Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This is not the post I was going to make tonight.

I was looking forward to taking advantage of my evening off to give you a nice Crunchy Process Goodness post that's been brewing in my brain about Pride and Prejudice. Then, this morning, I read this article about the petition demanding the release of Roman Polanski. I'm embarrassed for my industry. I'm embarrassed that this statement is being perceived as our collective position on the subject.

And make no mistake, it is being perceived that way. Type Polanski's name in the search box on Twitter or in a Google Blog search, and watch the derisive comments about the industry as a whole scroll by. Who can blame them, given the growing list of signatories, individuals and institutions alike?

I'm exactly nobody in this business. I have no illusions about that. After all, that's the reason I don't post about contentious subjects here. This blog is a fun place to yammer about the work I love, with the occasional shameless plug or YouTube video that makes me happy. The last thing my modestly growing little career needs is for somebody to Google me and be offended by my spouting off on a contentious subject.

This subject should be anything but contentious.

I'm nobody. So maybe it means nothing to anyone but me that I declare, definitively and on my public blog, that this document does not speak for me. Or maybe it will mean something. I don't know.

There are so many things wrong with the statements in that petition: The characterization of Mr. Polanski's offense as "a case of morals," as if he got caught skinny-dipping in a hotel pool. The implication that an outstanding warrant should somehow not count simply because of its age, and the failure to acknowledge that he is not merely a suspect but a convicted felon.

And then there's this: By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for film-makers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.

I have the greatest respect for the tradition of presenting works by filmmakers who face genuine political persecution, who struggle and risk to create in the shadow of oppressive governments. I applaud festivals for doing whatever they can to get these people there safely and get their voices heard.

That the text of the petition equates Mr. Polanski's situation with theirs, when his arrest is the consequence of actions that have nothing to do with his work, is disingenuous and deeply insulting.

I'm nobody in this industry. But that's not to say nobody in the industry is standing up to dissent.

Kirstie Alley. Allison Anders. Alison Arngrim. Patricia Arquette. Adam Barken. Roseanne Barr. Ed Bernero. Luc Besson. Carrie Brownstein. Drew Carey. Beth Chamberlin. Noel Clarke. Paul Cornell. Michael Cudlitz. Jamie Lee Curtis. Sarah Fain. Lexa Doig. Jesse Eisenberg. Darren Ewing. Elisabeth Fies. Neil Gaiman. Martin Gero. Melissa Gilbert. Christopher Gorham. Javier Grillo-Marxuach. Greg Grunberg. Hart Hanson. Lore Hartounian. Salma Hayek (on Access Hollywood, link pending). Aviva Kempner. Sue Kramer. Lisa Kudrow. Robert Llewellyn. Joshua Malina. Denis McGrath. Ashley Edward Miller. Tom Morello. Rosie O'Donnell. Mo Rocca. Chris Rock. Michael Seitzman. Sherri Shepherd. Kevin Smith. Zack Stentz. Kurt Sutter. Alison Sweeney. Emma Thompson. Bo Zenga.

Honorable mention to a former Hollywoodite, because, well, the people of California did elect him Governor and all.

It might not be a very long list, but it's a start. And I'm sure there are more I don't know about. I'll add them as I become aware of them.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled babble.

Edit, 10/1/09: Thanks to yinyang for the comment pointing me to chrismm's post. I'm borrowing from her list (and the suggestions of her commenters) to expand this one, but also recommend you head over there. Partly to congratulate her on a job very well done, but also to check out the additional public figures -- authors, journalists, musicians, etc. -- whom I haven't added here only because it's the film industry that's primarily being perceived as calling for his release as a monolithic entity, and I want to do my little bit to demonstrate that isn't the case. She's also more thorough than I am with multiple links and descriptions. Generally awesome, please check out!

Edit, 10/3/09: I've now seen (and added my name to) two counter-petitions online, one at Care2 and another at Big Hollywood. The latter specifically calls on industry professionals.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Last Daughter of Krypton

In which our Diva plays catchup and flouts the Edna Mode "no capes!" rule

This blog was supposed to happen a couple weeks ago, but it didn't quite get squeezed in around Pride and Prejudice rehearsals (which I'm loving and will post about soon) and Hawaii (which was absofrickenlutely AMAZING and will be posted about soon).

I love serious acting. I love Shakespeare and edgy new works and digging in deep to tell meaningful stories.

Know what else I love? Walking around a stadium in a cape and flippy skirt with an S on my chest, interacting with kids and signing autographs as Supergirl. I'm a soprano of a certain physical type with a dance background, so it's inevitable that I've done my fairytale princess time in children's theatre, and the best part was always meeting the young audience afterwards. Being Cinderella in their eyes was priceless.

But being Kara Zor-El? A hundred times dearer to my geeky little heart.

I'm both a superhero girl and a princess girl. Always have been, always will be, and I'll never understand why people think they're somehow mutually exclusive. Only grownups, though. Little girls get it. Just ask my young friend in the pink over there. (If that makes you blink, you haven't seen the pink Batgirl costume made by the same company!)

If you looked at my actual comics collection, you wouldn't necessarily peg me as a Supergirl fan, but she's the natural first choice for a family event appearance. She's who I would have looked for when I was the little girl who went to her grandparents' house and read through piles of her her uncles' and aunt's comics for hours at a time. (Yes, Virginia, girls read superhero comics and always have. No matter how often people seem to think it's news.)

Maybe it's because she's a little bit of a princess girl herself. Not in the needing-to-be-rescued way, but then that's never what I cared about in fairytales either. Certainly her story could be a fairytale in the blink of an eye: Once upon a time there was a young girl who lost her home and family forever, and traveled alone to a strange new world...

And that last part is important, the main reason she's not just a female copy of Superman. He grew up entirely on Earth, and for all that he honors his heritage, he'll always be more Clark Kent than Kal-El. Kara arrived here as a fifteen-year-old girl who saw everything she knew destroyed. She started from scratch at an age that's hard enough for kids who've lived here all their lives, while simultaneously learning to deal with extraordinary power and the responsibility that comes with it.

Over at Marvel, you get Spider-Man's Uncle Ben telling him "With great power comes great responsibility." The DC equivalent (well, sort of, since it applies to a narrower set of characters) is the concept of what it means to "wear the S." The family crest of the House of El, now symbol of the fusion of Kryptonian power and Ma and Pa Kent's homespun values. The badge of the Big Blue Boy Scout (an actual nickname pinned to Superman by more cynical Justice League colleagues).

And of his cousin, whom an essay I read recently described as "the original indestructible cheerleader." (Now that they mention it, there is a whiff or two of Kara about Claire Bennet, isn't there?)

I'm rambling. A lot. Maybe I should just cheat and direct you to this excellent blog post about Supergirl-as-icon, and why she's really irreplaceable for little girls in particular. Go ahead. I'll be right here when you get back.

Done? Cool. I have even better news: That blog post is a couple years old, and the problem she's talking about toward the end there? The Supergirl she couldn't give to the girls who came into her store? Things are looking a lot brighter these days. First came the Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade limited series, and just recently, the main title got a big dose of sanity in the portrayal of Kara by Renato Guedes and then Jamal Igle. Look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a plausible teenage girl!

Since I'm not actually reading the series at the moment, I discovered this development via news of the tempest-in-a-teapot "controversy" over Igle's drawing her with bike shorts under her skirt. (No, really. People got very riled up about this. It even got a news mention on NPR. I blame Ed Benes, because it never would have occurred to anyone that she didn't at least wear cheerleader-type spankies if he hadn't perpetrated this. *beat* Okay, it wouldn't have occurred to anyone with a lick of sense.) And what with the reversal of the Incredible Shrinking Top and Skirt, I'm gradually warming up to the current costume.

But for my family-event icon, I'll stick with the classic. Call me old-fashioned. *g*

Or, better yet, come on out and meet the kids with Gotham's Finest.

Song for Today (way too long since I did one!): What else? "SuperGirl" by Saving Jane. I'm actually fonder of their previous single, "One Girl Revolution," but this one's a lot of fun too. Best known as the theme song of Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin. Who seems to have more than a little Kara Zor-El in her too.