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Women In Media

Movies and TV

Eyewitness This

Amanda Brugel as Sita Petronelli in EYEWITNESS episode 101 (Photo by: Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network)

EYEWITNESS Episode 101 “Buffalo ’07” Pictured: Amanda Brugel as Sita Petronelli (Photo by: Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network)

I’ve spent the last year of my life writing and producing this television series, which debuts tonight at 10 p.m. on USA Network. Because I know you care (and because I know you’ll downright love it), here is a sneak peek at the first 12 minutes of the show. So much sweat, blood, and tears have gone into these 12 minutes, and the story, cast, and crew you’ll get a taste of here are so damn fabulous that they even inspired me to relocate to Canada for five months. I apologize in advance for the way they’re going to get you hooked. If you want a little reading to tide you over before the episode airs tonight, I highly recommend sinking your teeth into The Advocate’s review of EYEWITNESS, which not only reminds me of everything we were aspiring to do with the show but has made me fall in love with what I thought was the lost art form of critical review essays. Enjoy…

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Monday Muse

Oh, Meryl

Meryl on the set of Sophie's Choice

Meryl on the set of Sophie’s Choice

“Put blinders on to those things that conspire to hold you back, especially the ones in your own head.” -Meryl Streep

PS: I’m just getting home after 4+ months producing a badass TV series in Canada. Can’t wait to tell you more about it once I catch my breath {and catch up on what feels like a lifetime of needed sleep}. xo

Photo via Pinterest.

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Monday Muse

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling mixing prints and birds like the pro she is

When I think about the kind of woman I want to be as I move into the next stages of my career, lots of amazing role models in television come to mind, but no one quite inspires me like Mindy Kaling. Not only is “The Mindy Project” one of the most watchable shows out there right now, but Kaling is a bona fide #girlboss who unabashedly demands competence from everyone she works with and never apologizes for what she wants. As someone who spends a bit too much time making sure the people around me are happy and feel heard, I could certainly afford to channel Kaling more often. As she puts it: “I love women who don’t ask, ‘Is that okay?’ after everything they say.” You know what I’m getting at, right..? Is that okay?

On a purely creative level, I must also note that Kaling inspires me because her writing manages to all at once keep it real and make me feel good about the world I live in. I think her blend of harsh honesty and optimism is actually what makes the universe of her TV show one that viewers both want to watch and then crawl into, and, on some levels, I think that little universe also improves people’s lives. If I just aspire to create TV worlds like this, I think know I will do pretty well for myself.

Photo via Pinterest.

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Monday Muse

Judy Garland

Judy Garland singing whilst leaning on books in "Strike Up The Band"

Judy Garland singing whilst leaning on books in “Strike Up The Band”

I used to dream of being Dorothy Gale from Kansas — not so much because of L. Frank Baum’s prose, but almost entirely because of Judy Garland. She had such grace, charisma, and, oh, that voice. With a four-decade career, three Grammys, and some of cinema’s most iconic movies under her belt,  couldn’t we all afford to channel a little Judy in our everyday lives? Sure she had her demons, but most complicated people who are worth knowing do. While as a child I particularly adored “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” as an adult I’m drawn to John Gorka’s bittersweet song about the dichotomy of stardust and strife in Judy’s life. It’s called “Heart Upon Demand” — give it a listen and let me know whether it also tugs at your heartstrings.

Photo via Pinterest.

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Monday Muse

Merry Clayton

Merry Clayton, backup singer to the greats

Merry Clayton, backup singer to the greats

How many people can say they performed in front of Mick Jagger while wearing hair rollers and one month later had a hit song? Merry Clayton is decidedly the only siren with those bragging rights, and while her vocals on the Rolling Stones classic “Gimme Shelter” are probably her most recognizable recording, I think the most notable thing about her is that she’s lent her voice to hundreds of famous tracks in which it actually goes unrecognized. Continue Reading

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Monday Muse

Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe at The Ambassador Hotel in NYC, photographed by Ed Fergeinst (1955 )

Marilyn Monroe at The Ambassador Hotel in NYC, photographed by Ed Fergeinst (1955)

If you’ve met me for a split second or spent even a couple minutes perusing this blog, then you know I have a more-than-mild obsession with Marilyn Monroe. This infatuation began in high school when I was a curvy girl who hadn’t quite grown into her woman’s figure. In an attempt to accept myself and feel more comfortable in my own skin, I began researching vintage fashion and old-Hollywood actresses; and, slowly but surely, all the magazine clippings of Kate Moss on my wall began being replaced by photos of Marilyn, the queen of curves and coy smiles. I immersed myself in her movies and biographies, and even read numerous conspiracy-theory books about her death, all secretly with the hope that if I surrounded myself with images of this hourglass-rocking woman who was so undeniably sexy and beautiful, I would eventually start viewing myself that way… As a knockout and a powerhouse of femininity that all the mean girls who called me “chubby,” “fat,” or a “heifer” simply couldn’t compete with. I’m not saying I ever quite succeeded at seeing myself solely in this bodacious, positive light, but Marilyn got me close.

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Inspiring Tidbits

Eyes Off You

Maya Angelou photographed by Taylor Jewell

Maya Angelou photographed by Taylor Jewell

I was not a fan of Maya Angelou when I first read her work as a persnickety pre-teen who had an inexplicable distaste for memoirs, but in the years since her words have often touched me in moments when I’ve been in need of inspiration and reassurance. Upon second reading, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings became one of my favorite books, and what woman amongst us has not somehow been moved by her poem Phenomenal Woman? Of the many Maya Angelou quotes filling the interwebs today, the one I find most moving right now is…

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”

-Maya Angelou

In fond (albeit sometimes fickle) remembrance, I am feeling very grateful for Maya Angelou’s turns of phrase on this day. I hope she inspires you in a similar way as well.

Image source: Pinterest.

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Movies and TV

Makers

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes founded Ms. Magazine in 1971 and are just a few of the women who've made America what it is today

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes founded Ms. Magazine in 1971 and are just a few of the women who’ve made America what it is today

Have you seen this fascinating documentary yet? It’s a three-part series titled “Makers: Women Who Make America” and, even though I first discovered it this past winter, I’ve found myself thinking about the amazing women it introduced me to a lot lately. When I first watched the documentary I was amazed (and admittedly a little embarrassed) by some of the things I never knew about the women’s movement in the United States, and the series left me feeling truly inspired to make the world better — to continue the work of the women who have given me the chances I have now, and to improve the chances for women and other minorities of future generations. PBS’s editing keeps the pace of the documentary energetic, entertaining, and often humorous, and Meryl Streep’s narration lends the piece the kind of comforting, smooth patter that allows you to forget you’re actually learning a ton while watching.

I highly recommend the documentary to anyone who wants to feel inspired or uplifted by vivid, personal stories, and maybe even learn something new about history along the way. You can watch all three parts of the series for free on the Makers website. Do let me know what you think once you’ve watched it…Are there any other books or movies about the women’s movement that have been meaningful to you? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment.

Image from Pop Revolver via Pinterest.

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Movies and TV

What I’m Watching Now 2013 Edition

"Orange Is The New Black" promotional photo

“Orange Is The New Black” promotional photo by Jill Greenberg

Although long weekends are most famous for barbecues, fireworks displays, and road trips, in my mind they are perfect for TV marathons. As such, I figured it was high time I gossiped with you about my current television obsessions. Here they are…

  • Orange Is The New Black (Netflix) – This hour-long drama set in a women’s correctional facility is perhaps the best piece of new television I’ve seen in the last decade. It is uproariously funny, yet deals with real emotional issues in a masterful way. I love that this show depicts flawed female protagonists and doesn’t shy away from dealing with their psychology or sticky issues, like race and sexuality. If you still haven’t seen it yet, I seriously envy you your first viewing. If you have seen it, are you already re-watching it and scouring the internet for season-two spoilers like me?
  • Scandal (ABC) – Created by Shonda Rhimes (the powerhouse behind “Grey’s Anatomy”), this soapy drama centers on a team of DC lawyers who manage political crises and fix scandals for a living. Chief among the show’s scandalous characters is the brilliant and manipulative Olivia Pope, who just so happens to be having an affair with the president. This show is sexy, often deliciously absurd, and undeniably addictive, so I highly recommend it. Bonus: season two just became available on Netflix Instant, so you could easily get caught up on the series this weekend.
  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) – Friends had raved about this sitcom to me for the longest time, but whenever I watched a random episode now and then I wasn’t too impressed. I was quickly singing a different tune, however, when my husband and I sat down and started viewing the series from the very beginning this winter. It centers on the haphazard romantic lives of five 30-somethings, and draws a lot of humor from the nature of memories, the subjective way we tell stories, and the way we each sensationalize or romanticize different aspects of our lives. Every episode finds me laughing and crying along with the characters, and I’m psyched for the ninth and final season to start up this fall.
  • The Americans (FX) – Set in the 1980s, this spy thriller tells the story of two married KGB agents who are raising their children to live the American dream while they carry out covert missions on behalf of Mother Russia. Full of sexy storytelling, suspense, and great performances from Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys in every episode, this show is definitely worth catching up on before season two starts in January 2014.

Psst: There have also, of course, been the old reliable shows that I’ve been watching on the edge of my seat from week to week this summer. I mean, Tuesday nights just wouldn’t have been the same without Pretty Little Liars…And, what TV fan could live without cringing and gasping every Sunday night as Dexter and Breaking Bad careen toward their series finales? Do you have any current TV obsessions? I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment.

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Inspiring Tidbits

Two Feet

Bobbi Gibb became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon in 1966

Bobbi Gibb became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon in 1966

Forty seven years ago, Bobbi Gibb became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon. By taking those figurative and literal strides in a time when females were not yet allowed to officially race, Gibb not only helped change the rules of this famous sporting event, but she changed public perception about what women were capable of accomplishing with both their bodies and minds. She did this simply with her own two feet and a whole lot of determination, and she continued running even when marathon officials and protesters tried to stop her.

Growing up in Boston, it was this kind of story that always struck me with awe whenever the marathon rolled around each year. After all, the race has come to symbolize the fact that –no matter our skin color, nationality, gender, or religion– as humans, we have the power to go great distances by merely using our own two feet. Furthermore, the marathon shows us that if we don’t have the use of our own two feet we can cover great distances by using our arms to propel a wheelchair, and if we don’t have use of our arms the human spirit can propel us along in the form of a loved one running behind us and pushing our chairs. It was this celebration of humanity that brought me, my parents, siblings, and cousins to a street corner every marathon Monday of my childhood, and I daresay we partook in this event more religiously than we did any other holiday. No matter what personal dramas any of us were going through, we always made the time to go cheer on the runners, and I have such fond memories of holding out paper cups of water for the athletes, and of my aunt learning all the top-contenders’ names so she could call out personalized encouragements as they ran by.

For me, these memories will always be what the Boston Marathon is about: Dixie cups, and curbside lessons on the power of my own two feet. And today, as I breathe a sigh of relief that my family is all safe and sound back in Beantown, I invite anyone else reading this to bask in these kinds of fond memories with me and to celebrate the trailblazers of this world who make a difference with nothing more than determination and their own two feet. Leave a comment.

Image via Pinterest.

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