Greetings, New Readers!
After leaving last week in the hands of our very favorite Josephine and Geraldine-- Andrew and Craig of Overdue...
...and doing our best to drag it up on their behalf with our episode of "Overdames",
we HOPE you're eager to either meet us, or have us back, at FULL DAMES STRENGTH!
So let's swivel our hips RIGHT into another glorious edition of our splendid newsletter!
Announcements: Live-Tweet Alert: Tangerine!
Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAAAAAY:We’re partnering up with the fine folks atdigital film magazine Bright Wall, Dark Room(whom you might remember asthe publishersofFran Hoepfner’s A+++ meditation on the excellence ofMagic Mike XXL) to watchTangerine, an LA-set caper about two trans sex workers shot entirely on an iPhone 6. We have beendying to watch this film ever since reading its many great reviews and now it’s available on Netflix! So it only makes sense to invite you all to join us as we watch.
Where & How: On Twitter, via Netflix -- use #TangerineDames to follow the conversation, and be sure to follow Bright Wall, Dark Room at @BWDR to get the full experience!
When: Sunday, April 10 at 8PM ET
We’ll send out reminders as we get closer to the day, but we wanted you to be able to save the date now. We can't wait to e-see you!
Your Dames: Taking Over the Airwaves!
Like mothers who feed their children INFANTICIDE DOUGHNUTS, Corinne??????
THAT kind of mother??
Last week, our podcast pals Andrew & Craig took over this very newsletter and in turn-- as menitoned briefly above-- we took over their show! Dame Margaret readV.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic, the first of her creepy-sexy, purple prose-filled psychological thrillers, and the two of us unpacked a bunch of its weirder aspects. If you’ve ever wondered just how we’d connect 19th century literature and 1970s rape culture, this episode is here for you! Come for the popular literature howling, stay for lines like “this book is like ifSense & Sensibilitywere locked in Mr. Rochester’s attic until it went crazy”, stay for witticisms such as “maybe gifts aren’t the children’s love language.”
Bonus liner notes for listeners who want to do some follow-up reading on some of the stuff we talked about in the show:
Karina Longworth's fantastic 13-episode series on the Manson Murders and late 60s Hollywood on her podcast, You Must Remember This.
This interview with Andrew Neiderman, the ghostwriter who carried on writing V.C. Andrews' gothic books after V.C. Andrew's tragically young death.
"Dark Family: V.C. Andrews and the Secret Life of Girls" by Meghan Abbott and Sara Gran.
And finally! #Damespiration Lizzie Skurnick wrote about it for her Fine Lines column, too, and if you enjoy that (WHICH WE IMAGINE YOU WILL) you should definitely do yourself two favors: (1) buy yourself a copy of Skurnick's collection of essays, Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading, and (2) consider subscribing to Lizzie Skurnick Books and receiving in the mail every month a gloriously resurrected piece of Children's or YA history.
AND!! Did that episode of Overdue merely whet your appetite for Dame Sophie's wit and insight?? Because, if so, you're in luck! She also joined Margaret, Andrew, and Kathryn on this week's episode of Appointment Television to discuss irredeemably clueless characters on television and share some A++++ observations about the balletic parallels between Philip and Elizabeth's murderous spying on The Americans and the manner in which Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov--her favorite Soviet ice skaters-- performed AS ONE back in the 1980s. It's a VERY fun listen, and we were so delighted to get Sophie on the show finally!
Dame Sophie’s Week In Cultural Lady Yelling:
(put the needle on the record, put the needle on the record, put the needle on the record when the drumbeats go like this…)
When we did our recent live-tweet of Velvet Goldmine, I noticed a subtitled scene where a couple of minor characters were speaking in a code that was vaguely intelligible, but not quite. Alert Dames National Ali pointed out that it was Polari, a descendant of thieves’ cant, Italian, Yiddish & Romani, which was heavily used by gay men in England to identify potential friends & sex partners, and to protect themselves from a constabulary that still considered homosexuality illegal. Having noticed it once, I now see references to Polari everywhere! Our faves at Atlas Obscura point out that it’s a language that’s not really needed much anymore, but is a critical part of 20th century gay culture, and like other endangered languages, deserves protection. This brief report from the BBC features interviews with Polari scholars & revivalists.
Speaking of things we learn from movies! Have we talked about my lifelong love for movie soundtracks? It’s very possible that my favorite (what is “favorite” if not “most-played”?) album of all time is the Rushmore soundtrack. Maybe it’s the hors d’oeuvre effect of getting a perfect auditory sampler that also sends you back to the feelings the music, mixed with images, gave me? Whatever it is about soundtracks, Anne T. Donohue (who also writes a wonderful, deeply personal & reflective newsletter), gets to the bottom of it in Guys, none of us are cool, but most of us like movie soundtracks.
On the more serendipitous end of mixtape artistry, my most vintage Internet Ladyfriend, the beautiful genius Karen Corday, wrote about the role of radio in her life from childhood to the present and it captures everything I might ever want to say about how important that FM dial has been to me. E V E R Y T H I N G.
One night last week, I had a dream that I went to the supermarket and picked up a box of cereal commemorating the life & times of Marsha P. Johnson. Why had the General Mills of my unconscious developed a delicious, nutritious and wildly multicolored cereal about a trans heroine’s life & times, featuring no fewer than three individually wrapped prizes, one of which was a laser-cut wooden brooch in the shape of the letter U? Now, maybe the spicy dinner I consumed that evening had something to do with it, but I’d much rather give the credit to Julia Carpenter’s near-daily and always excellent A Woman To Know. I fancy myself a knower of women’s history, and I love learning just how much I don’t know about people like Aimee Crocker, Judith (of Biblical fame), Beatriz de Dia, and many, many more. (Disclosure: I routinely send Julia fevered emails about women I want her to write about & she very graciously includes them, but this newsletter would be pure fire even if she ignored my suggestions!)
Literary realtalk: I got stuck in Book 2 of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, The Story of a New Name. I stalled out twice at around page 150, and just decided to read up on the plot & skip ahead to Book 3, Those Who Leave & Those Who Stay, and it was a great, freeing decision. (Please always remember that even a book you think you will love may be a DNF (Did Not Finish) for you, and that is A-OK. Life is too short for leisure reading that makes you miserable.) I am loving Book 3, practically breezing through it, while also clapping my hand to my forehead approximately every five pages in admiration. All of which is to say, This Week in Ferrante, by Sarah Mesle & Sarah Blackwood over at our beloved Avidly feels like a thing developed in a lab marked Dame Sophie’s Perfect Reads Lab. Please join my prayer that this will be a semi-regular feature from The Sarahs. Go for the snappy insights about gender & taste, stay for the hashtags. MY GOD, THE HASHTAGS. I will close with a link to an Andy Gibb song that gives me strong Nino “What the Fuck is His Problem?” Sarratore feels.
Dame Margaret's Top Five:
Speaking of airwave domination, I will shortly be appearing on Bellwether Friends (a podcast hosted by #Damespals Anna & Alene) to talk about girl groups throughout history, so of COURSE I spent hours looking at gifs of sequined outfits worn by the Supremes that this glorious soul collected on Tumblr.
As the designated Sadie, Sadie, (un)Married Lady of Your Dames, I spend more than my fair share of time confronting the unbearable reality of online dating in a major city, often while singing the bridge of "You Can't Hurry Love" under my breath (the bit about "that soft voice/to talk to me at night"-- you know the one) and feeling VERY sorry for myself. TURNS OUT, I've got it easy, because playing Tinder in rural America is, unsurprisingly, a lot more complicated, but in VERY interesting ways.
I do not now and nor have I ever received the Penzey's Spice Catalog, but I found Kelly O'Connor McNees's argument that it captures America at both its truest and its best astoundingly persuasive, so I will be subscribing to it as soon as possible.
In a similar vein, Vox's reminder that political discussion on Twitter (or ANY social media network) is not particularly representative of people's actual political viewpoints was so comforting and so well-timed. Think about it! Barely anyone tweets (only 23% of adults with an internet connection!), and even among people who do, talking politics is RARE. So, the split between Bernie supporters and Hillary supporters, in particularly, is nowhere near as stark as it appears through the fractured mirror of your Twitter feed. THAT SAID, I also found reading Rebecca Traister's elegant piece about the gendered undercurrents to the Sanders campaign's accusations that Hillary Clinton's ambition is somehow monstrous pretty necessary, because I contain multitudes. "It's probably not that bad, we all basically agree! Buuuuuuuut I still need someone to carefully analyze all the shades of untoward shade the non-representative conversations contain." - Dame Margaret's Multitudes' Final Ruling.
AND FINALLY, as the well-known proverb says, "When God closes a [Bim Adewunmi's #BimsTopTen], she opens a [Mackenzi Lee’s #BygoneBadassBroads]." While #Damespiration Bim may have ended her tradition of sharing 10 perfect things from the internet (and moved on to writing a newsletter!), #Damespal Mackenzi has taken up the mantle of Making Friday Twitter Great Again. Each week, at the hashtag #BygoneBadassBroads, she shares a meticulously researched and engagingly related story of a truly incredible historical lady badass. Today, it was her favorite WWII hero, Noor Inayat Khan, the Muslim woman who took down Nazis while undercover in France. WHO KNOWS who it will be next week??? Tune in and find out, we promise you won't regret it.
A Bit Of A Week in Hamilton
For new readers, this is the section of the newsletter where we stash & contextualize some of our favorite updates from the world of Hamilton over the past week. We put it at the end of each issue so people who are as INTO IT as we are can find it easily, and those who are not into it can skip it with similar ease. Onward!
Dang, Lin goes on vacation for one little week and comes ROARING back, doesn’t he? Even with laryngitis (ugh, poor baby!)
Their friendship is basically domestic terrorism at this point.
Groffsauce is leaving the show this week. We don’t want to talk about it.
For the allusive completists in the house, here’s every Biblical reference in the show.
The New York Times was all over Hamilton this week. First, Lin spoke with them about his favorite books of all time. This prompted Twitter to share all of their favorite books with him, which resulted in Lin tweeting back about even more of his favorite books from childhood, all of which proved ONCE AGAIN that he is a bloodthirsty feels-murderer out to slay all our hearts. Sir, you are a shameless panderer to the key children’s librarian demographic & we honor your commitment to subjecting us to such exquisite emotional torment/pleasure.
A brief digression into some Feminist Yelling: <rant> Dame S. is 100% here for Lin’s enthusiasm for children’s literature. She also has a real problem with the fact that when children’s literature people (read: women) enthuse about this stuff, it’s frivolous lady and/or child (oh, could people be conflating those categories? SURELY NOT!) nonsense, but when a man does it, everyone falls all over themselves to praise him. We’re not blaming Lin, just observing a thing in the world. </rant> (Editor's Note: In this feminist yelling, Your Dames are in Complete Accordance.)
File under: SEE? SEE? The Erotic Charisma of Alexander Hamilton, a scholarly article that predates the musical by 5 years & contributes further to Dame S’s smugness at having claimed him for her 18th century boyfriend lo these many years ago.
Did you know how badly you needed a brief, utterly charming fanfic about Alexander Hamilton making friends with The Avengers? You didn’t, did you? But now it’s all you want to read, probably. (h/t The Rec Center, a weekly fandom newsletter by Gavia Baker-Whitelaw & Elizabeth Minkel.)