Connect with us


POP INTERVIEW: Feminist Publisher/Author Felice Newman

Felice Newman, publisher of Cleis Press since 1980 and an author herself, wishes to change the modern day attitude regarding feminism as a naughty word.



“Feminist” in 2013 isn’t exactly a compliment. At least, not to celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and others who deny any connections to the word or its movement in public statements. Ironically, if it weren’t for feminists, none of these young women be able to earn the incredible sums of money they do each year. Felice Newman, publisher of Cleis Press since 1980 and an author herself, wishes to change the modern day attitude regarding feminism as a naughty word.

Felice Newman

You started out as a poet. Who are your favorite poets? What about female poets?
My favorite poet is Mary Oliver—though I am excited to have discovered Richard Bianco, Obama’s 2013 inaugural poet, who wrote so eloquently of our one, shared world. I would think they they would like each other, too.

Back in the 1970’s, you started a small feminist publishing company. What kind of materials were submitted to you then? What impressed you with some manuscripts that made others churn?
I was a cofounder of a very tiny feminist press, Motheroot Publications, in the mid-70s. We asked Adrienne Rich for permission to print a small chapbook of an essay of hers that we loved, Women & Honor: Some Notes on Lying. We kept that little chapbook in print for many years, first through Motheroot and then Cleis. I admit to not really remembering what our slush pile looked like back then. But I can tell you that when Cleis Press started in 1980, we were most impressed with books that spoke authentically of women’s lives from the first person point of view. Books that gave testimony to women’s experiences, both struggles and victories. The first book we ever published right from the slush pile was Voices in the Night: Women Speaking About Incest. This was before The Courage to Heal, and there are nothing, absolutely nothing on the subject. We sold many many thousands of copies of Voices in the Night.

Do you think it is possible to embrace women’s traditional roles and feminist ideals at the same time? Can these two worlds work together in one’s personal life or entertainment?
I love this question! There is abosolutely nothing wrong with sex roles—as long as you have the freedom to choose the one(s) that resonate for you. As Adrienne Rich once said, and I may be paraphrasing, “There’s nothing wrong with privilege…as long as everyone has it.”

Let’s assume a man or woman is new to reading LGBT literature. Which books should he or she pick up within the lesbian catalog?
Within the lesbian catalog: First, the Best Lesbian Erotica series. If you want to know what makes a lesbian a lesbian (!), start with erotic stories like those in the Best Lesbian Erotica series. After all, this is where you will find women writing unabashedly of their desire for and experiences (both real and imagined) of sex between women. Then, I’ send that reader right to my book, The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us. There is no better guide to lesbian and bisexual women’s sexuality. I say that as both the author and the publisher—and as a reader of books about sex. The reason I wrote this book is that I had been waiting years to receive such a book proposal. It never happened. I know the book was needed, so I decided to write it myself.

Felice Newman1

For straight people, why might they too be interested in reading LGBT books? Some people seem embarrassed being seen near the aisle.
Well, LGBTQ books speak authoritatively and authentically about sexuality and gender. It’s hard (even today) to sift the good info from books which really pander to the shame-based, sex-negative status quo. So I would encourage everyone to look to LGBTQ books for a fresh take on their own sexuality. After all, as humans we have far more in common you we may think.

What is the worst thing someone ever told you about your books? How did it make you feel great? Because criticism sometimes does that to you, leading you on a power trip when you know you’re doing something right enough to be controversial.
There was a time when some feminist publishers and some feminist booksellers were quite dismissive about what Cleis did, because they considered erotica and sex guides as not a politically legitimate contribution, to say the least. During their own leans times, they would say, well, of course YOU’RE doing okay, you publish sex—as if we were exploiters cranking out crap for money. We were doing better than many of our sister publishers, but we think it’s because we were publishing books people wanted to read. And doing it well. And respecting the varied reading interests of our audience.

What do you see as the parts of life in America where women are most oppressed? Outside this country, which countries in your opinion need progress?
I’m going to speak about America and not other countries, simply because it’s so easy to point to other regions for examples of oppression. Women are oppressed in the US because as long as we are on the defensive regarding access to contraceptives and abortion, we will spend much energy and money trying not to lose what we’ve already gained, with not enough resources left over to push forward on basic issues like income equality. Women still don’t earn as much as men.

Do you think feminism is still around anymore or was it something that ended in the 90’s?
Feminism is definitely still around, though perhaps some people don’t want to label themselves with the word “feminism.”


Watch How This Hasselhoff Deepfake Takes Years Off The Actor!



Visual effects artist Chris Ume takes countless images of David Hasselhoff from his past Baywatch days, then creates a younger avator, blending the new, artificial Hof onto the real life Hoff.

The process of this crazy magic? It’s called a Deepfake = combining and superimposing existing images and videos onto a source image or video. The process is incredible, and yet still relatively in its infancy. If things keep progressing this genre as we can only expect they will, it’s not a stretch to imagine that we could someday see an actor actress play a younger version of themselves so convincingly we won’t see how they did it.

To follow more of his work, subscribe to Chris’ youtube channel.

Continue Reading


Chatting With Charo: The “Hair” Edition



Brace yourself! There is a lot you don’t know about Charo’s hair! Listen, learn – and laugh your ass off – all along the way!

I got to visit Charo at her home just a week ago (I’ve known her wonderful family for many years) and we started out chatting about food (which explains all the tapas on the table!) But not so shockingly, we got sidetracked! This conversation about her hair had me laughing until I was crying!

Catch more chatting with charo! Follow her on Twitter! 

Follow her on Instagram!

And Hey, why not follow me too! On twitter and instagram!

Continue Reading


Lizzo Is An Icon In The Making – And Here’s Why



Mirror, mirror on the wall don’t say it ‘cause we know Lizzo cute. And by cute I mean extremely talented, gorgeous and totally inspiring!

A few months ago I was watching The Ellen Degeneres Show when I witnessed one of the most fun, exciting and awe-inspiring performances I’ve ever seen. Lizzo popped onto the screen in a sparkly, pink getup and began singing what would become her big hit song, “Juice,” – I was immediately hooked (more like obsessed). During this performance she also jammed out on her flute alongside her plus-sized backup dancers and suddenly I knew I had been changed forever. I did some more research on the rapper/singer and found out I had been sleeping on this gem! Lizzo has been doing bad all by her damn self for years, having already released two albums in the past. I am suddenly mad at every single person who neglected to tell me to jump on the Lizzo train sooner! If you’re like me and need a bit of catch up, I’m going to break down exactly why you need to know this icon in the making.

You can throw a stone in any direction and hit a triple threat nowadays. Lizzo’s brings talents we have yet to see in the mainstream music industry.

If singing, rapping and dancing make Lizzo a triple threat, what does flute playing making her?!? A STAR THAT’S WHAT! Lizzo has displayed her abilities as a talented flautist, which is not an instrument you would necessarily think of in conjunction with the rap genre making this talent all the more extraordinary. Lizzo even used her flauting skills to compete (and defeat IMO) with Ron Burgundy. Not Will Ferrell, but Ron Burgundy.

Oh, and she can also twerk while playing the flute. 

As if playing the flute wasn’t impressive enough, Lizzo can also twerk while playing. I really hope some high school kid is deciding to take band just so he/she can flutwerk their way around campus like their fav flautist, Lizzo.

Lizzo uses her platform to inspire and raise up everyone around her.

Lizzo uses her voice for more than just creating fire music, ya know. She uses her platform to defend the belief that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Her Twitter is filled with positivity and strong messages about acceptance.


Uhm…she’s straight up gorgeous. 

We cant forget to mention that Lizzo is a straight up beauty queen. She is known to switch up her look but I’ve never seen a bad pic of this queen. To solidify my point, she is now officially the first, plus sized black woman to be featured in Playboy magazine!


Move over Avenger’s, Lizzo has been in a comic book too!

Ok indulge the nerd in me on this one…Lizzo was even featured in a comic book!!! That’s right, she has become so influential that even Marvel comics wanted a piece of the Lizzo-pie. Check out this shout-out in Unstoppable Wasp #4!


So now that you have become as obsessed as I have, you are probably wondering how you can get even more Lizzo in your life. Well lucky for you, her new album dropped TODAY! Her third studio album, Cuz I Love You, is available anywhere you listen to music and let me tell you, YOU WILL LOVE IT. The album is varied and showcases all of Lizzo’s incredible range with some songs being upbeat and funky, and others being slowed down and heart wrenching. For a taste of what to expect, click below to listen to the title track of the album. If the new album still doesn’t satisfy the hunger for more Lizzo, she’s also on tour! You can click here for more info on tour dates.

Oh Lizzo…you are most definitely 100% that bitch.  

Like what you read? Follow @ChrisSiretz on Twitter and Instagram

Continue Reading