Gloria’s Call, a short film by Cheri Gaulke
by Betty Ann Brown
I am an ardent fan of feminist scholar Gloria Orenstein. I respect and admire her writing, especially her courageous mix of spirituality and academic concerns. I also adore her on a personal level. What’s not to love about that fiery red hair, those wonderfully colorful and exotic clothes, and that dynamic, outspoken personality? Gloria is delightfully eccentric, an intellectual superstar, and a tireless supporter of women, especially women artists.
I was thrilled to learn that renowned artist/filmmaker Cheri Gaulke and her team–Cheryl Bookout, Anne Gauldin, Sue Maberry and Christine Papalexis–had produced a film about Gloria’s life and work. Gloria’s Call (2018) is fantastic. It traces Gloria’s passages from graduate student to professor of Surrealist literature to mother of two daughters (both of whom are remarkably accomplished) to activist to shaman. It highlights the feminist salon Gloria founded in the 1970s. The list of artists and writers who attended her salon comprises a historic roster of the early days of the Feminist Art Movement.
The film also shows how Gloria journeyed from New York to Paris to Mexico City, then settled in Los Angeles to became a beloved professor at the University of Southern California. Paralleling her personal travels, Gloria’s research ranged from women artists of Surrealism (many of whom she befriended) to Ecofeminism to woman-centered spirituality. Along the way, she met and worked with notable feminist writers (including Kate Millett), painters (Ruth Weisberg), and animal rights/environmentalists (Rachel Rosenthal).
Screen Shots from Gloria’s Call and Q & A with the Film Team at the Women’s Caucus for Art Conference