Friday, June 29, 2007

Bubbles auditioning Miss Piggy for Pigoletto on the Muppet Show, 1979. Hehehehe...Pigoletto.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Think good thoughts for Bubbles.

Wanna Be a Hype Man

I've been living in a haze of electronic fuzz/ wall of sound/toilet-flushing dance music of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis productions scuse. But oh is it a fun place to be.

It started when I downloaded the video of J Jackson's "Alright," (that's the version with Heavy D), which has always been I think maybe my favorite-ist video, and not just as a musical hag who appreciates her paying homage to the Nicholas Brothers and stuff. I love the Lockers-ish choreography so's so percussive, so expressive, so fuckin cool. Sharp as creases on a pair of trousers. Makes me a lil insane tryin to express why I like it so much, but it's been a short hop from there back to the original video for "Control," which reminded me how much Mpls there was in her early stuff, how much neater it all was then, than the super-duper in-your-pores ruthless male-gaze closeup pop stardom like JLopez. I mean...she had a band. Jerome's in that video. I forgot that. Lookin ahead-of-his-time cool. Workin that fucking hilarious abridged shit that he does--I dunno what to call it.'s my mini version of the the running man, if I could be bothered. I couldn't be as cool as he on my coolest day drinking a cold beverage with extra shots of cool.

It's another short hop to this video of The Time doing "Jerk Out" on SNL, that is soooo tasty. Jesse J, JJ & TL, Morris & Jerome. Just so nasty and smooth and cool. I heard stories when I was college in MN about the Time. You heard a lot of apocryphal, but still slightly authentic stories about Minneapolis music there the 80s..."I heard Husker Du at the basement of that frat party"....Replacements tales...blah blah. I heard a few whispered stories about how the Time (a Prince project, note) battled Prince once at a high-school prom or something and just blew him away that always kinda gave them this Air. (Yes, okay, I didn't know about the ending of Jay & Silent Bob until recently. Maybe I will see that movie someday.)

The point is...I love Jerome Benton. Always have, never has gone away. (He is so cool in that performance, so's all so cool. I love the intro, the key change, the splits, the bass.). I've been trying to make my head wobble like that for 20 years--that beautiful loose-limbed grace I wish I hadda little of. Wore out my cassette of Ice Cream Castles (fav song? always "My Drawers"). Made my friend Holly do little one-finger low-fives with me. Trying vainly to do the one-foot slide that I just can't do. I have a co-worker named Jerome who lets me say his name like Morris does, I can't help it ("JaROME!") The obsession hasn't ever waned, tis still a revelation.

So, anyhow, next time Rhythm Nation 1814 wobbles onto your radio...don't be scared. Yes, I know I'm a dork, btw. What can I say, I love hype men, I like a world where they exist. I like James Brown, I like the Time, I like PE.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I've been thinking about my late cat Padgett a lot recently, as I have other friends going through the sadness of pets dying. It's getting near the time of year when she died too. Dying isn't easy, even when it's peaceful. It's hard.

For thirteen years I had one pet, a neurotic beautiful starlet tortoiseshell cat. She was, as torties are, a very one-person cat. Other people didn't see her very often. She had beautiful huge green eyes and one paw dipped entirely in tan. She was my familiar. I'm not nearly that glamorous, but she and I were a team.

Her death was awful. She had been ailing for months in various ways that I wasn't handling well. One Friday night I got home late only to be completely unable to find her--not normal in a third-floor one-bedroom apartment. I called friends in hysterics and they were the ones who found her on the ground below my front window where she had landed on a spike.

It's never been clear if she died then fell through the window screen (there was a rip) and to the ground, or died because she fell, or was dying as she fell... All I know is that I felt wracked about her going that way, so desperate and alone, pushed to the edge. I cried for 72 hours straight that weekend, so hard that I had to wear glasses to work on Monday because my eyes were so puffed up and sore. I cried through meals in public, while I was watching TV, while I was in bed. I felt so terrible about how my horrible inability to handle her illness meant that just as I was gearing up for treatment and help (she was supposed to start new treatment that Monday)--she died. She never had a chance. I was so sad she was gone.

I was so racked with guilt about not helping her better in those last months... I was uncomfortable about her as she was sick, about the messes she made. I got mad at her sometimes. Dying was hard. I wasn't Florence Nightengale. I did my very best, but I was so upset about her dying at the same time that I was her sole caregiver...I had to face the fact that I didn't face things as well as I thought. I also had to face that I couldn't have done as much to change the situation as I thought, despite all that. She had been sicker all along than I wanted to admit.

I also had to face the fact that I think she did it her own way, on her own time. Seeing as she was a beautiful eyelash-batting primadonna, she did it (ridiculous, but true) in a melodramatic swandive. She had no other way to get out of that apartment. I don't think she wanted shots and invasive treatment. I think she did what she wanted.

I had to face all of that (still do). Here's the point: I had to have faith that she knew how much I loved her, with my faults and all,
that she probably knew how hard it was for me too. Make my peace with it. Animals sometimes know better than we do.

I loved her so very much. She was a great, personality-filled kitty who kept faith.

I just have to say this.

I have been lookin for big bamboo door-knockers--the trapezoid kind--forever. A couple lazy years. I know deep in my heart that they--and it has to be the gold kind--would look beyond fabulous with my pink smock top. Now, however, I am full of the sartorial resentment that comes from celebrities making something really over-popular out of your own lil pet obsession, so that said item is 1) ubiquitous 2) expensive 3) more cliched than before. So Amy Winehouse, Fergie and LIly Allen...this white girl needed those earrings FIRST, okay? Hrmph. Back off.

I know how this me. What kinda dumbass point is it to say No really I want these earrings in the spirit of "Ladies First" not "Fergalicious"? (IF YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN) But what can I say.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pork Chops a la vie Eh.

Trim some pretty organic pork chops of all fat. They were already fairly fat-less to begin with, you are just a wimp and like your meat absurdly free of Stuff (fat, gristle, bits). Season with salt and pepper.

Wing 'em in a pan with some butter and sear on both sides. Empty a bottle of hard cider in the pan, deglazing by pushing the chops around, then add a big spoonful of grainy mustard and some shakes of soy sauce, only then you realize you grabbed the wrong bottle and meant to use Worchestershire sauce, so add that too. Simmer chops in the sauce uncovered for a while (10 min?), until reduced, then thicken with a little cornstarch. Serve sliced over whole grain toast! Yum.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dear Life,

If you are an ocean...I dunno when to surf and when to paddle and when to build a boat and when to just sunbathe. Or no, wait--are you the dance floor, love is the rhythm and God is the DJ? (am I supposed to do only boogie? can I ask God to play the DNA remix of "Tom's Diner"?) Or no, wait--if life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans, then...should I be making other plans? Or no plans? Or no, wait--if life is short, but it is wide, then are you...a fat girl? That's cool.


Sunday, June 17, 2007 old pal JEJ just called to tell me she had gobbled up the new final Armistead Maupin Tales of the City book, Michael Tolliver Lives, and had I had I did I know did I have? I had heard it was coming out, but didn't realize it was already out! So I am on a freakin tear. Will probably get it tomorrow, if I can figure out a cheap way to do it.

Crazed TotC fans are well-aware of the funny feeling left behind with the previous final, Sure of You. I dunno, I always had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I felt strongly that these were his characters and if that's how things were ending, that's how things were ending, sad conflicts and all. On the other hand, that book also seemed a little reactive. I'm not sure that's the book he would have written if there had been a longer beat before its existence. He seemed to be rebelling against his previous books a bit, which is why I'm not appalled that there's a new final book--the series didn't seem quite finished. Plus! Plus {gossipy AM life stuff here that I can newly identify with}.

Michael Tolliver Lives sounds pretty rockin, can't wait to dive in. I've been reading these books since early in high school, when a much cooler friend than I gave me More Tales of the City as a present. I just let the book sit on my shelf until competitive feelings with my sister made me pick it up (she said "that book's really good, did you know?") and from then on I was hooked. Completely hooklineandsinker hooked. I know everybody has their own "I first read Tales in the Chronicle!"/" I first read Tales in the Shopper it was in before that!" macho proprietary tales of Tales love, but as a yearning hoping seeking horndog all-agog teenager in Columbus, OH, in the early 80s, these books really did make a huge impression on my life and frankly, language usage! Read read read read re-read re-read re-read. I couldn't afford Significant Others when it came out, so I digested it, chapter-by-chapter, sittin on a stool in our college bookstore, my mouth open at each development. I took the 22 bus to Unabridged bookstore once on a rainy day here in Chicago, to have A. Maupin sign my battered first copy of More. So, you know...I'm excited.

AND I LIKE THIS COVER! One thing I like about my battered collection of Tales books is all the different cover treatments they represent, different styles over the years. They're just the tip of the iceberg, though--those books have had a bizillion illustrative styles. This one, though, is self-referential in the nicest way. Beautiful simple Rothko colors, font choices from all the way in the beginning that woulda been too Too even five years ago, some muting in the pallette. It could be a little coy, a fake worn book, but this just seems to work, IMHO. I like. Can't wait to read! Thanks, J.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fud Network Ramblings

Yes, I know; PBS has better shows, why bother. Eh, I dunno. It's a little like watching a soap opera, I think. Cast of regulars, can-you-believe-what-they're-wearing, who'z zoomin what...

* To watch Fud Network is to hear WAY too often the Guy Clark/Emmylou Harris song "I Don't Love You Much, Do I," as part of the Nature's Own bread commercials. GAHHHH. This song is scrapin' the inside of my cranium. It is a actually a testament to why we need jingles. The song is so overblown, so heavy with meaning far way and beyond Bread, so freighted with bathos in this context, that it just hurts. Makes that 30-second spot so soggy you wince.

If you are desperate need of hearing the song/seeing commercials MORE than every 22 minutes, try here.

* Also aurally: The Molto Mario themesong is really almost unbearable. What made anybody think people'd wanna hear that in and out of commercials like that? Screechy horrid.

* Craziest shit on FN these days? The promos for GIADA IN PARADISE. I searched high and low for a recording of it--I wish I could show it here. The point is that it is not just hah-hah "porny," but actually your basic Playmate promo. The last 10 seconds...Giada lookin sideways into the camera wearing a bikini in an infinity pool, the soft fade to the "Giada in Paradise" logo, the hushed voiceover, the driving music, the vague hint of Sport Illustrated swimsuits in the's just so freakin NAKED. What they're selling. I don't know what do say about it except the obvious. (What Would Julia Do?) This Life cover of her gives something of the flavor of it.

* Sandra Lee only gets worse, the more you watch, but I'm starting to be amused at the fearless way in which she sloshes her sweety-sweet alcohols together. That's right, gawd, we all need a drink.

* There is a lot to note about the whole Duff Goldman thing, but I just must say...I dunno how much longer I can stand that Brazilian/landing strip on his chin. It works with other aspects of his face/facial hair design to make him look a lil too Tim Burton. Not to mention it reminds me a little of fat girls wearing vertical stripes in a vain hope to look smaller; he has a lovely round face--this up-and-down stripe just highlights it, rather than making it Go Away.

* I haven't watched any of the three New Food Network Star competitions--tolerance for such things way low. I have, however, watched the shows that resulted from them. This has probably been commented on tons before, but it's very hard not to contrast the two--the chummy gay Hardy Boy partners with the hopelessly het Guy Fieri. Fieri's show (racing stripes on fridge, pinball games, wristbands, "buddies" in the background) just screams...WELCOME HETEROSEXUAL MEN. And the Hardy Boys show...allowed to be fussier, burdened a bit by the unavoidable back-and-forth twixt the principal dudes, very Catery. I actually have come to kinda like Fieri, schtick/hopeful catch-phrasing/etc. aside. It's not all new, but what he does provide is decent specificity and focus on technique at times.

* The all-day patter on this station is beyond moribund, no matter how many on-like-donkey-kongs you hear. So tired of listening to Emeril mispronounce things. And R. Ray say "that thing that makes you go HMMM" about nutmeg. That is a lot of times to say that whole exact same sentence, over and over. I can deal with thyme always being "lemony" and cumin always being "smoky," but I'm completely all outta patience for that RRay-cum-Arsenio line. And I Garten's nervy twitter.

Gotta go watch Fud Network.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Achieved last night: pommes more-or-less Anna (cf MFK). I am gettin closer and closer. The potatoes became one Unit, didn't devolve into chaotic fried potatoes. I've yet to create a really beautiful, evenly-browned, layered cake, but at least this tasted good (window of taste created by Sudafed).

Query: Is it possible to create this dish not only just when you have the time to do it, but really only when you're on vacation or short-term-disability leave? It just needs so much Time. Huge amounts of mental space, more than the usual potato patience. I think I cooked mine for 1-1/2 hrs! Basically I hate underdone potatoes as much as I hate even slightly more than al dente pasta these days, so I thought it was good. They were incredibly tender/crisp.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Dear Diary

1. I haf a new love (left). You should see it tearin up ice cubes. LOVE. Red. I am Oster Izer.

2. DON'T fall asleep watching the DVD of Send Me No Flowers. Because that means you get stuck on the home screen which plays the the theme song over and over. It is a diseased little tune to have follow you into your dreams and out. Also don't fall asleep in the middle of parodies of horror movies, because they scream way too much.

3. Oh the Chicago of the 80s! In the movies! Tom Hanks is wheeling his Jeep into the Marina City parking lot (he's an ADman!)! Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal are being all bad and knowing and shit (they're COPs!)! Rob Lowe is selling restaurant supplies (with Jim Belushi!)! Yeah, man!

4. "I gave you the best 23 minutes you had all year!" "No way, back off, man!" "Oooo...bamboo...."


5a. I have figured out my musical personality (percentages not definite):
  • 20% bad 80s strip club DJ
  • 5% Minneapolis club rat
  • 10% paws-clasped-together shrieking fangirl
  • 10% nose-picking punk
  • 20% gouty old opera-loving lawyer
  • 5% closeted Sondheim-loving queen
  • 5% clenched early-musick loving ascetic
  • 5% dispassionate but earnest academic
  • 10% torch singer/torch listener
  • 5% comb-in-back-pocket airguitaring classic rocker
  • 2.5% finger-snapping beatnik
  • 2.5% weepy folkie
  • a lot% wannabe Marcy Mays
  • other traces to be determined

6. I'm sorry, but...Amy Winehouse (after/before). It's not just that it's all wrong most any way you can look at, but the thing that strikes me these days is the way that fame Requires This. Of WOMEN. Horribly impersonal. Sacrifices laid on the altar. You can't have yourself, you can't stick out, you can't take up space because then oh then and I'm sorry, but this is still true in this ragingly sexist world, you are doing what you shouldn't be. Try watching E! for 1/2 a second. See how they treat the pecadillos of the size 0 vs. the size 14. It's like people are different species. Plus this photo adds a new filip to her whole neo-Ronette persona. You Gotta Get a Gimmick...

7. I was a test-patient for some PT students this week. I felt like Gulliver being attended to by the Jeri Ryans. It was very interesting!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Live in NYC? Like to attend the birth of great art?

You are invited to a read-through and then feedback session for MARTIN LUTHER: THE MUSICAL, on Tuesday, June 19th, 6:30 pm at the Kraine Theater. The Kraine Theater is at 85 E. 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery.

MARTIN LUTHER: THE MUSICAL is the story of the last great attempt by the Islamic Ottoman Empire to take over the Holy Roman Empire, and the astounding role played by a dynamic yet humble German monk, Martin Luther. Luther nails 95 proposals for debate on a little church door, setting off an extraordinary chain of events just as the Ottomans begin their campaign to invade Vienna, the doorstep of the Roman Empire. Will Luther, a priest, help support the Catholic Church and the Empire as it tries to hold back an army that has crushed its way West? What will happen if he doesn't?

Like Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," this musical uses historic events to illuminate modern-day circumstances.

We hope you will attend this readthrough and provide feedback afterward. This is very much a work-in-progress and we really need your opinion.

Martin Luther Reading
Tuesday, June 19th at 6:30 pm
The Kraine Theater
85 4th Street between 2nd ave and Bowery
nearby trainlines:

Martin Luther: The Musical
Book and Lyrics by Kirsten Major
Music and Lyrics by Brian Robison
Directed by Selena Ambush