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Thousands join Wendy Davis at Texas Capitol to protest anti-abortion bill
01:01 pm

Current Events

Wendy Davis

Beginning at around 11:00 A.M. today, thousands of women and men started gathering in front of the steps of the Texas Capitol Building in Austin to protest the anti-abortion bill that is being brought before the Legislature by Rick Perry for a second time. Senator Wendy Davis was on hand to continue her fight for women’s rights.

Lots of buzz at the rally about a Hillary/Wendy ticket in 2016. It might take two strong women to counteract the steaming piles of macho bullshit out there right now.

Dangerous Minds’ contributor Mirgun Akyavas took these photos just a couple of hours ago.







Feel free to share these photos. Please credit Mirgun Akyavas.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Wendy Davis’ ‘filibuster shoes’ getting the Amazon ‘review-bomb’ treatment
03:48 pm


Wendy Davis

A selection of some of the Amazon “review bombs” showing up on the entry for the Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 16 Running Shoe as worn by future Texas governor Wendy Davis during her 11-hour marathon filibuster in the Texas Senate this week:

Marathon shoe for marathon filibustering
The next time you have to spend 13 hours on your feet without food, water or bathroom breaks, this is the shoe for you. Guaranteed to outrun patriarchy on race day.
Published 2 days ago by M. Black

Men, do not try these on!
I tried on a pair at the local mall and suddenly Texas Republicans started telling me what to do with my genitals. They started explaining reproduction to me like I was a seventh grader. Unfortunately, being male, I had no way to shut the whole thing down. I’m so confused…
Published 1 day ago by Joshua Jones

A father writes:

Every woman deserves a choice of shoe
I would not necessarily want to see my daughters wearing these shoes. But the important thing is that they have the freedom to make that choice for themselves.
Published 2 days ago by Michael Larkin (Rhode Island, USA)

This one’s totally positive:

Superwoman Force Field Powers
These shoes create an invisible force field of power.

The wearer of these shoes becomes more righteous, beautiful, graceful and powerful than any other Senator in the chamber. The ground moves underneath them like an earthquake through all of Texas. They have a kryptonite effect on Republicans who are not accustomed to women speaking without permission, or voting, or being anywhere outside the kitchen or nursery room. They emit rays of hope in a dark State of uncertainty and fear. They have the power to turn a big red state blue again.

They are the most powerful shoes in the Universe!
Published 1 day ago by William Wise

Here’s the best one:

Worked fine for about 20 weeks
These shoes were great for standing around in. However, after I had the shoes for about 20 weeks, one of them got stuck in my closet. It was very difficult to get out. The only way I could get it out was by inserting a set of pliers into the closet and pulling parts of the shoe out piece by piece. After, I was able to reassemble the shoe from the torn-up parts (just to make sure I wasn’t missing any pieces), but that was pretty much the end of that shoe’s life. Unfortunately, I sprained my wrist trying to get all the parts out, and I couldn’t get seen at the local hospital because my doctor doesn’t have privileges there.

Some people have criticized my getting the shoe out this way, but they have never lived through getting a shoe stuck in the closet. So they can’t judge me. And besides, it’s my choice to do what I want with my shoe.
Published 1 day ago by PW

Not to be a buzzkill, but before you buy a pair of these shoes to support Wendy Davis, a search on the FEC’s political donations database revealed that the owner of Mizuno, Robert Puccini, donates to the Republican National Committee. If you really want to support Wendy Davis, donate to her campaign fund here.

Responding to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s incredibly asinine “backhanded compliment” that he made about Davis (without mentioning her by name) yesterday, the future governor of Texas told MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

“I would say to him, that I had the privilege of making a choice about the path I chose for my life. I’m so proud of my daughters but I could never for a moment put myself in the shoes of another woman confronting a difficult personal choice and it really isn’t for him to make statements like that.”

Below, the Morning Joe segment:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Wendy Davis’ filibuster was cool and all, but did you see what was going on RIGHT OUTSIDE?
11:06 am



Texas protesters
Photo courtesy of Michael Ganther
If you’re not stateside (or if you’ve been living under a rock), you might not have been following Texas bill SB 5, which would have shut down 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics and banned all abortions after 20 weeks. Heroic Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis (who saw her office firebombed last year due to her support of Planned Parenthood) filibustered for thirteen hours to kill the bill, a surprise and relief in this political atmosphere.

However, what I think deserves at least the same amount of coverage are the everyday folks whorallied against SB 5. Check this out!

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Girls Aloud: Insanely HUGE compilation of female-fronted punk bands 1977-1989

Behold an absolutely monstrous compilation of female fronted punk bands from all over the world from the mid to late ‘70s to the mid 80s (and a little beyond). Some of the artists you’ve heard of (Blondie, Crass, The Avengers, Josie Cotton, Kleenex, Honey Bane, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Rezillos, Slits, Malaria!, etc.) but others, trust me on this, there’s just no way you could have heard of all of them. The fellow who compiled this beast is a master. An expert’s expert! A maven’s maven!

This gargantuan set represents a deep education in an exciting, but for the most part never really respected sub-genre of punk. It would be overstating the case to say it has aspirations of being a Harry Smith-type collection of punk and obscure hardcore bands, but some of this stuff I don’t think I’d ever come across if given two lifetimes. Apparently some of these songs come from cassettes, probably copied one at a time. Obviously plenty of the tracks were taken from vinyl 45 RPM records. And the stuff from the Eastern Bloc countries…. I mean, where did he get this stuff?

What a maniac! It must have been really hard to collect all of these songs, even in this day and age. Without a deep knowledge of the subject, it would be difficult to even search for some of these records on Google. Like I say, it’s damned impressive.

From the Kangknave blog (where you will find all of the download the links and a track listing):

This is a pretty insane project put together by my pal Vince B. from San Francisco a few years back. As the title indicates, this is a homemade 12 x CD-R (!) compilation of punk bands fronted by female vocalists from 1977 to 1989. More like a giant mixtape than a compilation, as he only made 36 copies which he sent to friends and people who submitted material. You may notice that some of the bands didn’t have a steady female vocalist (The Lewd, etc.) but he still included songs that were sung by another member of the band. This is as international as it gets, with stuff ranging from world famous Blondie or Crass to the most obscure Eastern European cassette compilation veterans. The boxset came packaged in a hand-numbered fancy translucent lunchbox enclosing all 12 CD-Rs, a stack of full-colored cards featuring comprehensive tracklist and artwork/info, as well as a manga pin-up figure! Talk about a labor of love.


Above, Slovenian punk rockers, Tožibabe

East LA’s The Brat do “High School” in 1981.

Via Boing Boing

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘I Need Feminism Because…?’: University Students give their answers

Students at the Cambridge University, in England, were asked ‘Why they need Feminism?’ The question was asked by ARU Feminist Society and CUSU Women’s Campaign, who together photographed and collated the answers.

The students’ responses ranged from:

I need Feminism because I used to think calling my brother a “GIRL” was a legit insult.


I need Feminism because People still ask what the victim was wearing.


I need Feminism because LESS than 1% of the world’s property is owned by Women

View more answers here.
More reasons why we need Feminism, after the jump…
Via The Awkward Situationist

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Carol Kaye is Paul McCartney’s favorite bass player, he just doesn’t know it was her

You’ve definitely heard her play guitar and bass. Statistically, you’re likely to own albums she played on. Your parents almost certainly did. According to her, she is responsible for many of the famous Motown bass lines usually attributed to James Jamerson, including “Bernadette,” “Reach Out,” “I Can’t Help Myself” and “I Was Made to Love Her.” She influenced The Beatles’ musical direction from Revolver onward. And it’s quite probable that you’ve never even heard her name.

Carol Kaye was one of the most prolific session musicians in American music in the ‘60s and ‘70s. In the male-dominated world of Los Angeles session players (sneered at in The Kinks’ song “Session Man”), Kaye was a rarity and a powerhouse. She began playing music professionally at 14 in 1949, playing guitar in big bands and bebop jazz groups, playing in clubs and giving lessons around Los Angeles. Her first recording sessions, beginning in 1957, were on guitar for Sam Cooke, Richie Valens, and the Righteous Brothers. From 1964-1973 she primarily played bass and appeared on over 10,000 recordings of pop songs, jazz standards, television show themes, and movie scores. She was one of the few female members of “The Wrecking Crew,” the name given by drummer Hal Blaine to the mostly anonymous first-call L.A. session players in the ‘60s.

Some of the best known songs featuring Carol Kaye’s work are Richie Valens’ “La Bamba” (on guitar), Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair,” Lalo Shifrin’s themes to Mission: Impossible and Mannix, The Monkees’ “I’m A Believer,” Ike and Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” The Lettermen’s “Going Out of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons,” Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” Sonny and Cher’s “The Beat Goes On,” and The Beach Boys’ “California Girls,” “Sloop John B,” “Help Me, Rhonda,” and “Heroes and Villains.” She also played on Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention’s Freak Out and Absolutely Free albums. All this while raising a family.

Carol Kaye was confident, reliable, and able to keep up a rough studio schedule that sometimes stretched into 12-hour days. She was also very opinionated and known for refusing to take any shit from her male colleagues. When session guitarist Tommy Tedesco once insulted her in the studio, she verbally ripped him a new orifice. 

Note Carol Kaye in background during this mid-Sixties Beach Boys session

Even today, there are those who simply refuse to believe some of Carol’s assertions, such as her claim to have played on Motown songs credited to James Jamerson and on Beach Boys songs like “Good Vibrations,” where a different bassist’s work may have been used on the final version. Detractors claim that she is either a bitter, jealous liar or a senile old lady with a failing memory. Whether that is misogyny/sexism or a blinkered refusal to admit that the sun did not always shine out of Jamerson’s ass alone is an ongoing matter for debate. 

David Dadju wrote of Kaye in The New Republic:

Smile was originally conceived as an extension of the experimentation of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, the album that Paul McCartney acknowledges as having transformed his approach to the bass, in addition to prodding The Beatles to employ the studio more adventurously. McCartney has repeatedly cited Wilson’s bass playing in the era of Pet Sounds and Smile as the inspiration for the lyrical, contrapuntal bass style that he developed around the time of Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The problem is, the bass player on nearly all of both Pet Sounds and Smile was not Brian Wilson. It was a jazz musician and studio pro in Los Angeles named Carol Kaye.”

And so Paul McCartney once said of Carol Kaye’s bass technique (without, apparently, knowing that it was her talents he was admiring):

“It was Pet Sounds that blew me out of the water. I love the album so much. I’ve just bought my kids each a copy of it for their education in life ... I figure no one is educated musically ‘til they’ve heard that album ... I love the orchestra, the arrangements ... it may be going overboard to say it’s the classic of the century ... but to me, it certainly is a total, classic record that is unbeatable in many ways ... I’ve often played Pet Sounds and cried. I played it to John so much that it would be difficult for him to escape the influence ... it was the record of the time. The thing that really made me sit up and take notice was the bass lines ... and also, putting melodies in the bass line. That I think was probably the big influence that set me thinking when we recorded Pepper, it set me off on a period I had then for a couple of years of nearly always writing quite melodic bass lines. ‘God Only Knows’ is a big favorite of mine ... very emotional, always a bit of a choker for me, that one. On ‘You Still Believe in Me,’ I love that melody - that kills me ... that’s my favorite, I think ... it’s so beautiful right at the end ... comes surging back in these multi-colored harmonies ... sends shivers up my spine.”

Outside of her years in the studio Carol worked as a music teacher, including a seven-year stint as on-staff Bass and Jazz Educator at the Henry Mancini Institute at UCLA and teaching courses at other universities as well. She’s written over thirty bass education books (Sting told talk show host Arsenio Hall that he had learned how to play bass from one of her books), made instructional DVDs, wrote a column for Bassics magazine and given hundreds of bass seminars. Carol continues to teach and offers bass lessons via Skype.

Carol Kaye on being a female session player
More after the jump…

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Sexualization of Yoga: Do my chakras look fat in these yoga pants?
09:28 am

Pop Culture


Yoga came to the West from India, in bits and pieces from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. From the 1960’s to about ten years ago, the only people teaching yoga were more or less hippies. Teachers who emphasized the spiritual aspect of the practice and taught small classes made up of a ragtag assortment of humans beings. Grandmas, new moms, pregnant moms, college students and athletes getting over injuries, wearing loose fitting clothing that resembles nothing like the yoga bras and tight, wedgie-inducing Yoga Tart pants on offer today. Somewhere along the way over the past twenty years the fitness industry and corporations got ahold of yoga (I won’t even go into the whole Pilates fad) and turned it into just another way to get fit. Oh, and look HOT.

Yoga is supposed to be much more than that. In 1997-98 the most sought after yoga teachers were from Golden Bridge in L.A. They were Western Sikh followers of Yogi Bhajan, wore extremely modest clothing and their long hair was tucked up in a white turban. The stars of this yoga school were Gurmukh, who taught prenatal yoga and also helped more than a few people stay sober through yoga, and Gurutej Kaur. Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers was one of Gurmukh’s students. A punk singer and music producer from the Midwest reinvented himself as a yogi named Mahan. They didn’t preach Sikhism, but there was a definite spiritual emphasis, with talk of meditation, chakras, energy, auric fields, and the like. It was cheerful and comforting.

Then came power yoga, Bikram yoga (hot yoga), and provocative yoga, complete with porn soundtrack. Now the women demonstrating yoga positions in magazines (even Yoga Journal) or videos look like (usually white) gymnists.  Or like lingerie models. There isn’t anything about your soul, centering, meditation, union of body, mind and spirit, or communion with the divine. But they make damn sure to use the impressively long original Indian names for every single pose in a stab of authenticity, which gets lost among all the accessories you’re suddenly supposed to have, like “yoga bricks” and special “Toesox” socks.

Kate Potter’s soothing yoga show, Namaste Yoga, once shown on Canadian televison and the cable channel FitTV, used to feature women from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, but all pretty much at the same level of ultra-fitness. I’m not asking for robe-wearing sadhus exclusively, but it would have been nice to see a few bigger ladies included as well. Or Chris Grosso wrote for, “Unless I missed the memo, spirituality is not just for pretty, clean cut, white folks who have more money than they know what to do with”

There are authentic sanghas who teach “old school” yoga, but they might not be as easy to find if their message and ads are lost among the flashier teachers. Which leads to the fact that teacher training in some states is laughable. Just because someone has a yoga teaching certification doesn’t mean that they are actually qualified to teach.

Julie J.C. Peters righteously ranted about the sexy Equinox Yoga video in Elephant Journal:

“Yoga advertising has been trying for a while now to make me feel bad about my body so that I get insecure enough to buy whatever they are selling.” You mean not everyone works out in Agent Provocateur underwear?

Although Susan “Stop the Insanity!” Powter produced her own down-to-earth yoga video for all fitness levels, Trailer Park Yoga. This DVD did not receive the advertising push that a video like Equinox Yoga or Provocative Yoga received, and so is therefore an obscure resource for women looking for alternatives.

In her article “Tits and Ass in a Mala,” Portland, Oregon yoga teacher Maya Devi Georg asks, “How about featuring non-sexualized images of young women, or celebrating images of older women, women of color, or men at any age?”:

“This is a call to practitioners and teachers to take responsibility for the practice—not just for themselves but those who will follow us. What does the future of yoga hold in the West? Will it be reduced to corporate ownership, making bad classes better, but making great classes extinct? Will it be ruled by greed, glamour, fads and gimmicks? Or will the word yoga become so overused that the inherent meaning is lost?”

Namaste to that!

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Lesbian woman explains why she doesn’t dress more feminine
12:36 pm



YouTuber Hart delightfully answers a question that her audience has posed to her numerous times:

“If you love women so much, how come you don’t you dress like one?”

Hart’s answer is priceless... as you will see.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Bo Diddley and The Long Lost Duchess of Rock ‘n’ Roll


“Norma-Jean was my first sidekick.  We did everything together.” – Bo Diddley, 2005

One of the first female rock ‘n’ roll guitarists was a tall, stunning black woman with a towering bouffant hairdo, a skintight gold lame dress (or black leather pants), high heels, and a custom Gretsch electric guitar, designed by the man usually standing next to her onstage, Bo Diddley.

Technically Norma-Jean Wofford, nicknamed “The Duchess” by Bo, was the second female guitarist in Diddley’s backing band. She replaced “Lady Bo” (Peggy Jones) in 1962, with Bo hiring her first and then teaching her how to play rhythm guitar.  Lady Bo had been Bo’s lead guitar player from 1957 to 1961, leaving to form her own group The Jewel, later called Lady Bo and The Family Jewels, and work as a session musician.  Bo’s audiences’ disappointment in not seeing Lady Bo with the band prompted him to hire Norma-Jean.

Having a woman in a rock ‘n’ roll/R&B band who was not simply a back-up singer was unheard of at the time.  The Duchess, originally from Pittsburgh, was said to be Bo’s sister or half-sister, a rumor he started himself, partly because he considered her close enough to qualify as family but also because he didn’t want the other band members to make a move on her. He told his biographer, “Part of the reason I decided to go with that little lie was that it put me in a better position to protect her when we were on the road.”.

The Duchess recorded and toured with Bo for four years and was the band member he entrusted with his money.  She sang back-up with the Bo-dettes (then comprised of Gloria Morgan and Lily Jamieson, a.k.a. “Bee Bee”), managing simultaneously to sing with them, play rhythm guitar, and not miss a single dance move.  The Duchess appeared on several of Bo’s albums, recorded for Leonard Chess’s Checkers label, such as Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley and Company, Bo Diddley’s Beach Party (a live album recorded at the Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina), Hey! Good Lookin’, 500% More Man, and The Originator

Wofford was on Diddley’s first tour of England that featured the Everly Brothers, Rolling Stones, and Little Richard in 1963.  Audiences went wild for The Duchess’s curve-hugging stage clothes. When a British journalist asked her how she managed to get into her tight dress, the Duchess held up a large shoe horn. 

Eric Burdon paid tribute to The Duchess in the Animals’ song, “The Story of Bo Diddley” in 1964.

“We were playing at the Club A Go-Go in Newcastle, our home town
And the doors opened one night and to our surprise
Walked in the man himself, Bo Diddley
Along with him was Jerome Green, his maraca man,
And the Duchess, his gorgeous sister…

He turned around the Duchess
And he said, “Hey Duchess,
what do you think of these young guys
Doin’ our material?”
She said, “I don’t know. I only came across here
To see the changin’ of the guards and all that jazz.”

The Duchess left Bo Diddley’s band in 1966 to get married and raise a family in Florida. She was replaced by Cornelia “Cookie” Redmond and later Debby Hastings, who remained in Bo’s band from 1982 to 2007. Lady Bo returned to Bo’s band to play several concerts in 1993 and the Duchess showed up at a Bo Diddley concert to say hello to her old friend in July 2004 in California, where she was then living. She died the following year in Fontana, California. Bo Diddley passed away in 2008.

Bo and The Duchess played identical Gretsch Jupiter Thunderbirds, Cadillacs, and Cigar Boxes, which he had helped design. All three models had unusual rectangular shapes, which he said made them easier to play. Decades later Bo gave one of his Jupiter Thunderbirds to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, who helped Gretsch recreate the model, renamed the G6199 Billy-Bo Jupiter Thunderbird. 

Below, even while overshadowed by Bo and his energetic guitar playing, The Duchess was still pretty hard to miss during their appearances on television shows like Shindig! and the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show /T.A.M.I.-T.N.T. Show (1966).

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Sylvia Plath reads 15 poems from her final collection ‘Ariel’ in 1962
12:22 pm


Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath reads 15 poems from her final collection Ariel. The poems have been arranged in chronological order of composition, from recordings made on October 30th, 1962.

Hearing Plath’s voice brings a direct connection with her poetry that decades of biographical and academic debate has lost. This is quite wonderful.

Sylvia Plath reads from Ariel

01. “The Rabbit Catcher”
02. “A Birthday Present”
03. “A Secret”
04. “The Applicant”
05. “Daddy”

06. “Medusa”
07. “Stopped Dead”
08. “Fever 103°”
09. “Amnesiac”
10. “Cut”

11. “Ariel
12. “Poppies In October”
13. “Nick And The Candlestick”
14. “Purdah”
15. “Lady Lazarus”

Via Open Culture

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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