I’m pleased to have a new chapter on Swimming Film Star Esther Williams in this new book from the Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society series Sport, Film and National Culture edited by Seán Crosson.
This chapter focuses primarily upon all-American Williams, exploring discourse around MGM’s Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) and the promotional materials (posters, marquee displays, photographic pin-ups, etc.) for her and her films. This is supplemented with a range of other contemporaneous materials that engaged with the American cultural phenomenon of the aquacade, such as pornographic comics, known as Continue reading →
I was very pleased to be asked by the delightful Dr. Kino (aka Dr Toby Reynolds) to take part in his podcast series Dr. Kino’s Film Emporium to talk about an under the radar film gem – and I chose the perhaps more under-the-counter classic Teaserama, by Irving and Paula Klaw, and starring burlesque legend Tempest Storm and pin-up star Bettie Page as my entry for the film emporium.
Toby’s work around Lacanian theory and cinema is really fascinating stuff and he’s a corking podcaster
I have written a blog for the ‘Screening Sex’ website, an academic blog curated by Darren Kerr and Donna Peberdy.
The blog briefly examines the fetish films of Bettie Page and Irving and Paula Klaw. In particular it discusses Page’s performances, the repetitious nature of these films and how the original point of interest in these short films may have shifted over time and context.
Image of Rubyyy courtesy of Matthew Kitchen. Shot at The Cat’s Pyjamas ‘Thanks For The Mammaries’ tenth anniversary, farewell show. Copyright
A little later than anticipated, but well worth the wait, here is podcast #5 ‘Why Burlesque Needs Rubyyy Jones.’
In this podcast I chat with the award-winning queerlesque star about how she defines herself, as a performer and persona, where the three yyy’s comes from, her roots and role models, her early performances, how her style came about and her experience as a promoter.
We also discuss burlesque audiences and their role in the form, the sense of responsibility she feels as a performer, promoter and activist, the current social context and where she hopes burlesque will go in the future.
Whilst we will return to the notion of the carnivalesque in the next podcast, it is also useful term to apply to Rubyyy. When I talk about the notion of the carnivalesque and the unruly woman in the podcast, Continue reading →
A film depiction of Wonder Woman acting as a role model for young girls.
Welcome to the fourth Here’s Looking at You podcast. In this podcast I talk about Wonder Woman with Dr Rayna Denison, senior lecturer in Film at University of East Anglia and editor of the Eisner award-nominated Super Heroes on World Screens and Melanie Adams, pin-up artist at Madams Pin-Ups and Wonder Woman expert.
We discuss Wonder Woman’s various iterations over the years, her feminist roots, the politics of her costuming, how she’s marketed in different national contexts and what we liked and disliked about the recently released origin story, directed by Patty Jenkins.
Now the world is ready for you… ?
First we discussed Wonder Woman as a recuring, and changing, cultural figure and how she reflects and reacts to the times. While there are many Continue reading →
A few months ago Llewella Chapman, PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia, asked me would I like to write a blog for the International Association for Media and History website. Its a cracking organisation so I excitedly agreed.
The International Association for Media and History (IAMHIST) is a scholarly organization which brings together media historians, media scholars and professionals with an interest in media history. You can find them on Twitter at @iamhist
My blog on the Hollywood Glamour Photograph appeared on the IAMHIST website last week and can be accessed here:
Considering Hollywood’s reliance upon photography between the teens and the 1960s, as a means of promoting, shaping and altering star images, the photographic representation of stars remains a peculiarly underdeveloped area of star studies. This is a real missed opportunity, as these images can offer considerable insights into the construction of film stardom and the pleasures Continue reading →
So after a year of tantalising trailers, the Wonder Woman movie is finally out. Not surprisingly, as it’s a film based on an active female protagonist (gasp!), it has drawn a mixed reaction.
If you want my thoughts, here they are. Whilst the finished product is a cut above the usual superhero fare, and it is ground breaking in that it is directed by a woman (gasp!), personally I think it still doesn’t live up to the historical promise of the Wonder Woman character, or the film’s own promotional expectations. It was ok, but it could have been so much better.
I had conversations with a number of people about the film and generally my friends think it’s great, particularly because they felt it had a strong feminist message. This got me thinking, I probably needed to think through why I was disappointed and maybe have a more in depth chat about Wonder Woman; a figure I know relatively little about.
So I’m just in the process of arranging said podcast and my guests will include Dr. Rayna Denison, editor of Super Heroes on World Screens and lecturer in film studies at UEA and Melanie Adams, Wonder Woman aficionado and pin-up artist. Continue reading →
My chapter on Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell ‘A Travesty on Sex’: Gender and Performance in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ appeared last year in an edited collection called Howard Hawks: New Perspectives. I recently discovered that this book has been shortlisted in the top three for this year’s Kraszna-Krausz Book Award in the category of Best Moving Image Book.
The Kraszna-Krausz award celebrates excellence in photography and moving image publishing, with prize for the Best Photography Book Award and the Best Moving Image Book published each year. The shortlist was announced last week and the winner will be announced on Thursday, at this year’s Photo London, exhibition at Somerset House where there is a display of material from the shortlisted and winning books this week.
It was my long standing interest in pin-up brought me to the project, and naturally it is through the lens of Monroe and Russell’s pin-up personas that I investigate their roles and Continue reading →
My article on Bunny Yeager, ‘Having her Cheesecake and Eating It’, in the journal Feminist Media Histories is available to download FOR FREE FOR THIS WEEK ONLY!
If you are into retro culture, pin-up photography, feminism and sexploitation cinema, this SHOULD be right up your street.
In this week’s free article download, Ellen Wright writes about the life and work of photographer Bunny Yeager in “Having her Cheesecake and Eating it: Performance, Professionalism and the politics of the Gaze in the Pin-Up Self Portraiture of Bunny Yeager.”
Wright demonstrates how Yeager “embodied a mode of professional and sexual agency that engaged with broader, progressive ideas pertaining to women’s labor and identity circulating in 1960s America as part of feminism’s second wave.”
Free to download from our website for the next 7 days…
So simply hop on over to their page by giving the image above a click and give it a
Oh! And don’t forget to let me know what you thought…
I’m featured in the first ever Feminist Media Historiespodcast! Sharing air time with the wonderful Hilary Hallett and Lois Banner, all talking about our contributions to the current issue of FMH on Histories of Celebrity with Feminist Media Histories editor Shelley Stamp.
In the interview i discuss my work on Bunny Yeager and 1960s celebrity culture, which features in the current issue (for more details, see previous posts). So give it a listen and if you’re feeling fruity, give it a share too. The podcast also includes the special issue’s guest editor Hilary A. Hallett talking about gender and histories of celebrity, and an interview with Lois Banner, whose article concentrates on the feminism of the Great Garbo.