The cast of “Pirates of Penzance.” Photo by John Flak.
It’s hard to produce an entertaining pirate play in 2016, and even more difficult to pull off a remake. But Mauckingbird Theatre Company’s latest production is an effortless queer revival of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic The Pirates of Penzance.
I should have expected this: The group, which has built its reputation on retelling popular stories through an LGBTQ lens, has not disappointed me yet. In this version, Young Frederic, played by Garrick Vaughn, is newly released from indentured service with a band of fabulously raucous but loving queer pirates and hoping to atone for his misdeeds. Throughout his journey, he encounters the lovely and vocally impressive Mabel (Laura Whittenberger) and her gender-bending siblings. Surprisingly, the two fall instantly in love with one other. Read more »
Sheena Howard, PhD, is an assistant professor of communication at Rider University.
You’re no stranger to G Philly and examining social dynamics pertaining to race, queerness, and communication. What current projects are you doing to further this dialogue?
Right now, my documentary Remixing Colorblind, which will be premiering on February 25th at the Ritz at the Bourse, is taking up most of my time. The film explores the ways in which higher education shapes our perception of race. My experience as a doctoral student at Howard University really transformed how I thought about identity and how influential higher ed is in shaping our notions of race. I really found myself at Howard University. While I was there, the intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation, on a personal level, really became clear to me. At Howard University I became aware of the influence institutions can have on a person’s sense of self and others. I carry that awareness with me and it continues to shape the projects I work on. Read more »
Actors David Reese Hutchison, left, and Kevin Murray play lovers in the new production. Photographed by John Flak; courtesy of Mauckingbird Theatre Company.
Who could have ever thought a 17th-century French play could be so gay and gender-bending — and work so damn well as a result?
Philly-based Mauckingbird Theatre Company,, known for its LGBTQ twist on classic plays, kicked off its ninth season with a timely spin on Ranjit Bolt’s adaptation of Moliere’s Les Femmes Savantes (The Learned Ladies). Mauckingbird calls its production The Sisterhood, and the decision becomes even more interesting given that there is only one woman in a cast full of men. Read more »
As December approaches, many companies will once again start the process of conducting annual performance reviews. Managers will tell employees what they did right and wrong throughout the year and offer advice for improvement. Then most workers will be given a 3 percent raise and sent on their way.
But for women, the performance reviews are more likely to hurt career advancement than help, studies say. Read more »
Despite great strides by women in the workplace, a new study offers some grim numbers about gender parity in the United States. It’ll take 25 years to reach gender parity at the senior VP level and more than 100 years in the C-suite, according to Women in the Workplace 2015, a study by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Co. (That calculation is based on the change observed between 2012 and 2015. For the C-suite, there was just a 0.9 percent increase in female representation during that timeframe.)
“Many people assume this is because women are leaving companies at higher rates than men or due to difficulties balancing work and family,” the study says. “However, our analysis tells a more complex story: Women face greater barriers to advancement and a steeper path to senior leadership.” Read more »
Kelly Martin/Wikimedia Commons
Target has announced a new plan to phase out gender-based signage from its stores — including the removal of pink and blue to denote different toys meant for boys or girls.
“We never want guests or their families to feel frustrated or limited by the way things are presented,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the changes. “Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender. In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense. In others, it may not. Read more »
Dear Target (or, my pet name for you, Tarjay),
I’ll admit: I am absolutely enthralled by my weekly fling with you. I mean, come on: Where else can I get my prescriptions filled, buy green tea scented Method hand soap, and grab a Grande iced vanilla coconut milk latte from your in-house Starbucks while browsing on flawless free wifi? We’re talking dream come true.
But over the last few months, the headlines speak for themselves: You nearly had women stampede and kill themselves during your crazy-ass Lilly Pulitzer launch that sold out in nanoseconds (and Lilly really is the definition of upper-middle class female domesticity: the Mean Girl‘s style Tweets that showed how “real” Lilly fans thought of your knock-off collection speak for themselves). Then last week, one of your shoppers posted a picture that broke the Internet: a specialized toy category she found in one of your stores for “Girls’ Building Sets:”
Can you tell me what exactly a “girls’ building set” is, Target? Does it contain glitter pink hammers with little Hello Kitty screwdrivers? Or, in the clearance section, is there a Hannah Montana toolbox? I’m feeling clueless here. Read more »
Last month’s “Equal Pay Day”—the day that’s set aside to demonstrate how much extra work women must do to earn what men earn—touched off a tsunami of back-and-forth over the causes of inequality in the workplace. Do women make less money than men do because they take time off to have kids? Choose careers with less stress and responsibility (and easier college majors)? Are battered down by the male patriarchy?
These questions are way too thorny for me to answer. And anyway, I’m much more outraged by a new report that highlights a differential just as disturbing when it comes to gender relations. It provides incontrovertible proof that women lag far, far behind men when it comes to employee theft. Read more »
Philly-by-way-of-Toronto artist Chana Rothman is debuting her children’s album Rainbow Train on Tuesday, May 12th. Rothman tapped into personal experiences and her son’s early experimentation with gender expression to create the collection of songs that focuses on gender freedom, gender expression, pride and love.
Read more »
Jonathan Chait, previously a senior editor at The New Republic and currently a writer at New York magazine, spent a great amount of words last week espousing the virtues of freedom, liberty, and being able to say what you want. The New Republic is seen as something of an institution in journalism, though not without its problems, problems which have been discussed critically and ardently by prominent members of the journalism community, including The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates. In December, the magazine suffered losses as many staffers resigned in response to a change in editorial direction. Chait was among those who resigned.
Now on solid ground at New York, Chait once a voice on the front lines liberalism at his old post, is using his new footing to push back on the criticism he and his colleagues received as editors at The New Republic. Chait’s missive is a challenge to liberal culture’s need for so-called political correctness.
Read more »