Narrowing Focus by Hallie Rose Taylor
Vagina :: The Zine has changed and grown so much already this year! The Spring ‘14 issue celebrated the debut of professionally-printed, full-colour copies and the Summer ‘14 issue celebrates the debut of photo essays and subscriptions! If you’re one of the first 20 subscribers, I’ll even send you a little surprise — TheVaginaZine.com/Shop
Hey, Austin! You free tomorrow? Join Austin Zine Fest + Crummy House + Friends&Neighbors for some good old fashioned colorin’
When a dear friend introduced me to Samantha Irby’s blog Bitchesgottaeat a year and a half ago, I became obsessed with the author in an “I’d carry a suitcase of drugs into another country for you” sort of way. The blog’s cult following led Irby to get her comeuppance - her first book deal. In her debut novel - cheekily and fittingly titled Meaty - Samantha Irby faces the challenges of adulthood in this collection of essays.
Irby tackles the gross truths of life with dignity spawned from the healthy perspective on life afforded her by her raucous sense of humor. The author doesn’t take life, or herself, too seriously — while still a serious student of her craft. Nothing is off limits from her orphan upbringing to her fecal catastrophes to the overeating meat sweats. While the book can be off-putting, it’s only because it is shockingly relatable, wholly visceral even if it doesn’t hit home. A burning honesty like full-strength comedic Listerine exists in her prose. Meaty doesn’t simply aim for laughs; it tells a story through vignettes, one that is often heart-wrenching with an innately wicked wit that doesn’t come along often.
Thanks to Cinema East for having me out last night! So happy to support my favourite thing about summers in Austin.
I’m pleased to announce that Vagina is sponsoring tonight’s Cinema East screening of Joy Kevin! This outdoor film series is my favourite thing about summer in Austin and I’m so happy to support it any way I can. Come out to the French Legation Museum on the eastside tonight with your picnic, drinks, and friends! Doors open at 7, Movie starts at 9
I’m finishing up the Summer ‘14 issue which includes a photo essay documenting my golden birthday. Half of the photos have this black spot courtesy of a dirty lens and that could bother me. But I love the picture and I’m too distracted by the light through the clouds to notice the blemish and it reminds me of the whole trip — I was heartbroken and scared, but I was too distracted by the beauty of mountains and trees and friendship to care. So these pictures will go to print just like this because why should we bother trying to erase our mistakes when there’s so much good to focus on instead?
— By Hillary-Anne Crosby
Q: Seriously, what’s a dental dam?
A: The dental dam can be used by dentists to isolate a tooth being worked on, or to protect your mouth from someone else’s anus or vagina. It’s a sheet of latex (or silicone) that you lay over the anus or vagina while engaging in oral sex. It helps reduce the chances of contracting an STD. It is also beneficial if your partner wants anal play, and you aren’t about to lick an asshole. So dental dam = mouth condom/saver.
— By Carly Osborn
Happy Women Crush Wednesday! 50% of all I <3 Grrrls sunglasses sales today will benefit the Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte campaigns —TheVaginaZine.com/Shop
If you’re in the Austin area and like what Vagina does, consider nominating the maga*zine for a Best of Austin - Non-Chronicle Publication award!
I started Vagina over three years ago with the goal of promoting women’s creative work and I’m so thrilled to see how the issues have grown from brown paper bags and yarn to barcode-boasting, full-color issues. Keep an eye out for the premier of the Summer ‘14 issue in the coming days!
Ma Jian (马建) is quite the dissident. The Dark Roadopens with a riot. Family planning officials are arresting women and dragging them to be sterilised. Pregnant mothers who do not have a state-issued birth permit are criminals and hunted down for a double punishment – a violent coercion into abortion and sterilisation. In a bid to enforce the One Child policy, even women who are beyond their second trimester are forced to terminate their pregnancies, illegal by international standards.
Neighbours are rewarded for tip-offs, properties are confiscated, rape is prevalent and often goes unreported, and families who cannot pay up fines have their houses demolished. An atmosphere of fear and death has hung over the village.
The central character in the novel is Meili and her husband, Kongzi. The couple already have a daughter but Kong wants a son to carry on the family line. With Meili’s baby bump almost visible now, they leave their village and become family planning fugitives, etching out a floating existence -literally- down the Yangtze River. After Meili loses her 8-month old unborn child in a crackdown, Kongzi is desperate to get her pregnant again (and again and again with each unsuccessful birth) so he can fulfil his filial duty of producing a male heir for the family.
But children born outside the One Child policy also face another set of problems. The child joins the ranks of ‘black children‘ and has no access to medical benefits, free education, a residence permit or subsidised housing. In short, he is stripped of his right to live, condemned to a life as an outcast.
I love #wcw, #tbt, and #fbf as much as the next gal but I’m starting a new tradition: Texas Action Fund Tuesday! All summer long, 25% of Vagina’s shop sales on Tuesdays will benefit the Whole Woman’s Texas Action Fund.
You may be familiar with the fund if you’ve come to the Vagina + Whole Woman’s Health Monthly Cycle movie nights but here’s some background: the fund helps defray the costs associated with abortion care and given the enormity of Texas and the shrinking number of clinics, those costs are often too great for a Texan seeking abortion care to handle on her own. Texas Action Fund is the nonprofit arm of Whole Woman’s Health, one of the few remaining abortion providers in Texas and a great defender of access to safe reproductive care.
Seasons of Your Day is Mazzy Star’s long-awaited, first full-length release in seventeen years. Comeback records can often be bitterly disappointing, but it’s immediately clear from the album’s opening organ notes, that the duo has lost none of their power. Hope Sandoval’s languid drawl is just as smoky and sweet as ever, and David Roback’s sprawling guitar work is alternately sparse and lush, with a characteristic heartstring-tugging twang. In fact, judging from Roback’s psych-tinged, meandering accompaniment and Sandoval’s rich, hazy murmur, it seems that time has only ripened and enriched their sound. Seasons of Your Day doesn’t deviate much from Mazzy Star’s previous work, instead building upon their distinctively atmospheric, spooky tone. It’s like they picked up right where they left off in 1996, and the result is a dreamy, nuanced record that figures perfectly into their catalog.
— By Nada Herbly
Do you love being single? Do you feel like celebrating that? Then grab some of your favourite single ladies and join Vagina for a bachelorette party at Upstairs on Trinity!
We’ll be celebrating our single, sassy selves over cocktails under the chandeliers of this downtown haven. There’ll even be a special treat for the first 15 gals to arrive!
So come treat yourself to a drink and maybe even some truffles, and let’s have a good time being single girls out on the town! Just don’t forget to tip those darling servers well.