Author: Adrianna Dufay

8 Gifts You Can Buy at the Drugstore Super Last-Minute

Photo collage: Erica Hornung/TueNight I know all of you smart people are done with your holiday shopping, and I’m proud of you, honestly. Every year, I fight my natural procrastinating tendencies; some years I win, some I lose. But even when I’m ahead of the game, I invariably find myself short one present on my way to a gift giving event with nothing but a drug store in front of me. This year, I decided to do something about that. Not buy my presents earlier, duh. I decided to plan for that moment, for me and for all of us. I plundered my own local drug stores to find gift suggestions for when you’ve literally waited until the last second to buy presents and you don’t want to look like the dummy you kind of are. 1. A digital camera CVS has a beefy photo and camera section where I found this cute Vivitar digital camera my own 9-year-old daughter uses. They’re small, durable and, best of all, inexpensive, so no need for monitoring, even …

TueNight Live: Photos From Our Pussy Party

We had to do something. So we decided to host a Pussy Party — an election-prepping, Thursday night edition of our typical TueNight Live events. For this live storytelling evening, where we read many of the stories in this issue, we partnered with Industrious, who hosted us in their lovely Brooklyn second floor cafe. Through ticket and t-shirt sales, and a matching offer from the Harnisch Foundation, we were able to donate $1000 to RAINN and $1000 to Crisis Text Line. Here are some of the photos from a rowdy, sassy and moving evening of tales, courage and women.   TueNight Editor-in-Chief Margit started us off with her Pussy Grabs Back t-shirt and a big party whoop.   Diane Di Costanzo warmed up the crowd with her piece The Boss of Me  —  the true story of a naive new hire and a too-forward boss.   Powerhouse Hitha Herzog brought her perspective about being a feminist on Fox News. And Instagram star Melinda Alexander (@MuMuMansion) wowed us via video with her plan for us all to #GetFree. As always, the crowd used break …

That Time I Was Totally Naked On Stage

I don’t recall the first time I undressed on a stage. Probably college. Taking clothes off in the presence of others is not unusual for an actor; you do an onstage costume change with dim lighting between scenes or a love scene in which you unbutton your shirt until you’re left in your bra or, lordy knows, your character is arbitrarily described in some super sexy way and the costume designer has given you a skirt so short you can’t sit down without flashing the front row. Even if you don’t strip on stage, you certainly do behind the scenes. Every actor has done the lightening fast scene change that requires one stagehand to rip off your clothes, one to Velcro on your new outfit and one to swap your wigs — all while you’re holding your arms straight out, breathing deeply and switching dialects for your next character. There’s no time to worry about anything other than whether or not your underwear is clean. (Remind me to tell you about the time I unexpectedly …

Interview: Artist Raven Schlossberg on Women’s Bodies, Kicking Ass (NSFW)

Detail from “10 inch (The Sweet Spot)” (All artwork courtesy of the artist) Raven Schlossberg’s world is a psychedelic, technicolor utopia of sexual symbols — think The Garden of Eden on acid — with woman as subject and object both.  The collage artist, born in Paradise, California in 1973,  has been exhibiting her paintings for over 20 years, with solo exhibitions in New York, Dallas, Berlin, Frankfurt, Bonn, Konstanz, Basel and Paris. I first saw her work in an exclusive gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, children in tow, and found myself knocked out by their loopy genius. My daughters, as well, were mesmerized. Raven was kind enough to talk to us about her work: what inspires her, what it means to her, and in keeping with this week’s theme, whether her own work makes her blush. Your images of naked (or semi-naked) women in your artwork are consistent — what do they represent to you? First of all, I absolutely love the female form. I love its beauty, mystery and power. In my work, I celebrate the …

Adrianna’s Note: I’ll Be Seeing You

Why are we competitive over our bad eyesight? People who are slightly nearsighted swap glasses, laughing, “Oh my god, I’m so blind!” Those of us with more serious numbers turn a gimlet eye toward the amateurs. We’re a different club, and our humor is grim. “Nice coke bottles, Johnson. Seven? Eight?” We recognize the natural selection implications behind the plastic frames: teasing, problems playing group sports (anything with a ball is potentially traumatic) and a likely dose of self-hatred. Our lack of visual acuity is our cross to bear. (Mine is -8.50 in both eyes, if you think you’ve got me beat.) And let’s not even start with bifocals, or progressives as they’re called now for us vain Gen-Xers. Going out to dinner post-40 means grabbing a candle from the next table just to read the menu. Did you increase the font on your phone? For nearly two decades, I read newspapers, books, magazines, prescriptions and mail (everything) to James, a partially sighted man. I learned a lot about the complicated world of the visually impaired. There are levels of blindness, and those …

7 Handmade Gifts for Your Girlfriends

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight) Here at TueNight we love to think of ourselves as crafty and creative, but the fact is we’re busy and distracted and still haven’t quite finished that scarf we started knitting in 2007. That’s why we’re grateful for our relationship with Great.ly and the textile designers, artists, jewelry makers, knitters and carpenters who actually put their tremendous skills to use. There’s no better way to say “I care” than by giving something handmade while supporting a true artisan. You can finish that scarf next year. 1. Flower Designs Coloring Book For your work friend who knows more about your daily life struggles than your mom does. These grown-up coloring books are ravishingly pretty yet inexpensive enough to justify as a sweet treat. And there’s a reason these books are trendy among stressed-out adults; they’re highly meditative. $15, great.ly 2. Gold foil lip print There’s something so Debbie Harry about these luxe gold lips. Remind your old college pal of your youthful indiscretions with this fabulous minimalist print. $43, great.ly 3. Leather …

Sharpies and Other Life-Changing Supplies

Adrianna’s desk, lightly art-directed. (Photo credit: Adrianna Dufay) My last day at my last corporate job was gray, literally and figuratively. It was the end of October, and there was very little natural light coming through the windows. My boss, who suffered from stress headaches, required us to keep the overhead lights off, so I stepped from light pool to light pool to hug my coworkers goodbye. I was excited to manage my husband’s art studio, to peel out of this world and live a more bohemian life. But walking out of the building alone, my heels clicking for the last time on the hard stone floor, I was surprised by my heavy heart. I wondered whether I would miss The Office. All I brought home were my leftover office supplies. Being a practical gal, I boxed up everything in my desk that still worked: stacks of yellow sticky notes, a box of army green hanging file folders, branded notebooks from all-hands meetings. A thick handful of slightly used Bic pens and #2 pencils. Screen …

Anatomy of a Working Relationship (and a Sustainable Skateboard)

Frieda Premo, Brooklyn girl, riding a Bucket Board. (Photo courtesy Mac Premo) The first time my husband told me his idea, I wanted to throw up. Not because it was a bad idea — but because it was an idea that I could envision really, truly coming to life. My husband Mac is an artist who has spent the last two decades building with junk, er, found objects. He shows in a Chelsea gallery that features collage art, and he recently turned a 30-yard dumpster into a traveling collage. So when he was approached by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to create a piece of art out of trash, it wasn’t totally surprising. The WWF’s “Do The Green Thing “ campaign, in conjunction with Earth Hour, invited 15 artists to create something to inspire conscious, sustainable living, and he was one of them. We were standing in our kitchen, arms folded and leaning against the counter, and Mac told me he didn’t want to make art out of trash, he wanted to make a thing to use: a …

The Real Trick Is to Ask a Friend for Help

It was early 1993, in my last few months of college, and my plan to become a Famous Actress Who Would Change the World With Her Talent was knocking it out of the park. I had just returned from a thrilling trip to New York City, where I’d auditioned for and won a spot at my first choice graduate school. I had also managed to score the lead in my first paid acting gig. In Omaha. Now all I had to do was graduate a few weeks early and get myself to Nebraska in time for the first rehearsal. I talked to my professors and made up an accelerated schedule to graduate. It would be fast and furious, and I would miss all the celebrations with my friends, but I would be rewarded; my mom bought me a used car from a family friend, and I would road trip it to Omaha. Artists road trip you know, and I was an artist. One problem: I didn’t have a driver’s license. I don’t trust people who …

5 Gifts For Kids That They Don’t Already Have

Gift giving for children gets harder and harder as kids get more and more sophisticated. Outwit the little ones this year with presents they could never find on a TV screen or through an app. Warning: You may have to reach into your own past…   1. “Vintage” Star Wars belt buckle You DID watch the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, right? Episode VII of the series? No…? That’s OK, I’ll wait while you check it out. From now until December 2015, you’ll need to know enough about the movie to talk to any kid over the age of 8. Impress them (and their folks) with an eBay original that might just remind you of your own days of yore. $35, eBay.com   2. The Drawing Robot Speaking of R2D2, check out this super cute robot. Your DIY-loving kid can put it together using cardboard, tape, a little wiring and a battery. Add pens and turn it on, and this is a mini marvel. Include another robot and tape on a couple of …

My System: One Blackboard to Rule Them All

Who: Adrianna Dufay, founding member of TueNight  System: My family uses a huge (4′ x 6′) blackboard on our kitchen wall that holds our weekly family calendar, nightly dinner reminders, grocery list, general to-do list and notes passed back and forth. Inspiration: My husband and I both work full time, have lots of evening events and have two kids in two different schools. We’ve experimented with different calendars for years now — online or not, separate or together, paper or write-erase, monthly or weekly— and this is the system that has inspired the most calm. How it works: On Saturday morning, we turn on cartoons in the other room and banish the children. Then we pour ourselves some coffee and dump everything from our shared electronic calendar (and anything else we forgot) onto the board. As we talk through the next week, we’re writing our to-do list on one side of the board and groceries on the other. How long it takes: It takes about an hour, but when we’re done with that, we’re ready for the week. My …

School Lunch Advice From Your Older Sis

Hiya, Little Sis! How’s tricks? I was thinking about you today while standing in line to sign up for next year’s summer camp. (We’re doing this awesome Lego/Robotics/Stanford-prep thing that I should totally tell you about.) I can’t believe your little guy — my sweet nephew — starts preschool this week. Reminds me when my girls were just starting, before second grade took its toll. Oh, the salad years! I realized there’s a whole school lunch scene that’s kind of intense that you may not know about, and I thought I could give you some advice. I mean, it’s really different from when we were growing up. And since I live in Brooklyn, we’re kind of on the frontlines of a lot of school lunch trends, so maybe my experience can be useful here? I wrote down some stuff for you. 1. Dad makes the lunch. If I were to tell you only one thing, it would be this. These days, that’s his job. I know that’s a little weird because your husband travels a …

Gimme Shelter: A Mom Confesses Her Gun Obsession

“Dear Families, Today we had a soft lockdown in the building at approximately 12:40 p.m.…” is how the message from my daughter’s school principal started. I had been mindlessly thumbing through emails on my phone as I climbed the steps from the subway, but now I froze. I sucked in my breath and looked at the ground. I told myself that nothing bad had happened. I knew my daughter had to be okay. Parents aren’t notified of school shootings by email. But until the pounding in my ears stopped, I couldn’t take my eyes from the cement steps and bring them back up to the device in my hand. [pullquote]The problem with trying to be a rational parent in today’s America is that screens and images everywhere deliver improbable, terrible, often true stories directly to your fear center.[/pullquote] This is the first year our school has instituted “lockdown procedures,” and we parents got a brief rundown of the process last September. When the alarm sounds, my daughter’s teacher locks the door, turns off the lights, …

Why I Can’t Watch Natalie Portman in The Professional Anymore

I swore this would never happen, but I think I’ve turned into a prude. The other night, my husband turned on the TV and the movie The Professional was on. We both jumped up. “Oh, yeah, this is a great movie. Let’s watch this!” About three minutes later, I stood up and said, “I can’t watch this anymore. I hate this. I hate watching Natalie Portman.” He asked me why and I went off on a minor rant, sounding like some sort of next-generation Tipper Gore. “I’m looking at this girl in ways that aren’t about the story line. The camera is lingering on her. There’s something creepy going on here.” He nodded amiably, shrugged and changed the channel. But this little outrage continued firing up, smoldering… I’ve been thinking about why I had such an unusually knee-jerk reaction. I LIKED that movie. When I first saw it in the late 90s — just having graduated with an MFA in Theater — I wanted to be Natalie Portman; I was jealous of her getting such …

5 Gifts for Kids That They Don’t Already Have

It’s always difficult to pick out presents for kids (especially other people’s) when you’re trying to avoid buying all that overpriced plastic, branded crap. Especially during the holidays. I’ve stealthily built up my own repertoire of unique, original presents never to be found at Target.   1. Lambswool Duster/Magic Wand The first time I saw one of these, it was sitting on an artist’s table and I didn’t even recognize it as a cleaning tool. My first instinct was to pick it up and start “poof”ing everything around me, which I did. Replace the black twine handle with a sparkly ribbon, and that little one will, too. $5-$12, westelm.com   2. Treasure Hunt This pirate kit helps kids create their own treasure hunt with an X to mark the spot, a bag for gold booty and a sweet little chalkboard set for making maps. Plus, everything this husband-and-wife team makes is all-natural. $36, sevenacretoys.com   3. Chinese Slippers (Or as they say in China, “slippers.”) I’m lucky enough to live in New York, where I …

Away From It All, Underground

I love my subway ride. Love it. I like to say it’s the only alone time I get all day. (Other than locking myself in the bathroom occasionally to hide from my children.) I look forward to it so much, my purse is practically dedicated to my subway activities. I almost always have my Kindle. A 25-minute ride is enough time to read a few chapters (just finished Allegiant by Veronica Roth), and who gets to read these days? Pure luxury. I also carry a print book on occasion. It has to be really special, since it takes up so much room — and I need to secure a seat for reading with two hands — but if my Kindle is a cozy sweater, a real book is cashmere. Like every other human in New York City, I also carry my smartphone. This is for when I’m feeling practical or anxious. I’ll add items to my to-do list, review my calendar for the day, answer email or read from the New York Times app. Or if I’m feeling …

Why I’ve Stopped Wearing Black

I grew up in Oregon, where folks wear a lot of color. It’s pretty natural to match your surroundings, and on the left coast of my childhood, you’d see a lot of browns (earth), greys (sky) and blues (water, which is everywhere). So it makes sense to me that New Yorkers also want to blend in. Their shiny skyscraper windows are black. The wet pavement is black. And as we transition from fall to winter, the night sky becomes blacker then black. I’ve lived in this city for almost 20 years now, and like my fellow urbanites, I’ve started to blend in, to reflect my environment. But each year when I pull out my winter clothes, I get a little depressed. It could be the leftover habit of back-to-school anxiety, could be related to September 11, could be that I just hate cold weather. But I think there’s something else a little… grey. Actually, darker than that. It’s black, and I don’t like it. I don’t like black and I’ve decided not to wear it …

Park Slope, Brooklyn: A Mom’s Defense

I never intended to be here. I mean, I explicitly did not want to be here. When my husband and I were looking for apartments, we instructed our real estate agent to show us any neighborhood near downtown Brooklyn: Carrol Gardens, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Ft. Greene, DUMBO, basically anything but Park Slope. There’s a ‘Park Slope’ neighborhood in most cities with hip, urban centers, but the birthplace — the ur-destination — of obnoxious, yuppie parenthood is this neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. Picture expensive SUV-style strollers blocking the sidewalk. Picture mommy bloggers with yoga mats drinking imported teas. Toddlers named Henry and Sophia taking advanced Mandarin classes. That’s the rep. No individually minded person with street cred would get anywhere near it. And yet what happened next is that I moved to Park Slope. My husband and I have two children. We both work full-time jobs. We spend more than a firefighter’s annual salary on childcare. (This is true.) And I have become a Park Slope Mom. When my husband, my 1 1/2-yr-old daughter and I moved to our …

Dad Introduces Daughter to The Breeders

It started with a spat. My husband and I were listening to music while cleaning the house together when I noticed that all of the songs coming from his iPhone were sung by men. I made a snarky comment about how the father of two daughters has an obligation to expand his playlist. He snarked right back that he’d be happy to play all the female artists I could provide him. Raised eyebrows on both sides. Later that night, he posted a request on Facebook for suggestions of “solid female music” and struck a chord. He got 95 responses, most with multiple suggestions: Aretha Franklin, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell. Some people even posted several times throughout the day as they remembered more: Liz Phair, Neko Case, Aimee Mann. People shared the post with their friends and the list grew. Stevie Nicks, Lucinda Williams, Etta James, Joan Jett, Patti Smith, Pat Benatar, Marianne Faithful. A friend who works at a radio station WBKM was inspired to do a ‘Ladies’ Night’ on his show. We read the lists together, amazed, talking …

A Random Timeline of Brave Women in Literature

My father, a good ’70s feminist type, was always very conscious about providing me with examples of fierce women protagonists.  He wanted me to see role models who were strong and courageous. He took me to see Sigourney Weaver in Alien (Of course I was traumatized; I was eight.) He gave me a copy of Robert A Heinlein’s Friday.  He made sure I knew that girls can change the world, and that I should plan on it myself. I was a bookworm, not an activist, so I ended up bonding with some brave literary characters in my reading life. Here are a few of my favorites in chronological order: 1599 Rosalind: As You Like It, Shakespeare Elizabeth I was on the throne, and Shakespeare wanted to impress her — who didn’t? — so he wrote one independent female character after another. One of the most audacious is Rosalind, a young woman banished from court after the exile of her father. She flees with two others to the Forest of Arden and disguises herself as a …