Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Happy Women's History Month 2019


March 3, 2019

I am heading north from New York to Boston on an Amtrak Acela for a gig at UMASS Dartmouth's Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality.  This center was founded in 1970 and is the second oldest collegiate Women’s Center in the country. Cool.

As I sip iced coffee and look out the window at the Long Island Sound I feel excited for this trip because it is one of my favorite tour stops - the return visit. Guerrilla Girls On Tour performed at UMASS Dartmouth back at the beginning of the century (feels so weird to write that). Feminist/theatreartist/Centerdirector Juli Parker invited us then and now. This time I head back to the campus sans mask for two reasons. One is to lead a poster making workshop and the other is to give my new talk, PUSH/PUSHBACK 9 Steps to Make a Differencewith Activism and Art. 

After arriving in Boston's Back Bay Station I hope in a rental car and make the shortish drive to New Bedford, MA - a harbor town with a whaling museum and ferry boats to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. I find fresh scallops on the menus of most restaurants  nearby and am told this is the heart of scallop fishing on the east coast. 

Workshop at UMASS Dartmouth

That night a snow storm hit the east coast and I wake up to discover that campus is closed on Monday – the date of my workshop.  This is why I always put an extra day into travel on tours that take place in winter.  Yep, better to be safe than sorry and I am able to reschedule my workshop for the next day.

Tuesday will be a marathon – workshop for 2 plus hours followed by my talk. I really hope my rental car has a snow broom and scraper in the trunk (it does!) because the snow is wet and heavy. It takes me a few starts and stops to get my windshield wipers working but I head off to campus midmorning for the workshop.

Mitch Berube of the Center greets me and we find a perfect parking spot! “That’s odd,” says Mitch, “because Mercury is in retrograde and since the snow storm everything is a bit off.” It seems my publisher has sent a case of the wrong books to UMass Dartmouth and instead of 24 copies of UN/MASKED they received a bunch of books on food styling!  Somehow I’ll make this work. (UPDATE: my publisher, Skyhorse, is sending UMASS a bunch of free copies of UN/MASKED. Yeah!)

Workshop was awesome. I am always amazed at the posters created collaboratively in just two hours time.  After a quick break to grab coffee and refuel, I present PUSH/PUSHBACK 9 Steps to Make a Differencewith Activism and Art in the campus library to 100 students, faculty and locals.  They laughed, they cried, they got the 9 steps. It was swell.

At the end of the day I grab dinner with Juli Parker and JessicaHarris of the Center. We are old feminist friends now. This repeat visit reminds me that feminism is all about community.  

Much love,

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