I TOLD THIS STORY ONCE, BUT A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN 10 YEARS....
By Toni Leago Valle
Women have always been conditioned to obsess on their bodies and sex.
CRACKED, the evening-length concert by Toni Leago Valle, demonstrates how women still fight “the perfect size 6” and “Pretty Woman” ideals. It is a painful but tender exploration of nakedness, self-image, sex and surrender.
For more information, visit CRACKED
Fiery flames and smoldering vapor plumes. Wildflowers and wild grasses. An elemental goddess at the mercy of humankind.
American poet Amy Lowell’s 1914 prescient and haunting poem, The Captured Goddess, is told through intense imagery, shot on location: from Houston's Memorial Drive wildflowers to the blazing flares and glowing smoke plumes of our city's ship channel. A seven minute mini-opera, The Captured Goddess illuminates contemporary urban life and our ever-pressing forward, ever-changing world.
Music by Dominick DiOrio
Misha Penton, soprano
Meredith Harris, viola
Kyle Evans, piano
Toni Valle, dancer and choreographer
Misha Penton, director
Raul Casares, director of photography
Cliff Davis, editor
Audio recorded by Todd Hulslander at The Geary Performance Studio, Houston Public Media.
Exclusive online release: Tuesday, October 27: mishapenton.com
In addition to the The Captured Goddess, the digital EP includes two scenes from the chamber opera, Klytemnestra, the original subversive female, with music by Dominick DiOrio and words by Misha Penton. On iTunes and Bandcamp Tuesday October 27.
My older sister handed me this button over three years ago. She told me that it is an original button from a lecture by Gloria Steinem held at University of Houston Clear Lake. I had never seen this symbol and began to research it. I was shocked to realize here was a recent history I knew nothing about that profoundly affects the quality of my life. I'm smart, naturally inquisitive and I read a ton of books and articles. How had I missed this? I began to wonder, is this lack of connection to our past the reason we are not acting in the present?
- Toni Leago Valle
courtesy of The New York Times, 2008.
For full article, click here
I am in the process of researching a new evening-length concert, "Never again." For the past three years, I have been troubled by the political process that is systematically stripping women (and other groups too, but that is a whole other concert) of their basic human rights. There is a general apathy in our lives whenever something does not directly affect us where we can see it. I know I am guilty myself of having deep feelings about our current political climate, yet not being able to act on it.
I am deeply afraid of the full circle that has come about - women are being told what they can and cannot do with their bodies We are being forced into old stereotypes with lack of birth control availability, lack of equal rights, and strong opposition that creates a hostile and fearful environment.
We have won the right to vote, but we do not. Since the 1900's our ancestors have fought for our rights to be seen as equal, as humans, yet the majority of current women lay these rights down willingly by not participating. We have fought hard to recognize that rape is a crime we do not bring on ourselves, that No Means No, that violence is something we will not stand for, yet statistics show that 1 in 3 women will have a rape experience in their lifetime. We fought for our independence through laws that allow us to control our bodies, our reproduction, our lives. And yet, we are moving towards an age where women are forced to carry babies, where sex and reproduction will no longer be a choice but a means to control us, where once again we are seen as second-class citizens.
"Never again" will take a look back at the Women's Suffrage Movement, the Battle of Planned Parenthood and Birth Control, The Feminine Mystique, Roe vs Wade, the Equal Pay Act, Gloria Steinem, and the Violence Against Women Act. By focusing on our past, I hope to bring our attention to our future, and facilitate change in our thinking. Perhaps by exposing my own fear, I can touch others and collectively we can start to act so that we can remain first-class citizens, humans treated with respect, and retain the ability to make individual choices for ourselves.
I begin this summer by choreographing a piece to the classic short essay, "Why I Want a Wife," by Judy Brady. Published in 1972, "Why I Want a Wife," is a satire on women's perceived roles as a wife and mother.
Toni Leago Valle