Tuesday, 20 November 2018

The Freedom Rally Reception at Burt Lancaster's Home

"The summer of 1963 saw an upsurge of Hollywood engagement in the movement, as more A-list stars, such as Paul Newman and Marlon Brando, proved their willingness to organize on their own risk controversy while doing so. The examples set by the Leading Six, as well as King's first visit to Los Angeles in June 1963, motivated them. Newman agreed to speak at a Rally for Freedom celebrating King's leadership at Birmingham, and a reception at Burt Lancaster's home with about 250 guests followed. Newman and Brando proved the top donors and soon went to Gadsden, Alabama, in an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate between city officials and civil rights activists."
Raymond (2017)



Above: Fundraiser at Burt Lancaster’s home. Left to right: Tony Franciosa (face cut off), Ralph Abernathy, Paul Newman, Polly Bergan, Joanne Woodward, King, Celes King III (behind Davis), Sammy Davis, Marlon Brando, Lloyd Bridges (partial photo.) 1963

 

Above: Rev. Ralph Abernathy (co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference) speaking at the reception after the Freedom Rally at the home of Burt Lancaster. Present are Dr. King, Marlon Brando, Atty. Jack Tenner, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, and Gilbert Lindsay. Los Angeles. 1963.



Above: Speaking at the reception after Freedom Rally is the famed actor Marlon Brando. The reception was held in the home of Burt Lancaster, with 250 people in attendance. During the reception Martin Luther King Jr. said, “You can help us in Birmingham by getting rid of segregation in Los Angeles.” Overall Freedom Rally generated $75,000: $35,000 at rally, $20,000 at Burt Lancaster’s home and $20,000 pledged by Sammy Davis Jr. 1963

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- Raymond, E. (2017). No on 14. In: B. J. Schulman & J. E. Zelizer (eds.) Media Nation: The Political History of News in Modern America
- photographs and their descriptions via and via and via

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Keep up with the house while you keep down your weight.

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image via

Monday, 12 November 2018

If Your Mate's Acting Differently, Ask Twice

Time to change is "a growing movement of people changing how we all think and act about mental health problems." Most of the people with mental health issues say that they are misunderstood by family members, ignored by friends, colleagues and health professionals, and treated badly by neighbours. As both stigma and discrimination prevent those affected from seeking help (which again has a negative impact on their lives as isolation and unemployment may result) (via), the campaign "Ask Twice" encourages people to be there when a friend needs support and to listen to them as "sometimes humans say they are fine when they are not".


Saturday, 10 November 2018

European Balcony Project

"Today, at 4pm on the 10th of November 2018, 100 years after the end of WWI, which laid waste European civilization for decades, we are not only recalling history; we are taking our future into our own hands.



It is time to turn the promise inherent in Europe into a reality and to remind ourselves of the founding ideas behind the project of European integration.
We declare that everyone present at this moment in Europe is a citizen of the European Republic. We acknowledge and accept our responsibility for the common heritage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we pledge finally to make it into a reality.
(...) Because Europe means unifying people (...)
The European Republic is founded upon the principle of universal political equality irrespective of nationality and social or ethnic background. The constituent elements of the European Republic are the European cities and regions. The time has come for Europe’s cultural diversity to express itself within a framework of political unity."

(Manifesto for the theatre event "Proclamation of a European Republic via)
For the first time in European history, citizens all over the continent will gather at a single moment in time – 10th of November at 4 p.m. – to spark a broad debate about European democracy and what it means to be European citizens. From theatres, balconies and public spaces all over Europe, artists and citizens will proclaim a European Republic, discuss, and pave the way for the emancipatory claim of citizens’ equality beyond the nation-state. The European Balcony Project was initiated by the European Democracy Lab and realized with the support of numerous citizens across Europe. (literally via)
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photograph of Sophia Loren on a balcony via

Friday, 9 November 2018

Born this day ... Dorothy Dandridge

"Dorothy Dandridge was a fighter. Growing up in The Depression and making her way through Hollywood in the ’40s, she encountered resistance — to her skin color, to her refusal to play demeaning roles — at every turn. She was assailed in the press for dating white men, and blamed herself for her husband’s philandering and her daughter’s brain damage. Nearly every societal convention was against her."
the hairpin



Dorothy Jean Dandridge (1922-1965) was a US-American actress, singer, and dancer, the first black woman featured on the cover of Life, and the first black American nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress (for a leading role) (via). While her mother, Ruby Dandridge, played stereotypical "Mammy" roles, Dorothy was told to be too pretty to play a servant. At the beginning, the fact that "she didn't look like the traditionally cast African American actors" was a barrier to her career (Murgia, 2018). Dorothy Dandridge became the ultimate metaphor of the "tragic mulatto" (Hall, 2008).
Later, the civil rights movement helped her become more and more accepted and popular (Murgia, 2018)
African American visibility as more than just an uneducated, undesirable entity in the eyes of white America was being challenged by an actor who wanted to step out of an archaic stereotype and system. She was a bridge that transitioned pigeon-holed views about African Americans, however, her role was complex, and her self-awareness made that a difficult connection to maintain. Her features and lighter skin tone would bring colorism or a caste system to the forefront in both negative and positive ways, or as she called it, her 'fortune or misfortune.' She was a beauty icon, opening doors for people of color to be more desirable, actually moving within white society circles with ease, but would create a limbo for less-exotic-looking blacks who weren't seen as attractive by white society. (Murgia, 2018)



Dandridge had relationships with white men - actors and her director Otto Preminger - at a time, the Motion Picture Production Code banned romantic relationships between black and white actors on screen (Murgia, 2018).
She wanted strong leading roles, but found her opportunities limited because of her race. According to The New York Times, Dandridge once said, "If I were Betty Grable, I could capture the world." Belafonte also addressed this issue, noting that his former co-star "was the right person in the right place at the wrong time."
With Hollywood filmmakers unable to create a suitable role for the light-skinned Dandridge, they soon reverted to subtly prejudiced visions of interracial romance. She appeared in several poorly received racially and sexually charged dramas, including Island in the Sun (1957), also starring Belafonte and Joan Fontaine, and Tamango (1958), in which she plays the mistress of the captain of a slave ship.
Among the missed opportunities from this period, Dandridge turned down the supporting role of Tuptim in The King and I (1956), because she refused to play a slave. It was rumored that she would play Billie Holliday in a film version of the jazz singer's autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, but it never panned out. (...)
While making Carmen Jones, Dandridge became involved in an affair with the film's director, Otto Preminger, who also directed Porgy and Bess. Their interracial romance, as well as Dandridge's relationships with other white lovers, was frowned upon, particularly by other African-American members of the Hollywood filmmaking community. (via)
It's a story of a life wasted as we see her determination swayed by society and the social norms of the time, as well as a mismanaged career. Her place in cinematic history is still relevant as the struggle for visible minority representation continues in the boardrooms of high-powered film executives today. Murgia (2018)
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- Hall, R. E. (2008). Racism in the 21st Century. An Empirical Analysis of Skin Color. New York: Springer Science + Business Media
- Murgia, S. J. (2018). The Encyclopedia of Racism in American Films. Lanham, Boulder, New York & London: Rowman & Littlefield.
photographs via and via and via

Monday, 5 November 2018

Dance! Skin Tone and the Balanchine Body

Black dancers are often labelled and typecast "in pieces that require extreme athleticism as opposed to classical lines". As they are viewed as muscular and athletic, they do not fit in to the Balanchine model that was used for ballet dancers: small head, long legs, very slender body (Keenan, 2017). George Balanchine (1904-1983) liked to see bones and ribs. His obsession with slender bodies, in fact, is blamed for eating disorders of dancers today (via).


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"Dictating such rigid roles for centuries has made it difficult for audiences, choreographers, and dancers to accept change." A homogeneous corps of ballet is still preferred which again promotes Eurocentric beauty ideals. The American Ballet Theatre, for instance, had its first black female principal after 77 years (Keenan, 2017).
George Balanchine's presence was so dominant in NYCB that the dancers, the scenic presentation, the musical investiture, all seem to operate with the same value system, even in ballets not choreographed by Balanchine.
Siegel (1983)


- Keenan, S. M. (2017). A Choreographic Exploration of Race and Gender Representation in Film and Dance. Scripps Senior Theses, online
- Siegel, M. B. (1983). George Balanchine 1904-1983. The Hudson Review, 36(3), 519+521-526.
- images (Sweet Charity, 1969, based on Federico Fellini's screenplay) via and via and via

Sunday, 4 November 2018

"Why don't you ask Mick Jagger?"

"A man came up to me & said... 'Don’t You Think You’re TOO OLD To Be Running Around The Stage Like That,..Singing Rock n Roll⁉️`'
I Said: 'I Don’t Know,.. Why Don’t you Ask Mick Jagger'"
Cher, 2nd November 2018



Cher on YouTube:

::: All I Really Want to Do: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Satisfaction: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Shame, Shame, Shame (with Tina Turner): LISTEN/WATCH
::: Young Americans Medley (with David Bowie): LISTEN/WATCH

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photograph of Cher via

Friday, 2 November 2018

In Elvis Presley's Trailer

"I adored Elvis. (...) We became very good friends. He was warm and kind and full of love. He had this tremendous desire to please people. We watched the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. together over lunch in his trailer. He cried. He really cared deeply."
Celeste Yarnall



Celeste Yarnall played Ellen in "Live a Little, Love a Little"; she was the girl Elvis courted by singing "A Little Less Conversation".

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Katherine Hamnett's Licence to Kill

"Getting old is a licence to kill. You become more sure of yourself, more confident in your views. There are some dodgy bits: you still feel 25 inside as you get older, and sometimes I look at myself and think: “What the f**** happened?” I loathe exercise – but now it’s do it or die."
Katherine Hamnett



photograph taken by Chris Floyd (2015) via

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

(Un-)Quoting Jair Bolsonaro

"I've got five kids but on the fifth I had a moment of weakness and it came out a woman."
Congresswoman Rosario is "not worth raping; she is very ugly."
"I wouldn't rape you because you don't deserve it." (watch from minute 1.05 how he continues insulting her)
Jair Bolsonaro



"Because women get more labor rights than men, meaning they get maternity leave, the employer prefers to hire men. I would not employ (a woman) with the same salary (of a man). But there are many women who are competent."
Jair Bolsonaro

"I visited a quilombo and the least heavy afro-descendant weighed seven arrobas. They don't do anything! They are not even good for procreation."
Jair Bolsonaro

Interviewer: "If your son was in love with a black woman, what would you do?"
"I will not discuss promiscuity with anyone. There's no risk of that because my sons are well raised."
Jair Bolsonaro

"The scum of the earth is showing up in Brazil, as if we didn't have enough problems of our own to sort out."
Jair Bolsonaro

"I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son."
I'd rather my son "died in an accident than showed up with some bloke with a moustache."
Jair Bolsonaro

"We, the Brazilian people, don't like the homosexuals. Your culture is different from ours. In Brazil, we are not ready yet because no father is proud of having a gay son. Pride? Organising a party because there's a gay son in the family?"
"When your son starts getting a bit gay you slap him, and he changes his behaviour, OK?"
Jair Bolsonaro

"I am in favour of torture, you know that. And the people are in favour as well."
"Elections won't change anything in this country. It will only change on the day that we break out in civil war here and do the job that the military regime didn't do: killing 30,000. If some innocent people die, that's fine. In every war, innocent people die."
Jair Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro won Brazil's presidency. Trump, Salvini, and Le Pen congratulated him (via) while human rights groups put out statements and chief justice of the Supreme Court read out the part of the constitution reminding Brazil that the "future president must respect institutions, must respect democracy, the rule of law, the judiciary branch, the national Congress and the legislative branch" (via).

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- photograph via
Interesting:
- Remembering Brazil's decades of military repression, BBC
- In Brazil, nostalgia grows for the dictatorship - not the brutality, Washington Post
- Brazil president weeps as he unveils report on military dictatorship's abuse, The Guardian
- The Brazilian Military Regime, 1964-1985, Oxford Research Encyclopedias