Music Play

Music Play will be held at the Yellow Springs Community Library on Wed., Aug. 9, 16, from 10:30-11:15 a.m.

Music Play

Music Play will be held at the Yellow Springs Community Library on Wed., Aug. 9, 16, from 10:30-11:15 a.m.

After a cool start to the month, peak shaving returns today

As the weather warms up again in the village, American Municipal Power is once again releasing a peak shaving recommendation. Peak shaving allows the Village and its residents the opportunity to save on energy costs in subsequent years; during the hottest days of the summer, when energy usage would be expected to be at its highest, community members are asked to limit their energy usage for a few hours in order to lower energy costs, as a community’s projected energy costs for the year are based on energy use from its highest, or “peak” days. 

In order to save money on energy costs in the coming year — and help reduce carbon footprint — AMP recommends that villagers reduce energy use today, Wednesday, Aug. 16, between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Villagers are asked to limit use of household amenities that use a lot of electricity, such as washers and dryers, washing machines, electric ovens and air conditioning.

 

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BLOG- Making Moves

Moving is scary. The good scary that makes you jump a little, but ultimately giggle at every unexpected discovery. But it’s also scary scary. You know, the kind that incites hard-to-interpret stress dreams that hinder sleep.

As this past April came to an end and the stress of finals subsided, my sleep deprived self was hurriedly boxing up my small basement apartment hidden under the floorboards of my insufferably rude upstairs neighbors. I was filled with sadness, fear and excitement as it really began to set in that I was leaving Athens, Ohio, my chosen home of five years. It was a total amalgam of good scary and scary.

This big move felt similar from my last even though the process was largely different. This time around was less planned, way more irritating and definitely more improvised. I can chalk that up to the moving experience I’ve acquired over my time in Athens as well as my older age.

It’s actually really funny when I think back to the meticulous planning, incessant organization and triple-checking of my belongings that I did the summer before my freshman year as a journalism student at Ohio University.

I bought a new computer, new bedding, matching-but-not-too-matchy décor, and packed all my clothes far sooner than I needed to in an attempt to discourage my two younger sisters from pilfering my favorite articles of clothing.

That was my first time ever branching out and making significant choices for my future and I was determined to make sure it all went according to my plan. Present me wishes I could go back, hug my 18 year old self and tell her to spend more time savoring her last few weeks of her old life rather than stress-planning her new one.

Present me also wishes I could visit April me, who was riddled with anxiety over accepting my internship, moving somewhere new, dealing with finals, and just about every other thing a 23 year old could have to worry about. I’d tell her that yes, adjusting to this new place is scary, but once you’re settled in everything has a way of falling where it should.

The thoughts and feelings in the weeks leading up to my moves five years ago and mere months ago are eerily similar. Fears of making friends, finding success and anxiety surrounding adjustment to a completely new environment worried me. To be quite honest, these things still do worry me a whole lot even though I have mostly settled into my new home of three months.

I made the decision to migrate to Yellow Springs after my partner Myles and I planned to move in together. He works at Antioch College as an admissions counselor, we love Yellow Springs and I landed my current internship at the Yellow Springs News. The serendipitous timing and location just felt right.

When I finally arrived in Wilmington, Ohio to collect my boyfriend and his belongings, I discovered we still had to get a moving van, load up his insanely heavy bedroom set, unpack said van, then return it all that same night.

This wildly unplanned evening led to a few stress-induced skirmishes, and I wish this part of the process had gone more smoothly. But alas, by the end of the night that bled into morning, we were snuggling on our floor-bound box spring and mattress amidst a sea of boxes and undecorated walls, content and exhausted. It’s a very special memory for me.

I want this blog to reflect the trials and tribulations, positives, negatives and realities of relocating to a new place. I look forward to experiencing Yellow Springs as a resident rather than a visitor, and I hope readers will want to follow my contemplations and discoveries of the community we share.

*Jessica Sees is an Ohio University student interning with the News.

 

 

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Kinky Yellow Springs

Professor and author Mary Ann Davis brings kink to Yellow Springs

Photo: Professor and writer Mary Ann Davis in the classroom

By Ashley Moor

If you’re anything like me, the media has influenced some part of your life and view on the world. Leave it to any crime show to show you parts of the world—ugly and benign—that shift your view of the serene world you live in. I remember watching an old episode of CSI and trying to hide my 13-year-old fascination as a rather kinky scene was taking place. This was my first glimpse into the world of BDSM and kink, and it involved murder. If you pay close attention, the media has tried again and again to make us feel ashamed for our sexual fetishes. The prime example of this unfair representation of sex in the media is the “Fifty Shades of Grey” franchise—not only does it have a habit of making the common man squirm, it also makes kink and BDSM scholars like Mary Ann Davis shake their head.

As a teacher and writer, Davis has explored the world of kink and BDSM and come back with a real life interpretation of this world (and it doesn’t involve murder). Davis is a professor at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, where she gets to explore topics like sexuality and erotic power. Currently, as a part of Davis’ critical scholarship, she is studying literary, cultural, and theoretical engagements with erotic power. I caught up with Davis to chat with her about some of the kink and BDSM philosophies that stray far from the violent, and delve more into the way we interact with our partners, friends, and community.

I first wanted to ask: why this life? Why do you feel like it’s important to talk about sex and everything that goes into it? 

Mary Ann Davis: Well, I think it’s important to talk about sex because sex is everywhere, and it’s something that we assume everyone practices and enjoys—and I think that both of those things are not necessarily true, right? So I feel like there are a lot of assumptions surrounding sex that don’t often get addressed and that’s one of the major reasons why it’s important to talk about it. I also like to research and read about sex because I enjoy doing that, right? It’s one of my scholarly passions. And I think that there are so many ways that people could have more sex that they find pleasurable. I want to break down the shame around sex, a lot of which is breaking down the assumptions around sex. If people are having sex, I want them to enjoy it. And if they’re not enjoying it, I want them to think about why they’re not enjoying it.

So when you’re talking with someone who may not be as open-minded about sex, do you find that they just aren’t aware? Like, they just don’t have knowledge of kinks and of things like that? Or is it just because they are afraid to talk about it? 

MD: I think it’s probably all of those things. I think that in our culture, there’s a lot of shame around sex, right? Combined with a simultaneous pressure to be sexual and to talk about sex and to be totally into and be comfortable with it. And I find that to be a competing pressure. I think a lot about the college students that I deal with, entering the college and coming into a very expected hookup culture, right? Where everyone is going to be having sex and everyone must enjoy it, and that’s like a thing. But, that sex positive doesn’t necessarily address, you know, sort of cultural shame around sex. Which comes from religion or from medicine or from law. It comes from a lot of different social spheres, right?

Also, I saw that you are in the middle of writing a book? What is your book about? Can you give me just a summary? 

MD: So, it’s called “Between the Monstrous and the Mundane.” My aim with this project is to think about erotic power in a way that does not assume that it involves extreme sexual practices. I’m a lot more focused on thinking how erotic power relies on everyday and mundane realities. So the first part of my book is reading across all of these different theories—from the 19th and early 20th century sexologists, psychology, anthropology, and combining all of these theories also with the street theory written by kink and BDSM practitioners in columns or in manuals because there is a lot of self-theorizing that practitioners of sadomasochism do, right? They do a lot of thinking about what they do, so I’m weaving all of these together to sort of create a new story about how erotic power relies a lot on the everyday and the mundane.

Do you have an example of a mundane kink? 

MD: One way that I think about kink and BDSM as being mundane is how it operates and eroticizes social forms. So, if you were to think about a relationship between, let’s say, a mistress and a slave, in a kink community, a lot of the erotic turns upon things that we might consider sort of mundane or boring. For example, proper ways to address your mistress, right? So, the right words to use. Proper ways to carry your body as a slave, different codes for how to serve tea, very mundane ways to hold your body properly.

What’s your take on the more violent representations in the media of kink and BDSM? 

MD: It’s inaccurate. For people who are outside of kink communities, and don’t really understand all of the care and negotiation that goes into what looks like violence or looks like trauma, they don’t realize that it is actually not those things at all. It comes from a place of not knowing how to read what looks like violence, and not being able to see it as a simulation of those things. It comes from seeing the sort of drama of BDSM scenes first, and not sort of seeing the extraneous, mundane parts. Like, the negotiation and the care that comes after, but just focusing on the drama of that scene. And I think it’s the drama that sells, right? There are some TV shows that have tried to engage in more complicated ways with BDSM communities, but it almost becomes like a public service announcement.

What are some myths that you’ve come across in rhetoric about BDSM and kink? What are some myths that you want to squash, for people who may not know otherwise? 

MD: The major one: All masochists or submissives or bottoms are abused as children. That’s just flat out untrue. There is some alignment between experiencing an abuse or trauma of all kinds and being interested in exploring BDSM because BDSM has a cathartic effect on a lot of people. It’s a sort of release, right? It goes beyond the typical release of orgasm. But just because there is that link, doesn’t mean that all people who desire to experience pain or to submit or to be disciplined—that doesn’t mean they’re all coming from an abusive past by any means.

Mary Ann Davis’ recommended reading for the kinky and curious:

Two essays that will change your perspective on sex and the erotic:

Audre Lorde’s “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power” (1978, printed in Sister Outsider, Ten Speed Press)

Gayle Rubin’s “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality” (1984, reprinted in Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader, Duke University Press)

Both are a product of their times, in that they tend to essentialize the gender binary and misrepresent transgender folks—yet both propose world-shifting ideas around the erotic and sex.

Some handbooks to help begin an exploration of BDSM, kink, leather, and/or polyamorous communities:

Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington’s “Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities” (Greenery Press, 2010). Two non-centric voices in the BDSM community come together in one of the only handbooks to get into the culture of BDSM/kink communities. The authors also offer an excellent resources section that will point folks to more hard skills books about BDSM practices. Mollena Williams’ blog is also one of the best on the Web, especially on service, race, and taboo play (www.Mollena.com).

The updated classics by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton: “The New Topping Book” (Greenery Press, 2003); “The New Bottoming Book” (Greenery Press, 2001); and “The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures” (Celestial Arts, 2009, second edition). These are classic handbooks not to be missed. The titles say everything.

Contemporary works of fiction instead of “Fifty Shades”:

Anne Rice’s Beauty quartet. Published under the pen name A.N. Roquelaure, the first three books were released in the late 1990s, and the final in the quartet was released in 2015. Much better writing than “Fifty Shades,” Anne Rice’s Beauty books are deeply entrenched in a fantasy world, but not that of the Harlequin-romance kind. If you like Anne Rice’s style of writing erotica, you can also check out “Exit to Eden, which is very different from the film of the same name (1985, written under another pen name, Anne Rampling).

Fiction by Laura Antoniou, especially The Marketplace series (Circlet Press, 2010). This series offers a loving, critical, humorous, and hot depiction of an elite BDSM circle involving a… marketplace. Plays with normative concepts of gender, sex, and tenderness in a way “Fifty Shades” never can.

Feminista Jones’ “Push the Button” (2014). One of the only novels to depict people of color in BDSM relationships, this book pushes against the stereotype that kink is only for rich, white people.

Melanie Abrams’ “Playing” (Grove Press, 2008). Erotic power is central to the mood and character development of this novel, but not necessarily to the plot, which is likely why most reviewers classify “Playing” as a literary novel. It also engages—in complicated, if stereotypical, ways—the psychology of folks interested in sexual relationships that centralize an erotic power dynamic.

Your first resource for all things related to sexual freedom, advocacy, and education in the U.S.:

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, www.NCSFreedom.org/

Pandini Brothers at Dino’s

There’s a new musical gem in town. A newly formed group, The Pandini Brothers, are a plucked string quartet specializing in Italian and Pan-Mediterranean music, performed on classical mandolin, mandola, classical guitar, and bass. Their repertoire includes traditional Northern and Southern Italian tarantella, mazurka, and polka, Neapolitan song from the 1890’s, light opera (“Verdi’s greatest hits”), and Italian-American kitsch, such as the song from the spaghetti-slurping scene in Disney’s The Lady and the Tramp.

 

The Pandini Brothers also perform music from Italy’s closest neighbors, including waltz musette and café music from France, and dance music from the Greek Islands.

 

The group is composed of three Yellow Springs residents and a friend they met in the the Dayton Mandolin Orchestra, which made Yellow Springs its home for many years. Ironically, none of them has any family connection to the Pandini name. The name honors the Italian luthier Gabriele Pandini of Ferrara, who made the mandolin and mandola featured in this group. The mandola is a viola-sized carbon copy of the mandolin. Hence “The Pandini Brothers.”

 

You can catch their next performance at Dino’s Cappuccinos (225 Xenia Ave.) from 7 to 9 PM on Monday, August 14th, which has been designated “Mazurka Monday.” Audience members are invited to come get your mazurka on and to be a part of The Pandini Brother’s whimsical “Global Mandolinization Initiative” as they put the “Fun” in Funiculi-Funicula.

 

For a glimpse of photos and videos, visit @PandiniBros on Facebook. You can also hear sound samples on their YouTube channel. Queries can be sent to PandiniBros@gmail.com

 

The community can look forward to hearing more from this novel group, as their mission to mandolinize the world unfolds, one tarantella at a time.

Antioch College Student Recounts Charlottesville Violence

An Antioch College student who joined counter protesters in Charlottesville this weekend says he was disappointed by police response to the violence. Spencer Lee Glazer joined other anti-racism activists in protesting the rally led by white nationalist, who chanted chanted Nazi slogans and carried Confederate flags.