In this week’s Wednesday 5 we feature five women making the headlines this week for their innovation and creativity: Elena Bodnar, doctor and woman of invention, creates a bra that can transform into a life-saving device; Isabel Allende talks about aging and staying passionate at 71; photographer Graciela Iturbide is featured in Art21 for commitment to Mexico; an irreverent (yet funny) reinterpretation of women having a terrible time at parties in Western art; and artist Margaret Keane’s biopic film tells the story of how she won back credit for her art practice from her own husband.



Dr. Elena Bodnar—a Woman of Innovative Invention

Dr. Bodnar and Lady EBIn his recent TEDMED 2014 talk, science humorist Marc Abrahams, whose bio says he “writes about research that makes people laugh, and then think,” introduced us to Ig Nobel Prize, which he founded. The Prize’s ceremony, held at Harvard annually, is honors achievements that make people LAUGH and then THINK and are intended to celebrate “the unusual, honor the imaginative—and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.” In Abrahams’s talk we were thrilled to hear about the  invention by Dr. Elena Bodnar—The Emergency Bra. In case of emergency, where no specialized respiratory devices are available, the Bra can be quickly and easily converted into two face masks without removing any clothes.

Watch below as Dr. Bodnar accepts the Ig Nobel Prize and  demonstrates The Emergency Bra at the 2:5o mark.




Isabel Allende on Aging and Staying Passionate at 71

The 71-year-old award-winning author Isabel Allende addresses aging in her own 2014 TED Talk, which was recently released on the site. She speaks candidly about the changes in her body and the shifts in her independence and freedom as she ages.

You know, for a vain female like myself, it’s very hard to age in this culture. Inside, I feel good, I feel charming, seductive, sexy. Nobody else sees that. (Laughter.) I’m invisible. I want to be the center of attention. I hate to be invisible . . . . So how can I stay passionate? I cannot will myself to be passionate at 71. I have been training for some time, and when I feel flat and bored, I fake it. Attitude, attitude. How do I train? I train by saying yes to whatever comes my way: drama, comedy, tragedy, love, death, losses. Yes to life. And I train by trying to stay in love. It doesn’t always work, but you cannot blame me for trying.



Photographer Graciela Iturbide and her Commitment to Mexico

220px-Photograph_of_photographer_Graciela_IturbideThis Fall, Art21 (Art in the 21st Century) is back on PBS with Season 7, which features  12 artists from the United States, Europe, and Latin America. In the first episode, “Investigation,” which premiered last week, we saw how artists push beyond what they already know and readily see. One of those artists is Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide. Art21 tells us that as a photographer, Iturbide’s principal concern has been the photographic investigation of Mexico: “Whether photographing indigenous communities in her native country, cholos in Los Angeles, Frida Kahlo’s house, or the landscape of the American South, her interest, she says, lies in what her heart feels and what her eyes see.” Watch the full episode, “Investigation” here.



Women Having a Terrible Time at Parties in Western Art History

In this week’s dose of humor, we share with you Mallory Ortberg’s irreverent and hilarious and brilliant (and telling) rereading of several iconic paintings in Western art. The piece is called “Women Having a Terrible Time at Parties in Western Art History.” Here’s a sample of Ortberg’s reinterpretation of the paintings. Click her to read all of her irreverence.



okay hah ahh okay
so i think this is going to be my life now
so that’s
okay i can do this







Who Is the Artist? Margaret Keane

In the 1960s, Walter Keane’s sentimental “big eyed” portraits of children sold millions. In realty, it was his wife, Margaret Keane, who was the true artist. Much has been written about the “biggest art fraud” masterminded by Walter Keane, who insisted that people would never buy art from a woman. This upcoming winter, a new biopic film by Tim Burton, starring Amy Adams as Margaret, will tell the fascinating (and heartbreaking) story of how Margaret won back the credit for her art practice.

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  • Roz Warren October 31, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Mallory Ortberg totally RULES. That women having a bad time at parties piece is HILARIOUS. THANKS for linking to it. 🙂

  • ellensue spicer-jacobson October 29, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I saw Isabelle Allende speak about 15 years ago, about the time her book about her daughter Paula, who died young, came out. Even then she was talking about again, but she has outdone herself in this passionate piece on TED. She is a good role model!

  • Diane Dettmann October 29, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I enjoyed Isabel Allende’s inspiring comments on aging. It’s easy to forget the importance of maintaining a positive attitude as the years pass by and the value of focusing on areas of our lives we’re passionate about.