Should this offend us? I would say yes.

I wrote this article for www.laweekly.com on a subject that, although controversial, still attests to the value of personal freedom! Special thanks to Lois Banner, Ph.D. for her contribution and to my editor Zachary Pincus-Roth.

An Excerpt is below…

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“So believe it or not, today is actually an obscure holiday; but we’re not talking Festivus or National Pancake Day here, people…

The increasingly infamous “Steak & BJ Day” doesn’t require a whole lot of explaining. “Invented” by a Tom Birdsey (whose online presence seems to be limited to this Myspace profile), the idea behind the celebration is simple. Very simple…

Lois Banner, a professor of history at USC and the author of Women in Modern America: A Brief History told us in an interview:

“This [holiday] sounds like another part of the backlash against the feminist movement… this sort of reaction has happened a number of times in the last 100 years. What we are moving toward in this culture is a very gross version of human interaction. This is part of the hook-up culture. Most of my female students hate it, because they feel it is enforced by men.”

And maybe some men are in fact trying to reinforce the idea of male dominance in a world that is, however slowly, becoming increasingly equal for all genders…

Because maybe real love is not supposed to be all sappy and sweet — maybe it should be visceral and meaty and make you feel like a Roman soldier getting his heart ripped out. But whether you want to participate is, thankfully, still totally up to you.”

This Art Event Included (among other things) a Bouncy Castle!

Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal is a writer, a curator, and an event planner. Here is an excerpt from the interview I did with her that came out on the Arts blog on www.laweekly.com. This event was a blast! Photos by Jos McCain and Zak Stone. Special thanks to Zachary Pincus-Roth!

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“Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal believes art should be about having fun. But when it comes to her belief that words have the power to connect people, she is not messing around…

CLOSE, her event last Friday at Concord Art Space (one of our 25 Alternative L.A. Art Spaces to Check Out Now) was part book release, part gallery installation, part performance art and part plain good old-fashioned party…

More and more, the art scene is morphing to include fleeting, interactive works. Following in the footsteps of pioneers from the 1960s and 70s such as John BaldessariMarina Ambramovic and Michael Asher, many emerging contemporary artists are now focusing part or all of their practice on gaining active participation from their audiences. Mainstream galleries and museums are becoming increasingly open to this kind of work, which is called relational aesthetics.

What are you hoping to accomplish with this show?

This is an event that doesn’t know what it is. Is it a party? Is it an art opening? Is it a book release? I am interested in those in-between spaces. The event is all of these things but none of them exclusively. I am speaking with two separate voices here. One is a critical and academic voice using an established discourse to discuss certain themes. The other voice is what I call my “big tongue voice,” which just wants to say “THAT. WAS. MOTHER. FUCKING. FUN!”

Speaking of fun, I have to ask about the bouncy castle…  CLOSE_image4

Bouncy castles structure space in a way that makes people interact in a way that they wouldn’t normally interact. I want to give people permission to have new experiences. For example, people didn’t immediately know they could touch the art, but they did know they had to take off their shoes to go in the bouncy castle. I think that speaks to the level of permission your average audience gives to themselves.

Why the Princess and The Frog theme for the bouncy castle?

I love how the entrance suggests that you are going underneath her skirt. People jump around then emerge, out of breath and sweaty, out from under the skirt of a Disney Princess. It’s hilarious! I said to the delivery person when he dropped off the castle, “You must bring people so much joy,” to which he said, “Yeah, but you should see what happens when we have to take it back.”…

Rosenthal’s new chapbook CLOSE is available now from Sibling Rivalry Press. See photos and learn more about her upcoming projects at www.tracyjeannerosenthal.com