Author Archives: Cathy de la Cruz

Space to Roam: An Interview with Kelly Sears

Kelly Sears is one of my favorite filmmakers. Using animation as her primary medium, Sears animates cut up and collage appropriated imagery focused on American politics and culture to create interventions of the history found within each frame. In New York City this week, where Sears was in town to screen a body of her work at Anthology Film Archives, I had a chance to ask her a few questions.

Kelly Sears

Cathy de la Cruz: How long would you say you’ve been operating at the vanguard of non-commercial cinema? What lead you to begin making experimental moving image work?

Kelly Sears: I saw my first hand cranked 16mm camera at Hampshire College and just thought this little apparatus could do so much, all powered by me cranking it! Movies can be made by large teams – or movies could be made by one person experimenting and asking a lot of questions. It was the first time that making films seemed like something I could do as an individual. This was at the time where digital video was taking hold and it was all about progress and technology. I was really captured by smaller, individual experimental films I was seeing in my classes. I’d loved the abstract films, animations, essayistic work and strange narratives that were screened and I wanted to make all of the above. I also took a video class as Smith College and got my first introduction to feminist moving image communities.

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Rah! Rah! Roundup

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The NYC’s Mayor’s Office launched a #SupportNotShame campaign:

#SupportNotShame

Read how Snapchat is giving a voice to survivors of sexual assault in India.

You want to know how to talk to a woman who’s wearing headphones? YOU DON’T.

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The Strongest Girls in the World: A Review of Wigs

Still image from WIGS

Writer/performer/director/artist/professor, Lindsay Beamish thinks about rooms a lot. Some of her earliest art projects show a fascination with women in abandoned rooms. Ms. Beamish likes to make jokes while alone in her bedroom, and she once locked herself in a motel room in the middle of nowhere Wyoming to write her Master’s thesis, which garnered her the Iron Horse Discovered Voices Award in 2011.

Beamish describes her current project, Wigs as being about “two captured preteen girls locked in a room.” Wigs is a two-woman theatrical piece written, directed and starring Lindsay Beamish and Amanda Vitiello, and is currently showing at the New York International Fringe Festival. The origins of Wigs began with Beamish and Vitiello, in an empty room. According to the Wigs Artist’s Note, with “the impetus of challenging ourselves to work in ways that we hadn’t before; ways that were uncomfortably outside of our typical modes of creating original theater.” Rehearsal for Wigs began with Beamish shouting commands at Vitiello who only brought with her to that initial rehearsal space, The Flo Rida featuring Sia song, “Wild Ones” which is prominently featured in the final piece.

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WEIRD SISTER at NEW YORK CITY POETRY FESTIVAL!

Come say HI to us at NYC Poetry Fest on Govenors Island!

On Saturday 7/30, three amazing poets will be reading as part of the Weird Sister showcase at the New York City Poetry Festival.

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When: 4pm

Where: The Algonquin Stage

Featuring readings by:

Hossannah Asuncion

LaToya Jordan

Caolan Madden

Hosted by Marisa Crawford and Cathy de la Cruz

More info here.

Can’t wait to see you! <3 <3 <3

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They Don’t Really Hate You: An Interview with Anna Drezen and Todd Dakotah Briscoe

Todd Dakotah Briscoe and Anna Drezen both studied theater in college before becoming involved in comedy at UCB. The two now perform sketch and standup comedy regularly around New York City and beyond. Over two and a half years ago, they launched a hilarious website called, How May We Hate You? which was released as a book this week. I recently had a chance to ask the two writers a few questions about the origin of their book debut, their collaborative writing process, class structures in the United States, why not everyone should be a blogger, and other lighthearted matters.

Cathy de la Cruz: When did the two of you know you had to start your website, How May We Hate You?

Todd Dakotah Briscoe: Anna and I started posting guest interactions on our personal pages a year or two before the Tumblr itself launched. The interactions we had with guests were just too bizarre and hilarious to keep to ourselves. These interactions were far more popular than anything else we posted. We could have launched our own separate blogs, but one random summer day, Anna and I decided to meet for a drink at some terrible bar near Union Square to discuss combining forces. I’m so glad we did, because it’s great having twice the stories and another person to help do all of the work. Continue reading

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We Were There: The Period Shop

The Period Shop

Friday, May 13th, 2016

138 5th Avenue, New York, NY

When I was a little girl, there came a point where I was just waiting to hear a person me behind gasp over my first period stain. Even before I started having my period, I knew that it would be something that would be messy and embarrassing. My first period arrived when I was in the privacy of my own home, but I still didn’t want anyone to know about it. Now at age 35, I don’t care who knows I’m on my period and wished everyone felt the same way about what I like to refer to as my lady-time-of-the-month. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, and that’s why I was so excited to see a period pop-up shop.

It’s not that I like capitalism. Trust me, I wish it wasn’t a “shop,” but I do like the point college student Sarah M. was trying to make when she blogged about her idea for the shop, saying that if there can be stores that specialize in different flavors of hot sauce or types of shaving cream for men, why can’t there be a “space where women can feel comfortable, safe, respected and revered while shopping for their period.” The shop succeeded in its mission and it feels worth noting that all proceeds went to Susan’s Place, a transitional residence for homeless women in New York City. Continue reading

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Rah! Rah! Roundup

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“Framing the existence and realities of trans people in this way — as up for debate — is far from innocently provocative. It’s dangerous, specious, and complicit in the spectrum of violence that trans people face every day in this political climate.”–Oliver Bendorf in “Responses from the Trans Community on Daniel Harris and the Antioch Review

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Rah! Rah! Roundup

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“It would be easy to pretend I am just fine with my body as it is–I am a feminist after all and I believe in diverse body types–but then I have to leave my apartment and face the world.”–Roxane Gay on how “by the power of Beyonce,” she’ll overcome her fears.

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“Just as the late David Bowie influenced gender-questioning and queer kids during the height of his career, so did Prince, especially for brown kids who relished being different.” RIP Prince <3

Yes, I have been upset with white supremacy and trans-misogyny and classism within the poetry community too. How I choose to deal with it is by creating space for badass writers of color.” — Christopher Soto AKA Loma

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FUNNY FEMINISM #7: The Sex Drive of a Woman — An Interview with Mary Neely

A regular column, Funny Feminism features conversations with feminist-identifying artists who use humor in their creative work.

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Mary Neely is a (now) 25-year-old actress, writer, feminist, filmmaker, and web-series-creator. She can do it all. Based in Los Angeles, her debut short film, “The Dresser” played at film festivals all over the world. Her web series, Wacko Smacko launched last year, and her first feature screenplay, The Dark Room was nominated for an Academy Nicholl Fellowship. I don’t just get immense joy from watching Mary’s work, I also get inspired just thinking about Mary’s work ethic. Talking to her over the phone for this interview, I caught the sort of infectious enthusiasm she has for filmmaking that made me want to jump on a plane and go and work on one of Mary’s films for free. Mary has a vision, but also the guts to set her vision free into the world. I can’t wait to see what she does next and hope you’ll feel compelled to binge-watch her web series after reading this interview.

Mary

Cathy de la Cruz: I’m wondering if first you could begin by giving me some background on yourself since I don’t really know that much about you. I’ve seen your work, but I don’t know much about you as a person. I’m interested to hear how you describe yourself i.e., do you describe yourself as an artist or as a comedian or as a filmmaker or as a performer? You do so many things.

Mary Neely:  I’m 23, actually 24; I don’t know why I said 23. I feel old, right now. I grew up in Los Angeles, a lot of different parts of L.A. My parents moved around a lot of different neighborhoods, but I was always living in L.A. and I got really really into community theater when I was in elementary school and became obsessed with theater and Broadway and I wanted to move to New York and do acting, like Shakespeare and low-budget plays but I ended up going to UCLA for college and studied acting there.

While I was there I kinda started taking film history classes mainly in Scandinavian film. I got really into Danish films. It kinda became a crazy obsession where I would just be in UCLA’s video archives all the time.

I always primarily thought of myself as an actor and I studied acting and I thought that I would start auditioning as soon as I got out of school, but then I started doing more film stuff with the film students at UCLA and became really obsessed with film in general and I remember having moments on sets where I thought,  “Oh, I could like do that person’s job better than them.” So once I got out of school, I was really disappointed in the kinds of roles I was going out for. I just think there’s a huge problem with the kind of roles that are written for women and for me specifically as a young woman–I was just like, “This is just really depressing,” and I wasn’t really excited about anything so I just decided, “You know, I’m just gonna do it myself.”

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