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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

And Now for a Little Femme Perspective

Having kind of a blah Monday … feeling a bit under the weather, dealing with a sickish kiddo, and generally just having one of those road-blocky days were everyone you seem to encounter is abrasive or angry or argumentative.

Days like this, I just want to crawl in bed under my favorite fuzzy blanket and, like Waiting for Guffman‘s Corky St. Clair, go home and bite my pillow. Instead, I made the call that this was not the best day for communicating with others, and so spent a nice chunk of the day holed up and reading various pieces by some female writers, and a couple things on femme topics, so I thought I’d share with the group a few things that might have slipped under your own radar. Happy reading …


In case you missed it, Thelma Adams has pulled together a lovely little group of female film journalists to group-chat about various things concerning those naked little gold men about which the film industry gets schizophrenically excited, ambiguous, and even downright disdainful. She’s calling it Oscar’s Angels now, and all of the roundtables so far make for pretty entertaining reading.

Our roundtable chat on the Oscar Best Supporting Actress contenders delved a little (perhaps a lot) into some silliness. I promise we weren’t drinking at the time. Well, at least I wasn’t. But I guess it’s kind of a fun read, if you want to check it out. Disclaimer: We got off on a side tangent about George Clooney’s underwear and seawater, for which I accept no personal responsibility. Sasha Stone started it.

You’ll find links to more of the Oscar’s Angels roundtables on Thelma’s site. Participants so far have included Susan Wloszczyna, Sasha Stone, Anne Thompson, Thelma Adams, and myself for just that Supporting Actress roundtable. I may do more of these in the future, in part because I do like the idea of having this all-chick perspective on Oscars in the format of a conversation over coffee … or perhaps happy hour.


Over on Awards Daily, Sasha Stone has an excellent piece on Meryl Streep and Glenn Close. But for me, the best part of this piece is where she discusses the pressures female actors face to perpetuate youth through whatever means, and talks about Jill Clayburgh in Bridesmaids. A brief excerpt to whet your appetite:

I happened to catch Jill Clayburgh playing Kristin Wiig’s mother in Bridesmaids and was taken aback that she actually looked her age: she hadn’t gone under the knife to try to keep up with the extreme suppression of female aging. She looked beautiful — real — her experiences in life recorded for all time on her wonderful face. Where did Jane Fonda’s go? Yes, she gets props for looking so much younger than she is. But she, like Faye Dunaway, like every woman who hides who they are, has a self-inflicted in-authenticity that, quite simply, does not work on film. Fake youth displays our vanity. If you are an actress playing a character in real life you have to explain all of that surgery. Oh, Jill Clayburgh — you are the stuff that American actresses should be made on.

Read all of this piece, which goes on to dissect Streep versus Close. Good stuff.


In case you missed it, during the eighth season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, Sandra Oh’s character, Dr. Cristina Yang, had an abortion. Not for any of the usual easier-to-sell reasons, but because she wants to be a surgeon, not a mother. Very little hooplah, surprisingly enough, for such a hot button issue. Over at the LA Times, Mary McNamara took notice, as did Women and Hollywood’s Melissa Silverstein.


Celebratory huzzah please! The uber-smart and spectacular Ava DuVernay is #68 on The Root’s Top 100 List of influential African-Americans! Ava is a filmmaker and producer, who most recently released the film “I Will Follow.” Huge congrats to Ava. You keep on rocking it, chica.


Also (hat tip to Ava on this): The UCLA Film and Television Archive is spotlighting African American filmmakers with a two month retrospective on “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema,” which will feature female filmmaker Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust) and other African American female filmmakers, plus a TON of other stuff you should check out.


And lastly-but-not-leastly, if you haven’t already, do check out this outstanding video essay on Roman Polankski’s Repulsion, written and narrated by Kim Morgan and edited by Matt Zoller Seitz. It’s pretty frigging awesome, and almost made up for my Monday all by itself.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon