Harvey Weinstein ‘Casting Couch’ statue debuts pre-Oscars

A gold sculpture of Harvey Weinstein on his infamous casting couch holding an Oscar statue is on display in Hollywood, California on March 1, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 02 March 2018
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Harvey Weinstein ‘Casting Couch’ statue debuts pre-Oscars

LOS ANGELES: A golden statue of a bathrobe-clad Harvey Weinstein, seated regally atop a couch with an Oscar in hand, took up temporary sidewalk residence close to the site of Sunday’s Academy Awards.
“Casting Couch” is a collaborative work between a Los Angeles street artist known as Plastic Jesus and Joshua “Ginger” Monroe, designer of 2016’s nude Donald Trump statues placed in major US cities.
The life-sized Weinstein sculpture, displayed Thursday on Hollywood Boulevard, aims to spotlight the entertainment industry’s sexual misconduct crisis and the disgraced studio mogul’s role in it, Plastic Jesus said.
“There’s so much about Hollywood that’s great and celebrated in the Oscars, but there’s also this underbelly of darkness within the industry that we often sweep under the carpet or ignore,” said Plastic Jesus, formerly a London-based photographer.
The phrase “casting couch,” used to describe the demand of sexual favors for work, may seem a relic of a bygone era but is “still very much a part of the Hollywood culture,” he said.
Plastic Jesus said he and Monroe first considered a standing Weinstein statue but quickly decided to incorporate a chaise lounge. The project, made of fiberglass and acrylic resin, was in the works for two months.
It will be on display this weekend, weather permitting.
Visitors to the sculpture were sitting next to the faux Weinstein and taking selfies, turning it into an interactive installment, Plastic Jesus said.
It also expands the symbolism, he said.
“For many, many people, aspiring actors and actresses, that would have been their dream to be close to Harvey,” but that reality has proven a nightmare for some, the artist said.
Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of sexual harassment or sexual assault, including rape. He’s denied all allegations of non-consensual sex, but apologized for “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past.”
Plastic Jesus has created a series of Oscar-timed statues, including one last year of Kanye West in a crucified pose and titled “False Idol.”


What We Are Reading Today: Alienation of a January child

Updated 15 June 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Alienation of a January child

A line resonates with me from Safia Elhillo’s collection of poetry which traces her journey as a January child. 

Elhillo describes the January children as “the generation born in Sudan under British occupation, where children were assigned birth years by height, all given the birth date January 1.”

In a raw collection, Elhillo addresses being Sudanese-American, and her constant feelings of not belonging to either. She delves into postcolonial Sudan, and how she no longer recognizes the Sudan her mother and grandmother relayed to her through tales and trips when she was a child.

This is a book that continues to mean something to me because of Elhillo’s unabashed usage of Arabic terms. She weaves them in with English in a way that reminds me a lot of how my brain works, expressing myself in a tongue that is neither Arabic nor English. 

But what first drew me to grab a copy of “The January Children” was the poet’s relationship with everyone’s beloved Egyptian singer, Abdelhalim Hafez, and how she seemed continuously to converse with him, seeing herself in his lyrics — as we all do; it reverberated with me as I’ve had a childhood filled with his music, and I’ve grown to listen to him even more as an adult.