review: “beatriz at dinner”

I couldn’t help thinking about “Get Out” while I was watching “Beatriz at Dinner.” Both are slightly fantastical movies about the insidious violence of rich, white people’s racism, filled with microaggressions and dream sequences. While “Get Out” is a full-blown horror movie, though, “Beatriz at Dinner” is something different. It could be categorized as a cringe comedy; the overwhelming feelings I had while watching it were stress and anxiety. However, while most cringe comedies skewer a few characters for obliviously violating social norms, this one targets not only individual characters but entire systems of violence.  It also critiques a particular segment of likely viewers: wealthy or upper-middle class liberals. Perhaps it would be more accurate to call this a cringe dramedy, given the solemn underlying tone of the film.

The film, directed by Michael Arteta and written by Mike White, is about a woman, Beatriz (Salma Hayek), who emigrated to California from Mexico as a child and who is now a healer, dealing in massage, sound therapy, reiki, and more.  She is a deeply compassionate person; we see this before we know her occupation, when we first meet her as she is awakened by her distressed goat who is bleating loudly from a pen in her bedroom. She climbs into the small pen and holds the goat close to her body, making soothing noises. She is also spiritual: she has both Buddha and the Virgin Mary in her car, and she starts her day by meditating on loved ones she has lost. The rest of her day is spent tending to other people’s pain at a clinic for people with cancer. Continue reading review: “beatriz at dinner”


away from the racist, classist center, democrats

I’m getting pretty fucking sick of cisgender, heterosexual, professional/upper class white dudes lecturing leftists on how shit our policies are and how little we’ve done for the Democrats. It continues today in the New York Times, in an opinion piece titled, “Back to the Center, Democrats,” by Andrew Stein and Mark Penn. Here is a taste:

Central to the Democrats’ diminishment has been their loss of support among working-class voters, who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs. They saw the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland.

This piece is full of useful advice for Democrats, such as, “restore the sanctity of America’s borders,” “reject socialist ideas,” “give up on both building walls and sanctuary cities” (side note: pray tell when progressives were into building walls; pretty sure that was all conservatives, and frankly, fuck you both for equating xenophobic walls and sanctuary cities), be nicer to the Catholics, and back tougher anti-crime/pro-police bills. You know, if I were going to write a parody of the asinine think pieces about how Democrats really need to get back to the center, it would look a lot like this loose stool Penn and Stein managed to squeeze out. Continue reading away from the racist, classist center, democrats

food justice is reproductive justice

Depressing stories about reproductive healthcare and rights routinely fill the news: four Planned Parenthood clinics close in Iowa due to targeted budget cuts, our ass of a president expanded the global gag rule that prevents organizations that provide abortions from receiving U.S. foreign aid money, the soulless ghouls who make up the U.S. Senate Republicans have created a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare that targets reproductive healthcare,  and the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale strikes fear into our hearts (I guess this one is only depressing because it’s “too real,” as they say).  In the United States, activists and feminists continue to struggle just to beat back anti-abortion legislation. Unfortunately, this has meant that many of us are stuck in a reproductive rights paradigm. The reproductive rights framework for activism is generally limited to the legal sphere and focused primarily on the legal right for someone to have an abortion. This legal right is, of course, nothing to sneeze at, and reproductive rights are critical to reproductive freedom. However, as a paradigm for movement-building, reproductive rights lacks the capacity to effectively connect with other social movements, and to move beyond a narrow focus on choice and “women’s health.” Continue reading food justice is reproductive justice

portobello poblano tacos

I love mushrooms and am always looking for more things to do with them! Go to an amusement park, rollerblade in the park, grab a drink at that new, cool bar in town…Ha ha just kidding, I meant I’m always looking for new ways to eat them!

Anyway, I made these tacos, and they were delicious! They are also very easy to make, and don’t take super long. They are deeply savory, salty, a little spicy, and not too heavy while still being filling! I ate them with a corn and bean salad (just corn, beans, red onion, lime juice, and spices). I watched an episode of Chef’s Table while I ate and felt inadequate, which didn’t feel as nice as the taco I was inhaling. I do not recommend Chef’s Table as a media pairing with this meal, or any meal for that matter. It will just make you feel bad.

Anyway, happy summer! Pepper season (and the season of most delicious things) is nearly upon us, and all of us who work in offices all day have increased staring out the window time by 50% (only some of us are daydreaming of peppers though). Enjoy the tacos and the sunshine, fellow Northern Hemisphere folks! Continue reading portobello poblano tacos

moving restorative justice from margins to center: what i learned

This past weekend, I went to Oakland, California, to attend the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice‘s annual conference, this year titled, “Moving Restorative Justice from Margins to Center: We’re The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For.” It was a truly incredible experience. I’m grateful and humbled to have been able to learn from some seriously visionary and creative activists. This conference was where you can find the people who have ideas so big and daring, it’s a little bit scary. It’s definitely scary to people who are invested in the status quo, which is what made it so awesome! Here are some of the lessons from the conference that resonated most strongly with me, and that I imagine will stick with me for a really long time. Continue reading moving restorative justice from margins to center: what i learned

miso chicken ramen

I had my first bowl of ramen in March 2016. I could not believe I had gone 21 years without ever having ramen that wasn’t Maruchan instant noodles! It was a shockingly different dish from the salty, thin broth-ed soup of my youth. As I had more experiences with ramen and became more interested in cooking, I was excited to find a recipe for ramen that I could make. LOL! If anyone else has looked into making ramen from scratch at home, they know it is a long and fussy process. Fortunately, there are versions of ramen in between traditional and instant. This is one!

Though I aspire to eat entirely vegan, I also prioritize wasting as little food as possible, which means that I sometimes eat meaty leftovers that no one else wants. In this case, I had some shredded chicken on hand from a friend who was going out of town and wouldn’t be able to eat it. I was craving something warm and comforting, and decided to try my hand at a ramen-y noodle soup. It turned out to be really delicious! The broth was rich, savory, and salty, and everything else was nice and simple. I think this could pretty easily be made with tofu or mushrooms if you want to make it vegan-friendly. Otherwise, everything else is vegan! It was really satisfying, and very easy to make. I’m excited to look around for more pseudo-ramen recipes. If you’re looking for a vegan, full-on ramen experience, though, here’s a recipe that I haven’t tried but that looks delicious from Serious Eats. Enjoy! Continue reading miso chicken ramen

vegan baozi with savory miso-mushroom filling

I think we can all agree that “savory, filled dough pocket” is the most delicious food category on this beautiful planet we call home. Empanadas, gyoza, ravioli, pierogies, samosas. They’re all so different, but they all take me to sweet, sweet ecstasy! I especially love bao, soft, puffy steamed buns with savory fillings. I’ve been intimidated by them for a while because they require a yeast dough, but they ended up being pretty easy! They just require some time and patience. They can be filled with anything your little heart desires. This filling was very delicious– savory, rich but not heavy, and salty with a bit of bite from the vinegar.

I synthesized two recipes from the Kitchn and Food52. Good luck and enjoy!!!! (Also, for active dry yeast users, the Food52 recipe uses that kind of yeast. Very easily adaptable.) Continue reading vegan baozi with savory miso-mushroom filling