinguishing these systems of oppression and focuses greater attention on how they interconnect. Assuming that each system needs the others in order to function creates a distinct theoretical stance that stimulates the rethinking of basic social science concepts.

The first piece is Margo Jefferson’s “Scenes from a Life in Negroland.” A sample:

We thought of ourselves as the Third Race, poised between the masses of Negroes and all classes of Caucasians. Like the Third Eye, the Third Race possessed a wisdom, intuition, and enlightened knowledge the other two races lacked. Its members had education, ambition, sophistication, and standardized verbal dexterity.

—If, as was said, too many of us ached, longed, strove to be be be be White White White White WHITE;

—If (as was said) many us boasted overmuch of the blood des blancs which for centuries had found blatant or surreptitious ways to flow, course, and trickle tepidly through our veins;

—If we placed too high a value on the looks, manners, and morals of the Anglo-Saxon…

…White people did too. They wanted to believe they were the best any civilization could produce. They wanted to be white just as much as we did. They worked just as hard at it. They failed just as often. But they could pass so no one objected.

“Negroland” is a complex, complicated piece. As I read I was turned off, infuriated, dismayed, delighted, aghast, and provoked enough to blast it out to my network and solicit more opinions. I suggest reading, sitting with it for a while, and sorting out your feelings a bit later.

Familiar in a different way is “Ghosts in the Land of Plenty.” Luis Alberto Urrea opens:

Why don’t we stop lying? Why don’t we deal with reality? Race is easy—class is hard. That politically incorrect, Mexican-excoriating bastard Edward Abbey told the truth: “The conservatives love their cheap labor; the liberals love their cheap cause. (Neither group, you will notice, ever invites the immigrants to move into their homes. Not into their homes!)” Immigration is so last century. But “illegal” immigration is still paranoiacally embraced in this country as a race issue. The “browning” of pristine white America. (Sorry, Crazy Horse.) Among my sisters and brothers bussing your lunch table, however, you will never see an Octavio Paz or the Mexican consul general of Dallas. You will see people of the lower class, running for their lives. Immigration was and is a class issue. Invisible people escape doom to serve us as extra-invisible people, made more invisible by language, skin color, and class. You can’t multiply a zero, but somehow they manage to become doubly nothing in the Land of Plenty.

I am an invisible man who refused to disappear.

Pointing a righteous pistol at the various liberal industries cropping up around aiding the poor, the brown, and the marginalized, Urrea dances through his narrative, occasionally turning his rhetorical barrel on himself. Read it, for nothing else but this:

See how we’re helping? We hugged an African-American on camera! They put these pictures up on social media so other well-meaning folks will send them more money. A year later, those kids wake up one day and ask, “What happened to those rich folks with the big program?” I know because I have been asked this question.

How can you hope to help someone whose humanity you don’t fully recognize?

The post Must Read: Guernica’s take on Class appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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September 24th, 2014next

September 24th, 2014: YOU GUYS, Todd emailed me to let me know we all forgot to change the footer here to the summer version, and now it's fall! And yes I absolutely said "we all" there as a way of diffusing blame across every single person who reads this comic. Anyway, it's too late for summer, but just in time for fall, so that's what we've got now. It's a really pretty fall scene that you can see if you scroll down to the very bottom of this page on a non-mobile device, THE END.

– Ryan

Who is Lucy Flores?

Sep. 23rd, 2014 02:00 pm
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Posted by Latoya Peterson

Midterms are coming.

Also known as the election years that most people don’t pay attention to, the midterm elections have an enormous impact on the lives of day to day people. Voter turnout tends to drop, but major political machinations happen while the sitting President is still in office.

This month, long time friend of the blog Rebecca Traister wrote a stunning profile of candidate Lucy Flores for Elle Magazine. Flores, the Democratic hopeful for Lieutenant Governor of Nevada decimates other political origin stories – she’s Mexican-American, one of 13 siblings, the child of immigrants, and former gang member. She turned her life around, started at community college, became a lawyer, and decided to run for office. She’s unapologetically pro-choice (and one of the rare candidates that will share her own story.) Domestic violence shaped her world – and her life experiences lead to a very pro-populist platform.

But what really gives Flores’ story bite is her unique position in politics – not only who she is, but what she represents for the Democratic party:

When a governor steps down in the state [of Nevada], the lieutenant governor, who’s not necessarily of the same party, assumes the post. Nevada’s current governor is the immensely popular Republican Brian Sandoval, whom Politico Magazine dubbed “The Man Who Keeps Harry Reid Up at Night.” That’s because many believe he’ll challenge the majority leader for his Senate seat in 2016, if, that is, the person who’d take his place is a fellow Republican: Flores’ opponent Mark Hutchison. Which makes Flores, to use Politico-speak, “The Woman Who Could Save Harry Reid’s Hide—and Keep the Senate in Democratic Hands.”

Go read it. Read it all.

The post Who is Lucy Flores? appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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Posted by Kendra James

An entirely accurate summation.

An entirely accurate summation.

By Kendra James

Gotham 1×01 was not a good hour of television.

I am 99.9% sure that, looking through completely objective and non-nostalgia tinted lenses (she says, unconvincingly), that the Birds of Prey pilot from 2002 was better than the pilot FOX served up last night. Unlike my beloved BoP, the Jim-Gordon-cum-Gotham-City origin story is about two white men and thus Gotham will most likely get more than 13 episodes to try and be great.

“Try” being the key word.

Normally I would attempt to find some beacon of hope mired deep in the muck of a pilot, but Gotham is a show that sounds like its using a comic book script for its dialogue –and no, it’s not a Greg Rucka script– and looks like at least 30 minutes of it was shot through a sepia tinted instagram filter. While envisioning characters’ dialogue appearing in speech bubbles above their heads, trying to be obligatorily impressed when familiar face appeared every ten minutes(“Hey, look, Poison Ivy! ”/ “Cool, it’s the Riddler!” / “Oh boy, Penguin!”), and watching the woman playing Jim Gordon’s fiancee ‘act’, I realised I’m not convinced that this show is ever going to be good.

Instead of grasping at straws to call this a win, lets just quickly list the great things Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) did last night:

Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney

– Despite her name (and the fact that she’s wearing a wig) Fish  is not about getting her hair wet, and she’s got white men in her employ to make sure it doesn’t happen. In this new Bat-verse where everyone is connected, a young Penguin (Robin Taylor) is in charge of keeping Fish’s hair laid while she beats her employees with a baseball bat in the rain. Penguin’s murmured , “Sorry,” for failing to keep an umbrella over her head results in, “If you let this hair go frizzy you will be.”

– Fish also has the future Penguin rub her bare feet while she auditions an amateur standup comic in her club (“Look, guys! I bet they want us to think it’s The Joker!”). This is before she orders Jim Gordon to shoot him in the back and dump him in the river for betraying her to the GCPD earlier in the episode. This was not a good pilot, but so many on twitter seemed to agree: we were all happy to see Jada Pinkett Smith kicking ass, taking names, (adjusting her wig after both), and dominating the men who attempted to get in her way.

–  We have no definitive proof, but it sure did sound like some of Smith’s line delivery was inspired by the late Eartha Kitt, the first Black Catwoman on the 1960s Batman TV show.

– Above all, Fish was introduced with more personality and outright motivation than either of the two white male stars of the show Jim Gordon or his partner, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). This could be because Gordon and Bullock are long established characters in the DC Universe, and between the comics and recent Nolan films, the writers are expecting viewers to come in with some prior knowledge. Smith, on the other hand, is originating the role of Fish Mooney. The focus on her character may peter out in subsequent episodes, but it was nice to see Smith handed something meaty to work with in the pilot episode.

(And it’s worth pointing out that women criminals who originate on Bat-verse shows have a history of going places.)

– Renee Montoya didn’t do much this week, but comic book fans (and everyone else) were probably able to pick up on the sledgehammer of a hint concerning her sexuality and her possible past relationship with Gordon’s fiancee. I was surprised there; we live in a world where fans have to fight NBC for John Constantine’s bisexuality and cigarettes (guess which fight they won), so I wouldn’t have been shocked to see Montoya’s lesbian relationships pushed to the side. Still, the way this pilot went? They’ll have to call me back when they introduce Kate Kane.


Being a seasoned expert of the medium, I understand that you generally can’t judge a show by a bad pilot. Gotham will get another episode or two from me to improve, but life is too short and Gotham Academy is coming out too soon  for me to waste time in a subpar Bat-scape. All I can do is encourage those of you who came to Gotham for the WOC to also give the CW’s The Flash pilot, and Candace Patton’s Iris West, an equal chance.

(Spoiler Alert: It’s better. It’s so much better.)

The post Recap: We’re Gonna Have to Live Through At Least Two Seasons of This; Gotham, Pilot appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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September 23rd, 2014next

September 23rd, 2014: YOU GUYS, Todd emailed me to let me know we all forgot to change the footer here to the summer version, and now it's fall! And yes I absolutely said "we all" there as a way of diffusing blame across every single person who reads this comic. Anyway, it's too late for summer, but just in time for fall, so that's what we've got now. It's a really pretty fall scene that you can see if you scroll down to the very bottom of this page on a non-mobile device, THE END.

– Ryan


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