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100 Extraordinary Women

Artist Connie Simpson winner of Kraft Foods for her "100" word essay and nominee Danica Anderson one of the "100 Extraordinary Women" honored and acknowledged at the LA Film Festival June 27-29, 2008. Screening of Phoebe in Wonderland

Categorized in these topics: Female Social Justice Feminine Matrix and Female Culture Interviews and Other Works about Danica Anderson Women in Collaboration

Kraft Foods “100 Extraordinary Women”, LA Film Festival-“Phoebe in Wonderland,” Black National Anthem & Woman dies in LA Emergency Room

Kraft Foods “100 Extraordinary Women”, LA Film Festival-“Phoebe in Wonderland,” Black National Anthem & Woman dies in LA Emergency Room??? What does this mean?

This title is about how to actually get a feel for how all these events are salient to one another in four dimensions of chronological-time, space-where it occurred, meaning and communications means to understand the underlying common theme that evoke substantive meanings from what happens to us.

I posit with this blog the unfolding seeming diverse and random events are all interconnected.

I begin with an out of the blue and totally unexpected random event. I was nominated for the Kraft Foods “100 Extraordinary Women” by artist and illustrator for my book “Baba Yaga Crone Inscriptions-Blood & Honey Icons: South Slavic Wisdom amidst Violence & Catastrophes,” Connie Simpson of “Greyhorse Designs.”

Five weeks prior to the event artist Connie Simpson was getting a hip replacement. Talk about extraordinary Connie wrote the “100” word essay while I was in the Sudan not knowing that she would be one of the winners.

Since food and recipe are at best closely identified with Kraft Food I prefer to use the cook book when talking about Kraft Foods here. Combine Kraft Foods promotional work of the “100 Extraordinary Women” into a recipe folding in Kraft as one of the sponsors for the LA Film Festival. I do think a dash of real, authentic and organic material was thrown in.

The authentic organic material is probably a woman Kraft staff member who thought of an event honoring “100 Extraordinary Women,” at the LA Film Festival. Whoever it was did spearhead a dramatic shift within the concrete walls of consumerism.

What was unusual was the conscious shift in the commerce marketing manipulations to genuinely reflect a witnessing to “100 Extraordinary Women”. It is not something that I thought Kraft Foods and their “100” calorie snacks would be able to orchestrate or even think of doing.

“100” women were flown to LA on June 27-29th, 2008, housed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the avenue of the stars. The “extraordinary women” attended the screening of “Phoebe in Wonderland” and had the Target (big box store) red room prior to the viewing.

Of course, I estimated how the moneys would have been used towards my work and that of the “100” Extraordinary Women. I could not quell the guilt or the grist during the entire weekend. I thought of all the extraordinary women in Darfurs, Sudan, Chad, Congo and Uganda who are not invisible to me.

The South Slavic women in Bosnia would have swooned and fainted if they were placed in accommodations such as this. The free toiletries, salt, pepper and honey packets scattered lazily around the luxury surround is an invitation for most Bosnian war crimes survivors and war survivors to open their purses or plastic bags. Instead I took my gifted toiletries and gave them to a friend living in LA.

Between the grist and guilt, a red leather “Queen” chair in the red room was desired by all the “100” women. Stunningly appealing and synchronistic in nature, the red leather chair sat as an iconic emblem for the aching, tired and forever working women scattered about. I yearned to put at least one of the women from Bosnia or Africa in the Queen’s red leather chair. The invisible women lay potent and larger than life in my memories in that red chair.

I never sat in the red chair for that reason. But I was heartened if anyone would sit in it, it would be one of the “100” extraordinary women. Perhaps, sitting in the “Queen” Red Leather Chair illustrates how these “100 Extraordinary Women” concatenation of the event, the huge red leather chair, Phoebe in Wonderland screening to their passionate potentials fully lived are linked together.

I became a real witness to the plethora of “100” women who are making a difference in a violent world from the simplest of tasks that are the most excruciating and rewarding. Tasks such as caring for cerebral palsy loved ones to a woman who survived a raging fire in a basement whose recovery had horses heal her scars physically and emotionally are not ‘breaking news.’

Of course, ‘breaking news’ has unwritten or secret requirements for women to be victims or fevering martyrs for 13 seconds of fame. The ‘100’ Extraordinary Women absorb all the ordinary, small daily life acts and tasks that if never owned and lovingly embraced portent a cold lifeless community. It is not newsworthy in media norms.

Surprisingly, Kraft Foods is closely following their symbolic charged daily tasks as a dynamically created universal culture and inseparable from the context of food; how women are the repositories of memory and daily engagements over the table at meal times.

The non-profits like mine, the Kolo: Women’s Cross Cultural Collaboration and women, who are not in the media or not in public consciousness, are ordinary women taking life into the extraordinary. The indoctrinated norm for ordinary women, who could be your daughter, sister, mother or grandmother, take life into the extraordinary are rendered invisible, forgotten through erasure from the public viewing space.

If you don’t believe this, reflect on how you take for granted your mom or wife or daughter. Women are fastidiously stuck in the same low wage percentage compared to males and the economic disparity has worsened through the decades. Feminism has become just another “F” word to younger female generation and older generation of women dressed in denial and bedecked with rotten foundations built through the millennium not just the past 100 years.

There is a dynamism found in the power of place. For instance, power of place lends itself to encourage events. The event sets into motion to impute meaning and perception which in turn take away seemingly normal/ordinary images to one of consciousness.

The power of place and how media determines “breaking news” has echoes rippling from the LA hospital emergency room during the Kraft Food extravaganza. A breaking news event of a woman collapsed and dying on the floor blared across the LA Times and newscasts. The real crux of the breaking news was how the staff and a janitor mop around her body unable to “see her.”

Reading the articles about the “Woman dies in a LA ER” had overworked nursing staff and medical doctors imploring how underfunded the programs are and how this is the norm for emergency rooms across the country. Their imploring only highlights the indoctrination process and makes sense since funding, wages, and policies do not include women and children: too expensive.

In Northern Uganda I bore witness to elderly grandmothers surviving their families, alone and unable to scratch the earth to garden dropping silently to the ground alone and stone dead. I could see the spindly thin old women as they dropped to the rich Uganda soil but could not hear the small thud.

Even with the video cameras and even with the “100 Extraordinary Women” photo shoots I understood that having this desperately ill woman swept and mopped around by the janitor forgotten and left to die alone is due to our inability to see her or ourselves in the scheme of things.

We have become blind to the feminine principle. However, it is the feminine principle that will restore and regenerate life in the face of non-existence. The irony is a comparative look on two continents, Africa and the Americas, has their middle-aged and elderly women dropping stone dead in front of by-standers who are blind to her.

The “Woman dies in LA ER,” is Edith Rodriguez dead prematurely at 44 years of age. Her husband called 911 inside the ER room. Another woman in the LA ER, also, called 911 about Edith declaring and imploring Edith Rodriquez’s is an emergency. According to the male 911 operator it was not an emergency.

As the male 911 operator argued and laid down his male authority Edith Rodriquez died in front of the woman caller and her husband along with other uncomprehending blind not by sight but in consciousness by-standers.

I already knew how we cannot see ordinary women policies and rules of law erase her as if we are non-existent. The real point of this blog is to associate mutual interaction with so-called random events. To have this happen while I was in LA with “100 extraordinary women,” and watching “Phoebe in Wonderland,” which addresses this issue of silencing females, is a dire icon for all of us.

Don’t you think that we are imprisoned by the message:1) “do or die”; 2) justify your female existence in a male preferred value society and policies ensure the norm to disregard 51% of the population-women?
I wanted to take our “100 Extraordinary Women,” to the “Woman Dies in LA
ER” to volunteer for the eve instead of the expensive and utterly lavish reception at the Hyatt X Bar. I knew that everyone at the reception to include actor Bill Pullman and director Daniel Barnz of Phoebe in Wonderland would not hesitate to do so. Maybe it is the script, and their theater professionalism that prevents blindness.

For instance, the film “Phoebe in Wonderland,” has the director produce an exquisite portrayal of ordinary women, focusing on one mother, who becomes extraordinary in daily life acts due to her child’s cognitive dissonance-neurological disorder. Her daughter’s illness is a divine right since it incites chaos with the androcratic institutions & male entitlement rules. Held as a righteous distance altar, the grade school policies are lorded over by masculine principles demanding no questions from the students.

And how does this relate to “100 Extraordinary Women,” Kraft Foods or the LA film festival? Despite the same nexus of features deploying indoctrination of erasing females, Kraft Foods and “Phoebe in Wonderland’ director Daniel Barnz, Bill Pullman and Elle Fanning made their appearance with ‘100 Extraordinary women.”

The societal norm requires a look at how we wait for permission to live and now, we are waiting for permission to die. Indoctrinated to worship rules of law that do not include women or children, women even when deathly ill in an ER room or at grade school, strictly obey the rules that serve only to maime, destroy and violate our essence.

As women age and continue swimming in the toxic patriarch’s oceans we wouldn’t dare to question any male outside authority. I surrender to the iconic message from the male 911 operator scolding the woman about what an emergency is. In fact, I had Déjà vu. This happened many times before and more specifically in Rwanda with the massive genocidal campaign.

Remember how the US State Department spokeswoman Christine Shelley during the “100” days of slaughter in Rwanda stated, “The use of the term ‘genocide’ has a very precise meaning, although it’s not strictly a legal determination.” I think they train 911 operators and institutional staff with the same material or at best pharaonic book of rules filled to the brim about unquestioned obedience.

Amidst the “Woman dies in LA ER” and the “100 Extraordinary Women,” events I am heartened by the young African American Jazz singer. Rene Maire, needs to have a middle name of “Regal” to compliment her salt and pepper hair, the visible mark of a wise woman. Rene Maire did not stop to get permission to sing the lyrics of the Black National Anthem instead of the sanctimonious and let’s face it violent rockets’ red glare. Besides the impossibility of hitting the high notes, the lyrics serve the worshipping of violence and war. It was sheer Juno (female version of Genius) to be disobedient.

While we were rollicking at the Hyatt Regency, and LA Film Festival, the Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper the very image of the old white patriarch, said he almost walked off the stage and was “deeply disappointed.” Disappointed that finally a woman finds her voice and does not look for permission from him?

The only disappointment I had was her apology afterwards. I was so heartened by the disobedience and her belief in her female values.

Now add in the director and producer of “Phoebe in Wonderland “disobedience to go against the status quo. The “chick flick” genre that Hollywood ignores but Barnz went ahead to seal a long-term memorial film documentation practice, most likely would disappoint Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Barnz’s disobedience earned my respect and gratitude.

I am not sure that Barnz knew his screening would have a cemetery landscape within the LA ER or an impressive “the creative cannot be expressed by conforming to rules or status quo,” and be perfect for Kraft’s “100 Extraordinary Women” event. Daniel Barnz made a “chick” movie so exquisitely right on I would have sworn his mother actually wrote the script and directed it.

The movie honors the ordinary women which our economy and other global monetary institutions are founded upon her slave labor; our invisible and attributed as worthless and without salary domestic force.

What was compelling in the movie was how schools begin their careful indoctrination of females to; 1) never question and; 2) to be the perpetual collaborator for the hate campaign against females starting in early development.

In this film we are given sight. We witness the extraordinary stress placed on young daughters to shut up. We see in Phoebe, the repression of her feminine spirit which collapses, resurrecting repeating events such as, the “Woman dies in the LA ER” or into a neurological disorder becoming both a sudden and slow death all at once.

Bill Pullman’s performance is extraordinary in iconographic and textual drama feats. The passive father role passing on the chronic work and not being present for his wife and daughters is a shocking wake up call for all men. The extraordinary drama feats of Pullman are not his social reality. He talked about irrigation of his land as his wife calls him on the phone. Her phone call during his appearance at the Kraft “100” Extraordinary Women imaged an importance that his relationship/family is a not a competing priority but actually what is most meaningful to his life.

A diachronic perspective on shifting from totally the other side of the pole of the character, Bill Pullman somehow got inside the skin of his character but maintained his sacred activity of the landscape, marking a space that reflects his negotiated social reality. It looked like a ritual practice to keep his integrity distinct from the characters he is cast into.

At the ‘100 Extraordinary Women’ event at the LA Film Festival, the Kraft staff and event coordinators set up a ‘persistent sense of place’ in the luxury Hyatt hotel. With a skill that included feminine principles, the Kraft staffs choose to etch an important and persistent ceremonial practice at the event. The fierce kindness to all the women and accommodations to their needs such as physically challenged flanked a visible horizon that erases the blindness towards the invisible and forgotten women.

Now, to get Kraft Food to donate the equal the amount of money spent for the “100 Extraordinary Women,” to the causes and work they do. Or at least allow me to bring a few guests from Bosnia or Africa to the event.


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