“Biggest Massive Most Joyous Fiercest Action the World Has Ever Known”

Vaginas of the World Unite.

I thought that might grab your attention.

The quotation in the title is from Eve Ensler, playwright of The Vagina Monologues. From that play evolved V-Day, a campaign to end violence against women, celebrated every February 14th for the past 15 years.

One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising happens in one week, February 14, 2013, to honor the 15th anniversary of V-Day, and to put an end to violence against women.

The plan? Get together and dance your booty off, and pledge one thing you’ll do in the next year to bring about this change.

Why dance? Eve Ensler explains in a video posted today, that women don’t move freely or wear what we want, in order not to attract attention, to prevent attack. You don’t have to think Burkas, or even long skirts, long sleeves and wigs. Just think “She was asking for it.” So dancing freely can release us from that invisible, ever-present imprisonment and unleash energy and creativity to change the world. Plus, it’s fun!

An epidemic? One in three. One billion women worldwide are victims of violence. To victims, it may feel like it is just happening to you. One slap. One beating. One belt. But back up, take a broader look: genital mutilation, Irish Magdelene laundries, Afghan schoolgirls, the universal fear of walking alone that is instilled in us, whether gathering firewood at a refugee camp, or in any neighborhood I’ve ever lived in. “Don’t walk alone,” my mother cautioned. Imagine: what would it be like to not be afraid?

The question of why women haven’t revolted is a complicated discussion for lengthy books, not a quick blog. For now, we have an opportunity to make our voices heard together.

Here in L.A., on Valentine’s Day, you can dance downtown at Pershing Square at noon, or join a Debbie Allen-choreographed flash mob in West Hollywood at night.

Break the Chain Dance

You can donate to small but mighty non-profits that work with local victims of violence, like A Window Between Worlds, founded by Cathy Salser. Or you can help refugee women and children by taking action with Jewish World Watch, or donate to the Women’s Refugee Commission, in memory of co-founder Catherine O’Neill.

You can join or create a rising wherever you are. Meet people. Have fun. Or you can simply turn on the car radio while waiting in the school carpool line and dance in your seat.

Now for that pledge. The hard part. The work part. The part that makes you think, I’m just one person, what can I do? Remember, Everyone in the history of the world has only been one person. So start.

I pledge:

  • To teach my children respect for themselves and for others. For their own bodies and others.
  • To ask them why car and beer commercials use women’s bodies to sell their products, and ask if that’s respectful to women.
  • Not to allow violence (particularly the brother against brother variety) in our home.
  • To love them.
  • To dance freely, but never in a public setting that would really embarrass them on purpose (again).

What else?

It still doesn’t feel like enough. Fortunately, I know I am not alone. I am one of One Billion. And so are you.

Tell me your ideas. I’m listening. I pledge to share them.


Thieving Thursday: Painter Erin Hanson…Wow

We’re going to play word association today.

I say “paintings” you say “gallery” or “canvases” or, some of you, “finger”.

I say “landscapes” you say “snooze” or “ho-hum” or “yawn”. It’s okay, you’re not alone — why else would hotels put ocean or farm landscapes on the walls, if not to help escort you into sleepy-land?

I don’t claim to understand why something that is awe-inspiringly beautiful in person — a glowing sunset over the Pacific, for example — is trite when captured literally in a painting. It just is. So imagine the thrill and surprise when, in the midst of a wine-tasting weekend in Paso Robles, I walked into a gallery showing the work of Erin Hanson and saw this:

Erin Hanson print

And this:

Erin Hanson print2

And this:

Erin Hanson print 3

Painter Erin Hanson doesn’t replicate the colors we see, but the emotion we feel seeing them. So Paso Robles’ green and brown hills and vineyards become purple and orange and red (but really, with all the better Crayola names and nuances of purple and orange and red). Her landscapes stayed with me.

So today, I’m sharing her with you.  www.erinhanson.com

Photos on a computer screen don’t begin to capture the effect they have in person, which is is making you want to take all of them home, but it’s too good not to try. Happy Thieving Thursday, one and all.




Steal This Idea: Share Good Stuff

My family got addicted to The Voice this season. (Well, everyone except Grandma Lilli, who says that Cee Lo in that white silk outfit  ruined marshmallows for her forever.) One thing that bugged me, though, is how they called it “Stealing” a singer, when they were really saving someone from being eliminated from the competition. But if that’s what stealing means, in that vein, I’m going to start “stealing” stuff, too. Which is to say, keeping it around and spreading the news far and wide. Here goes.

My sister-in-law Jessica started a food blog. It’s gorgeous. She’s pretty gorgeous, too.

39580_1738828590027_459761_n (2)

She’s “The Copycake Cook” — sort of a bandit chef. What makes the blog so great is how it combines her talents for cooking, teaching and photography (she does all three professionally. Hate her, right?)

She recently revealed to me her new plan for her blog, which I in turn plan to steal. It’s okay — I told her. Her plan: on the First Friday of each month, she’ll feature a different artist and a chocolate recipe. What’s better than that? Tintoretto and Truffles? Renoir and Rocky Road? Katie O’Neill and Kahlua Krispies? What a fun idea.

As I said, good ideas are prime for stealing.

I won’t offer you artists and chocolate. I’ll offer you my favorite writers, be they new-fangled bloggers or old-school, long-hand, quill-and-papyrus authors. I’ll try it weekly — there are too many to do just 12 a year. And since I’m too excited to wait for Friday, I’m doing it right now. Let’s call it Thieving Thursdays. I’ll work on the title.

In any case, here’s my first installment: You guessed it — Jessica’s blog, Copycake Cook, and one her her most popular entries: Red Velvet Southern Comfort Whoopie Pies.

Red Velvet cupcake

You don’t have to be a cook to enjoy it. You simply need eyes, taste buds and a sense of fun. Please go “Like” her blog, get it in your inbox, and let the drooling begin.