Wednesday, 18 November 2009
chartyourcycle.wordpress.com or www.chartyourcycle.co.uk
And you can also now friend us on facebook, which we update with gigs and new stuff.
Friday, 2 October 2009
Also, check out some groovy coverage we just got in The Guardian.
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
It's still in the works, but all the old posts are there, and will soon be joined by some new ones, so please reset your um... feeds? links? apps? to:
Thank you! (And thanks to blogger for starting me off with shiny buttons I understood!)
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Vintage Women – Reclaiming Time!
Wednesday 22 July 2009
14:00 until late
20:00 Doors open for evening performances
Lady Gaby presents @
Wonderbar Wienerstr 45. Berlin XBERG
Entry: Suggested donation 2 euro
Adventures in Menstruating on 50s adverts – deconstructing the media and creating your own spoof ads; Gender stereotypes – subverting oppression through comedy exploration of representation.
24 Hour Zine Thing – Create your own zine response with ad collages and captions using materials provided or vintage ads/images/text you bring. The completed zine will be available to trade or buy on the night as part of July’s International Zine Month!
Coffee, cakes, brownies, cookies and treats at 1950s prices!
Swap shop: bring vintage clothing and accessories to trade and share! Fabric pens available for quick modifications – bring your own sewing supplies/ribbon if you’ve got some!
Knitters and crocheters welcome!
DJing by Mary from The Baby Cheeses
Evening - Doors open 8 pm – Comedy sketches, poetry and spoken word from Lady Gaby, Adventures in Menstruating’s Chella Quint and Sarah Thomasin, Brittany Shoot and more!
Live Music from The Hairy Marys!
Retro set by DJ Girl Detective
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Schedule and all other details are here.
Hit us up by email or on the facebook if we should look out for you - we'll be there from Saturday!
Monday, 6 July 2009
I did these ads for the launch of issue 3 of Adventures in Menstruating, and they've been around ever since at our live comedy shows, which feature various riffs on 'pads for men' ads.
You may enjoy my own contribution to the viral internet canon, which, like the other Skids stuff, went live in August 2007. Thanks to Cakebread Illustrations for offering to make the website after seeing our show in Berlin. Stay tuned for further additions.
In the meantime, please enjoy the fantastically hilarious comments on today's G2 article. Now Mooncup really know how to do viral.
Time flies. Issue 4 is due another reprint, and we're back in Berlin on 18 July.
Monday, 15 June 2009
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Big thanks to Joel for inviting us, and for giving a shout out to Ye Olde English.
Friday, 5 June 2009
I LOVE the real photocheck of Jupiter because I'm a complete astronomy geek. The way Buzzfeed (which I've never looked at before but seems like an excellent procrastination tool to add to my inexaustible supply) works seems to involve an elaborate system of tagging - I count mostly LOLs but only one CUTE, with quite a few WTFs and, sadly, too many EWs (and one TRASHY, which seems a bit of a stretch, to me...).
Anyone want to do a definitive work on this with a Venn diagram and everything?
*The 'chompers' look remarkably similar to the Steven King bad guys from the film version of the book. They eat leftovers, so I suppose it's fair enough, but that film scared the crap out of me.
PS. Edited to add that we're both really curious about the artist! We'd like to give credit we're credit is due and neither Rich nor I could find the source. :) So yeah, answers on a postcard, please.
Thursday, 4 June 2009
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
Monday, 1 June 2009
At the moment I'm working on Robyn's Egg: A child's Introduction to Menstruation (which I think I've mentioned before), and two companion children's books, which is taking some honing of my rusty illustration skills. The other two books are 'Rocket to the Moon' (tampons as improvised toys and craft supplies) and 'How Does Your Friend Make You Feel' (a colouring and activity book based on menstrual euphemisms that I think might also make a good creative writing/comic workshop - stay tuned).
I'm also in the middle of developing my guide to sanitary disposal units: The SDU and YOU: Public Inconveniences. Stay tuned for the results of interviews with industry insiders!
We're looking at summer plans and should have a couple of events lined up soon.
Monday, 27 April 2009
The London Zine Symposium is a lot of fun - there are always groovy people to hang out with, sexy vegan snacks to eat (in 2007 there was vegan 'cheese' cake that I will never forget) and beautiful handmade and/or self-published zines and books to browse, trade for or buy.
Throughout the day there will be readings and workshops.
12-6, The Rag Factory, London.
Friday, 17 April 2009
My friend James read a really sweet intro and then helped me raffle off the t-shirt and the Toys in Babeland bag to raise some money for Bluestockings, and the menstrual comedy fans were really generous. It was a great atmosphere at the reading - a really warm and enthusiastic crowd, and (since I was only there for a few days) served as a welcome and a farewell for my flying visit. I was really psyched that Microcosm's Sparky got to NYC in time to attend because we'd never had the chance to meet in person before and she's really friendly! Huge props to long-time supporter Jenna from Radical Reference and the Barnard Zine Library who's attended the Bluestockings readings a few times now, and all the staff working that night for joining in and making me feel so at home.
Later that night (after a karaoke, pineapple juice and rum-themed send-off) at The Living Theatre I read some more on my own and also with a fellow baseball-loving, Doctor Who geek college pal. It seemed like a great small venue - I'd recommend it and will most likely head back there again to see other work. I met awesome people at both readings, including another woman who had a women's health-super-hero-alter-ego, some radical teachers, and wicked cool readers who were already familiar with the zines and well-versed in the menstrual hi jinks.
The next morning I finished the triptych with a visit to the anarchist bookfair where I donated zines to the Sex Workers Outreach Project and traded some more for some vegan chocolate peanut butter cups and screenprinted speculum stencil patches. I also got chatting with lovely people visiting from Wooden Shoe Books in Philly, who were the first shop to ever carry my zine, and picked up some info from Books Through Bars, ABC No Rio, and Teaching for Change (got a book of radical lesson plans).
Zines I picked up (awesomely, all trades, actually):
For the Mobile Menstrual Zine Library:
Where Have all the Placentas Gone?
Herbal Abortion: A Woman’s DIY Guide
What Your Momma (or your doctor or your teacher or anybody) Never Told You About Your Period
Girl Fuck - An Introduction to Girl on Girl Lovin'
I also got Dave Roche's newest zine, About My Disappearance 2, because he's awesome and I miss him but I hear he's having a whale of a time in Australia right now so I can't complain.
More details to follow on those zines as I read them.
I'll leave you with the Bluestockings bathroom - a joy to behold with a bathroom book, artwork, lots of space, an awesome minimalist bucket sink (you'll have to visit to see that part - it's inspired) and, if you're that way inclined, a hand-rolled cigarette lovingly left in the toilet-roll basket. Crazy.
I'll post more when the ridiculously long-winded jet lag of doom wears off.
Friday, 10 April 2009
I'm reading tonight at Bluestockings Bookstore, NYC, at 7 pm with the new issue of the zine. It's all gone a bit launch party styley and there'll be treats and goodybags with vouchers and raffle prizes.
Later tonight (at 10:40, to be exact) I'm reading at the Anarchist Bookfair's Arts Night at The Living Theatre. Somehow I'm on the poster as simply 'menstruation'. Not Adventures in Menstruating, not Chart Your Cycle, not Chella Quint... I am amazed and impressed that the event coordinators and poster designers consider the simple act or concept of garden variety menstruation itself enough of a draw to give it billing.
Hope to see you tonight!
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Why is menstruation funny?And then I watched the most recent episode of South Park, which was awesome.
Um...for the same reasons a lot of other stuff is funny.
It's a taboo subject - the shock of it all always gets a giggle right away and, immature or not, the gross-out factor is still fun. It's the new fart joke. You wait and see.
Here's a you tube link to the song at the end of the episode, since UK readers can't stream it, thanks to an irritating contract issue. I think, as usual, they've pretty much nailed it.
Saturday, 4 April 2009
First up is Rachel Kauder Nalebuff reading from her collection of menarchic anecdotes, My Little Red Book, tonight. If you're in the area, go and check her out. Sadly, I'll still be in the UK, busy printing and packing issues of AIM #4 for my own trip to NY next week but I'll be there in spirit, Menarche Now! style.
To complete the menstrual cycle this Friday, I'll actually be at Bluestockings myself, with some comedy readings to launch Adventures in Menstruating #4. Join me for curious advertising and design trends, masculine hygiene products and more vintage ads. Both readings begin at 7 pm and are free, although donations to the awesome Bluestockings team are always welcome.
Two menstrual readings in one week? Mad props to the Bluestockings gang: That's more than most bookstores manage in a lifetime.
Friday, 3 April 2009
Die Wunderbare Welt Des Wissens seems to be a blog of musings, events and things that caught the blogger's eye. It's certainly a Wonderful World of something, but I don't think my unintentional contribution showed particular wisdom...maybe just cheekiness.
I take a lot of pictures of the excellent Berlin graf every summer, and post them around on facebook and google photo and stuff...but it turns out I've now come full circle.
Thanks to my friend John who took a rubbish little doodle of mine and Illustrator-ed it into oblivion. It's such a shame we won't get to use it agan, so I'm really glad it lives in sticker form, in Berlin, where we spent part of our lovely honeymoon.
It's a shame one person felt the need to comment with, simply, 'Urgs.'
But it's nice to see that a different commenter has written a reply that's pretty right on in any language: "What's your problem? It's only natural." (Thank you, Sarah, for your fast and loose tranlations.)
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Correction, I guess...It's amazing where I can allow myself to see tampons while I'm editing the next issue of my menstrual comedy zine.
I just finished the cover and it's in for printing.
We've got an interesting new sponsor, as well - whole back cover ad!
By anyway, that's where I've been the past couple of days I should have been posting.
Friday, 27 March 2009
I know what you're thinking.
But you're wrong.
What happened was...
...ok I know what you're now thinking....
and you're still wrong. (Thank you, Laura, other woman I just met in the pub.)
Seriously, I'm out at the pub with some friends and we're all having a laugh over my ineptitude at keeping quiet about menstruation.
I just can't help myself. It's like a disorder.
What happened was, I met a girl who asked to share my table, but the seat was taken. Then I happened to go to the toilet at the same time as she did, three times. It went: awkward looks in mirror as we were both surprised to see each other again, embarrassed apology on our second meeting for denying her a table, and finally, friendship. She saw me again and said, 'Wow! We've synchronized!'
Readers of Adventures in Menstruating #3 may remember my concerns about what to say about menstrual synchronization. It's a whole other ballpark when it's toilet synchronization. We're now friends, I think. She works for an organization that gives kids free bikes. One day soon, I'll explain to her about the zine, and why I nearly exploded with laughter in her face at 'Wow! We've synchronized!'
Last weekend I was in the public toilet at the newly refurbished theatre in town, and got into a very long and loud conversation with some cool old ladies about the width of the cubicles finally meeting their approval.
"I wrote in," said one. "The old toilets were too narrow for my mature backside! I'm glad they finally listened," she beamed.
Mature backside one, Historically cramped public inconveniences - zero.
I'm going to have to find a swift and sensible way to explain why I tend to loiter in public toilets and strike up conversations though.
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
I mentioned to Sarah that I wanted to come up with some new menstrual euphemisms - just for fun - no stigma attatched but more for vocabularic variety. There are fabulous metaphors for masturbation, defecation and all the other -ations that come out of your body, but menstrual metaphors all seem very negative and 1950s to us.
Her suggestion: When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along - I laughed and laughed. Then we looked up the song and realised it was sung by Doris Day (we love Doris Day), mentioned throbbing, and was about feeling positive. Why not specifically period positive, we say.
Sarah: Hey, Chella, my Red Red Robin just came Bob Bob Bobbin' along. Have you got a tampon?(Only the English version of that song works, by the way, and could have some straw-grasping interpretations about male panic about menstruation rather than an impending invasion.)
Chella: What a coincidence. My 99 Red Balloons have just gone by and and I've still got a pad in my bag.
In more sensible news, Sarah's poem was posted on Feminist Review today. For her efforts, she's won a quite cool looking book. Another winner, Erika Mikkalo, wrote a poem that reminded me of the Radio 4 programme I mentioned the other week about feminists being funny: Call Yourself A Feminist.
Do send us newphemisms.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Yep - things that are not menstrual but could be - nay should be.
First up: Flora The Red Menace.
This was a 60s musical starring Liza Minelli. It's about communism, predictably, and, more surprisingly, fashion design.
But to misquote HBO's favorite 80s rerun, Clue, communism's just a red herring these days. I doubt this play will have revivals as successful as its sibling creations, Cabaret and Chicago. That's why I suggest that we give it its own special revival.
Now, I'm obviously not condoning euphemism for period-shame-related cover ups, but I have no problem with nicknaming my period. (Party Weirdo's Cara gave her period a stage name, after all.)
I nickname all my friends. Most of them don't mind. Imagine this exchange:
Nicknamed Friend of Chella (who doesn't mind): Hey Chella, what's up?
Chella: I'm totally chilling with Flora the Red Menace today, man!
Yeah...that works for me.
Send in your not-menstrual-but-should-be suggestions.
Friday, 20 March 2009
By this I mean that my period is flowing nicely, no hiccups (I mean that figuratively, but now I'm beginning to wonder how a literal menstrual hiccup would manifest itself...), no leaks, the cramps provided a reliable rhythm throughout the day like a small and temperamental Volkswagon Beetle, and I was in a good mood.
I was teaching a drama class today, and a girl got 'that' panicked look on her face and asked to speak to me away from the other kids. She said, 'Miss, can I go to the toilet? I think I've just come on.' Without batting an eye, and particularly cheerfully (because I was actually having a happy period), I replied, 'Oh, yeah, no problem. I just came on today as well. Do you need a pad? And don't worry about saying it in private - we don't need to talk about periods like they're a dirty secret - because they're not.' She was really cool about it and when she walked back into the room she didn't do the 'slinking back from running to the toilet' walk - she held her head high.
So, yeah, despite major difficulties with the ebb and flow that many women often have, there are some people who generally don't suffer too much, and could be persuaded that periods are kinda fun, and even funny. So...the Always campaign agrees with me - on the surface. This didn't sit too well with me, so I looked at their website and tried to work out what they were getting at.
The e-cards (did they read Adventures in Menstruating #3?) give the game away - apparently, having a happy period means excusing away sexist, stereotypical behaviours (eating chocolate, shopping, and acting bitchy) in a spectacular body image/capitalist/alpha female triple whammy.
This is a campaign that initially appears to be pro-menstrual normalisation and celebration but could do a lot of harm either way you look at it:
- Some women think it's cute and positive, and use the website and the e-cards and it's a barrel of monkeys. Many of these women then go on to buy the product they've developed an affinity for and get sucked further into the disposable pad market.
- Other women become uproariously irritated, rail against the notion that periods are in any way a ray of sunshine, and back this up with a litany of all the things that are shit about periods. They boycott the pads but propogate the notion that women are victims who suffer from periods and unwittingly support other women to seek out the allegedly panacea-like pads.
The problem with saying 'Have a Happy Period' is that when Always says it, it's about as sincere as when any other multi-national corporation says anything. Their next question may as well be, 'Do you want wings with that?'
We have plenty of nice days, but we, as a people, don't like to be told to have a nice day. Always could be promoting the notion that for some people, periods don't need to be a negative experience EVERY month, but instead they are taking ownership of the good times we have with our periods.
It's my birthday tomorrow, so I'm anticipating that the happy period times will continue.
The video ads are mesmerising though, and I quite like the graphic design version of the improv game of props going on with the pads as shoes and boats and things, but Red Dwarf did it first and best.
Still curious about the hiccups.
Thursday, 19 March 2009
So I like the way Jeff Krichmar designed these:I like that the name is a riff on both 'time of the month' and 'rhythm'.
I like that the waxing of the moon and graded darkening of the boxes correspond to both the passage of time and (from what I can infer) the heaviness of your flow each day.
I like the colour not being pastel pink, the imagery not being abstract.
I like menstruation being linked to scientific fact, not misogynistic fantasy.
I really like the chart motif.
And what I like even more is that the writer of What Made Me Look said this about it when she posted a link to it on her blog:
"I wish there would be a tasteful packaging like this that you are not embarrassed to carry around in your handbag."
Awesome that the embarrassment factor comes from bad design.
Further thanks to Tina at swissmiss for indirectly making me look at what made me look.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
This is a classic problem - the short trap door plus a lax cleaning rota. Last year's York centre SDU nirvana may have been a one-off. This was taken in the other public toilet built and maintained for shoppers and tourists in York city centre, and it let me down.
My accidental SDU tourism has taught me two things though -
- York has the most stylish units in the UK, evidenced by twice-seen rakishly angled design choices - the debonair dandies of the public convenience world.
- It would be wise for none of us to accept old-lady free toilet hook ups in the future. Visitors and Citizens of York: Pay the 20 pence charge from now on to avoid crimes against SDU-manity.
Thursday, 12 March 2009
But despite this odd practice, the BBC are good people. A couple of weeks ago, a programme called QI jumped into the top mainstream comedy slot at 9 pm on BBC 1 (the one occupied by Friends in the 90s, if that gives you an idea). QI is a 'Quite Interesting' comedy panel game where if you guess the most obvious-seeming yet wrong answer, you lose loads of points and quite a lot of self-respect. Scores are regularly in the negative numbers at the end of each episode, and its facts are so esoteric and forgettable that my friends and I can even watch this in reruns and feel clever and stupid by turns. It's hosted by one of my favourite gay, Jewish panel game hosts, Stephen Fry (the other one is Simon Amstell).
QI used to be on BBC2, which covers the 'clever and quirky' demographic quite nicely. When it was moved to BBC1 for its most recent season, I was worried it'd dumb down and go mainstream. How delighted I was last week in the Flora and Fauna episode when the very first question name-checked menstruation in a big way. The episode is still available on iplayer in the UK, and I seriously hope it arrives on BBC America and elsewhere soon enough. The question was about the significance of the camellia flower in a book called La Dame au Camellia (and in the film and opera based on it). All the guests, including this week's token woman, Jo Brand (who has never shied away from huge amounts of sexually themed and menstrual comedy in her stand up act) joined in with the discussion of wearing a white camellia flower 25 days a month and wearing a red camellia for the other 5. (Now THAT's regular!) Women were not the butt of the jokes! Menstruation wasn't considered disgusting! Best bit: Stephen Fry in role saying 'Sorry, I can't, I've got a period on,' and Jo Brand guffawing as she gently corrected him: 'Stephen, it's EITHER/OR! Either 'I've got my period' or 'I'm on!'' A good third of the show was devoted to menstrual comedy. It's quite sad that I'm so shocked and pleased by this, but wanted to log the praise where it's due. It also taught this menstrual maven a thing or two about the history behind Germany's arm of Kotex branding its pads Camellia. (Actually I wish the US arm (wing?) would depart from their 50s medicinal moniker and head the same way - it'd mean the To Bleed Or Not To Bleed sketch I do in our live show (it's about menstrual suppression) would be able to end with 'the fair Camellia' in both countries. "The fair Camellia! Pad, in thy soft layers/Be all my blood collect'd!")
I sat down to write about this all last night but got engrossed in a BBC Radio 4 programme called Am I Normal doing an entire episode deconstructing stereotypes around menopause (recommended reading from one of the interviewees was Mrs. Dalloway - so now that's two books, an opera and a film to add to my reading list), directly followed by Call Yourself a Feminist, which turned out to be the first of three documentaries tracking different waves of feminism. (Which one are we on now? Third, right? Do we all graduate to fourth at some point? I've been in third so long I'm starting to feel like I got left back.) I was fascinated by comments from an oldskool feminist called Sonia adamantly insisting that feminists weren't humourless, and that it was irresponsible of the media to only show the drier side of feminism. Right on, sister!
So yeah, the BBC is on message. They are ready to acknowledge that feminists can be funny, and comedians can talk menstruation. Perhaps I should send in a sitcom idea about women who work in a tampon factory. Actually, I think I will. You heard it here first, folks - it'll be called Up Yours (with its own comedy tampon packaging to get my design!brain going). Look for it at 9 pm on BBC1 in a couple of years...
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
The stirrings of spring mean our hiatus is over and a new issue of Adventures in Menstruating is on the way at last – a ‘true confessions’ style bumper edition. Thank you to everyone who's waited patiently this year while we got gaymarried, worked on the Obama campaign and supported an ill friend.
The year hasn’t been totally devoid of things menstrual or zine, though –
We had an excellent review from Brittany Shoot at Feminist Review and she felt moved to write a piece for our next issue. Brittany's writing is fantastic and we're really pleased to have made friends with this radical woman. Chella will be contributing to
We did a mini tour called 'Honeymoon Period' which included a comedy sketch performance, menstrual craft workshop and poetry reading at Ladyfest Berlin and concluded with Malav's gallant hospitality once again at Bluestockings in NYC.
Sarah won a poetry competition at this year’s Off the Shelf Festival – one of the poems she read, ‘A Celebration of Menstruation’ (which you may have read in the zine or seen on tour) united the crowd and the judges, and a trophy cup has joined her mooncup on the bathroom shelf.
Chella is getting
Chella is gettinginvolved with Red Chidgey and Elke Zobl's fantastic book - working title: DIY Activism! Dispatches from the Transnational Feminist Zine Movement - and is keen to promote their website.
And finally, Chella's recently (like literally just today, actually) been asked to contribute work to a book coming out next year by Christine Bobel tentatively called New Blood: Third Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation from
So that’s been the zine highlights of the year for us – we’re excited to be back, uh… bigger and redder?
All the best from
Chella and Sarah
PS Chella will be in
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Issue 4 of AiM is coming together, believe it or not. I have the cover and back cover ideas mapped out, about 70% of the content, and the covers have given me the theme for the new issue, which I may or may not reveal before it's done - I'll keep you posted.
The myspace page has been pretty active recently, although I'm not a fan of the myspace layout and actually find it almost too jarring to use it regurlarly (the page skins aren't a problem - it's the user area I find a bit 'sensory overload'), but I'm trying to because I've met some quite cool people on there through the Ladyfest network, so please keep the friend requests coming.
I'm still in my post-inauguration come-down. I may do some research on how the tone of US feminine hygiene product advertising changes with each new president - like, do tampons tap into the zeitgeist? Maybe not. Maybe I was just trying to shoehorn in a menstrual topic to an otherwise non-menstrual event just so I could still post it on this blog - although getting your first period in the White House might lead to a leakage horror story, actually. Maybe I'll approach the Obama kids for a contribution sometime during issues 6 - 10...
No longer pretending to be Canadian,
Thursday, 1 January 2009
Here's a video link if you'd like to re-live New Year's Eve. One of these years we'll have to perform the lesbian zine girl version in Berlin! All the best for 2009.
Chella and Sarah