Interview, Audio: Illeana Douglas on Directors & Female Spirit

Chicago – The acting career of Illeana Douglas began with director Martin Scorsese and flourished in her first lead role for “Grace of My Heart” (1996). She is best known today for hosting the “Trailblazing Women” series on Turner Classic Movies, and in Part Three of a three part interview with, she talks about feminism, the essence of directors she has worked for, plus her grandmother Helen Gahagan, the third female Congress representative in U.S. history.

Illeana Douglas was born in Massachuetts, the daughter of Gregory Douglas, the son of 1930s movie star Melvyn Douglas (Helen Gahagan was his wife). She got the show biz bug as a young teenager, when she was able to visit her grandfather on the set of “Being There” (1979). After high school she moved to New York City to pursue a career. She studied acting while working various jobs, and met Martin Scorsese while
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7 Great Documentaries About Remarkable Women, From ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’ to ‘The Beaches of Agnes’

7 Great Documentaries About Remarkable Women, From ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’ to ‘The Beaches of Agnes’
Two of the world’s most influential women — pioneering primatologist Jane Goodall and lauded writer Joan Didion — are both on the receiving end of insightful new documentaries this year, both of which are hitting screens in the coming weeks. Brett Morgen’s “Jane” (which opened just last week to deservedly rave reviews) tracks the early years of Goodall’s work in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, combining both new interviews with the still-trailblazing scientist and early footage lensed by her former husband Hugo van Lawick (a celebrated animal photographer) to tell a full-bodied story about Goddall’s amazing ethic and her tremendous empathy for the animals she’s made the center of her life.

This week, Griffin Dunne’s look at Didion’s life, “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold,” will arrive on Netflix, following her own early years and her current state as a literary icon. Both
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Gloria Steinem, Dorothy Pitman Hughes Release Iconic T-shirt For Equal Rights Amendment

Feminist activists, journalists, and authors, Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, announced the release of a limited-edition charity T-shirt, Gloria and Dorothy’s Equal Rights Now Tee, to raise funds to support the growing momentum behind passage of the long-sought-for Equal Rights Amendment (Era).

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes wear #EqualRightsNow t-shirts

Era supporters across the U.S. are joining Steinem and Pitman Hughes, posting their own fist-pumping photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #equalrightsnow.

The Era is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would expressly prohibit discrimination against girls and women on the basis of gender. Today, the Constitution does not guarantee equal rights for women. As the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated: “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.”

In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment
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Mindy Newell: The Sound Of Breaking Glass?

“Be careful of mankind, Diana. They do not deserve you.” —Queen Hippolyta

Will the Amazonian be the woman who finally breaks the Hollywood glass ceiling?

Wonder Woman, starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Princess Diana of Themiscrya, premieres on June 2, just 12 days away, and the fate of all the superwomen and their eponymous movies who would follow her lies in the ability of her sword-wielding, shield-bearing, gold lassoing hands and her armor-plated breast to vanquish the biggest and baddest super-villain of them all: Box Office.

I’ve watched every trailer and clip that Warner Bros. has released, and though they were all great, the very best of all of them, im-not-so-ho, was Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Every time Ms. Gadot showed up, whether it was in her guise as Diana Prince or as Wonder Woman, the movie morphed from an overbearing, weighted down slog through mud into
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Mindy Newell: Mothers Dearest

We all have mothers. I had a mother of a cold last week, and since Sunday was Mom’s day, I thought I would take a moment to honor all those women who have taken on the absolutely hardest job in the multi-verse… even though I’m a bit late.

I think the best-known mother in the four-color universe is the farmer’s wife from Smallville who, with her husband, found and raised the “strange visitor from another planet” who would grow up to become the one and only Superman.

Although I’ve always known that farmer’s wife as Martha Clark Kent, her name varied for quite a while; she was known as Mary Kent in Superman #1 (1939). In George F. Lowther’s 1942 novel, The Adventures of Superman, and on the radio program for which Mr. Lowther was a writer, Mrs. Kent’s first name was Sarah, which also followed
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Marisa Tomei Playing Gloria Steinem in George Clooney's HBO Miniseries

Marisa Tomei Playing Gloria Steinem in George Clooney's HBO Miniseries
Big shoes to fill! Marisa Tomei has been tapped to play famed feminist leader Gloria Steinem in an upcoming HBO miniseries.  The project is being produced by George Clooney and is called Ms. for the feminist magazine by the same name, which Steinem founded with editor Letty Cottin Pogrebin in the 1970s.  According to Deadline, the miniseries will focus on the years surrounding the first issue of Ms. in 1971. Kathy Najimy (The Guilt Trip) will reportedly play Bella Abzug, a former member of the U.S. House of [...]
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Marisa Tomei is Gloria Steinem for the HBO Biopic Ms.

Tomei will be joined by Kathy Najimy as Congresswoman Bella Abzug in the miniseries that they'll both produce alongside George Clooney and Grant Heslov.

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Marisa Tomei to Star as Gloria Steinem in HBO Miniseries From George Clooney

Marisa Tomei to Star as Gloria Steinem in HBO Miniseries From George Clooney
It seems Marisa Tomei is ready to return to her small-screen roots. Would you like us to explain?

The Oscar-winning My Cousin Vinny actress has been tapped to star as Gloria Steinem in Ms., HBO’s upcoming miniseries about the social activist and feminist icon.

Per our sister site Deadline, Ms. will focus on the creation of Steinem’s feminist-themed magazine of the same name, which began publishing in the early 1970s.

RelatedLast Week Tonight With John Oliver Renewed for Two More Seasons at HBO

Kathy Najimy (Veep) will co-star as Bella Abzug, the magazine’s co-founder.

Tomei and Najimy will executive-produce the project,
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Music and Sex #3 - in which our hero's long musical weekend continues, etc.

Music and Sex: Scenes from a life - A novel in progress by Roman AkLeff (first installment can be read here; second here (the last paragraph of which was moved into this part).

After the show, Walter took Norman to the West End, where Norman marveled at the broad beer selection. As they slowly worked their way through a small percentage of the fifty-plus on offer, Walter lamented how inferior college was making him feel.

"Screw that," rejoined Norman. "Just have fun and keep learning and next year's freshmen will feel inferior to you. If you already knew everything, you wouldn't have to go to college in the first place. Don't tell me about that, tell me about all the cool stuff you've been doing."

"Well, during orientation there was a great band playing outside for free called So What. I know you're not that into fusion, but they were hot.
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Mindy Newell: B Is For Bondage

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Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world. There isn’t love enough in the male organism to run this planet peacefully. Woman’s body contains twice as many love generating organs and endocrine mechanisms as the male. – William Marston Moulton

When I saw Wonder Woman being constantly put in positions where she’d get tied up with her own rope, or held hostage, even as a kid, my reaction was ‘C’mon, she’s too smart for that. – J. Michael Straczynski

Last week both Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times reviewed The Secret History Of Wonder Woman, written by Jill Lepore, a professor of American history at Harvard and a staff writer for The New Yorker. Lepore’s Book Of Ages, about Benjamin Franklin’s sister, came out last year.

I vaguely knew some of what Lepore writes about,
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Mindy Newell: Message In A Bottle – Or On A DC T-Shirt

  • Comicmix
Over the past three decades, there has been a steady rise in the share of women, especially mothers, in the workforce. [Collected data shows that] the majority of women and mothers work, and many work full time and full year. This dramatic increase in women’s working hours has had a substantial impact both on household earnings and the economy more generally. Our analysis finds that middle-class households would have substantially lower earnings today if women’s employment patterns had remained unchanged. Had that been the case, gross domestic product, or Gdp, would have been roughly 11 percent lower in 2012 if women had not increased their working hours as they did. In today’s dollars, this translates to more than $1.7 trillion less in output – roughly equivalent to combined U.S. spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in 2012. • The Economic Importance of Women’s Rising Hours of Work, A paper presented at the 75 Years of
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Politically Active Actress Bergen Made into Nixon's 'Enemies List'

Polly Bergen: Actress on Richard Nixon's 'enemies list' (image: Polly Bergen publicity shot ca. late 1950s) (See previous article: "Polly Bergen Movies: First U.S. Woman President.") As discussed in the previous post, despite its deceptively progressive premise — the first United States woman president as a palpable reality — Kisses for My President, written by veteran Paramount screenwriter Claude Binyon (Search for Beauty, The Gilded Lily) and newcomer Robert G. Kane (whose sole other movie credit was the poorly received Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy Western Villain), was an unabashedly reactionary, "traditional family values" effort. Ironically, Polly Bergen, for her part, was a liberal-minded, politically active Democrat. At around the time Kisses for My President was released, Bergen, along with Gregory Peck, James Garner, and other Hollywood personalities, publicly came out against California's Proposition 14, a 1964 ballot initiative that would have nullified the Rumford Fair Housing Act, thus paving the way for
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Nora Ephron taught me all about feminism – and about sharp writing | Hadley Freeman

The Crazy Salad essays gave me what I was looking for: a more humorous, outsider's interpretation of Us feminism in the 1970s

It was hot, clammy and claggy, in only the way New York can be in August, and I had just moved back to the city after living in London for more than 20 years. Finally unable to bear my oven of a flat any longer, I decided to explore my new neighbourhood and stepped out on to the pavement, which swam before my eyes in the heat and was entirely empty, as every other right-thinking New Yorker had either left the city or was lying prostrate in front of their air conditioner. I wandered around for as long as I could bear it before flinging myself into a little shop I barely looked at save for noticing it had a blessed air conditioner in the window.

It turned out
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Yonkers, N.Y. (AP) — Prominent feminist Mary Thom, a writer and former editor of Ms. magazine who also was an avid motorcyclist, crashed while riding on a highway and was killed, her nephew said Saturday. She was 68.

Thom had a passion for riding motorcycles and died riding her 1996 Honda Magna 750 on Friday evening on the Saw Mill River Parkway in Yonkers, just north of New York City, nephew Thom Loubet said.

"The important thing to know about Mary is that she was a major leader of the 70's Feminist movement, but never desired the limelight," Loubet said in an email. "She stayed behind the scenes tirelessly crafting the message and simply making it better."

Thom was one of Ms. magazine's founding members and served as an editor there for about 20 years, leaving in 1992. She also was an author who wrote a book about the history of Ms. and was a co-author,
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My Fun Interview with the Lovely Lily Tomlin for .Admission. . I Love Her!

I love, love, love Lily Tomlin! The iconic actress is so down-to-earth and witty! And she's fantastic in the new movie .Admission. from director Paul Weitz based on the novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz and adapted by Karen Croner. Tomlin stars as Susannah, the mother of Tina Fey's character. She's a staunch feminist who may have misguided her daughter early on in life. Paul Rudd also stars in .Admission. . a sweet, smart, heartfelt film about letting someone in in your life. In this interview, we talked about:

*** Her attraction to the film

*** Her well-drawn character and her tattoo in the movie in homage to Bella Abzug, one of the leaders of the women's movement

*** The movie's crux is passion . what drives Miss Lily Tomlin?

*** Her love for Palm Springs . I invited her and partner Jane Wagner to live with me

And then...she kissed me...awwwwww. I wished that
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Mindy Newell: Slayers, Swans, And Hunters

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I was thinking about heroines the other day, which led to thinking about fictional role models for girls and young women growing up over the last twenty years or so. Role models which, I think, have reflected the way American society thought about women during that same time period. Heroines and role models with the names Buffy Summers, Bella Swan, and Katniss Everdeen. On March 10, 1997, a series called Buffy The Vampire Slayer debuted on the fledging WB Network. I thought it was based on the schlock movie of the same name that had come and gone in the theatres and occasionally popped up on the TV screen at 3 A.M. So I ignored it, even though, as a credentialed geek, I loved anything to do with gothic horror and vampires. But word of mouth and e-buzz finally got me to tune in sometime in the summer of 1997, when I caught a rerun.
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Vice President Joe Biden to guest star on Parks and Recreation

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With the Us elections now over, and President Barack Obama officially back in office for another four years, fans of Parks and Recreation will be happy to hear that Vice President Joe Biden is set to make a cameo on next week’s episode.

The episode wasn’t allowed to air before the election, because it would have been viewed as a campaign contribution, but with all that now over, it’s game time for Parks and Joe Biden, and EW have a great little clip from the upcoming episode, Pawnee Commons.

“Parks scored camera time with Biden in July when the show traveled to Washington, D.C. to film its season 5 premiere, which featured appearances by Senators Barbara Boxer, Olympia Snowe, and John McCain. How big of a casting coup was Biden for NBC’s small-town government comedy? “Given that Eleanor Roosevelt and Bella Abzug are no longer with us,
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Vice President Joe Biden to guest on 'Parks and Recreation' -- Exclusive Video

Vice President Joe Biden to guest on 'Parks and Recreation' -- Exclusive Video
Next week’s episode of Parks and Recreation is going to have a VIP: the VP.

Joe Biden — yes, the very guy who was re-elected Vice President of the United States less than 24 hours ago — will guest-star in the Nov. 15 installment of Parks and Recreation, EW has learned. His cameo occurs at the beginning of the episode, in which former Congressional campaign manager Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) takes fiancée/City Councilwoman Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), to the White House to meet America’s No. 2, who has long been her No. 1 crush. (As Leslie once noted, her ideal man has “the
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How TV Tackles Taboo Female Topics

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How TV Tackles Taboo Female Topics
Divorce, abortion, single motherhood: Shows from Mary Tyler Moore to Murphy Brown changed the conversation.

The 1970s were a watershed moment for American women. Congress passed Title IX, a law that forbade schools receiving federal money from discriminating based on sex. The Supreme Court legalized abortion. And the Equal Rights Amendment, courting ratification by the states,still had a hope in hell.

Not only did TV prepare viewers for these milestones, some shows paved the way - beaming an alternative to June Cleaver's chirpy self-abnegation into households still wedded to the Cleaver model. This is not to undercut the real-life accomplishment of feminists Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem or Bella Abzug. But to suggest that Mary Richards, Mary Tyler Moore's reluctant TV icon of female independence, belongs among these groundbreakers - along with other important TV characters, such as Edith Bunker, and her cousin Maude.
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HBO Documentary Series Presents - Gloria: In Her Own Words, preview

I was a little girl when Gloria Steinem came on the scene. My mother was an early N.O.W. member in Massachusetts, and a subscriber to Steinem's Ms. Magazine. Gloria was the sexy feminist; the one with long back combed hair, nails and was always a chic understated fashion icon. She was the kind of feminist that made men soften, important men like Henry Kissinger. Gloria was a feminist at a time when women were invisible on the news, or high up in corporations. As a nation we were coming out of out "Mad Men" Joan Holloway imprint and diving headfirst into the woman's user manual, "Our Bodies Ourselves" and Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan and the Era amendment.
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