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$120,000 for Banksy’s Jungle Book “Execution” Print

12 Jan

A poster version of the print, which was never distributed. From the Telegraph UK.

CNN International reports that a Banksy print recently sold for $120,000 on auction in London Tuesday. Some details:

The work, “Save or Delete Jungle Book,” went under the hammer alongside works by other urban artists as part of an Urban Art sale at Bonhams auction house in London.

The image was originally commissioned by Greenpeace for a poster campaign highlighting the problem of deforestation, with the characters transposed onto an image of a devastated forest. But the posters were never circulated due to copyright issues with Disney.

Seems to me that this work is a beautiful piece of political commentary. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it would qualify for the first-amendment satirical protection under which the Paul Krassner Disneyland Memorial Orgy is distributed.

Banksy’s work is always controversial, and has touched on Disney more than once. Perhaps most famously, his 2006 guerrilla installation at Disneyland commented on Guantanamo Bay. His documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, includes video footage of setting up the costumed dummy in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, as well as commentary from a cameraman who was detained by Disneyland police after the installation was discovered. It left me unsure of how comfortable I am with the private security forces at Disneyland, and their powers to detain persons of interest.

Jentasmic! Around the World in Disney Days

26 May

My Jentasmic! column at StudiosCentral.com this week starts on facebook, and travels around the globe:

The other day, I found myself listing the five things I’d immediately spend tons of cash on if I were to hit the lottery big time. Yes, the charitable foundation and the big house were at the top of my list, along with sending my husband to Mongolia (honest, he’s wanted to go there for decades). And, you guessed it, so was a fabulous vacation to all the Disney Parks around the world. (After all, my spouse will be in Mongolia for a while, and the boy and I need to keep ourselves occupied somehow, right?) I’ve been to nine of the Disney Parks already, only missing Tokyo DisneySea and Hong Kong Disneyland, but I’d love to take a leisurely couple months to visit them all sequentially, and also enjoy some of the surrounding areas.

Head on over to read the rest….

Minnie’s Country Home, and Feminism 101

10 Sep

Meeting Minnie, en route to her Left Coast Country Home

Just yesterday, I stumbled across a fabulous new blog: Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, which features a feminism FAQ. Why is this so fabulous? Well, before this site, I wasn’t aware of any resource where I could send people for those Frequently Asked Questions about feminism, and any tech support folks out there (or computer geeks who end up doing tech support for their loved ones and random cocktail party strangers) know how useful it is to be able to point people to some basic information and assumptions, so that conversations and debate don’t have to be derailed by going back to review first principles. And also, how tiring it is to re-tread the same basic ground over and over again.

Or, to quote from their “Why was I sent to this blog?” page:

AKA: I asked some feminists a question, and instead of answering they sent me here. Why?

Your question probably covered ground they have gone over many times before, and they didn’t want to derail the interesting discussion they were already having. [1]

  • People find questions that do not further the current discussion frustrating. Questioners find being ignored at least as frustrating, and such mutual dissatisfaction can totally disrupt a discussion. By sending you here the feminists hope to avoid such disruption, yet are also not completely ignoring your question(s). [2]
  • Maybe you didn’t ask a question at all, but asserted/argued a point that denied the factuality/importance of the topic being discussed. Nobody cheers at the thought of trying to run another through reams of introductory material before that person gains the grounding to argue a topic knowledgeably.

Either way, educating you on the basics would derail the discussion about the actual topic the feminists are interested in, just for you. That’s an awful lot to ask of people on the net who don’t even know you, isn’t it?

This blog exists to give you a few pointers to places you can find more information to answer your question (although we’re only in early days yet, FAQs will continue to be added until the basics are covered). Once you are better informed you will be able to contribute to lively feminist discussions productively, armed with facts and theory, even if/when you don’t end up agreeing with feminist opinions.

A casual breakfast with my girlfriend Minnie, at the Watercress Café Character Breakfast

A casual breakfast with my girlfriend Minnie, at the Watercress Café Character Breakfast

So, why am I peppering this post with pictures of our dearly loved rodent girl? Well y’know, I just happened across the Feminism 101 blog at just the right time! Because this week’s Those Darn Cats podcast (MP3, show notes) once again delves into political analysis of a well-loved Disney Parks tradition, Minnie’s Country House. And while I know that many of our listeners are already quite well-versed in answers to questions like “I’ve got nothing against equal rights for women, but we’ve got that, so isn’t feminism nowadays just going too far” and “But men and women are born different! Isn’t that obvious?” and “Does feminism matter?“, I figure an additional resource for these answers is never a bad thing, and might even be useful for those folks who are new to the conversation, including those who are not feminists but would like to better understand the basic philosophy and ideology.

And hey, if any of y’all reading this have podcasts of your own, or interweb radio shows or any other such project (perhaps Disneyphile, perhaps not)? My BFF and partner-in-crime Lisa cooked up a short MP3 promo for us, grooving on a Laverne and Shirley vibe. You can hear it at the end of TDC#17 (MP3, show notes), and I’m happy to email you the promo as a separate MP3 file.

Polka Party at Disneyland, 1957

1 Sep

Because you know, I am all about the newest dance fad! Can we also do The Bug?

I love Kevin Kidney’s blog, where I just happened across this image…he runs some fabulous vintage Disneyland ads, which make me nostalgic for a time that I never experienced, that maybe never really existed outside of the marketers’ minds.

Several Arrests at Disneyland Labor Protest

15 Aug

From CNN.com:

Cinderella, Snow White, Tinkerbell and other fictional fixtures of modern-day childhood were handcuffed, frisked and loaded into police vans Thursday at the culmination of a labor protest that brought a touch of reality to the Happiest Place on Earth.

The arrest of the 32 protesters, many of whom wore costumes representing famous Disney characters, came at the end of an hour-long march to Disneyland’s gates from one of three Disney-owned hotels at the center of a labor dispute.

The Local 681 web site has more information on the workers’ concerns, which focus primarily on health care. Disneyland frequent Guests, especially Annual or Seasonal Passholders might want to check out the Disney Negotiations Update page for more detailed information (scroll down past the media links), and consider writing a letter to Disney. Or, if you’re going to be at Disneyland, you could also stop by City Hall to leave a comment/compliment/complaint card on the topic. I for one enjoy my vacations more when I believe the people who make the magic are being treated well.

The Generic Use of “Disneyland”

26 May

Mr Broke Hoedown (aka Collateral Damage) is fond of pointing out that Rhode Island has become a standard measurement of land mass. A few examples, courtesy of Quahog.org:

Space-derived materials that survive entry into the Earth’s atmosphere are called bolides. The largest known bolide impact occurred 32.5 million years ago at the present-day Chesapeake Bay. It made a crater twice the size of Rhode Island and deep as the Grand Canyon.
Virginia Museum of Natural History, “Virginia trivia: Have any large comets ever hit Virginia?,” May 18, 2000.

[…]

[Hong Kong] is Earth’s most crowded place, a territory one-third the size of Rhode Island, with seven times the population.
The Commercial Appeal, “Ruling Likely To Stuff More Humanity Into Hong Kong,” May 2, 1999.

[…]

[Iraq’s] southern fields are spread across an area about the size of New Jersey, while the northern fields are smaller, about the size of Rhode Island, Pentagon officials say.
Associated Press, “Reviving Iraq’s oil empire a top U.S. goal for post-Saddam period,” by H. Josef Hebert, January 31, 2003.

Well, as a Google news alert subscriber, I’m always amused at the various contexts in which Disneyland is used as a standard measurement as well: A standard of cleanliness, beauty, and entertainment, either held up as a goal (“it’s gonna be just like Disneyland!”) or a contrast (“this isn’t gonna be Disneyland, kiddo”). This usage shows up in headlines a bit more frequently than in the body of the story. A few example from Google news alerts I’ve received:

[headline:} It’s not Disneyland, but tourists are coming
At contaminated Hanford site, nuclear history is the draw
[from SFGate.com]

[headline:] Peaks in the valley: mogul’s dream, ‘Alpine Disneyland’
[from the Otago Daily Times]

“Another shocking thing I hear from one official is that ‘[the funeral parlor] going to look like it’s Disneyland’. Come on, death is something that should be dignified, not a Disneyland concept. So that was another disappointment for the residents.”
[from the Singapore News]

Interestingly enough, the term “Disney World” doesn’t seem to have attained this sort of status, perhaps because Disneyland is of course the original, and because its image still retains a bit more of that 1950’s idealistic vibe.

Who Will Have First Same-Sex Civil Marriage at Disneyland?

16 May

I was sitting in an airport lounge yesterday afternoon when I saw the news that California’s Supreme Judicial Court had ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry, under the state’s Constitution. I know there are still some hurdles, I know that there are plenty of groups working to stop this and that the Pope disapproves . . . I am sometimes tired and bitter and worried that there will be backlash, but all the same I choked up with tears to see the couples rejoicing, to read about a woman calling her partner of 19 years to finally propose marriage, to see my friend and musical collaborator Allison on TV talking about the California ruling with her legally-wed, Massachusetts wife.

I was in the middle of the airport, surrounded by people who couldn’t understand the depths of my joy. It felt as if a national holiday had suddenly been declared, and nobody but me knew about it. Thank goodness for the twitterverse and my crackberry . . . I could text and twitter with likeminded friends. One of my buddies had a great question for me on twitter: Will Disney do something special for the first same-sex couple to wed there? And I have to say, while I doubt Disney would go out on the political limb to do anything officially special, I’ve just gotta believe that the first time a same-sex couple is legally wed on Disney property, there’s gonna be Cast Members there who really get that this is a historic moment, and I’m sure plenty of them will go out of their way to find just a little bit of extra pixie dust. After all, same-sex couples can use the wedding facilities at Disney World (and maybe the non-US parks too?) . . . but can’t be legally wed in that state.

Twenty nine days from now (assuming same-sex marriage foes don’t find a way to stop it), same-sex marriages will begin in California. And honey, we all know that this isn’t enough time to plan a wedding! But hey, if anybody out there hears when the first same-sex couple has arranged for a Disneyland wedding, please please please drop me a note. I wish I could be there to throw rice, but at the very least I can celebrate with them in my heart.

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