Tuesday, February 28, 2006
I've been working on my erotica piece today, struggling with the process of structure. Structure is the worst part of any creative process, because you have to figure out where to put everything. I worried for days over my lede, and I'm still not thrilled about it. There are transitions to worry about and getting the quotes right. Then I have to wrap it all up. Oy.
With all this in front of me, I needed to block out distractions. It gets really quiet in the newsroom, but even too much quiet can be bothersome. Funny, that.
I pulled up my iTunes and started flipping around. That's when I found this mix I made last year. It was right after I finished "South Pacific" with The Heights Players and was so tired and worn out that I couldn't handle anything too upbeat. Nevertheless, I was still looking for fun.
In keeping with today's theme of smut, smut, smut, I decided to post The Sex Pot Mix for you. Now you, too, can feel like an exhausted chorus girl looking for the Next Big Thing.
Note the Pauline Staples: Brendan Benson, The Beatles, The Killers and The Libertines.
What you waiting for? Gwen Stefani
TKO: Le Tigre
The Man Who Would Be King: The Libertines
Music When the Lights Go Out: The Libertines
Pulling Teeth: Green Day
For No One: The Beatles
Blue Light: Bloc Party
This Modern Love: Bloc Party
Alternative to Love: Brendan Benson
Heartless Romantic: The Dears
Wendy: Jesse Malin
Time is Running Out: Muse
Seven Days a Week: The Sounds
Rock n' Roll: The Sounds
Lo Boob Oscillator: Stereolab
Ball & Biscuit: The White Stripes
Change Your Mind: The Killers
All These Things That I've Done: The Killers
As some of you know, for about a week or so I've been working on a piece about how mainstream publishers such as Harlequin and Avon Books are starting lines of erotica and erotic romance. These are books that are a step above your traditional romance novel. They're still very plot-driven, but in place of phrases like, "lady flower" and "throbbing manhood" they're, well, slightly more explicit. These books are aimed at women.
I've been talking to a lot of people in the book industry, from the mainstream editors and writers to the women that started selling the books over the internet years ago. They're the best for quotes, since the big publishing houses essentially yanked their business model without so much as sending a thank-you note.
Last night I spoke with Tina Engler, who was one of the very first to create a viable business from erotica with her website, Ellora's Cave. We started talking about selling erotica in mainstream bookstores, such as Borders and Barnes and Nobles. I asked if the explicit nature of the books posed a problem. Would booksellers be open to this?
She said that some managers were more open minded than others, but stressed that erotica as a genre filled a specific need: It legitimized a woman's sexual experience. Basically, if a woman reads these sorts of books, they don't feel quite so strange about whatever their own fantasies may be. Makes sense.
"But what about the language?", I asked. These books were hardly filled with the flowery euphamisms often associated with romance novels.
Engler paused a moment. "Well," she said. "Sometimes a cock is just a cock."
I couldn't have said it better myself.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Last week I had this horrible cold that left my upper lip and chin all red and chaffed from constantly blowing my nose. (You know how it is.) It was rather unsightly, so I decided to find some sort of a face mask at the drug store that might take away a bit of the red. I had a party that night to go to that would be full of people I went to high school with, and I didn't want everyone to talk about me.
I was out in Greenwich, so after the gym I walked over to the CVS, (oh, no one walks along the Post Road, so I've learned) which is ten times the size of any CVS I have ever seen. It's also bathed in low, gentle lighting and so full of products you could have a nervous breakdown trying to pick out a shampoo.
I, however, was in the market for a face mask. I needed something gentle that would exfoliate as well as moisturize. I figured the CVS in Riverside would be a great place to look. They have aisles and aisles of stuff.
Perhaps, though, too much stuff. Crap, at that.
Like I said, I wanted a face mask. I wanted a 20-minute, slather it on and laugh-at-the-fact-that-it's-green face mask. Kinf of like we used to do at slumber parties back in Seventh grade.
Instead of masks, I found boxes that looked like weird science-experiments. There were age-defyers and anti-wrinkle serums. In the back of the store were plush robes and slippers, to create that "spa feeling" at home. (Um, isn't the point of going to a spa to get away from home?) And this was at a CVS.
Then I saw the micro-dermabrasion kits.
Here's the thing: At home micro-dermabrasion is a sham. It's a sham that companies like L'Oreal are selling for $30 a pop and telling all these women that it's going to take years off their face. It's not, because a battery-operated machine simply cannot do that.
Real micro-dermabrasion happens either at the dermatologist's office or at a spa (never at a nail salon). A micro-derm machine is about the size of a vacuum and sells for a couple hundred dollars, if not a thousand. You also need to be trained on it.
A real micro-derm procedure basically takes off a layer of cells from your face and sucks out the crap that's in your pores. (Lovely, n'est pas?) It's a little rough at first but feels like a little vacuum going over your face. A micro-derm session is usually followed by a steam-cleansing facial, to wash all the junk off your face and to give you a glow.
When you leave, you hand your esthician or doctor about $200 and hide your face until you get home. Micro-derm can leave you really red. However, once it settles down, usually within a few hours or a day, you will look great. Rested. Renewed. I say, take advantage.
So how can these companies sell what is ultimately an effective $200 procedure for $30 in a box? All these products are the Easy-Bake Oven version of a real procedure. I was aghast. I couldn't find a decent mask because the shelves were full of fake micro-dermabrasion. Outrage.
I finally did find a mask. It was Neutrogena's Advanced Solutions Facial Peel. It claims to be a professional-level facial peel, without the acid. (Fair enough.) According to the box, if it tingles, it's working. By working, it takes away surface skin cells without irritation and redness. (For $26, the results were lukewarm, at best.)
I've also had fruit-acid peels at the dermatologist's office. No lie, they hurt like hell. It's essentially a controlled burn. But, like micro-dermabrasion, once the redness goes away, you look bright and glowy. It also costs about $100 a pop for a fruit-acid peel. If you have to look good for something, it's well worth it.
What makes me mad about the way the beauty industry is going is that they're trying to sell watered-down versions of effective treatments. Why spend $30 over and over when you could save up that money and get the real deal and probably have better results? One of these drugstore products hardly accomplishes even a tenth of what the dermatologist or esthician can do.
Ladies, why waste your money? You wouldn't take a half-assed guy or a dress that didn't fit right. Why settle for something just because it has a fancy, scientific name or is lit up under blue lighting at CVS.
I'm not hating...I'm just saying.
Remember how I said on Friday I was in dire need of a good party? Well, on Saturday Meg came through with a great affair in her enormous new condo in Norwalk, just down the street from where I grew up. (Full cicrle, kids. Full circle.) Most of the BMHS 1995 folks were there, plus a few new ones, and most of us had boyfriends/husbands/lovers in tow.
I took two rolls of film. At first they were typical, posed shots. Then the liquor kicked in and some of us started posing with this strnage yellow hat. Good stuff. They'll all be up here in a few days.
It's cold out and I'll have a few musings about things later in the day. The suburbs still befuddled me. I think I need a serpa.
Friday, February 24, 2006
My friend Kevin Keck gets some press. (Link snagged from RKB)
Another sign of the Apocaplypse: Shaun White (The Flying Tomato) is on the cover of Rolling Stone.
What Can't This Man Do? Bono is on the shiortlist for a Nobel Peace Prize.
The Arctic Monkeys fuel their own hype and pick up three wins at the NME awards.
No, I'm not sure of the signifigance of the bunny, either. But it is Japanese bunny and he is wearing a sweater.
Remember when this blog used to have lots of photos? Back when I would actually go out and be social, before I started running off every weekend to the country?
Good news people: I'm actually going to a party on Saturday where there should be lots of photo ops. Meg is having a Mardi gras party, complete with lots of Old Skool Norwalkers. Prepare to be dazzled.
In the meantime, amuse yourself with these Classic Photo Collections:
My 27th Birthday at Solas
Viva Las Vegas! (Bachelorette Party Style)
Jen's Big Fat Italian/Portugese Wedding
Julie's Wedding: The Season Finale!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
That's the theme of this week's column on The Simon. It's February, which means that the real go-getters in academia are starting their job hunts. (Why on earth would you want one of those? Who has the time?)
If they had any sense, they'd start looking for a beach house or a Peace Coprs application.
I'll have a column from The Simon for you later o in the day. In the meantime, here are some links. Good ones, at that.
And the Swag plays on: 'Gifting' in Hollywood is not only a verb, it's big business.
The former manager for The Killers is suing the band, because they're not paying him, of course.
Jerry Garcia is a tea head, officially.
As for me, I'm still kicking around. I watched an obscene amount of Dr. 90210 last night. That show is like crack.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
For a long time I didn't like Jane Magazine. I used to criticize it as being McFeminism, much to the chagrin of many of my friends.
At Fashion Week there were a few copies of the mag lying around, so I picked one up in case I needed some reading material. Last night I finally got around to reading it. Wow.
This is the first issue with Brandon Holley at the helm. (Is that her real name?) It has the same basic feel of Jane, but the articles are better. My friend Sara Lyle wrote an amazing piece about her friend Heather who died of cervical cancer. There's a great piece about Marc Jacobs. And I learned that Casey was the richest girl on Laguna Beach, because her step father invented the frozen burrito.
I may actually be inclined to subscribe.
Trivia: In February 2000 Brandon Holley interviewed me for a position at Elle.com. I did not get the job.
Good news: I spent all last night writing and editing a novel I've been working on. I got some solid work done. More tonight, for sure. Thank you, Red Bull.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Today I found this story on E! about how Nick Lachey is making the divorce between him and Jessica a little messy.
Riddle me this: How can someone call themself a man when they nibble over the exact date of their separation (for the sake of money) and then request spousal support from their ex-wife?
Since when can't an able-bodided, reasonably educated 30-something guy find work? Where does dignity come in when you find yourself trying to syphon money off your ex-wife?
It seems that I've caught a cold. This is maddening, because I never get sick. I figured I could tough it out by coming to work and dousing myself in Darjeeling tea.
Truth be told: I should be curled up in my bed until noon.
I'll try to slug it out today as best I can. And I def won't operate any heavy machinery. Most likley tomorrow, I wo't be in. Hrmph.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Am I the only one who thinks that this Simpson/Lachey divorce is going to get a little ugly?
Since they didn't have a prenup it seems their assets and income have to be split 50/50.
Acccording to TMZ.com, which is surpringly accurate in a lot of their reports, the two are now sparring over the official date of their separation. Was it November 13, as Simpson claims, or December 5, as Lachey claims?
There's $850,000 at stake here, and that's just the beginning.
Who needs the Olympics when we have celebrity divorces? I'm on team Simpson on this one. The woman has worked so hard, she deserves her money. What has Nick done anyway to deserve any of the loot, besides watch college sports and wear stripey shirts?
I've been going out to Old Greenwich for a few weeks now. Since I spend so much time there, I figured I might as well get to know the place a little better, maybe even make some Suburb Friends. After all I can't spend all my time at Doug's house watching re-runs of Project Runway. Although, come to think of it, that wouldn't be such a terrible life, would it? Oh, that Santino...
Finding a gym seemed like a good idea. There's Fitness Edge literally a five minute walk from Doug's house, so I went over there. The staff was really nice and gave me a 10-day pass. The gym was clean, with lots of weights and machines and big room for dance and aerobic classes. I had some time, so I worked out. It seemed like my sort of bag.
On Sunday Doug and I went into NYC for brunch with Cara and Ben at Cafe Mozart. Afterwards I wanted to burn off my veggie wrap and so I walked over to the Fitness Edge. About a half hour into my run, I noticed everyone started to leave, lock, stock and barrell. I was running pretty hard and watching an Eminem concert of the TV, so I didn't hear anything about the place closing.
I climbed off the machine and went into the women's locker room. Inside, another woman told me that on the weekends, the gum clsoes at 6:00 and 5:00 PM. My eyes almost popped out of my head. Here in NYC the gyms are open until at least 11:00 PM. What did people do after 5:00 PM if they couldn't go to the gym? What was I supposed to do?
Maybe people go out to dinner. Maybe tehy watch this Must See TV that I've heard so much about. Maybe they spend time with their families. Who knows? All I know is that In NYC at 5:00 PM, it's not unheard of to be at the gym.
And the Fitness Edge wants $70 a month, only to close early and offer no classes on weekend afternoons?
I think I'll use up my guest pass and look elsewhere. Maybe there's a good dance studio in Greenwich.
The adventure continues.
Friday, February 17, 2006
I plan to be very busy this weekend. I just got assigned a load of stuff, so much that I actually had to make a list. Yeah, a list. I haven't had to make a list of work assignments since I was in grad school and couldn't tell heads from tails.
This weekend will be spent spending time with the new Etta James and Say Anything albums, and then I will review them. I have to read some erotica (whoo hoo!) and then write a piece about that as well. There are also some major edits for a big magazine piece. The edits were so lengthy that my editor hoped my feelings wouldn't be hurt. Not that I did it wrong the first time. But edits, are, well, edits. And Rome wasn't built in a day.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
It startd so simply. Two years ago I wrote a piece about Lauren Weisberger, because The Devil Wears Prada was all the rage.
Then I wrote a piece mocking the chick lit genre and how some women are trying to not write cookie-cutter romances.
Then, strangely, I started getting a lot of unsolicited chick lit books in the mail.
Then I interviewed an Iraqi chick lit author.
Now, not only am I working on a story about erotica, but I was jsut called a romance "fan" by a publicist.
So much for being taken seriously. No one ever won a Pulitzer for following the chick lit beat.
Ever since I moved into my Gramercy bunker, I have had a small bug problem. (A few tiles in the bathroom were left open and exposed between my moving in the guy before me moving out, thus letting the critters walk right in.) They're not big guys like the one the right, but little tiny black beetles. They usually come to visit me more in summer, but lately I've seem them in one corner of the kitchen, hanging around some cabinets. More strange, I don't keep any food in those cabinets, just wine glasses and extra plates.
I don't eat a lot in my apartment. (I'm never there.) And when I do, it's take out and it's just tossed into a large garbage bag and taken out within a day or so. Nevertheless, the bugs were there, and I had to do something about them.
The fact that I wasn't home a lot wasn't helping matters. Bugs like warm, dark places and my empty, overheated apartment must have seemed like a great place to hang out. So last Saturday, right before I left for Connecticut, I took a can of Raid and sprayed the perimeter of the cabinets where I had seen the little buggers. Then I opened a window to let the fumes out and got the hell out of Dodge.
When I finally got home on Monday night, I expected to come home to a pile of dead bug carcasses on my counters. After all, isn't that what Raid does, it kills bugs? But instead there was...nothing. No dead bugs...not even any live bugs...anywhere. It was as if they had just picked up and left.
Where did they go? They liked my place for so long, why jump ship after two days of being exposed to Raid? Is Raid the bug equivalent of Agent Orange or Anthrax?
I'll never know. All I know is they're gone...for now.
But I can still never sublet my place out...who would put up with this to the tune of $1,300 a month?
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The word on the street here in New York is slush. Seems the wonderful, fluffy snow we had on Sunday is nor creating lakes on street corners everywhere. The New York Times wrote a piece about it.
As for Valentine's Day...it was grand, complete with roses and swordfish and a good night watching the Olympics. (What is wrong with Bode Miller? He really needs to get it together.) What more could I ask for? This weekend will have brunching with friends and hopefully a tap class or two.
In the meantime, here are some good links:
A Dress a Day is a great blog about fashion, Vogue, and why dresses rock.
A great piece on Yoga Journal about Being vs. Doing.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Ella Fitzgerald is my favorite singer of all time. She was jazzy and sassy and down with the Rat Pack.
I wrote a review for The Job about a DVD that featured her. It's an old performance from 1977 and Ms. Fitzgerald knocks it out of the park, even though she's well into her 60s.
Bigger surprise: Who knew she had such a squeaky voice?
Enjoy it here. It's a shortie.
Good morning everyone! It's Valentine's Day. It's acceptable to eat chocolate before noon and shades of pink and red are the order of the day. In short, I'm in heaven.
A lot of people hate Valentine's Day. They think it's a fake holiday that pressures people to buy expensive presents. This may all be true. Singletons complain of being reminded of being single. This makes them unhappy.
I say, hating Valentine's Day is lame. First of all, it's trite. It's easy to say that you hate it and them name any of the aforementioned reasons.
Some may say they were dumped on Valentine's Day and are thus forever scorned. That makes no sense at all. Why dislike an entire day because of one bad experience? I was once dumped on my birthday (my 21st, at that) does that mean I will always dislike June 21st, my birthday?
If someone dumped you or did you wrong on Valentine's Day, forget about them and forget about the experience. They didn't like you anyway, so don't honor their memory but writing off an entire holiday. Who knows, at your next at bat, you might hit a homerun. No one ever remembers their strikes out anyway, only the big hits.
Maybe I'm getting on my soapbox, but my point is this: Valentine's Day, real or fabricated, wasn't created just so that the lovers of the world could have all the fun or so that restaurants could fill thier tables on an otherwise boring February night. It's an open invitaion to tell people you appreciate them, and that you value your relationship with them. Whether you do that with chocolates or flowers or a big, honking diamond is your choice.
Other people who don't like Valtine's Day:
India police burn Valentine greeting cards, saying they are western and spread immorality.
Japanese women don't like giving their men chocolates and getting nothing in return.
Monday, February 13, 2006
As I've mentioned before, Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday, mostly because everything is red, but more importantly I think it's a good idea to tell people you appreciate them, if not love them.
And like The Beatles said, "All you need is love."
A group in NYC teaches mentally diasbled people dating and mating skills.
Hallmark finds that one Valentine is five times more popular than all the others.
Sadly, there are people who don't like Valentine's Day. Them, I will never understand.
Remember my friend Dean? (Of course you do.) He and his friend have just come up with a new guide to the bars in Williamsburg, arranged by street (Lorimer, Grand, Bedford, etc.)
Be sure to check it out!
Dean also does web design, if you are ever in need of such services.
The Birdfeeder Outside the Back Window, February 12. 06
Originally uploaded by manahanwill.
I'm sure most people with blogs are writing about the snow today, and I have to admit I'm going to be one of them.
I love snow. I liked it so much I chose to go to Syracuse, where dealing with snow is often as commonplace as getting coffee in the morning. By the time one has hit their second semester at 'Cuse, you can often brave the snow wearing just a hat, scarf and gloves.
However, back in New York City I've noticed the weathermen tend to hype up snowstorms, only to have it blow over. Hyping up a snowstorm, regardless of whether it comes or not, is like hyping a movie or an album. You're bound to be let down.
So I left for Old Greenwich this weekend thinking that I would spend Saturday shopping and Sunday at the gym. But then, as I drove home from the mall on Saturday...a flake. And then another. And another and another, until it was a full on blizzard piling up and up and up.
Thanks to my trick back (read: herniated disc) I weasled my way out of shoveling. But it was still nice to not be cooped up in my little Gramercy bunker while the snow fell. Instead of shoveling, I read most of the Sunday New York Times. (How often does that happen?) I did an exercise tape. I cleaned the kitchen.
Of course, trying to get back into NYC this morning to turned out to be a to-do. Even though NPR said the Metro-North was running well, as soon as the packed train I was on in got just outside Pelham, it stopped and started running backawards, all the way back to New Rochelle.
I really wasn't sure what was going on, especially since I was engrossed in Miss Missery by Andy Greenwald (I'm reviewing it for The Job.) But suffice it to say that books and other reading material can only amuse you for so long while a train is sitting completely still in the middle of the tracks.
I finally got into work at 10:00, all while carrying my enormous weekend bag on my back. At least it's not freezing. There is much to do this week, indlucing Valentine's Day.
Some good articles to read:
New York magazines discovers this crazy thing called a Blog.
This is an amazing piece about the after-effects of wounded U.S. soliders in Iraq.
Malcolm Gladwell writes a piece about "power-law" distribution and how it can help fix social ills such as homelessness.
Friday, February 10, 2006
As I mentioned earlier, last night when I was having trouble sleeping I turned on Herbie Hancock's Headhunters and loafed about.
This afternoon I clicked on Amazon to look up a book and what popped up, but this book about how Headhunters became a platinum-selling album.
Did I purchase it? Of course. And so should you, if that sort of thing is your bag.
As for me, I'm off to the country this weekend so that I won't be cooped up in my little bunker during the snowstorm.
Be well, everyone. And listen to some Herbie.
I'm not the only one. Everyone on the desk is still exhausted from the Grammys. I barely made it in on time. Last night I came home around 7:00 PM and passed out cold until 10:00 PM. I had weird, but colorful dreams as I burrowed under my enormous down comforter.
When I woke up I ate the last of my Atkins bars and wrote up some Valetines while listening to Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters. Yes, I sent out Valentines this year to my friends and ememies. Some of you may get them.
Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. I used to always like it in school when we got to hand out Valetines. I think it's a nice gesture to tell people that you like them. Or maybe I'm just I'm a big softie.
Anyhoo, some news:
It's another sign of the Apocalypse: Barry Manilow's album debuts at Number 1.
A wheelchair-bound woman who weighs 37 pounds gives birth to a health boy.
Kelly Clarkson omits 'American Idol' from her Grammy speeches. Classy.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
My column this week on The Simon is about...you guessed it...fashion week. Yes, I reazlie all these Atkins bars are sapping all the good ideas from my head.
Here's a snippet. Read more here:
Inside the tents everyone's talking fashion. They're bundled under coats and holding free bags full of swag and cups of minty hot chocolate. It seems the only reading material inside are fashion magazines and newspapers. Atkins nutrition bars are everywhere, as are York Peppermint Patties. (They're low fat.) These items are snagged by the handful, as are the free bottles of Aquafina water. In the afternoon there is a bar serving mini cocktails, just enough to get a waif tipsy. And if one relied on the food served inside the tents as their only source of nutrition, those tiny cocktails may have just done the trick.
I'm super groggy this morning after being at work until midnight working on Grammy stuff. And would you believe that out of all my co workers, I was the last one in at 10:30 AM? Everyone else seems a little sluggish as well, so I'm keeping my head low and my mouth shut. No need to irritate a bunch of sleepy writers.
Anyhow, in the spirit of Fashion Week (I couldn't drag myself to the tents today if even I was offered a pass to the Versace Couture show...) I've drudged up this story about writing letters to Anna Wintour.
I started reading Vogue when I was about 11 years old, mostly because it gave me something to do while my mom was shopping at the grocery store. She would shop, and I would set up camp by the magazine stand. Some kids were babysat by the TV, I was babysat by magazines. Whatever works.
During the summer of 1990 I had just turned 13 years old and was left home alone during the day while my mom went to work. (Um, shouldn't I have been at camp or something like that?) Being an ambitious child I amused myself mostly by reading and making collages and getting on my bike and doing my paper route.
One day I was reading the latest issue of Vogue when I came upon an article about the rap group Kid n' Play. (In Vogue, of all places.) House Party had just come out and not only had I loved the movie, but I became obsessed with the soundtrack. For about three months it was all I would listen to, apart from Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet and whatever the New Kids on the Block had just put out.
Anyway, Vogue did a really great piece about Kid n' Play. I was so smitten that I pulled out a piece of purple graph paper (don't ask where one finds such a thing) and wrote a letter to Ms. Wintour in purple, felt-tip marker. (Writing letters to magazine editors was also pretty standard, latch-key kid behavior for me.)
Basically I told Ms. Wintour that I loved her magazine and that I was particurally happy with her piece about Kid n' Play. As a side note I added that I really wanted to be a writer or a journalist when I grew up (heh) and so I would key reading her magazine.
I sent the letter off and continued being confused and 13. A few weeks later I went to the mailbox and found a huge enevelope (like, 6 pounds) from Vogue magazine.
My heart started to palpitate. I wondered what on earth the Fashion Goddesses could be sending me. Who knew mailing a letter could yield such riches? The best part was that I was home alone (my brothers were off working as caddies at the Wee Burn Country Club) and so I hopped onto my mom's enormous bed and opened up the package.
Inside was a copy of the September 1990 issue of Vogue, (The huge fashion issue. I still have it.) as well as a short, typed letter from Ms. Wintour. It thanked me for my letter and wished me the best of luck in my writing career. (Heh.) I so so thrilled that I took the letter and put it in a frame that was lying around the house and hung it on my bedroom wall.
I called my friend Kelly and told her
that Anna Winour (or at least one of her minions) had sent me not only a letter, but the latest issue of Vogue.
Kelly replied, "Who's Anna Wintour?"
And so my long history of being tragically misunderstood began.
Fast forward to 2002. I was 25 years old and finishing up my masters degree at the Columbia University School of Journalism. On Thursday nights the school would bring in editors to speak, and one day Ms. Wintour came by.
The room was packed and I was going to get a question in, come hell or high water. Before the talk I had actually gone back to Connecticut to see if I could find the letter Wintour had sent me in 1990, but it was nowhere to be found.
I sat through the talk and luckily got a hold of the microphone during the question and answer bit. I told Wintour that when I was 13 she had sent me a letter and a free copy of the magazine and wished me luck on my writing career. The whole room actually seem captivated by the story. Anyway, I thanked her for the letter, because when one is 13 and Anna Wintour sends them anything, it is quite cool.
Ms. Wintour was quite taken and was shocked that I would remember such a thing.
And then the strangest thing happened: Anna Wintour actually...smiled.
All this, thanks to a story about Kid n' Play in the July 1990 issue of Vogue.
My point? Even latch keys kids can make something of themselves, when left to their own devices.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
The best piece of advice I got before heading off to the shows last night was to get their early to get my seat. Yes, I had an assignment, but apparently people can and do take seats when no one is sitting in them. This was not a problem at the Nanette Lepore show, but Michael Kors was in the big tent and it seemed as if the entire world showed up for it.
I had a pretty good aisle seat wedged between a sea of fashionistas from Elle magazine. At first I was stoked, since I interned at Elle when I was in college. However, the girls didn't seem all that bright and totally weren't into making small talk. Apparently they were more interested in text messagng each other from across the aisles and determining if one girl was actually wearing another girls' shirt.
I was perched pretty high up so once again I could see everyone coming in. Vogue's Andre Leon Talley was the first one I saw, probably because he's so big. Cameras and flashes were everywhere, and sometimes I couldn't see exactly what was going on, especially once I realized the show was standing room only. (There must have been, easily 300 people there.)
I noticed that most of the celebs were coming in through backstage. Serena Williams was one of the first. I have to admit I saw her because I wondered who had such big arms and shoulders. She has a really pretty face, very calm and soft. As people lingered and chatted I thought it was going to be one of those shows that ran really late, but miraculously everyone filed inton their seats, the paparazzi settled down and the show started.
Michael Kors' clothes are amazing. This collection had a casual, collegiate feel to it. There were lots of skinny jeans tucked into boots ans his final gown, worn by Russian model Karolina Kurkova was black, long, flowy and sparkly.
After Kors came out and gave a final wave, everyone raced to the door, which seems to be par for the course at these fashion things. (What's the rush, people?) As I followed the crowd out the door I practically banged into Nicole Richie, who is so skinny she's practically a twig. However, she is really pretty and seemed nice, despite being shoved around by a pack of plebeians. Along the way I saw Andre Leon Talley again, shouting on a cell phone, looking frazzled and waiting for everyone else to leave. Debra Messing was also there, talking to a pack of reporters and cameras.
I got outside and regrouped. I had all my bags and had to go back to work. On the way out, I grabbed a handful or so of more Atkins bars. Hey, you never know.
Just when I thought life was turning into a drab routine of work, gym and dance class, an editor leaned over my monitor last night and said, "Hey, I have an invite for the Nanette Leopre show. Want to go?"
Did I want to go? I was alredy dreading my appointment with the elliptical machine and I actually love Leopre's clothes. They're very feminine and she uses color well. I took the invite and was also handed one to Michael Kors for this morning. Life is good.
As I fluffed my hair and headed out the door, I was given one more directive, "Oh, and could you give us a little write up of the Nanette Leopre show? Just have fun at Michael Kors. Someone else is doing it."
I smiled. After all, am I not quite the little scribe? Isn't that what all those fancy degrees of mine say?
I walked up to Bryant Park and was actually taken by the mellow mood inside the tent. York Peppermint Patties were everywhere, probably because they're low fat and give you fresh breath. The Atkins people were there, tossing out "nutrition" bars and canned shakes. There was a bar handing out free cocktails (don't mind if I do..") as well as a lounge set up by Pantene and Delta Airlines.
Being that I was a member of the legitmate press I was escorted to my front row seat by an underfed flak. Then I sat back and watched the celebs roll in. It's easy to do this, because they're all followeed by camera crews. The most conspicuous of the bunch was Kristin Cavalleri of Laguna Beach fame, who looked great apart from her horriddly fake hair extensions. Slightly more subtle entrances came from Aida Turturro, who plays Janice on The Sopranos and Illeana Douglas, who played the sister in To Die For. (She has really big eyes.)
The Nanette Leopre clothes were awesome. I did a little write up for The Job who ended up using a blurb from a girl who was already backstage. No harm. I'll post it here:
Tailored but ladylike pieces were the highlight of the Nanette Lepore show. Sticking to a mostly black, red and gray palette, the collection was full of fitted wool and tweed pieces as both suits and separates. Silk, ruffly blouses in vibrant colors and polka dots accented the ensembles. Coats in assorted plaids as trench coats and jackets topped off the look.
Eveningwear brought detail such as beaded and embroidered sweaters as well as satin, knee-legth shorts. Dresses and skirts in velvet, chiffon and lame contrasted well from the more structured fabric earlier in the show and brought an even more feminine feel.
Lepore showed off flowing, Hollywood-inspired dresses in red and black with halter tops and plunging necklines. Her black, velvet, dot scarf gown was particularly glamorous, as was her red velvet gown.
Next entry: Michael Kors!
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Yesterday as I was dragging myself through the day, I started to think a bit about the concept of Monday. It's the first day of the work week and the first day off from the weekend.
For some, including myself, getting revved up on Monday takes more than just a strong cup of coffee. Like most people, I've just spent two days sleeping late and doing whatever I please. Suddenly I have to go back to work and go from zero to productive in just a matter of hours. It doesn't make a lot of sense. You don't exercise without warming up, so why would you jump right back into corporate life after spending two days in sweatpants?
I started to wonder what life would be like if Mondays were optional. You know, you could come into work if you want, you could straggle in at noon or you could just spend the day loafing around and preparing for Tuesday.
Because by Tuesday you should have your act together. Personally, I love Tuesday (I was even born on Tuesday, June 21st, 1977, which makes me Tuesday's Child, full of grace.) On Tuesday I want to do things, go out, be social and take on the world. Wednesday and Thursday are also good for taking care of business.
Friday, however, has always been a sort of half-holiday for me, dating back to my undergradaute heyday. No one took classes on Friday. My friend Cara and I used to joke that Syracuse offered only two classes on Friday, because the administration was aware of what went on on Thursday nights.
So...I think Optional Mondays would be a gret social policy to install. Workers would be less crabby, yet more productive on mid-week days. Sunday night stres, induced by the prospect of going back to work, would be nullified. It's a very European concept, this idea of easing into the work week. It may even be Zen, the notion of starting the journey slowly, one day at a time.
Think about it. If you need me, I'll be working. After all, it's Tuesday.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Friday, February 03, 2006
In the late summer of 1997, I mysteriously started sleepwalking. My friend Cara and I had gone up to Syracuse a week early in the hopes of finding jobs before everyone else got back to campus. (I ended up selling beer at the Carrier Dome during football games, on the upper level where all the townies sat. So glam.)
Of course, looking for a job took about two hours a day, which left plenty of time for Cara and I and the rest of our nefarious cohorts to loll around campus. We went shopping, to the gym and set up shop in our room at the sorority house.
The weather was great that time of year, as it often is during he fall semester at Syracuse. (The spring semester is another story.) One night, a Tuesday, we went over to the Sigma Nu house. We had a few beers, tops... four, and went home. Some time later I awoke in the front room of the sorority house, wearing nothing but a pair of flannel bikni briefs. (Men were not allowed in the house after 1:00 AM, so there was no chance of anything dirty having occured.) Joanne, the house mother, was peering over me, still wearing her nightgown. It was her second night on the job.
"Pauline? What is going on?" she asked
I looked around, realized it was three in the morning, and that I was pretty much naked and sleeping on the good blue couches. I said nothing, just leapt up, chased up the front stairs and dove under my covers.
I couldn't hide for long. Joanne tracked me down early the next morning. Being that she was new to the house, she wanted to know if there was anything she needed to know about me. As in, did I often wander around the house asleep and in my underwear? I told her no. There was nothing to worry about.
Joanne wasn't sold. Apparently there was more to the story than just my waking up on the blue couches. Apparently I came down the front stairs, walked into her little apartment, sat on her toilet, peed, flushed the toilet (that's when Joanne woke up) and then walked out again. After that I flopped on the couches in the front room and Joanne became certifiably freaked out.
I didn't have an answer. I couldn't blame booze, because I hadn't had that much. I wasn't on any medication. Joanne and I laughed about it. Maybe it was just a fluke?
Maybe. Until it happened two nights later.
More students trickled onto campus and by Thursday the bars were at full throttle. My ladies and I went out, whooped it up and made our way home. Only with me there was a snag: One minute I was happy and sittig on top of a booth at Lucy's, the next minute it was 9:00 AM, I was lying supine on top of my covers and still wearing the little black dress fromt he night before. Cara slept soundly in the bed across from me, yet a got a bad vibe.
I peeled myself off the bed and headed into the communal bathroom at the end of the hall. As I washed my face a girl named Kristy came in. She gave me a slightly dirty look.
"You know, Pauline, if I have to pick you out of the shower again, I'm going to be really mad."
I looked at her as if she was insane. "What are you talking about?"
Kristy wasn't pleased. "I came in here a few hours ago to pee and I found you asleep in one of the shower stalls."
"What are you talking about?" Not that I was getting worried, especially since I had no reocllection of this.
"I don't know. You came home with Cara and all them last night, and then a few hours later I found you sitting and snoring inside a shower stall. You really need to do something about this sleepwalking."
I heard what she was saying. In order to appease Kristy and Joanne and all the other girls (who actually thought it was funny that I was waking up naked and in strange parts of the house) I went down to the health center. Joanne made a good point that all this sleepwalking could put me in danger. I could trip over something or walk right out of the house and into shrubbery. Not a good scene.
For whatever reason I was sent to talk to a woman named Lena Rose, the rape crisis counselor (?!?). We talked for a good hour about school and partying and the like.
Being that I was a pretty good student and relatively stable, Lena sussed up my sleepwalking to stress and being in a new environment. I made the arguement that I lived in the sorority house before, in the same room, the semester before, and I was hardly a stranger to the party scene. There was no reason I should suddenly start sleepwalking.
Lena also had the theory that someone may have slipped something into my drink on Thursday night at the bars, because during that time roofies were a sizable problem on campus.
There was no concrete answer to any of it. Basically Lena sent me on my way and told me to stay out of trouble, espcially since I was doing so well already. I left her office, got my nails done at Garbo's and went back to the house, where the wild rumpus that was my junior year began.
And I've never sleepwalked since.
Thank You For Smoking. I'm sure you've seen the trailers for it. The premise is that it's about a guy named Nick Naylor, player by the always handsome Aaron Eckhart, who's a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. He's got a kid and an ex-wife and all sorts of moral dilemmas, but the guy is smart and charming enough to talk himself out of pretty much any situation.
Anyhoo, it's a great film. Go see it when it comes out.
In other good news, Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand will be touring together this spring. Go get 'em.
Anyhoo, it's a great film. Go see it when it comes out.
In other good news, Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand will be touring together this spring. Go get 'em.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
The last of the repsonses from my Profnet query about travel and home repair are trickling in. Today should be the last of them. Here are a few more that came in on the overnight:
A flak offered me a book and interview with the author of book that addresses problems of marrying too young. (Problems? As in not being able to tom cat around anymore?)
Some guy e-mailed and told me that he could offer time and energy-saving tips about the proper way to clean out a clothes dryer vent.
The publicist of a James Beard award-winning chef (yowza) offered the chef's new book and some recipes that were sure to wow a woman. Being that I already am a woman and that my area of expertise is baking, not cooking racks of lamb, I passed. (But that book sure would make a great gift...)
In other news, there is Hip Hop Karaoke this Friday at Rothko down on the LES. Give it a gander.
Yesterday I got a message on My Space from a friend who said he never really got into The White Stripes. Regardless of how hard he tried, the flip never switched for him. Curious, indeed.
The White Stripes are one of my favorite bands. They're quirky and hard all at the same time. It doesn't hurt that Jack White (albeit married) is a fox.
So, if only amuse myself, I put together the following White Stripes primer for anyone who also doesn't feel like like they understand the band. I admit there are songs and albums that are more easily digestable than others, but then again you're not supposed to understand the good stuff on the first go. (Anyone's who's spent time with a Herbie Hancock album or Miles' Davis Bitches Brew may back me on that one. Or not.)
And away we go...
This album is best know for "Seven Nation Army," which was my own personal anthem during the summer of 2003. Other good tracks include "Ball & Biscuit" for it's hard, bluesy guitar and the maniacal "There's No Room for You Here."
In Dutch, "De Stijl" means "style." This record's a lot more piano based than some of the others, which may help fans who can't handle heavy guitars. (Who are you people?) My favorite song on it is "Truth Doens't Make a Noise" which has a great example of the aforementioned piano accents. "Apple Blossom" has a strange, old Western feel to it, great if you ever find yourself in an Olde Tyme saloon in Nevada, swilling beers with some cowboys.
Get Behind me Satan
When this album came out about a year or so ago, it was all hype, hype, hype. It's been criticized as being slightly unfocused, but when others say "unfocused" I see "misunderstood." The songs are very percussion-heavy and White introduces listeners to new instruments, such as the spooky but exotic marimba. "Little Ghost" and "The Denial Twist" are great tracks, as is "Blue Orchid."
I have a lot more to say about The White Stripes but for the purposes of everyone's attention span, I'll stop here and go back to my regurally scheduled journalism.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
The New York Times is reporting that James Frey is including a note in all future copies of his memoir that admits that he fudged facts in order give the story a better dramatic arc.
He admits that he was wrong to do it, but claims he did it to help him cope.
All this, and his agent dropped him as well.
You're not so tough without your "memoir" and fancy representation, are you, Mr. Frey?
This morning I caffeinated early and got right on top of putting some finishing touches on an article I'm working on. I've been having some troubles coming up with sources, so I used my good friend Profnet to do most of the legwork.
I was pretty specific in my query: I was looking for experts in the area of travel, home improvement and housekeeping. Keep in mind that I reminded all the flaks that these topics were aimed at men. OK...go...
Thus far I have received e-mails from flaks offering:
Experts on The Physical and Psychological Effects of Port Wine Stains.
A book about a man giving advice to his son. (Snore.)
Some company called Valet Noir that provides "extremely inexpensive" travel arrangements to casinos for its clients. Now, when you say "extremely inexpensive" is this like a cheap, Chinatown bus to Vegas that will no doubt break down somewhere outside Reno?
A flak with clearly some reading comprehension problems offered me nothing what I was looking for, but instead a copy of her client's book about Italian cooking. (Huh?)
However, here's the silver lining: One gal e-mailed and said she could get me in touch with Bob Vila, who I've actually been trying to track down for weeks. Aces.