Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Meet the architect behind several Midwestern landmarks -- including the Hollywood, Uptown, and Varsity Theaters in Minneapolis.

Today's post is by Alan K. Lathrop, who was curator of the Manuscripts Division at the University of Minnesota Libraries from 1970 to 2008. He is the author of Churches of Minnesota (2003) and more recently, Minnesota Architects (May 2010).

The Fourth of July will mark the 117th anniversary of the birth of Jacob “Jack” Liebenberg, one of Minnesota’s most prolific and successful architects. Jack was born in Milwaukee on July 4th, 1893, and came to Minneapolis as a teenager to attend the University of Minnesota. He graduated in the first class from the School of Architecture in 1917 and went on to serve for two years in the fledgling Army Air Corps during World War I.

Following his military service, he established a successful partnership with Robert Martin and his brother-in-law, Seeman Kaplan, in 1919. Martin left the firm after a few years and Liebenberg and Kaplan went on to generate more than 4,000 commissions. Chief among them are a number of movie theaters in Minneapolis and the Upper Midwest designed in the Art Deco or Streamlined Moderne style, for which they are best known today. These include such masterpieces as the Hollywood (pictured above in Minneapolis, 1935, and is currently eligible for a place on the National Register of Historic Places), Uptown, and Varsity Theaters in Minneapolis, the NorShor in Duluth, the Fargo in the city of the same name, and the Maco in Virginia. All were built between 1935 and 1940.

Jack was a special friend of mine for the better part of a decade. I first became acquainted with him in 1975 when I worked with him to rescue his office records literally from the bulldozer. The story goes like this: Late one afternoon in 1975, I was contacted by Jack, whom I had known only by reputation, who was desperately worried because a storage shed and his office building on South 13th Street were about to be demolished to make way for the Loring Greenway (a bike and pedestrian parklike mall that would extend from Nicollet to Harmon Place, linking several then-planned apartment and condominium projects). A large number of Jack's building plans were stored in the shed. He said the wrecking crew was on the site and that they were starting to tear down the shed and wondered if I could help get the records out of it before it was destroyed.

I raced down to meet with Jack and with the wreckers, who argued that they could not delay. “Every hour of delay costs us money” was the argument. I told them I had powerful friends in City Hall (something of an exaggeration) and “heads would roll” if the contents of the shed were lost. The wreckers stopped work for the day but said they would be back in the morning. Meantime, I phoned Lee Munnich, alderman of the ward in which Jack’s office was located, and spoke to his aide about the situation. The aide agreed to help out and I went home, hoping the collection would be there long enough to get a truck from the University of Minnesota Libraries to haul the records away.

Next morning, I called the libraries’ shipping department and arranged for a truck to arrive at the site at noon. I raced back to the site where I learned from the foreman that he would delay the demolition until we could empty the shed. At 12:30, the truck and two student workers arrived and we worked furiously to get the records out of the shed, a portion of which had already been carved away by the bulldozer leaving the roof hanging precariously over the entrance. Nowadays, we would not have been allowed inside the building (at least not without hard hats). An hour later, we had it emptied. The foreman, who had obviously been given a stern message from Munnich’s office, now was very cooperative and asked repeatedly if we had everything we wanted out of the shed. When I assured him that we did, we left. As I drove off the lot, I looked back and saw the bulldozer, which had been idling next to the building, its driver anxious to get to work, tear into the one-story concrete block structure and level it in one pass in a cloud of dust.

Jack’s collection was very important because it contained documentation for all of the movie theaters as well as many of his other building commissions and became a significant part of the Northwest Architectural Archives. About five years later, when Jack retired, he offered me another large collection of drawings that he had moved to his home in Edina, including photographs and specifications for many of his works which were not included in the collection I rescued from the shed.

Jack was a good friend as well as an invaluable source of information about other architects of his generation and was always cheerfully willing to answer my questions whenever I called on him. He would always answer the phone in a quiet, unassuming voice: “Liebenberg’s office,” and would unfailingly thank me for performing a “wonderful service” for architects by preserving their records.

About 1979, I conducted an oral history with Jack and his former business associate, Al Wilwerding, which is preserved in the Archives. It contains many stories, some humorous, others poignant, of colleagues and clients he knew throughout his long career. By then, Jack was working alone in a small office across the street from Loring Park, still coming in every day to draw plans at his large drafting board for a steady stream of clients. He retired in 1980 and died in 1985 at the age of 92. Yet today, 25 years later, I miss him for his friendliness, knowledge of the “old days,” and unwavering courtesy. He was always a gentleman.


Find more details about Jack Liebenberg's life and career in Minnesota Architects.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Twin Cities Pride: Then and Now

In honor of this weekend's annual Twin Cities Pride festivities, we wanted to share an excerpt from the forthcoming book Queer Twin Cities, compiled by the Twin Cities GLBT Oral History Project. In this excerpt from the chapter “Gay Was Good: Progress, Homonormativity, and Oral History,” Kevin P. Murphy analyzes testimony from Twin Cities interviewees about changes in Pride events and local LGBT activism over the past four decades.


Many respondents, while recognizing positive changes associated with the gay and lesbian movement of the 1970s, resisted a characterization of the preceding period as “repressive.” For example, like many of those we interviewed, Lynda, a sixty-year-old white lesbian, looked back with nostalgic longing to the 1950s and 1960s: “Well, I think it’s unfair to just say that was a repressive time. I mean, I lived in that time and I know it was a warm and sweet and tender time.” Others spoke of some perceived losses that attended the “post-Stonewall” period. Tom, a fifty-nine-year-old white gay man, referred to some of the costs of gay visibility and the negative consequences of a politics of “coming out”:
When you’re known and you’re out you can also be an easier target for people’s homophobia, whereas in years gone by when people were closeted, maybe they could sneak through without getting the homophobic reaction. I mean, look at all the born-again Christians that are much more hostile to homosexuals than maybe they ever would have been in the past. Don’t you think that’s a part of what we’re dealing with now?

Judy, a fifty-nine-year-old lesbian, spoke about positive changes that emerged from identifying as lesbian and as a feminist, but also ruminated with some ambivalence about the consequences of the gay liberation and women’s movements. When asked about the challenges for younger generations, she responded:
Well, I think there are many, many more choices and life is consequently much more difficult because there are more choices to make. I followed a path that I thought I didn’t have any choice about and so I didn’t agonize about whether to have kids or not. They happened to me. And then I took care of them. And I loved them. So it’s a blessing and a curse to be nineteen now. More choices and more choices to make.

This ambivalence about the past was even more pronounced in testimony that dealt with changes in queer politics and culture over the past several decades. Some interviewees spoke of a decline in community feeling and politics. Judy, for example, answered a question about changes in the “lesbian community” over the previous twenty-five years as follows:
I don’t know that there really is much of a community anymore. I think people are scattered and integrated more. The whole idea, we were very downwardly mobile at the time. It was not okay to be middle-class or above. You were to be working-class. You were not to be making a lot of money. That has changed dramatically. People are allowed to make a lot of money. It’s valued. People are allowed to dress in a variety of costumes. People are allowed to be feminine or not. People are allowed to change genders, for that matter. People are well regarded if they raise children, if they stay together. This is all different. People are home. And family is important where before it was dancing and drinking and politics. Political action. There isn’t a lot of political action now.

For Judy, the stakes of losing a coherent community politics are high: “It’ll be too bad if we let our community splinter. You know, if it happens that our freedom start[s] being taken from us, we’re not going to have a way to fight that. And it could happen. It’s happened before.”


For her part, Claire identifies commercialization and corporatism as the engines of declension, as evinced by her comparison of early Twin Cities “Pride” events with those that took place decades earlier:
Of course, now it’s [Twin Cities Pride] just a mega-event. I think much too orchestrated, and much too commercial, in my opinion. In the early ’70s, there still was a sense of this kind of special, secret community, and there was something about the secrecy that was actually kind of appealing because it was—it was like a family, in kind of a way. And the other interesting thing is that you were thrown in with people of different socioeconomic groups than yourself, people with different interests than yourself, different professional areas, different races—in a way that you might not have been elsewhere.

Claire is not alone in recalling the excitement of secrecy and of claiming an outsider status. In a 2004 newspaper interview about early Pride events, for example, gay activist Gregg White recalled, “Back then, being out was scandalous and exciting, and walking into a gay club was almost revolutionary.”[i]

[i] Dylan Hicks, “Pride: How the Twin Cities Pride Fest Helped Turn Minneapolis into the San Francisco of the Wheat Belt,” City Pages, June 23, 2004.


Queer Twin Cities is forthcoming this fall from University of Minnesota Press.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Deleuze on dogs (hates 'em) and bugs (loves 'em)

From today's Slog:

The Slog then links to this piece by Charles Stivale that discusses Deleuze's dislike of domestic animals and his unique fascination with ticks, spiders and fleas. Because it is a somewhat rare occasion when a mainstream blog quotes Deleuze, we thought we would take the opportunity to mention a forthcoming title in UMP's Posthumanities Series that picks up on this philosophical conversation about bugs: A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans by Jakob von Uexküll.

Uexküll is a widely published biophilosopher who is as yet little known in English, yet whose work has influenced Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze and Guattari, and, most recently, Giorgio Agamben. This new translation is an important document in posthumanist studies that discusses how every species mistakes its own perceived world for the ecology as a whole (yes, dogs and bugs alike).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Q&A with curator Wendy Grossman: On the popularity of Man Ray, his unique approach to African art, and his lasting influence on modernist art.

Today we present a Q&A with curator Wendy Grossman, compiler of Man Ray, African Art, and the Modernist Lens, an illustrated volume that uncovers a virtually unknown chapter in the inventive activities of Man Ray and raises thought-provoking questions about the role photographs played in shaping perceptions of African art. The publication accompanies the traveling Man Ray exhibition (the next one begins in August at the University of Virginia). Check out the video above for an introduction to Man Ray and African art from The Phillips Art Collection -- an interview with contemporary artist Greg Metcalf, whose own work reflects the influence of African art on modern at the heart of this project.


Why is Man Ray so popular right now?

Salvador Dalí and Man Ray, Paris, 1934.
Photographer: Carl Van Vechten.
Man Ray's popularity is relative to one's perspective. While it has peaked and ebbed at different time periods in the U.S.related to numerous factors in the art world, the high esteem in which the artist is held in France has never wavered. I suspect that the recent round of exhibitions and new scholarship on the artist reflect an increased interest in the use of photography as a conceptual tool and the increasing recognition of the pioneering role Man Ray played in using the medium in such ways. He was one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century and continues to inspire artists today.

What draws you to Man Ray?

I grew up with photography. My mother was an amateur photographer and we had a darkroom in our house. In my first career as a graphic artist, I found myself increasingly drawn to the medium, taking courses in various aspects of photography, including photo retouching. It was my studies in photography that led me to pursue a degree in art history. Thus photography has always been at the heart of my academic pursuits, both on a practical and academic level. At the same time, the role of photography in the development of modernism became a central interest, as did the intersection of modernism with the embrace of non-Western art by the avant-garde. My interest was piqued by reading in most conventional narratives of modernist primitivism, as this historical intersection has been codified, that Man Ray´s Noire et Blanche was unique in his body of work and that he otherwise had no interest in African or other so-called ¨primitive¨ art. However, in the course of my research (as I discuss in the intro to the catalogue), I started to uncover a curious body of photographs that contradicted that widely held assumption. And so what became a 15-year journey was launched, leading first to my dissertation and subsequently to the exhibition project.

Aesthetically, what were the key components that Man Ray brought to African art forms that influenced viewers' perspectives on African art?

Man Ray approached African art much as he did the many found objects that came across his path: with a proclivity to animate inanimate objects with his irrepressible sense of play. His disregard for ¨documentary truth¨ is reflected in the manner in which he used light, shadow, and camera angle to thwart the viewer´s sense of perspective and scale. All these aspects worked to challenge the viewer to look at the objects in new ways and rather than looking THROUGH photographs, as is the conventional way of approaching the medium, to look AT the images. In contrast to the way in which Walker Evans’s photographs of African objects have been presented as “true documents” (despite the fact that they are as mediated and aestheticized as Man Ray´s photos), Man Ray sought to breathe new life into them. In so doing, he unwittingly came closer to the ritualistic manner in which many of these objects originally functioned. Moreover, the reciprocal relationship between object and image in his work and that of his American and European contemporaries worked to elevate both the African objects and the photographic medium, conferring a modernist status on both. This broke with previous photographic conventions in which such objects were rendered as either ethnographic curiosities or timeless, anonymous masks and figures with no attention paid to their aesthetic qualities. One of the best examples of Man Ray´s unique approach is the untitled photo in chapter three of the two floating objects, one white (the Pende ivory pendent) and one black (the Chokwe whistle, pictured above), which Man Ray juxtaposed to create a composition evoking chess symbolism with the interplay of two pawn-like forms.

That said, many of Man Ray´s images functioned in contradictory ways. Noire et Blanche, for example, both reflected and challenged contemporary ideas that saw non-Western art as exotic objects upon which to project western sexualized and racial fantasies. This is also the case with other images in which female models -- both white and of color -- are juxtaposed with African and Oceanic objects. However, Man Ray took this formula a step further, turning it on its head with the reversal of Noire et Blanche in which the white face of Kiki turns into a black form and the black African mask is transformed into a mesmerizing white visage. In both cases, the inanimate mask is more animated than is the human form. All of these components reflect the way in which Man Ray sought to challenge boundaries in every aspect of his creative endeavors. Indeed, nothing is as simple as it seems; that is, nothing is ever simply black and white.

Read on about how the exhibit's interdisciplinary nature became a problem for museums; how Alfred Stieglitz fits into the exhibition; and how the public has historically perceived African art.


We also wanted to share this photo of Sylvie Bello, executive director of the Cameroon American Council, who fell in love with the Man Ray exhibition and is seen here promoting the publication to a group of professionals at a Cameroonian workshop at Johns Hopkins University. Find out more about Man Ray, African Art, and the Modernist Lens.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Looking back on Tucson

Today's post is by UMP editor Jason Weidemann, who acquires books in sociology, media studies, native studies, anthropology and geography, among other disciplines.


In May I had the opportunity to attend the annual Native American and Indigenous Studies meeting in Tucson, Arizona. Always an energetic and passionate gathering, this year’s was even more so given that the meeting took place against the backdrop of Arizona’s recent passage of a stringent new immigration law and a measure banning ethnic studies courses in public schools.

Despite some calls for NAISA to switch locations or to cancel altogether, the meeting went ahead, though with some important changes. Several panels were transformed to deal directly with the immigration and ethnic studies bills, allowing Indigenous scholars who had traveled from around the world to form important connections with local activists. The opening night’s ceremonies, in which local tribal leaders addressed the association, ended with a plenary addressing the impact of these bills on local Indian tribes and high school students. Many NAISA members took part in a protest in downtown Tucson at the US Immigration Court organized by the O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective. And NAISA president Robert Warrior and Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva took part in a forum with NAISA members to talk about the impact of the anti-ethnic studies bill.

The level of community involvement and media attention that NAISA’s presence in Tucson generated was unprecedented. I travel to a lot of academic conferences, and they often feel insular—confined to a downtown hotel, scholars gather in meeting rooms or windowless exhibit halls and apart from the occasional off-site field trip or local interest story, creating little connection with the surrounding community and their concerns.

So it was exciting for me to see the level of attention NAISA’s meeting in Tucson generated. Since the meeting in May, I’ve been collecting media links regarding the NAISA’s annual meeting, which I thought I would share:

-American Indian Scholars Meet in Tucson/Arizona Public Media (video featuring NAISA president Robert Warrior, pictured at left)

-Convention comes to Tucson despite calls for boycott/ (video)

-Local Native American Tribe unique perspective on SB 1070/ (video) The camera crew actually set up in our book-exhibit booth for this video -- you'll find a brief cameo appearance of UMP staffers around 0:56.

-The Chronicle of Higher Ed also posted a story on the meeting.

-J. Kehaulani Kauanui, an associate professor of anthropology at American studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, conducts an excellent radio show, Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond, which is archived here. Two episodes of interest would be the interview with Robert Warrior and the episode on the Indigenous implications of Arizona SB 1070.

-Additional links can also be found on NAISA's website.

If you have other links about the meeting, please share them with us below or e-mail me at

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

She's unmarried. She plays softball. And she's a successful academic in the media spotlight. So what, exactly, is Elena Kagan being accused of?

Today's post is by Deborah Cohler, associate professor of women and gender studies at San Francisco State University and author of Citizen, Invert, Queer: Lesbianism and War in Early Twentieth Century Britain.


Why do we care if Elena Kagan plays softball? Are women who smoke cigars lesbians? This isn’t the first time that a political woman has been accused of conduct unbefitting a lady. But what exactly is Elena Kagan being accused of?

As Kagan’s appointment to the Supreme Court has given rise to more speculation about her sexual orientation than about her juridical bent, the history of representations of political women brings a new perspective to the current media storm.

I began researching my book, Citizen, Invert, Queer, “looking for lesbians” – or more accurately, looking for lesbian-baiting – in the pre-World War I suffrage debates. I didn’t find any. Instead of anti-suffrage accusations of homosexuality, I found fears of female masculinity. Masculinity, in other words, was not equated by anti-suffragists with female homosexual behaviors, but rather was viewed as a requirement for full citizenship.

Citizen, Invert, Queer argues that the historical shift from “masculinity equals citizenship” to “masculine woman equals lesbian woman” was enabled by certain events that occurred toward the end of World War I. Women’s participation in the war effort, the granting of partial suffrage to women, and several highly publicized court cases equating male homosexuality with pacifism, all conspired to align female masculinity with the emerging erotic identity of “(masculine) lesbian.” This equation of female masculinity to female homosexuality has dominated much U.S. and British mass culture since the mid-twentieth century.

Elena Kagan’s reported penchant for poker, her unmarried status, and her opposition to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy while dean of Harvard Law School, have all provided fodder for right-wing insinuations and nervous leftist queries. In much of the chatter about Kagan’s possible lesbianism, both insinuations of masculinity and cultural signifiers of lesbianism drive the speculation. This has led feminists to rightly assert that neither an interest in softball nor a disinterest in high fashion necessarily produce a lesbian identity. True enough. Writing for NPR, Patricia J. Williams asserts that the Kagan discourse indicates that “[f]orty years after the birth of modern feminism, we are still not able to think about women who attain certain kinds of professional success as normatively gendered.” And, as my research reminds us, gender deviance is widely, if erroneously, equated with sexual deviance today. In a broadly circulated piece for the New York Times, Maureen Dowd’s satirical memo from “Joe Biden” to “Obama supporters” seeks to reassure its readers that “Elena” is “a girl’s girl … like Carrie Bradshaw (and definitely not like Cynthia Nixon).” Here Dowd pokes fun at the equivalence of femininity and heterosexuality, but the accusation of their absences is still potent enough to worry Dowd and her liberal feminist readership.

At the turn of the twentieth century, women who sought the right to vote were taunted as masculine women. In 1907, antisuffragist Marie Corelli defined the suffragette as “a nondescript creature who, while aping to be like a man, makes this attempted semblance of man ridiculous.” As Corelli illustrates, suffrage women were accused not of homosexuality, but of masculinity, by their detractors. So today, when pundits on the right whisper concerns about Kagan’s cigar-smoking habits, and liberals mop their brows with worry, my research helps me to understand that two forces –- gender policing and homophobia -- are at work.

Let us consider the charge of lesbianism itself: this threat is more analogous to fears about second wave feminists than suffragist first-wavers. In the 1970s, it was commonplace for women who sought equality under the law through the passage of the ERA to be called lesbians, regardless of their sexual desires, marital status, or gender presentation. However, the Kagan kerfuffle goes further, bringing together a century-old concern about masculine political women with late twentieth-century ideologies of leftist lesbian feminists. Such narratives collapse early twentieth-century fears about women “out of place” in a masculine public sphere with more recent homophobic smear campaign tactics. If today’s whisper campaigns of the right, and the nervous echoes of Jerry Seinfeld from the left – “not that there’s anything wrong with that” – fail to gain purchase in the coming weeks, then perhaps we might hope that we are witnessing the failure of gender policing to enact a “gay panic” assault on women in the public sphere. As the senate confirmation hearings unfold, we shall see.


Find out more about Cohler's new book, Citizen, Invert, Queer: Lesbianism and War in Early Twentieth Century Britain.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Ver Series gets top honors at International Latino Book Awards

We are happy to report that UMP's A Ver Series has taken both first and second place in the Best Arts Book category at the 12th annual International Latino Book Awards.

María Brito, by Juan A. Martínez, received first place and was designated a "Triple Crown Winner" -- which means it was a unanimous vote among judges. Click here for links to downloading the foreword by Chon A. Noriega, the introduction, and an excerpt.

“Alongside the particular details of my existence, my work is an exploration of the intrinsically universal elements that each aspect of my being represents, these being gender, family, national and ethnic identity, religion, and, beyond religion, the unexplained realities that lie beyond life in the certainty of death.-María Brito

Celia Alvarez Muñoz, by Robert Tejada, received 2nd place in the same category. This book also includes a foreword by Chon A. Noriega, the A Ver Series editor. (FYI -- Robert Tejada is also author of the 2009 book National Camera: Photography and Mexico's Image Environment.)

-Catch this video interview in which Tejada and Noriega discuss the life and art of Celia Alvarez Muñoz.
-More about the A Ver Series.
-The full list of winners at the Latino International Book Awards.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ecofashion link round-up: Ethical Fashion Show promotes awareness of what we wear.

Professor, author and "ecofashionista" Regina Root has not only been selected to serve as president ad honorem of Latin America's largest fashion congress, Ixel Moda.

This College of William and Mary professor has also pioneered a new "Ethical Fashion" course that promotes knowledge about fair-trade apparel and discusses topics related to the global fashion industry. The course included the creation of an Ethical Fashion Show (footage above), which has been quite popular and is likely to become an annual event. You can read more about students' efforts in this article by Samantha Reichman, secretary of the college's Student Ethical Fashion Organization. You can also find information on the college's website.

Regina's book Couture and Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina, which analyzes fiction, songs, fashion magazines, military uniforms and women's dress (among other things) to create an original understanding of Argentine national identity, is forthcoming this month from University of Minnesota Press.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Scott Richard Lyons: Making his own x-mark

Scott Richard Lyons (Ojibwe/Dakota) is assistant professor of English at Syracuse University, where he teaches indigenous and American literatures. He has also taught at Leech Lake Tribal College, the University of North Dakota, and Concordia College, Moorhead.

His new book, X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent, is a provocative and deeply personal exploration of contemporary Indian identity, nationalism, and modernity. Find an excerpt, in which Lyons writes about the x-mark and its symbolism, on the First Peoples blog.

Also -- in case you missed it:

A 2-minute segment on local Arizona news about the recent Native American and Indigenous Studies meeting in Tucson, and the association's decision not to boycott.
(Bonus -- Look for a brief cameo appearance from UMP staffers around 0:56.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yuri Kochiyama to receive honorary doctorate this week

Yuri Kochiyama -- human rights activist, once a close friend of Malcolm X and subject of the biography Heartbeat of Struggle by Diane C. Fujino -- has been selected to receive an honorary doctorate from California State University.

“We are honoring an individual who has dedicated her life to community service by helping people of all ethnicities and those underserved by society in this country and around the world,” said Mo Qayoumi, president of California State University, East Bay, in a statement posted on the Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle blog. “Ms. Kochiyama has championed freedom and a quality way of life for all people in the United States and around the world. She has served as a uniting force for civil rights and an outspoken proponent of education for all people.”

Kochiyama is one of three people who will be honored Saturday at the university's commencement ceremony. Read more about the honor here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Looking for something special for the railroad enthusiast in your life?

Look no further than our Railroad & Transportation book sale. We are offering nearly 20 beautiful and fully illustrated volumes at a 20% discount. Included in the sale is our new publication Twilight Rails: The Final Era of Railroad Building in the Midwest, by leading railroad historian H. Roger Grant. It documents for the first time the stories of eight small Midwestern railroads that failed as a result of the automobile and the spread of the highway system, while arguing that these railroads were instrumental in linking small rural communities with larger urban centers. With more than 60 black and white images, it is truly a treasure.

In related local news, here's a cool image sent to us this week -- this is an October 14th, 1978 photo of the track between what are now Mill Place and Riley Hayes Advertising:

Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In postcolonial Argentina, this fashionable hairstyle had the last word.

Author Regina Root was interviewed this month by Página/12, one of Argentina's most prominent newspapers, about the ultimate symbol of female independence in postcolonial Argentina: the comb. Root tells the paper:
"This accessory, whose popularity lasted nearly two decades, became an emblem. There is no doubt that women with combs were seen as participants in public policy and that their presence disturbed various sectors of the population. As women were supposed to play a participatory role in building an independent nation, the combs envisioned this goal and provided public recognition."

Catch the English-translated article here (please note that some of the translation is shaky), or the original version here.

Root is author of Couture and Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina, which will be out later this month. The book is part of UMP's Cultural Studies of the Americas series.

Follow Root on Twitter (lots of great links on sustainable fashion!) at @DrModa.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

BEA 2010 | Recount Poll: Fair or not fair? You voted, now here are the results.

Our self-described "Oh-so-very official This Is Not Florida recount quality control poll" was an instant success at BookExpo America last week. Hundreds of voters turned out to have their say about whether they felt justice was served in the still-controversial outcomes of two significant recounts in recent history: Bush/Gore 2000 and Coleman/Franken 2008. Our tally includes votes taken at BEA as well as votes e-mailed to us by midnight last Friday.

Bush/Gore 2000

Fair: 15%
Not Fair: 85%

Coleman/Franken 2008
Fair: 74%
Not Fair: 26%

While we must admit we are not entirely surprised by these results, still we were emboldened by the number of passionate verbal responses stirred by our poll questions. Some participants were visibly outraged at the mention of the recounts; some admitted they were likely outliers in their beliefs. One did a Stuart Smalley impression. None hesitated to have their say.

Though the judges have spoken, the Coleman/Franken 2008 recount, which was the largest, longest, and most expensive in U.S. history, is certainly still an issue of controversy and one that is still tossed around in media reports. Here are some of the facts (from This Is Not Florida):

-The 2000 presidential recount took 36 days (from Election Day to the Supreme Court's awarding the office to George W. Bush). The Franken-Coleman recount and legal episodes, from Election Day to Franken's swearing-in, took 35 weeks.

-Author Jay Weiner covered the recount from Nov. 12, 2008, until July 7, 2009. For his efforts in covering the recount process, he received Minnesota's prestigious Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award.

-For this book, interviews were conducted with more than 40 key participants, including Franken. Four attempts were made to interview Coleman for this book; no response was received.

Weiner writes:
If there were any nexus (from Coleman v. Franken) to Florida - besides the reappearance of some Bush v. Gore lawyers - it was that Democrats vowed after their defeat in 2000 to never again stumble on a recount playing field. Gore was altogether too polite in Florida, preferring to stay above the fray. Franken’s legal team was not polite. Fray was what they did, making sure that this 2008 recount bore no resemblance to Florida’s, not by a long shot.

Click for more information on This Is Not Florida: How Al Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount.