Archive for October, 2007

* First off, don’t forget that you’ve got a great extra credit opportunity (below this post – response to Trixie Minx).

For next week, please read: Take 2: Culture Paper by Andrew Parks.h3_wsj_chief.jpg

Consider the following questions and respond to one:

  1. Do you agree with Parks’ assessment of video games? Why or why not?
  2. Can you think of any examples that defy the stereotyping he describes?
  3. Can you point to other instances of racial, ethnic, class, gender and/or sexual stereotyping in video games?
  4. In what ways do these images inform or reflect one’s sense of identity, culture, and power?
    • If you chose a game with people in it, think about the following: were you given an opportunity to choose a person (did you get to choose a body/face to go with your character?); if so, what were your options? What did you choose and why? What kind of people were in the video game?
    • Think about roles: were the people in the game baseball players, boxers, soldiers, etc.? What about ethnicities? What ethnicities did you identify? Who seems to have what role? – what color or gender, for example, are the “bad guys”? Who is the hero of the game? What did these people look like? – fat, skinny, muscular, tall, short . . . and what roles did each play? And how does any of this reflect ideologies around race, class, and/or gender?
    • What was the goal of the game? To kill all your enemies? To get the gold? To win the race? What obstacles did you have to overcome in order to move from level to level or to win the game? How might any of this reflect contemporary culture (our ideas about success, what it takes to win, the “American” story or ideal, etc.)? In what ways was the game NOT like life?
    • In what ways was the game totally fantasy-like or had elements that were not at all realistic of modern society? Perhaps these elements were of a past that no longer exist. And if so, how might that reflect a particular ideology; and if so, what?
  5. THEN, choose some video game (either one you rent, one you or a friend already have, or simcity.jpggo to a video game outlet), play it for a while, and then discuss, in your blog response how it reflects issues of gender, class, ethnicity, or culture.

    Below are some questions that you may ask yourself (feel free to ask different ones – this is just a guide to get you started):

    ** Always, always back up your thoughts with some example, quote, or explanation.


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Hi folks, first of all, your assignment for this week is below this post — be sure to check it.

Also — Trixie Minx, who wrote one of the articles you read (Minx, Trixie. (2007) Burlesque: The Art of Tease, The Perspective from a Dancer, Roottrixieminx.jpg Magazine ) submitted a response to all of your blog responses. She invites you all to respond to both her comments and two YouTube videos she posted for you to watch. I will give extra credit worth TWO blog responses for those who respond with thoughtful commentary to Trixie Minx’s post by Nov. 5th – one week from today. Her comments follow below:

A friend sent me this link and I was thrilled to see so much thought and interest go into both the article I wrote and the one Emlinger did as well. I would like to expand on my article with a personal opinion on victim art.

Everytime I’m on stage I feel as though I am taking each audience member through a ride to excite their senses. I hope they leave a show feeling entertained and delighted. There are other groups where the focus is on nudity. A nude body is beautiful but a body that moves and interacts with the audience on an emotional level is even better. I’ve recieved criticisms that we aren’t raunch enough from a few but more often the demure attitude behind Fleur de Tease has our fans going crazy for more. Through burlesque (the way I run my company) every female cast member feels empowered. I believe the problem lies not within the art but those behind it, the directors who push for more skin and less dance. I’m not sure how you are defining a victim for this topic specifically but I believe people do not choose to become victims, some second party is the catalyst.

With that in mind it is sad that the opinions of certain people can color the reputation of a whole art form. Directors who want to make more money push for more skin and the dancers agree under that outside pressure. Within Fleur de Tease we refocus the energy of burlesque to its original intent comedy, teasing, and fun. I do not deny the power of the sex industry or the appeal of nudity and its relationship to burlesque. Burlesque houses became strip clubs because of popular demand. But though one evolved from the other they independently are not the same thing. Some things are difficult to describe but become perfectly clear when observed. So I invite you to see the show and let me know your opinion on what we do. Here are links to both group numbers and my favorite solo. ENJOY!”

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You don’t have to write on these readings/viewings, but be prepared to discuss street art next week in class, and be sure to read up on the last two entries so you will be prepared when our guest comes into class to talk about his writing about Hip Hop (as a follow up to last week’s discussion).

However, I do want you all to respond to the Vodou Tou exhibit we saw downstairs. Choose one piece to focus on and describe how it both aesthetically and intelligently responds to the original Vodou Riche exhibit. If you were not in class, go see the Vodou Tou exhibit sometime during the week (downstairs in the Congress building). Post your response reviews here.

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Review Assignment #1 (4-5 pages) DUE on October 23rd by email (please send to me as an attachment – preferably Microsoft Word document & include any images you want to include within the document)

Choose any “issue-oriented” performance, set of images, film, cartoon strips, etc. to review. While writing the review, keep in mind the thoughts/ideas brought up in the readings we’ve done thus far in class. Write the review in first person and approach your writing with a personal tone that reflects your feelings and thoughts about both the “issue” and the ways in which the art piece you’ve chosen addresses this issue. Your review should certainly address the thematic elements, aesthetics, and ideology of the art piece in an intelligent, thoughtful way, but let your “person” come through in the writing – let the reader know that you, as an author, are present.

* Keep in mind the basic elements and components of a review: summary, analysis, argument (your opinion and why), erudition or ‘outside’ knowledge, (your) tone and voice.

The following are just a few suggestions that will help you bring your personal tone to the review (you can use some, all, or none of them – choosing your own):

  • Tell a brief personal story that connects your feelings, thoughts, and/or reactions to the art (e.g. what did this remind you of? Why? In what way/s did this particular piece speak to you?).

  • Be creative! Use metaphors, analogies, adjectives, adverbs, and feel free to experiment with your style of writing. Feel free to use either past or present tense (as if you are sitting in the audience at the moment watching the performance, for example) – just be consistent with whatever tense you choose.

  • Address the audience in a way that creates a sort of dialogue and makes the reader feel as if you are talking with him/her (e.g. use of “you” when addressing your reader, posing questions to your reader, or use of conversational language).

While writing the review, keep in mind some of the following (these are just some thoughts and questions to get you started and to help you approach the review, you are encouraged to also come up with your own questions):

  • What exactly is the “issue” brought up by the art?

  • What is the art saying about this issue and how? (How does the art aesthetically and ideologically speak to this issue?)

  • What, if any, was your emotional reaction to this art? Why? And how does your emotional reaction potentially speak to the effectiveness of the art (or lack thereof)?

  • What did you think about the art? Did it accurately reflect the issue? How did the art use aesthetics (colors, voice, props, costumes, lighting, lines, music, etc.) to further enhance or give power to the issue it addresses? (or in what ways did it not do those things?)

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In Review . . .

Ok folks, I’ve created a new blog website on which you will post all of your reviews, including the short one you are to write about the Vodou Riche exhibit. If you were not in class and did not attend the exhibit with the class, you must either a) go see it and review it or b) write about the readings in the blog post below (whatever most took your attention).

You can post your reviews in the comments section on the IN REVIEW blog, and I will convert them into major posts, putting up a new one each day with an accompanying image, when possible (if you have an image you’d like to accompany your review, send me the url or the jpeg). In Review is only for reviews, so do not post any thing else on that blog. I’m going to send the blog to the other RTA classes and see if any of the other teachers would like to get their students in on it, too.

In the meantime, please make sure that what you write is well-edited and well-written. Also, for the first review (Vodou Riche), please also include (after your review) a short (two sentence) bio (so I can put your name and who you are at the bottom of the review).

I’m also soliciting you all (especially the photography students) for a nice new image to put at the top of the online publication. If you have something that you think will look good up there, please send it along to me. Photographic images must be at least 700 x 200 pixels. Anyone who has their photo posted as the header will be credited (I’ll adobe shop the name in).

Questions? Suggestions? Email me.

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No questions from reading this week (but reading/viewing is posted below). Instead, I want everyone to write a cogent, thoughtful short review of the exhibit we just saw – Vodou Riche. Please edit it as best you can. The post with details about reviews is above.

For next week, read and view the following:hip_hop.jpg


While you do not have to respond to the questions below, please at least think about some of them, so you are prepared to have a thoughtful discussion of this material in class the next time we meet (October 23rd).


  • What are the major arguments (or ideas/concepts) being put forth by both bell hooks and Patricia Hills? How do any of the hip hop videos presented in this blog for viewing (or that you find) exemplify any of these larger concepts/arguments?
  • In what ways does bell hooks and Patricia Hills’ arguments seem to reflect one another? In what ways are they different (in other words, what, if anything, might they seem to disagree on)?
  • When Patricia Hills talks about the “contradictions of a new racism,” what does she mean by this? In what ways is this “new racism” contradictory and/or paradoxical? And how might Hip-hop be implicated within this “new racism”?
  • Patricia Hills provides several quotes at the beginning of her introduction; in what ways do these quotes “demonstrate the contradictions of the value system of the Black hip-hop generation”? Does bell hooks point out any of these contradictions, as well? If so, what are they?

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Review #1 Proposal

Hi folks — the weekly blog response assignment is beneath this post. For your first review, you must choose an “issue-oriented” performance, set of images, film, cartoon strips, or other art piece to review. Details about your first review can be found here. Please let me know what you plan to review (in a paragraph or so), and how you plan to approach it. Please post your proposals here on this blog post, not the one below.

I will only respond to review proposals posted HERE; after you have posted your proposal, please check back in comments to see my response to your proposal, as well as any other suggestions I might have for you.
Keep in mind that whatever you review, you must see/hear it for yourself. In other words, you cannot review something that you physically are not seeing or listening to now (so old tapes of a live performance will not do, etc.). Email me with any questions.

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