Archive for June, 2010

Hello Readers! I’m working on a project and am curious to know who your favorite action heroines are and why.

Though it’s hard to narrow it down, (I mean, come on, I wrote a whole book about them!) here are but five of mine . . .

The Princess of Spy-fi

Modesty Blaise is likely the most complex, sophisticated, skilled, and intelligent of all action heroines. As lovely as she is deadly, Modesty can be either a great friend or a shrewd adversary.

Buffy Summers

Buffy Summers is another complex action heroine, and in being rooted in previous female heroes and a feminist agenda, she evolved the archetype of the female hero.

Amazon Princess

Wonder Woman’s grace, strength, and compassion taught me about the kind of heroic woman I wanted to grow up to be.

Special Agent

Sydney Bristow is another multi-dimensional female character. She could kick your ass, and do it backwards and in high heels.

Mrs. Emma Peel

Two words: Gravity boots.

Others: Dr. Catherine Gale, Lt. Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, Xena, Beatrix Kiddo, Cleopatra Jones, Flowerchild “Coffy” Coffin, Zoe Washburne, Valeria, The Birds of Prey, Hit-Girl, Max Guevara, Pvt. Vasquez and so many more!

In addition to my interview with Mary Wilson, here at Ink-Stained Amazon, I have an “Adventures in Feministory” piece on Wilson, and The Supremes, over at Bitch Media!

Ms. Mary Wilson

I’m thrilled to announce that the website for the forthcoming documentary, The History of the Universe as Told by Wonder Woman, is now live! Learn about the in-progress work, the interviewees (Trina Robbins! Andy Mangels! George Perez! Me! And More!), watch the trailer, and “meet” the director, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and the producer, Kelcey Edwards – – Amazon warrior women I am proud to call friends!

The History of the Universe as Told by Wonder Woman from kristy guevara-flanagan on Vimeo.

When I was a little girl, Phil Collins released a chart-topping cover version of the classic hit, “You Can’t Hurry Love.” My father, horrified upon hearing this travesty against soul music blasting from my pink boombox, decided it was time to revamp my vinyl collection. Out with the Chipmunk Punk, and the Cabbage Patch Kids, it was time for Motown.

The gift of his record collection began my love affair with The Supremes.

The Supremes

Original member of the legendary girl group, Mary Wilson, who at 66 looks well over a decade younger, recently led a press tour for the opening of the Reflections: The Mary Wilson Supreme Legacy Collection – – a retrospective currently being exhibited at Seattle’s Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum (EMP|SFM).

Supreme Legacy Collection

Every few feet into the tour and Q&A, Wilson would stop to engage with children, take photos with them, and do the Cholly Atkins choreographed iconic Stop! In the Name of Love move.

The 46 dresses currently on display range from the early days of the group in the late 1950s until the late 1970s including a white gown from Sax circa 1965ish and the black velvet numbers Bob Mackie designed for Diana Ross’ farewell performance.

Also on display . . .

A green sequined set – complete with a maternity version for Wilson.

Green Sequined Maternity Gown

The exquisite “Butterfly Gowns” – the design on the “wings” correspond to the body.

Butterfly Gown

The “TOUCH” dress – which Mary bought on Hollywood Blvd in 1970s because “Touch” was the title of their upcoming album.

Touch Dress

The “Pink Beaded” gowns designed by Michael Travis and worn for the Royal Command performance in 1968.

Wilson pointed out this double-breasted black coat (that I had drooled over when I saw this exhibit at the V&A) and mentioned that that style is coming back. Then she pointed at me and said – – “Similar to what you have on.” (OMG! Ms. Mary Wilson noticed my outfit!)

Black Double-Breasted Coat

Other gorgeous gowns:

Wilson was inspirational, thoughtful, and kind throughout the tour and was beyond generous in taking additional time for one on one interviews. Here we chat about fashion, race, and the awesomeness of YouTube.

Stuller: I actually first saw this exhibit at the V&A and they situated the whole exhibit in the context of the 1960s and the Civil Rights and Feminist movements.
Wilson: “I love the way they [the V&A] curated it because you did get the story. Here it’s more about the fashion.”

Stuller: And they talked about how the Supremes influenced successful women like Oprah. Yet, you just said on the tour that you girls were “just singing.” Did you not realize at the time that you were breaking all these barriers for women and for people of color?
Wilson: “You know earlier on, it’s a twofold question actually, because being black – – at that time – – you knew what the situation was. Not in the world, but at least in America. You live within a context of your parents always telling you you have to be better because you’re black, and there were certain things you couldn’t do. In the South you couldn’t drink out of water fountains, you couldn’t go to certain restaurants, so all these things you knew, you grew up in that context, that was your world. What you could and could not do was very defined. So when we became famous, obviously we knew that we were in a very different situation because black people hadn’t been that big before. Now I say that with caution, because you have a whole era of people like Lena Horne, Sammy Davis and so on, who were the real pioneers and couldn’t do a lot of things – – and they were stars. But when we came through, America really opened up, and we were not only stars in the black community, we were stars with everyone. So you knew that certain things were just different and that you had to be an example.”

Stuller: “That’s a lot of pressure for three teenage girls.”
Wilson: “It’s a lot of pressure. But, if you have a passion it’s not as hard as one might think. Because you’re saying ‘Wow. This is a challenge.’ And so it brings you up to your higher self, and you try to do the right thing. I’m not saying we always did – you know, because we had chaperones and many times the chaperones were there to keep certain people away – – especially the guys – – and you know, we’d always find ways. But for the bigger picture, yeah, we did know that we were setting an example.”

Stuller: What’s lovely about the exhibit in this space is that you really get to see the dresses, but I loved that the V&A had video footage of the three of you from way back when as teenagers just being sassy girls, dancing and goofing off and we got to see that you weren’t just glamorous, but you were also teens.
Wilson: Oh, yes! And that’s what I liked about the V&A, because in that instance you got the whole story.

Stuller: You were obviously drawn to being glamorous before you got to Motown, did they let you control your physical appearance? For example, did you get to pick your own clothes?
Wilson: “I can say that that was who we were. And Motown would have someone to be there, like chaperones, we always had people to assist us. But the look and all was pretty much something that we always were. But we did have Mrs. Powell, who was our finishing school teacher there at Motown. So we had adults, female adults, to assist us and give advice.”

Stuller: And you’re still singing now?
Wilson: “Yes.”

Stuller: Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Wilson: “Oh Honey, just go on YouTube! I had never been on there until a friend suggested it – and it’s amazing my entire life is there! Wow! Who knew all that was there? You could probably find out more about me there than I could ever remember! I love it. So I’m gonna go there and do my research on myself. Things I’ve forgotten! (laughs)

Stuller: Where is this exhibit going to go in the future, or where would you like to see it go?
Wilson: “My goal is The Met in New York. And I’d like to bring the whole historical idea of it there as well. So I might try to get the Victoria to assist in facilitating that in terms of the whole story so that it’s fashion, but I also think that here in America right now, it’s an ideal time to have that historic story.”

Stuller: Thank you, Ms. Mary Wilson!

Mary Wilson’s Official Site
Reflections: The Mary Wilson Supreme Legacy Collection
The Story of The Supremes from the Mary Wilson Collection
Adventures in Feministory: Ms. Mary Wilson, Supreme Lady

I was pretty stoked to meet the people at Digital Kitchen yesterday, as they produced the opening credits for True Blood, as well as the series’ Season Two Buzz Campaign.

Talking with a producer on the project reminded me of a meme from a while ago about favorite opening credits.

So in no particular order, and only from shows I’ve watched, here are my top ten favorite title sequences.

True Blood
“I wanna do bad things . . .”

HBO: True Blood Main Title from DIGITALKITCHEN on Vimeo.

The Twilight Zone
“You unlock this door with the key of imagination . . .”

The Tudors
Ribaldry! Heaving Bosoms. Beautiful Naked people having drrrty sex! A wine glass spilled. The shadow of a beheading. Religious Symbolism. Coquettry! How you appeal to my baser instincts!

The Avengers
Mrs. Emma Peel. John Steed. Champagne. ‘Nuff said.

Twin Peaks
Quintessentially Northwest

The Venture Brothers
“Go Team Venture!”

Twilight Zone-esque and brilliant in its simplicity.

The Muppet Show
Sets the stage for a high-energy variety show. With Puppets!


Mad Men
Saul Bass Homage

Mad Men Title Sequence from Caleb Woods on Vimeo.

Honorable Mentions go to shows with an opening narration (which I seem to really enjoy):
The Incredible Hulk
Charlie’s Angels
Battlestar Galactica (original – Love that Patrick Macnee narrative.)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (the change from “no man” to “no one” was phenomenal)

And though it’s not spoken narration, the opening sequence to Space 1999 also deserves note.

What are your favorites?

I’ve been as giddy as V-junkie for my fix of HBO’s vampire series, True Blood, and last night’s Season 3 premiere soothed the savage fangirl.

The series, loosely based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series of novels, and directed by Alan Ball, burst forth last night with everything I love about this show. (Minor Spoilers.)

“Conscience off! Dick on!”
“Hell hath no fury like a vampire queen broke!”
“I’m sorry you fell in love with a serial killer, all right. But honestly, who here hasn’t?”

Gratuitous Fan Service:
Naked Vampire Eric.
“See anything you like?”

Even MORE Gratuitous Fan Service:
Dream sequence with shirtless Vampire Bill and Sam Merlotte in which a shared shower is discussed. (HoYay!)
“We’re gonna have a nice time. I hear the water in Arkansas is… very hard.”

He’s nothing short of awesome.
“Do everybody a solid and instead of looking up at a God that let all this sh*t happen, you need to keep your eyes on your f*ckin’ daughter because she ain’t right to be alone.”

Her sarcasm is sublime. (And she’s a series regular now!)
”I don’t know what it is about me that makes people think I want to hear their problems. Maybe I smile too much. Maybe I wear too much pink. But please remember I can rip your throat out if I need to. And also know that I am not a hooker. That was a long, long time ago.”

A brilliant addition to the television series. (Harris has said she wishes she’d thought of her.)

And of course, gross-out gore, intrigue, over-the-topness, and melodrama. Plus, the promise of werewolves.

For your pleasure – Lafayette recaps the first 2 seasons in under 5 minutes.

True Blood in 4:52

The Fourth Biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses was held June 3rd through 6th at the historic Flagler College campus in St. Augustine, Florida.

Flagler College

The campus itself was originally built as the Hotel Ponce de Leon by Henry Morrison Flagler in 1888. The interior design of this luxury resort is credited to Louis Comfort Tiffany who also contributed stained glass windows and mosaics. The college was founded in 1968 and currently has 2500 students and a staff of 100.

After a travel adventure that began in Seattle with a flight that left at 10:00 pm and arrived in Jacksonville (via Philly) the following morning, I was picked up by a shuttle courtesy of Flagler. Much to my delight, Sara Freeman, who I’ve known only online, was also on the shuttle – – though at this point both of us were too tired to do anything other than hug “Hello” and space out for the hour long ride to St. Augustine.

I decided to splurge on a Bed and Breakfast, and stayed at the super-cute St. Francis Inn. It was quiet, comfortable, and only a short walk from the college.

St. Francis Inn

After a nap and a shower, I met with Sara at registration and we walked to St. George St. — the heart of the little town – – and found a place to sit and have a snack and a chat.

Sara Freeman

The Ink-Stained Amazon

We then walked back to the college for the evening’s reception, which was almost like a family reunion — as it was filled with people who hadn’t seen each other in a SlayAge.* After much drinking (and of shockingly decent conference wine at that!) David Lavery and other conference speakers performed excerpts from interviews collected in Joss Whedon: Conversations, which he co-edited with Cynthia Burkhead.

The next morning I missed Janet Halfyard’s keynote, as I had to prepare for my presentation but Nikki Stafford has a write-up on that.

There were only about 20 people in the audience (probably my smallest ever) as I was up against a panel on Dollhouse. But I was really pleased with my presentation and it got a few laughs – – a few people even approached me after to say they enjoyed it.

I did a book signing after – and no one came! (sad face)

Whedon-Related Books For Sale

But copies of my book sold out before the first day was even over! (happy face)

Later in the day, Sara presented her paper, “His Girl Doomsday: The Professionalism of Lilah Morgan” (and battled the thunderous storm to be heard). This panel, devoted to Angel, also included Natalie Steven’s “Objectification and Power in Season 5 of Angel” and Stacey Abbott’s wonderful “Enough of the Action, Let’s Get Back to Dancing”: Joss Whedon directs Angel” — a presentation on the episode “Waiting in the Wings.”

I also met the fabulous Dale (Koontz) Guffey and Ensley Guffey (oh, you’ll hear much gushing about them!).

More to come in Part Two, but first I really want to thank the following for putting together a fabulous conference:

The Whedon Studies Association
Rhonda Wilcox
David Lavery
Tanya Cochran
Jim Wilson & Tamara Wilson

I’m also grateful to the following for their help with research assistance:
Stephanie Ogle of Cinema Books
Stacey Abbott
Chris Casos of Comics Dungeon

And to my husband, Ryan Wilkerson, who spent 5 days designing my slide deck and making me an awesome video trailer – – we make an incredible team!

*It was determined at the final panel, Buffy Bookers, that a “SlayAge” was 3 days followed by 2 years. An awesome term now in full use and coined by Dale Koontz.

Talking about Muppets.

Ponce de Leon Dining Hall.

Nikki Stafford and Matthew Pateman provide the intellectual entertainment.

“His penis got diseases from a Chumash tribe.”

Just a little bit of footage of the wonderful sing-a-long from the conference banquet is now live on YouTube. We sing Angel’s favorite – “Mandy” – The theme to Firefly, and “The Hero of Canton.” What great fun!

At Slayage 2010 . . .

Watch as cheerleaders wield weapons!

Fall in love with mutant teenagers and their mad computer skills!

Swoon over (pre-Twilight) sexy vampires! (And just try to avoid their thrall!)

Learn about the eye-patchy commandos, demi-goddesses, and fuzzy puppets who found their way into character development, narrative, and dialogue in . . .

This Friday at Flager College in St. Augustine, Florida!