Short Takes: News From All Over

Family Album
By Frank Klein, Baltimore City Paper
Time and time again, photographer Frank Klein saw the Oxendine family getting drunk, fighting, and screaming outside their rowhouse in Southwest Baltimore, a neighborhood plagued by drugs and alcohol. He began documenting their tumultuous lives with his camera, and over the course of a year, got to know the family. Klein enlisted the frank voice of one family member to give captions to his bleak and touching photos. — Archie Ingersoll

Ancient Diets Of Australian Birds Point To Big Ecosystem Changes
By Staff, Science Daily
Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder recently revealed findings that people were dramatically altering the face of the earth long before the Industrial Revolution introduced large-scale environmental devastation to the planet. Australia, known for its sparsely inhabited and harsh interior, had a dramatic change in flora about 50,000 years ago that led to the extinction of 85 percent of the island’s large mammals. The cause? Human colonization and the fire that came with it. — Barb Jacobs

Wage Slaves
By James Lee, 1UP
How much is virtual currency, like the gold that permeates online role-playing games, worth? To the people buying and selling it — millions of American dollars every year. To the Asian workers ‘farming’ it in high-tech sweatshops — about 56 cents an hour. As such games erode the line between real and virtual economies, the shadiest elements of both worlds are turning imaginary adventures into real-world misery. — Brendan Themes

Representing San Francisco
By Rosa Powers, Tablet
The San Francisco performance art movement La Pocha Nostra challenges ideas about cultural and racial identity with works of ‘cultural transvestitism.’ The group uses radical poetry, photography, and live performance pieces to turn viewers’ preconceptions on their heads and invert traditional power structures. The ‘Chica-Iranian Project,’ an interactive photo-essay featured on the group’s website, reveals ‘the dangers of ethnic profiling in the post 9/11 era’ by inviting viewers to identify project-members disguised according to media-produced ethnic stereotypes. — Rose Miller

The Joy of Ambiguity
By Ian Ayres and Jennifer Gerarda Brown, The Advocate
Leaving others to wonder about one’s sexual orientation can be as simple as choosing gender-neutral vocabulary. When done respectfully, ‘ambiguation’ can give heterosexuals insight into the daily experiences of their GLBT peers. On a broader scale, ambiguation is a compelling tool for gay rights advocacy. Ayres and Brown offer some tips to get started. — Julie Hanus

The Hair, A Parent
By Randall Roberts, River Front Times
Teeny bikini bottoms and racy television shows have popularized the Brazilian wax among teens — but not for long in the Show-Me state. Legislation awaiting the governor’s signature will make the bare-down-there treatment illegal for Missouri’s minors, unless the fledgling Lolitas secure informed parental consent. — Julie Hanus

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