Get Ready To Smash The Wiki-Patriarchy This Weekend

Ready for some renegade e-activism to right the gender imbalance of the Internet? Tomorrow, New York’s Eyebeam joins a bevy of international organizations for the Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon, a collective, participatory action directed at the online encyclopedia’s demographic ills. (According to press materials, only 13% of the site’s editors are women; as a result, “Wikipedia is clearly skewed.”)

Volunteers are invited to Eyebeam’s 540 West 21st Street location for an afternoon of concentrated editing, all with the goal of increasing the representation of women artists on Wikipedia. “There isn’t really any rhyme or reason for the absences and gaps,” Eyebeam’s organizational committee told me via email, speaking of the site’s current blind spots. “Across the board you can say that living female artists of a similar stature to their male peers don’t have pages, or their pages have much less information on them. The Edit-A-Thon will ultimately be driven by the interests of each participant: for example, co-organizer Michael Mandiberg intends to create well-cited stubs for Caroline Woolard, Kristin Lucas, and Simone Leigh.”

These BYOLaptop events (all of which offer childcare options) will unfold simultaneously at a total of 22 venues, including the Sackler Center for Feminist Art in the Brooklyn Museum; The Public School in Los Angeles; De Appel in Amsterdam; and Eastern Block in Montreal.

What prominent women artists are inexplicably missing on Wikipedia? Tell us in the comments (and then go do something about it).

Sandra Bernhard On Sharing ‘The King of Comedy’ Set With Scorcese & De Niro

When I was running clubs, I had the pleasure of booking Sandra Bernhard a number of times. Her talent – and the inevitable and often uncomfortably wonderful swirl of controversy that defines her every move – makes her a tone-setting choice for a big night. You always know where she stands, and sometimes you better be sitting down to hear it. I chatted with her last month, and we did a phoner earlier in the week to help promote the 30th anniversary of The King of Comedy – a restored version of the 1982 Martin Scorsese flick, starring Robert De Niro and Sandra – that’s closing the Tribeca Film Festival.

Where did your character Masha from The King of Comedy come from? Is it a combination of your childhood friends and memories, or is it you?
No. It’s totally based on who I was as at the time, which was a very, you know, super-energized person (laughs). I fit the bill, and the kind of crazy, neurotic aspects of the character Masha. are me. And of course, as an actress, I brought other elements to it, but it was not a stretch for me to play that role. 

So Jerry Lewis was actually a second choice to Johnny Carson, who actually had his own talk show. But Jerry did what I thought was one of the best performances of his career in this film. There’s one scene where De Niro started yelling racial epithets at him, trying to get a rise out of him, which really set the tone. What was it like working with Jerry? 
Well, for me it was very intimidating and intense. Everything that kind of felt natural between the two of us as people also worked for the role because, as I’ve often said, I don’t think he’d [Jerry Lewis] ever worked with a woman like me before who was from a post-feminist era. I think every woman he had ever worked with was kind of just there, as a foil. So this is a new experience for him. Of course, I grew up on his work, you know, and looked up to him, so it was a funny relationship but it worked for the characters. 

The incredible scene where you have him duct-taped to the chair, and you’re playing with him – and it’s all sexual — 

Basically he’s threatened and not enjoying it, and you were just in heaven. Did the two of you talk about it in advance or did it just unfold?
Well, it was a combination. We had rehearsed some of these scenes, but a lot of it was just improvised. Jerry was sort of watching it all unfold the first time, as I was just there in the moment. It was all very new and fresh, so I think all the reactions everybody had were very genuine and organic, since a lot of the stuff was not written. It just kind of came from me, so it was a combination of being truly kind of surprised and engaged in the scene. 

I’ve met a lot comedians in my private life, and a lot of them are just on all the time. You talk to a guy like Gilbert Gottfried, and he’s just non-stop. There’s no difference between the character on stage, and the character himself as a person. Is the Jerry we saw in film natural? More like the real Jerry?
Yeah, yeah, he is. He likes to pontificate and tell people his opinions. He’s a little bit, you know, well, you know – he’s Jerry! He’s been around. He’s an auteur. 

It’s been 30 years – that’s a big chunk of time! When’s the last time you saw the film?
In its entirety?  I can’t even remember. I’ve seen bits and pieces of it, but I have not sat and watched it from stem to stern in quite a long time. 

Are you attending the premiere?
I actually cannot attend the premiere. I booked a performance months ago that’s in association with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg, and I can’t get out of it. I’m doing a lot of press and a few little, surprise things to promote the event that I can’t talk about right now cause they’re surprises!

There was a report that it took De Niro seven years to work with Scorsese again. Since then, they’ve done a number of films together. Both said the set was full of so much tension. Do you recall that kind of tension?
No, I didn’t sense any tension at all. The material was intense and the roles were intense, but I felt like everybody got along really well, and I had an incredible time. I didn’t get caught up in any drama, but I don’t remember any… you know?

That was Wikipedia talking, so…
OH! They don’t know – they’re nobodies! (laughs) Never draw on anything from Wikipedia! 

“Research.” Really though, the film was very uneasy to watch. It was a comedy with some chilling scenes in it. I remember not knowing what to say when I walked out, and every time since.
Right. It hits you from a lot of different levels, which I think is amazing, because that’s what filmmaking should do. 

Follow me on Twitter for all my raunchy musings & controversial rants. 

Breaking News: Nerds Are Still Sexist

Between the pervert-dungeons of Reddit and the free-floating bigotry that is any Facebook feed, you’d think we would have quit being surprised by the sexism baked into the internet. It’s still offensive, naturally, but this New York Times op-ed about Wikipedia relegating our country’s notable female authors to an “American Women Novelists” subcategory has such a hopelessly narrow focus it’s almost funny.

Once again, let me reiterate: the Wiki nerds’ move to shorten the unwieldy “American Novelists” list by ghettoizing the writers without a penis is galling and wrong and more than a little stupid, organizationally speaking.

But you know what? My cousin was a Wikipedia editor when he was eleven years old. I don’t expect great things from that bunch.

I mean, take this accidentally hilarious (and humblebraggy) paragraph from the op-ed:

"I belong to an e-mail group of published female writers called WOM (it stands for Word of Mouth). Some of the members are extremely well known. On Tuesday morning, when I made my discovery of this sexism on Wikipedia, I sent them an e-mail about it."

The discovery of sexism on Wikipedia? That’s like saying Christopher Columbus discovered … eh, you know. I hate to say that nerds will be nerds, but I have a sinking feeling they will.

Follow Miles on Twitter here.

A Robust Roster: The Best New Android Apps

Usher in the beginning of spring with seven of the best new android apps on the market. Find a spot under the shade of a tree, grasp that ‘droid in your hand, and just press "install." Soon, you’ll be playing the trombone, managing your TiVo, and creating your own app. Ah, the good life. 

IBONE [$1.99]
Winner of the “Best Musical Instrument App” in the 2009 Best App Ever Awards (there is such a thing), this standard has finally joined the Android club, eliciting more sonorous waves of trombone sounds from passersby and their phones. Users can not only play along with music from their own customized collection, but also choose from the iBone Songbook. With a lot of touching, blowing into the mic, and sliding of the fingers, you too can make beautiful music. Arthur Pryor would be proud. (Google him.)

Launched as part of a $35 million campaign to promote personal relationships via their site, MyLife lets you plug into multiple social networks, like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, all in one place. No more opening each individual app—a daunting task, we know. With all major social media newsfeeds pulled in, and a database of 700 million user profiles to view, this all-purpose hub allows for optimal stalking of ex-friends, estranged family, former flames, and people you cannot tolerate but are strangely fascinated with.

TIVO [Free]
Admit it: there’s no feeling as desperate as when you’re at work and it suddenly dawns on you that you forgot to set your DVR to record the latest episode of Bachelor Pad. Stupid! Not to worry. With this long overdue app, your phone transforms into your cable remote, allowing TiVo and non-TiVo DVR users to browse a 14-day schedule, manage and schedule future recordings, and comment on shows on Facebook or Twitter. The app also lets you search for on-demand shows from Netflix, Blockbuster, or Amazon Instant Video. Control your DVR, control your life.

Promoting an uninterrupted life, PauseApp presses “pause” on all mobile distractions by giving you a breather from calls, texts, and critical emails from your boss. Calls go directly to voicemail, texts and emails are held in purgatory, and auto-replies are sent when prompted. Except for five essential contacts of your choosing, no one else can reach you, so decide carefully. It’s a refreshing dose of 20th century-style privacy in this overloaded I-just-ate-a-tuna-sandwich-so-now-I’ll-tweet-about-it age.

VIMEO [Free]
When you’re dying to watch that home video of your friend’s failed attempt at krumping—or want to upload it for the world to see—this mobile version of the popular video platform allows you to do just that. Personalize your channel viewing preferences, browse and comment on videos, add and edit your own, and upload your raw footage in high-def. Don’t thank us—we’re sure your friend will.

You can finally look up the genus of the helmeted guinea fowl and the mysterious origins of the bicycle chain without ever opening an actual encyclopedia. As if Wikipedia needed an introduction, this crowd-sourced, 20-million-article game–changer comes with more features than the actual website. You can save articles for offline use, view any single entry in a different language (try Esperanto), and share them with your pals to prove that there really is a sport called dwarf tossing. The best part: it’ll be accessible the next time Wikipedia decides to go dark.

Think you can create the next Angry Birds, but don’t have the money, time, or coding chops? There’s an app for that. Andromo, coined “The App Maker for Everyone,” is a platform where you can create and customize your app’s appearance and add features like YouTube videos, Flickr galleries, social media feeds, and more. Whether you’re a business owner, musician, student, or podiatrist, Andromo gives you the space to communicate and promote whatever idea you have and add it to the Android Market for sharing. With over 700,000 Android devices activated every day, your app will be seen, so don’t slack.

The Only Good Thing About SOPA: Watching Teenagers Find Out About SOPA

On January 24th, Congress will vote on the Stop Online Piracy Act, which gives the U.S. government the right to censor foreign websites, makes it a felony to post copyrighted material, and give holders of copyrighted intellectual property the right to sue websites posting their content. Which not only means, if this passes, we’d have to wait for the third season of Downton Abbey to actually begin its PBS run instead of watching it through questionably legal mirror sites, and many of those in charge at the top web resources fear the bill could mean an end to American web innovation.

Today, a week before the vote, various websites have gone dark in protest, including Reddit, and most notably, the English version of Wikipedia. And no one has taken this news harder than the world’s middle school and high school students, who have taken to Twitter (which is not shutting down to protest SOPA) with their gripes. A search of "WTF Wikipedia" yields a bumper crop of pure, white whine-y comic gold. 

A few examples:


@jmontez29: "No Wikipedia = wtf #therapture #endoftheworld"

@4thepurpletruth: "WTF!! the one day i kneed to use wikipedia and there’s a blackout!! the one day"

@MiChiamanoKiran: "WTF WTF WTF WTF Wikipedia is shut down for an entire 24 hrs to protest SOPA!! Ummm that’s lovely, but I have f*cking hw to dooo! Ughh >.<"

There are some rather funny trolls/mocking tweets, too:


@SeeRockRun: "Wtf #Wikipedia now how will I find out MC Hammers real name. Or get a list of notable alumni from Cornell"

Luckily, for all those kids who still haven’t figured out why the Wiki-world has gone dark and are desperate to use their beloved crutch, the "Simple English" version of the site is still up and running. 

For more information on SOPA and PIPA, what they mean and how to get involved and contact your legislators, check out the pages Google and Mashable have posted.

Introducing Your New Addiction: WikiMaze

Imagine if Wikipedia founder and fundraising genius Jimmy Wales consummated his crush on Jeopardy silver fox Alex Trebek. Assuming Trebek could bear children, they’d give birth to WikiMaze, an addictive new trivia app that flips Wikipedia entries upside down and turns them into questions.

The brainchild of honcho and MIT wizard Ben Gleitzman, WikiMaze is the sort of engaging, educational use of technology that’s sure to get you kicked off American Airlines prior to take-off. Down the line, Gleitzman—part of the brainy posse that just auctioned off Hunch to eBay for $80 million—promises users will be able to curate their own categories, meaning you can answer art questions if you’re not into field sports, quantum mechanics queries if you ain’t into Hollywood starlets, or curate your own quiz on the Kama Sutra.

There’s currently a free version you can play on that will render on any mobile device, a souped up paid version on iTunes, and a tequila drinking version coming to a bar near you. The best part, it directs you to the correct Wikipedia entry when you guess wrong, so you leave the whole experience just a little bit smarter than when you first ambled into the maze. Mr. Baldwin, we’re going to have to ask you to put yourself on airplane mode, sir. 

Wikipedia FAIL, 10 Word Wiki Great Success

Wikipedia is the greatest thing that ever happened to the uninformed masses. Thanks to Wikipedia, I often come off as well-read and versed on a number of pressing issues at first impression. It’s just too bad that a whole bunch of the entries are long, rambling and bo-ring (see: British art critic, John Ruskin or the Wikipedia entry on Wikipedia, ewwww). Luckily, there’s a condensed version for movers and shakers of the world who don’t have the time or patience for 1,000+ words on solar power. Ten Word Wiki is the “Encyclopedia for the ADD generation” and the 10 word entry it cites for itself is wayyyy better that Wikipedia’s: “Knowledge but bite sized, often surreal with lots of jokes”. Here is what we learned of the Wiki at first browse.

It reveals communal qualms. Airport Security: Has latex glove and lube. Not afraid to use them.

It’s aware of familial hierarchies. Alec Baldwin: Stephen Baldwin’s less famous older brother. Leader of the Baldwins.

It hates football too. American Football: Rugby with Padding And Helmets, Fast Game That Lasts Hours

It thinks Chris Martin is a twat. Coldplay: Gwyneth Paltrow’s husband and his three mates. Dreary indie bollocks.

It can be used as a travel guide. Limerick: Irish city where people recite whimsical poetry while stabbing you.

It sides with Tiger. Girlfriend: Many benefits of a wife with few of the drawbacks.

It’s for introverts. Masturbation: If you want a job done properly, do it yourself.

It’s worried about your health. Cigarettes: Cancer delivery system. Tobacco in a paper tube with filter.

It’s for Mormons. Las Vegas: American city of neon lights, Gambling, Whores and bad singers

It knows the real story. Facebook: Website where children give out personal details, a paedophile’s dream.

It’s reflective of culturally accepted truths. George W Bush: overpowered idiot, defective clone of defective hereditary, still made millions.

It’s for realists. Imagination: Pretty pictures made by people who fail in real life.

It’s not for pet lovers. Kittens: Baby cats. Cute, small, weak. Plot to take over world.

It’s clever! Ninja: Behind you! Don’t you see them? Too late. You’re dead.

It knows what that creepy neighbor of yours is up to. Voodoo: Harmless hobby for sociopaths who can’t stop playing with dolls.

It will not use Billy Shatner as a spokesperson. William Shatner: Corsetted scifi icon, then TJ Hooker, and now sleazy lawyer

It’s for nerds! xenologophobia: Fear of loan words. Itself a loan word from Greek

It knows what’s up. For the nerds! Wii:Games console with waggle controls, lots of shovelware. And Mariokart

Its makers are British: Yoghurt: Very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very old milk.