Friday 29 June 2012

The Artist's Way

AnnalyticaPosted by Annalytica

A couple of years ago someone recommended I should read "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron, a book about unblocking creativity. It sounded interesting, so I borrowed it - and then it sat on my shelf unread for an embarrassingly long time.

Then, a few months ago, I found out about a course running in Oxford. Course participants work through the exercises in "The Artist's Way" and meet weekly to discuss their progress. In theory, this was something I could arrange to do without paying for a course - except by this point I had had the book for two years and done nothing, and I thought the structure of weekly classes might be what I needed to motivate myself.

I had several reasons for thinking that unblocking creativity was something I should work on. For one thing, when we started this blog I was overflowing with ideas for posts and seriously considering professional freelance writing. Recently it seems to be getting harder and harder to come up with ideas, which is why you haven't seen much of me on here lately. When rehearsing Lashings acts, I often freeze up, feeling self-conscious and unsure what to do with my body, and needing quite precise directions from other Lashers. Sometimes this direction helps, and other times trying to perform movements recommended by someone else only feels even more awkward. If I were more in touch with myself and my own feelings, and less concerned with consciously thinking all my movements through, perhaps I could express myself and my characters in a more spontaneous and natural way.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Links round-up

Lashings of Ginger Bee Time Posted by Lashings of Ginger Beer Time

Alternative Sex Education - an e-Petition to the Department for Education to include domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, and safe-sex for same-sex couples in sex education.

What looks set to be an epic discussion kicks off at Shakesville: Melissa McEwan on nationalism and stereotyping in the new Disney/Pixar film Brave (link contains spoilers). [TW: discussion of rape]

The blogosphere gets a-rumbling with numerous discussions of sexism and geek culture: Foz Meadows writes eloquently on gaming's rape culture and the misogynist attacks on FemFreq's Anita Sarkeesian, shortly before the issue reignites with several responses to the new Tomb Raider trailer. The thoughtful responses from Cara Ellison and Susan Arendt are very different and both worth reading, as is this [potentially highly triggering] article from an anonymous male survivor of rape: this story has also hit the Guardian twice, via Mary Hamilton and Charlie Brooker. Meanwhile, The Vicious Pixie and Ellen Lundgren take on a self-congratulatory meme about 'geek culture' beating 'pop culture' for female role models.

Merritt Kopas creates an amusing in-browser game that satirises TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists) and predicts their becoming 'utterly irrelevant'.

Femfresh, purveyors of the sort of 'feminine hygiene' that encourages shame, faced a hilarious social media backlash on their Facebook page - it's been deleted now, but check out some archived quotations and the parody poster made by Adventures in Menstruating!

 Virginia Howes laments the count-down to Independent Midwifery becoming illegal, decreasing the freedom women will have to make choices about how and where they birth their babies. More info about the institutionalisation of birth and therefore the restriction of the rights of mothers and midwives in the short film Freedom for Birth.

 A testament to the power of online activism - 9-year-old schoolgirl Martha Payne's blog documenting her poor-quality school lunches leads to improved meals within weeks, a global media storm, and over £100,000 raised for a charity feeding impoverished children.

Last week's Cutlery Drawer fundraiser, which featured a double set from Lashings, raised £244 for The Harry Harris LGBT+ Library!

A collection of poetry dealing with gender, sexuality and identity is reviewed by Tor, including particular mention of "Hair" by the awesome Hel Gurney.

Friday 22 June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Posted by Cleopatra

So I went to see Snow White and the Huntsman this week and I have a lot of feelings about it, so I thought what better place to put them than the Lashings blog.

(I’m going to talk in some detail about various choices the film made in their re-telling of the Snow White fairytale so spoilers for stuff like that. However, if you are familiar with the fairytale, there are not really going to be a ton of surprises here, except for interpretation/artistic choices/that sort of thing.)

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Links round up

Lashings of Ginger Bee Timer
Posted by Lashings of Ginger Beer Time

[TW for gender essentialism, bullying, fatphobia]: Matt Cornell talks about his experiences of school bullying and gynecomastia: My moobs and me: Growing up with gynecomastia. Some unusually sharp insight for the Guardian, including:
When my bully grabbed my breasts and called me "Tits", he was taking what he wanted. He was also reminding me that I was no better than a girl. I was beneath him.

New blog Boldly Go discusses androgyny: ">what I see reflected back onto me are thin people. White people. And a standard of androgyny that entirely depends upon a binary concept of gender ...if society classes you as female, you have to abandon all femininity to be andro enough."

Future film Dear White People, which "follows the events leading up to a race riot [at] a prestigious predominately white university through the perspectives of four very different Black students", raised its funding target through crowdsourcing in just three days. We're really looking forward to seeing it!

The Fattylimptics is "a non-profit community event ... featuring fat activism, games, performances, stalls and other DIY activities" - it's in London on the 7th July, and events include rolling down a hill together and spitting on the BMI.

And lastly, Lashings are descending upon Cambridge this Wednesday, 20th June, to share a stage with the likes of CN Lester, Ross Higman, Sally Outen and many more in a cabaret extravaganza of music, comedy and poetry, raising money for the Harry Harris LGBT+ Library.

Friday 15 June 2012

"The government says I'm NOT disabled"

kaberettPosted by kaberett

Those of you who were at our OxFringe shows last weekend will have seen a wheelchair user holding up a sign reading "the government says I'm not disabled". Those of you planning to attend our upcoming shows in London and Edinburgh will also have the chance to see it. (It's not actually very exciting, I'm afraid: duct tape and cardboard and marker pen.)

There is, you will be unsurprised to learn, some backstory to that sign. This is it.
To begin with, let's set the scene: it's the night before the first show, and your intrepid hero has just purloined a marker pen from their baby brother's desk; duct-taped four sheets of A4 card together; and is now trying to fit something pithy onto a (bodged) piece of A2. Remember, please, the constraint that this should ideally be visible from twenty yards.

Nuance, somewhat inevitably, gets lost.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Links round up

Lashings of Ginger Bee TimerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer Time

The closing date for the Equal Civil Marriage consultation is 14th June. Please fill this in and let the Government know what you think!

Several people in the HAES blogging world have embarked upon a hilarious campaign to mock foolish fat-hating rhetoric by adopting Secret Agent personae drawn from the Avengers films! As Kath at Fat Heffalump argues:
Fat hate, even that which is supposedly out of “concern” for us, is all about making us feel bad about who we are, about the bodies we inhabit.  It is meant to make us shrink down and disappear, out of shame and embarrassment.  So it’s really important that we make fun of it.
FAO anyone who isn't convinced that women in the public eye face some pretty serious fuckery re: public discourse that prioritises discussing their appearance over their ideas, Melissa McEwan at Shakesville presents: What Ed Klein Thinks About Hilary Clinton.

NEWSFLASH: Theresa May wants the UK Border Agency to stop issuing family visas to any non-EU national whose British partner earns less than £25,000 per annum, regardless of whether the non-EU partner has their own job. This is seriously, spectacularly messed up (it's already really hard and getting harder for non-EU nationals to get working rights in the UK: just ask our Galatea, who's currently doing battle with the UKBA).

  • Read about one couple's experience here: I'm Poor, So Deport My Wife
  • And find a petition and handy-dandy form that lets you contact your MPs about this in under 2 minutes flat here
  • You can also contact Shadow Immigration Minister Chris Bryant using this link.

Friday 8 June 2012

Because it is difficult, and because it is joyful: living, relating and performing with a visibly imperfect voice


Posted by Valentina

Most people I have met are afraid to sing. Though I loved to do so, I was terrified to sing for many years, having been told by various people close to me that I sang badly. An epiphany came when I saw the Lashings panto last December. The members of Lashings sang well, though many did not sing perfectly - I think the image of 'perfect' I have in mind is something like that in Glee, where people can burst into perfectly-tuned, soaring and completely-backed songs at the drop of a hat, and on screen, it all just *works*. The Lashers sang well, and confidently, and they didn't sound as though they had just stepped out of Glee - they sang authentically, and in a relatable, un-autotuned way. Occasionally one would miss a note, or another would start a line a little late, and yet they were up there, singing loudly and confidently to an audience who had travelled and paid to see them perform - the Lashers knew they were good.

This was a staggering realisation to me. I realised that my own singing voice might not be perfect, but it was fine: it could even be good enough to perform with. I decided that I wouldn't mind missing notes or singing too quietly - why was it that I'd been working hard on fiercely loving the rest of my body image for years, but had allowed myself to berate my singing voice? I went and spoke with Lashings after the show, and a few weeks later, sang confidently and happily in a room of houmous-eating queers at my first rehearsal.

I'm still working on my fear of singing badly, but there's something else that's even scarier. I have a visible speech impairment. And now I'm doing cabaret that doesn't just involve singing, but speaking as well.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Links round up

Lashings of Ginger BeerPosted by Lashings of Ginger Beer

Yollada “Nok” Suanyot has become the first transexual woman in Thailand to win a high-profiled political administrative role

Jos at Feministing writes about the recent successes of the trans* rights movement

If you haven't seen it yet, here's Lashings' own Sebastienne, kaberett and Galatea 'in conversation' with the Oxonian Review!

Behold the Oxford Pride Week Programme! Parties, parades, shows and fun of all varieties, June 8th-16th.

A great piece by Captain Awkward about communicating with your partner 

Sunday 3 June 2012

Alternative Sex Education - Oxford, 8 & 10 June

Lashings of Ginger Beer

Posted by Lashings of Ginger Beer Time

So, we did it! Thanks to the great kindness of many people, we successfully achieved our target over on WeFund1. (We've sent out emails to all our donors - if you haven't had one, check your spam folder!)

Now, what are we going to do with your money (apart from sending you awesome rewards, of course)? The next show, as you'll know if you read kaberett's post on Friday, is called Alternative Sex Education.

In a lot of ways, this feels like the show we've been building up to, or dancing around, for some time. It's still a sketch show, but it's been pulled together and is presented like a play, rather than a cabaret variety show. It's still full of witty and insightful parodies of popular culture, but it's also much more in the business of offering alternatives.

Along with all your old favourite acts, there's plenty that's new: and where else could you see Lady Gaga mashed up with Twilight, hear a song about carnivorous vaginas, or join the Kink Scouts?

You first chance to see this exciting new show is coming up next week, during Oxford Pride and the OxFringe festival:

Alternative Sex Education
Friday 8 & Sunday 10 June
10pm - 11pm

It's taking place at the Old Fire Station, at 40 George Street, central Oxford. If you live outside Oxford, never fear - this venue is right next to the coach station, and only 500m from the train station.

Buy tickets - see trigger warnings.

And now, we're off to spread some more posters around town! Hope to see you there...

1: We didn't exactly have a bad experience with WeFund, but we wouldn't necessarily recommend them to other groups looking to raise money, either - we've had to put in a lot more behind-the-scenes work than we expected, and they have worrying IT practices like emailing out people's passwords in plain-text emails.

Friday 1 June 2012

A weekend in the life of... Lashings!

kaberettPosted by kaberett

kaberett is a baby Lasher, acquired as a result of the panto. They're here, they're queer, and they couldn't decide which they liked more: the pronoun flashcards, or the cartographical love song. And they've just experienced their first Lashings dress rehearsal...

I'd been to shows (well, one show); I'd watched the youtube videos; and I'd bought the t-shirtcanvas bag. I had, in point of fact, fallen thoroughly in love.

I am quite possibly the worst kind of audience, though: having seen the magic happen, I wanted to know how the tricks were done. As it happens, I've rocked up to Lashings at a new and exciting time: we're currently trialling split rehearsals, with groups in London and Oxford working on skits and songs separately, before bringing them together.

And that's exactly what we spent this weekend just gone doing , for the show we've written about previously.