+

When Felice House moved to Texas from Massachusetts, she quickly fell in love with "Western" culture.

Photo by Timothy Douglas, used with permission.

House, a painter and artist, moved to Austin to study for her master's degree before becoming an assistant professor of painting at Texas A&M University.


At first, the culture shock was fun. House says she quickly became infatuated with the Western genre: the outfits, the cowboy boots, the music.

"But when I actually got around to watching Western movies," she adds, "I was horrified by the roles for ... anybody except white men basically."

The stoic renegades played by John Wayne, James Dean, and Clint Eastwood stood in stark contrast to the helpless damsels they shared the screen with. The empowered and the powerless.

House had spent much of her career painting women in ways that clashed with media representations, so she decided to tackle the male-dominated Western genre.

She put out a call for models and was quickly overwhelmed with women who wanted to participate.

All images by Felice House, used with permission.

House says many of the models already knew which iconic cowboy they wanted to portray.

Virginia Schmidt became "Virginia Eastwood."

Then there was "Liakesha Dean."

And "Rebekah Wayne."

House first photographed the models in Western getups, then painted from the images she captured.

She also says practicing the facial expressions and body language was the hardest part for the models.

"Women are kind of trained to make coy, approachable facial expressions," she says.

Turning these women into iconic and powerful heroes meant stripping away any remnants of the "sexy cowgirl" trope.

The paintings themselves are larger than life. Roughly 1.25 times larger, to be specific.

"When you see them in person, people are surprised by the scale." People aren't used to women towering over them, House says.

And that's exactly the point. House wanted to start a conversation about who is assigned power and how we view it.

In that sense, the timing couldn't have been better. "Issues with gender and power in the U.S. are kind of in the forefront of people's minds, " she says.

In the very beginning of the project, House says she simply digitally clipped one of the models heads and put it on John Wayne's body.

"It looked ridiculous," she says with a laugh. "But then I thought, what if I could find a way to give this same sense of power [that iconic male heroes have] to women?"

With a brush and a few massive canvases, she managed to do just that, and she hopes it'll make a few people think differently about how we define who can be a hero.

In the meantime, and despite her criticisms of the films of yesteryear, House says pop culture is getting better at representing women. Projects like this one definitely help.

After all, it was John Wayne himself who once said, "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday."

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
Keep ReadingShow less