ventriduct
ventriduct

ventriduct

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v. to bring towards the belly (usually medical, meaning to bend a patient’s head forward)

After abdominal surgery, one may find oneself unable to ventriduct one’s head.

SNL Gap Girls

Drawn in Drag: Examining Male Voice Actors Cast in Female Roles

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This article first appeared October 3, 2014 in my Chick on the Draw column at Luna Station Quarterly.

Sometimes animation is sort of like SNL in the early 90s–it assumes men dressed as women are funnier than actual women.

SNL Gap Girls

I’m not saying Cross-Dressing Voices is always men-as-women. Where would animated boy roles be without June Foray, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Christine Cavanaugh, E. G. Daily, Laura Torres, Tara Strong, and Cree Summer? Not every show dares to let their male kid lead grow up –as Avatar: the Last Airbender and Adventure Time did.

And I’m not saying men posing as women can’t be funny or subversive. Divine as Edna Turnblad, the Kids in the Hall as their lady counterparts, and Jordan Peele as Meegan are all comedy gold. But what’s vital to their success is that the funny comes from the characters and situations, and not simply the drag itself.

And I’m not saying the male performers don’t deserve the part. Many of the cases I’m about to describe are actually male show creators who took on female roles in development and never let go. Who could say a show creator doesn’t know the character?

What fan would single out one not-entirely-satisfying drag performance in an otherwise satisfying movie or show?

Who could ask a show creator to give up their sweetest plum?

Who could suggest the character might take on a new dimension in the hands of, say, a professional female performer with decades of experience?

That person would have to be a bit of a nit-picky dirtbag.

Let this dirtbag say it: unless a man-in-drag voice performance is damn funny or damn subversive, it’s frustrating to see.

Jack and Jill movie theater still

And maybe just a bit tired.

(more…)

Ziva's Conjury Mart

Ziva’s Conjury Mart

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Ziva's Conjury Mart

Twine is a platform for making interactive fiction–stories integrated with choice, picture, and sound. It’s pretty great. I’ll explain more later, but first I made you a present:

PLAY Ziva’s Conjury Mart

(Tested on OSX in Chrome and Safari, and on Windows in Chrome and IE. However audio doesn’t appear to load in iOS. Sorry. Working to resolve.)

Do you make Twine things, too? Would you like some audio macros with volume controls and seamless loops? Have I got the link for you:

sqTwineSound audio macros — source and downloads

Want to know how to use these audio macros? This delicious demo will explain:

sqTwineSound demo

I listened to so much accordion making these. So. Much. Accordion.

Enjoy!

Bechdel test revisited guardians of the galaxy

The Bechdel Test Revisited: Women in a Hero’s Journey

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This article first appeared as Luna Station Quarterly’s Chick on the Draw column, September 5, 2014

There are three reasons Alison Bechdel’s famous test–one canny gag in an indie comic strip from 1985–has been embraced by entertainment critics, theorists, and journalists as the gold standard for determining whether a film has, Feminist Frequency describes it, “significant female presence”:

  • It’s dead simple.
  • It quantifies the vague.
  • It hilariously indicts movies that can’t jump the first bar.

The rule itself is offered by one character sick of macho “Barbarian”/”Vigilante” movie BS, and received by the other as “pretty strict, but a good idea.” At the time of its introduction, the rule was not presented as more than the preference of one woman tired of supporting an industry happy to exclude her (Bechdel’s friend, Liz Wallace.)

The Bechdel Test does not bother with shades of agency, complexity, or quality. It is simple. It is elegant. It is brass tacks.

So why do so few Hollywood movies pass it? And how can this be fixed?

(Final act spoilers ahead for movies released in 2014.)

(more…)

Rick and Morty Something Ricked This Way Comes

5 Best Current Animated Series That Pass the Mako Mori Test

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This article first appeared in Luna Station Quarterly’s Chick on the Draw column on August 1, 2014.

Maybe you’re out of the cartoon loop. Maybe you don’t have cable TV. Maybe you’re a former fan who got super distracted by Breaking Bad. Well, there’s been no better time to reconnect. We live in a golden age of television, and animation is no exception–plus shows are passing the Mako Mori Test left and right (in most episodes, at least one female character has her own narrative arc distinct from any male characters’ arcs.)

If you have the time, these shows are ready to tickle your nucleus accumbens.

Here we go, in no particular order:

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Goldfish Grimm’s Issue 20 is out! Includes “The Call of Gold Cat”

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Issue 20 of Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi is out! Includes my weird short story “The Call of Gold Cat”, plus an interview. This short story was heavily workshopped at Scribophile. Thank you to all the readers who provided guidance.

Issue also includes new flash fiction from Mari Ness, “Survival.”

Holy Table-of-Contents mates!

I hope you enjoy this raw fresh fiction. It’s good for you!