Anna Nicole Smith: Opera’s Next Diva Role

Actress Anna Nicole Smith waving on the red carpet at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards
Anna Nicole Smith at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards. Photo credit: Toby Forage, Flickr CC.

Guest post by Madison Teuscher

I was surprised when I learned that Anna Nicole Smith’s story had been turned into an opera. Smith was a celebrity most known for being a Playboy model and marrying a man 60 years older than her—I thought there was no way her story would be suited to the high-brow opera stage. However, I soon discovered that Anna’s story is perfect for opera—it is dramatic, full of conflict and disagreement, and Anna’s eccentric personality makes for a perfect starring diva. While her story may seem frivolous and silly, it actually explores much deeper topics relating to women, madness, and relationships with men of power.

The opera, titled Anna Nicole, was written in 2011 by Mark-Anthony Turnage, and the libretto (the words of the opera), was written by Richard Thomas. This dramatic tale is both emotionally hard-hitting and over-the-top and gaudy. This is certainly not an opera to bring your grandma to; it is vulgar and crass, but also full of nuance and tenderness. The premiere of the two-act opera garnered a big publicity stir. Some reviews praised it as “brilliant, dangerous, but exhilarating”, but many had harsh criticism for the opera, saying it was “lacking in real tunes and real drama and a piece of terrible garbage”. Why is the story of a stripper, Playboy model, and sex symbol so disconcerting?

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Girlfriends

By Kali Nelson

A woman with a big piece of cardboard.
My friend with a piece of cardboard.

As my time here on the blog dwindles down, I would like to write once again about a topic near and dear to my heart. Girl friendships. This post may sound a lot like a post I wrote earlier about Galantine’s day. But it is not, this time I want to focus on how sometimes the media does not know how to get a girl friendship right.

Three friends standing on a dock looking at the camera. There is a lake behind them.
My friends Brooke and Sierra and I.

The friendship between women is something else. I cannot quite encapsulate the feelings that I have for my friends, or how they have helped me in more ways than I can even count. But my girlfriends are my rocks, they are my best friends, I cannot think of life without them.  While there can be bad friendships that cause more harm than good, there are also friendships that enrich lives and make life so much better.

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Father & Mother God

Image result for god as a woman
God’s female side depicted via. whygodisawoman.com

I’ve been pondering a theological thought lately about why God is not pictured in any form as a woman. I understand that a lot of this comes from the patriarchal structure of the post-Renaissance church where the degradation of women took root in most Christian churches, but what evidence is there that God doesn’t have a feminine side, or even parts that could be considered a “mother”. If men and women were both created in the likeness of God, then there must be feministic value to the persona of God itself. For women do not come from man, but man comes from woman. Being a Christian myself, I wonder why the God of my churches is not female in any way. One of the reasons that churches deter me is because of the lack of female presence within the elders and other positions important to the church. If I, as a woman, was created in the image of God, then women must be a part of God as well.

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Walking the Line: Religion and Feminism

           By Kali Nelson

Religious themed necklaces sitting on a white background.
Some of the religious necklaces I have received.

Easter has almost come and gone and I am once again reminded that I walk a thin line between my religion and my feminism. For the last month, I have been doing a lot more thinking about how sometimes my religion and my feminist beliefs conflict. I find it hard to believe that my God loves me but also doesn’t believe that I am a second-class citizen.  Feminism and Religion have long been on separate paths but it time to see that the two can and should work together.

I would like to note that I don’t have many experiences with other religions besides the one I was raised in, which is Catholicism. I will try my best to bring in other religions and if I get something wrong please let me know.

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Cruelty-free Makeup

By: Tatiana Rodriguez

There are two things in this world that I hold near to my heart— outside of family and friends. Those two items are makeup and animals. I love stepping into Ulta and admiring the beautiful clean glow, women of all ages trying on new colors, and the store always split between drugstore and high-end products. I don’t wear it often, but I love applying it and feeling more confident in myself after.

As of recently, I have learned the term “cruelty-free makeup.” Prior to researching I had never put too much thought into how makeup was made, the standards used to put it on the market, or where it had come from. I had never thought that some of my favorite brands tested on animals before putting the product onto the market.

WARNING: POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES.

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The New Generation of Fashion

By Valeria Ramirez

The new and latest trend of 2017 is taking and profiting on culture’s traditional clothing that many companies and fashion designers are being praised for as their “new” and “innovative” ideas. Many of these ideas are taken from Mexico’s indigenous tribes and Native Americans just for the sake of fashion. In what world is it okay to use one’s culture and profiting it from it for a high amount of money? Recently I saw Toms was selling a pair of huaraches for the low price of $129. You can get the exact pair in Mexico, which are handmade by the person selling them, for around 80 pesos, in dollars that are roughly $4.

So, Toms is making 30 times the amount for the original. My problem with this is that when buying the original your helping the family and appreciating the work that the seller is putting out. While Toms is mass producing a product that can be easily made for a profit. This type of style of sandal is a traditional staple in Mexican culture that has ties with the indigenous culture of Mexico. Toms is not the only company that is guilty of this capitalistic fraud, other stores such as Urban Outfitters and Victoria’s Secret have been using Native American culture to make a profit. These corporations tailor to an audience where they prefer a more “indie” type of style.

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Love or Livelihood: Women’s Choice?

 

Image result for maternity leave
“Please excuse me as a take a little time off to create life” picphotos.net/maternity-leave

 

I was recently sitting in one of my Journalism and Mass Media courses “interviewing” one of the female faculty here on campus who is a professor in the JAMM major, and something struck me as she spoke. During the “interview,” she spoke about the fact that female journalists find it hard to get ahead in the industry not only because of sexism within it, but also because being successful as a journalist while also having a family is extremely difficult. She said that because it’s incredibly difficult to be a journalist and report on breaking news if you have children that need to be taken care of and can’t travel freely. Now, since I want to be a successful journalist while also having a family, this concerned me. It made me think that there is the possibility that I will have to give up one for the other. Continue reading “Love or Livelihood: Women’s Choice?”