Archive for sexism

Men on Mars: “Try Not to Go Crazy,” All-Male-Crew sealed away for 18 months of isolation

Posted in feminism, humor, sci-fi, science, video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2010 by Sunshine Superboy

this sounds like the set up to a really bad joke:

One Chinese man, one Frenchman, one Italian and three Russians will spend the next 520 days in a 550-cubic-meter (19,400-cubic-foot) mock spaceship at a Moscow research institute to test how they cope with 18 months of isolation.

But its for real. The story goes something like this:

Last month, the six men were locked away from the outside world for the next one-and-a-half years, in an unprecedented simulation of a manned mission to Mars.

[apparently, they are taking this “manned mission” business to heart, and no women were invited??]

Dressed in blue overalls, the six gave the thumbs-up sign and grinned before the camera flashes as loved ones gave them an emotional send-off, some jokingly wishing them happy New Year already for 2011. “See you in 520 days!” shouted Russian participant Sukhrob Kamolov, just before a scientist sealed shut the heavy iron door of the facility at around 1000 GMT.

Like in a proper Mars mission, the crew will have to live on food rations akin to those used by real astronauts and their only outside communication will be by email, with a delay of up to 40 minutes. The hatch will only re-open when the experiment ends or if one of the all-male team pulls out — in which case he will be deemed dead and his ‘body’ pushed out to space.

Newly-wed mission captain Alexei Sitev must now endure a long separation from his wife, just weeks after the two married. “I am already missing him. I’m crying right now,” added Irene Urbina, sister of Italian-Colombian volunteer Diego Urbina, who said he was motivated by his passion for space.

Controversially, no women have been selected for the experiment, called Mars 500. [oh, I guess someone noticed that…]

Long days in the module in the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) will be divided into eight hours each of sleep, work and leisure. With books, language-study guides and 3-D videos games on board, Urbina said: “I don’t think we’ll get bored.” Also in ebullient mood, Frenchman Romain Charles said he has brought a guitar “to annoy” crewmates.

Three of the team will briefly quit the mothership for a special module meant to imitate a Mars landing craft, while two will take mock spacewalks in a sand-filled bunker, donning 3-D specs to help induce the surface feel of the Red Planet.

Wang Yue, 27, a candidate astronaut of China’s space program, told reporters before entering the capsule: “It is just a simulation. It is not a matter of life and death.” The idea is to exactly mimic the timescale of a Mars mission — 250 days for the trip to Mars, 30 days on the surface and 240 days for the return journey, totaling 520 days.

“You cannot simulate everything. That is obvious,” said Christer Fuglesang, head of science at the directorate for human spaceflight for the European Space Agency, a co-organizer of the project with the IBMP. “The scare factor cannot be simulated… that they might not come back.”

The crew also conspicuously lacks women, meaning possible sexual-tension that could arise from a mixed-gender crew will not be examined. [oh, so its really a crew of all-straight, all-male scientists locked away for a year and a half? this should be fun…]

Yury Karash, a Russian space policy expert, said the choice of an all-male crew would allow the team to focus on their duties and avoid unwitting competing for the attentions of female crew member. “It is better for the crew to be same-sex,” he said on Russian television. “No one has abolished the basic instinct yet.” [“which we know to be trans-cultural heterosexuality, of course”, he was about to add, but thought better of it for fear of being perceived as trying to overcompensate for maybe not being as straight as everyone decided he was]

Sistas in Space?!

[when asked why the same-sex crew was not chosen as a team of six women, they simultaneously shrugged and remained silent till the Italian man quipped: “wait… seriously?”]

Unlike a real spaceflight, mission participants will not be subjected to debilitation effects of weightlessness and ionizing radiation. A real flight to Mars will not come before 20 to 25 years, ESA head Martin Zell estimated, but added such a mission was “absolutely realistic.”

“The question is when and who?” Zell said.

[the answer, of course was “men, smart men from rich countries, men who don’t have babies”…]

Mars Aint the Kinda Place to Raise a Kid,
Sunshine Superboy


Purple Rhinestone Eagle talons of doom and glory

Posted in art & music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

yo, so many craptacular bands get helluv attention, and its enough to drive a rhinestone cowboy back to a dried up arroyo. And so, its really special when good friends, who make good music, finally have their violet-letter-day, their day in the sequins, their roll in the hay with birds of prey…

Behold, ex-philadelphian, proud portlanding, PURPLE RHINESTONE EAGLE
(as interviewed by the Days of Lore)


It was a few years ago while doing an article on Portland’s New Bloods that I stumbled upon Purple Rhinestone Eagle. The name was enough. And the music … sort of this doom-y Sabbath-meets-Love love-fest led by a lanky guitarist who channeled Hendrix and Blackmore provided the final blow. I was also intrigued by this tight-knit community of musicians made up of women who celebrated diversity and sexual freedom with the DIY spirit of punk rock in a city that, while liberal, is still 95 percent white.

Purple Rhinestone Eagle—guitarist/vocalist Andrea Genevieve, bassist Morgan Ray Denning and drummer Ashley Spungin—released its latest EP Amorum Tali in March on Eolian Records. It’s a psychedelic blast from another time and place, where black-light posters come to life. Where riffs rule (and rattle your ribcage). Where black leather and tie-dye go together and peace and love frolic on gloomy days.

It’s looking to be a busy year for the three-piece. PRE will hit the road for six weeks, but not before playing a fist-full of Portland shows, including an afternoon performance at the PDX Pop Now! fest on July 26. Then it’s back in the studio to record a full-length follow-up to Amorum Tali. I’ll just let them explain. The ladies of Purple Rhinestone Eagle took some time to talk to TDoL about music as a tool for social change, MJ vs. Prince, and giving their audiences “loin vibrations.”

TDoL: Purple Rhinestone Eagle is active in many causes for queer and women’s rights. What are your thoughts on rock ‘n’ roll as an avenue for bringing awareness?

Andrea: I feel that music can be a very good tool for social change. It doesn’t take place of the hard work that is done by activists/organizers, but music can be a great motivator. Also, it’s a great way to release all sorts of feelings and emotions. People really need that. It’s essential to feeling human.

Morgan: Also, sometimes it feels like causes can become exclusive or create divisions … music is a great connector. It brings people together to focus on the positive aspects of movements and people, rather than focusing on all the negative things that happen in the world.

You put out a zine as well …

Andrea: Well, we’re slowly working on a zine. It was mainly Ashley’s idea but we’re all going to write and contribute to it. It’s going to be an “etiquette” zine for how to respectfully approach/compliment female musicians. A lot of “compliments” we (and other female musician friends) receive actually don’t feel like compliments. For example comments like, “Wow, I didn’t expect that” or “That was great. You play like a dude,” feel really shitty because it makes you realize how many preconceived notions people have about you because you’re a lady.
Morgan: People just need to think a little bit before speaking sometimes, and we hope this zine will help with that, along with giving music-making ladies a place to share and vent about their experiences.

Ashley: We all got it pretty bad on tour, but I think I got it the most. I mean people started throwing things at me. “Hey i think you are a good drummer! Now I’m going to throw this empty beer can at you!” What? I wanted to make a PowerPoint presentation and show it after we play while we break down. The zine is a little more reasonable.

You started out in Philadelphia. What brought you to Portland?

Andrea: We went on tour with New Bloods a couple of springs ago. We were all having a tough time in Philly and we wanted a little mental health vacation. Also Portland is a great place for music so we decided to go for it and move 3,000 miles from everything we knew. Pretty romantic, I must say.

Morgan: Portland has been good to us … the scene here is incredibly friendly and supportive. We all decided playing music was one of the best things in all of our lives, so why not get serious about it? Here we can do that.

Tell me about the recording process for Amorum Tali.

Andrea: We recorded Amorum Tali in a full analog studio. The first recording we did in Portland was digital and although it sounded great, we really feel that for our sound we need to record the old-fashioned way—on tape. We recorded for about three and a half days and then mixed for about three days. It was a tedious process that turned out beautifully. We’re really excited to get in the studio again this fall. We’ve got all of these crazy ideas for this time around.

Where does the title come from?

Andrea: The title means “Talons of Love” in Latin. The “Talons of Love” concept is something that has been with us since the inception of this band. It’s kind of an inside joke that also holds great significance to us, if that makes any sense.

Aside from the more obscure music you listen to, what’s something you like that might surprise people?

Andrea: Yeah lots of weird, obscure music. But uh, I do enjoy a little Erasure from time to time. I guess that might be surprising. And despite what Ashley might say, I’m not into Journey.

Morgan: I’m actually kind of a pop punk freak … something I get picked on for, but I feel no shame …

Ashley: Late-’60s era Grateful Dead. People, give it a chance!

Andrea, what/who made you pick up a guitar?

Andrea: It wasn’t any one person that made me decide to take up the guitar although I do have some big heroes/sheroes. I just had this really strong desire to learn how to play it. I was about 15 when I started. It’s such a finicky instrument but so alluring! I’m still in the process of figuring out all its beautiful subtleties. Total life long student and super proud of it.


What influences your live performances?

Andrea: I love the way the MC5 handled the stage, James Brown, etc. Rock ‘n’ roll is this sex-love-apocalypse explosion. I love anyone who can channel that raw energy.

Morgan: I love Freddie Mercury and Iggy … they both just owned it. Our song “Loin Vibrations” is actually about the relationship between those on stage and those in the crowd … it is extremely sexual, whether you’re literally feeling the low end rumbling in your loins, or feeling the energy passing between the people involved … capturing some of that is our goal.

Ashley: Animal from the Muppets … and Ginger Baker.

And if you had to choose between …

Page or Blackmore?
Andrea: Oddly, I’d have to say Page.
Morgan: Agreed.
Ashley: Same. I just can’t get behind Deep Purple. Rainbow on the other hand …

Zeppelin or Sabbath?
Andrea: The Edgar Winter Group. Just kidding, Sabbath for sure.
Morgan: No question: Sabbath.
Ashley: Sabbath. Every. Day.

Bonham or Moon?
Andrea: Bonham. But Moon is my homie, too.
Morgan: Moon!
Ashley: I could go on about this one but I will just answer. Bonzo!

MJ or Prince?
Andrea: Prince. What a god.
Morgan: Prince … what a tiny, amazing man!
Ashley: MJ … I’m still grieving.

You have a long tour ahead. What’s life on the road like?

Andrea: We’re the type of band that likes good food and yoga on the beach. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy partying it up and staying up late, but we like to stay pretty healthy, too. And we take really long to do anything (like getting up in the morning, deciding what snacks to pick out … ). All of our roadies attain the great patience of wise monks by the end of tour.

Ashley: Touring is like a quest to bring forth the music to the people. Each day we venture to a new location and with us we bring rock ‘n’ roll sorcery. It’s nonstop jokes, weird snacks (which, yes, sometimes take me a while to pick out), meeting great people, and getting inspired by the places we see. It’s very far out.

if you have a chance to catch them on this tour, fo sho check them out, and support the new EP while yr at it.

“The Eagle is Upon You, There’s No Time to Run”,
Sunshine Superboy

(the best part is when the shower door opens and morgan is just totally staring the puppet down. ROFLMAO!!!)

Love & Marriage Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Spaghetti

Posted in maps & mapping, politics with tags , , , , , on February 14, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

Happy Valumtimes Dayz!!!

I’m gonna go have a ridiculous date with my special-special and a bunch of friends who are even more ridiculous than we are (I mean, limo car-share, fancy dinner, and gay bingo?! None of them are even gay!), but all this love stuff reminded me of a thing I’d like to keep circulating fresh in people’s minds.

Ol’ St.Valentine was infamous for defying the church and marrying all sorts of people who weren’t “allowed” to be married. Well and good, I suppose, but remember this awesome perspective brilliantly articulated by Dean Spade and Craig Willse back in the post Nov 8th blues of prop 8’s outcome in California?

I Still Think Marriage is the Wrong Goal

Dean Spade and Craig Willse

A lot of stories are circulating right now claiming that Black and Latino voters are to blame for Prop 8 passing. Beneath this claim is an uninterrogated idea that people of color are “more homophobic” than white people. Such an idea equates gayness with whiteness and erases the lives of LGBT people of color. It also erases and marginalizes the enduring radical work of LGBT people of color organizing that has prioritized the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Current conversations about Prop 8 hide how the same-sex marriage battle has been part of a conservative gay politics that de-prioritizes people of color, poor people, trans people, women, immigrants, prisoners and people with disabilities. Why isn’t Prop 8’s passage framed as evidence of the mainstream gay agenda’s failure to ally with people of color on issues that are central to racial and economic justice in the US?

Let’s remember the politics of marriage itself. The simplistic formula that claims “you’re either pro-marriage or against equality” makes us forget that all forms of marriage perpetuate gender, racial and economic inequality. It mistakenly assumes that support for marriage is the only good measure of support for LGBT communities. This political moment calls for anti-homophobic politics that centralize anti-racism and anti-poverty. Marriage is a coercive state structure that perpetuates racism and sexism through forced gender and family norms. Right wing pro-marriage rhetoric has targeted families of color and poor families, supported a violent welfare and child protection system, vilified single parents and women, and marginalized queer families of all kinds. Expanding marriage to include a narrow band of same-sex couples only strengthens that system of marginalization and supports the idea that the state should pick which types of families to reward and recognize and which to punish and endanger.

We still demand a queer political agenda that centralizes the experiences of prisoners, poor people, immigrants, trans people, and people with disabilities. We reject a gay agenda that pours millions of dollars into campaigns for access to oppressive institutions for a few that stand to benefit.

We are being told marriage is the way to solve gay people’s problems with health care access, immigration, child custody, and symbolic equality. It does not solve these problems, and there are real campaigns and struggles that would and could approach these problems for everyone, not just for a privileged few. Let’s take the energy and money being put into gay marriage and put it toward real change: opposing the War on Terror and all forms of endless war; supporting queer prisoners and building a movement to end imprisonment; organizing against police profiling and brutality in our communities; fighting attacks on welfare, public housing and Medicaid; fighting for universal health care that is trans and reproductive healthcare inclusive; fighting to tax wealth not workers; fighting for a world in which no one is illegal.

The World, and all the love therein, is Yours. Truly,
Sunshine Superboy

ps- oh yeah. maps! check this out:

oh and take this, Michigan!