Tales of a Feminist Porn Critic

By Alexandra Fileccia

Her latest blog post reads, “You guys. You guys. Oh my god, you guys. My brain is a whirling, whorling mass of confusion right now. Because DRONE BONING has apparently arrived. And yes, it is porn filmed by a drone.” Lynsey G is probably among a small percentage of women interested in advancements in the porn industry. And that’s because 31-year-old Lynsey writes about feminist porn and sex-positive feminism, a niche she’s made her own.

Lynsey freelances and works a romance-novel editing job to pay the bills. She got her “big break” writing reviews for adult entertainment films—and by “big break” I mean a writing job that pays well for minimal work (hard to come by in the writing and publishing industries) and provides a place to be published, even if by a ridiculous penname. However, she was quick to realize that reviewing porn movies wasn’t as glamorous at it initially sounded. “I came to [my job] thinking this would be really cool. I thought, ‘I’ll be the coolest person anybody knows because I’m reviewing porn,’” she says. But while watching films over the course of that job, she realized there were no plots and just hardcore, focused-on-straight-cis-male-viewers, porn. It was not as cool as she thought she was going to be.

Starting out with pornography sparked her interest in studying women and how they are treated in our society. She says, “My feminism wasn’t fully developed until later in life.” She graduated from Fordham University, a historically Jesuit school, so there were no gender classes or sex and sexuality classes. She studied writing, literature and philosophy which Lynsey says were mostly centered on religious texts and teachings. “I don’t think I’m one of their favorite alumni,” Lynsey says in gest. “Most of my publications are not going to go in the alumni bulletin. It’s a shame, I’m doing great stuff!”

(more…)

A Hidden Gem

 

In the small town of Well, Limburg in the Netherlands, you will find crystal shop Die Steenen Haeghe with stones from all over the world. Shop owner Frank Hertman and wife pick out each stone in the shop by hand.

Written and produced by Alexandra Fileccia, Courtney Tharp and Jennifer Hannigan

The man behind the counter

By Alexandra Fileccia

 In the Prague 1 Municipal District, across the Legion Bridge, there is a quaint shop with a goat sculpture that sits on the nearest right side corner under the blue, green and red letters of the store name, Zdravíček. A young man stands idly inside, hidden by the windowless entrance. From the outside, it doesn’t look like anything more than a place to eat; the chalkboard above the goat advertises soup and sandwiches. Once inside though, the little eatery unfolds into a colorful farmer’s market.

 Jakub Holzer, 27, stocks a shelf of local, homemade desserts. Occasionally, he knocks some over and rights them again. He walks back to the cash register and hovers for a few seconds. When he sees that no one is ready to pay yet, Holzer retreats into the back room where his colleagues are gathered in conversation. When he hears the door open, he peers his dirty blonde haired head into the room and returns to his post greeting incoming customers with a smile and a timid head nod.

Holzer speaks perfect Czech, having grown up in Nová Ves nad Lužnicí, Czech Republic. To foreigners, he speaks broken English, hesitating before each word. From his backpack he pulls out bilingual a copy of Don Quixote, one page in Czech and the opposite page translated in English. “I have taken four years [of English] in school, but without active speaking, it is poor,” says Holzer as he flips through the pages of the book. He says that reading literature with English text along side Czech text is how he keeps the Anglo-Saxon language in his head. As a customer approaches the checkout counter, he slides the book back into his backpack and rings up the fresh vegetables grown organically on local Czech farms; an involuntary action after the years spent as a cashier. Though his smile hides his annoyance with such a simple task, it is clear that the young man is capable of much more.

Being a cashier at Zdravíček is only a part-time job for Holzer, a way to make some extra cash as he says. Though he studied design in school, he is a paid journalist for Nový Prostor, a magazine sold by the homeless and those in social distress. The title translates to New Space in English. “Writing was always my hobby,” says Holzer, who says he got this job by chance. The magazine focuses on social issues and alternative culture. He has written about a variety of topics ranging from squatters in Prague to theatre technique to esotericism in Czech.

Though he currently spends his time among organic cabbage and potatoes, and shelves of locally jarred honey and jams in the Czech Republic, Holzer has traveled to Spain, Italy, Albania, France, Germany, and Romania. He says he enjoys traveling, even within his own country. “With every article,” says Holzer, “I meet new people and visit new places.” This is one of his favorite things about his career in journalism. At times he says writing for the paper is stressful, but says it is as close to a dream job as he can imagine.

Though he has done quite a bit of traveling, he plans to stay immersed in the history of his home country. “I love the nature here,” says Holzer as he hunches over the checkout counter, “and the Czech people.” He says that Czech people have a certain ironic humor he couldn’t live without. He makes a motion of opening a book and says that by picking up almost any Czech book, you would be able to pick out the humor—that it’s hard to explain. He would miss his culture too much to move away. “I feel like I belong to the Czech Republic,” Holzer says and stiffens his posture. He looks around the store for something to keep him busy, lingering around his post. With no customers around, he rejoins his coworkers in the backroom.

Through Monologues and Tragedies: Video Translation

Through Monologues and Tragedies

By Alexandra Fileccia

“Characters: Harold- Early fifties, father of Tuesday.
Tuesday- Early twenties, daughter of Harold.
…Pause. Tuesday has finished folding the laundry. She puts it into a basket. She takes another basket, walks over to a washer, and pulls out Harold’s clothes. She carries the basket to the dryer center stage and puts the clothes in. She presses a button. There’s a buzz. Harold jumps in his wheelchair.

Harold: Can you stop that noise?
Tuesday: It’ll only buzz once more. I promise.
Harold: It scares me.
Tuesday: I know—I know it does.
Beat.
Tuesday: Do you want me to watch with you?
Harold: If you want to.
Beat.
Tuesday: I would”
-(MacCormack, “Spin Cycle”)
It was 8:30 in the morning—an hour before she would leave for her first day of her senior year of high school. She was still asleep when she heard her mom scream from outside. “Kim, get a pillow!” her mother yelled at her. She awoke startled, not knowing what was going on, and grabbed a pillow as she was ordered. She followed her mother to where she initially screamed and found her dad face-first on the ground.

Kimberly MacCormack spent the first day of school at home. She visited her father in the hospital for a little but demanded her brother drive her home. It was too painful to see her dad like that; he had suffered from a stroke. How many 17-year-olds have been through that all before the school day began?

With no health insurance, her mother was struggling to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills for a husband who she was divorcing. Her brother Connor had to drop out of college to take care of her dad. All while this was happening, her other brother Ryan was in Georgia at military boot camp. She didn’t want to deal with it anything that was going on, so she simply didn’t. She went to school and she did what was good for her—she acted like everything was fine and ignored the situation. MacCormack later remarked that she felt like a very selfish person.

(more…)

Sophomore wins $50k grant

Sophomore wins $50k grant
By Alexandra Fileccia/Beacon Correspondent
April 12, 2012 at 12:15 am

Silently filming herself flipping through several handwritten notecards, sophomore Kanika Misra tells her story. In her 10-minute YouTube video, Misra narrates her experience with losing a loved one to pancreatic cancer, which would eventually be her winning ticket in a contest that would give a $50,000 social media grant to an organization of her choice. The competition was hosted by Brickfrish, a platform that allows agencies to launch social media programs called “Tell Your Story and Make a Difference.” Misra, a sophomore marketing communication major, won with a 1,000 vote lead.

Misra decided to give the grant to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. This non-profit organization was founded in 1999 and is dedicated to advance research, “support patients and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer,” according to its website.

Jennifer Reeves, the public relations manager for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, said that Brickfish will be giving services which will support a new social media awareness campaign for the organization this summer.

“We were so thrilled to hear Kanika won [the contest],” Reeves said in an email, “[We] are so grateful for her efforts to raise much-needed awareness for pancreatic cancer.”

Reeves said approximately two percent of the National Cancer Institute’s federal research funding is allocated to pancreatic cancer. Misra said she chose a pancreatic cancer organization because her uncle recently passed away from this specific type of cancer.

(more…)