Category Archives: Education

Watch My New Short Film: Small Changes

This week, I’m sharing my own work, because I’m so dang proud of it. Chris & I, along with our incredibly talented Austin-area friends, created this 2 minute water conservation PSA in response to RainBird’s “Intelligent Use of Water” film contest. Austin is in the middle of the worst drought in 50 years, and last week, officials announced even tighter water restrictions, so this awareness-raising contest comes at a crucial time.

We had a great time making this film, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. Enjoy!

Small Changes from Jennifer Gandin Le on Vimeo.

Written by Jennifer & Christopher Gandin Le
Edited by Matt Donaldson
Music by Liz Clark
Starring our brilliant friends and cohorts!

Beauty in a Wicked World is a weekly column by Jennifer Gandin Le. It appears on Wednesdays.


Filed under Beauty in a Wicked World, Education, Environment, In The News, Movies, Politics, Science & Technology, Writing

Healthy Teen Sexuality in Texas

iChoose logoLast Wednesday, I stood at the back of a cafetorium while 100+ teens clustered around the B-boy City Dance Crew, who showed off their moves to Busta Rhymes. The crew called for dancers from the audience, and a group of girls near me nudged and shoved their friend toward the stage. She waved her hands frantically and shook her head, not willing to single herself out. (She later did go up and show off her dance moves, along with another girl who sang an impromptu solo for us.)

We were all there for the iChoose: Real Talk on Sexual Health Teen Summit (I was a volunteer). This one-day workshop for teens provides real information and education about healthy sexuality, with an emphasis on each teen’s opportunity to choose what’s best for them. Over 100 Austin-area teens came out on a summer weekday for over 13 sessions, including “Sexuality & the Law,” “Healthy Masculinity,” and “Birth Control Methods.” I learned about very cool organizations like Men Rally for Change and Love Is Respect: National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline.

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Filed under Beauty in a Wicked World, Career/Life, Education, Gender, Health, Relationships

The Social Media Moment + Sidelined Communities

deannazandtThis week, I got an exciting e-mail from my friend and fellow 2006 REAL Hot 100 winner, Deanna Zandt. She’s a media technologist and a leading expert in women and technology, and she’s about to add “first-time author” to her resume.

She’s signed with the Berrett-Koehler publishing group to write a book about “the social media moment as a huge opportunity for social change and action.” Women, people of color, queer people, and many more have too often been left in the dust of technological advances (see film, TV, and radio in their formative years). Deanna will use her experience in the feminist community and bring in experts from the fields of racial justice, LGBTQQI organizing, the front lines of the class warfare, and more, to assemble strategies for widening the diversity of voices in social media.

Deanna is a sharp, compassionate, thoughtful person, and her book is going to help women and other sidelined communities release their fear and take advantage of the new technologies. The last thing we need is another place where the dominant culture creates uncontested content that blocks out all other perspectives.

If you’re interested in technology and social justice, you should be reading Deanna’s blog. Also, the publisher doesn’t offer advances, so Deanna is fundraising for living expenses this summer while she writes the book in 4 short months. Even if you have $10 to spare, visit her Feed The Author page and join supporters like the Hightower Lowdown, and Don Hazen and Doug Kreeger (editor and board member of AlterNet). It’s a fantastic project in which to invest.

Her full fundraising letter below the cut.

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Filed under Beauty in a Wicked World, Education, Gender, Politics, Race, Science & Technology, Writing

A Father's Film Club

Film ClubDid you ever think that you were wasting your time in high school? That it wasn’t the best place for you to spend seven hours a day, five days a week? If you had determined this and you had failing grades to prove that you and high school were not a good fit, would your parents have let you stay home and watch movies all day?

David Gilmour’s book, The Film Club: A Memoir, came out last summer, but when I heard him read some of the final chapter on NPR yesterday, he had me near tears. And no, it wasn’t preggy hormones. Even Douglas McGrath, in his New York Times Book Review, said that the book moved him to tears… more than once.

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Filed under All The World, Education, Movies

Ellen DeGeneres' Common Cement

For those who haven’t seen it, here’s Ellen DeGeneres’s commencement speech at Tulane. It’s about 10 minutes long, but worth watching every second, especially when you get to the end. I don’t watch her TV show, and it’s been ages since I read her writing, so I had almost forgotten how sharp and hilarious she is.

Enjoy, and happy Friday!

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Filed under Career/Life, Education, In The News, Pop Culture

Script Frenzy Ethics

The Script Frenzy is over. For those of you who never knew that it began, it was a month-long challenge to writers around the world. 30 days, 100 pages of scripted material (a screenplay, stageplay, television script). Every writer who successfully uploaded 30 pages on April 30th was instantly named a winner. There were 1,273 of them, and no, I was not among them. I am not so much surprised by my failure (although Me from a few years ago probably would be), as I am by the way in which this venture tested my ethics.

My high horse had to be parked in the giant barn for a couple of days as I sweated out the question of whether or not to sneak across the finish line. I rode around all semester braying at my students for using Spark Notes and including text verbatim from Wikipedia on their exams and in their papers. Then, there I was, plotting not how to get from Act 2 to Act 3, but how to get from page 92 to 100 without writing 8 more pages. I had all the excuses: two jobs, a conference to attend, a visit from friends, a wedding to be in, and even a flu that sent me to the hospital. But as much as excuses have to do with deadlines, they should have nothing to do with ethics.

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Filed under All The World, Education, Writing

Dump 'Em: How To Break Up With Anyone From Your Best Friend To Your Hairdresser

Buy the book and ask Jodyne for advice! She’ll coach you through any situation. Shoot!


Filed under Career/Life, Education, Pop Culture, Relationships, Writing