Author: Julia Van Valkenburg

How YouTube & Instagram Are Normalizing the Vegan Lifestyle

Thanks in part to social media, being vegan in America has become more acceptable and even “cool” in some circles. But more importantly, digital vegan activists have made veganism approachable for many of those who may not have access to the movement otherwise. YouTube and Instagram, in particular, seem to be platforms in which vegan content creators can work to normalize the lifestyle, while simultaneously creating a digital social community where vegans can find the support and resources they need to sustain their lifestyle decisions. Based on current food industry trends, the U.S. vegan population seems to be on the rise, though the exact increase is difficult to gauge since recent reliable data isn’t available. But with major ice cream companies such as Ben & Jerry’s and Dreyer’s now offering dairy free flavors, and a wheat, coconut oil, and potato-protein based veggie burger funded by Bill Gates being served at a Michelin starred restaurant, it’s a safe bet that companies are responding to rising consumer demands for plant-based options.[1] In addition to the recent expansion …

WATCH: “Wearing the Big Heart”

When I started Catch-all one of my intentions was to share short films by artists who I felt had something unique and important to say. I haven’t posted any such work in a long time, and I think Wearing the Big Heart by Tony Carter-Hill is a great place to start again. Carter-Hill’s film captures the Los Angeles Women’s March, showcasing the march’s complex mood while revealing remarkably intimate moments within an intense and massive public event. That day meant something very special to me, and I appreciate how Wearing the Big Heart paints the historic Women’s March with such vibrant images and sounds. Carter-Hill’s work is abstract, dynamic, rhythmic, and truly compelling. I was able to ask Tony about what that day meant to him. Here’s a bit of what he had to say: “As people began to walk with their banners held erect and in these colorful costumes, I became more inspired about filming. I thought about reproducing a feeling rather than a narrative, while keeping in mind consciousness and place, national identity, humanistic tendencies, …

A Few of My Favorite 80’s Movies

Oh the 80’s. It was the decade that came and left just before I was born and bestowed us with vibrant clothes, pop music, and Reagan’s regressive policies. It’s the time that my mom refers to mysteriously and with an air of disdain, telling a curious story from her past and concluding with a sigh, “well it was the 80’s.” And when I watch popular American 80’s movies, I think I catch her drift. Below are five of my favorite off-beat, magical, bizarre, and hilarious movies that are quintessentially of the 80’s. What are a few of yours? Raising Arizona (dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 1987) Raising Arizona is my favorite Coen brother’s film (followed closely by The Big Lebowski) and a Nic Cage favorite as well. Raising Arizona is charming, hilarious, well written, and perfectly cast and performed. The film’s very particular production design, cinematography, and soundtrack also adds to its magic. And as an Arizonan, I seem to have a warm place in my heart for any movie that takes place there.   The Breakfast Club (dir. John Hughes, 1985) Like …

There’s No Place Like Home

As I captioned the above photo on Instagram, things are always changing in Tucson, but also remaining exactly the same. I spent 24 years of my life living in the same city. I was born there, went to school there, fell in love there, made friends there, lost friends there, had loved ones be born there and die there. And when I moved away I had no idea what it would feel like to come back home. When I’m in Tucson I’m bombarded by familiar smells, sounds, and feelings. The air is different, the stars shine brighter, the birds chirp louder. In the summer there’s the smell of creosote and the sound of cicadas. The fall starts off warm, but a coolness eventually rolls in. The winters are chilly and dark and there’s something wonderful about feeling cold in the desert. In the spring the Texas Rangers bloom with bright purple flowers and the smell of sunscreen fills the air as people flock outside before it gets too hot again. While I wouldn’t trade living in …

Looks, Likeability, & Constant Worry

I used to worry so much about being liked. I wouldn’t admit it to myself at the time, but I spent much of high school, college, and a few years after undergrad stressing out about being a universally well-liked person (though I now realize that person doesn’t exist). Unlike most boys, girls are often brought up to be likable. Being “ladylike” has social capital – if we look and act pleasant, we’re taught we’ll move ahead. Be too loud or bossy or unkempt and you may create some enemies. I’ve spent most of my life feeling that my likeability (including how I’m perceived physically) was what mattered most. These were feelings that I internalized and battled with constantly. I didn’t want to feel that way, and I knew that it went against all that I felt I stood for. But time and time again I gave into my insecurities and felt that I wasn’t enough. Not pretty enough…not thin enough…not cool enough…not clever enough…not fun enough…not smart enough… After years of wasting so much time worrying …

Brown, Kiddo, & Tarantino

OR: Tarantino’s Leading Ladies: Jackie Brown, Beatrix Kiddo, & Women’s Empowerment On-screen Quentin Tarantino’s body of work – from his feature film debut Reservoir Dogs (1992), to his most recent epic The Hateful Eight (2015) – consists of films that are violent, highly stylized, dialogue-driven, oftentimes problematic, and always provocative. Though each film in Tarantino’s oeuvre is quite different from the one that came before it or followed, numerous qualities of his work remain consistent. In each of his films Tarantino celebrates popular culture by commemorating genres that were once relegated to the margins by Hollywood, such as martial arts cinema, Blaxploitation, and spaghetti westerns. While appropriating genres, Tarantino provides his own authorial stamp by writing dialogue-driven scripts which are benefited by episodic structures. A “Tarantino film,” one can almost always be assured, features revenge at the heart of the narrative and creates pleasure through the irreverent combination of humor and violence. And, with each of Tarantino’s films, the appropriateness of his representations of violence, race, gender, and revisionist history, come into question time and …

Growing Into My Tallness

Once my greatest source of discomfort, my height is now my shield, my strength. In kindergarten I towered over my peers – both boys and girls. My shoe size grew every year, correlating with my age until middle school. Most women will never wear size ten or eleven shoes, let alone many prepubescent girls. By sixth grade I was nearly the height I am today – 5’11”. As a result of my height bracket, I never thought I was cute. My bigness made me feel void of femininity. Now I find great beauty in my stature, but as an adolescent all I wanted was to be smaller. To blend in. To be what boys at that time thought was pretty. It pains me to think of how much time, even as a young girl, I spent worrying about what others thought of me. Feeling too tall, too big, too uncommon. While I’ve grown to love my height, there are still days when my size feels daunting. Overpowering. Not pretty. Unfeminine. Almost eight years ago I …

30 Badass Feminists to Follow on Twitter

I’ve discovered so many intelligent, humorous, bold, and inspiring feminists on Twitter. These women are writers, activists, lawyers, scholars, and artists who advocate for a number of issues essential to the feminist movement, including reproductive rights, safety and equality for the LGBT community, immigration reform, combating racism and police brutality, fair wages and the right to unionize, gun control and domestic violence, and the representation of race, gender, class, and sexuality in media – among numerous other issues. Being an outspoken woman online automatically results in a threat to their safety, and these women are berated daily for their unwillingness to be quiet or dilute their words. Be sure to follow them on social media and share and support their work. Like any online list, this post is seriously incomplete because there are thousands of woman who have not been included. Please be sure to share the names and handles of any badass feminists you follow online in the comment section below. Ijeoma Oluo → @IjeomaOluo Lauren Duca → @laurenduca Roxane Gay → @rgay Feminista Jones → @FeministaJones Lisa …

Recommended Film & TV Books | Part 1

I’ve been studying film and television in school for some years now, so as a result I’ve amassed quite a collection of film and TV-related books. Here’s part 1 of my recommended media texts list – and you can expect a number of these posts in the future since there are so many books that I’ve found to be truly invaluable. Although I’ve linked each book to Amazon, buy locally if you can find them at your community’s bookstore! Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder: Save the Cat! is, indeed, the last book on screenwriting you’ll ever need. The book includes information on high concept ideas, genre-play, beat sheets, and even a bit of pitching advice. It contains basically everything you need to know about coming up with an idea, writing your script, re-writing your script, and getting it sold. Designs on Film: A Century of of Hollywood Art Direction by Cathy Whitlock: There was a point during college when I thought that I wanted to be a production designer, so my boyfriend got …

Catalina Island: Facts n’ Photos

Before visiting Catalina I knew nothing about the island except for the fact that it’s off the coast of California and (most importantly) that it was the iconic setting for the end of Step Brothers. After spending a weekend on Catalina Island I learned quite a bit and am here to report back with some fun facts and a few photos I took during my short visit. 1. The Catalina Island Wine Mixer is now a real thing, and it’s happening in September! There’s even a Step Brothers themed costume party y’all. 2. The Wrigley family owns Catalina and has since the early 1900’s. 3. The Wrigley family were known for their gum and numerous other business ventures, including as part-owners of the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs even held their spring training on the island from the 1920s until the 1950s. 4. There aren’t many cars on the island. In fact, residents have to spend 30 years on a waiting list before they can even get a Smart Car. Now that’s patience. 5. Instead of cars people use golf carts, and they’re loud, annoying, …