What I saw last night, ‘Venus Noire.’ A film about Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman, aka Hottentot Venus. She was the most famous of at least two Khoikhoi women who were exhibited as freak show attractions, exploited, abused and dehumanized, for her physical appearance, notably her large buttocks (steatopygia) and the elongated labia, in 19th century Europe under the name Hottentot Venus. She entertaining people by gyrating her nude buttocks and showing to Europeans what were thought of as highly unusual bodily features.
“Hottentot” as the then-current name for the Khoi people, now considered an offensive term, and “Venus” in reference to the Roman goddess of love. I had dreams/nightmares about the movie. It is just that poignant. I am speechless. This rarely happens. Post to soon follow once the raging machinations of my mind simmers a bit.
The African Diaspora Film Festival ends December 14th and grabs diverse far reaching film art from all ends of the globe as the African Diaspora itself was. Full film schedule here. Watch the ‘Black Venus’ trailer:
It’s nice to be a tourist in a foreign city. It’s way better to get a native feel for the places you visit. Here are a few of my most notable experiences.
Johnnie Fox’s is in Glencullen on top of the Dublin mountains, as stated on their website “Johnnie Fox’s is one of Ireland’s oldest and most famous traditional Irish pubs.” Just getting there was an experience in itself as I felt we were driving completely vertical up the mountain. The sheep that dotted the steep mountains made me laugh. The warm locals and the hospitable Irish family we went with had us laughing even harder. Couldn’t understand most of what they were saying but the Irish were the warmest of the Europeans I have met thus far.
Figueres, is in the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. It is the birthplace of artist Salvador Dali, and houses the Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dalí, a large museum designed by Dalí himself. It is a small old town Spanish locale. Only a couple hours outside Barcelona and accessible by train from Barcelona, it is worth the trip.
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A few practices that I have incorporated into my life to retain peace, and sanity when navigating life amongst annoying human beings.
Stop taking things personal
Not everything is an attack on you. Sometimes the situation that you’re getting upset about actually may have absolutely nothing to do with you. When you stop thinking it’s about you, it’s easier to put things in perspective.
Stop taking things so seriously
Have a sense of humor. Being uptight only hurts you. As with not taking things personal, stop.
Someone makes a snooty remark? Someone trying to start a fight at the club? Someone calling you at the very time you told them NOT to call. Choose to not engage. Don’t respond. Don’t answer the phone. You can do so much more by doing nothing at all. Most times it’s not worth your time, cool or your sanity to respond to every comment, call, or challenge.
Few things, besides chocolate, trump my love for fashion and travel. The two are a hybrid of euphoria for me and alas there is a website that juxtaposes the two for all your traveling intents and purposes. WeareverTheWeather.com shows women what to wear based on the current temperature and precipitation of any city around the world. The fashion and travel blog on the site gives advice on ensembles, lists fashion dos and don’ts for different destinations and delivers concise tips on packing functionally and stylishly.
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The major issue most cite upon learning of my solo travels is safety. But you’re a woman. Traveling solo. Yes and yes, these two facts are irrefutable. There are undeniable safety issues when women travel versus a man. It is a consequence and sad truth of the patriarchal paternalistic world we live in. My goal is to not make you paranoid but rather to instill some safety paranoia-like sensibilities in your travels. Simply by listening to your gut, intuition, good sense and of course me, being a worldly woman will be a bit happier and safer.
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Smiling into the phone when I call
Letting me sleep through our plans because I’m dead dog tired from the workweek
Making me get up to carry out our plans because I slept through them last week
Opening my door
Hanging your mouth in shock at the height of my heels and then…
Rubbing my feet
Reading my blog and never commenting
Restoring peace to the chinese restaurant after my white rice order was messed up
Good night and good morning texts
Helping me move. Twice.
Laughing hysterically with me until my stomach hurts and I can’t breathe or see through my tears
Loverlies, what are some of the little things that never get old to you? Sharing is caring. I’m waiting.
I found ‘em y’all! Yup! I found the culprits! I caught ‘em! I caught ‘em in action! I ran out of the store and into Beeb’s car. He was cracking up. “What’s so funny?” I asked. He pointed at a group of men on the corner. “Them. They’re posted up hollering at every girl that goes by.” We spent the next five minutes parked watching them in action, uproariously laughing and pointing with the window open. If you know me, I have an unapologetically loud laugh. Some of the men saw what we were doing and were shamed into leaving. Others remained to try their luck because they knew just one woman had to respond to their advances. That one woman who let some men think it’s acceptable to “pssssttt” at me on the street. The ones who oblige the demands for a number after the “psssssst.” The ones who engaged in the drama and entertained his calls and left me to ignore him when I lost his number after I said I would and oh yea the ones who cleared their schedule every time he wanted to “chill,” I’m appalled at your behavior. It’s all your fault!
Speaking of chill, going to your home to watch a movie is not a date. No. It’s not. Thanks to you, this fool over here certainly thinks it does. His taken aback look explains it all. You women have agreed to this “date request” and it has worked very well for him over these few years. ‘Til now. Sir, please call me back when you have come up with acceptable date plans. He never called back. He found someone who accepted his original one. So it continues. I’m looking at the woman who doesn’t recognize her worth and settles for the lowest common denominator when she needn’t. Why? Because she has something. The Treasure.
Yea I’m part of the cult practice now. It started out as a Day 30 challenge now it’s spiraling out of control into a 60 Day Challenge and now an actual life integration.
My fitness maniac co-worker invited the staff to participate in a class and I’ve been a believer ever since. She completed 85 consecutive days and I’m trying to get to her level. There have been tremendous benefits that come with my embarking on this life practice. I tried Hatha Yoga. Hated it. I’m partial to high intensity workouts. Tae-bo, boxing, kickboxing, step aerobics, even pilates. I fit right into Bikram. “Bikram yoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional yoga techniques and popularized beginning in the early 1970s. Bikram’s classes run approximately 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F with a humidity of 40%, making it notoriously known as a form of hot yoga.” The class tests your patience, endurance, and mind. It is metaphysical just as much as it is physical. It challenges you on all levels. The heat is not my biggest obstacle. The sweat was just as trivial. My biggest obstacle is quieting my mind. My mind used to race at 100 miles an hour 24/7. Key words “used to.” “When the mind is still, the body follows.” This has been a process for me. “Bikram says emotions are natural, anger, sadness, jealousy, etc. It is not about repressing them because they are natural and God-given but it is about learning and practicing controlling them.” This is a daily practice that I have been growing and progressing in. Among these benefits there have been many more. Muscle toning, definition, deeper flexibility, better rest, less stress, more centered, self-aware at all times, more attuned to my body, better posture and clearer skin. 90 minutes to myself everyday. Priceless.
New York City lawmakers held a hearing on street harassment last Thursday. The Committee on Women’s Issues, chaired by Council member Julissa Ferreras conducted the oversight on street harassment of girls and women in New York City. They heard testimony from women who said men regularly follow them, yell at them and make them feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
Hollaback.org was one of the groups that testified saying too often people think street harassment is the price women pay for living in New York but we’re not buying it, taxes are the price we have to pay for living in New York. There were harrowing testimonies from different panels on harassment, ranging from being followed, yelled at, lewd comments, leers, groped, grabbed, and masturbated on in a crowded train during rush hour.
Continue Reading Street harassment is NOT a rite of passage…
Travel takes some brainpower. From finding flights, to booking hostels and hotels, to finding out less-touristy locales, sometimes is a job in itself. I want to share some of the tricks I have come across in my travel planning.
1. Bargain shop around for flights
Flight prices go up and down. Use sites that search multiple fares for you such as SideStep and Kayak. Check at different times of the day. A flight may be cheaper at three in the morning versus noon. Also if you are a student or “youth” you may be eligible for even deeper discounts on flights, buses and trains at home and abroad. StudentUniverse.com is a great resource for student flying. Flights to London can go as low as $400-$500.
2. Hostels are just as good as a hotels
I’ve my fair share of hosteling and can definitely say some hostels are better than others and some are way better than hotels. I stayed in hostel in Milan that would have put the dungeon in “Saw” to shame but I also stayed in a hostel in Florence that might as well had been a luxury villa! And for a fraction of the price of one. Pick and choose on your hostel search. Read the reviews, look at the pictures and see what looks most comfortable. Some women may be comfortable in all-female hostels, make sure you read all the information thoroughly. Take everything into consideration. Look for opportunities to save money on other endeavors of your travels, such as the option of getting a free or cheap breakfast at the hostel, internet access, proximity to public transportation and city sights. E-mail the hostel with any questions you have before purchasing for further clarification. Keep in mind that cheap hotels do exist as well. A hotel room in Prague can cost just as little as a hostel. Hostelworld and Hostelbookers are a good start.
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