When Dar Williams first wrote the song “The Christians and the Pagans,” about a solstice-celebrating lesbian couple who visit devout Christian relatives during Yuletide, she intended the folk-pop tune to be a humorous respite from tortured holiday gatherings. “The food was great, the tree plugged in, the meal had gone without a hitch/ Till Timmy turned to Amber and said, ‘Is it true that you’re a witch?’ ”
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There’s no blueprint for the cultural process in which to mourn the death of a dog. So I wonder: How do I commemorate the 15-year life of Peeps, my Bichon Frisé?
One day a couple months ago, a once-voracious Peeps stopped eating. She walked weakly to her orange food bowl filled with fancy pet food and looked up at me despondently. Her cotton-puff fur was stained yellow around her hind quarters from incontinence. It had been some time since she’d scrambled to the door upon hearing a key in the lock. Besides being largely deaf and unable to detect that daily nuance, she was too weak to expend the energy. It soon became time to take her to her longtime vet, Dr. Frydenborg, “to let her go.”
Binyamin Netanyahu, in a move many found surprising, closed his speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
“In dozens of countries academics are imprisoned for their beliefs. So the universities of which country does BDS want to sanction and boycott?” the prime minister questioned. “Israel – the one country in the Middle East where professors can say, write and teach what they want.”
In his 1964 autobiography, written three years before he died, at the age of 32, Beatles manager Brian Epstein recalled feeling the weight of his lineage as he sought a balance between the wishes of his Orthodox Jewish parents and the aspects of his life that were increasingly incongruent with their traditional values.
“I am an elder son — a hallowed position in a Jewish family — and a lot was expected of me,” wrote Epstein, who died of an accidental overdose of the sleep aid Carbrital. By then, Epstein’s unadulterated love for the music of John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr had propelled the group to international status. Yet, despite the massive impact Epstein’s efforts had on contemporary culture, Epstein himself remains something of an enigma.
Iconic pop duo the Indigo Girls have long been a staple at the annual Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, but this is the last time Emily Saliers and Amy Ray will take the stage — unless the festival reverses a long-standing policy that only “women born women” may attend. “It became clear that we had to take a stand and let people know exactly how we felt,” says Saliers.
She and Ray issued a statement on their website in April announcing that while they will perform this year, it will be their last until Michfest moves to formally admit transgender women after nearly four decades of being excluded. Saliers and Ray also vowed to donate any money made from the performance to trans activism. They plan to use the stage as a pulpit to discuss the issue, and their statement has already helped start the debate.
As I peer down at her cotton-puff head, my sense of guilt sets in. Peeps, my bichon frise associate, has just taken a cocktail of three different medicines meant to keep her ticker ticking. Her eyes water, and her mouth turns downward, quivering slightly. It’s obvious she is not digging this new regimen. At 13, this lady has lived long enough to endure an onslaught of insults to her pot-bellied little being — epilepsy, cataracts, a successful surgery to rid her of cancer and, most recently, congestive heart failure.
Read more: The Jewish Daily Forward
Amid preparations for a plume- and sequined-filled Pride Month in which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from all walks of life will converge in parades, decisions are being made in Congress that will determine if and when a bill that would protect the civil rights of LGBT workers will make it to a vote this congressional session.
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They were meant to be edgy advertising, those tall bikes towering in Brooklyn Industries windows, but somebody—or somebodies—took their presence personally. The bikes, each essentially a pair of ordinary cycles stacked into a single ride six feet high, had been in the clothing stores for less than a week when a saboteur etched a protest in acid.
"Bike Culture Not for Sale," read the runny white lettering found February 23 on the glass at the four Brooklyn Industries outlets in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The Park Slope store's assistant manager, McKenzie Rollins, first spotted trouble when she came into work the morning before and found someone had messed with the gate locks overnight. "They looked like someone had inserted something—maybe a screwdriver—to screw them up," she says, folding a retro '80s T-shirt with a cut-out neck. "We had to buy new locks."
The next morning, McKenzie found the graffiti. "They knew it wouldn't come off," she says. "This was malicious. They could have left a note. They could have gotten in touch with us about their concerns." But who could be so enraged by using a bike to pitch hipster duds? Another saleswoman suggested something curious, that it was local members of something called "tall-bike culture."
Read more: Village Voice
When Nicholas Negroponte launched One Laptop per Child in 2005, he was variously called an idealist and an imperialist for his idea: a nonprofit education-based initiative to help the world's poorest countries disseminate laptop computers to millions of children -- at $100 per unit.
Image: Carla Gomez Monroy
The ritual played itself out each year during Hanukkah: Grandma Miriam, with her high blood-pressure-induced thick ankles, stood at the kitchen counter, her fluffy white head bowed, crepey hands grating potato after potato into a plastic bowl. Later, there was the sputtering oil as she fed a frying pan scoopfuls of a mysterious starchy mixture.