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Monday, April 18, 2011

Deep in the heart of Texas!

Howdy, GGOT Diary!

We just spent an amazing week in Texas! We kicked this tour off in Houston, where the most fabulous tour guide/professor, Susan, drove us everywhere we needed to go, including an emergency Starbucks run and out to a delicious Vietnamese lunch!

At noon, on our first day Aphra, Edith and I we were scheduled to speak at KUHF, a Houston public radio station, about the life of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour! and the ongoing struggles of women in theater. I had never been in a sound booth before so I was excited. As we sat in the green room we joked about what we were going to say and the section from “Feminists Are Funny” that we were to perform. I felt so ready and empowered but then, of course, as soon as we went on air, I got so nervous! St. John, our host, turned to me and asked me the question, "Has the need for feminism changed over the years?" Of course I knew the answer! Had I been in my right mind, I would have said, "Yes, it has. Women have newer things to contend with. The media is constantly in our face, telling us how we should look and smell; how much we should weigh. We don't protest with picket signs. Instead we create performance pieces, or raise funds for women who have been victimized. Today, we have to speak out about women's health care rights, and equal opportunities in the work place..." Had I been in my right mind, I would have gone on and on and everyone would have applauded the brilliance of my answer. Instead, I was stuttering like Porky Pig up in there! I stumbled, and floundered, and finally squeaked out some weird answer, that I'm sure made no sense at all... uggghh... That moment will forever haunt me!

Later that night we performed “Feminists Are Funny” at the University of Houston Downtown, where we were greeted by a warm, welcoming faculty and student body. Frank, the school’s Technical Director, led our tech and he was amazing! Sort of a jack of all trades Frank not only kept our tech running smoothly he was also there if we needed anything.

We also received a huge Texas welcome from Kate Roark, the professor of theatre who organized our tour to Texas. She was helpful and open and she's one of the only people, ever, to identify our slide of funny feminist Charlotte Cushman on sight! Lastly, we met Dr. Lyttle, the head of UHD's theater department. He was so jovial and happy to meet us. It really made us feel welcome (Although, I think I may have upset him a little when I revealed the UHD theater stats :{ It wasn't the worst theater department we've ever been to, but there was definitely room for improvement when it came to opportunities for women. I'm just sayin'.) We gave a great performance, and the audience was really into it. I just love when the audience get's all of our puns, one-liners, prat falls and feminist humor.

The following day, we hosted a poster-making workshop for the combined interdisciplinary arts department. Initially, turnout was good. They were into the warm-ups and our theater games and everyone had great poster ideas. But when it came time to actually create the posters, everyone except for four women, left! Apparently each class unit is an hour long and everyone had an exam to run off to. Oh well, we made some great posters with the few remaining students and got to chat more with Kate about theatre.

Next stop, Austin!

The following day, we jumped in the car, and drove over to Austin. Now, I love Austin. It's a little funky and a little hippy dippy. It's forward thinking but still has that southern feeling. We arrived at this smallish, colorful building and I would have never, in a million years, known that that was our hotel. We entered the Kimber Modern, and were immediately impressed with its architecture, colorfulness and cleanliness. It was also happy hour, so we went straight for the snacks! It was a beautiful day and the three of us sat outside in the lovely courtyard and read newspapers, surfed the Internet, and chatted until it was time to go on to our next workshop.

The workshop that night was sponsored by the awesome theatre company, Rude Mechanicals and their group Grrl Action -- one of the most incredible groups of young women and mentors I have ever seen. It was one of the most exciting experiences of my guerrilla life. We worked on making posters with teenage girls between the ages of 13-16. They were all so bright, and funny, and positive. They had so many ideas for important poster-worthy matters that we could barely fit them on the board! In the end they narrowed their ideas down to Plus-Size Models, Homosexuality, Violence Against Women, and Feeling Wanted. As we walked around the room listening to each group brainstorm we heard all sorts of talk about violence that's happened to them and feelings of rejection. It made me think back to when I was their age and how confused and lonely and all over the place I felt. They produced some brilliant, telling posters. During critiques, they were all super supportive of one another. No one said anything negative. Every sentence began with “I like the way....” They were so funny, and wanted to know if we were wearing wigs, and what our hair really looked like. I loved every second of it!

After the workshop Edith, Aphra and I chowed down on some awesome Austin food and the next day our spring 2011 tour officially ended. Diary, it was a great season. Until next time...

Monkey love,

Josephine Baker

April 7, 2011


Anonymous said...

I sooooooo wish you could have made it to Dallas and am so sorry I wasn't able to help it happen. I would be thrilled, and I know she would be too, if my 14 y.o. daughter had the opportunity to attend a gathering like you described. Next time!

Glad Texas was good to you.

~ Nino

Giselle said...

Come to San Antonio pleeeeease. We need you!

Guerrilla Girls On Tour said...

We hope to return to Texas in the future and will be sure to reach out to Dallas and San Antonio. Thanks for the comments! GGOT's