When IUDs go terribly wrong, Vice

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There comes a time in many a woman’s life when she waves goodbye to slimy condoms and welcomes the easy intimacy that comes with other forms of birth control. Since its arrival in the 60s this has by and large been the pill, which is used by nearly a quarter of women of childbearing age. But the IUD (intrauterine device, also known as the contraceptive coil) has also seen a dramatic rise in use in the last ten years…

Click here to read the rest of the article on Vice’s Broadly channel

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IS IT HARD FOR FESTIVALS TO BOOK GENDER-BALANCED LINEUPS? INTO THE VALLEY HUMBLY SUGGESTS NOT

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It is so boring. It’s talked about every year. And every year, despite all the criticism, it happens again.

This year, Creamfields has just 11 all-female DJ acts in a weekend of 230. This year, as usual, Forbes’ list of highest earning DJs was 100% male. This year, the RA Top 100 DJs was 9% female. Compare that to the British Parliament, which is now 32% female. But whatever you do, don’t ask why electronic music is still so far behind on gender imbalance, because…

Click here to read the rest of the article on Stamp the Wax

Meeting Cassandro: Mexico’s most iconic gay wrestler

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Lucha Libre is not just a sport. It’s also theatre. And it’s a kind of ritual violence, acting for its audience like a communal catharsis. Wrestling characters destroy each other in the name of good and evil, often echoing issues of politics or identity in the Mexican psyche…

Click here to read the rest of the article on Dazed

Samuel Beckett’s The End review

Conor Lovett gives a deeply masterful performance of Samuel Beckett’s oft-forgotten short story, The End, as part of his one-man Beckett in London festival

Hats, boots, excrement, a hobo and death’s beckoning: many of Beckett’s familiar tropes are here in this prototype of his notoriously absurd plays, as part of a one-man Beckett in London festival at the theatrically derelict fringe theatre The Print Room.

Cast out of a mental institution, the solitary deadbeat protagonist hints at having had a lobotomy, which he hides behind one of Beckett’s signature hats. We bear witness to the putrid descent of the final months or years of his life, right down to the eczema in his behind. As with all of Beckett’s signature down-and-outs, he is struggling to survive and yet waiting to die.

Husband and wife duo Judy Hegarty (director) and Conor Lovett (actor) of Gare St Lazare theatre company have chosen to dramatise this wrongfully neglected short story as a monologue, as part of a new one-man Beckett festival.

Conor Lovett’s mild-mannered performance gives Beckettian futility its perfect theatrical expression: his tone of levity remains steady and unresponsive to his character’s great misfortunes, levelling out the events of his life into a litany of nothings.

The production, which has already toured Europe and the US, was roundly dismissed in The New York Times by Laura Collins-Hughes, who could see no reason why the prose should be dramatised. But this is missing the extraordinarily new and entirely befitting aspect that Judy has brought to the piece:

Rather than describing a human situation for the reader to reflect upon, Lovett and Hegarty have created one in front of an audience so we may experience it. Specifically, the experience of living – or being trapped – in time.

Observing the narrator, disintegrating repulsively as he approaches his End, makes us acutely aware that everything he does is to pass the time, or, as he puts it, ‘play the part’ of someone living. Are we the same? Perhaps his situation only differs to ours in degree rather than kind.

There is total disparity between his description of his own mental and physical putrefaction, and his appearance on stage as articulate and charming, with perfect comic timing. Just a couple of benches form the sparse set and Lovett’s appearance as a bald nondescript middle-aged white man similarly does little to furnish his words.

This paradox is a powerful tool: as an archetype rather than a specific man, his words become a comment on the essential nature of our shared human condition.

Inescapably and meaninglessly alive, one can only wait for The End, though the pain of boredom can be momentarily relieved (as we learn: “Scratching is superior to masturbation”). But of course, as with all Beckett, it’s brutally funny. Lovett deserves significant acclaim for his deeply understood rendition, which holds a mirror to the audience and shows us what it means to be human.

Click here to read the article published on culturewhisper.com (paywall)

Chloe Rosser’s Nudes Evoke Revolt and Fascination, Like Decapitated Chickens

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Ordinarily when you look at a photo your mind fills in an approximation of what is not seen from the photographer’s viewpoint. In Chloe Rosser’s images, heads and limbs are missing at such impossible angles that the mind is tricked into the feeling that there is nothing else beyond what is visible. Each body’s connection with humanity is severed. They become abject lumps of flesh, like plucked and decapitated chickens, evoking both revulsion and fascination.

Click here to read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post.