Image: Duncan Cumming, 2009.

This week includes more reports from TEDWomen, a rallying cry from Helen Mirren, and a trio of blasts from the past, from Brenda Starr to Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party.”

  • Do you remember the first time you heard the name Judy Chicago? Like some of us, your world may have been rocked by the artist’s 1974-1979 women’s history installation The Dinner Party. Or maybe it’s a recent discovery. In either case, it’s worth checking out Lisa Stein’s video-text profile at On the Issues magazine, which includes a slideshow and audio track from the artist herself.
  • If you were intrigued by our TEDWomen newsflash this weekend, you might want to check out the TEDWomen blog, which rounded up some  other ongoing responses — including Carla Thompson’s reflective review, “The Ecstasy and the Agony.”
  • When acclaimed actor Bea Arthur died last year, we all remembered her poise, comic timing, and outspoken position on women’s issues. But until now, few of us knew that during World War II, she was a truck-driving Marine. The Smoking Gun leaks her enlistment papers (in which she wrote “As far as hobbies are concerned, I’ve dabbled in music and dramatics”),  plus a photo of then-Private Bernice Frankel in uniform.
  • As retirement parties go, Brenda Starr‘s has been pretty quiet. But on January 2, the 70-year-old comic strip will make its last appearance. The closing creators, writer Mary Schmich and artist June Brigman, were only the last in a line of collaborators who took up the comic from creator Dale Messick:  “Messick [, who]  retired in 1980,  has been succeeded on the strip only by women, from Ramona Fradon to Linda Sutter to Schmich and Brigman.”
  • Our girl-crush on Helen Mirren has hit high volume since she began to use her upcoming Tempest movie to talk about sexism in Hollywood.  Last week–as reported by ThirdAge, Women & Hollywood and Guardian UK–Mirren even got a wee bit vulgar at the  Power 100 Women in Entertainment Breakfast,  describing the sex organ that she thinks “makes all the decisions” in the film industry.  “In her extensive experience,” reports SnarkFood, “a lot of mediocre male actors have been spared at the expense of female ones who may have had more actual acting talent, but couldn’t sustain careers because they didn’t make the cut in terms of sex appeal.” Take a break and watch the whole 16 minutes — in which Mirren celebrates the TEDW0men-like achievements of women in the industry and says to Hollywood, “How about a little goddamned respect?”

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  • Millicent Accardi December 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Helen Mirren is my hero! She is an amazing force to be reckoned with, full of bawdy intelligence and spunk and sexy beauty that she is not afraid to show.