Despite Style editor Paul Wilner getting laid off, my story on About-Face finally appeared in the Chronicle Style section. You can read it here:

SELLING A POSITIVE SELF-IMAGE: Group weighs in on advertising impact

Also, since it's getting so much hype, it bears mentioning that I am the "Her" in this blog post titled Hipsters and "post-feminism"

The blog belongs to my pal James Minton, who is a cool guy on several levels. He is both an anti-sexist warrior and a devoted anti-Iraq war activist. He wrote a very moving post on Cindy Sheenan's resignation from the movement and alerted me to the weird, old-world sexism still alive in Europe. Also, he made a incredible movie about the veterans protesting the Iraq War in the ruins of Hurricane Katrina. You can download it here

Our discussion about hipsters has been linked at least three times. First, on Stan Goff's Feral Scholar blog. Stan is one of my favorite people I've never met. He's a very smart, plain-spoken, Southern progressive.

James M. on Being Hip

On this site, Insurgent American, but it looks like one of their servers is down.

And on Briar Patch magazine's The May B-List, next to the likes of Naomi Klein and Seymour Hersh.

Below are some talking points on how I've been committed to human rights and social justice in my reporting:

1. As a freelancer writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and teen magazines like Elle Girl and Teen Vogue, I have been dedicated bringing minority voices to the forefront, pitching and proposing stories about

• Poor black teenagers who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, and had to start their lives all over again.
• American Indian powwow dancers who face discrimination on a daily basis.
• The youth hip-hop culture in Oakland where kids in desperate situations who have watched their friends die and their families get destroyed by drugs find joy and hope in dancing.
• An ongoing series following high school students in different socioeconomic classes in the Bay Area, highlighting the similarities and differences of their experiences and how privilege or lack thereof affects them.
• An investigation into whether impoverished blacks or Latinos get their cars towed more often in Oakland.
• An investigation into whether black grass-roots art and cultural organizations in downtown Oakland are targeted for code violations, while the police turn a blind eye to white-run underground galleries and warehouse spaces.

2. Stories that have resulted from those pitches:

• An "As Told to" piece in Teen Vogue about Lemhi Shoshone powwow dancer Leela Abrahamson, who talks about the impact of racism on her life at Fort Hall Reservation, Idaho. The story will appear in the August 2007 issue.

• An San Francisco Chronicle story about a teenage Katrina survivor who drove busloads of people out of New Orleans
"Katrina as a blessing: It sent one teen here - His life was stormy before hurricane hit," San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 27, 2006

• Several stories on the hyphy hip-hop movement and youth culture in Oakland for the San Francisco Chronicle and Intersection magazine.
"Mistah F.A.B.: Hyphy rapper uses his star power to better Oakland," San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 22, 2006
"Clubland: Hyphy dancing at Youth Uprising," San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 16, 2005

• A story about Oaklandish art gallery and cultural center getting shut down for code violations.
"Clubland: Oaklandish on the verge of closing," San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 28, 2005

3. In 2005, I decided to volunteer to help the survivors of Hurricane Katrina staying at Astrodome and Reliant Center in Texas. To increase awareness, I blogged about what I saw for the San Francisco Chronicle web site.

Blog on Hurricane Katrina survivors in Texas, SF Gate, Sept. 7-10, 2005

4. I am also committed to writing about the continuing struggle for equality for women in our society. Good examples are my pieces on the Woodhull Institute and Naomi:

• "Institute pokes holes in the glass ceiling," San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 12, 2003

• "Did Father Know Best? In her new book, third wave feminist Naomi Wolf reconsiders her Bohemian upbringing," San Francisco Chronicle, June 19, 2005

5. I have also expressed to Naomi and the Woodhull Institute my goals of staring a magazine for teenage girls that focuses on their dreams and achievements instead of dating and beauty products.

6. For what it's worth, I committed to a four-year series following a San Francisco girl through high school for Elle Girl. The whole project followed four girls in four different cities and circumstances. We finished a year and a half before the magazine folded.

7. I am a champion for positive body image and decreasing our culture's obsession with appearances. I have plans for starting a web site, The Reality of Women Revolution or RoWR, to change women's perception of themselves, which will include an interview I have done with Eve Ensler (and naturally, I would love to feature Naomi and Woodhull, too). In the meantime, I plan on blogging for About-Face ( Plus, I have written essays on the topic:

• Essay, "Silicone Valley: So what if your cups don't runneth over?" San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 13, 2006

Also, I was the only Chronicle staff member to challenge Larry Flynt about how he portrays women when he spoke to reporters about First Amendment struggles.

8. I have also addressed issues of gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as more light-hearted stories that deal with women's self-perception and roles in our culture

• Essentials pick of the week: Deep Dickollective, San Francisco Chronicle, June 22, 2006

• "Pin Curls and Pistons: Hot rod babes not afraid to keep motors running all by themselves," San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2007

• "Personal Effects: Ditties talk back to PMS blues," San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 2006

9. In college (1994-1998), I was a daily reporter for The Oklahoma Daily (University of Oklahoma student-run newspaper), as well as the Norman Transcript in Norman, Oklahoma, and the Edmond Evening Sun in Edmond, Oklahoma. Topics I wrote about include:

• An award-winning enterprise story on underemployment and liberal arts graduates who could not or would not find good jobs.
• An enterprise investigative series on why the University of Oklahoma did not have a campus-wide recycling program.
• An interview with student missionaries who were in Cambodia when second prime minister Hun Sen staged a coup.
• An interview with one of Timothy McVeigh's lawyers.
• An interview with Muslims facing discrimination in Oklahoma after the 1995 Federal building bombings.
• A feature on student-run human rights organizations who pressured Pepsi to leave Burma and fought against sweatshop labor in Vietnam.
• A report on a lecture by New York Times editor Sydney Schanberg on his experiences in Cambodia.
• A investigation on the state of homelessness in Norman, Oklahoma.
• An expose on funding cuts that would leave disabled adults and students without bus service.
• A piece on African American students who were protesting the lose of their student center to the natural history museum.
• Investigations into the misuse of university funds.
• Coverage of state and city elections, including the election of Rep. J.C. Watts.
firebreath613: (realshirley)
I have a chance to go to Fort Hall, Idaho, described to me as "a desert next to a potato field" to hang out with the Lemhi-Shoshone tribe. I would go soon. Should I take it?

Friday, I'm off to the "Suede Room" at the SF Rod and Custom Show, to hang out with rockabilly grrls who work on cars. Anyone want to go with?

I've been blogged - more than once! Talk about exciting!

I actually met Lisa Hix through a friend in New York. We grazed near the bar at a Trackademicks/Roxy Cottontail shin-diggity-dig. We didn't get a chance to hold a big ol' conversation about politics, cutting edge gadgetry, gals with lumpy breast, or Oakland's Neo-Hipster Nation, but she did scribble her web address on a napkin.

I kepted that whiskey stained napkin and was able to check out her site I'm working on reading all of the work she has listed, but I'm a slow reader (thank you Oakland Unified). Thus far, I've read she's the Managing Editor of FlavorPill SF and a Freelance writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. This gal stays up on everything that is everything. Hopefully we'll meet again! Please visit her site and enjoy her work!

And this one:

Lisa Hix wrote a nice rant about having an A cup for the SF Chronicle in response to hearing a show where a plastic surgeon waxed enthusiastically about implants. She points out that there are in fact health risks (including possibilities of hematoma, infection, deformity, toxic shock syndrome, plus the usual risks of anesthesia, the chance of losing sensation, decreasing the likeliness of breast cancer detection or the inability to nurse) but moreso points out that having an A cup is having a breast, and tires of the kind of talk that somehow equates A cups with not having breasts at all.

As a former A cup, I can tesitfy that you do in fact have breasts when you have A cups. I really enjoyed having A cups. I miss them.

I’ve found my recent re-sizing something to think about. For starters, I’ve been finding it harder to find nice bras now that i’m a D cup, much as I had a hard time finding ones when I was an A cup. The difference is that with a D, you absolutely do not want to compromise on support - in fact, you can’t. But I also had a moment of revelation while reading the beginning of Gerrie Lim’s book about the porn industry, which had more than one reference to pendulous D cups within 10 pages, and so caused me to think, “Huh, who knew? I’ve got pornstar-sized breasts now,” but the idea didn’t thrill me; I took it more like I would someone telling me I had the perfect size foot for shoe fetishists. Basically, I don’t care, because they don’t do me any good. It might have mattered some when I was 25 and single, but I’m not sure I would have cared then, either. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them; I do. But I’d enjoy them more if I could take them off when I want to go to the hardware store or the grocery or to do other errands, all those times when I don’t want to be looked at. Not wanting your breasts stared at by every guy on the streets is exactly why you can’t sacrifice support at this size: if you do, they bounce more, which is not really what you want unless - ba rum bump! - you’re a porn star.

I find myself wearing a sports bra most days now, actually. Mostly I’ve realized that I’m glad I don’t get to choose, since both sizes have pros and cons, and the only real advantage resides in being one of those grow-up dolls that enabled me to change sizes with a quick, full rotation of one arm.
firebreath613: (blossom)
I've talked to Amy from Venus, and to my relief, she said she was very impressed with my resume and cover. She said I got cut because I didn't submit any short stories like they run in "Up Front." It's funny because I write all sorts of short pieces for Flavorpill, but my bad. She suggested I would make a good Venus music editor in the future - awesome!

You have to listen to this. It's my most favorite Internet radio station ever, out of Mexico and Spain:

They play the oddball music, like field recordings of BART and wild animals, mixed in with indie pop and electronica from Mexico and all over the world. There are two pop-ups when you first open the site, but that's it. I don't know why this doesn't piss me off the way avant-garde on KALX does. Maybe it's because there isn't some stoned music snob DJ blathering on about the universe. OK, there probably is, but hell if I know. Maybe because it's so well mixed - it's magically well mixed. Maybe I have a higher tolerance for weirdness when I'm working as opposed to driving.

We're doing a project at Flavorpill that's basically a vehicle for Don Julio tequila ads. We're doing a Mexican-themed event preview and magazine. But it's really fun, actually.

So now I'm geeking out and getting into Latin pop. I've been listening to Cafe Tacuba, Natalia y La Forquetina, Ely Guerra, Belanova, Aterciopelados. And now I'm doing a story on Mexican Internet radio, and unearthing all sorts of great music. I don't know why discovering great Mexican music excites me more than American music.

This station is super fun if you like hooky, poppy punk. Mi Mama Me Mima came out of the Guadalajara punk scene:

This station is very good for dance music, and trust me, I hate bad dance music:

Now, I'm listening to Rock Sin Frontera, which is hit or miss, but always interesting:

I want to know another language. I wish I could take a class that would magically give me the ability to speak Spanish. I took three years and I know bits and pieces - common words and phrases. The Google translater is a hoot, because it can't distinquish between different meanings of a word, so "what" and "that" and "for" and "by" and so on get mixed up. And possessives are a nightmare of prepositions.

World Vibe is another project that's surprisingly fun. If you don't know, I do basically listings for the Chron's 96 Hours weekend section every week. But I discover all sorts of cool story ideas. In the vein of Internet radio (again), did you know there's a Russian station out of San Jose started by some cute young Eastern European DJs?

So now I bring you my newest feature:

Mexican artist of the post:

Pinches Cuerpos
firebreath613: (realshirley)
My story is the cover of Datebook.

"Mistah F.A.B.: Hyphy rapper uses his star power to better Oakland," San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 22, 2006

My purse was stolen last night.

That's all.
Please, step over the dead body

My beloved cousin Carl [ profile] don_gato came to visit me this weekend. Last night, he and I ended up spending a looooong time at the ABCO sculpture party. Then we tried to go to Golden Bull's last gasp, looking for [ profile] elle_innuendo, but it was very late (2ish). Things were getting hyphy in a bad way, as Jeffrey's, an upscale hip-hop club, let out. Carl thought we should wait for the traffic to clear, so we walked to Jack London Square and back. When we got near my car, we saw the block it was on was roped off with crime scene tape.

The cop said, "Sorry, guys, you've stumbled onto a murder scene."

It was a gun battle between two dudes. I don't think the guy who was hit actually died (yet), because the paper didn't list it as a murder. The bodies and cars involved were gone, but there was no white line, just shells on the ground. My car was not hit by any bullets, even though it was in the middle of the fray.

One person was arrested after a separate shooting at 13th and Franklin streets around 2 a.m., the officer said.

Life in Tha Town. It bums me out that hip-hop clubs equals gun battle around here. But I have no answers.

Things I done did

My hard earned Keak da Sneak story came out. I never finished my stalking Keak tale for you ...

After the shit storm of the past month, it's a relief.

1. I finally got to publish a legitimate feature story on a really cool kid who drove a bus out of New Orleans.

- The Insight section editor was impressed with my work and asked me to write for him again. Since he doesn't know me from Joe, this is a big compliment.

- Two different people just emailed me and said they would like to help Courtney anyway they can, including getting plane tickets to LA. That almost makes me want to cry.

2. Toby came back from Senegal and immediately hooked me up with a British car-and-culture mag called Intersection that's going to give me a SIX PAGE SPREAD on hyphy for $800. Now, in the magazine world is not a lot for 2,500 words. But I'm going to do that much research for the Chron anyway, and I'll get only $600 for two stories. So that's much much more money.

3. Today I sent in an application to Venus, one of my favorite mags, for yet another part-time gig. They've already taken down the Craig's List email link - boo! But I sent it in to the editor & publisher and feedback and the old editor of the section. They'll look at it, right? I really really really want this gig. It's like my low-paying dream job.

4. I've been getting email that makes me all warm and fuzzy. I have lots of crushes. Today it feels like a good thing.
Yes, I wrote about my boobs in the Chronicle.

I've been having this paranoid fears the Dr. 90210 or someone on the program will sue me. The "LoveLine" producer at KROQ never got back to me with the CD of the show. Otherwise, I would feel enormously pleased that I got a chance to fight for what I think is right in a public forum. I mean, this is my goal in life, to destroy the Barbie machine.

Three different men, two of which are my father's age, were determined to write me and tell me they concur. One looked me up on MySpace, the other sent a message to Flavorpill and the third wrote the 96 Hours address. The third said, "I can tell by your tone that we would disagree on other issues. But I'm with you on this one."

I've been pushing myself so hard my body is aching from head to toe. My body is tired. But I am fighting to do what I love. Last Saturday, I was hanging out with a drag king in Bernal, then I ate and drank with a hang-dog-face regular at a beautiful beer garden, then I hung out with an all-women car club. The next day I was in East Oakland, talking to a Katrina survivor in his grandparents' house with bars on the windows and lace curtain. It's the best gig ever.

I am so excited about this hyphy story, which is the movement to channel hyphy into a positive force. Last night, I went to a live broadcast of KMEL's "Street Soldiers" at Youth Uprising. There was this kid, 15 years old, who had this amazing story about witnessing horrors, going to jail, hearing about the shooting of his cousin. Now he's got an underground hip-hop movement to put an end to it. He's 15. He's hard. He's an MC. And he has a pissed-off campaign going.

And all the kids love Mistah F.A.B. Zion-I and Goapele were also there. Zion and Amplive are all handsome, sophisticated, well-dressed and well-spoken - the sort of guys I'd hit on but in all likelihood are married with children. But the young 'uns flocked to their hyphy hero with his goofy grillz grin and yellow-bus gold chain. And that guy has so much patience and kindness. He takes everyone's CDs, listens to their stories, signs their posters.

I watched him, thinking, "This is going to be a cool story."

I'm doing awesome things. I'm never going to see my friends again. Sigh. Oh - also, I'm getting a "guerilla" makeover for a story and for my birthday. Yee-haw!

Speaking of: Save the date! September 7 @ Stork Club

It's near BART, and I am going to be there early, so San Francisco people, you have no excuses!

It's a dance party, but there's three rooms and a patio at the Stork Club, so if you don't dance, you STILL have no excuse.

I might talk Isaac into doing a drag cabaret number for me. If you want to perform, let me know. Probably no full bands, but small acts are welcome.

Also, Milkshake, I might need your services, if you're available!

That's, like, a mile of smiles.

2. For those of you (read: all of you) who missed Dry Hump at the Stork Club last week, it was AWESOME. I was talking to some of my F-pill friend about the B.A.D. GIRLS, and then it hit: My skates are in my car. I knew the boys were hoping someone would do something crazy, like show up in a gorilla suit. I asked Matt if I should get my skates, and his eyes got big, and he said "YES." I asked Lance if I could skate, and he said, "Don't break your neck."

So yeah, I turned the Stork into a one-woman roller disco. It was mad crazy fun. I got hyphy on roller skates. All the boys loved me, and I didn't even have to take off my clothes (like Heather Graham).

3. I was a Bride of March. Read all about my experience here

Having been a maid of honor THREE times, I can tell you that weddings are pure, unadulterated torture. Coming from Oklahoma, where everyone expects me to be married, I tell you what, it was so liberating to put on a dress and say, "I am the pretty pretty princess today!" It was great. I got to wear sneakers and socks and pants (underneath). Then you just run around and act stupid and drink.

My hairstyle is called "I am in too much of a hurry to fix my hair"

More of me, me me! )

The Frank Chu showed up )

Then I took off my dress, and a man who plays sax put it on )

If you can't get enough, the best photos were taken by Joshua Smith. And the main Flickr page is here

Finally ...

Mar. 2nd, 2006 02:21 pm
So you probably know I've been working on a story known as "T-shirt surgery" for a looooong time.

It finally got written and published: here and here.

In other news, I am going to be on a panel:

Noise Pop Welcomes Indie Night School

Noise Pop has teamed up with New York City's successful Indie Night School to explore the many aspects of running a band professionally and independently. Indie Night School is one of the best resources out there for independent musicians and music biz professionals and starting at 1pm on Saturday April 1st INS will bring their "school" to Noise Pop in an all day affair. Some of the biggest players in independent music will be gathering at the Makeout Room for a crash course in running a band in San Francisco, addressing issues such as "Getting Your Music Reviewed" and "Getting Booked at the top clubs in San Francisco".

Confirmed Speakers Include:
Jaan Uhelszki (SF Chronicle/Founder Of Creem)
Kimberly Chun (SF Bay Guardian)
Brian Brophy (Managing Editor, Mesh SF)
Deb Zeller (Playing In Fog)
Michelle Panache (Panache Magazine)
Lisa Hix (Managing Editor, Flavorpill SF)
Christian Bernhardt (Kork Agency)
More TBA

April 1, 2006
Makeout Room
Tickets $12

"Biggest players in the independent music scene" - wow.

I have so many good stories I don't have time to tell you. I had a pretty good weekend. Last weekend was a pretty good weekend, too, before the whole falling down the stair incident.
It was actually harder than I expected - details, details.

Here's my podcast:

I can't even stand to listen to it, I worked on it so much:

We're taking turns on this. Next week, it's Reyhan Harmanci, then Daniel King.



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