activist, writer, and founder of the Feminist Press

Florence in Words

Blog Miscellany

June 20, 2011

Tags: theatre, Jeannette, Betty Friedan, Alida Brill

I apologize to my blog-readers for silence, which has two causes: laziness about writing blogs and the absence of dear Jeannette, who is off at a seminar for much of June. For those of you just tuning in, this website depends on the skills of Jeannette Petras, who used to be the Feminist Press's brilliant marketing manager, and would that she was still there marketing my book. But that’s another story.

I’m writing this blog as a catch-up and I’m not going to comment on the latest weak-willed male idiot in the news, nor on Republican politics which insists that the only strong candidate renounce the best achievement of any governor in order to suit the party’s antipathy (again, I’m being kind) to our President’s achievement, even though the two medical plans are, in reality, closely related. But of course, one will have to remember throughout the next 18 months that “reality” has flown out the window, and political fiction will reign.

So instead I’m going to tell you that I actually saw a great piece of theatre—“War Horse”—in which reality-sized puppets, each handled by three men who become invisible, while the horses magically appear as real. And on a bare stage both men and horses die—the lighting and the sound are also brilliant. I who almost never will cry (see my memoir) wept real tears. I won’t talk about the clunkers I saw, and if you want to know why, it’s that I support Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center, and Primary Stages, and so see between 15 and 20 scheduled plays a year. If two or three are great, that’s the miracle.

And finally, I attended a celebration here in New York of Betty Friedan, organized by the Veteran Feminists of America, chiefly through the leadership and very hard work of Jacqui Ceballos. We got to see a snippet of a new film by Mary Dore and Nancy Kennedy to be called “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” and then Al Sutton’s very moving 10-minute film, “Equality I Am Woman.” These were fun, and for me one of the high point of the evening were talks by Betty Friedan’s daughter, a physician, who spoke lovingly, and Betty’s granddaughter, a teenager, eager to claim her grandmother’s heritage.

Best for me, I went to the event with my dear friend Alida Brill, who is writing a new book that will include her close relationship with Betty. Alida took the microphone towards the end of the evening for an impassioned moment of memories.


  1. June 28, 2011 7:59 PM EDT
    Thanks for the nice comments about our event honoring Betty Friedan June 17. It was wonderful having you share it with us! I wanted you to say a few words, but as you know, the program was packed..I'll send your words to Emily and the filmmakers..though I found this because jeanne McGill, who helped produce Equality I Am Woman, told me about it. Your book, A Life in Motion, is fantastic.. especially loved the first part about your live in Brooklyn. We'll write about it on our webpage, www.vfa.us once our webmanager, Jan Cleary, is back from the hospital and able to work again. Thanks again!
    - jacqui Ceballos

Select Works

"Everyone concerned about global feminism, women’s contributions, and humanity’s future will be enhanced and enchanted by A Life in Motion.”—Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume I and Volume II
Lecture delivered by Florence Howe on January 8, 2011, at the Modern Language Association Annual Convention
“It is impossible to imagine women’s studies without Florence Howe. Myths of Coeducation shows her vision and courage, insight and dauntlessness.”–Catharine R. Stimpson, Rutgers University
A revised and expanded edition of the classic groundbreaking anthology of 20th-century American women's poetry, representing more than 100 poets from Amy Lowell to Anne Sexton to Rita Dove.

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