23 February 2012

Marianela Medrano
This week on Woman-Stirred Radio, visiting scholar Marianela Medrano takes time from her residency schedule at Goddard College to talk to Merry Gangemi about Taino culture, poetry, colonialism, and the feminine divine. Our conversation moves from Taino cosmology, to colonialism, and on through poetry, the power of language, the caveats and crevasse of racism and cultural imperialism, to the healing power of self-knowledge and artistic expression.
Ruth Farmer, program director of Goddard’s MA in Individualized Study, explains: “In her essay, “The Ciguapa Speaks: Dominican Women in the 21st Century,” Marianela points out that there needs to be ‘a resurgence of both feminine and masculine consciousness.’ She explains that this resurgence would lead ‘the feminine” to recover from “the dullness and fatality through which history has presented her’ and ‘the consciousness’ would be ‘stripped of its aggressive mask,’” a perspective which underscores and embraces the responsibility and opportunity of both women and men to instigate and implement social and cultural change. But changes come from an integrated understanding of who we are and how our origins, our roots both nourish and challenge us to learn about and value the inter-dependent relationships between our physical, intellectual, and spiritual selves—an integrated view of learning and knowing.

Marianela Medrano-Marra is a Dominican writer, poet, and a psychologist in private practice, and is the author of Diodes de la Yuca, (Torremozas, 2011), and Curada de Espartos (2002). She holds a PhD in psychology and is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Poetry Therapist. She works as a consultant and has a psychotherapy private practice in Connecticut. Medrano-Marra has earned fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and the Center for The Divine Feminine at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.

The interview with Marianela was recorded on Sunday, February 19th, in the studio of WGDR. You can post your comments below or email to merrygangemi@gmail.com.

Crescent Dragonwagon
Then at 5:00, I’m delighted to welcome the inimitable Crescent Dragonwagon, whose latest cookbook, Bean by Bean hit the stores just last week, on February 13th.  

Crescent Dragonwagon is the James Beard Award-winning author of seven cookbooks, including Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread Cookbook, Passionate Vegetarian, and The Cornbread Gospels.

Dragonwagon, who calls herself a Southern Yankee, is a New Yorker (the daughter of writer-editor Charlotte Zolotow and the late Maurice Zolotow, who was Marilyn Monroe’s first biographer). Dragonwagon spent 36 years in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where she “ladled up beans and sliced skillet-sizzled cornbread for the masses—including Secretary of State Hillary, former president Bill Clinton, Betty Friedan, and that smooth-cheeked crooner Andy Williams.

Beans are serious nourishment; they are also highly economical, and while often considered a poor man’s fare, are quite chic these days, featured prominently on the menus of many of the world’s finest restaurants.

Beans can be curry, chili, stew, soup, or salad. They can start a meal or finish it in the guise of bread, appetizers, crepes, cake, ice cream, and even candy. Beans are chockfull of protein, fiber, vitamins, omega-3 fats, calcium, potassium, zinc, and more.  They nourish the soil and have made their mark in fairy tales and folklore (good old Jack and his beanstalk!); and bean carbohydrates have been found to improve the stability of blood sugar levels in diabetics.

The monastic followers of Pythagorus thought humans traveled through the stems of bean plants to reach Hades, where they were transmogrified for their next lives—and don’t forget those notable Roman surnames: Cicero (chickpea), Fabius (fava), Piso (pea),
and Lentullus (lentil).

Bean by Bean is a beautiful book, filled with more than 175 recipes, as well as how to pick and preserve the little legumes. Crescent Dragonwagon rocks!

So please join us Thursday, February 23rd from 4 to 6 p.m. (eastern), for another broadcast of Woman-Stirred Radio. Want to join the conversation? Call the air studio at 802 454 7762 or email merrygangemi@gmail.com.

Woman-Stirred Radio is underwritten by Sinister Wisdom, celebrating 35 years of  lesbian-feminist arts and letters. Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts live on WGDR 91.1 fm and WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College's community radio stations located in Plainfield, Vermont.

15 February 2012

Sculptor Linda Stein and Sociologist Maria Freidman Marquart this Week on Woman-Stirred Radio

This week on Woman-Stirred Radio, Merry Gangemi welcomes lesbian-feminist sculptor Linda Stein, and sociologist Marie Friedman Marquart, whose new book, Living Illegal: the human face of unauthorized immigration, was released by the New Press late in 2011.

Linda Stein
Body-swapping, gladiators, amazons, and superheroes; gender construction and gender constrictions, sexuality, empowerment, shape-shifting---social norms, cultural tropes or pop icons and concepts that are turned upside-down or leftside-right in the work of Linda Stein

Drawing on the visual arts and pop cultural performatives of gender and sexuality from Michelangelo to Wonder Woman, Linda Stein compels us to interpret and reinterpret what we see in the human body as proscribed not by social and cultural norms but by constantly changing and always fluid imaginings of sexuality and gender.

As an artist and activist, Stein asks, repeatedly "How do we find the courage, the bravery to break these molds?" (May 2009).

Photos from Have Art Will Travel. Linda Stein is (top to bottom) on the left, right, left.
Artist-activist, lecturer, performer, and video artist., Linda Stein is the founding president of Have Art: Will Travel! Inc., vice president of the Woman's Caucus for Art, and art editor of On the Issues Magazine.

Her work is represented by the Flomennhaft Gallery, NYC and her archives are found at Smith College. A current installation, of five eight-foot windows, is in Downtown Crossing, Boston and her solo exhibition, The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein, is currently touring the U.S. and will remain on the road until 2014. She has also been commissioned for a "larger-than-life Knight, sited as the central sculpture for the Walk of the Heroines at Portland State University" (LS).
Linda Stein's interview begins at 4:15. Want to join the conversation? Call 802.454.7762 or email questions and comments to merrygangemi@gmail.com.
Then, at 5:00, Marie Friedman Marquart.
As the title clearly states, Living Illegal challenges the amplified negativity and misinformation about the men, women, and children who are labeled and targeted as unauthorized, alien, illegal, and criminal. Through personal immigrants' narratives, Marquart and her colleagues excavate "far beyond conventional explanations" and "challenges our assumptions about why immigrants come to the United States, where they settle, and how they have adapted to the often confusing patchwork of local immigration ordinances" (NP). 
Marie Friedman Marquart
"Specifically focused on issues related to religion and inter-ethnic relations," the researchers nevertheless "decided to write this book to share the stories... challenge many of the myths" (Latinovoices).
Living Illegal offers insights and analyses; and Marquart shares what she "learned first-hand about positive solutions devised by real people in local areas grappling with unauthorized immigration and rapid demographical change."  
Interview starts at 4:15, and if you want to join in the discussion, call 802.454.7762 or email questions to: merrygangemi@gmail.com.

Woman-Stirred Radio is underwritten by Sinister Wisdom, celebrating 35 years of  lesbian-feminist arts and letters. Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts live on WGDR 91.1 fm and WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College's community radio station located in Plainfield, Vermont. 

8 February 2012

Loud in the House of Myself : Stacy Pershall on Woman-Stirred Radio

Stacy Pershall
This week on Woman-Stirred Radio, at 5:00 p.m.,  author Stacy Pershall visits with Merry Gangemi to talk about her memoir, Loud in the House of Myself, published last year by W.W. Norton, and re-released, in paperback, last month.Hailing from Prairie Grove, Arkansas, Pershall grew up in the 1970s, the decade of Vietnam, Watergate, Kent State, and Janet Jackson, when the average starting salary was $7,600.00 and the national debt only $382 billion.

From her life as a Jesus freak to a belly dancer and writer in New York City, Loud in the House of Myself, is a narrative of being different, brilliant, and wack-a-doo---all at the same time.

Pershall's voice is bold, wry, and her behavior, at times, is comical. But it is not light reading. Loud in the House of Myself is a deeply insightful and existential, a well-crafted memoir which brings the reader, like Dante on his metaphoric journey through Hell, down and back again from the harsh difficulties of mental illness. Loud in the House of Myself is also a map and thesaurus of the emotional intelligence needed to understand oneself, and of the fierce, successful determination to take back control of one's life.

Stacy Pershall describes herself as having a body "made... of color and light." Her skin "is made of lightning bolts, robots, rockets, cats, the Bride of Frankenstein, Laurie Anderson quotes." Her tattoos remind her of "who I am and what I'm made of, and the unfilled lines of a work in progress."

Stacy Pershall lives in New York City and holds an MFA in new media art from the University of Cincinnati. She is a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau, and lectures widely on issues of mental health, body modification, and bullying.

Want to join the conversation? Call the air studio at 802.456.1630.

So please tune in to Woman-Stirred Radio---or stream us live at http://wgdr.org.

Woman-Stirred Radio is underwritten by Sinister Wisdom, celebrating 35 years of  lesbian-feminist arts and letters. Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts live on WGDR 91.1 fm and WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College's community radio station located in Plainfield, Vermont. 

2 February 2012

Linq at 4:15 and Merle Hoffman at 5:00 Today on Woman-Stirred Radio

This Thursday, February 2nd, at 4:15, Woman-Stirred Radio welcomes back Linq, Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter, whose latest CD, Caught in the Act Acoustic, was released in 2011. Not everyone gets to live their dream and not everyone has the hutzpah to pull it off, but when Linq sold her pharmacy and picked up her guitar she made the move and moved successfully. With eight CDs in her discography, Linq performs all over New England. Her CD,  Fast Moving Dream, has been nominated for many awards, including
the International Narrative Song Competition, American Idol Underground, and the Just Plain Folks Music Awards. She was named Musical Artist of 2009, in the Pride of the Arts Award.

Committed to the power of music as a vehicle for profound social change, Linq lives the reality of her dreams and helps to change the world one note at a time, reaching out to queer communities well beyond the boundaries of Massachusetts.   Click HERE for an audio clip about Linq, and HERE for a sample of her music.

So tune in this Thursday, February 2nd, at 4:15 for a delightful conversation with Linq! Want to join in the conversation? Call the air studio at 802.454.7762.

Then at 5:00 p.m., Woman-Stirred Radio airs a pre-recorded conversation with abortion activist and provider Merle Hoffman. Her new book, Intimate wars; The life and times of the woman who brought abortion from the back alley to the boardroom, was released last month by The Feminist Press. Hoffman "leads us through the raging political battles of the past four decades and her own internal contradictions and challenges with nuance and lucidity. Her story provides both an intimate personal portrait as well as a revealing social tableau. With characteristic fortitude and realism that provides insight into both dimensions" (GLW). When asked about the impact of her work, Hoffman says "There has been a heavy price to the work I've done. But if you want to call me names, I say 'take a number. The line forms at the left" (GPR).

A personal narrative set within the context of the pro-choice and pro-life movements and sustained political actions such as Operation Rescue, Hoffman trains her sights on the skilled, politically-motivated actions, against choice, from Nixon to Obama "with special attention given to Clinton and George W. Bush," whose administration is characterized by what Hoffman identifies as the "most violative period of government interference" (GPR).

Merle Hoffman is president and CEO of Choices Women's Medical Center, Queens, New York.

Woman-Stirred Radio is underwritten by Sinister Wisdom, celebrating 35 years of  lesbian-feminist arts and letters. Woman-Stirred Radio broadcasts live on WGDR 91.1 fm and WGDH 91.7 fm, Goddard College's community radio station located in Plainfield, Vermont.