What I’m Consuming: Home Fires Burning by Karen Houppert

Book cover: Home Fires Burning

It seems fitting to finish Home Fires Burning: Married to the Military–for Better or Worse on Memorial Day.  And that’s what I did. Considering my last What I’m Consuming post* was a while ago, I’m also due for another one. So here it goes.

 

What it is and why it’s here

This is a book of nonfiction by a writer I respect, who spends years researching her books.** She is also the daughter of a U.S. Air Force pilot.

Home Fires Burning weaves together portraits of, as Houppert puts it, “women who straddle the military world–one foot on post, one foot in the civilian sector. Most of the interviews took place on an army base in New York. But each personal story reifies a larger narrative–about war widows, domestic violence, the economics of military jobs, political dissent.

Though Houppert is a seasoned journalist, the picture she paints is far from neutral. The book takes a critical angle on military practices, especially when it comes to spouses and children of the enlisted. The stories highlight hypocrisy on the bases and in the military in general. Continue reading

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Group work sucks

What students tell me: Group work sucks. What I do about it: Assign a group project. The big secret in all of this? They produce great stuff.

Here’s a video one of my classes put together in April. It’s part of a website highlighting Gallaudet University clubs that have gone quiet — lost clubs that the students felt should “be heard.”

 

The group project is a required exercise in a general studies course I teach to first-year college students.

Sometimes, the project goes well. Most of the time, though… well, it devolves into disarray and misery. We research best practices in team work and project management and discuss the exasperating moments. When the stress climbs toward freak-out levels, I remind them that the project grade weighs about as much as a flea in the overall score for the course. Continue reading

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Publication: DC’s Airbnb hosts on Elevation DC

New perspectives, spoken word, and beer recommendations. These aren’t your average DC hotels–or your average hosts–in my latest piece for Elevation DC:

screen shot of an article

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Eat the big frog

 

frog on a tree branch

Australian Green
Tree Frog by LiquidGhoul. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Caerulea3_crop.jpg#/media/File:Caerulea3_crop.jpg

If forced to eat one of two frogs, most of us would choose the smaller one. I’m proud of three students who, when given the choice between a written and a video essay for their midterm, went for the biggest, ugliest croaking mass of yuck and bit right in.

Two new signers (one of whom was also an iMovie neophyte) resolved to go the video/ASL route. The third student is articulate and sharp–in person, in ASL. Writing, though? Not his favorite thing.

They each did well. And the best part is that we’re all on spring break now!

I hope to follow up with each of these students, to ask for their reactions. I suspect the frogs weren’t as slimy as they expected.

 

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What I’m Consuming: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Feminist graphicIt’s time for another What I’m Consuming post. I started with a collection of shortish fiction. This next one is a collection of short nonfiction (i.e. essays) — Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial, 2014).

What it is and why it’s here

Bad Feminist is a collection of essays by a fiction writer and cultural critic. Gay chews on and critiques all manner of things in pieces you may recognize from Slate, The Rumpus, and others.

The book starts off with disarming reads. Gay’s first essay on feminism has her questioning the absolutism many associate with the term. “I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy,” Gay writes. She is also:

…a woman who loves pink and likes to get freaky and sometimes dances her ass off to music she knows, she knows, is terrible to women and who sometimes plays dumb with repairmen because it’s just easier to let them feel macho than it is to stand on the moral high ground.

Continue reading

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Exhibit opens!

Rhea:

This happened. It really, finally did. And it was magnificent.

Originally posted on The Videofreex:

10980187_10153072360547673_8884919436436786359_o A panoramic view of the first rooms of the exhibit. Photo by Rhea.

On February 7, the public had its first glimpse of Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. The New Paltz museum dedicated a few thousand square feet to this massive retrospective, curated by Andrew Ingall. There were video screens, maps of New York City and State plotting Videofreex haunts and activities, ancient equipment stenciled with their name, and hundreds of people there to witness it all.

That day, from a Prosecco toast to the last drop of reminiscence over dinner, was one for the Videofreex record books. Though I wasn’t around to experience the Videofreex heyday, I felt very much a part of their renaissance. I found myself saying things like “You’re Horrible Howard? It’s so good to meet you!” and “You directed The Kitchen??” The exhibit runs through July…

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One week until Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television

Rhea:

New York and New Paltz area residents, come on by!

Originally posted on The Videofreex:

Nancy B&W sketch Poster by Videofreex member Bart Friedman, featuring an illustration of member Nancy Cain.

Just one week from today, on Saturday, February 7, the Videofreex exhibit opens at The Dorsky. That day, members of the Videofreex will come from New York, California, and D.C. (that’s me!) for the opening reception. Skip is driving up in what he’s dubbed the Videofreex Mini Media Bus. Join us at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on the SUNY New Paltz campus in New Paltz, NY.

Check out the upcoming events, including showing of the Videofreex documentary in progress:

Public Programs and Events for Spring 2015

And check out more of Bart’s posters below/after the jump (P.S. I think “BYOB” refers to your own bunny suit. What about you?)

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