Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ranty McRant!

* Back to bad pop music: I am missing something/the emperor has no clothes: does Destiny's Child ever sing an actual *song*? Try singing one of their songs sometime--I dare you. Any one of them. There's nothing to recreate, no nothing. Not just no melody (which makes it sound like a different complaint), but no focus. Just alotta warbling. Occasionally there is some momentum in a chorus, but that's it. I really can't stand them. I don't think they're mining a new genre with their warbling either--they just suck.

* Stephen Trask wrote the soundtrack to that new whatsit flick w/ Hugh Grant...wonder if it/movie is any good.

* Geraldo's summing-up after an all-aghast "report" on his show about "pro-ana" [anorexia] websites: "Gross." Makes me think of (goddamn, I suck) the Julia Philips passage about Drew Barrymore, about people with their hands in the air, all shocked at what they've created, only they don't realize...

* Fox News is as bad as it says it isn't, as bad as others say it is. It is the older brother with his hand on your forehead, laughing callously while your arms flail impotently underneath, a few inches away. They are so snarky, so biased, so defensive, so ready to defend what they aren't to the death. Just deadly smug. And it just doesn't stick. Whoever writes their headlines/crawls is goin ta hell.

* Insomniacs will know what I'm saying when I say that at 5:00 a.m. Joyce Meyer is actually kinda interesting. Plus just 'cause I'm interested in Christian culture. Not all of it, but the overlaps with other things, I guess. I dunno. I like things that are hiding in plain sight.

* Last night I craved very specifically some really greasy food. So I had just the right amount of Houli-Benni-Friday's grizy appetizers, and watched the Independent Lens doc about the first woman firefighter in the NYFD and bawled my head off. Goddamn. That woman. Those WOMEN.

* Still a little odd/close to home to see repeat of GGirls w/ Jesse reading Punk Planet. Makes sense, but still is odd.

* Naomi Judd is perhaps my least favorite celebrity of all time. Well, she's in that last circle of hell, whatever. Never seen anybody who exudes such neediness--need for fame for any reason--than she. Just yucky. And the public pilloring she encouraged of her daughter for her weight makes me wanna fuckin strangle her. Yer basic mediawhore I'm SORRY!

* Soon there will be a term for the phobia of the aftermath of losing weight: that is, one of the results of cable TV is constantly running into footage of surgery (GAH!) or people about to operated on (GAH!), which means a common, common image these days are bodies, post-drastic weight loss. All the hanging drapey skin folds and creases that used to define much more flesh. Getting a little tired of that startling sight (also of all the fucking surgery footage...blech. And animals killing other animals on Animal Planet. Need some warning). But it occured to me last night...this will have a name someday, this image is starting to haunt us, become iconic. Oh, the essays to be written.

* The ever-earnest Sarah J Parker on Oprah last night. Talking about how she doesn't let her son use the word "fat," tries to get him to see people of all sizes, spoke herself fairly neutrally about seeing a fat woman on the street in NYC in this particular situation. Was interesting (well, duh)--wished so much any other POV could have been represented there, somebody fat who could say if it's okay to be fat, it's okay to say fat. And what a big lame-o O is. But still.

When I wrote my interminable ranting review of that piece of shit book by Jennifer Weiner, I lumped Sex and the City with all aspects of our dieting, weight-obsessed culture as an example of it all,, but I've come to see (now that I've actually seen the show a lot) that if nothing else that show is more complicated than that. The end result with the heavy visuals could very well be the same, and the Weight Watchers episode of that show goes down in the annals of the most retardando, woman-hating, stupid, unevolved piece of shit ever created, but...the characters eat. A lot. There is actually a slightly different *feel* to what you see than the usual. What it all adds up to, I haven't decided, but the messages are somewhat complicated.

* The media is COMPLETELY overlooking the role of Chicago actiivists in the immigration rallys recently. Sidebar: I don't think the media think there is a Spanish-speaking population here period, despite the fact that it is currently topping 3 mil.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Has anybody else seen that really egregious Milky Way commercial? A young man is "dissed" by his date (for not putting out is the implication), so he consoles himself by a candy bar in the car--only the "bar" inside the MW wrapper is a woman telling him how wonderful he is. The wrapper is peeled back, giving the impression that at any moment he will be eating this woman he's holding in his hand after she's done stroking his (ego). "Pleasure Without Measure" ? I think is the slogan at the end.

Unfuckingbelievable. Bizarrely sexist.

Not quite done.

Goofy old lesbionic Black Widow is on TV...I love that movie. I love that it has a plot, a big old-fashioned Plot. I also love freaky Theresa Russell, Debra Winger (so good), but I really love Diane Ladd in her 30 secs onscreen. So incredibly fabulous.

Okay, I'm not done talking about Kelly Clarkson. Listened to that song 8,000 times today, fun.

* The whole (video) is so incredibly careful and manufactured at the same time the song holds up (why say this like I'm surprised? more evidence than usual of the constructs behind the fame here). She looks, as always, as if she's been stylist-ed to death (gawd! the stuff she wears is insanity), down to that goofy full-knuckle ring thing that PHilton's been sporting recently (a D/s ring? I fergit what it is). Even--esp--the wacky craziness of the video is carefully constructed and duh, except it's very clever and you almost forget that it is so, except you're wondering why isn't she jumping around? Why's she so slow-movin? Still--pop song of the week. Can't get it out my head. Snaps.

* Have a little bet with myself about its crossover appeal, generating from the latter stuff. We'll see.

* Heh. Possible to do a revealing search on the words "Kelly Clarkson" and "indie cred." Hah. All these people trying to justify her occasional appeal -- no, wait that's me. Anyhow, I really am in love with "Walk Away" at the mo.

I am excited to hear the new Dixie Chicks CD. I continue to be the only person I know in any demo I live in who likes them, and I think other people must be cultivatin some major ignorance not to like them, because they write some great pop/country music, and Natalie Maines has got the reedy voice of an angel I don't know what the right analogy is. I think her voice is fuckin amazing. You'd think people would climb on the political bandwagon if nothing else, but I so consistently hear them get dissed by almost everybody I know. When I ask people to put on music at my house they always say, looking at the random stuff I have, "anything but Dixie Chicks." I have a complicated yet honest apologia prepared for my ownership of a Sting album, but I ain't bothering apologizing for Dixie Chicks. Not to mention what happened to supporting women with instruments.

Well, that was many years coming and unattractively defensive. But I am *missing* something here, still not understanding it--they write really good hooky music but it doesn't get the recognition it seems like it'd get otherwise. If they were Kelly Hogan or Neko Case or something validatedly I dunno!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Oh, it's back.

Okay. I now like *TWO* Kelly Clarkson songs, YES I DO. I do. She or somebody near her is really good at picking catchy rock songs. It's weird to hear a female pop voice used the way hers is these days, and it's fun - I swear there's something 70s/Cassie Gaines about it. It's so VERY not My Little Pony, no singer-songwriter quavery wavery bullshit (I *hate* "Because of You"). More like an instrument.

On the flip Andalucian/Sephardic tip: am really liking the Osvaldo Golijov album my mom got for me. I'm not sure mom would have liked it without the NYT okay, but still - good!

Everyone has their threshhold, their line to be drawn, which means that there are things on one side of the line that one way or another he/she can outright tolerate, even if they're close to the edge. I can't watch almost any afternoon TV or award show out of sheer embarrassment, but GODDAMN I really like watching Blow Out. Gawd! Minty embarassmints! I watch the whole thing, soup to nuts, it's all right there.

Is it the Shampoo-like qualities? The convergence of Heterosexuality (more or less) with Hair? That he's such a monster of egotism? He really is--I feel like some of the long, deep, one-sided "conversations" I had with boys in college now have some context...damn! Is it his constantly low-slung jeans? The major Climbing qualities? Somehow the possibility for mortification built into shows like this doesn't *mortify* me here, but its can't quite be all Ego that's balancing that out, otherwise I could watch American Idol (can't even for a second) or something. Maybe it's just the strong People magazine underpinnings to the events--the walk-ons are all Names, sometimes deliciously un-A. Maybe it's the particular recipe matches my particular voyeuristic needs and that's that. I dunno, I think there's some winking to the camera going on here that takes the edge of super-painful (Dr. Phil) voyeurism. Get the feeling this dude is way weirder than we know.

I will say this: I have yet to see the man give what I'd call a good cut. Everything he does would (I *know*) flop into nothingness the minute he stepped away if he tried it on my hair. It'd look good for 2 sex, then wham. I hate hair that looks like somebody took their paws off it moments before.

Anyhow - fascinating. This seasons looks good and ridiculous. Gawd!

Note: Although I cannot watch Dr. Phil, I am always *very* pleased by the logo design with the dot after "Dr" simultaneously working as the dotting of the "I" in "Phil." It's not terribly unique, more like a nicely-done ligature, but it honestly takes the edge a bit off the naked emotionalism to have that there.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lazy hazy.

The combination of an inevitable post-travel bout with Rhinovirus + Riding the Remote created an many-houred experimental theater of the mind yesterday and today, cooking instructors floating in and out of my dreams, waiting for Kelly Bishop to be mean (GGirls) instead of nice (DDancing), even making The Thrill of It All, a classicly Doris Doris Day flick, a kind of cinematic descant to feminist "performance art" piece a friend was creating in my mind that I wish I could recreate. But what I really need to note is:

* I am *not* used to seeing Martin Bashir in American TV. I'm afraid I still expect when I see his face to immediately have them next cut away to Diana, somewhat squashed down in her chair and with a lot of eyeliner on.

* Within the True Hollywood Story caste system, there is a major line to be drawn between those subjects who participate (onscreen, I mean--talk about their lives for the show) and those who don't. It's obviously a much more A-list decision to not participate in it, even if being on it does create a spurious kind of honesty that once again will have to be unpacked somewhere else.

That is to say, OH TORI SPELLING. Oh....Tori. One does sort of wonder what will be left of her in the end, after it's all over: all these semi-redemptive, highly autobiographical shows that get B-listers out of slumps these days just seem to be gobbling up what's left of their lives before their first face lift. That is...her THS sure was hypnotic. And it's very hard not to wonder if the man that she fell for after 12 months of marriage (her "true love," not her poor safetynet what is THAT guy ever gonna do after this) is not the tip of the iceberg, the beginning of a whole life's-worth of marriages. I can't help seeing the spectre of religion in here somewhere too, and I don't know why, I guess because Charlie-goodguy was so clearly the Nice Jewish Guy and this new guy *looks* like a shagetz troublemaker. I always did like TS for at one point during the run of 90210 actually saying she was Jewish to the press, I forget which duh hello Ian Ziering.

* Seen a lot of American Test Kitchen...Christopher and his Subdeb Kitchen Bitches. I should like this show more, I suppose, but I am a little contrary about their "best" stance and also about his Big Daddy role. He's totally comfortable, it's not like that horrid How to Boil Water show with Tyler Florence and the Clueless Chick, but somehow it cuts down my interest. Actually, I have no problem with him, even is quavering hairline, but the show just doesnt grip me.

* Whatever very limited appeal My Best Friend's Wedding has, it is obviated by that BIG-ASS CELL PHONE Julia Roberts uses, esp. in the last, stupid, no-we're-not-*really*-making-Rupert Everett-her-love-interest-it-just-looks-that-way scene: an effect I think they really almost could have anticipated, the way technology changes. She looks like she's trying to cover up a colony of zits. And OH, the fast-and-loose Chicago geography in that As confusing as seeing Charlie Trotter in New York in the beginning.

* Deep Anglophilia fed by showing of fairly rare Noel Coward film (This Happy Breed) last night. Straightforward history of a very middle-class English family (Celia Johnson the mum!) from exactly 1919 to 1939. David Lean, the fab old Stanley Holloway...lots of wallpaper, lots of tea, lots of sentiment. Interestin.

Brief Encounter was also on last night, before This Happy Breed...don't always know what to do when one of my all-time favorite films is on TV but I'm not quite in the mood to watch it. There's no reason I *have* to--I now have the great Criterion reissue--but it feels a little superstitious not to...ridiculous. I went for so many years snatching at any mention of that thing, though... Anyhow, tuned in in time to bawl helplessly at the very end--with Fred, the husband, not Trevor Howard, natch. Killer-diller.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Je returnee a la, um, Colorado. Cultural consumption interrupted as it is while traveling by the strange vacuum of CNN-Airport news that feels ever more sieved and sifted than normal news, plus a big dose of mom&dad's (my whole life) New Yorker/NYT backlog. I think it's their second job, to be sitting in the living room everlastingly digesting that stuff.

I'm not quite sure what Colorado *is*, other than mountainous.

I watched March of the Penguins again last night. I had seen it in the theater, the night that Katrina hit, actually, which made it one of the strangest movie-going evenings ever. Movie held up (cinematography-ily) on the small screen better than I thought. Struck anew by goofy unscientificness--also, got to see the hunky Frogs that made the film with the DVD extras later. The thing that struck me about *that* was not just how unscientific some of the film was, but the sanitization. In the film, when a pengie dies, they are "absorbed into the white," they "just vanish"; in the documentary of the documentary, when a pengie dies, they rot disgustingly on the ice (rather more expected). Wonder why they didn't show that. Certainly breaks up the great expanses of white and blue (noticed they never talk about penguin guano either).

Best thing about the DVD? The Bugs Bunny cartoon with the little penguin!!! Brilliant, and much more tolerable anthropomorphization than the Morgan Freeman voiceoverin'...let it rip.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


First of all, the movie that spawned the term "The 'It' Girl" is actually pretty boring and self-conscious and not a random film that happened to capture the feeling of the times--the film pushes the "it" idea really hard--the writer who created the screenplay based on her article is even in the movie. I know this because I watched the first half of all 44 minutes of it last night. Boring. Even for 1927. And her hair had veered from a flapper 'do to a ratted stewardessy shag from the '60s, which made me think she was time traveling in the wrong direction just to annoy me. Yes...I got sleepy.

I am getting, frankly, Pavlovian, in front of the TV. Konk. Snore.

Secondly--HOW did I never know this, but Gidget, it turns out, is "girl" + "midget." WHO KNEW?? And now that I know...what do I know? Do? I threw me. It's so...sexist? Probably I coulda guessed where it came from anyhow, but I just...bleah! Am I a gamazon? gibig-girl?

And when is the new Blanche White coming out? How long must we wait??

Monday, March 20, 2006


Not to be *too* suffused with self-pity, but when you're shivering in your empty office doing freelance at 2:30 a.m. on a *Sunday night* (inorganic...just not natural), finishing up a first pass at a project that is on Hour -- God, I don't know -- Hour Twelve Dozen or something -- and basically does not reflect this (the worst part) -- the music one listens to becomes quite important. I got through it with Mozart, Doris Day, the Velvet Underground, A Little Night Music, some stuff I was too hallucinatory to remember and Harvey Girls. Which means that today I have alternating swooping in one ear and then the other, "I was the LILlian RUSsell/Of CHERryville, KANsas" and "We were SCHOOLmarms/from Grand Rapids, MICH." Among other bits.

One of the actual all-time best "Are You Being Served?"s last night was small little giftie (taped it) when I got home. It's the one where everyone thinks Mrs. Slocum is turning 50 and they're trying to figure out what to get her. It's good because it's actually OH GOD BORING POPCULT WANKITUDE but really -- small in scope, and real burlesque. Goofy jokes and enough momentum. Plus I adore Mrs. Slocum. Actually, that's another voice issue there. She just rocks. Her fake posh voice is genius. What can I say, I laughed. "I laughed." Is that like the "Jesus wept" of the blog world?

Getting on a plane...we'll what there is to write about in CO.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Up to nips in work.

There's nothing really underrated or hidden about Etta James, but still--when I listen to her I want to give her keys to the city and offerings by her feet...cause it seems like she should get them all the time. At least she probably gets residuals like no one on earth for At Last, if all those marrying folks indeed give her her cut of the take (maybe not).

I went to a jeweler's to talk ring design yesterday and ended up, against my better feelings and judgment, feeling hemmed in by all the engaged couples, shiny togetherness and piles of income, disposable or carefully-hoarded. Just a *bit* much. I saw no less than maybe seven in the 1/2 hour I was there ("When's the date!" over and over). And me, in my sleep shirt and hair in ratty bun, asleep in the cab on the way there, ill-prepared for this sudden visit.

This where I say fuck em if they can't take a joke (never quite sure who 'they' is) and goddamn I love shiny things.

Having a really hard time getting w/ BClinton on his childhood obesity crusade these days. Or what appears to be his crusade/wholesale apology for being who he was--whatever. It doesn't seem particularly worthy of him or his ability to understand complicated situations. Even the hint that he's doing this out of shame from all the presidential fat jokes makes me psycho/sad. Goddamn. What a waste of energy. Sometimes the fact that the personal is political is very inconvenient -- in this case informing debate that it -- almost always -- cannot begin to untangle.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It's her world, we just stew helplessly in it

Am I wrong, or does the accepted wide-spread usage of the word "crispy" instead of "crisp" date to MStew? She's the first person I noticed saying it regularly. Not everything is her fault, but still--I wonder if this word is stretching because of Martha's constant reach for hyperbole. I mean, I wonder if we are watching it happen right now now, real time. Anyhow, the word is "CRISP."
Also pay to read the phone book? Strangely...Lee Meriweather. Really. Don't know that much about her, but her diction is crazy wonderful. She does this tacky commercial for one of those fallen-down-help necklaces that is just a clinic--a lesson, I tell you, in good diction. Weird. Plus she has cool grey hair now.

Friday, March 17, 2006 and Gomorrah

Goddamn begathon PBS infomercials won't stop. Motherf(*%^@#&%&^$s!

Eleven stories below Amateur Night rages on, horns yelling, sirens. I'm rather glad to have gotten home, be here, with the glow of the green band of lights around the Hancock building filtering in the windows, and not amongst so many people weaving unsteadily around me. Toward me.

Do you ever feel like you'll go insane if you watch even one second of Friends? Like if you let in even one smidge of it in your house through your TV something terrible will happen? Especially the early episodes, and you catch 1/2-a-sec of Jennifer Aniston in one of her milkmaid Central Park uniforms. In the end that show was only ever about her nipples, as Janeane Garofalo said.

I feel the need for Doris Day right now, so the pad is rockin to the hip, 21st-century sounds of Please Don't Eat the Daisies. Sometimes you just gotta. (That is, there's a little Doris Day in everyone, to paraphrase David Lee Roth about Van Halen.) Especially when you're 1/2-stuck in an MRI machine (why the slight gap in postings here) you need Doris Day, and I don't even mean the big band/MGM Doris, I mean the serious pastel-colored shit from the Everybody Loves a Lover years.

In the slightly same vein: another fav good/bad move sighting. Yours, Mine and Ours, and YES I mean the version with Henry Fonda, Lucille Ball, a young Tim Mathieson and helpless ol queeny Van Johnson. I find the movie notable for two reasons: Lucille Ball, who was (I just looked it up) *57* playing the role of a widow with 8 kids who during the course of the movie gets pregnant. It's just sad and heroic to watch this woman whose voice is already dissolute from cigarettes slog ahead in this old-trouper, a-job's-a-job, the-first-rule-of-show-business-is-to-show-up way in a role she couldn't be less suited for, not just because of age but because the character is supposed to be so darned wholesome. She's so miscast, silly housewifey bows in her hair, but so old Hollywood/valiant about the whole thing. Hilarious. Same could probably said about Henry Fonda, really. And TWO, it's funny because somebody from the RNC? or something surely must have handed the studio funding to make this movie, it's so anti-hippy, and such your basic abstinence film, in long form. THIS is what sex and romance is about, trumpets Henry Fonda, as he leads his pregnant wife to the hospital...daily life and the diapers, not soft music and candlelight. Which, well, is true, but he's telling his daughter who's sobbing because moments before her boyfriend tried to go too far. Fonda just seems furious, not smug. Somebody is trying very hard at the last gasp of the sixties to hang on to something that was sliding by (the scenes set in SF and Henry Fonda's far-out sexy date).

Chefography series on Food TV satisfying, very True Hollywood Story in structure (turgid repetitive 2-minute ins-and-outs, silly voiceovers), but satisfying. Gaps in useless TV chef biographical knowledge filling in. Haven't finished the Ina Garten one yet, but--so far, no mention of Martha Stewart and her role in things. Was there another marfa rift there? Maybe there's not enough room for two hostessqueens in East Hampton.

Dining: veers into the category of entertainment these days, so needs must report this evening a grand adventure at Tru. Did *not* actually put myself willy-nilly in the chef's hands (no tasting menus; a la carte), and ended up with conventional-sounding but spot-hitting lobster risotto, prime rib, glass of champagne, glass of beautiful smoky red, small cheese plate, desserts for-fucking ever (including a dessert course amuse bouche, even a la carte), and those two little Tru cakes to take home for breakfast. I loved it. It was absurdly spendy, and just slightly tackily so in ways I don't feel like thinking about right now, and I did it basically cause I wanted to, even though it was a birthday dinner for friend (they even customised our *menus* with her name), and no amount of justification can credit that many dollars dying so that we may dine, but what the hell. The lamb chops my friend had were unfuckinbelievable. And I had an image of myself swimming laps in the risotto in its adorable copper pot. It was so chewy, savory, hot.

"Get down girl, go head, get down!" I continue to yell Kanye-ly at my cats when they Get on the Table. Doesn't impress. Only master they really obey appears to be my housekeys when I shake them.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I'm beyond tired--what's the word (should be one) for being freelance tired? The kind of tired where you're trying so hard for your efforts to go where they're not paid to go 8 (10, 12, 14) hours a day? Freelanceo-exhausto? Avocation-station? Fatigay-freelance-ay? Really fucking tired? I left work at 3:00 a.m. When the little otter tag fell off my keychain a few minutes later unlocking my door I almost cried.

Oh! Other people who could read the phonebook to great pleasure: James Mason (how could I forget) and Claude Rains, on some days. I know I should say Patrick Stewart, and I do love me some rumbling basses, but his voice or how he uses it has become too cheesy for me to take as much pleasure in it. I remember being incredibly stirred up by him as Polonius watching those BBC adaptations in high school (oooh, and that wooly-headed look he had working - was it a wig? the last remnants of his RADA hair for real? He was probably bald at 19), but these days it just isn't doing it for me. Anthony Hopkins is fairly far-gone cheesy too, but his voice somehow remains inviolate. It's got amazing layers/texture. But it doesn't make me want to shag him.

Dolly Parton called herself a honky while talking to a red carpet interviewer at the Oscars. I have no idea what to think about this. I guess there's a linguistic overlap there I didn't know about? Or it was just DP? Never heard anybody from where she's from use that term, though.

The only good thing about the GGirls rerun last night, despite the fact that my cockles should have been warmed by seeing Rory and Lorelai reconcile (eh, more chatter), was the scene with Emily in the plane she was thinking of buying. I still do not think that show always knows what they've got there with her and the tension twixt. Good golly.

Our currupt old county board president had a stroke last night a week (?) before elections. Now *that's* politics.


Like the slowly-moving Sondheim nerd that I am, I bought the original cast recording of A Little Night Music recently (as well as Follies), to compliment the English studio recording I have. Boy, talk about getting used to different versions of the same piece. This one (American) seems damned slow--like a 40s Mormon Tabernacle choir version of The Messiah versus a contemporary period instrument version taken at 1/2 time--and the diction less fascinating. The *acting* is better in some of the dialogue, despite that, Glynis Johns is wonderful in everything, and the guy playing Henrik just made me bark a laugh out loud due to his very undistinguished yelp in "Later." I wonder if Sondheim didn't like him and put that in as a challenge. It's tough--louder than any other note in the piece--always sends me running for the volume, even if it lasts just 3-4 secs. Little reedy yelpy help help.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I'm looking forward to -

watching PandaTV tonight. Have you seen it? It's a *great* station. Every day: all pandas, for pandas, by pandas. Incisive segments about chewing, sleeping, rolling over. Fascinating point/counterpoint debates about...sleeping, chewing, rolling over. Late-night panda porn to get your mate in the mood for your once-a-year 23-hour reproductive window. Sweeping epics comprising hours of bamboo waving gently in the breeze. Fabulous. Set your VCRs with your enormous black paws that have no thumbs.

I *am* taping, erm, the Chefography stuff on FoodTV this week. Embarrassing to admit I probably already know most of the People-magazine backstories of these folks (search: "ina garten" AND husband AND yale), but it's still irresistable.

No time.

What's the exact line from Gaudy Night? "Suddenly possessed of a magnificent fit of bad temper?" Something like that. It's very crucible-like, me life, at the mo--when things are that compressed, something's gotta give. Usually my good temper.

Monday, March 13, 2006

You know, I actually wasn't the hugest fan of Maureen Stapleton...she was kind of twittery for my tastes, muted, with too much earnestness. Her voice was...not a kind that scratched itches for me. God, who cares - it's still very sad. And I did love her at extremes, as in Interiors. IMDBing her makes me realize I've wanted to see The Last Good Time for a while...must do so. Balabaniana.

Should be working.

1. Mo'nique's new movie coming out April 7. YAY! Finally.

2. The Lisa Loeb I'm-Single show excruciating in expected ways for a show with expected mix of (well) Pure Excruciation & a little Too Close to Home. Sometimes she is a very annoying, not-very-talented Hockaday princess, sometimes...yeah, whatever. I feel guilty about dissing her (not her show), about dissing women with guitars, but I get frustrated with *whom* gets picked to be the token famous women musicians out there. Why not the more talented, interesting, older women...why always the Averil Levignes with the yooge budgets. Every guy I know still lusts after Miss Loeb in her cutie glasses...don't think they're buying her wispy albums, though.

3. Every single time when I've seen the beginning of a Real World season, I've been all appalled and oh oh oh how horrible how gen Y oh these shallow kids oh this is nassy oh man how coy I can't watch this oh oh pliz break down that paper-thin fourth wall oh oh, then...I get sucked in! Yes, indeed. So proud. Power of the soap opera.

Hard not to get sucked into how they're handling the anorexia "plotline" this time. Hard not to have a lot of reactions to it: boiled-over long-term frustration with the fact that they never show *any* diversity in body size on that show; disgust with them--with me--for watching this, because you *know* they're perfectly happy it happened, if they didn't outright plan it; frustration with how disingenuous the show is, when on the same episode that they deal with eating problems they zoom in on bikini-d body parts of other women on the show, which comes with frustration that nobody will say anything about that, nor will they note that the difference between the anorexic woman and the others is scant pounds or that when people leave the show they seem to universally get even skinnier; frustration with the fact that all this is is much less visually measurable by body size than anybody thinks and that there have been strong signs of eating problems on other shows, they just weren't addressed. And I'm sorry, Sharon on the London show didn't count.

I don't know WHY I expect fairness and justice in this context--it's stupid and pointless, but I guess it's producers' insistence that this represents real lives that leaves them open to criticism. They've backed off the color thing this time too...awfully pale cast altogether.

Okay, I feel better. I'm waiting for a fat girl Real World, though, I always will be.


Bak. 2. Salt. Mines.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Happy Movie Hangover

"THE untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find."

Yessssss, if I ever become uncomfortably famous, I rather think Camille Beauchamp would be a good check-in-the-hotel name. And I'm still a lil in love with Paul Heinreid Cigarette Pusher from last night. Thank God I'm not smoking.
People I'd pay to listen to read the phonebook: Judi Dench, Joanne Woodward, Chaim Topol, Jeremy Irons, Sian Phillips, Anthony Hopkins, Elisabeth Welch, Simon Callow (at his least Four Weddings & a Funeral), Donald Sutherland, Julie Andrews, Marilyn Horne, Keith David, Robert Runcie.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Jon Favrohhhhhhhhh
Are you gonna be big or-r small
Big or-r small / it doesn't matter atall
Just make up your mind
Before we fall behind...
Jon Favreau...

Does anybody else's heart *thrill* to the sight of Bette Davis' spectator pumps stepping onto the gangplank in Now, Voyager? Yes, I thought so.

One Jacques Pepin = Many Food Networks and all that's in them. Although who would ever guess his writing would have the same effect? I keep going back to his description of the roast cook at Plaza Athenee cooking chicken like bits of MFKFisher.

I wish Alice Medrich would get back on TV. (speakin of tv + fud)

Star Jones in her deflated state slumps on the View sofa like one of those horrid creepy dolls on the anti-marijuana commercials. I mean, I couldn't stand the woman when she was (alive, I was gonna say)--not thin--but she's become sort of alarming, now. An enervated version of Anna Nichole Smith doing drooly I'm-thin-now-mommy St. Vitus dances. There's something more alarming in those than we're willing to admit, I swear. Kind of canary-like.

Right at this moment I'm listening to Yvonne deCarlo sing "I'm Still Here" (slowly getting to know all of Follies, I am); it sounds weird because I'm used to the Millicent Martin version; before that I had to unhook the Shirley MacLaine version in my head (that's the bastardized version I was warbling in our break room yesterday). It's very good to mix up your versions of favorite songs before you get too attached. (Or recordings, or whatever. I still feel weird if I don't hear a LP skipping sound at this particular point in West Side Story...) Otherwise, nothing sounds right but the first one you learned to like.

Raymond Chandler swing = not over (The High Window).

Random Hearts basically has to be seen to be believed (writing about good/bad movies harder than it sounds). Harrison Ford has one expression through the entire film (Furrowed Brow) except three times: 1) smiling meeting KST's daughter 2) the 'sex' scene (gets all angry-lookin) 3) the end (smiling again). The rest of the time he, like everyone, seems to think the're in another film--he, perhaps, is in...well, I don't know what he's in, because when his wife was killed in The Fugitive he could act, and in this film he cannot. There is a minor character who's lit and shot (and acts) as if she's Ford's girlfriend, but she's just a plotpoint--baffling. Everything hits just the wrong note. KST is horrid, monotonous. The way the film is put together it's as if Harrison Ford is (bizarrely) trying to harrass KST into loving him from the moment their spouses die; the score is trying to make you think it's The Fabulous Baker Boys, atmospheric in all the wrong ways; there is an interminable "ad" for The Tides hotel in Miami built into the plot that seems really out of place and glamoroussy; Dennis Haysert? is wasted in the world's most bizarre subplot that I guess is supposed to make us think Harrison Ford is all butch and Sipowicz, man, as is his little earring, but he is so LuGUBrious, so relentless SOGGY, serious, stupid, his voice sounds parodic. It feels shiny and TV-like in its production qualities, too--very un-cinematic. His character rarely carries anything, even luggage while he's traveling--he just stalks through the film actorlyly. To top it all off, the "charming" pop-up-video tidbit AMC airs before they show the movie is that Harrison Ford swore to never make a film again with Sydney Pollack after he saw it. That's how they *start* the film. Enjoy the movie! Heheheheh.

All I know is I'm now committed to seeing it every time it's on TV. It's that badgood. Goodbad. Just hilarious. Like all goodbads, there is a germ of a good movie in it--it's a good, melodramatic plot, that could have made a grand old potboiler.

Why can't Pollack direct particularly good movies? He's one of my fav actors. Sabrina did the same thing to Harrison Ford--pounded him out scallopini thin until he's this joyless, rumbling lump. But hey - The Way We Were. And The Interpreter looked good, I though. I ain't an OutofAfrica person, tho. Maybe it's just that he's such a *good* actor. He co-wrote the high school play in South Bend, IN, with my aunt, according to family lore--I need to ask one of them about that someday (er, probably the aunt).


1. Finally saw the Actor's Studio with Dave Chappelle (two hours). It was completely hypnotic, as I had heard: my mouth was hanging open the whole time. Not always comfortable. Sometimes really funny. He has completely uncharted charisma when he turns it on (knew that). I could watch this but not the Oprah interview for some reason (Oprah). Good lord.

I had the sense at one point that he is Kurt Cobain. Not sure he's going to make it, even though he has more of the hubris/princeyness that CL used to talk about KC not having that would have saved him, in the face his exhausting Northern European fierceness.

Well, I hope it doesn't happen. The first time I ever saw Killing Them Softly, in DC in 2001 (hello DC), I laughed harder than I think I ever have in my life.

It's so fun to associate him with Yellow Springs - that is the place I had the fun I actually wanted to have as a late young adult. It was a really perfect place to hang out for a bored, lefty teenager: safe, insular, small, fun, places to hang out. Young's Dairy. In Columbus I had fun only occasionally and usually despite it (and everything else).

2. Okay, major good/bad movie to be taken apart soon if not now: Random Hearts with Harrison Ford & Kristin Scott Thomas. Even writing the title makes me giggle helplessly, despite it being the most serious film ever made. Damn. Not sure I'm in the mood for dissertation now, but soon.

Moving into major freelance deadlines: I will either be writing more than ever or sort of sporadically here.

Friday, March 10, 2006


I should call this freaking blog esprit de l'escalier--I do/think/write everything backwards, get to want I want to write only through re-writing. That's actually why it's a good exercise for me--forces focus, trains in saving time. But, oh, how my brain hurts. I am Count Basie yellin "One more time!" in April in Paris. I am Ernie Banks saying "Let's play two." I fling mud at frames fistful by fistful from pockets that unhelpfully grow deeper.
Deborah Voigt on Met broadcast tomorrow afternoon (Forza del Destino, eh) -- don't think I've heard her since the grand Stapling. Wonder how her voice sounds? Stapled? Bypassed?

joost noticed

Weird proximity: Big Daddy Kane & James Gandolfini. Best hooded eyes in the biz. Deadly fucking gazes. JG has that kind of dead-eyed/somewhere else powerful hooded gaze; Kane has got that I Know What You're Thinking smooth but also kind of dead-eyed/dangeroux gaze. Quite a set of peepers together. Their lovechild: a Keane-eyed hitman Cassanova. Hehehe.


JHopper wrote a pretty interesting review of the Common show this week in the paper...I haven't been really sure what to make of it. Partly because out of the world's LARGEST sense of CONTRARINESS--that is, watching Common make everybody's rokritik top10 lists this year in that lone-negro-artist way--the way Outkast was It and only It a few years ago--I haven't listened to his new album much, so I wasn't all set up to be disappointed. This sounds even stupider written out--why not just listen to the album? It's the critics I'm annoyed with--but I always get so *wary* when everybody loves something, and the strange politics of Liking Things in this top 10 World makes it even easier to be contrary. Even when you're cutting off your own nose. Yes indeedy. Especially then. So Common hasn't yet become the great feminist hope for me quite--even though I think "Come Close" w/ MJBlige may be one of the genuinely SWEETEST, melancholy, person-to-person songs ever and still stands out for being unsually pro-woman--so I didn't feel as shocked at the idea of how he acted on stage as I might have, although I felt like I understood Jessica's conflicted sad feelings about the show. I dunno.

It's a lot less of a jump to this show from where I've been thinking of Common, that is, in an narrow obsessive way about five of the best minutes on TV last year, five minutes I watched 2 or 3 times a week on my raggedy video tape before it ran out. T.I., Common, Black Thought, ?uestlove from The Roots and Biz Markie paying tribute to Big Daddy Kane on the 2nd VH-1 Hip-Hop Honors. This fantastic 5-minute thing where the momentum built through "Smooth Operator," "Set It Off," then Common GOD BLESS IM spinning windmills during "Raw," until Kane took the stage with "Warm It Up" and BLEW. EVERYBODY. AWAY. It went on just the right amount of time, he took the momentum and ran with it, it worked, and even if Kane's hiding his beautiful eyes behind shades these days (and wearing what I guess is a bboy homage to the hip-hiding Lane Bryant schmatte?) it was grand, right down to the fact that he did a lil JBs/Juice Crew at the end. Yes, I know, I was shocked too: VH-1 a strange home for occasionally neat things these days. Very weird. But totally fabulous. And Common was great, I thought -- his goofy dancing fit in (he was doing the same windmills that night), seemed fun and without a lot of hubris, and really pretty great ("Raw" is hard). Just..amazing, fabulous energy. Not the right words I haf.

Anyhow, I don't know what I would have thought the other night. Need to, um, FREAKING listen to the album.


James Gandolfini slumped over like Ferdinand the Bull, all outsize in his chair on Actor's Studio, inarticulate, nervous, hot. He was also incredibly spot-on about *why* "he"/Tony is hot: about how no one associated him with such until he played a character that wanders around in his underwear with his fat rolls for all the world to see, because "Tony likes to fuck." The comment seemed a little raw for the Badalamentitude, but dead-on.

Judy Baar Topinka is starting to look like a rogue Andrews Sister. Her poufe of older-lady hair is getting bigger and more pronounced and perched more prominently on her brow until it's morphing into a jaunty little rabbit fur hat.

Another gap-toofie out there (how did I not know): Sandra Day O'Connor! And her son! Clearly makes you smarter in judicial ways.

Another reason to hate those eHarmony ads, occurs to me: continued overuse of Natalie Freaking Cole and Everfreakinlastin Love, now the required movie trailer music for any happy-ending romantic comedy. Just like the Shaggy Dog trailers, which have defeatedly started using (after first round) that horrid 'Hey hey hey hey" ubiqui-song that signifies Wacky Comedy. I want to know what the name of that song is; I hate having a system set up to push my buttons/jump particular synapses and not even know what blunt instruments they're using.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

magick of Morpheus

I was dozing on the couch tonight ("writing") and the blare from the ProTooled Barry Manilow PBS special was driving me nuts with its shrillness so I turned the TV off. Irritating, invasive, loud. Then, after a short nap I woke up and eventually turned the TV back on, forgetting where I had left the station. I was in time to hear Barry sing a song I didn't know called "See the Show Again," and get all weepy and appreciative. It was a great song, cynical as he's not supposed to be, setting up this idea that there's a woman in the audience he wants in lieu of this life where he's never alone and never happy and on the road all the time, but even in the song he knows he's not going to do that either, and in the end too, this non-life is all he has to offer. OH I AM EXPLANING BARRY MANILOW LYRICS, yes I am. But it was a *good* song. Cool minor key harmonies underneath. Just a really good, classic, rounded, story-telling song. Then he vamped/joked his way out of it by doing this bit where people put $ in his tip jar and he was "inspired" to break into "Can't Smile Without You" or something--and I was thinking, damn. I bet he really does just want to sit at the piano and sing cutyourwrist songs, like he said. I'd watch *that* show. I mean, he and Bette have to get along for a reason, right? It's not as if I didn't know there were things to appreciate about this guy, but I do love being surprised.

oh marfa

I'm still waiting for that Guggenheim to really get started writing about the post-Jail Martha talkshow, which I've been basically too embarrassed to watch much/write about. It's totally fascinating, though, esp. the opening credits, how they're trying to humanize her and cast off her previous identities. And how she's trying to be all hail-fellow-well-met and talk show hostessy when she looks as stiff and perfectionistic as ever. This shit is deep, man. But I don't need to be embarrassed. After all, I could handle about 3/4 of her interview with Iman ("You were the first African-American...well, now, you're really African, aren't you") before I had to run out of room. I don't know why they keep trying to fit that dictatortress into a happy dirndl. And The Apprentice is not doing it either. Oh MY.


Connoisseurs...connoiseuses...of Good Bad Movies, the quintessential 'beautiful/ugly' (Paule Marshall), will be thrilled to hear that ABC Family is doing a sequel to the The Cutting Edge, called, um, The Cutting Edge II. With...exactly the same plot (as far as I can tell). I'm not really sure what the point is, since, well, 1) that chitty chitty movie is perfect already and 2) they don't appear to have improved upon/modernized the strange quality that is both a major part of the movie's appeal and its ugliness--the hopelessly low-rent production values. The ten people in the stands they move around, depending on the camera POV. The staggered-frame cintematography at the end to avoid showing detail. The horrible skating choreography. The completely physics-ignoring Pamchenko move patched together with weird editing. Call me Allan Bloom, but why try to redo Perfection??? Pamchenko!

While reading GG spoilers (oh Logan! looks like he might be around) I read that in an upcoming episode at some point Luke will be on a bus with his smarty-pants daughter and her friends while they're all singing the Tom Lehrer "Elements" song. No wonder I still love that show. It's not pure name-check-ness, it's how they *use* them. Lehrer's perfect for April, for a smart sciencey kid.

Port Deal Dead! Patriot Act Renewed!


"I was just born with a need to explore every tool shop of my mind, and with long searching and hard work. I became devoted to my restlessness." (Gordon Parks)

Anderson Cooper telling stories of a very "cool" Parks visiting his mom as her friend...I dunno how often Cooper tells his first-person stories of la vie DVF, all I know is I'm agog. Partly because it's so thoroughly the kind of background a newsanchor type is not supposed to have. Too faggy. Supposed to be all Tom Brokaw and riverrunsthroughit (this is emerging as an adjective more and more in life). I mean, let's face it, that man could probably run us up a wraparound dress if we needed it.

As far as I can tell (new movie), Sarah Jessica Parker is one by one remaking the plots of Sex & La Cuidad before the body gets cold. At least from the previews. Could be marketing. Also from preview: Kathy Bates now permanently (?) shunted into Mama group, as is Alfre Woodard suddenly (qv Jones' capsule about Something New in the Reader). A little distressing. (First you're another sloe-eyed vamp/Then someone's mother/then you're camp...) A little odd, too, because I don't think of her as that maternal personality--she's a Bette Davis moviestar type, eccentric.

Small Sanctioned Sightings of Fat People in the new Madonna video. 1) a fat Fellini-esque dude (generally permissible in this context) and 2) a bit of a fat woman--she gets to drive the van! she also appears roller-skating for about a second--who I think was in the first Madonna video from the new album, the one that rips of ABBA (more directly). This is the classic big black woman, also becoming sanctioned more as a component visual these days. Oh what to say about that. Interesting too to watch Madonna try to have an ass, now that that's okay, even part of the beauty ideal. Especially because she, hello, does not have one. You know that's not stopping her, though, and is in fact crucial to madonnatude.

Saw the KWest video again and now think the part with Nia Long is just mean and stereotyped. Doesn't work.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Interesting debate w/ coworker today about whether Logan will be kept on chez Gilmore Girls for his own Lorelai-like Rejektion of the Parents, or if he's too Rory-focused a character for the show to care about it/give him the space to do it. I realized I have been hoping for the former while trying to prepare for the latter. Here's to it *paws clasped in nerdful anticipation*.

He stuck a pill in his kisser and lit it with a Ronson.

My massive re-surge through Raymond Chandler, encouraged by a post-PGWodehouse (the connection being Dulwich College and a need to explore that) dive into RC biographical materials and letters, is coasting to a stop--for the moment at least, after re-re-re-re-re-re-reading (x100) Big Sleep & The Little Sister. It's sort of funny to look at these DESOLATE novels, absolutely mauled to death out of love, with backs and pages and pieces missing, ice cream on the margins, folds, creases, limpness, compared to the crisp tight hard biographies. Time has clearly come (already hit with other writers) for me to get good hardback reading copies, rather than hanging onto strange early-life idea that paperbacks will last forever.

Tricky, though. Want to get good sympathetic editions. Not the horrible 5-to-a-book 70s mysteries/literature editions (who did those?) that used to fill up all the extra space at Waldenbooks, but nothing *too* valuable, as it'd be hard to read and too hard to get all seven books anyow. Chandler is tricky. I used to look every time I was in a bookstore for his stuff, and even 2nd-hand often doesn't have him, because people just don't off-load RC. There are some authors I'm just fine with fighting others for 1st editions for, but I don't feel like trying with him. I need crate-and-barrel editions--not tiffany, not walgreen's. Nice sturdy middle-class copies so that I can augment without pressure when I find a beautiful old edition or something.

Oh the life of a buk nurd.

It's hard when reading Chandler not to want to throw the book in the air out of a kind of pained joy every couple pages or so. And mark the words so you'll never forget them in that vain hope of making them yours (I already know they don't do that well out of water, actually). It's one particular kind of reading pain/pleasure. He was so smart, so perspicacious, the right combo (as a writer) of hopelessly sentimental and cynical to make prose that rubs your stomach and pats your head at the same time. You can understand why critics end up using the word "poetry" in their attempts to describe how his prose feels. Makes your heart hurt. It's funny to keep going through the seven novels...they're not all great. They can sometimes remain out of focus if you're trying too hard to keep the plots straight. And the sexism/racism--whatever your handle on it--isn't always easy. But they are so...complete.

I think if the biographies I had been reading were more revelatory I'd be surging harder through the novels right now. They all rely too much on his letters and tend to therefore hit like a metronome life events without being able to flesh out the important stuff. I certainly found out a lot about him I didn't know (not all savory, of course, much rather off-putting), but for instance--nobody knows if he knew how old his wife was when he married her. We don't need another biography to say that again. It just seems...lazy. Just because he left behind a set of amazing letters doesn't mean they are amazingly revealing. Not enough digging. It's like biographers are distracted by how good they are from the task at hand. There's still enough in all the biographical puzzle to keep me over-intrigued, though. Including the fact that he learned gumshoe like Greek. I still think it's a miracle.

I think I had a yooge crush on Philip Marlowe in high school. Probably still do. Oh DEAR.

More Matter, Less...Matter

I am not really Getting Kanye West. By which I mean: haven't really been following him more than passively, using any of my own momentum to figure out what he's about, just taking what's given, in the media consumer sense. So I don't feel like I'm commenting with much authority when I say that I've never really understood what was so great about him. I never felt like the hubris was justified, I hated "Jesus Walks," and despite enormous Chicago boosterism and liking some of the people he works with, I wasn't feeling it. Couldn't figure out what was so unusual about him, either.

For some reason, though, I'm all enamored with "Touch the Sky," esp. the video, to the point where I kept YouTube-ing it today. Hain't perfect, but I kind of love it. Among other reasons:

* He and his directors have now mastered -- with "Golddigger," which I liked too -- how to fill a frame, the Other Angle, the way to visually depict funkiness and DJ swagger with low angles, behind angles, etc. They really work. The right amount of cool, of heat, of funk & elan. I'm really diggin it here. And here the hubris feels right -- like the hubris we all feel sometimes when life is clicked into place and we are on top of the world and there is nothing but forward momentum, yah, mon. Plus there's some goofiness too.

* I really like the *style* of "Touch the Sky." Okay, why this, when things 70s are pretty much (re)raped and pillaged already, I don't know, but I like the completeness and detail of the style--the overhead shots, the blown-out overly-sunny look, the dust, the goofiness, the deep deep 70s TV/movie feel in the credits, visual tricks, colors, announcers, etc.. Silly. But pretty effective. Smart to leverage Kanye as Evil Knievel. And as we have all learned from The Sound of Music, the judicious use of timeless/natural surroundings helps tremendously with dated (unintentionally or intentionally) projects. The Grand Canyon or whatever it is in this video is great. It seems very 70s to me--is it really (along with the Knievel story in the video)? Or are my own bicentennial experiences playing into it?

* I like seeing things mixed up - the 'video girl' is Pamela Anderson, and it's a stronger, weirder combo than that sounds (pretty conventional on the surface)--they look good together in their extremes (which I don't necc mean about skin color). And there's a little of rewriting history by switching around races in the Evil Knievel story. But there're also bizarre (contextually) scenes with Tracee Ellis Ross & Nia Long complaining about him going over. Some comment was needed, methinks, but the way this video handled it was strange--it's some of the only spoken dialoque and feels like it's doing those women a disservice. It's as if his post-millennial self knew the situation would have to be commented upon, so he dragged it in meaningless ways that he thought might fit in the 70s. Verr strange. I am probably not writing about this in a way that at all accurately explains what I think or does the situation justice--it's a very mixed-up, complicated world we are currently living in in terms of the whole spectrum of visual imagery, race, gender, blah blah. I mean, things have changed in new ways in recent years, but it's all still sticky.

* I think I just like this single. Great horns.

There's probably some reason to totally dislike the song I don't know about. But for now -- fun.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Crashing Champers Across My Sweaty B(r)ow

I will just come out and ask--am I the only person who, when faced with the retinue of perfectly NICE-N-NORMAL-looking eHarmony couples and the slightly fredrogersesque and plummy-toned Dr. Earl Jackie Haley Berger Warren whatever his name is who founded eHarmony in the commercials for said product, and thus having listened to their repetitive bleat about "deep compatibility on so many levels"--wants to go shag totally mismatched strangers? Commit one's life to Just the Wrong Person? Marry someone and spend the rest of your life hopelessly trying to make them different?

There is something in those ads that's so sort of...insular and smug in the ways that people often credit dating services with being even if they aren't, out of bitterness, that you just want to smack them upside the head and do exactly the opposite. Especially the perfectly nice couples who instead of brave and fun-loving look like they frantically-singled their way into some kind of relationship that will never challenge them.

I believe in deep compatibility, I just hate the phrase coming out of that dude's mouth. And WHY (??), to wit, WHY are the Dr. Phil ads for focusing on Womenz??? Daydreaming "romantic" women who aren't being realistic about love runs the implication... Goddamn. I thought that myth got debunked years ago (not). Men are so much more the more functionally romantic ones in this life--a right reserved for the gender not usually first responsible for events like cleaning up kid's barf in the middle of the night.


There are a lot of ways to love Prince. Teary-eyed anthems in your headphones (“The Cross”); trance-y bass thumping in your bassiest places (“Automatic”); smirky, oblique, wry smiles that make you feel all de Sade and wicked (first three albums); loving life (“Raspberry Beret”), resigned to life but loving it (“Pop Life”), whatever. Whatever. Insert lil rock critic dissertation here of whatever annoyance level needed.

My favorite way to love this man’s music, however, is always in the realm of the spare. Bare wooden floors. Big open caesuras. Big spacious silent holes in the funky fabric that make the funk bigger. Nasty, spare, airy, daring songs. So I’m really in love with the new single “Black Sweat"--it’s hopped up into that category with "Lady Cab Driver" and "Irresistable Bitch" like it belongs there and seems pretty comfortable. Fuckin rocks. Those songs are always somehow the most offensive, it seems, too, but I don't always care. It's those daring, wonderful pauses! Those big open gaps! The plein air! That tiny little delay that makes your hips wonder: will the beat hit again?? And it does and you're riding the wave better than ever. Sassy.

The funny thing is the video... It's weird in ways videos aren't these days, partly 'cause it's Prince. The video girl (that much is like everybody else) is much more clothed, which is an equivocal pleasure but still noticable, and it's chic and stylish and B&W and all that. But he's so very passive in it. Stands/watches/moves his eyes around. Prince used to be the girl, man, the one we were all watching, dancing in the purple frilly stockings and the girly bits and pieces. He seems ill-equipped to also serve by only standing and waiting (as it were). The change in his demeanor is more noticeable because I didn't chart every development in recent years through Musicology--has probably been coming for a while, maybe just as part of his new subdeb ideals--but the video is a weird combination of thankfully strange old Prince, a little bit of tedious booty-poppin stuff, and now this tired new 40-something Prince or whatever it is. Maybe he's just too short. I mean, too busted for it - we wouldn't buy a big grand video where it was all scaled to look big against his 5'4"itude. So they scaled it down in every way.


My mortification threshhold is such that I saw little of the Oscars (but all of E!'s Fashion Special the day aftah--go figure), but I was thrilled to see the cut of JLopez's dress, which thankfully veered out of the realm of bias cut drapery and if I never see another of those nightgowns, too soon. A few other nice ones too. For some reason I even grooved on the large wad of fabric--the Mobius strip--whatever it was--on Charlize Theron's shoulder. I liked the very 60s makeup she had with it.

I always think about the line by E.F. Benson about a pink needlepoint figure looking like "a stick of white asparagus" when I watch the Oscars, because of all the skinny pink/pale women in flesh-colored dresses. It's all so...cranky. It's harsh (physically--very demanding) and uncelebratory and so...well, white, to sound racist. Sometimes it's nice, but basically it has felt like another Fashion Test they're all trying to pass in recent years, all those armies of white asparagi toddling swivel-stepped down the runway...


Sad today about Dana Reeve, Kirby Puckett and Gordon Parks. Good golly.