Tag Archives: male

CEO quits after sexist comments about women tennis pros

The tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open who said women’s pro tennis players “ride on the coattails of the men” resigned on March 21, ending his 29-year association with the event.

Tournament owner Larry Ellison said in a statement that Raymond Moore was quitting as chief executive officer and tournament director of the $7 million event featuring men’s and women’s players in the California desert. Moore informed Ellison of his decision when they spoke earlier in the day.

“Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and tournament director effective immediately,” Ellison said. “I fully understand his decision.”

A tournament spokesman could offer no further details on Moore’s resignation, citing only Ellison’s statement.

CEO apologizes

Moore apologized after he was roundly criticized by executives from the women’s and men’s pro tours, players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and on social media for his comments Sunday.

The 69-year-old former touring pro from South Africa had been CEO of the tournament since 2012. He was involved with the event for 29 years as a former owner and managing partner before assuming his most recent post. He oversaw the operations of the tournament and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which Ellison also owns. Years ago, Moore and fellow ex-player Charlie Pasarell started PM Sports Management, which oversaw the tournament as it expanded.

“In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky,” Moore said. “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”

He also referred to women’s players as “physically attractive and competitively attractive.” Moore later apologized, calling his comments “in extremely poor taste and erroneous.”

“I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole,” the statement said. “We had a women’s final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”

Moore clearly had no intention to leave his post based on comments he made to reporters Sunday on the last day of the two-week tournament. Before the backlash over his controversial comments began, he was asked how long he planned to remain in charge.

“Firstly, I love what I’m doing. I’m passionate about it. I enjoy it,” Moore said. “Who knows who the face of the tournament will be down the road. But I don’t think that, oh, I’m going to stop next year or three years.”

Ellison, a billionaire and co-founder of Oracle Corp., credited Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Serena and Venus Williams, as well as other female athletes, for their leadership in treating women and men equally in sports.

“I’m proud to say that it is now a decade-long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men,” Ellison said in his statement.

Ellison thanked the “great women athletes” who fought so hard in pursuit of equal prize money in pro tennis.

“All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” he said.

Statement from the tennis tournament

“Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond Moore,” said BNP Paribas Open Owner, Larry Ellison. “Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and Tournament Director effective immediately. I fully understand his decision.”

“Nearly half a century ago, Billie Jean King began her historic campaign for the equal treatment of women in tennis. What followed is an ongoing, multi-generational, progressive movement to treat women and men in sports equally. Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many other great women athletes, an important measure of success has already been achieved. I’m proud to say that it is now a decade long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men.”

“I would like to personally thank all the great women athletes who fought so hard for so many years in the pursuit of equal prize money in professional tennis. And I’d like to congratulate them on their success. All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” concluded Ellison.

UPDATE: Saudi voters elect 20 women to office

UPDATE: Saudi voters elected 20 women for local government seats, according to results released to The Associated Press a day after women voted and ran in elections for the first time in the country’s history.

The women who won hail from vastly different parts of the country, ranging from Saudi Arabia’s largest city to a small village near Islam’s holiest site.

The 20 female candidates represent just one percent of the roughly 2,100 municipal council seats up for grabs, but even limited gains are seen as a step forward for women who had previously been completely shut out of elections. Women are still not allowed to drive and are governed by guardianship laws that give men final say over aspects of their lives like marriage, travel and higher education.

Though there are no quotas for female council members, an additional 1,050 seats are appointed with approval by the king who could use his powers to ensure more women are represented.

Around 7,000 candidates, among them 979 women, competed in the election for a seat on the municipal councils, which are the only government body elected by Saudi citizens. The two previous rounds of voting for the councils, in 2005 and 2011, were open to men only.

The conservative capital of Riyadh saw the most women candidates win, with four elected. The Eastern Province, where minority Shiites are concentrated, saw two women elected, said Hamad Al-Omar, who heads the General Election Commission’s media council.

Saudi Arabia’s second largest and most cosmopolitan city, Jiddah, also elected two women, as did one of the most conservative regions, Qassim.

The mayor of the city of Mecca, Osama al-Bar, told the AP that a woman won in a village called Madrakah, about 93 miles (150 kilometers) north of the city which houses the cube-shaped Kaaba to which Muslims around the world pray.

Another woman won in Medina, where the Prophet Muhammad’s first mosque was built.

Other women hailing from the kingdom’s northernmost areas won, with two elected in Tabuk, one in al-Jawf and another in Hail. Additionally, a woman won in Saudi Arabia’s southern border area of Jizan, another in Asir and two won in al-Ahsa. 

Many women candidates ran on platforms that promised more nurseries to offer longer daycare hours for working mothers, the creation of youth community centers with sports and cultural activities, improved roads, better garbage collection and overall greener cities. 

In October, the Saudi Gazette reported that harsh road conditions and long distances to the nearest hospital had forced some women in the village of Madrakah, where one female candidate was elected, to give birth in cars. The local newspaper reported that the closest hospital and the nearest university were in Mecca, prompting some students to forgo attending classes. The article said residents were also frustrated with the lack of parks in the village.

It is precisely these kinds of community issues that female candidates hope to address once elected to the municipal councils. The councils do not have legislative powers, but advise authorities and help oversee local budgets.

Most ran their campaigns online, using social media to get the word out, due to strict gender segregation rules that ban men and women from mixing in public. This meant candidates could not directly address voters of the opposite sex.

In an effort to create a more level playing field for women who wear the traditional full-face veil, the General Election Committee banned both male and female candidates from showing their faces in promotional flyers, billboards or online. They were also not allowed to appear on television. 

Still, al-Omar said the historic election drew a staggering 106,000 female voters out of some 130,000 who’d registered. Out of 1.35 million men registered, almost 600,000 cast ballots. In total, some 47 percent of registered voters took part in Saturday’s election.

In Jiddah, three generations of women from the same family voted for the first time. The oldest woman in the family was 94-year-old Naela Mohammad Nasief. Her daughter, Sahar Hassan Nasief, said the experience marked “the beginning” of greater rights for women in Saudi Arabia. 

“I walked in and said ‘I’ve have never seen this before. Only in the movies’,” the daughter said, referring to the ballot box. “It was a thrilling experience.”

School uniform rules relaxed for LGBT students in Puerto Rico

Students at public schools across Puerto Rico for the first time can choose to wear pants or skirts as part of their uniform regardless of their gender without being punished, a move that has unleashed a debate in this socially conservative island.

Education Secretary Rafael Roman said this week that the new regulation he recently signed is meant to be inclusive of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. He added that teachers will no longer be allowed to discipline students who prefer to wear pants instead of skirts or vice versa.

“No student can be sanctioned for not opting to wear a particular piece of clothing … that he or she does not feel comfortable with,” he told reporters.

Girls at public schools in Puerto Rico traditionally wear skirts as part of their uniforms and the boys wear pants.

LGBT civil rights activists and some school officials praised the measure, which comes months after Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order prohibiting bullying in public schools based on sexual orientation.

“It’s a bit late, but it was approved, which is important,” said Cristina Torres, director of a high school in Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second-largest city. “Changing people’s mentality from one day to another will be hard … The most incredible thing is that young people can accept this with an open mind, but it’s the adults who discriminate.”

Torres is familiar with the issue. Teachers filed a complaint against her two years ago for appearing in a picture with a student who wore women’s clothing at his graduation. The student was a victim of bullying and had received an award for overcoming difficult circumstances, she said.

“Our responsibility is to protect students’ rights,” Torres said.

However, critics of the new regulation accused government officials of acting like dictators and stripping parents of their power.

“Once again, this government and the Department of Education work against what’s best for our children,'” said officials with Alerta Puerto Rico, a conservative group that says it was founded to promote family and childhood values.

But Roman argues that parents have the final word on how their children dress for school since they’re the ones buying the uniform. He added that several school districts in the U.S. mainland have adopted similar regulations.

Messages left with the U.S. Department of Education were not immediately returned.

Paola Gonzalez, a 39-year-old transsexual woman who grew up in Puerto Rico and now lives in Albany, New York, said she wished the measure would have been approved years ago.

“It would have simplified my life,” she said, adding that she has some concerns about the new regulation given what she described as Puerto Rico’s “macho” culture.

“For a student to come out and say I identify with this gender and wear these clothes … that will be a big step,” Gonzalez said. “The school may also have to consider the safety of the student.”

Garcia’s administration previously approved several measures in favor of the gay community, including one that allows transgender and transsexual people to change their gender on their driver’s license and another that protects their rights when seeking medical services.

Finding their voice: Speech clinic helps transgender clients

Sylvia Wojcik was making reservations for a beach getaway in Maine when the receptionist on the other end of the line called her “ma’am.” Nothing could have delighted her more.

Wojcik, 66, is transitioning from male to female. For her, that proof that she sounded like a woman was an important moment. 

“It felt like I had just been validated,” she said. “It just gave me a great sense of being at ease with myself.”

Wojcik has undergone several years of voice therapy, the past 18 months at the University of Connecticut’s Speech and Hearing Clinic, one of a growing number of clinics with programs to teach transgender people how to sound more like the gender with which they identify.

“You can be well kept, present well, but if your voice is masculine, you get pegged right away,” said Wojcik, of Enfield, north of Hartford. “I really didn’t start getting success with my voice until I came to UConn. And I’m sure glad I did, because it’s made all the difference.”

The program at UConn is in its fourth year, with about a dozen people participating at any one time. The typical participant will spend an hour a week in a group session, and another 11/2 hours working one on one with a speech pathologist.

They learn not only how to change the pitch of their voice, but also its resonance (males speak more from chest, females from the head) and delivery (males tend to be more staccato, females more fluid).

It involves a lot of voice exercises — humming to find an ideal pitch, naming five words that start with the letter “T.”

The idea is to condition and change the voice without harming the vocal chords, said Wendy Chase, the clinic’s director.

“Pitch up, shoulders back … whatever you’re doing wrong, she tends to help you correct it,” said 61-year-old Brianne Roberts, also of Enfield. “It really works.”

The majority of the transgender clients at the clinic are transitioning to female.

Hormone therapy will naturally cause a lowering in the voice of someone transitioning to male, Chase said. Many “F to Ms,” as they are sometimes called, need to learn the other subtleties.

But clients transitioning either way need to work on articulation and patterns associated with male and female speech, even how to use their hands differently to gesture and touch during communication.

“There is tremendous irony in the fact that we use information based on stereotype to make people feel better about themselves,” said Chase. “But that’s what we do.”

The clinic also has served some people who are not transgender, such as men who wish to sound less effeminate. And some clients, including people who are only considering a change in gender, want a voice that is more neutral, Chase said.

Literature in the field dates back 50 years, but until the past 20 years only a handful of people were doing voice work with transgender people, and the work is still in its infancy, Chase said.

Richard Adler, who retired this month from Minnesota State University-Moorhead, was one of those pioneers. The field has been growing exponentially and internationally, he said, as the world has become more accepting of transgender people and people like Caitlyn Jenner have shared their stories.

“There are still people opposed to the work we do,” he said. “We still get hate mail, but it’s less and less.”

UConn charges clients $192 for a voice evaluation to determine what needs to be changed. It’s then $10 per session for individual treatment and $25 per semester for the group sessions. 

Some insurance companies may pick up some or all the cost if a doctor gives a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. But Chase said that it is still rare.

A typical patient will spend about 18 months in therapy, Chase said, but the number of sessions varies widely.

Roberts, a freelance copywriter, has been attending sessions since February. She expects to participate for at least another semester.

Before the transitioning process, Roberts was a radio personality, voiceover artist and actor. She is now returning to the stage as an actress and doesn’t want her voice to impede her winning roles. 

“For me, passing is important,” she said. “But, in some cases it’s a matter of survival. There are some places where you do not want to be read as being anything other than female. It’s dangerous.”

The sessions also help in other ways, Roberts said. She’s able to talk to other people going through the same experience about progress and problems. And the environment is supportive and respectful, something Roberts said affirms her decision to transition.

As for Wojcik, she is just happy to be able to order sliced bologna at the deli without getting a strange look.

“I want to just be one of the girls,” she said. “I just want to blend in with the woodwork and people not notice that I’m trans.”

Rebel with a secret | The story of Lucy Ann Lobdell and the 1st same-sex marriage in the U.S.

Lucy Ann Lobdell was in her 20s when she wrote a short self-published memoir about her early life in New York in the 1800s. She hunted in the mountains, an unusual pastime for a girl and a young woman. She went to a learning academy, getting a better education than most girls of the time. And she briefly married a man who abandoned her in pregnancy.

About 41 pages into this 47-page memoir, Lobdell tells the reader, “I made up my mind to dress in men’s attire to seek labor, as I was used to men’s work. And as I might work harder at house-work, and get only a dollar per week, and I was capable of doing men’s work, and getting men’s wages, I resolved to try … to get work away among strangers.”

And that Lobdell did, setting out to find independence and earn a living.

“So, I stole away with a heavy heart, for I knew that I was going among strangers, who did not know my circumstances, or see my heart, so broken, and know its struggles.”

On the next page of Narrative of Lucy Ann Lobdell, the Female Hunter of Delaware and Sullivan Counties, Lobdell writes, “I must now leave the reader for a short time, and then I intend to write another book, in which I shall give a full account of my adventures whilst I adopted male attire.”

If Lobdell did write a second narrative, it was never found.

So William Klaber wrote the book for her — The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell, published this spring by St. Martin’s Press and described as “historical fiction.”

Fact or fiction, Klaber’s memoir is riveting for readers.

And also resurrecting a debate familiar to queer studies scholars about Lobdell’s identity — a pioneering transgender person who lived as a man among strangers or a pioneering lesbian who was joined by an unsuspecting judge in possibly the first same-sex marriage in the United States.

Klaber, a part-time journalist, lives in Upper Eddy in upstate New York, not far from where Lobdell lived 160 years ago. He and his wife bought the farmhouse in 1980, and it was there that Jack Niflot, a local historian, delivered to him a satchel containing recollections and articles about Lobdell. The historical record contains details of how Lobdell took the name of Joseph, taught music, song and dance, traveled from east to the frontier, married a woman named Marie Wilson and was committed to an asylum as a case of “sexual perversion” with a history of “Lesbian love.”

Niflot had collected a lot of information about Lobdell, but couldn’t find a second memoir. He turned his research over to Klaber, who made an unsuccessful search for the book and then decided to write his own.

“Lucy lived at a time when women did not commonly carry a rifle, sit down in bars or have romantic liaisons with other women,” said Klaber. “Lucy did these things in a personal quest — to work and to be paid, to wear what she wanted and to love whomever she cared to.”

Klaber’s story — brilliant and beautiful — begins about where Lobdell’s own memoir ends, with Lobdell quietly leaving home and catching a train, a transformative journey.

Lobdell, near the end of her narrative, writes of passing a neighbor on her way to the depot, “I heard him say, ‘There goes the female hunter.’”

Klaber, in the opening chapter, writes of Lobdell settling on the train: “There were no leaves yet on the trees, and as the sun flickered through the gray branches, I could see on the glass a faint reflection of myself, appearing and disappearing like a spirit trying to enter the world.”

Restroom research: Study examines bathroom graffiti by men, women

A new article published in Gender, Place & Culture examines how men and women express themselves in the seemingly private and anonymous spaces of public bathrooms.

Texts or drawings in the bathroom stalls, while created in a private space and presumably during a very private moment, are meant to be public — transmitting ideas, images and even responses.

Using data collected in 10 university bathroom stalls, the study examines differences in communication patterns in women’s and men’s bathroom stalls through an analysis of graffiti content and style.

The research indicated that that while communication patterns tend to be supportive and relationship-focused in women’s bathrooms, the graffiti in men’s bathroom walls are replete with sexual content and insults.

In addition, an analysis of the response-and-reply chains suggests that, in the bathroom stalls, hierarchies of power are established and reinforced even in anonymous, unmoderated spaces, and even when no humans are physically present.

The first major study of bathroom graffiti was produced by Alfred Kinsey in the 1950s, which found that many wall inscriptions were highly sexual, but sexuality was defined quite differently among men and women. Men’s bathroom graffiti centered on sexual acts and sexual organs, women’s graffiti referred to love and relationships in non-erotic terms.

Further studies in the 1970s and 1980s suggested that women’s graffiti was becoming more sexual and political.

In the latest study, 60 years on from Kinsey’s work, Pamela Leong, an assistant professor of Sociology at Salem State University, monitored graffiti in 10 single sex bathrooms.  Leong found that women were more prolific, accounting for 70 percent of graffiti, and male graffiti was what she characterized as overtly sexual, crude, competitive and aggressive.

She characterized female graffiti as less sexually explicit — messages were more relationship oriented, confided private thoughts and feelings, as well as messages of support to fellow writers. She also said women often referred to bowel movements, indicating a need to discuss such things privately for fear of being judged “dirty” or “unfeminine,” a contrast to social acceptance of male lavatorial behavior.

ABC keeps tight lid on Jenner interview to air April 24

The first on-air promo for the April 24 broadcast interview with Bruce Jenner didn’t even show his face, an illustration of the line ABC News is walking in trying to drum up interest for the program while saying virtually nothing about it.

The two-hour interview special with the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion and estranged patriarch of television’s Kardashian clan is expected to touch on transgenderism and reports that Jenner may be transitioning.

ABC has released only a couple of non-specific quotes by Jenner and is not expected to reveal much more in advance of the Friday program, preferring to give Jenner the opportunity to address the topic in the full context of the interview.

Diane Sawyer has not spoken to outside media about the interview, which was conducted in February — one day in Los Angeles, another in New York. She’s scheduled to promote it on ABC properties Friday: “Good Morning America,” `’Live with Kelly and Michael” and “The View.” ABC News executives also haven’t spoken about it, not even confirming publicly until April 6 that the interview had taken place, until this the airdate was set.

“In producing this special, one of our goals has been to respect Bruce’s story,” said ABC News spokesman Van Scott. “We want Bruce to speak for Bruce. We’ve had this top of mind throughout the process from the booking and interviews to the promotion and final product.”

The tight lid enables ABC to avoid the issue of potentially “outing” a public figure before the person has had a chance to publicly address the topic. Not everyone is waiting: The New York Daily News this week published a front-page picture of a person they said was Jenner wearing a dress.

“I respect the way that (ABC has) handled this,” said Brad Bessey, executive producer of “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider.” “You have to separate Bruce Jenner and Bruce’s story from the media circus that is the Kardashians.”

The approach has left his syndicated entertainment newsmagazines starved for news. Bessey said they’ve done stories on the three 15- or 30-second promos that ABC has released.

The first ABC promo showed two Jenner images — one from behind and the other from the side as he talked with Sawyer, his face obscured by shadows. In the other two, Jenner is heard more clearly, and with two soundbites. “My whole life has been getting ready for this,” he said. He also talks of the importance of not hurting his children.

ABC’s handling of the story so far has been respectful, said Nick Adams, program director of transgender media for GLAAD. The organization that represents gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders has spoken little about Jenner.

“Sharing one’s story is something a person should be allowed to do in their own time and in their own way,” Adams said. Media speculation about a public figure’s gender identity increases harmful scrutiny on other transgender people, he said.

The interview was conducted before Jenner was involved in an auto accident in which another motorist was killed. ABC is expected to address the topic, although the timing precludes it from being raised with Jenner.

Some of Jenner’s children, pictured in one of the promos, also are expected to be interviewed.

Bessey predicted big ratings for the special. ABC is airing it on a Friday night, when TV-watching is usually low. Two big interviews are among the top 100 most-watched telecasts of all time in the U.S.: Oprah Winfrey’s 1993 talk with Michael Jackson, seen in 36.6 million homes, and Barbara Walters’ 1999 interview with Monica Lewinsky, seen in 33.2 million homes.

Friday’s interview likely won’t approach those numbers, but should certainly exceed the Friday “20/20” average of 6.2 million viewers this season.

“I think people will be watching,” Bessey said. “I hope they’ll be listening.”

Florida high court to define ‘sexual intercourse’ in HIV case

The Florida Supreme Court is considering the definition of sexual intercourse in a case involving a gay man charged with not letting a partner know he was HIV-positive.

Arguments were held on Feb. 4 in the case involving Gary Debaun, who is trying to have a charge dismissed under a 1986 law designed to prevent the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus.

Lawyers for Debaun argue that the law says it’s illegal not to disclose an HIV infection before “sexual intercourse,” but that the definition in Florida applies only to traditional sex between a man and a woman — not two men.

A lower-court judge dismissed the charge against Debaun, but an appeals court reinstated it, saying the law was clearly intended to include other sexual activity with a risk of transmitting the virus.

Bruce Jenner’s mom opens up about the celebrity’s gender journey

With speculation flying, Bruce Jenner’s mother opened up this week about the celebrity’s gender journey.

Esther Jenner, 88, has been besieged by calls from the media in recent days, but the widow in Lewiston, Idaho, isn’t interested in fueling gossip. Instead, in a wide-ranging, nearly hour-long phone interview, she praised the former Olympian son for courage, stopping short of some details that have been floated by unnamed sources online and in tabloids.

Bruce Jenner, who won gold as a decathlete in the 1976 Summer Games, has not publicly spoken about gender transitioning. Jenner’s appearance has gradually become more traditionally feminine. A publicist for the 65-year-old Jenner would not comment about Esther Jenner’s remarks. Nor would E! Entertainment on word that Jenner will appear in a reality series.

Highlights from Esther Jenner’s conversation with The Associated Press:

AP: Have you spoken to Bruce recently about his transition?

Jenner: It was brief and I said I was proud of him and that I’ll always love him. I never thought I could be more proud of Bruce when he reached his goal in 1976, but I’m more proud of him now. It takes a lot of courage to do what he’s doing.

AP: He has opened up in terms of his gender identity, which he is now owning, as opposed to hiding like so many transgender people have to do? Is that right?

Jenner: That’s absolutely right. He said, `Mom, I’m still the same person.’ He said, `I’m still going to race cars, I’m still going to fly airplanes and I’m going to get my helicopter license.’

AP: How did it feel for him to come to you and explain?

Jenner: When I first learned about it, yes, of course it was a surprise.

AP: In a lot of cases, families really suffer from that kind of announcement.

Jenner: The family is close and very supportive of Bruce and we’re supportive of each other.

AP: Was it a shock?

Jenner: It was a shock. It’s hard to wrap your mind around it.

AP How did he explain it to you?

Jenner: He said, `I want to be honest about my identity and I know this is coming out in the press.’ He started by saying, `We need to have a long, serious talk.’ I am at peace with what he is and what he’s doing.

Editor’s note: The gender specific pronouns are part of the interview and are quotes.




Drink pink at The Pitch Project in Walker’s Point

The neutral white of The Pitch Project’s main gallery space is bathed in a wash of pink light. A couple of camping tents are pitched in the corners, kitted out with sleeping bags and other sundry outdoor necessities. Off to one side, a pedestal holds a monument of Busch Light beer cans. On the walls, photographs show 20-somethings frolicking outdoors in the summer, guzzling beer and cuddling a scruffy cat. 

Has camp culture gone campy? In this exhibition, called LIT UP, it is humorous and insular, filled with deadpan irony. The artistic duo behind the installation, known as Gurl Don’t Be Dumb, includes Brooklyn-based Jamie Steel and Eileen Mueller, a Milwaukee native now living in Chicago. Establishing GDBD in 2011, the pair has engaged in a variety of curatorial projects, and LIT UP represents a new direction in their collaborative work, but it’s consistent with their established playfulness and humor. 

The inspiration for this exhibition, which was originally presented as a one-night show at Forever & Always Projects in Chicago, goes back to a 2013 residency at ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibition) in rural Steuben, Wisconsin. The end result is a sort of play on stereotypes, particularly dudes who use nature as a drinking venue. As the artists describe in their exhibition notes, “This is your Styrofoam cooler emitting a soft pink glow, this is your moonlight skinny-dip LIT UP.”

A video in the front gallery brings the combination of camaraderie and bravado together. The artists are nonchalant behind sunglasses, sitting in plastic chairs opposite each other in a grassy clearing. They throw plastic darts at each others’ feet, taking three shots at a time, and then a guy clambers in to collect the darts to be thrown again. The point of the lackadaisical dart game becomes apparent when one punctures a can of beer on the ground, shifting gears into a drinking game in which beer is sucked down from the pierced opening. With a stomp and a squash of the nearly empty can, the video ends.

In another gallery, a pop-up shop offers prints, accouterments and “schwag” from earlier exhibitions curated by Gurl Don’t Be Dumb. The humor and self-referential irony are scaled down to more easily portable sizes and price points. 

LIT UP is a playful exhibition, one that absorbs and deflects heavy-handed seriousness. It may suggest questions about frayed stereotypes and gender, but is also about a manner of fun. If there are statements to be made, they come through under the haze of a soft glow rather than direct glare. 

LIT UP: Gurl Don’t Be Dumb continues through Jan. 17 at The Pitch Project, 706 S. Fifth St., Milwaukee. 

Also showing…

The university semester is winding down, making this a great time to visit area campuses to catch exhibitions before they close. Not to worry, these won’t be on the final. 

Vital Technology 

Through Dec. 6

If you’re interested in contemporary art with a digital twist, do not miss this exhibition. Nathaniel Stern and Bryan Cera present solo and collaborative installations that engage the viewer in a variety of sensory experiences, including sound and movement. The underlying question of the exhibition is a meditation on how technology influences our actions. This is a happy collaboration between people and machine. 

At Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design’s Frederick Layton Gallery, 273 E. Erie St., Milwaukee. 

Visualizing Sovereignty 

Through Dec. 12 

This exhibition opens a discussion about Native American culture in the context of the 21st century, asking how traditional stories and customs are preserved in the rush of modern life and what is the impact of European influence on character and socioeconomic structures. There are a number of striking pieces in this exhibition, particularly the paintings by Bunky Echo-Hawk, who deftly uses pop culture references and aesthetics to open up questions about Native American identity and acceptance.  

At UWM’s Union Art Gallery, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.  

Are you missing out on our ticket giveaways and free discount coupons? Simply like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Email  editors about this story, or with a story idea.