Episode 6 – A Very Titty Episode

Aly Raisman

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Artwork by Jason Stokes

A two-time Olympic gymnastics champion and an all-around down-ass chick, Aly Raisman does not rattle on or off the mat. At the tender age of 24, she has killed the game at two Olympics, snatching up 3 golds, 2 silvers, and 1 bronze, making her the second-most decorated American female Olympic gymnast of all time. Known for her power, reliability, and inability to break under pressure, Aly was the team captain and grounding force for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gymnastics teams. After just missing out on a medal for the all-around in 2012, she came back with a vengeance in 2016 to take the silver medal, second only to the demigod of gymnastics, Simone Biles.

But wait. There’s more.

Aly was one of several hundred women and girls to come forward in 2016/2017 with reports of sexual abuse at the hands of staff, coaches, and gym owners associated with USA Gymnastics (USAG). While her 2016 floor routine is hard to beat, she may have outdone herself in July 2017 when she testified against Larry Nassar, the monstrous shitbag who was later convicted of sexually assaulting hundreds of athletes and sentenced to decades in prison, where he will die. Her 13-minute testimony was absolute.fucking.fire. and you can watch it here. Staring down the douche of the day and using his first name like an overworked kindergarten teacher, she lets her victimizer know that he ain’t shit.

And why stop there? The second half of her testimony reams USAG and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for remaining silent and inactive in the face of these reports of abuse. Dissatisfied with their continued lack of response or remorse, Aly filed suit against both entities in February 2018, determined to see these powers held accountable for their complicity in the aforementioned atrocities. Since then, she has used her celebrity to bring more attention and action to the issues of sexual assault against women and children. Could there be a presidential bid in this young woman’s future? We certainly hope so.

Watch Aly’s tear-jerker of a floor routine at the 2016 Rio games here.

Links to the Indy Star’s incredible and shocking coverage of the USAG sexual assault scandal can all be found here.

Learn more about the unshakeable Aly Raisman in Episode 6 – A Very Titty Episode.

-CJ

Gloria Steinem

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Artwork by Jason Stokes

Gloria Steinem is one of the most visible and well-known feminists of the 20th C. Even if you don’t know the name, you probably know the face. As stoned Sociology majors, Melissa and I had our share of feminist theory. But even some of the greatest minds fell through the cracks of an academic career we were only partially devoted to, and neither her nor I knew the tail (PUN ALERT) of Gloria’s undercover life as a Playboy Bunny.

Hugh Hefner really, honestly, not even kidding marketed his enterprise of slime as some sexual revolution. Puritanical America wah wah wah! While his assessment of the sexual landscape of American culture was spot-on, his Playboy empire was obviously centered around male pleasure via the degradation of female sexuality. (Only size 4 women with double-D tits possess sexuality – did you know?) Gloria peeped the game and was like, ‘This is some horseshit, and I am going to expose this cock façade for what it really is.’

Taking advantage of her thin frame and good looks, Gloria went undercover as a Playboy Bunny for several weeks to get all the inside poop scoop on this “sexual revolution.” Her findings included management’s active encouragement of eating disorders among the Bunnies, bait and switch techniques in which Bunnies were expected to refuse sexual advances from clients UNLESS they were VIP, and crap wages based on an arbitrary demerit system. She eventually published her expose in Show Magazine, which garnered her a ton of flak from he-man woman haters and perpetual derision from Playboy. No matter – she is now one of the most instrumental and celebrated feminists in the world. And Hugh Hefner is dead. The end.

Learn more about this 007-level stint in Episode 6 – A Very Titty Episode.

-CJ

Episode 5 – Puppy Love and Dog Carnies

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy (Miss Major)

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Artwork by Jason Stokes

It’s trendy to be woke. These days it seems like every person with a social media account is an activist. That’s not a bad thing! But before there were hashtags or Facebook campaigns, there were the OG activists – the ones who fought fist-to-face at Stonewall, who took Attica prison wardens hostage, who worked in the streets not for recognition or followers, but for the chance to breathe. Miss Major Griffin-Gracy falls into this cohort. One of the most visible and hard-working advocates for trans rights, Miss Major has spent the last four decades busting ass for LGTBQ folks, most recently trans folks trapped in the prison industrial complex.

Prior to researching her for this episode, I had never heard of Miss Major. I was compelled to cover her after a QTPOC friend recommended I read up on her. This is why Melissa and I love this podcast – we not only get to be wasted and chatty: we get to learn about so many bad-ass women and the amazing contributions they’ve made to our world. Miss Major is incredible not only because of her legacy of activism, but because she has endured hardship after hardship and still has enough love in her heart to help her community.

But why is that her job? Non-trans folk (cissies, a word I just made up that’s bound to piss somebody off) can and should do our part to help these folks, too. Please consider making some financial contribution to these communities – and don’t tell me you don’t have $5 to spare – I see you eating a $7 burrito from Chipotle and I’m calling bullshit. You can Google “trans rights organizations” or contribute to a GoFundMe for a trans person in your local community. You may also be interested in donating to TGI Justice, an organization that Miss Major used to run that helps trans people within the prison system; Miss Major’s monthly giving circle; or Miss Major’s own Arkansas-based nonprofit, House of GG. If you’re still like, ‘nah bish’ then I encourage you to check out Annalise Ophelian’s documentary, “Major!” on Amazon Prime. Once you set the used Kleenex aside, consider picking up that wallet and doing your part.

Learn more about Miss Major in Episode 5 – Puppy Love and Dog Carnies.

-CJ

Rebel Wilson

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Artwork by Jason Stokes

“Tell me what you know about dreams,” Kid Cudi demanded in one of my favorite college-era songs. I didn’t have a good response at the time because I got so stoned every day that I couldn’t remember any of my dreams. But leave it to Rebel Wilson to take that shit to the limit, Don Henley style. Rebel realized she was destined to become an actress after a malaria-induced fever dream that included big game cats and rapping at the Academy Awards. Several years later, she’s one of the best-known comedic actresses, starring in films like “Pitch Perfect.”

Raised on the road by dog carnies, Rebel holds a degree in law. Turns out this was yet another sort of prophecy in Ms. Wilson’s life, because in 2017 she would be at the center of a defamation law suit in Australia, one from which she would ultimately emerge victorious. Turns out some childhood acquaintance with a bad attitude who probably has like four kids and a smelly house and hates their entire life fed some information to the tabloids Down Under, and these rags tried to drag Rebel through the mud. Why anyone would be stupid enough to start a fight with a woman with the first name of “Rebel” is beyond comprehension. Needless to say, they lost, she won, and she’s still a highly sought-after name in Hollywood. If the rest of her life is any indication, expect an Oscar win and a rapped acceptance speech in the not-so-distant future.

Learn more about this big pussy dreamer in Episode 5 – Puppy Love and Dog Carnies.

-CJ

Episode 4 – The Empress and the White Witch

Alicia Napolean

Art by Jason Stokes

Brawns, brains, beauty, and ball-busting: Alicia Napolean is the best of all worlds. A professional boxer with a perfect professional record (7-0), Alicia Napolean is a stellar athlete, a painter, and an outspoken woman who straight does not give a fuck if you think women can’t play sports or that muscular female bodies are not sexy.

From a young age Alicia was hyper athletic, but often incurred mocking and criticism from her peers for her “thunder thighs” and solid physical build. The insults hurt, but not as much as the wounded egos her male teammates would have to endure when she would consistently beat them at their own game (and occasionally beat their asses). In high school, she once won a wrestling match against a boy who proceeded to cry and tried to get her kicked off the wrestling team. What a baby back bitch.

These days, the New York Italian is professionally undefeated, runs her own business, and is a prolific painter whose artwork is featured in galleries in the United States. Learn more about The Empress (as she is professionally called) in Episode 4 – The Empress and the White Witch.

You can watch the Allure video mentioned in Episode 4 at this link.

-CJ

Stevie Nicks

Art by Jason Stokes

The White Witch. The Supreme of my coven. My number-one fashion inspiration. There is so much to say about the legendary Stevie Nicks that I could hardly fit even a small slice of her story into Episode 4. A productive musician who has released more than two dozen albums through her solo career and her multi-decade run with Fleetwood Mac, Stevie is an artist who has toured the world, snorted ungodly amounts of cocaine, and slept with just about every big name in 1970s rock.

Perhaps my favorite piece of Stevie’s story is how she struggled to make it as a musician before she hit it big with Fleetwood Mac. Waiting tables or cleaning houses by day and writing songs by night, Stevie was busting ass trying to make a career for herself. She wrote some of her best-known songs, including Landslide and Rhiannon, during this unstable time. And she still was strongly considering her Plan B! She attended San Jose State University while actively pursuing her music career, with plans to become an English teacher if things didn’t pan out. In fact, “Landslide” was in part inspired by a conversation Stevie had with her father in which he offered to pay for her to return to school because the music career wasn’t taking off. Only a few months later, Fleetwood Mac called, and the rest is herstory.

Learn more about Stevie, her song inspirations, and her love affairs in Episode 4.

-CJ

Episode 3.1 + 3.2

Laverne Cox

Art by Jason Stokes

Truly, a lady who needs no introduction. If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 5 years, Laverne Cox is an actress, performer, and outspoken advocate for trans issues. She is the portrait of grace and composure, somehow managing not to dock Katie Couric square in the kisser when the television host dared to ask Laverne about her private parts on national TV. As one of the most visible, openly trans celebrities ever, Laverne has used her platform to bring attention to the pressing and life-threatening issues facing trans folk in the United States.

She is an artist to the core, showing an aptitude for dance and performance at a very young age. But life wasn’t always pirouettes and sashays for Ms. Cox. Growing up trans in rural Alabama is no fucking joke, and Laverne attempted suicide in middle school as a result. Thank the gawds that this was one endeavor in which she failed. She grew up to become not only an incredible actress and trans rights advocate: she is also THA KWEEN of firsts. I won’t even name all of the “Firsts” on Ms. Cox’s CV, because there’s so many and I’m lazy. Listen to Episode 3.1 – So much YAAAAS KWEEN to learn more about Laverne’s many, many, many, MANY accomplishments, and to discover the term “Negro Goth.”

Grace O’Malley

God bless the motherfucking Irish. Grace O’Malley is now known as the Pirate Queen of Ireland. Politically and sexually active in the 16th Century, Grace O’Malley was not a woman to cross. With an army of men at her disposal, Grace raided ships, slayed the English, and fucked any and every man she could get her pirate hands on. She served as the Don Corleone of Ireland for over 5 decades, going head-to-head with the dick-slingin’ English on a regular basis.

Art by Jason Stokes

Like the coasts of Eire, Grace’s story is shrouded. Rampant alcoholism and lack of documentation have left much of her biography to myth and legend. What we do know is that in 1593, her and Queen Elizabeth had some intense queen-on-queen action. Grace (boated? shipped? swam?) to England to meet with the queen after one of Liz’s henchman showed up in Ireland and started acting a damn fool. In pure Irish fashion, Grace did not bow to Liz in her own court. Liz’s noblewomen reputedly gasped and clutched their pearls at this insolence.

We cannot be sure what the details of their conversation were because Liz invited Grace to discuss the terms of their agreement in private. What we do know for sure is that Elizabeth reneged on virtually every item of their accord, because she was English. In response, Grace continued to thwart and murder the English at every opportunity. What a lovely fucking story.

Grace O’Malley has become a beloved personification of Ireland and is the focus of Episode 3.2 – Ds and Dead Sailors. Listen to the episode to learn about some of the most ribald and raunchy O’Malley legends and to hear about the first time CJ ever got high on Ecstasy.

Episode 2 – The Art of French Figure Skating

Surya Bonali

What’s your favorite flip-off technique? The Double-Cross, arms Xed over your chest with middle fingers blazing? The Rocket Ship, in which you blast your forearm into space with the point of your middle fingernail leading the way? Or do you prefer to just fleck that digit onto your palm horizon with the force and finesse of an Adele ballad?

 

How about a one-footed backflip on ice skates? That was the “Fuck you” heard round the world at the 1998 Nagano Olympic Games when French figure skater Surya Bonali broke rules and records in her last ice skating competition before turning pro.  Surya was skating with an injury and, as a result, made several errors in her routine. Knowing that she would not make the podium, she chose instead to sign off on her competitive career by pulling a stunt that was not only outlawed in figure skating competition: it had never been performed by any ice skater in the world, ever.

Art by Jason Stokes

If you know of Surya Bonali, you know about this legendary backflip. What you may not know is the struggle that Surya experienced in garnering recognition for her incredible athletic ability on the ice. Despite the technical complexity of her ice skating routines, she was often underscored, overlooked, and outright rejected by the figure skating community. Her Nagano backflip, then, was more than just an incredible athletic feat: it was a nice helping of Go Fuck Yourself. Learn more about Surya’s Olympic shade on Episode 2!

-CJ

Blurry vidja clip of the famous Nagano backflip

And a link to the 2016 Radiolab episode, “On the Edge.”

Julia Child

Art by Jason Stokes

As a fellow tall goofball, I’ve got some real fuzzy feelings for Julia Child. Her unflappable and hilarious personality is only outmatched by her total lack of embarrassment when unforeseen disasters would happen on her cooking show, “The French Chef.” A smart, gregarious, and talented woman, Julia is especially inspiring to me because she’s one of those successful people who didn’t have it all figured out by 22. Or 30. Or even 35. She was a woman who tried new things and made mistakes and didn’t allow any of it to deter her or to keep her from becoming the best version of herself. She faced frequent criticism and was told more than once that her dreams wouldn’t pan out.

She is best known for her culinary contributions, but in truth her life was filled with all sorts of interesting adventures and tidbits. Did you know that she worked as a research assistant for the Office of Strategic Services during WWII? How about the fact that she pioneered a shark-busting technique which stopped dumb-ass sharks from blowing up nautical bombs used during the war? That’s right: Julia Child invented culinary warfare. Tall, full of gall, and always ready to shark-brawl, Julia Child is way more rad than you’ve ever considered. Learn more about her remarkable life in Episode 2!

-CJ

Episode 1 – Dragons and Flat Tops

Yoko Ono

Art by Jason Stokes

The horror! The travesty! The wretched female who broke up every white person’s favorite merry band of fuckbois! Yoko Ono is arguably one of the most misunderstood and wrongfully villainized women of the 20th century. The crime? Using vaginal witchcraft to force a highly privileged and completely autonomous grown man to leave his bandmates behind and lay in bed for peace. Or some shit. Yoko Ono is a smart, talented, and deeply thoughtful artist and humanitarian who, thanks to the male-dominated media and sexist zeitgeist of the 1970s has been reduced to a succubus stereotype. Her name has become synonymous with breaking up The Beatles and ruining everyone’s good time.

In actuality, Yoko is an artist who has consistently spoken out about the lack of female representation in the art world. She has actively engaged in advocacy and fundraising for a plethora of causes including HIV/AIDS, autism, world peace, and gun violence. She has survived some of life’s most abject horrors including war, poverty, the kidnapping of her child, watching her soul mate get murdered, and being unjustly vilified by millions of people around the world. That these experiences have not embittered Yoko or quelled her desire to help humanity is a testament to her character. She is a strong, compassionate, courageous, and perpetually misunderstood woman. We hope that Episode 1 will help to change people’s hearts and minds about this complex and gifted lady.

-CJ

Grace Jones

Art by Jason Stokes

One of the most iconic images from the 1985 music video for Grace Jones’ “Slave to the Rhythm” features an animatronic rendering of Jones’ head emerging from a desert floor. Her mandible releases through a series of overlapping metal plates reminiscent of Medieval spaulders, and a car rockets out of her mouth and into the sands. The shot is iconic not only because of its quintessential 1980s Mad Maxian imagery but because it serves as a perfect aesthetic analogue to Miss Jones’ attitude. There’s a symmetry between Grace Jones’ legendary sass and a high-speed object racing forth from that vicious mechanical jaw.

Grace Jones is a woman who does things her way, if only for the sake of knowing she did. Its easy to imagine someone opening a door for Grace while she painstakingly sashays through the door right next to it. Raised in an abusively Evangelical household in Jamaica, Grace’s outrageous life of glamour became a primer on how not to be an Evangelical Christian. Whether this pendulum swing was an act of rebellion, a lifelong performance art piece or a complete accident is a mystery, and that mystique is part of her perennial charm. For all of her artistic endeavors, naughty public behavior, and Looks with a capital “L”, what I have always found most captivating about Miss Jones is her half-assed adherence to protocols that she is forever creating and revising. She makes rules for herself with delight and breaks those same rules with a matched joyful abandon. In this respect, she was a challenging woman to cover in Episode 1: a list of her accomplishments, songs, or accolades cannot paint a full portrait of her bad-assery. Hers is a spirit that needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

If after listening to Episode 1 you wish to learn more about this indomitable woman, I would recommend you start with some of her more (in)famous interviews. Certainly, her contributions to music, fashion, and film deserve respect and reverence. Personally, I think her highest art form is living life her way, and the best way to consume that experiential content is to watch her speak as herself. Below are links to some of my favorite Grace Jones’ interviews, as well as a link to Bloodlight and Bami, a 2017 documentary about her life. (Also, check out the accompanying article about the documentary that examines how difficult it is to tell nuanced stories about female performers through film.) I hope that you will appreciate her attitude as much as I do, fellow ‘Mosas.

-CJ

That one time where she slaps the shit out of Russel Harty

“Day by Day” 1985 interview in which the interviewer is sexist AF and Grace lets him know what it is.

Thames at Six 1977

Regis and Kathie Lee – just because I can’t fucking help how much I love that doof Regis

Bloodlight and Bami

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/oct/21/sophie-fiennes-bloodlight-and-bami-true-genius-of-grace-jones