Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Plus-Size, Extra Sexy Pinups and More from the Femme Cartel Art Party

Cheeky 2012 Miss March

The media tells us sexy comes in one size, skinny. But the media has it all wrong. Sexy comes in all shapes and sizes. Which is why I adore the "Cheeky" 2012 pinup calendar by artist Jen Oaks.   Her pictures are vintage pinup style, meets modern day cartoons meets endless curves. I met Jen Oaks at the Femme Cartel: Girly/Urban Art Party in Oakland. She was almost completely sold out of the 275 calendars she first printed this past fall.   Not bad for a first timer right?

Oaks told me she got the idea for "Cheeky" from a friend who wanted a centerfold of plus-sized women. Jen got to the drawing board. She comes up with the images by photographing people in sexy poses.  Then Jen creates the pinups based on the gestures of the models. 

Cheeky 2012 Miss November
Women like to feel sexy and be sexy.  Sometimes we're hard on ourselves because our bodies don't look how they’re “supposed to.”  I respect a woman who lives by her own rules.  I give Jen Oaks props for creating her vision of sexy, one that many men and women share.  If you're in Oakland, check out her art show at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records on Friday, Feb. 3rd . Order the 2012 "Cheeky" calendar from Etsy.

 Laura Gonzalez

This young woman's art packs serious emotion. I can feel whatever the subject is  going through. Her work looks so real I couldn't tell if I was looking at painting or a photo.  Support Lauren Gonzalez at Lauragrdesigns@yahoo.com or Facebook.com/DesignsByLaura

"Secreto" by Lauren Gonzalez

Michelle Carnes

Oh my goodness, I am loving the energy from Carnes' use of color.  I sense the woman in the painting's  strength and mellowness. Isn't that an interesting blend? Support this artist at michellecarnes.com

Strong Color by Michelle Carnes

I can barely draw a stick figure.  And I won't torture you with my tree drawings that look more  like broccoli. The ladies I highlighted are amazing. What do you think of the art? Ping me if you bought any of the work from these talented women.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Maybe I’m Wrong About 'Is Marriage for White People?'

  Ralph Richard Banks, Stanford Law professor and author of "Is Marriage for White People?" gave a talk in Oakland last Thursday night.  When I first heard about his book, I rolled my eyes thinking not another black woman can't get a man if she paid him with a signed blank check from Oprah book.  Then I really lost interest in the book after his KQED interview caused a few non-black men to ask my opinion of black women and dating. Even my white-male coworker questioned me down for 30 minutes about many black women's reluctance to swirl, which led to questions about "the hair thing" and if I saw "Something New." In all fairness to him, I'd rather someone ask than make silly assumptions.  So, why did I go to this Thursday night event?  I was bored at home, the event was free and I had to meet the man who has the reason behind my giving a mini black women history lecture at work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crossing the Fetish Line

This is a photo of Tao but pretend it's Tryst at the Wynn.
Photo Credit:  Ryan Holst

This economy has been hell. Sorry for the unpretty language but that's how I've been feeling for a long time.  And what better place to go during a recession and spend money? Viva Las Vegas!  I was having one of those Kindred  "far away from here, far away from here" moods and needed a serious break from reality. Nothing says "unrealistic" more than a city where Egyptian pyramids, and the Statue of Liberty are within blocks of each other.  

The  Vegas clubs were calling me and it had been a long time since I dressed up to party. I wanted to wear the tightest thing I could find.  I mean, hold your breath, stomach sucked in, don't even eat a Triscuit tight. I slipped on a $14 dress  I found  at Ross that made me feel  priceless and my favorite strappy gold heels. A few spritzes of water and jojoba oil on the the fro , one coat of lip gloss  and I I hit The Strip. Destination:  Tryst at the Wynn Hotel.  I couldn't ask for a better night. My girls and I got hooked up with free admission and drinks.  The club wasn't too crowded because most people hit Aria for Kim Kardashian's birthday party.  The DJ was spinning the right stuff and I took in the buzz of nightlife and my second Georgia Peach. 

Now for the juicy part. My girls and I were sitting at a table when a guy tries to snap a picture of us. We covered our faces and told him that taking pictures without people's permission is not cool.  He apologized and I heard an accent.  Traveling the world is my dream. My intrigue gets turned on when I hear an unfamiliar accent.  He was from Israel.  I lectured him again about taking photos without permission and asked, "Do you go up to Israeli women and snap their picture without asking?" Of course he said no. From there we started talking. He answered all of sorts of questions I had about living in Israel and cultural tensions with the Palestinians. We talked about the value of entrepreneurship in the Jewish culture. Then dating came up. Did I tell you he was 26 and had deep brown eyes? And he was very cute with light-bronze glazed skin?  Did I tell you he owned a real estate business and was traveling the Western U.S. and Mexico for vacation?   He wanted to know why my 30-somethin' somethin' self was single with no kids.  I told him I didn't know and it doesn't bother me.   Three months later, I still don't have the answer.

We danced. He knew how to work the floor.  My friends were very impressed with his hip -hop dance style and rhythm.  A few songs later he slowly got closer . And closer. He whispered in my ear, "You are so beautiful and you have beautiful skin." I thanked him with a flirty smile. We sat down. He said he's always been attracted to dark women. But he made "dark" sound like something he wasn't, which I found odd because he was only a few shades lighter than me. He wasn't Al B. Sure light, nor was he Wesley Snipes dark (To do: research complexion issues in Israel). It was  late and I had been up almost 21 hours straight.  He was getting dreamier by the late, late minute.  But I was ready to return to my gorgeous room at New York, New York Hotel and call it a night or morning.  He was staying at the Belagio. We started to head out when he gave me a swift, soft kiss on my bare shoulder. Then he looked at me with his endless brown eyes and asked for a kiss on the lips BECAUSE he  "always wanted to kiss a dark girl. "  What-the-hell? Why do guys say dumb things and kill the mood?????  So he wants to kiss me because I'm "dark"? He wants to kiss me so he can go back home and tell his Israeli homies what black lips feel like? Or maybe how black girls feel different from other women?  This all ran through my exhausted mind. I gave him a friendly hug and wished him well.  He was confused by my rejection.

"Girl, what happened?" my friends asked when I returned to them.  I told them and they understood.  If I weren't so tired I would have schooled him.   

I have swirled and I understand how someone else's skin color, eyes, hair texture or style can be a turn on when it's unlike yours. But that's different than a fetish. To me a fetish is when you can't see the person for who they are because you're so caught up in whatever about them turns you on. The Israeli dude felt fetish-y to me. But there's a happy ending to this story. I left Vegas with $40 extra dollar in my pocketbook and a good idea for a blog post.


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