A Look at Lois Weber, America’s First Woman Filmmaker

We continue to celebrate National Women’s History Month with our spotlight on Lois Weber. Lois Weber (June 13, 1879 – November 13, 1939) whose birth name is Florence Pietz is known as America’s first woman filmmaker. She began her career working as an actress alongside her husband, Phillips Smalley after the two had worked together in the theatre. They began working in motion pictures around 1907, often billed under the collective title “The Smalleys.” In 1913 she began directing films. She is the first American woman to direct a full-length feature, the Rex production of The Merchant of Venice in 1914.

Lois Weber, Female Film Director

Image source: The New York Times

By 1916, Weber worked at Universal and was one of the highest paid directors in the world. She formed her own production company in 1917, and her career flourished until the early 1920’s. Lois’ films focused on serious, controversial issues like birth control and abortion, which brought her into constant conflict with distributors. She directed over 100 films but sadly is a forgotten pioneer in the Hollywood motion picture and film industry. Today we remember her as we celebrate the life and contributions of Lois Weber.

Happy #NationalWomensHistoryMonth


A Dance with Maria Tallchief, First Native American Prima Ballerina

Maria Tallchief, Native American Prima Ballerina, National Women's History Month

Image Credit: Walter Owen

Breaking barriers in the ballet is the reason why we are spotlighting Maria Tallchief in celebration of National Women’s History Month. Maria Tallchief was a revolutionary American ballerina who broke barriers for Native American women and became the first Native American woman (Osage Tribe) to become a prima ballerina. Elizabeth Marie “Betty” Tall Chief (Osage family name: Ki He Kah Stah Tsa) was the first American to dance at the Paris Opera and has danced with the Paris Opera Ballet, the Ballet Russe, and the Balanchine Ballet Society, later renamed the New York City Ballet.

Maria Tallchief, Native American Prima Ballerina, Dancer

Photograph: AY Owen/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images Maria Tallchief donning a headdress in 1953, the year she was honored by the state of Oklahoma.

She was a world-renowned ballerina and one of the premiere (first-ranking) American ballerinas of all time. In addition to wide fame, Tallchief earned strong reviews from critics for her technical precision, musicality, and strength. In 1996, Tallchief was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and became one of only five artists to receive the Kennedy Center Honors for their artistic contributions in the United States.

In 1999, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts, which is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the U.S. government. Such recognition honors individuals who “are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States.”

Celebrating female pioneers during #NationalWomensHistoryMonth!

Get your Shelfie on for the Magic of Storytelling Campaign

Magic of Storytelling, Shelfie, First Book, Disney

Image Credit: abcbeinspired.com

Only 20 days left to post your “Shelfie” for the Magic of Storytelling campaign y’all. What is a shelfie? A shelfie is a selfie holding your favorite book or taken in front of a bookshelf. Upload it and share with your friends and followers on social media using the hashtag #MagicOfStorytelling on Twitter or Instagram. Encourage others to share their love of books by sharing their shelfie.

Magic of Storytelling, Disney, First Book

Image Credit: WISN 12 News

Now here’s the deal. For each shelfie posted on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MagicOfStorytelling, Disney will donate 1 book to First Book. Disney partnered with First Book to provide new books to help kids read, learn and succeed. This is your opportunity to join the Magic of Storytelling campaign, as Disney will donate up to 1 million books across all Magic Of Storytelling promotions to children in need through First Book.

Be sure to include the following tags in your social media posts:

@FirstBook (Twitter), @FirstBookOrg (Instagram)

For more information on other ways you can get involved in the Magic of Storytelling campaign, click here. Chop, chop and get to it if you haven’t already. Books are ready and children are waiting!

Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Savings Time, Spring Forward, Set Time on Clocks

Note to self

Don’t forget to set those clocks to spring ahead one hour tomorrow morning, Sunday March 11, 2018, at 2:00 am. Yep, it’s Daylight Saving Time folks!

Are we really losing time, gaining time or adjusting a period of time for our convenience? About 40% of countries worldwide use Daylight Saving Time (DST) to make better use of daylight in order to conserve energy. On July 1, 1908, the residents of Port Arthur, Ontario (today’s Thunder Bay) turned their clocks forward by 1 hour to start the world’s first DST period. Other locations in Canada soon followed suit. The idea, however, did not catch on globally until Germany introduced Daylight Saving Time in 1916.

It has been reported that many Washington legislators in the United States are considering wiping out the time changes completely. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gives every state or territory the right to opt out of using DST. Yet, would such opting out of a synchronized time system by individual states in the United States, for example, create problems for business communications, automatic time changes on computerized appliances and digital devices, along with mass transportation and broadcasting? Just a thought.

Food Porn Friday: Jerk Spiced Grits with Spicy Tomato Shrimp Gravy

Barbara Smith, B. Smith, Chef, Cook, Food

Chef B. (Barbara) Smith

Today on Food Porn Friday, as we celebrate National Women’s History Month, we are featuring a mouthwatering recipe from the cookbook of one of our beloved chefs, B. Smith. She became a lifestyle icon thanks to her contemporary Southern cookbooks,  with three iconic restaurants, and working as an advocate for healthy living. Smith became a culinary ambassador for the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership in 2012 and worked with Ready Pac to bring culturally diverse food to the Armed Forces.

Smith made history by becoming the first black model to grace the cover of Mademoiselle magazine. We are featuring this favorite southern recipe with shrimp and grits, coming from her cookbook, B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style.


Spicy Tomato Shrimp Gravy
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup seafood broth or stock, or bottled clam juice
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
Drained, liquid reserved and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

In a large saucepan. Melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, celery, and bell pepper until softened about 7 minutes.
Add the broth, tomatoes, and reserved tomato liquid, and bring to boil.
Add the Old Bay Seasoning, black pepper, and cayenne; simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the shrimp, basil, and parley, and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened and the shrimp is just cooked through about 5-8 minutes.

Jerk-Spiced Grits
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
1 1/2 tablespoons dried jerk seasoning or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking grits
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 pound garlic herb cheese spread, such as Boursin Light
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Finely chopped scallions, for garnish

In a medium saucepan. Bring the stock, jerk seasoning, and salt to boil. Slowly stir in the grits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened
Add the butter and cheese, stirring until melted. Add the parsley and stir to blend. Served immediately, garnished with chopped scallions.

Bon Appetit!

Happy #NationalWomensHistoryMonth on #FoodPornFriday!

#PressforProgress on International Women’s Day

National Women's History Month, International Women's Day, Poetry, Celebrating Women

Image Source: internationalwomensday.com

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day during National Women’s History Month. This month we recognize the historical achievements of women pioneers, the movers and shakers who changed the landscape of our culture and continue to change the power of perception and progress globally. In celebration of women, our impact and our accomplishments, I am dedicating my poem, We Are Woman, to every woman making a positive change around the world.

We Are Woman

We have the power to change the world
we are here, we are ready, we are strong
we motivate, unite, elevate and inspire
warriors with a strong will to fight and survive

see us, hear us, acknowledge us, woman

we are guardian angels, nurturers, and providers
we spread our wings and soar, even when we feel weak
with an unrelenting strength to feed and nourish
compassion to serve with love, dignity and humility

respect us, protect us, promote us, woman

we innovate and lead where others dare not go
we are teachers challenging the status quo
we encourage, even when we feel hurt and broken
we are mothers, sisters, maternal gatekeepers of family

we are me, we are woman, we are she

we are woman, touching the pulse of this universe
we are woman, fruit-bearers planting the seeds of plenty
we are woman, tears watering aridity and disenchantment
we are woman, recognize the impact of our global story.

©Kym Gordon Moore

For more information about International Women’s Day and the #PressforProgress movement, visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com.


National Women’s History Month: Lt. Annie G. Fox, First Female Purple Heart Recipient

National Women's History Month, Annie Fox

Image credit: National Archives and Records Administration

First Lt. Annie G. Fox, Army Nurse Corps, (August 4, 1893 – January 20, 1987) was the first female to receive the Purple Heart Medal for combat. She was on duty during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941) as bombs rained down on the base at Hickam Field. Fox joined the Army Nurse Corps in 1918, at the end of the First World War. She saved many lives although she was not wounded. At the time the requirements for being awarded the Purple Heart did not involve injury or death. It is recorded that two years afterward when the criteria for the Purple Heart Medal was changed to those wounded or killed in action, Fox was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for her heroic act in lieu of the Purple Heart.

She’s now in the running to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill as the U.S. Treasury prepares to add a woman by 2020.


Lt. Annie Fox, National Women's History Month

Image Credit: wartimeheritage.com


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