Archive for January, 2011

Beatriz Badikian-Gartler on Egyptian Feminist Activist Nawal el-Saadawi

January 31st, 2011 by admin

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We are living in a patriarchal system based on class and male domination.
This system breeds religious fundamentalism, paradoxes, injustices, and violence. –Nawal el-Saadawi

Women’s Media Group & The Feminist Lens send our support to the
Egyptian people during this turbulent and troubled time.

Feminist Lens Contributor, writer and poet Beatriz Badikian-Gartler read this poem on our Songpainting show this fall, and talked with us about 70 year old feminist, and Egyptian Physician and Activist el-Saadawi in a Feminist Lens interview.

Unveiling the Mind
(for Nawal el-Saadawi)
Although your brother failed in school.
He was rewarded by playing outside.
You, who succeeded, were rewarded by working in the kitchen.
The school books said the stars were created by God.
But who created God? You asked.
An explosion of white hair,
every life is important, you say. Write your life.
In prison, paper and pens are more dangerous than guns.
You write your memoirs on smuggled out toilet paper
with an eyebrow pencil from a prostitute.
You hid them in a tin can under the floor.
The guard never found them.
Writing more necessary than breathing,
You ask, Why do we write?
And answer, Not to die. To be immortal.
And demand the unveiling of the mind.

Nawal el-Saadawi
An Egyptian feminist writer, activist and physician, Nawal was born in Kafr Tahla village on the banks of the Nile. She has written many books on the subject of the plight of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation in her society. For more than 50 years, Dr. Saadawi has written books that focus on identity, sexuality and the legal status of women-particularly Arab women-and has continued her work despite the fact that these activities cost her her position as Egypt’s Director of Public Health and led to imprisonment, threats to her life, and, ultimately, exile. One of the leading literary, cultural, and political voices of our times, Saadawi once noted, “Danger has been a part of my life ever since I picked up a pen and wrote. Nothing is more perilous than truth in a world that lies.”

Read about NAWAL Website


Beatriz Badikian
A contributor to The Feminist Lens radio show Songpainting Women this fall,

Beatriz Badikian-Gartler has taught literature and writing for over twenty-five years in the Chicago area. Born in Buenos Aires, and a long time Chicago resident, is a world traveler. She earned her doctorate in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants in the language arts. Recently, Badikian-Gartler has been a faculty member at Chicago’s Roosevelt University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University and the Newberry Library where she teaches literature, writing and women’s studies. she was recently named one of 100 Women Who Make a Difference by Today’s Chicago Woman magazine.


This February and March, Beatriz will be teaching a workshop
At Chicago’s Newberry Library

A Fire in the Mind: Latin-American Literature of the Sixties

The Newberry Library, Chicago
Thursdays, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
February 17 – March 24
Six sessions, $165

During the 1960s the world finally took notice of Latin America’s extraordinary literary production. As a consequence of this recognition, two new terms appeared: “magical realism” and “El Boom,” the latter of which was often used in the media to describe the sudden notice these writers received.  We will reach beyond these monikers, however, to examine the work of some of the more important writers of this period, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julio Cortázar, and Carlos Fuentes.

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WMG Theater Beat: “Mexico” with Jarboe

January 23rd, 2011 by admin

Leadsheet: Theater Beat
The WMG Community Report
By Jamie O’Reilly


1. A play written by Gertrude Stein in 1916.

2. A play by Gertrude Stein reimagined and liberally edited
by Curious Theater Branch in 2011.

3. A play song city street exploring how communities disintegrate
And are rebuilt, how rituals sustain and fail us, and how language traps and liberates us.

Cat Jarboe (FL mucho-talented audio producer and editor)
performs in Mexico, by Gertrude Stein, adapted by Jennifer Monitz,
in performance in the Rhinoceros Theater Festival
Sundays at 7 PM, Thru 2/13

Recommended by the Chicago Reader

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Theater-Beat(s), An Interview with WMG Playwright Marilyn Campbell

January 23rd, 2011 by admin

The only war that matters is the war
against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it…
The imagination is not only holy, it is precise
it is not only fierce, it is practical
men die everyday for the lack of it
Diane di Prima (Rant)

LeadSheet: Theater Beat
The WMG Community Report
By Jamie O’Reilly

Playwright/Radio Host Marilyn Campbell chats with Jamie O’Reilly

The Beats
is at the 16th Street Theater
Berwyn, Il through February 6, & receiving well-deserved accolades.

Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun Times says The Beats,
“might just turn out to be one of the finest productions
of the winter season.”

Marilyn is also the Host of The Feminist Lens, the exciting new radio magazine series  produced on WFMT Radio. Here she talks about her collaboration with director Ann Filmer and her no-nonsense mission to shine a light on women writers.

J: Marilyn, tell us about some of the women-centered plays and
projects you’ve been involved in.

M: Most of my plays are adaptations that center on the female voice.
It is my passion and my mission to shine a light on women writers who
have been marginalized throughout history. I co-adapted a play based
on the writings of Pulitzer Prize winning Poet Anne Sexton called
My Own Stranger which has had numerous productions including
Off Broadway in 1981 and twice at Writers’ Theatre. I currently have
a commission at Writers’ to adapt a new play based on the story of
Mary Shelley, her mother Mary Wollstonecraft and her sister Fanny
Imlay entitled The Monster’s Lullaby.

Other women I have brought to the stage are the voices of the Women
of the Left Bank (H.D. Doolittle, Janet Flanner, Margaret Anderson, Jane Heep); and George Sand, Diane di Prima, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Margaret Atwood are also favorites.

Campbell’s script also illuminates the boys-only machismo that defined the Beats. Amid the pile-driving sound and fury of Ginsberg, Kerouac and Co., female voices were barely evident.
—Catey Sullivan, Pioneer Press

J: Tell us about some of the women in The Beats.
Any sign of second wave feminism looming there?

M: The women that were around during the beat generation were mostly still pouring coffee for the men. Only Diane di Prima was actually writing at the time. Other female voices such as Hettie Jones, Joyce Johnson and Carolyn Cassidy
were there but didn’t really find their voices until the 1970s.

As Joyce Johnson so eloquently says in her book “Minor Characters”.

I see a girl, twenty-two, with her hair hanging down
below her shoulders, all in black like Masha in The Seagull
but, unlike Masha, she’s not in mourning for her life.
How could she have been, with her seat at the table in the exact
center of the universe, where so much is converging?
As a female, she’s not quite part of this convergence.
A fact she ignores, as the voices of the men, always the men,
passionately rise and fall. Merely being here, she tells herself,
is enough. It’s only her silence that I wish finally to give up.


J: Tell us about your creative relationship with director
Ann Filmer, and how you two approached this show at this time.

M: Ann and I first met 15 years ago when she came to work at Writers’ Theatre (where I am a co-founder), first as an intern and then as our first administrative assistant. I was very active as an actress then and Ann served as assistant director on three of my major projects there including Dear Liar (Ms. Patrick Campbell and GBS), Neidecker by Kristine Thatcher, and The Beats, directed by Kate Buckley.

In 2003 and 2005 Ann and I co-produced Estrogen Fest at the Storefront Theater in downtown Chicago. A variety show comprised of women in theater, comedy, music, dance, poetry, performance art, political satire and even visual art.

In 2009 Ann produced Mixing It Up for her Words and Motion Festival at 16th Street Theatre. The show was an original piece that my daughter, Maria Merrin, and I started developing for Estrogen Fest in 2005, and by 2009 we had an hour’s worth of material and Ann produced it and directed it. In 2011 Ann decided to remount The Beats for her Season of Change and the result has just been totally unexpected and thrilling. I also serve as an Artistic Associate at 16th Street Theater and on the Board.

J: What’s next for you and “The Beats”?

M: Well hopefully we will get a second home as Hedy Weiss recommends in her wonderful review in the Chicago Sun Times. It is an adaptation whose time has come. It seems we are experiencing a revival of the “angelheaded hipster” and with the advent of Hip Hop and Poetry Slams audiences seem to be more in tune with the Beats in 2011 than when we first produced the show in 1997. I would also love to see it get a home in New York. I think we could run it forever in an off Broadway setting in the Village.

So let’s keep our fingers crossed that someone sees that potential and finds us a home. It would also be nice to make some money for these wonderful writers who are still very much alive and still working.

Poets like Diane di Prima (77), (pictured)
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (92),
Gary Snyder (80), Ed Sanders,
Leroi Jones, Hettie Jones, Joyce Johnson

Read more about the show:

“The script is a primer in effective stage adaptation. Writers’ (Theatre)
cofounder Campbell crafts the words of the Beats into a light narrative
without onerous dramatization.”
-Ryan Dolley, Time Out Chicago

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WMG posts 3 Feminist Lens shows

January 20th, 2011 by admin

Listen to our 3 shows right here at our Feminist Lens page.

Stay tuned for info on our March program Women for Peace!

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