War Paint

Beautiful music, a great story, and lots of heavy thoughts.

The Musical

Strong performance by the two leading actresses, to pair with the story of two strong women who shattered glass ceilings in the 20th century. We understood who’s in charge tonight even before the curtain opened, when the announcer greeted us with “Welcome ladies! … and the men accompanying the ladies.”

The World Then

I’m ambivalent about the cosmetic industry, but the courageous stories of Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein shine through. Arden was deemed inferior to other women because “she worked.” Rubinstein was denied the purchase of her dream apartment for her gender. Despite heart-breaking moments in “Pink” and “Forever Beautiful”, here’s the advice from Elizabeth Arden to Miss Beam…

“You have the power to reinvent yourself and become anything you’d like to be. Young lady, better yourself to be the best you that you can. Once you better yourself, you won’t be taken for trash.”

The World Now

I consider myself a feminist, and have been for 20+ years. I pushed for curriculum changes in high school, to ensure the next generation understands gender equity. I physically battled anti-abortion protesters in college, to safeguard women’s rights to their own body. Yet, just when I thought we had finally made progress, America elected a sexual predator to its highest office.

Today, unrelated to the musical, I feared for my life for the first time. I was physically assaulted on the streets of Manhattan. A white man knocked me to the ground, kicked me, before he sped away in his Illinois-plated Mercedes-Benz. (I am bruised, swollen, monitoring for concussion but otherwise okay. Will press assault charges if/when police finds the man.)

I’m at a complete loss about the sexist, racist, free-for-all-I’ll-scorch-the-Earth-before-I-give-up-one-percent-of-my-entitlement mentality of the American Right. (And scorch the Earth they did yesterday, when their pedophile president pulled out of the Paris Agreement.)

No matter how much you try to better yourself, I guess, someone will always take you for trash.