Monday, February 27, 2012

Live: Blood Orange Ignores Our Advice to Great Effect at Glasslands

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 1:50 PM

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Number 20 in this publication's 101 Secrets to Indie Rock success is "Get a live drummer." There are very few artists out there who can pull off the me-and-a-laptop schtick and actually make it work, but Dev Hynes is one of them, and he had Saturday night's sold-out Glasslands crowd in his pocket with just a guitar and backing tracks. That and a load of charisma.

It also helps that Blood Orange is the most natural musical fit yet for Hynes, much more than the folk rock he made as Lightspeed Champion or the chaos of his early aughts band Test Icicles. Songs like "S'cooled" and "Sutphin Boulevard" have a slinky '80s cool to them and are real crowd-pleasers. That '80s vibe was echoed with projected clips of Grease 2, Bryan Ferry, the vogue-heavy video for Malcolm McLaren's "Waltz Darling" (plus a little Zabriskie Point pyrotechnics for good measure) that provided something else to look at, if you needed that.

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MTA to Outerboroughs: "You're Not As Important As Tourists"

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Lines in the sand
  • Lines in the sand
Tourism is at an all-time high in New York City: 50 million people visited the city last year, the Daily News reports. Perhaps not coincidentally, weekend subway ridership was at almost all-time highs: an average of 5.4 million riders went through a turnstile every Saturday and Sunday (combined) last year, just 200,000 short of the 1947 record. Of course, weekends have traditionally been when the MTA did most of its track-maintenance work, but with this uptick in ridership, the agency now employs a system it calls "Fastrack": it will shut certain lines down for several weeknights at a time, disrupting service from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

This week, it's the B, D, F and M lines, which won't stop at stations between West 4th Street and 57th Street during night hours from Monday to Friday.

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Stem Cells Might Save Our Horrible Old Lady Eggs

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM

This might be where babies come from, in the future.
  • This might be where babies come from, in the future.
Good news, ladies who still kind of can't believe that anyone gets their shit together to have a kid before 45: some scientists may have found a way to make us more eggs. It's too soon to know if the research is that promising, which is great because it gives us all a few more years of boozing and eating delicious mercury-laden fishes.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital say they have extracted stem cells from human ovaries and made them generate egg cells. The advance, if confirmed, might provide a new source of eggs for treating infertility, though scientists say it is far too early to tell if the work holds such promise.

Dr. Tilly and colleagues wrote that their work opens up “a new field in human reproductive biology that was inconceivable less than 10 years ago,” and that access to the new cells will make possible novel forms of fertility preservation.

Yay? If that doesn't pan out we can always adopt, I suppose. Or adopt dogs! Let's make a pact: if we're both 45 and neither of us has a dog yet, let's adopt a dog together, okay?

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A Look Inside Greenpoint's Arts@Renaissance Space

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 11:24 AM

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“Hey, is this the... Snowflake Party?” asked a curious passerby to a roomful of people industriously cutting and perfecting their paper creations at last Sunday’s “Build A Blizzard” event. The “blizzard” is actually a thick tangle of paper-snowflakes hung from a hallway ceiling, inspired by artist Caroline Burghardt’s bout with a couch-ridden cold earlier in the year. The event is also part of Round Robin Art Collective’s “Hospitality” exhibition, a series of community-based events that are taking over Greenpoint’s Arts@Renaissance space until March 10.

Arts@Renaissance space is billed as an “innovative community art space” in the “garden level” (read: basement) of a former outpatient hospital building. The space has been hosting exhibitions since July 2010, but has quietly been building a following. The space’s goal, according to Arts@Renaissance program manager Chris Henderson, is to find “common ground between the neighborhood's emerging creative population and the longtime low and moderate residents of the neighborhood's dynamic ethnic communities.” This entails a series of event-based exhibitions by local creative groups, which in the past has included collaborations with Scene:Brooklyn and Chez Bushwick.

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Live: Parts & Labor Celebrate 10 Years, Call It Quits at 285 Kent

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 10:10 AM

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Debris hung overhead. Beginning at the stage and extending about halfway into to the performance space at 285 Kent was a sculpture that loomed, both literally and metaphorically, over the audience. It was composed primarily of signage for businesses that seem keyed into the economic anxieties of today: in particular, numerous companies offering to buy your house in mere minutes. Some were clustered near the ceiling in the shape of a surreal collage; others hung down, the stalactite as politically-charged art. The occasion was Parts & Labor’s simultaneous tenth anniversary and finale as a band, an event contradictory in its marriage of the celebratory and the bittersweet.

The artwork seemed most apropos for openers Neptune, whose sprawling postpunk was often charged with a domestic anxiety. The metallic sound of their homemade guitars—and presence of a low-grade rumble of feedback throughout most of their set—prompted thoughts of structure both fragile and iconic. Oneida followed them with a set that, unsurprisingly, possessed a solid command of momentum, initially seeming to circle the same riff before the set’s density prompted acceleration. For all that they are, rightly, beloved by critics, Oneida remain a remarkably difficult band to actually describe. Perhaps it’s easier to just invoke the scene about five feet to my left: a guy wearing a vintage New England Whalers jersey, leaping up and down ecstatically while they played.

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New Yorkers Commit Less Suicide

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 8:59 AM

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The suicide rate in New York City is almost half of the national average, according to the health department, the Times reported. Six in every 100,000 New Yorker residents killed themselves from 2007-2008, compared to 11 per 100,000 in the rest of the country. The rate has held steady since the year 2000.

Most New Yorkers who commit suicide hang themselves—almost one third. The next most common method is jumping from a high building, which was chosen by 18 percent of suicides, compared to two percent in the rest of the country. The most common form of suicide in America is by firearm, though it's only the fourth most common in New York City (16 percent). Experts suggest that stricter gun laws in New York might account for the smaller suicide rate. The state with the lowest rate, New Jersey, also has strong gun control laws; the largest rates are in western states (Montana, Alaska, Wyoming), where two-thirds of the suicides are by firearm.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Xena The Warrior Princess Has Been Protesting Aboard An Arctic Oil Ship For More Than 24 Hours

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 3:49 PM

She's on a boat.
  • Greenpeace/AP
  • She's on a boat.
One of television's most badass female characters of all time is a badass in real life, too. Lucy Lawless, best known for her starring role on Xena: Warrior Princess, is fighting a non-magical battle aboard the Noble Discoverer, a Shell oil drilling ship about to set out on a 6,000 mile journey from New Zealand to the Chukchi Sea this weekend. According to Mother Jones, who spoke to Lawless while aboard the vessel, the Xena star and her fellow Greenpeace protesters are equipped with peanuts, freeze-dried space food and water for as long as it takes for Shell to suspend its Arctic drilling program. This is way cooler than that one time she fought Hercules.

Drilling for oil in the Chukchi Sea, off the northwest coast of Alaska, is fraught with special risks. If an oil spill were to occur—like the disaster off the Gulf Coast, for example—repairing the well could only take place between mid-summer to December. In the meantime, "ice would likely freeze over before the well was fully repaired, letting crude oil gush out for half a year or more until the ice thawed again and the leak could finally be fixed and plugged up." The plan B Shell has prepared, a "capping stack" that would cork the well in case of a spill, has yet to be fully tested. [Mother Jones]

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Fiona Apple Tickets Sell Out Instantly

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM

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Minutes after tickets for Fiona Apple's pair of March return shows at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg went on sale at noon today, they were gone. This after yesterday's Brooklyn Vegan presale sold out instantly, to much consternation (over what was surely a very, very small number of tickets). And this on top of the Kraftwerk MoMa kerfuffle, which has already been memorialized forever in story and song. It's like the world is out to get us!

But it's all utterly predictable. Musical act with large fan base plays a space that can't fit them all. Panicked ticket seekers get on the Internet as soon as tickets can be bought. All of them do this. Though not all of them can win, their earliest possible preparedness combined with subsequent failure makes them feel like the game is rigged. It's simple math that people are going to get shut out, and while we might think that it sucks, the fault generally lies with the venues and artists for choosing to prize exclusivity and buzz (and specialness, and intimacy, to be fair) over satisfying the largest possible number of fans. You could laud the artists for taking less money than they could possibly be making, but that side of things is seldom transparent, so who knows.

But the one legitimate gripe remains the role of Stub Hub, and other online ticket brokers in all this...

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Check Out This Year's All Tomorrow's Parties Line-Up, Pre-Sale Tix Available Now

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Louis C.K., self-hating chuckle factory and ATP act.
  • Louis C.K., self-hating chuckle factory and ATP act.
Usually the big name attraction of All Tomorrow’s Parties is the band curating the festival. In 2008, it was My Bloody Valentine. In 2009, the Flaming Lips. In 2011, Portishead and Jeff Mangum. (2010 was a slight exception, with Jim Jarmusch choosing the acts, but considering he’s working on a documentary about the Stooges, who tore through all of Raw Power, he’s basically a part of the band.)

This year, though, the talk of Asbury Park, New Jersey from September 21-23 will be split between the curator and a comedy act. Recently reunited soul-rockers Afghan Whigs are the self-loathing musical headliners (with the festival itself being curated by frontman Greg Dulli), while stand-up comedian Louis C.K. is the self-loathing big-ticket seller. Can they perform Louis’s happy song together, please?

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Rufus Wainwright's Opera is Messy

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 1:20 PM

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You can tell Rufus Wainwright had a lot of ideas for an opera. Unfortunately, they all made it into his debut, Prima Donna (presented by City Opera at BAM), an ambitious but messy work about an aging soprano, Regine Saint Laurent (sung terrifically by City Opera rising star Melody Moore), a kind of Norma Desmond-lite readying for a return to the stage. It's a show about spectacle, about shows; you could read it, through its main character, as a grand metaphor for the death of classical opera, an extinguishing history passed down to a generation that may or may not deserve it. The action is set within Regine's ornate but tumbledown home as she and her pair of servants prepare for the arrival of a reporter, Andre (Taylor Stayton). The display they prepare for him—twice, once in each act, as the reporter leaves and then is invited back—is Prima Donna's first show-within-the-show: the vases of fresh roses, the lighted candles, the crisply uniformed help, the dowdy diva done up like a mid-20th century first lady, all meant to conceal the sad reality of a nervous, unstable woman living essentially alone among her anxieties and memories of bygone greatness.

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That Terrorized Mercedes From Kanye West and Jay-Z's "Otis" Video Is Being Auctioned For Charity

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM

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If you were one of the people who shrieked and covered your eyes when Jay-Z and Kanye West delightedly ripped apart a nearly $400,000 Maybach Mercedes for their "Otis" video, you can feel a lot better about watching it now. The repurposed, door-less shell of what once was one of the fanciest cars on the planet is being auctioned for an estimated $100,000-$150,000 at famed art auction house Phillips de Pury on March 8. All six figures will go to the Save the Children foundation, which provides aid, healthcare and education to the most underserved populations worldwide.

Simon de Pury, who plays the Tim Gunn mentor character in Bravo reality series Work of Art: The Next Great Artist in addition to chairing Phillips de Pury, had this to say in a press release:

“Jay-Z and Kanye West are towering figures in contemporary culture. They have greatly contributed to the artificial barriers between art, music, fashion and cinema to come down. Their video for ‘Otis’ became an instant classic. The Maybach they have transformed for it has the starring role.”

I cannot wait until someone takes this thing for a test drive down the West Side Highway. In the meantime, watch the "Otis" video and a clip of Mr. Simon de Pury talking about Next Great Artist after the jump. All this will buy L Mag managing editor Mike Conklin more time to go hunting in his couch cushions for that auction money.

[via GalleristNY]

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I Don't See Any Reason You Wouldn't Want to Watch This Video of The Cranberries Performing "Linger" for NPR's Tiny Desk Series

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Oh, and look at that! This video is actually 20 minutes long, which leads me to believe there's a very good chance they'll play "Zombie" too, and that it will be super, super awesome. I should also mention, of course, that they have a new record out next week. It's called Roses, and I haven't heard it yet, but I'm thinking I'll give it a shot, on the off chance they've captured some of the old magic, a la Ms. O'Connor. (Ok, I skipped and now they're doing "Zombie." So good.)

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Watch This Trailer For A Sonic Youth Documentary Made By Seven High School Students

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 10:52 AM

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And to think: Instead of wasting all that time doing Model UN, we could have been hanging out backstage with Sonic Youth. Dammit. In the summer of 2006, seven high school students from Reno, Nevada hooked up with filmmaking non-profit, Project Moonshine, and set out to record a day in the life of the band. The teenagers were given some training, some cameras and some backstage passes for Sonic Youth's 4th of July show in Reno, and from what resulted, it looks like they made the most of them.

Shot in glorious black and white, highlights in the set include ‘Tom Violence,’ ‘Shaking Hell,’ ‘Mote,’ ‘Incinerate’ and ‘Kool Thing.’ Additionally, the documentary contains rare interviews with Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo as well as their guitar techs and sound engineers. Filled with behind-the-scenes interviews, original performances and a little basketball, this film shares the enveloping experience of a Sonic Youth concert unraveling before our eyes. [imagesfestival.com]

The film that came out of the experience, Sleeping Nights Awake, is screening next Wednesday at Toronto's 25th annual Images Festival. The trailer, full of excited kids holding cameras, amazing angles of the concert and shaky dressing room footage, is set to "Do You Believe In Rapture?" after the jump.

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Your Ruddy Weekend at the Movies

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Theres a 40% chance that Im already a major movie star!
  • "There's a 40% chance that I'm already a major movie star!"
Gone: Here's a measure of Amanda Seyfried's star power: she can still star in a thriller that gets a wide theatrical release (albeit unscreened for critics). Not such guarantee for the likes of Nicole Kidman, Nicolas Cage, Hilary Swank, or Halle Berry.

Even better, Seyfried's deep conviction that a serial killer who menaced her in the past has come back for her sister, in the face of widespread assumption that she's crazy and there was no serial killer, recalls Bunny Lake Is Missing, which is somehow not a Criterion Collection movie but totally should be. Gone is the latest 2012 thriller to be directed by a migrating filmmaker in his English-language debut, in this case Brazilian Heitor Dhalia (other selected credits: Adrift and Drained; I am not making this up and now I'm wondering if Gone completes a trilogy). I can't decide which I'm more apt to do: see a movie just because it has Amanda Seyfried in it, or see a movie just because it has, well, read on.

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The 8 Best Songs from Bright Lights, Big City: The Musical

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 8:58 AM

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At some point, you may have picked up Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City, a deserved classic of Manhattan lit about a low-level fact checker at a New Yorker-like magazine who struggles with a recent break-up, substance abuse, and his middling career. Or you might have seen the film adaptation with Michael J. Fox. But chances are you've never discovered the musical adaptation, which debuted at the New York Theater Workshop on February 24, 1999 (in a production directed by Michael Greif, who also directed Rent, which also opened at the NYTW). Happy 13th anniversary, Bright Lights, Big City: The Musical! A fittingly unlucky anniversary to celebrate, since the show was not received particularly well, especially because of unfavorable comparisons to Rent, and has since fallen off the cultural radar.

But that's too bad—the music, by Paul Scott Goodman (reworked some for the cast recording), on occasion topples into a kind of genius born of unabashed immoderation; three songs are each reprised twice. A blues about Wednesday—cuz doesn't Wednesday just give ya the blues?—includes the rhyme "Drano for the brain-o"; the missing girl on the milk carton has her own song, which she sings twice. (Did I mention it's written in an Irish folk idiom? And was apparently sung on stage by a woman dressed in blood-soaked panties?) At its best, the show is like one of The Simpsons' brilliant musical parodies from the earlier seasons. The fact that Goodman's show is not a parody, and isn't kidding, doesn't make it any less amazing. A young Patrick Wilson starred as Jamie, while Jesse L. Martin (who had been in Rent), played his conspirator Allagash.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Join Us for an Oscar Viewing Party and a Chance to Win a 92YTribeca Film Club Membership

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 5:04 PM

We're partnering with our friends at 92YTribeca on their Oscar Viewing Party this Sunday, February 26th at 7:30pm. Watch Hollywood's biggest night on an even bigger screen, and let hosts Eliot Glazer and Giulia Rozzi guide you through the red carpet, the speeches, and the snubs. $10 admission gets you a free glass of champagne. Click here for tickets.

But that's not all! Tweet at us for the chance to win one of two prizes—a $25 gift certificate to Cafe 92YTribeca or a membership to 92YTribeca's new Film Club. That'll get you discounts on films, invites to exclusive screenings, and priority access to all special events. Here's what you need to do to enter:

1. Follow @TheLMagazine on Twitter.
2. Tweet at us and @92YTribeca to tell us who you think was snubbed for a nomination by the Academy this year.
3. Include the hashtag #OscarSnub92YTri

You have until Friday, February 24th at midnight to enter. We'll announce winners on Monday, February 27th at noon.

For more party details, click here. See you on the red carpet! (There won't really be a red carpet.)

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Glenn Beck Weighs in on Park Slope Food Co-Op Issue

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 3:14 PM

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The Park Slope Food Co-Op is due to vote on whether to vote on whether the store should boycott Israeli products in protest of what some members see as the country's apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday in a widely shared article—so widely shared, in fact, that Glenn Beck caught wind of it, and voiced opposition to the idea during a fundraiser in Crown Heights last night, the Brooklyn Paper reports.

“What is happening with the food co-op where they are seriously considering a boycott of Israel?” [Beck] said, likening the suggested ban to a subtle version of drawing swastikas. “When you use words like ‘I’m just anti-Israel’ or ‘I’m just anti-Zionist’—that’s anti-Semitic.”

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Gay Marriage a Financial Boost to City

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Cha ching!
  • Cha ching!
The city's marriage bureau saw an almost 10 percent increase in revenue during the last three months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, the Post reports. Gay marriage became legal in New York State last year on July 24; the data is from August to December. Roughly 5,000 more people were married in New York City during that time in 2011 than in 2010, (though the number of those that were gay marriages is unclear; the city does not require couples to list their genders when filing for marriage).

Add this almost $200,000 increase in revenues to what have surely been bumps for tourism-related businesses, catering halls, flower shops, dress shops, tuxedo rental places, limo rental outlets, sparkling wine manufacturers, and other industries related to the Marriage Economic Complex, and marriage equality is practically as sure a cure for the economic blues as World War II was for an earlier generation. Let's gay-marry our way out of this recession!

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Q&A: Former Books Member Nick Zammuto on the Very Busy Start to His 2012

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 1:36 PM

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The year is only two months old, and already Nick Zammuto’s 2012 is looking busy. The former member of the Books recently released his Idiom Wind EP, with a self-titled album to follow later this year, along with a tour with Explosions in the Sky. This evening, he’ll be at the Merkin Concert Hall for a collaborative set with So Percussion’s Jason Treuting as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival. All of these projects were up for discussion when I caught up with Zammuto via email earlier this week.

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If These Are the Pro-Choice Victories, We're Really in Trouble

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 12:41 PM

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Ever since Obama pressed forward with his awesome, controversial plan to provide free birth control to all, contraception and reproductive choice have been in the news in a way it hasn't been in a long time. Of course, it's an election year, so it makes political sense that hot-button issues are at the forefront. Whether you think it's a crafty Democratic plan to energize their base or a crafty Republican plan to energize their base, it's not unusual for "social issues" (or what some might call "human rights issues") like reproductive freedom and gay and trans rights to be fashioned into wedges come campaign time.

However, the real anti-choice movers are not sleeping on this issue—they never sleep on this issue—and the last couple of years have been regressive as shit when it comes to allowing women to choose whether or not they want to be mothers. Which is why it bugs me when I see some of the recent pro-choice pushback framed as "victories" for reproductive freedom.

For example, the whole Susan Komen/Planned Parenthood dustup. Komen, a nonprofit that supports breast cancer research, announced they were pulling funding from Planned Parenthood, a provider of free breast cancer screenings for low-income women, because some Planned Parenthoods perform abortions. There was a huge outcry, and Komen's Executive Director resigned while the organization promised to allow Planned Parenthood to reapply for the grants next year. Nobody said they'd GET them, they could just reapply. Not exactly ticker tape parade time, and unfortunately now a lot of people will think it's fine to go back to supporting Komen when they are and have been for a long time highly anti-choice. If you think pro-choice is pro-woman, you should toss out your pink ribbon crap for good.

This week, Virginia was considering a bill that would mandate a transvaginal ultrasound for all women seeking abortions. There was a huge outcry, and Virginia's governor withdrew his support from that part of the bill. Which, great, but there is still a personhood bill being considered there which, if passed, could make almost all forms of hormonal birth control illegal.

Virginia and Komen may be pro-choice victories in the sense that people spoke up and were heard, but that misses the much more important fact that these should not even be issues in the first place. Free breast cancer screeings for poor women? Not having to have a medically unnecessary, very invasive procedure as a punishment for seeking an abortion? These should be no-brainers. By even having to engage with these issues, we are losing. The pro-choice movement is being forced to re-fights fights we've won a long time ago. That isn't progress. It's 2012—it's absolutely ridiculous that Congress could hold an all-male birth control hearing where someone jokingly suggests "gals" keep an aspirin between their knees to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Having to fight to keep the status quo—having to "win" things we already have, like the right to FUCKING BIRTH CONTROL, is not a victory. Every time we are forced to revisit settled questions, the very best we can hope for is to hold our ground. That is a brilliant strategy, and exactly how the anti-choicers are advancing their agenda. We have to exhaust ourselves just to stay still, or slide slightly backward.

Even the Obama birth control compromise, which came about after a group of Bishops pitched a fit about Catholic institutions being forced to pay for their employees' birth control, is still not much of a victory, because it reinforces the idea that we should be listening to a bunch of celibate religious leaders when it comes to making policy. Do we seriously need to debate whether America is a Christian theocracy?

I'm glad that the pro-choice movement is getting re-energized and making some noise, but you guys, we are not winning this war, and that is terrifying. The anti-choicers can and will keep chipping away at rights we have already won for ourselves. If we want to move the conversation forward—to demand that all women have absolute reproductive autonomy, access to birth control, safe and affordable abortions, affordable pre- and post-natal care, support for the children we choose to have and realistic child care options, we HAVE to see beyond these "victories."

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