Podcast #12: ‘There is just one word to describe her and that is fierce’: A Conversation about the BFI Joan Crawford retrospective with Anna Bogutskaya

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In this podcast, Dr Ellen Wright has a discussion with film programmer at the BFI Southbank, Anna Bogutskaya.
The pair discuss the current Joan Crawford retrospective, ‘Fierce: the untameable Joan Crawford’ and associated public talk that Anna programmed.

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Podcast#11: ‘I’m no Mary Whitehouse’: Jill Greenfield on calling out alleged sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry.

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As part of the Women in Hollywood symposium I talked with lawyer Jill Greenfield of FieldFisher solicitors, who is currently pursuing the civil case against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein for alleged sexual assaults.

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Podcast#10 How to Get Ahead in Hollywood: Women’s Exploitation in the US Film Industry

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Inspired by the upcoming Women in Hollywood symposium and by broader current events in the US film industry, in this podcast I talk with American scholar and invited speaker at the symposium, Kerry McElroy. Kerry is an interdisciplinary scholar currently based at Concordia University in Montreal, who researches and writes on women’s exploitation in Hollywood. She has written on the casting couch, on ethnicity in Hollywood and much more.

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Podcast #9: ‘I’ll Show Them, I’ll Record Everything’: Audience, Performance and The Room (2003)

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In this podcast I follow up on my recent blog post You can laugh, you can cry, you can do whatever you like, express yourself, just don’t hurt yourself’: Performance, Pedagogy and The Room by talking with The Room aficionado, audience researcher and Film and Culture lecturer Dr Richard McCulloch about the ‘best worst film ever’, cult phenomenon The Room.

We discuss what makes this film so bad it’s good, its director, Tommy Wiseau, The Disaster Artist and the Golden Globe winning performance by James Franco but most importantly we talk about the unique fandom around The Room.

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Other topics we cover include fan communities and bonding via film, participatory cinema more generally, authenticity, performance and the nature Continue reading

The Battle of The Sexes

I was recently interviewed by PhD candidate Becky Jones* for Phoenix Talks – her podcast in association with the Leicester’s independent cinema, the Phoenix.

Becky kindly invited me to talk with her about biopic The Battle Of The Sexes which recently ran at the cinema. The film tells the story of the famous tennis match of the same name that took place in 1973 between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

I wanted to talk with Becky about some of the ways in which this film raises issues around the media representation of sporting women’s bodies (which are often understood to be a problem as the power and potential they convey means they aren’t feminine or pliant enough) about toxic masculinity and about feminism. It’s a bit rambly, but hey, it was the end of term!

Here is a link to the podcast:

Here’s Looking at You Podcast #8: What Happens in Blackpool Stays in Blackpool: Seaside Freak Shows and Permissive Entertainment in Britain

In this podcast I talk with PhD candidate Emma Purce about her research into the British seaside freak show in 20th century Britain. Whilst a lot has already been written on the freak show in the 19th century and particularly in America, Emma is really helping to shape our understanding of the 20th century freak show.

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We discuss the notion of liminal, permissive working class spaces and the history, the legacy and the politics of the freak show and of the curious, scrutinising gaze employed when attending such an entertainment

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Podcast #7: Old Shouty Tits is Back: Unruly Femininity in the Public Eye

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Kiki onstage. Image courtesy of Joust Photography, taken at the Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival, 2017

In this episode of Here’s Looking at You I chat with burlesque emcee, singer, teacher and former contestant in BBC’s The Voice, Kiki Deville. Kiki is a charismatic and hugely talented performer who is renowned for her big voice, big personality and big boobs and this has led her to be considered an unruly woman.

Inspired by Anne Helen Peterson’s recent book ‘Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of The Unruly Woman,’ we got together to talk about Kiki’s experience of The Voice and subsequent attempts by the popular media at bullying and body shaming her, about being ‘fair game,’ picking your arguments, the pleasures and pitfalls of celebrity culture, appropriate online behaviour, and grief.

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Here’s Looking at You Podcast #6: Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You down.

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Following its success at the Emmy Awards, where it won best TV drama, best actress and best supporting actress, it is probably time to release my podcast about the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale.

In this podcast I talk with poet, teacher, writer, musician and community activist Josie Moon, about the Margaret Atwood source novel and its recent, television incarnation.
A strikingly prescient pair of texts, both prompt us to discuss all manner of contentious topics, from women’s reproductive rights, to the process of othering, to hierarchies, freedom of speech and star activism.

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As you’ll hear, as is always the case when Josie and I get together, this conversation is quick fire and there are no holds barred. Josie is a very political creature and it’s one of the many Continue reading

Charlize Theron: Fighting like a Girl

ABI was recently interviewed by PhD candidate Becky Jones* for Phoenix Talks – her podcast in association with the Leicester’s independent cinema, the Phoenix.

Becky invited me to talk about the noir spy thriller Atomic Blonde which recently ran at the cinema. The film, based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City and set on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, is a visceral experience and features a blistering performance by Charlize Theron as MI6 agent protagonist Lorraine Broughton.

The film is notable for its director, David Leitch, who is a renowned stunt man but what I really  wanted to talk about was what our expectations around how action-packed this film would be were regarding Theron’s performance. I also wanted to talk about the discourse around Theron in relation to the film, her star persona and reputation as a skilled actress who really throws herself into her roles, about her as an ‘aging’ star, about Lorraine as an empowered character and Theron as a producer and the history of  ‘action women’ roles in Hollywood.

Here is a link to the podcast:

*Becky Jones’ PhD is on cyborgs and gender in film. Continue reading

Here’s Looking at You Podcast #5 Why Burlesque Needs Rubyyy Jones

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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.

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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