Zoetrope: All-Story

Summer 2019

Vol. 23 No. 2

Guest Designer Ruby Ray

Notes on Design: Beyond the Male Gaze

Penelope Houston

I don’t remember the first time I met Ruby Ray, although I know it was early in 1977, soon after I had moved to San Francisco to go to the SF Art Institute. She appeared on the scene as all of us did: with no credentials, a made-up name, and a powerful (and often self-appointed) permission to participate. In those days, no photographers were ever asked to produce portfolios, they just needed to take their cameras into the fray and, like war journalists, shoot the explosions of passion and rebellion at the blossoming of punk. What elevated Ruby from the many other . . .

The Grotesques

Sarah Hall

If she’d been someone else, the prank might have seemed funny. The vagrant Charlie-bo, who was quite famous around town, a kind of filthy savant, was lying on his back in his usual spot under the shop awning. He was asleep or passed out. Perhaps he was even dead; Dilly couldn’t tell. A mask of fruit and vegetables had been arranged over his face, to create another awful face. Lemons for eyes—the pupils drawn in black marker pen. A leering banana smile. Corncobs stacked round his head as a spray of wild hair. The nose—how had they done it?—was an upright slice . . .

24, Alhaji Williams Street

’Pemi Aguda

Alhaji Williams is a very long street. The plots are small, and many hold clusters of flats. So we had enough time to see what was happening before it was our turn. My turn. By the afternoon the fever reached the fourth house, the rest of the street had braced for its arrival.

Ms. Williams owned the first house on the street named for her great-grandfather. They say that the Alhaji had rolled up his buba sleeves and mixed cement and sand along with the bricklayers, that he’d stood behind his architect and stabbed his finger at . . .

Sally Bowles

Christopher Isherwood

With “Sally Bowles,” Christopher Isherwood introduced one of the most resilient and resonant characters of twentieth-century dramatic arts—one who electrified the 1951 John Van Druten play I Am a Camera; the 1955 film adaptation of the same; the 1966 Broadway musical Cabaret, which won eight Tony Awards; and the 1972 Bob Fosse film, which earned eight Academy Awards, including a Best Actress honor for Liza Minnelli in the iconic role. Among the other actors who’ve played the part are Julie Harris, who won the 1952 Tony Award for her performance . . .

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