Women Of Particular Interest This Week – From Portland to New York to Egypt to Sundance

via decor8blog.com ‘ Woman in Portland loses job, converts double decker bus into fabu vintage shop.’

via mediabistro – the description of Tracy Reese’s coming Fashion Week Presentation. Something about a scarf-cape and rich metallic hues. I just came from Zara where cheap flimsy crapola abounds but I did like the copper bronzey dusty leather sateen madmax meets elegance that they’re copying from some zeitgeist somewhere else. This sounds like the kind of thing I imagined it could all be pointing toward. Like you’re wearing a brass sculpture turned to liquid.


Women in Egypt — From a video of the ‘Bravest Girl in Egypt’ leading a kick-ass call and response chant showing she’s not afraid, to a call to arms from a 26 year old daring men to join them in the streets, this is a great round-up of the impact women are having there. What’s really been driven home for me is how condescending western women (and men) are about women in predominantly Muslim countries. We think because a woman on the other side of the world wears a head scarf or burka that they are not strong, that we are stronger. What a mistake. We can not impose our interpretation of them on them. We don’t have the vantage point. You know what else we don’t have? Humility. It’s not in our culture to be humble. Especially Americans. Looking at these women really solidifies the point. These women putting honor first are a force to be reckoned with. There are countless examples in the Middle East and all over the Muslim world of this kind of soul-strong intelligence and raw guts.

Sundance is over and I was scouting around for news about how the women-folk fared. Pretty good it turns out but of course it’s still a struggle. Cathy Schulman, the new president of Women In Film (and producer of one of my favorite films, Crash) was quoted in The New York Times as saying that women have to think about both ‘show’ and ‘business’ – not just make intelligent risk-taking smart films but also make movies that are commercially viable, more of a sure thing at the box office.

Schulman’s making a good point in a lot of obvious ways – but it also reminds me of women of the eighties in their ‘power suits’. Maybe we can change what is commercially viable by our contribution, not just mold ourselves to fit what’s selling. it’s a positive side effect of our harder battle that for the most part, women and minorities can’t just coast their way to the top without bothering to notice that what we’re making is vacuous. We are conscious of our struggle upward which is our blessing as it is our curse. Because we have to work that much harder, we put that much more of ourselves into our projects and the creative choices we make. We want to do our best work, make the most of our shot out there because it is harder to come by. Instead of resorting to formula, I do believe we can make audiences stretch and come to good work.

Women and men who make work that is innovative, contributive, new, valuable can instead hire better marketers to draw the public in and make them feel welcome in new territory. The marketing methodology has to be more adroitly executed and commensurate with the work. I wrote a novel and I’m struggling like hell to write a simple synopsis. My book, I am certain, has the makings of a commercial success but it is also literary fiction and it is non formulaic and more discursive than a straight narrative story. There is nothing tried and true – so the trick is in making the marketing hook simple and enticing enough to get readers in the door – and then before they know it, they are being challenged and enlightened and treated to something they’ve never seen or heard before without ever knowing what hit them. The marketing has to be as scintillating as the piece without over-burdening the recipient with every nook and cranny before they’ve committed. At the same time, we need a voice like Schulman’s to tell us to think from a wider angle lens; perhaps consider doing the commercial with flair and the nuanced with full-throttle personal conviction.

Have a great weekend.


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3 Responses to “Women Of Particular Interest This Week – From Portland to New York to Egypt to Sundance”
  1. 03.11.2011

    The double-decker vintage shop is in PORTLAND, Oregon, USA, not in Poland.

    • chaunceyzalkin

      ! I knew that. It’s that darn letter P. (; Portand / Poland. Very different! My apologies.

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