Finding myself in Aurora Lady’s punk feminist world

Aurora Lady's shirt in Queens

When I first met LA-based artist, illustrator, writer, stylist, schemer and dreamer Aurora Lady I knew we would be friends for a long time. I loved her artistic vision, her bold illustrations, her passion for truth telling, and her penchant for feminist community building. When she told me she was coming out with a line of t-shirts I was thrilled, why would I want to wear anything else?

What I really love about Aurora’s work, whether it’s a t-shirt, a painting or photo shoot, is that she creates a whole alternate reality full of realized girl crushes, and powerful, glamorous, gnarly ladies. I was excited to talk to Aurora more about her t-shirt line and the inspiration behind it, so I interviewed her for the awesome blog Weird Sister .

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I just got one of her newest shirts, which proclaims “I nearly lost myself.” I loved the simple design and elegant handwriting. I had a tough winter, but managed to find myself again as spring arrived. I’m happy to say I feel more grounded, hopeful and powerful than ever. It’s also a testament that this is the first time EVER I have dared to wear a crop top (no, I did not even wear them the first time around in the 1990s).

Unisphere feminism

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When I placed my order for the shirt I wrote a note to Aurora that read like a confessional: I was afraid to wear the shirt, even though I loved the look. I felt self-conscious because I’m a curvy lady, and usually I pick clothes to hide, not showoff, my midriff. Aurora reassured me and told me that she too, felt like that, but the shirt enabled her to claim her power and feel more comfortable with herself.

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So I took a cue from her book and wore my shirt with a high-waisted pencil skirt and my favorite Stan Smith Adidas, a perfect outfit for exploring the post-industrial wilds of Brooklyn and celebrating the punk rock history of Queens at the Ramones exhibit at the Queens Museum (up through July 31, 2016).

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Embracing yourself, expressing who you are, not giving a damn about who might judge you. That’s the punk rock spirit.

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Myths from Outer Space by Marcus Romero


On Friday evening I braved the wind driven rain and the G train for a trip to Long Island City to see Marcus Romero’s new work showing at The Space Gallery. Marcus paints fantastic starscapes and landscapes, which are alternatively based on science and science fiction. If they were less delicately worked I could almost imagine them adorning the cover of a sci-fi paperback. What is evident from looking at the show, which contains both small pieces a few inches across as well as those covering entire walls, is that Marcus is a painter. By that I mean to say that he loves and is comfortable with working with paint as a medium, applying it in layers and reworking his paintings until they have a luminous, almost lacquered quality. The Space Gallery was crowded with artists, friends and well-wishers. For me, who is regularly caught saying that I hate contemporary art, it is always refreshing to see a small gallery mount efforts that really support artists and the work that they create.

Sufjan Stevens and the BQE


On Friday evening I went with my friends to BAM to see Sufjan Stevens perform The BQE, which is a new work that BAM comissioned celebrating Robert Moses’ unlikely monument to automobile culture and “ubran renewal.” With three film screens, dancers with glowing hula hoops and a full orchestra, it was a stunning piece. It reminded me of the ballet I saw in Paris by Robyn Orlin, who also incorporated film into her work in a very dynamic way. The performance made me think about how I relate to Brooklyn visually–what are the sights I see everyday as I move around the city that are actually monuments (or ruins) or a certain kind? The blue gorilla near 9th street and the Gowanus canal? The bright yellow storage warehouse on Atlantic Ave? Sunset Park’s numerous industrial buildings and dentention center? Dumbo and Williamsburg’s new high rise condos? The other effect the piece had on me was it lead me to reflect on a relationship I was in several years ago with someone who lived in Queens. I never thought about it like this before, but our relationship was so much about the BQE. There was always traffic, rough pavement, and construction at unlikely times. I learned very quickly that the BQE was not a road to be trusted; expressway often meant anything but. I knew so many sights in Sufjan’s film from that time in my life- the bridges, the Queens cemetaries, the Manhattan skyline as seen from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I’m glad it’s been memorialized and analyzed in someway. It made me realize my trips on the BQE are probably my fondest memories from those days.