Author archives: Laura Goode

  • Unicorns in the Wild

  • 1. QUIET ACTION I have always loved how softly Meera Menon calls “Action!” There’s a quality of firmness without aggressiveness to her tone when she initiates a scene: She reminds me how to get things done without raising one’s volume. Her authority—as the director of Farah Goes Bang (which I co-wrote and produced) and Equity, which premiered at Sundance 2016—has nothing to do with volume. People listen to her because they want to hear what she has to say. We were in our 20s and shooting a[...]
  • The Tarkovsky Questionnaire: James Kaelan

  • As BRIGHT IDEAS enters its third year, we realized that you, our readers, don't know enough about the people responsible for creating the magazine. So our contributing editor, Laura Goode, came up with a brilliant way to pull back the curtain. She came across a brief questionnaire the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky scribbled down in his notebook back in the winter of 1974. And over the coming weeks and months, everyone on the BRIGHT IDEAS/Seed&Spark team will answer the same 17 que[...]
  • Mercy. Danger. Style. Absurdity.

  • 1. The Unbearable Loneliness of Dog Parks Janicza Bravo can’t find the particular book she seeks. “This photographer who meant a lot to me just died,” she says with some urgency, scanning shelves and unburying things in her rococo West Hollywood bungalow, “and I wanted to show you some of her work.” She keeps plumbing the space around us, apologizing repeatedly for her inability to find the book or sit down. “You mean Mary Ellen Mark?” I venture a guess. “Yes!” Bravo’s hands fly into[...]
  • The Romance of Rewatching

  • I am a serial rewatcher of TV. I think I’ve watched every episode of The West Wing, for example, between five and 50 times. I’ve watched The West Wing in dorm rooms and, later, apartment bedrooms, and, later, bedrooms in houses with no apartment numbers. I’ve watched it on airplanes and in bed, late in the evening and early in the morning, in the background as I cooked dinner, in the foreground as I fell asleep. I’ve watched it as labor advanced and as sickness receded, in the throes of love’s p[...]
  • Clair Huxtable, Antiheroine

  • “For far too long, Black women in particular have been saddled with the representational baggage of The Cosby Show. Since Bill Cosby is a rapist, his avatar Cliff Huxtable is a representational terrorist, holding us hostage to a Black family that never was. But let him die. Stockholm Syndrome be damned. It has long been time to slay the Huxtable patriarch. So Cliff Huxtable, you’re dead to me! And perhaps now representations of Black families, and in particular, Black women can live and br[...]
  • Rachel Goldberg, Antiheroine

  • For those of you just joining our conversation, catch up on the previous ANTIHEROINES here. I’ll bet you a fistful of long-stemmed roses that you’re not watching the most Antiheroinic show on TV right now. What if I told you that there’s a new series on basic cable in which the main character is wearing a T-shirt reading “THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE” in her very first scene? What if this show depicted a billion-dollar empire both helmed by and starring almost exclusively women? Woul[...]
  • Emma Sulkowicz, Antiheroine

  • For those of you just joining our conversation, catch up on the previous Antiheroines here. There are 43 seconds of Emma Sulkowicz on video, in motion. In them, she crosses a stage to collect her diploma, flanked by three friends helping her to carry her now-iconic mattress. What happens as she crosses the stage is ambiguous: Sulkowicz passes Columbia University president Lee C. Bollinger, he reaches back for a water bottle, they do not make eye contact or shake hands; she shrugs and keeps wa[...]
  • Monica Lewinsky, Antiheroine

  • For those of you just joining our conversation, catch up on the previous Antiheroines here. In her recent viral TED Talk “The Price of Shame,” Monica Lewinsky recites the year 1998 like a mantra, demarking the year eight separate times in her 22-minute speech. She calls 1998 the year she was “swept up into the eye of a political, legal and media maelstrom like we had never seen before.” “In 1998,” she repeats, “I lost my reputation and my dignity.” Her composure falters only once, while descr[...]
  • Brianna Barksdale, Antiheroine

  • The pietá of Brianna Barksdale has been an image I’ve been looking for a way to write about since the inception of this column; of course there is no way not to include The Wire in a discussion of television’s most compelling irradiations of moral ambiguity and gender trouble. Now, Baltimore’s rising has made it feel imperative to address Brianna and her grief: the dark, painful questions Brianna is forced to answer on the battleground of The Wire’s Baltimore emblematize the terrible questions b[...]
  • Amy Schumer, Antiheroine

  • For those of you just joining our conversation, catch up on the previous Antiheroines here! Recently I read about a woman scientist in Chernobyl, “Bionerd23,” who has, to date, posted over 60 videos of herself on YouTube. In the videos, she documents her trespasses into the long-evacuated radioactive zone: eating Chernobyl’s apples, being chased by a feral fox, pouring raw mercury over her hands. Her argument is that radioactive material isn’t as dangerous as we think it is; she uses herself [...]
  • Sally Draper, Antiheroine

  • Author's note: I'll be taking next week off from my beloved Antiheroines in order to release the film I co-wrote and produced, Farah Goes Bang! You can pre-order FGB on iTunes here if you, like me, are hotly anticipating its April 10 release. Farah, very much an Antiheroine in her own right, is a Seed&Spark joint.  For those of you just joining our conversation, catch up on the previous Antiheroines here! It was inevitable that we would arrive here together. Mad Men was the first prest[...]
  • Carmela Soprano, Antiheroine

  • How do I write something new about a character who became an icon almost as soon as she appeared, now 16 years ago? Why, 16 years after her first appearance and 8 after her last, does Carmela Soprano still matter? It’s because I can’t write about any of these Antiheroines without addressing Carmela as their progenitor. Carmela was the first, sui generis: Carmela the grande dame, Carmela the Madonna to a thousand Bada Bing! whores, Carmela the martyr, Carmela who drips with blood diamonds. Car[...]
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