Want a ‘Good Hair’ day? It’s not as easy as just relaxing…

What makes a good hair day? For some it’s as simple as a quick wash’n'go, but for naturally afro-haired women a ‘good hair’ day can actually be a nightmare to achieve. In an unexpected career move, this is the subject of comedian Chris Rock’s latest documentary – aptly entitled Good Hair.

Inspired by the heartbreaking moment his young daughter came to him asking “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” Rock set off on a journey to find out just what constituted ‘Good Hair’ for black women. Firstly, it seems that Rock couldn’t get to the root of that question without culturally questioning their idealised hair type; ‘relaxed’, ’straight’, ’smooth’ – seemingly as far away from afro hair and as close to Caucasian as possible.

In a world where wavy-haired white women adorn our screens, flicking their tresses and proclaiming “Because I’m Worth It”,  it’s hardly surprising that afro haired women might aspire to ‘white girl flow‘… even when weaves are expensive, relaxers are chemically dangerous and the whole hair styling process can take hours on end! So what does all this tell us about our society today? If anyone has a passionate, pointed and bitterly humorous take on the subject then, surely, Chris Rock is our guy!

Good Hair won the special jury prize at the 2009 Sundance festival and has just been released over here (it’s UK release was on the 25th June). Mixing the personal, the painful and the absurd, Good Hair looks hilarious, provocative and vital… and I’m really looking forward to seeing it!

More to hear, see and read;

Chris Rock talks to the BBC on why he made Good Hair

Tyra Banks devotes an entire episode of her show to African-American hair styling, inspired by Rock’s documentary

Jamelia’s ‘Whose Hair Is It Anyway?’ for BBC Three

My post on the 1940’s Clark doll experiment and Kiri Davis’ film A Girl Like Me

And more to watch and read, as of 19/07/2010;

Rock’s documentary has received negative reviews from the black and feminist community. Interesting points have been made that it was unbalanced, sexist and judgemental, that it shows black women as ’silly’ and ‘vain’… take a look at these!

The film gets a thumbs down from crownofHisglory

Mrs Raena felt the film missed the point in its focus on male/female relationships, intimacy and men paying for treatments

Krizia of EatSmartAgeSmart gives her reaction to Rock’s documentary before seeing it… and after seeing it.

GoingAllNatural wishes there had been more talk about natural hair in the movie

Rose Afriyie at Feministing gives her review

Good post and good comments over at Racialicious

By: Sarah Barnes, 03.07.2010 | Comments (2)
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Funny Women Showcase, 13th June

Women. They’re a funny old bunch. I know this, you know this… but it seems there are still those out there who refuse to believe that the ‘fairer sex’ possess fully functioning funny bones. Hurrah, then, for Funny Women – a rather fantastic organisation that’s been supporting, recognising and rewarding female comedians for 8 years.

As we gear up to this year’s Funny Women Awards, the finalists are busy proving of their hilarious existences at various Funny Women Showcases, the next of which is this Sunday (the 13th) at Leicester Square Theatre. Get down there to see the brilliant Bridget Christie (Funny Women Awards finalist 2004 and Funny Women Fringe Award Winner 2007), who will most likely be dressed as a giant ant. No, I’m not joking…

I first saw Christie’s Ant act at Robin Ince’s School For Gifted Children gig, where her A. Ant character complained angrily about always being the token ant at comedy gigs and how, just because she’s an ant, everyone expected to hear all the same old ant-related jokes. Why can’t she be appreciated as simply ‘funny’, rather than ‘a funny ant’? Hmm, sounds familiar…

Find out more about the Funny Women showcase and, more importantly, buy your tickets here!

(Illustration by Sarah Barnes)

By: Sarah Barnes, 08.06.2010 | Comments (0)
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Double The Comedy Cream

The Laughing Cows will be super-busy next week, bringing the laughs to audiences in both Birmingham and London!

First up, the cows will be visiting Birmingham’s Kitchen Garden Cafe on Wednesday the 10th. Juliet Myers (above left) headlines, supported by Helen Keen and Shelley Cooper.

Angie McEvoy (above right) will be headlining the night at The Green Carnation in London on the 11th, with able support from Hils Barker, Marie Vagen, Laura Mugridge and the Brides of Comedy.

Both shows will be compered by resident MC Maureen Younger, who requires bums on seats by 8 for both shows!

Read the Gingerbeer review of Laughing Cows here.

By: Sarah Barnes, 05.02.2010 | Comments (0)
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Laughing Calves Comedy this Thursday

Laughing Cows comedy club is presenting London with a fresh crop of the best new female acts at their Laughing Calves night this Thursday. Resident MC, Maureen Younger, will be hosting the night and top headline act Zoe Lyons (pictured above and funny vid below!) will close the show. In the generous spirit of new year (and to celebrate the first night in their new venue at The Green Carnation in Soho) the Cows are letting everyone in at the student rate of a fiver! Bums on seats by 8pm, reservations can be made by emailing london@laughingcowscomedy.co.uk.

Line up includes:

Zoe Lyons If.Comedy Best Newcomer Nominee 2007

By: Sarah Barnes, 11.01.2010 | Comments (0)
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Maria Bamford. She Funny.

So here we are. It’s the first week of January and already it feels like that weird no-woman’s land where all the fun stuff is done and dusted and winter is no longer ‘festive’- it’s just cold. What is left for us now in these dark, depressing times?! Well it seems that sometimes nuggets of joy can seek us out when you least expect it…

I was listening to music on Spotify yesterday and a shiny piece of happiness popped up accidentally in my playlist. One moment I was listening to Alicia Keys, and the next I was listening to comedian Maria Bamford doing a bit about Alicia Keys. With Bamford’s resounding scream of ‘Silly Goose!’, I was hooked. I quickly looked her up on Spotify (and I suggest you do the same, if you have it!) and spent a ridiculous amount of time getting acquainted with her hilarious vocal contortions and absurd vignettes.

Much of Bamford’s material seems to come from her own social anxieties; her painfully self aware nature allows her to view with clarity the behaviour of others – which leads to her extraordinary and diverse impressions. I absolutely love her parody of women’s magazine advice on ’shaping up for summer’ and ‘driving your man wild’ (skip to the track ‘Goddess of Little Lake Pequaym’, Spotify listeners!)… complete with starved giggling.

Bamford seems to love sending up all forms of self improvement (she talks quite candidly about her own neuroses and OCD) including life coaching, therapy and spiritualism. Her bit on creating a vision board, where she pastes images of her goals and desires, had me crying with laughter.

If you haven’t got Spotify then you can watch more of Maria Bamford here and here, or you can buy her latest stand up CD here. I will leave you with this lovely take on the ‘You don’t have to be crazy to work here… but it helps!’ mind set and hope that you might leave this post feeling your wintry night has been made that little bit brighter by Ms Bamford!

By: Sarah Barnes, 05.01.2010 | Comments (0)
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Laughing Cows with Shazia Mirza

Laughing Cows Comedy has been showcasing and helping to develop women in comedy for many years now. The London based silly moos are back for another great show on Thursday 3rd December at their interim venue of Private Eye’s Private Dining Room, 29 Greek Street, Soho.

Resident MC, Maureen Younger, will be returning from Berlin to host the night and will be bringing German stage diva, Bartuschka, back with her. Laughing Cows regular, Shazia Mirza (above) will be headlining, with support from Cathy P, Shelagh Martin and Catie Wilkes.

If you’re in need of some lady laughter, then join the cows for their 8 o’clock show. Seating is limited, so reservations are advisable at london@laughingcowscomedy.co.uk and hurry! It’s only a week away!

(Image from Shazia Mirza’s website)

By: Sarah Barnes, 26.11.2009 | Comments (0)
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