BlogHer Topic - Arts &amp; Culture - Editor's Picks en EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Chatting with Margaret Cho About Clinton v. Sanders and More <!--paging_filter--><p>Margaret Cho, the multi-talented comedian/actress/author/designer/singer-songwriter, is putting on her standup comedy hat once again.</p> <p>“There’s no ‘I’ in team, but there’s a Cho in The PsyCHO Tour,” is the cheery slogan for Margaret Cho’s current tour, running through November 14 in the U.S., then moving overseas. &nbsp;Topics up for discussion on any night might include women’s rights, sex and sexuality, politics, gun control, and the comedians who inspired her (Robin Williams and Joan Rivers); hopefully she’ll conjure up a visit with her mother as well.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt=”Margaret cho /><em>Image via Margaret Cho © Mary Taylor</em></center></p> <p>As an extra added attraction on this outing, she’s agreed to marry a couple in each city, through her <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">#MarryMeMargaret contest</a>; “Just imagine, by the power vested in me, you as willing participants will have a chance to unite your love officially onstage in front of hundreds of strangers,” she says.</p> <p>I recently had the chance to interview the lady herself to learn more about the tour and to get her take on current events.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong style="line-height: 1.4em;">Q:</strong><span style="line-height: 1.4em;"> What are some of the major themes of The PsyCHO Tour?&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong>Margaret Cho:</strong> Rape, gun control, rage, body sovereignty, how to deal with trolls, how to fight hate with art and not guns.</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong>&nbsp;Anything else we can expect —a musical interlude, like you’ve done on previous tours?<br /><strong>Margaret Cho:&nbsp;</strong>Yes. I will sing my new song “Kill My Rapist,” and my big hit “Fat Pussy”!</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> Do you change/update material during the tour?<br /><strong>Margaret Cho:</strong>&nbsp;Every single day. It's different every performance.</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong>&nbsp;How did you come up with the #MarryMeMargaret idea? How’s it going so far?<br /><strong>Margaret Cho:</strong>&nbsp;I was able to marry LGBT couples in the rotunda of [San Francisco’s] City Hall, which is the site of Harvey Milk's assassination, and when you can go to a place that tragic and do something so beautiful, it’s profound. Not every city has a couple to marry yet, so I encourage everyone to just reach out. I pick the first couple who asks!</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> It’s tiresome to see Planned Parenthood being attacked, yet again. Why in the world is birth control still up for debate, in America, in the 21st century?<br /><strong>Margaret Cho:</strong>&nbsp;Because people believe that women’s bodies are public space. It’s disgusting, and what is sad is that mostly women are attacking me, because I have been very vocal about my support of Planned Parenthood. It’s not a debate. It’s choice. Choice is not debatable. We must have body sovereignty. Our bodies are ours alone.</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong>&nbsp;Some attitudes toward women seem so slow in changing, and I believe you<br />address this in your show; how if a man is strong, he’s “forceful‚” and “shows leadership,” while a woman behaving the same is “bitchy‚” and “pushy.”<br /><strong>Margaret Cho:&nbsp;</strong>Yes, but this is the way that language has supported the patriarchy. The<br />only way to stop this is by mocking it relentlessly instead of just accepting it as a given. Feminism is a constant struggle, but it looks like we are winning the war — especially in comedy!</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> The presidential race — so many things to talk about. I thought Trump would’ve flamed out by now. What do you think explains his appeal?<br /><strong>Margaret Cho:</strong>&nbsp;I don't know, but he is revolting, especially in the way he sexualizes his daughter and says he would date her if he could. Gross. Who does he think he is? Woody Allen?</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong>&nbsp;I’ve often thought our first female president might well be a conservative, in the mold of Margaret Thatcher. Your thoughts?<br /><strong>Margaret Cho:</strong>&nbsp;Oh no — I am really hoping that is not going to happen! That is scary!</p> <p><center><img src="" alt=”Margaret cho /><em>Image via Margaret Cho © Mary Taylor</em></center></p> <p><strong>Q:</strong>&nbsp;What are your thoughts on the other GOP candidates? Any early guesses on who might secure the nomination?<br /><strong>Margaret Cho:</strong>&nbsp;They’re all fucked. And if one of them gets elected, we are fucked. <br /> <br /><strong>Q:</strong>&nbsp;Will it be as much fun critiquing the Democratic candidates? Are you supporting one of the candidates now?<br /><strong>Margaret Cho:</strong>&nbsp;I am a longtime fan and friend of Hillary Clinton, but I have decided to endorse Bernie Sanders - I #feelthebern. It would be great if they could run together, that is my hope.</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong>&nbsp;Any debate drinking games you can share?<br /><strong>Margaret Cho:&nbsp;</strong>Oh no — I couldn't!!!! I would throw up!!!! I hate drinking games. <br /> <br /><strong>Q:</strong> Any ideas how to address the gun violence issue in this country? Why, in America, is the immediate response to another shooting “We need more guns!” You’ve traveled abroad a lot; don’t other countries think we’re insane on this issue?</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p><span><strong>Margaret Cho:</strong>&nbsp;</span>We need to stop killing each other over our beliefs and put the guns down and fight for real — with art, debate, intelligence. People call me a baby killer (I am not — George Zimmerman — that’s a baby killer). I would never be so cowardly as to spill blood. I have come to murder ignorance.</p> <p>More about Margaret's tour, #MarryMeMargaret and other current projects can be found <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">on her website</a>&nbsp;or on <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Twitter.</a></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Arts & Culture Entertainment Fri, 30 Oct 2015 15:53:30 +0000 Gillian G. Gaar 2220784 at Discover the Seductive Charm of 60s Pop Icon Françoise Hardy <!--paging_filter--><p>I discovered Françoise Hardy through the world of Scopitones. Back in the day, I was given a private screening of a Scopitone program a local theater owner was putting on, in the hopes I’d write something about the event. Scopitone films were forerunners of music videos, short films featuring a musical performance that you viewed on a jukebox-type machine called a Scoptione. They were most popular during the 1960s, and the films veered toward kitsch, with their bright primary colors and the camera’s tendency to position itself to better highlight the female dancers’ bustlines.</p> <p>Then came “Tous les Garçons et les Filles” (“All the Boys and the Girls”) by someone called Françoise Hardy. </p> <p><center><img src="" alt=”Françoise hardy album cover via light in the attic records /><em>Image: Sony</em></center></p> <p>She looked serious, and melancholy, and, unlike the decorative eye candy behind her who stood braving the blasts of wind that was blew their skirts up into the air, she was sensibly attired in a snug brown coat. She gazed straight into the camera without smiling, and though you couldn’t understand the lyrics, you knew they were sad. And for years, that was all I knew about her.</p> <p><center><iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center></p> <p>Though acclaimed in France (“Tous les Garçons” sold over two million copies), Hardy remained filed under “cult artist” in the U.S. She made a few fleeting appearances in American movies, and Wes Anderson used her song “Les Temps de L’amour” in <em>Moonrise Kingdom</em> (2012) as a sign of his hipster credibility. Now she’s being reintroduced to the U.S. via the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">reissue of her first five albums </a>(Tour les Garçons, Le Premier Bonheur du Jour, Mon Amie la Rose, L’amité, and La Maison au J’ai Grandi), on both vinyl, and for the first time in America, on CD, in luscious mono.</p> <p>The cover of Hardy’s first album, released in 1962 and compiled from the three EPs she’d released that year, instantly showed how very different she was. Female pop singers of the pre-Beatles era looked back to the ’50s more than they anticipated the ’60s; think of the full skirts and well-coifed hair of girl groups like the Shirelles and the Chiffons. Hardy had the kind of look that was classic and timeless; windswept hair, little makeup, an unadorned black top and brown suede jacket, and that frank, uncompromising stare.</p> <p><center><iframe width="420" height="236" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center></p> <p>Even more unusually, Hardy wrote her own songs. Though her record company tried to launch her career by pushing her cover of Bobby Lee Trammell’s “Oh Oh Chéri,” a light pop treat, it was her broodier material that attracted attention — “existential pop,” as Kieron Tyler writes in the liner notes of Tous les Garçons. Consider the first album’s closing track, “C’est a L’amour auquel Je Pense” (“It’s love, I Think”), a mediation on the fleeting nature of romance: “The man she sings of declares his love for her, but the next day when he says it again, it’s not the same. She realizes love only exists in dreams when he leaves her for another girl and concludes, ‘I am nothing.’” These are songs that share the same shade of sophisticated darkness as “Norwegian Wood;” folk-based, but tied to a pop hook, and a disturbing lyrical undercurrent.</p> <p>She soon began recording in London, where her songs were given better arrangements; a pre-Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page may have been one of the studio musicians (no clear records for sessions were kept).</p> <p>The mid-’60s was the perfect time to be in Swinging London if you were young, a pop star, and sporting the latest French fashions. Hardy appeared on hip music shows like Ready Steady Go! and was seen in the company of Mick Jagger and George Harrison.&nbsp;She was unimpressed with Bob Dylan, who namechecked her on the back cover of his Another Side of Bob Dylan album, and made a clumsy pass for her after a Paris show, saying of their meeting, “He was so pale and thin he looked like he was about to drop dead.”</p> <p>She recorded in other languages, but came across the best when she was singing in French; just compared her warm, compelling performance of “Mon Amie la Rose” (“My Friend the Rose”) with her rather stilted appearance on Hullabaloo of “The Boy from Ipanema.” Hardy had to believe in what she singing, believe in the emotion she was trying to convey. She couldn’t fit into any kind of ready made, pre-packaged slot for “girl singers.”</p> <p><center><iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center></p> <p>In just a few years, she decided she was tired of the music industry game. “Little by little, I had enough of the things I was being made to do, the things I was ashamed of,” she said. “I didn’t like recording my own songs adapted into other languages, too. I always detested being photographed. I’d had enough of what other people wanted me to do.”</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p>Hardy didn’t become a recluse; she continued to record, and has written two autobiographies. Walking away from the spotlight before it consumes you is a brave thing to do. But it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that really knew Françoise Hardy. Of more importance than fame, than fortune, than being acclaimed this month’s Next Big Thing was her determination to do things her way.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Arts & Culture Music Pop Culture Entertainment Tue, 20 Oct 2015 15:37:50 +0000 Gillian G. Gaar 2209447 at The Problem with Hollywood Father Figures <!--paging_filter--><p>There is nothing quite like a good dad.</p> <p>We are interested in their stories, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">praise their body type</a>, sing their praises in cheesy Instagram posts on their very own national holiday, and even use the term as a term of endearment for our favorite celebrities (dad AF, amiright?).</p> <p>Some of the nation’s most beloved men are dads and traditional “family men.” From TV characters, to their real-life personas, to our politicians, we can’t get enough of sweet and wholesome father figures. In fact, many male political figures play up their roles as fathers, like President Obama playfully telling his kids to go to bed during speeches and famously promising them a puppy if he wins, or Bobby Jindal’s “secret camera” declaration to his kids that he is running for president.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt=”Bob saget on full house” /></center></p> <p>But in the past few decades, we’ve also seen people eat up the ideas of these very same family men that we loved falling very far from grace. In the past few years, we’ve seen the crumbling of the wholesome and family-friendly Duggar empire by the admission of Josh Duggar (now a dad) as a perpetrator of a sexual assault when he was younger, which was covered up by his dad, Jim Bob Duggar. We’ve seen John Edwards, who fathered an illegitimate child while his wife was battling cancer. And, of course, we’ve seen perhaps one of the most iconic father figures, Bill Cosby, be accused of rape by dozens of women over the span of decades.</p> <p>Plenty of ordinary people go through crime, drug, sex, and other scandals every day, but for some reason, for these wholesome family men, it is all the more shocking. Take the Cosby scandal for instance. When it first broke (well, the most recent break of it, brought on when Hannibal Buress’s stand-up routine went viral), people got extremely defensive. This wasn’t just the usual “innocent until proven guilty” mentality that normally accompanies rape allegations. This was an anger and a disgust by many fans of Cosby who not only saw him as an iconic actor, but as a father figure who raised them via his portrayal of Cliff Huxtable on <em>The Cosby Show.</em> He was the goofy dad, wearing sweaters and pushing JELL-O&nbsp;pudding pops, so how could he possibly do this?</p> <p>Once more and more of the survivors of Cosby’s alleged assaults came out, along with a damming deposition, more and more die-hard supporters of Cosby had to face the cold hard fact that not only do dads make mistakes; it’s becoming more and more of a trend.</p> <p>So why does this happen? Why do these men play up these innocent stereotypes in the day, only to <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">brand themselves “Carlos Danger”</a> online and whip out their dicks online for women who are young enough to be their daughters?</p> <p>Well, part of it has a lot, in my opinion, to do with exactly that dichotomy. For as sex-crazed as our culture is, we don’t have a lot of conversations about, well, sex. And healthy sex at that. We don’t see these family men as sexual human beings who most likely had sex with their wives at some point (most do have kids, after all). Expressing this sexuality could risk their careers and chances at political office. These men become a weird mix of childlike and elderly in our eyes, with the playfulness of a toddler and the sex appeal of your grandpa. We don’t allow them to be fully formed human beings because, thanks to our good friend the patriarchy, male sexuality skews as predatory. And, unfortunately, that’s exactly what plays out behind closed doors in some of these situations.</p> <p>As anyone who has ever kept a secret knows, things can escalate pretty quickly. Some of these men may have been content with the occasional extramarital tryst that could be extinguished rather quickly. But these men were overworked, narcissistic (they’re politicians and actors, so…), rich, attractive, powerful and bored, and sexual desire turned predatory and evolved into full-out affairs, serial rapes, and criminal activity.</p> <p>That’s not to say that they’re not to blame for their behavior. In the case of Josh Duggar, he was a child molester long before his days of fame, and extreme privilege doesn’t make everyone become an embezzler. There are certainly famous men known for being scummy (Scott Disick keeps coming to mind) and we all know that the trope of the uncaring, masculine douchebag is alive and well. But, for one reason or another, some men just don’t fit into that role. Take for example, Bob Saget.</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><p>Saget, while not a criminal or known rapist like many mentioned above, got his title as a “family man” stamped on him pretty early in his career. He played clean-freak Danny Tanner on <em>Full House,</em> a show known for its squeaky clean image. But, in his stand-up routines, Saget is crude and vulgar, and he has experimented with drugs. Still, he has been branded with the “dad” label forevermore.</p> <p>And while some of these men, like Saget, &nbsp;can’t control their images or actively rebel against them, many have carefully crafted this idea of the “family man” because in Hollywood, on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill, everyone needs a label. And, like many dads I’m sure we all know personally, not all dads are good.</p> <p>When you’re a parent, your child sees you as a savior, as perfect, as a role model. They don’t imagine you complexly or see your flaws. When you’re a parent figure to thousands of people, the same thing can happen. And when you’re a flawed person to begin with, that kind of blind love can be very appealing and very addicting.</p> <p>So there’s an incentive to keep up this squeaky clean image, especially if you’re a politician, in which your family is toted around like an accessory. Dads are nice and sweet and stern but never sexual and most certainly never criminal so even if you’re a pervert or kind-of a criminal, it can be appealing to cash in on this idea that is the father figure.</p> <p>At the end of the day, father figures (actual fathers or not) are at their core, men. And men, despite all evidence to the contrary, are human. And as humans, they are going to screw up and though it may be difficult, it is our job to call them on it.</p> <p>While we may feel this love and affection and kinship towards them, it’s important to remember that they are not our fathers, they are not our family and when they do heinous shit, we have to resist the urge to defend them as such and be there for the people they have wronged.</p> <p>Bill Cosby’s survivors don’t have the name recognition like he does, every woman who Alec Baldwin harassed publicly will eventually have their voices silenced by the next big headline, and countless other people affected by these men’s actions have to bear the weight of other peoples’ affection for these men. And they know that. That’s why we have to be there for those people, because countless others are going to defend the dads.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Kristin </a>for <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Literally, Darling</a></p> <p>Read this and more at <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Literally, Darling</a>!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other Stuff You'll Love:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">The Trouble with the Dadbod Trend</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Why My Dad Is My Hero</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">"Mitt" Shows the Likable Man Behind Campaign</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Arts & Culture Movies & Television Entertainment Bill Cosby father figure hollywood Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:29:10 +0000 Literally Darling 2156609 at