Photo: Judy Van der Velden (Judy ** on flickr)

This week, blogs explored gazillions of dresses, interviewed a fair-pay heroine, and  re-introduced Beat Generation goddess Diane di Prima.

  • Spring has sprung, and to some of us that means DRESSES. Check out this slideshow from New York magazine, with “130 spring frocks, from florals to maxi dresses.” At,   muse on the classic wrap dress — “It’s made of a soft, supple jersey fabric that does not wrinkle so doesn’t need to be ironed.  It’s lightweight, comfortable and will flatter most figures!”—and suggest checking out Karina Dresses, whose buyers and designers “specialize in simple yet comfortable dresses that are made for the over 40 body type with just enough plunge and yet a little more coverage than other wrap dresses we have seen.  (They even use models we can relate to… not teenagers!)” Click over for a video and much more.
  • Yesterday was Equal Pay Day, perfect timing for this week’s The Feministing Five  interview with the remarkable Lilly Ledbetter, of the landmark equal-access-to-justice law that bears her name.  Her case, Feministing’s Anna reminds us, is “an important reminder that it’s easy for those without the best interests of everyday men and women in mind to reverse equal pay laws and make it even harder to reach justice. By refusing to acknowledge and take action against discriminatory pay, employers and politicians continue to relegate women to second-class citizens in this country.”  The interview itself is full of goodies, including that Eleanor Roosevelt is one of Ledbetter’s heroines: “That lady was way ahead of her time. . . . she took a lot of criticism and a lot of flak, but stood her ground and made a lot of headway. You know we women haven’t even been voting for 100 years yet.”  Ledbetter also praises companies that “are beginning to treat women fairly” and updates us about the newest version of the the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will be re-introduced in the Senate soon.
  • We hope you’ve already been enjoying the amount of energy sparked by Ashley Judd’s landmark essay in last week’s The Daily Beast (we did link to it in “In the News”).  GiaVanne, who spends most of her time “indulging my inner Diva” at Giavanne’s Gems, took time out to exult about it. “In an essay published Monday, April 9th on, Ashley Judd delivered the equivalent of a super-sized “Bitch Slap” to the media in response to the gazillion negative comments made last month regarding her appearance. The Ashley media fest began because her face ‘looked puffy,’ after taking medication which included steroids to fight off a sinus infection.” Click over for more, an excerpt from the piece, including “Our voices, our personhood, our potential, and our accomplishments are regularly minimized and muted.” We couldn’t agree more.

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  • When you’re moving house, like one of WVFC’s editors, EVERY possession comes under suspicion. So Geri, the founder and editor of, is taking the opportunity to re-evaluate  “Kitchen appliances that I’ve used twice, such as a hot sandwich maker by Salton. I do have one of the original Cuisinart food processors from the seventies, and although it’s the size of a small child, I may continue to save it.  My great great great grandchild can take it to The Antiques Roadshow when it broadcasts from Mars.” Also going in the recycler: ‘Ticket stubs from plays I don’t remember, receipts from items I no longer possess, take-out menus from restaurants that went out of business decades ago, letters of praise from former bosses . . .” But other items can’t be relinquished, “such as select pictures of my children over the years that remind me how precious life is and how fast it flies; handmade cards from my kids that make me smile; my high school diploma, just because; my dad’s cufflinks that remind me of him looking dapper in his dress shirts; letters I typed to my youngest sister when she was doing her doctoral work in Buenos Aires (I don’t have the faintest idea why I have them) because they show me that the way I thought about her 40 years ago is much like I think of her  today.” How often do you assess your stuff?
  • Women’s Enews gives us the heads-up on Melanie LaRosa’s new film (video below), The Poetry Deal: A Film With Diane di Prima. Explaining why she had to go rogue in her documentary techniques, LaRosa cites her subject’s era for guidance: “The Beat writers’ style and choice of subject got them banned and rejected by major publishers. They responded by creating their own venues and presses,” she writes. “In 1961, di Prima started the journal “The Floating Bear,” which she ran with Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones) for many years. It forged ties among writers around the nation and world. She also began poetry presses that published her own work and that of Audre Lorde, Barbara Guest, David Henderson and others.” We can’t wait to see the film, and maybe feature it some Poetry Sunday.

The Poetry Deal – Trailer from melanie larosa on Vimeo.

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  • California Girl April 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I posted about the Ashley Judd interview as well:

    She makes a compelling case even though I am skeptical listening to a very beautiful actress complain about the importance of looks in a business based, predominantly, on just that.

    I think many beautiful women whose careers have hinged on their beauty become disenchanted over time. I recently read an article about Jean Shrimpton, whose 1960s-70s beauty was unparalleled. She walked away from the business in her early thirties. She now runs an inn. There was a current photo accompanying the article and she appears not to have had work done. I would not have recognized her. Her attitude was refreshing and she really dissed the fashion industry as fraught with “dark, troubled people”.