Tribeca Film Festival Review: “Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie”


The Barbie doll has been a feminist boogeyman (or boogeyperson) for decades. As an inanimate object, she’s an easy target — but there are real people behind the doll. The documentary “Tiny Shoulders” looks at Barbie’s journey from groundbreaking toy, to cultural lightning rod, to her most recent redesign for 21st century sensibilities. Continue Reading at Downtown Express.

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: “Sidelined”

ìThe Chargettes perform.î Shari McDonald in SIDELINED. Photo credit: Jack Schwaesdall.

My review of this documentary: “In television sports coverage, it’s called a “honey shot” when they point the camera at one of the cheerleaders instead of the players. For most of the 20th century, cheerleaders were just on the sidelines of sports coverage — but in the ’70s, the exploitation of NFL cheerleaders became big business. The filmmakers behind the short documentary “Sidelined” pin this on the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, who rose to mainstream awareness thanks to a convenient honey shot, and their skintight short shorts. Most other cheer teams, like the San Diego Chargerettes and Chicago Honey Bears, got caught up in the rush. When Playboy magazine capitalized on this trend, and did a spread with cheerleaders, it destroyed at least one squad. “Sidelined” looks at this scandal from a variety of perspectives to explore just how much the “girl next door” can be sexualized before going too far. Continue Reading at

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Tangible and Social: Virtual Reality at Tribeca Immersive

The stereotype of Virtual Reality (VR) is an isolated person sitting alone in a room, their head sealed within a helmet, master of a lonesome utopia. Early efforts at VR often met this cliché — but the “Tribeca Immersive” programming at the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) aims to make virtual reality a more tangible and social experience. Tribeca Immersive includes a Virtual Arcade of VR experiences (Apr. 20-28), along with a festival of films shot in 360 degrees. Both are running at the same time at TFF this month (Apr. 18-29), and will give even hardcore VR users an excuse to leave home and experience these site-specific installations at the festival’s headquarters. Continue reading at Downtown Express…

ìobjects in mirror AR closer than they appearî is an interactive new media installation based on the critically-acclaimed theatrical performance THE OBJECT LESSON.
Photo credit: Max Gordon.

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Back to Work We Go — But First, Some Back-Patting!

My Arts coverage in Downtown Express won an award from the NY Press Association: “From subways to congestion pricing to taking control of development around the Penn Station area, your hard-working friends here at Chelsea Now rightly (and righteously) chafe at being told what to do by a certain guy in Albany — but we fold like a load of dryer-hot laundry when folks in the New York State Capitol tell us we’ve won an award.” Continue Reading at Chelsea Now…


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A Birthday Fit for a Princess — At a Pauper’s Price

I strut through Union Square in my $750 cocktail dress, and take a sip from my $10 coffee, careful not to smudge my professionally applied lipstick. A gentleman hands me a free cupcake as I walk by. Other people give me food, cosmetics, and beverages because… I’m special! Am I a movie star? A princess? A social media influencer with a million followers? No, I’m special because I’m The Birthday Girl — and today, I’m living the sweet life for free. All it takes is some comfortable shoes, knowledge of New York’s neighborhoods, and an email address I was willing to hand over to data miners. Continue reading at Downtown Express… 


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Blasts From the Past and Breakthrough Toys of Tomorrow

Feb22_Toy_Piano.jpgMy coverage of the NY Toy Fair: “ New York is home to lots of fun events at our convention centers, but the annual North American International Toy Fair is off-limits to the general public. Only industry pros and press are allowed to experience its whimsical wonders. We were lucky to have access to this secret toyland during its Feb. 17–20 run at the Javits Center, and played with some of the new toys that will be delighting kids and grown-ups in the months ahead.” Continue Reading at Downtown Express… 

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Costumed Fans of Japanese Comics and Cartoons Convene at Anime NYC

New York has a major Comic Con but, in years past, there was a con just for Japanese comics and cartoons. The old New York Anime Festival was absorbed into the New York Comic Con (NYCC) five years ago, leaving the city’s nerdy Japanophiles without a major con they could claim as their own. This year saw the arrival of the first Anime NYC — a three-day event (Nov. 17-19) held at the Javits Center, where fans could indulge their love of “Sailor Moon,” “Fullmetal Alchemist” and more, in the company of fellow Otakus (a Japanese term for obsessives, most commonly of the anime and manga stripes). Continue reading at

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