#TBT ~ Exposed Art

We got some good 'ol Exposed Art for ya'll.

Shefali's Pick

(Author's sidenote: We received feedback at our last open mic that blogs can be "annoying" and yea I KNOW, but it gives me an excuse to write about my opinions and emotions so honestly I don't care if you read this. UNLESS you do for some reason and you love it. In which case wow thanks this was meant for you! I WILL sign that book deal!! Oh a movie script contract?! Wow. AN OSCAR. I'd like to thank the Academy.)

Garry Winogrand

I love the way Winogrand depicts people, especially women, and everyday life. There definitely can be a creepiness to male photography of the female figure (any depiction of women through the male gaze) and he is definitely guilty of it from time to time, but I do really enjoy the voyeuristic feel that all of his photographs seem to have. They always feel like they are exposing something about their subject and that you are getting clued in on something personal. Winogrand also always seems to know how to bring out the absurd.

Rebecca's Pick

Jenny Holzer

I'm a sucker for conceptual art and a sucker for words/ language as art, thus I am a sucker for the work of Jenny Holzer. A feminist artist from the same camp as Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman (who you already know I love), she's known for displaying antagonistic catchphrases, essays, and more recently, leaked government documents in public spaces on a grand scale with posters, projections, and LED light displays.

 What makes her work so interrogating is that she's making political statements, cynical-but-cheeky commentary, and exposing the ills of society through media that are typically used to display either the mundane (time and temperature) or the overtly capitalist (advertisements). Seeing her work instead of what we're used seeing in these spaces is first jarring, and then thought provoking. It's alienating because there's no context for her words, yet it's literally accessible by everyone on the street. I don't care for public displays of affection, but I'm always in favor of public displays of subversion. 

#TBT - Exposed Television

You know the deal, each Thursday Shefali and Rebecca pick a piece of media that reminds them of the monthly theme-- in today's case it's TV for "Exposed." 

Rebecca's Pick 

Peep Show

Probably an obvious choice, but what could be more exposed than a show that’s partly narrated by the two main characters’ inner thoughts? That’s the gimmick behind Peep Show, a British comedy shot from the point of view of Mark and Jez as they navigate life as old pals, roommates, and generally bad people played by the iconic comedy duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb.

Peep Show is cringey af. I like to watch it when I feel like my life is going off the rails because it makes me think hey at least that's not me, and yet Mark and Jez remain depressingly relatable. Despite the characters making bad, selfish decisions all the time which spectacularly blow up in their faces, and despite Mark and Jez being people I wouldn’t want to spend time with in real life, their inner monologues are not too far from my own. I'm guessing that's true for most people, which is why we're taught to think before we speak. 

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A current of harsh reality underlies all of Peep Show, revealing the drudgery that comes with living an average, unglamorous life. For me, it’s an antidote to the influx of comedies that are loosely based on the real lives of already successful comedians, and the buffed and polished archetypes that presumably inhabit the world of Young Sheldon and beyond. Peep Show's characters are immensely flawed, they’re not living their dreams, but they also don't show signs of changing, revealing the state of arrested development adult men often get away with along the way. It’s not pretty, they’re not pretty, and it reminds us we’re all kind of bad people, so of course it’s hilarious. Obviously I'm itching for the show to be rebooted with two femme leads. (Sidebar: Shefali talks about two Brit-coms that basically achieve this in the best way, and I highly recommend them too). 

Shefali's Picks

HELLO flawed female leads. I live in a post-Broad City world and most shows pale in comparison. If I'm given the option between Snarky-white-straight-male-nerd-man-babies versus badass femmes, Asian American foodies, and animated horses--I pick the latter. These two shows are about ladies who lay it all on the line and truly ~expose~ their innermost thoughts and desires no matter how undesirable it makes them seem.

I like to think of these two shows as the House of Cards of British comedy--despite both having nothing to do with political intrigue and possibly solely to do with the fact that titular characters “Fleabag” played by writer/creator of Fleabag Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and “Tracey” played by writer/creator of Chewing Gum Michaela Coel, break the fourth wall constantly. Oh yea, did I mention both shows started out as plays written by the starring ladies themselves that were then developed into shows so HI hello I am now writing a play please everyone come star in it. They are also both very British which just goes to show how much I still wish I grew up wit’ an’ accent mate! Sorry I’ll see myself out. Anyways--

Fleabag

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It’s so incredible how horrible she can be on this show and I still root for her. I guess cause it's all so god damn relatable? Her relationship with her sister, her comments on the trash men that waltz into her life. The best part is that she is so unapologetically herself. It’s probably the closest I’ll feel to how white men I know “relate” to Leo in Wolf of Wall Street or think they’re as bad, but also redeemable as Bojack Horseman. Like I love both Wolf of Wall Street and Bojack Horseman--but getting to see the female lead be a total tyrant W O W. It’s similar to how I felt seeing Wonder Woman after years of seeing Marvel Super Heroes and finally realizing--oh this is why men feel so attached to superhero movies like I feel so powerful--I GET IT.

But seriously Fleabag is an incredible show I can not recommend it enough the writing is genuine, funny, and sometimes downright heartbreaking. Dark comedies are my kryptonite.

Chewing Gum

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Another lady telling it how it is. This show is about a girl in her 20s trying to navigate dating, losing her virginity, maintaining friendships, dealing with her crazy religious mother. It’s crazy how both of these shows are so realistic while at the same time SO ridiculous. I guess that’s just what makes good comedy. Michaela Coel is also so incredibly funny and unafraid to be weird.

Frick. Talking about these two shows just reminded me that I also wish I had talked about Mindy Project, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Wonder Woman, and Jane the Virgin. I could write a N O V E L. We really are in the Golden Age of TV despite how much society hates women. So I have to thank the gods (sorry goddesses) for at least some good in the world.

 

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#TBT ~ Exposed Music

Music! It's vulnerable, political, emotional, and sometimes Bruce Willis and Kiefer Sutherland think they can dabble in it (by the way-- no thanks guys, we're good)! Today Rebecca and Shefali discuss songs they associate with the word "exposed." 

Rebecca's Pick

Chinatown - Girlpool

From the stripped down sound of just two guitars and two harmonizing voices, Girlpool's Chinatown leaves a lot exposed. Add in Harmony Trividad and Cleo Tucker's lyrics about feeling uncertain in life, nervous about the future, and expressing love ("I love you" can mean different things!), and you have an emotionally raw song that's relatable. When I first heard it in the parking lot of a Stop & Shop on Long Island shortly after I had moved back home I felt like I myself had been exposed, and it was honestly jarring. They were singing about their own experiences, but had managed to aptly capture my existential confusion. Yes, I have cut my hair when I'm feeling out of place! Yes I feel restless when I realize I'm alive! How did they know?! 

Now when I hear the song it's like pressing on a bruise. It hurts a little, but in a good way. It took an otherwise banal memory of going grocery shopping for parents and turned it into a representation of the weird combination of comfort and itchiness that came with moving back home.

Shefali's Pick

Enchanted - Taylor Swift

I don’t know what it is about this song, but it always takes me back to my darkest timeline: 6th-8th grade. I don’t really want to get into the whole do you or do you not like Taylor Swift debate because honestly we’ll be here forever. I still don’t know. But this song majorly shook me in the 10th grade. I never really was that into Taylor Swift in the early days so when my friend made me a mix CD with this on it, I was like “really? Why?”

And then I listened to it and it perfectly encapsulated this horribly wonderful feeling that I felt in middle school. Ya’ll will probably be like “wow what a stereotypical girly thing”, but to me it's more like a “wow what a stupid thing that girls have been programmed to think”, but basically I could not stop thinking about boys and crushes in middle school.

But like not in the same way as most people. Most people had crushes, but I had like MEGA crushes. First of all, to give context, I had never spoken to these boys. I just knew them from afar. But somehow these crushes were so bad to the point of where I couldn’t think of anything else in class. It was so bad I’d be sitting there in class and I couldn’t actually focus on my studies because my hormones were exploding out of my body (literally and figuratively).

I became so obsessed with crushes and finding someone, despite how much my parents taught me that I didn’t need that. It was so strange because on the outside I was definitely putting off this image of being a studious, nerdy girl, but on the inside ALL I wanted was to love someone. But I was so awkward and needed to shower more and had no idea how to talk to boys.

When I heard this song in 10th grade, years after the fact it triggered me. Hearing her talk about seeing someone across the room and that soul crushing hope you have wondering if that person is thinking about you or worse likes someone else. It brought me right back to that feeling that I had been trying to suppress for years and although the song was hopeful it really brought me back to the devastation I felt that I couldn’t talk to these people that I was so attracted to.

The part of the song that really kills me is the part where the song gets soft at the bridge and she sings “please don’t be in love with someone else.” But I love that I can connect to this song in this way. I really don’t mean to be such a downer. I hope ya’ll can listen to this song and relate to it. Crushes can be really fun and hopeful! And I hope for some people listening to this song makes you feel special or think of someone special and not of devastation and loneliness.

#TBT ~ Exposed Films

The Late Homework blog is BACK get ready to expose some stuff with Reb and Shef. First up FILMS.

Shefali's Picks

Rear Window

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Okay let’s start with my favorite Alfred Hitchcock film--Rear Window. This was the first Hitchcock film I saw in high school and still remains to be my favorite because of its compelling story style and relatability. It also has all of my favorite story elements: romance, love, stalking (I’m sorry!! But I’ve probably stalked your Facebook or Insta at some point!! I’M ONLY HUMAN).

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What’s incredible about this film is not just the stellar acting and cinematography, but the way it goes about exposing the truth and stringing the watcher into a false sense of security. It is a murder mystery like any other, but what sets it apart is the pure simplicity of it all. Here is a man trapped in his room and he is bored so he does what all of us claim we have never done which is spy on his neighbors.

Even in just choosing this way to tell the story Hitchcock is exposing something about all of us--how we secretly want to know what’s going on in the lives of all who are around us. We are discovering the story right along with the protagonist and that is why we think we know how it will end and are just as shocked at the twist as the devilishly handsome Jimmy Stewart (see The Philadelphia Story if you want to swoon more).

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

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Speaking of swooning, I unapologetically love this film and it definitely exposes my inner most feminine desires. Once again Pride and Prejudice has incredible acting and cinematography (the scene where Keira Knightley is standing on Stanage Edge is so stunning it has been known to drive people to tears, okay me it has been known to drive me to tears).

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But what’s so great about this film is how a story that is supposed to take two centuries ago can still be so relevant to modern times. What Elizabeth wants is everything I ever wanted from ages 5-16, which was to fall in love with someone who actually cares about who I am as an independent woman. This dynamic of pride versus prejudice is so relatable because despite all their differences they still can’t help but fall for each other.

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I’ve always been really into romance and it wasn’t until I was older that I realized so much of what I watched as a child was so severely gendered and unrealistic. Looking back on P&P (as the cool kids call it), I still think this story gives Elizabeth a strong feminist voice and a path to be different and outspoken in a world where this would have been frowned upon. You can see so clearly the escapism that Jane Austen was going for and is still so relevant today as the battle of sexism rages on. It also shows the importance of femininity and love and that these can be strong characteristics for any leading character regardless of gender.

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What I also loved was the family dynamic between the mother, father, and sisters. This annoyance they all found with the mother and embarrassment at each other at different events (Mary playing the piano at the party is heartbreaking), but also the deep love they all still have for one another despite the ups and downs of the story.

Rebecca's Pick

White God (2015)

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I'm not going to lie, this is a hard movie to watch, but boy does it have staying power. White God follows the fallout of the separation of Hagen, a mixed-breed dog, from his loving guardian, a twelve year old girl named Lili after her father refuses to pay a state-imposed "Mongrel" fine. Sounds like a classic kid-and-their-dog film, but it's a far cry from Lassie. It's relentless and b r u t a l and visually stunning.

Hagen is met with violence and abuse by the other humans he encounters while roaming the streets, and he's ultimately taken in by a dogfighting trainer (again, it's a very hard movie to watch). Hagen ultimately makes an escape, and the film culminates in a breathtaking (amazingly not CGI) scene of thousands of masterless dogs joining him in rebellion against humans. It's a fantastical scenario taking place in a world that's no different than the one we live in now. 

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White God is a not so subtle parable the ways in which people-- especially WHITE people-- have deemed themselves all-powerful (i.e. GODS) over other races, cultures, and the natural world in general. It's a reminder that rebellion won't always be peaceful when those rebelling have been met with tremendous violence for so long, and forces the viewer to consider the many ways in which we are complicit in this violence every day. By depicting the brutality of the human-animal hierarchy we accept as status quo, White God opens the door to consider and question the other hierarchies we blindly accept. White God reminds us to reject what we've been told is "normal" or "nature." 

The relationship between human master and animal servant is only made more questionable by the fact that the two dogs who play Hagen give honestly touching performances. There's nothing like an oscar-worthy dog performance to remind you that animals aren't the real savages here. 

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There's probably a lot more that can be said about this, but I'll just leave you with the reassuring news that all of the dogs they used in the film were rescues and adopted after filming! Isn't that nice?

-Reb

End of the Month Wrap Up !

Hello!

Can we first just say that your hair looks great today?

More important--if you can imagine something more important than your incredible hair--we want to thank you so much for joining us for the first month of Late Homework! We hope you found “Growing Up” as a theme much more enjoyable than actual puberty and are so proud of the community we have started to build.

From the performances at the open mic, to podcasts, to comics, we loved seeing the variety of ways our contributing artists interpreted this theme and were honestly blown away by the amount of submissions we received! Want to catch up? Go to our "Home" page where you can scroll through all of our content from August. Also, look out for our “Exposed” theme next month! In the meantime, feel free to submit your work to the new theme or reach out to us about new project ideas!

Stay artsy!

Rebecca & Shefali