Talk! with Marie is a dynamic show created and hosted by Marie Celestin. I engage in real talk about real issues with people from all walks of life. This forum increases awareness of a range of important topics from new books to community health issues. You will discover a myriad of people and organizations making an impact in the community. Some segments are serious, others lighter and fun. --- Marie Celestin
Host / Executive Producer

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Talk! Introduction2/24/09


I'm interested in talking with a mix of people and address issues that are important to you. I'm open to your ideas for topics and guests for the show. Who do you think I should invite on upcoming shows? Is there an organization, a publication or a community member you would like to know more about. Suggest a guest or topic by e-mailing me.
March Happenings on Talk! with Marie Live
Spring is only a few days away and there is a lot to explore wherever you are. This week on Talk! with Marie, I interviewed Celeste, a member of the GIRLS Project and entrepreneur. She’s the queen of event planning and is always attending some fabulous events when not in school. We kick off the show with an event happening at the Cambridge Public Library for patrons interested in advocating for their library. Friends of the Cambridge library has a wondeful blog with all their events. There is also a list of books to read for Women’s History Month.
The Boston Public Library, which is over the bridge from Cambridge, has its own set of calendar events. There is an author talk scheduled for March 21 with Eva LaPlante. It is free and open to all. You’ll also find all upcoming events at the various neighborhood branches.  One of the resources that those libraries offer is Free Passes to local venues such as Museum of Fine Arts, New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science, to name a few. Plan ahead and stop by the circulation desk to get more details. I love my neighborhood libraries and I’m reminded every time I visit.
For those who are looking for more ideas, we checked out ArtsBoston for upcoming theater, dance events and ticket discounts. Celeste will most likely attend one of these if she has any energy left after a long day at work. We both love the Alvin Ailey Dance company which will make a stop in Boston on May 16-19 at Citi Center. This is at the top of my list for a seasonal treat.
After enjoying the Author Talk at the Boston Public Library, you can hop over to The Milky Way Lounge in Jamaica Plain for the annual Women in Comedy Festival, starting at 7:00p. This is one of the best spots in Boston for great food and entertainment. The owners are also very community conscious and support various non-profit organizations. On any night of the week, you’ll find some activities brewing at the venue.
So many resources I highlight on the show are often found by accident. For example, I recently discovered a new publication called ScoutCambridge. I found their inaugural issue on a counter while looking for a place to rest. I flipped through and was amazed by the content and what they choose to cover from around Cambridge. Their website is also loaded with information and user-friendly. I will be checking them on regular basis for prospective guests and story ideas. Who knows, you may even meet one of their staff on the show.
We closed the show with a brief video of The Genki Spark performance at the 2012 GIRLS Conference.  Karen Young and the troupe will perform on March 23 at Simmons College, Alumnae Hall. This is such an amazing, empowering and fun group of multi-generational women. I’ve seen them perform several times and feel such a burst of energy in their presence. Check out the website for upcoming events and workshops in the greater Boston area. Better yet, invite the Genki Spark to perform at your school, organization and event. Whatever you choose to do this month, get out and have a blast! Don’t forget to tell them, Marie sent you:)
New Breed of Female Characters on Television
In honor of women’s history month and to deepen my understanding on how perceptions of women is sustained on television, I will highlight some articles that explore these issues. More importantly, I’m intrigued by how this generation is re-imagining women’s roles, realities and struggles as they navigate through a hostile culture. Although women have made much progress in our global culture, we know, whether we admit or even recognize it that the more changes occur, many challenges remain intact. For example, during the election season, in the chase for votes, female voters were pursued while being undermined at the same time. Most will never forget the statement, “binders of women.” I’m in Massachusetts and fairly involved in politics, I know exactly what former Gov. Romney was referring to. These instances will continue to play out in many circles, where women can be found at various levels but not necessarily working as allies. Power and position create a sharp line between us, in spite of our common struggles.
This week, I stumbled on two great articles about a new breed of female characters on television. The first was published on npr, March 11 and the second was published in the New York Times on March 12. The topics certainly caught my attention because both media outlets chose to focus on this theme back to back. I think about these issues daily and every time I watch TV. One thing I always find fascinating is the surprising tone of the writers (whether male or female) that these characterizations are still being commercially produced and consumed by millions. As critical as I am of mainstream media, I do enjoy a dose of dysfunction in television programs and reality TV shows. I’m currently hooked on Scandal.
Both articles made some good points and yet the shows the authors chose to analyze add to the bigger challenge of fully developed roles for women without boxing them. The main female characters in those shows are typically White, educated, single and obsessed with finding a MAN. Viewers can’t go through one episode without a pity party about feeling less than in spite of accomplishments in other aspects of their personal and professional lives. Both authors seem to find it necessary to define these characters but there is no statements from the show creators or the actors who play these roles. How do we know that’s the true intent? Furthermore, these so called “crazy” women and “hummingbirds” may in fact exist and some viewers identify with their manic way of being.
It is critical to also bring attention to female characters whether in lead roles or co-stars who defy these stereotypes and perceptions. For example, three characters that I personally like and enjoy their portrayals are: Kerri Washington in Scandal, Regina King in Southland and Lucy Liu in Elementary. There are many others that I’ve come to love but it took more than one season to come to terms with the characters. The Good Wife is one show that I was completely turn off by before I even saw the first episode. The title alone is a deal breaker. Sadly, the pursuit and expectation of being a good wife iembedded in the institution of marriage. I digress.  In spite of my frustrations with these images and messages, viewers have a unique opportunity to become media literate. They stimulate reflective dialogues about social issues that we think are resolved or should be over. Today, we’re no closer to post racial and gender progress because of the advancements that we’ve made. Regardless of the progress we make and the on-going fight for true equality, our mentality, both women and men, is static. That’s the core area that now need a reversal for permanent change in media and society.
Miss Representation Film & Women’s History Month
Happy Women’s History Month! As many of you may know, my life work involved issues affecting women and girls globally, including other under-served populations. March is special because it shines a light on women’s contributions past, present and look ahead on ways to keep on the fight for justice for all. It also motivates me to continue bridging connections to strengthen our sisterhood and status in our culture. It is my hope that children and adults are hearing women’s stories and learning about their courage throughout history.
Through the television program and community organizations, I will do my part by informing the public and remain engage for social change.
There is so much to cover and highlight this month. I kicked off my show, Talk! with Marie with special guest, Christina Knowles. She’s a super women’s rights advocate and has been involved in politics for a long time. She’s currently a Communications Consultant working at the Center for Women and Public Policy. I first met Christina through her work at Mass NOW, which is a vital women’s organization.  One of the reasons for inviting her on the show is to share her views on the award-winning documentary film, “Miss Representation.” The film will be screened at University of Massachusetts Boston, March 5 from 6-9p, followed by a panel discussion of prominent speakers, including our own Christina.
The film is ground breaking in so many ways that some aspects of it is downright shameful. Media remains the major source of our perceptions about gender and how women are viewed.
During the show we discussed a few good news that happened recently. First, President Obama unveiled the Rosa Parks statue in Washington DC. It was such an historic moment to rejoice in. Christina asked during the show, “what took so long?” to make this a reality. Parks, is one of the many civil rights activists who’s well known and admired. I’m proud that she now sits in the halls among many great leaders.
The second major news was the renewal of the Violence against Women Act. There was so much petty disagreements among lawmakers. It appears in the end, a few compromises were made in order to keep this act in the books. Unfortunately, some women, such as immigrants, native Americans and transgender women were left out. Organizers remain optimistic that will find resources for these victims, in spite of the shortcomings of the act. It’s often a battle to get any legistations that deeply affect women to pass without oppositions. Nevertheless, it is a victory we can build on.
The last resource I will mention for anyone interested in embedding history about women in their work is the National Women’s History Museum. It is the most comprehensive source for infomation, activities and posters to immerse yourself and students in this topic. I encourage to utilize at least one of the tools that  I’ve shared in this blog, from the film, national organizations, legislations and the museum. Stay tuned for the next episode of the show. You’ll always learn something new in our segments.
Live & Learn in Kenya: Brique Topaz

Brique with LLK Kids

I had the honor of interviewing Brique Topaz, Director of Live & Learn Kenya on Talk! with Marie. I first met Brique and learned about LLK in Second Life. I attended one of her many live music shows she hosts to raise funds for the organization. I was so impressed with commitment to improving to the lives of children in Africa with little means of survival. Since the interview, I’ve enjoyed the music of many musicians, including Tukso Okey, who donate their time and talent to support LLK. You can hear Tukso live every Wednesday at the Lavender Field for his signature high energy concert. You will leave the show feeling rejuvenated and excited to join LLK in its quest to “Feed a Smile.” All donations are transferred directly to Kenya to care for the children, provide education, medicine, food, shelter and foster care.

After a beautiful concert or any day of the week, you can visit the Lavender Field to explore the beautiful sim while learning about LLK. Maria Binder did an awesome job designing the space and filled it with special touches to enhance your experience. Although, Brique is based in Germany, people from all over the world can support the mission of LLK and get involved by contacting Brique inworld or via e-mail. For more information about LLK, go to the website for up to date information about programs and events.