Thursday, August 31, 2006

Glenn and the Girdle


Upon reading the news of Hollywood legend Glenn Ford's death at age 90 Wednesday, I'm reminded of a story about Ford and Joan that I came across last year, from a 2004 bio of Ford that I can't seem to find the name of now:

The Ford-Crawford friendship was indeed a bit more intimate than either star admitted publicly at the time. "Joan and I had a brief affair," Glenn admits today. "It was never serious, but we did enjoy each other's company for a while. One evening up in her bedroom, we had a bottle of champagne, and she said 'You can make love to me if you can get my girdle off.' So I began struggling to remove this stubborn, rubber foundation garment. It was so tight, it took quite a while. She wouldn't move, wouldn't help me at all. Finally, it came
off...almost threw me across the room!" The Crawford fling burned out quickly. "She was too powerful for me to be in love with," Glenn says. "She was very much sufficient unto herself."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Not Fade Away

Wow. A few weeks ago, I wrote about liking The Knack as a kid, and flirting with drummer Bruce Gary at a show once. Just found out Gary just died of lymphoma, at age 55.

And, earlier this month, Knack lead singer Doug Fieger was operated on for a brain tumor.

And in July, THE Sharona was noted as battling cancer...

I won't go on about "mortality" etc., but...People die. I'm 41 now, and it just actually hit home in the past year or so that the same thing was going to happen to me. Before, as a younger person, the idea of aging and death was always pretty abstract, despite my knowing people who had died, and actually being at a friend's mother's deathbed and witnessing how horrible (decidedly NON-peaceful) it was. I understood the fact of death intellectually, but never quite FELT what it meant... There's a world of difference between being 35 and being 41.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Lesbian Lerv


OK, I'm primarily lesbian (about 80/20 girl-leaning), so I can say this (whereas you straight people just CAN'T... without making yourselves look like you're from Alabama):

Both Jackie and Mimi from Bravo's "Workout" are creepy, depressing lesbians.

RE Jackie: #1: Don't call women "Sweetie," Honey, 'cause it's as annoying when you do that as when some fat-ass sheriff from "Cannonball Run 3" does it. Girls hate it from guys, and girls hate it from wannabe-guys. #2: Don't see other women (and go into public restrooms to make out with other women, especially on-camera) and then wonder why your girlfriend of 4 years is so hostile toward you. #3: Most importantly, don't sermonize. Whenever anyone goes on (and on) about what a "strong, sexual woman" she is, she's usually anything but. #4: Your hair looks like Pee-Wee Herman's hair on steroids. I KNOW that gay boys everywhere are now wearing that tuft of hair up front and you're just expanding upon that...but...you all look stupid!!!!

RE Mimi: #1: I would say "Don't bite," but, hey, Jackie seemed to have liked it off-camera. #2: The woman didn't call you on purpose that weekend and then she made it a point to date around on-camera AND talk badly about you... But still--you seemed like you had nothing at all going on and had to rely completely on Jackie for your amusement...

All of this was painful to watch. "Fitness Guru" Jackie is 37, gal-pal Mimi is 27, and the two seemed like slow-witted 16-year-old alternative school lesbians with their "philosophies" of relationships. I had a similarly retarded "relationship" when I first came out: I was 23 and my first girlfriend was a 36-year-old "club post-kid." I at first thought she'd be mature, despite her constant clubbing proclivities...but no, turned out she was an ex-con (bank robbery) who had a fetish for underage punk club girls. At 23, and at blonde, and at college every day, I was too old, and too non-Goth, and too squarely goal-oriented for her. So I went through months of getting weird phone-calls from girls she'd been lining up, then having her tell me I was crazy for thinking anything about said calls. Ugh.

The whole TV-thing between Jackie and Mimi reminded me of exactly the same mind-trip: Jackie thinking she's butch by doing her thang out with other women, then wondering why Mimi is acting so "crazy." Except Jackie's no loser ex-bank robber, so what's her excuse for acting like that? She's allegedly such the "trainer to the stars," with her own business, and should therefore be a little more self-confident, ya think? (Not to mention being a little bored with dating around in her late '30s...)

Anyway, no I didn't like Mimi either. A lazy, complaining, monkey-faced brat. But when I saw her website I liked her a little more.

http://www.milenna.com/home.htm

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Our steak and martinis is draft beer with wienies

Someone told me recently she'd never heard of George Jones! (Egads, woman, have you been living in Brooklyn all your life?!) Above are George and wife Tammy Wynette doing one of my favorite songs...

And here's George solo a few years later (after Tammy'd left him) doing the song he's probably most known for:





My favorite male singer. Pure soul. (Before "soulful" was defined only as "black." It's actually a Southern thing.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Like a Virgin

A couple of months ago, a 25-year-old co-worker was in my cube looking at the Joan pictures I had up. "She looks like a drag queen," said the attempting-to-be-brash co-worker. "No, drag queens look like HER," responded I, the older, unshockable Yoda figure in this scenario.

Seriously. Without Joan Crawford and Bette Davis and Tallulah Bankhead and Mae West, there would have been no drag queens, because there would have been no strong, outre women worth imitating. Which reminds me---If women weren't falling down on the job today when it comes to public displays of glamour and wit, there'd still be no need for drag queens. There's obviously a huge psychological/aesthetic gap out there that needs filling, which men dressed as women have been stepping into. As if we were back in Shakespearean days, before women were allowed to appear on stage and men had to play their roles.

(And don't say, "What about Madonna?" I've never heard the woman say one witty thing. And she's now completely subdued since she's been married. Real divas don't retire and/or make nice for their husbands.)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Whatever Lindsay Wants

This photo of LL posted on the PerezHilton gossip site today struck me as oddly similar (in an "alternate universe" sort of way) to the 1961 Julie London album cover for "Whatever Julie Wants."


Thursday, August 17, 2006

The toast of New York


She's a hit! Click here to read the New York Times' review or here to read the TheaterMania.com review of Kiki and Herb's "Alive on Broadway," playing through September 10.

(In the "betcha didn't know" department: According to the Times: "...Kiki danced in burlesque nightclubs with Maya Angelou; she and Herb were supposed to have performed the theme song for Mel Gibson’s Holocaust series on television until his arrest for drunk driving put an end to the project..." And according to TheaterMania: Kiki is "a woman who could be the love child of Wayne Newton and Joan Crawford." That's all I need to know!)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hi Sexy Bitches!

Think my gorgeous girlfriend, "Project Runway"'s Laura Bennett, was born chi-chi? Think again, Sexies (more on that in a sec)!

Check out her For Sale page on the Bravo site listing her favorites: Rolling Stones, Led Zep, Eagles, and...Brooks and Dunn. I kid thee not. Which reminds me, briefly, of my own high-school days. I graduated from a Texas high school in '83 (I was born in '65); Laura B. was born 2 years earlier in Metairie, Louisiana, and moved to Houston as a kid, where I'm assuming she graduated in '81 or so. Reading "Stones, Zep, Eagles" reminded me completely of the "older chicks" I knew in high school who were into "rock, man." Not insinuating that Laura B. was a stoner, but... come on. No Honor Society girls or cheerleaders or rich girls in her grade were into Led Zeppelin or the Stones! And those of us just a year or two younger were discovering punk and new wave. The woman was/is a rock chick! (As for the "Brooks and Dunn"... Well, I have my George Jones; I'll let her have her '90s "kick-ass" Republican country duo. While still muttering, "Ick.")

It's a funny dividing line between musical tastes that occurred right around then: Punk and new wave had barely broken in Texas in the early '80s---no radio station played any of it, except for the occasional Cars or Blondie hit. There was ONE alternative radio show in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, appropriately titled "The Rock'n'Roll Alternative," on an album-rock station, which came on for, I think, one sole hour, maybe two, at midnight on Sundays. I had to pretend to be asleep from 10 to 12, then get up and crouch in the dark beside my stereo speaker, volume turned to minus one or something, to listen to it. That's where I first heard U2, the Ramones, Eurythmics... In the meantime, all of the old-school ROCK CHICKS were still listening to the past-their-primes Stones and Led Zep! (I'm surprised Laura B. didn't list ZZ Top as one of her faves...THAT, Sexies, would be downright embarrassing, though, so I'm glad she showed a little restraint.)

------------------------------------------------------

Alright, re the "Sexies" thing: I saw the season finale of "The Simple Life" over the weekend, along with a couple of previous SL shows in re-runs. And am now hooked on calling people "Sexies" or "Sexy Bitches" or simply "Bitches" just in passing. Whatever.

That finale was, to me, a sign that Dada is retardedly alive and well in the 21st century. The look on Nicole's face when she saw the fake Paris. Nicole threatening to out the fake Paris, then instead making the fake Paris serve her drinks and toast, and then call a press conference to announce she was pregnant with Marc Anthony's child. The real Paris hearing from her publicist about the press conference and high-tailing it over to the 90-year-old couple's house where the current "Simple Life" episode was being filmed. The 90-year-old couple's faces when they saw the second Paris at their door. I don't care how made up this all was. It was one of the most fucking hilarious things I've ever seen in my life!

I'm especially a new fan of the poker-faced, newly gamin (as opposed to her former "gypsy ho") Nicole Richie, who delivers the most outrageous lines completely deadpan, whether she's teaching kids in a Christian family to yell curse-words in their front yard, or asking a straight-laced bake-shop for a cake shaped like a vagina ("it's a lesbian wedding"), or seeing the wife of whatever family off at the door with, "I'll take care of the kids. And your husband." Not to mention asking one parent, as she's about to embark on helping the kids with an art project: "So, should they pose for the paintings with their clothes on or off?"

Some reality shows, regardless of how obviously cheesy, try to nonetheless play it wholesome: "The Girls Next Door" (featuring Hefner's 3 live-in hos) and "Flavor of Love" (featuring girls competing for the unlikely prize of ...making it with Flava Flav) are examples of the most meaningless, mind-deadening stuff that STILL tries, on-camera, to present its subjects as "just your average folks," when it's obvious that, however cute or entertaining, everyone's just plain stupid...and ho-ish. What I like about "The Simple Life" is that Nicole especially doesn't make any effort at pretending to be "good people." Maybe she's great and sensitive in her own private life, but on camera, she's gleefully, anarchically amoral----which is very refreshing.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Jaywalking

For the past few days, VH1 has been playing "Tupac Shakur: Resurrection," which I just watched for the first time. His account of being stopped for jaywalking in the Bay Area differed, oh, just slightly from my own. (He questioned the officer, put up a fight, got his face smashed against the sidewalk, got arrested, et al. I, on the other hand, back when I was in grad school in San Fran in the mid-'90s, also got stopped for the same "violation," but just nodded and took the ticket. I didn't pay it, 'cause it was utterly stupid, but did, nonetheless, just accept the ticket at the time.)

Now, which is the better response? I kind of admire the overt "this is utter bullshit" physical response of Tupac, yet also see it as unnecessarily confrontational over a minor detail. It's a given that the police are going to act like assholes on occasion---the profession, by its very nature, attracts some control-freaks and sadists. Yet, behind their assholish behavior is an incredibly vast power-structure that will back them up and cause YOU, the even-minor offender, much more trouble than it's ultimately worth. Is it playing Uncle Tom to simply take a ticket quietly?

It also cracked me up that Tupac was shocked, just SHOCKED, when, for a completely different offense, he was later in prison and a guard called him "nigger." Tupac complained loudly about the racial slur and---SURPRISE!---nobody cared! (He laughed at himself and his own response in a later interview.) Made me think what a little political flower he'd been raised as to not have grasped the idea much earlier that guys in prison---inmates and guards both---were rough, non-PC, customers. And wonder if that's why he was killed---he'd been used to mouthing off with no consequences, other than verbal; and finally perhaps found himself in over his head with actual sociopathic people who reacted physically to being "disrespected."

Also made me think of the constant barrage of stereotypical bullshit that both gay people and women have to put up with on a nearly daily basis---and we, for the most part, put up with it, assimilationists that most of us are or want to be. It's MUCH easier that way. Women who are murdered are most often killed by their husbands or boyfriends, for instance. I don't know the stats on gay people killed by straight people; but there's constantly some story in the news about a gay or trans person beaten or killed by a straight guy (or team of straight guys) who was usually, the poor dear, "uncomfortable with his sexuality."

I'm torn. At what point is the bullshit and prejudice too much to take? (At what point, for instance, do we gay people realize that our society's not allowing gay marriage is exactly the same as our society of 50 years ago not allowing "marriage between the races" in some states? At what point do we stand up and say "don't ask, don't tell" in the military is ludicrous and horribly prejudicial? I always remember: The people who don't want to accept gays in the military today are the same people who didn't want to accept women in the military and who didn't want to accept blacks in the military. And before that, what was the problem? The poor whites who didn't own property and couldn't pay their poll tax?)

The sadistic, paranoid assholes will always think of SOMETHING to be terribly fearful of. And their preferred fear-state lasts just as long as the masochists (we) are willing to put up with it for the sake of a polite co-existence. At what point, though, does merely "accepting the ticket" become unacceptable?

Change.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The gun that will keep us together

Happy Birthday to Me! (Well, the 11th. I'm up late.) Sharing this illustrious date: Hulk Hogan, Jerry Falwell, Alex Haley, Mike Douglas (who also died today), and..David's man!

My birthday horoscopes:

Rob Brezsny: "A few weeks ago, eight-year-old Harrison Vonderau was playing golf with his dad on a course in Cleveland when he shot a hole-in-one. Father and son experienced an even more shocking delight 20 minutes later when the boy scored yet another hole-in-one. It was an almost unbelievable accomplishment for anyone, let alone a kid. Harrison is your role model for the coming week, Leo. I predict that a young part of you--either your inner child or your inner teenager--will score an unlikely and spectacular coup, the equivalent of two holes-in-one."

Astroscope.com: "You may be feeling extra dreamy today, STEPHANIE. Your mood may be fluctuating all over the place and somehow does not know where to stop. It may be hard to muster other people to share in your boisterous nature. Trying to get people to jump on the bandwagon of excitement may be much like pulling teeth. Perhaps there is something going on with them and their emotions that you are simply not noticing. Pay attention."

Yeah, yeah. What I really want from my "inner teenager" on this day, week, month, year is... OK. Lindsay Lohan. Please. No, I mean it unironically...PLEASE!! Although---and why can't I simply be soft and womanly and accepting---her insane desire to go to Iraq ("with Hillary" I first heard; my first question: "Duff or Clinton?") might prove to be both a logistical and psychological barrier. Still, since I'm from Texas, I'm sure I could teach her to shoot straighter than that so-called "security" man. Really. My daddy shot armadillos in our front yard, after all, and let me take aim at frogs out by our pond.

I think Lindsay and I could really bond over that "crazy Daddy" thing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The bomb that will keep us together

I work for a publishing company and we have a pretty stressful and busy year coming up. Today we had a group meeting about some "restructuring" of a few management positions. OK. I'm low enough down on the totem poll that none of the higher-ups' change-ups really affects me. What was funny/interesting though, was an e-mail sent to the whole group later that day by one of the "higher-ups"; in it, he expressed his excitement about the upcoming work challenges and confidence in how we'll all pull together...by quoting THE SMITHS!: "If it's not love, then it's the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb that will bring us together..." (And he actually got every single "bomb" in there!)

My first reactions were, "I love this 50-year-old Pakistani man! Yet...How in the hell does he know the Smiths??" And then, snottily, "It's not 'the bomb,' it's 'the bond'..." (After about 4 online lyric searches, I discovered it really is "the bomb"---Not only do I feel anal, I'm also now one of those goofballs who mis-hears song lyrics.)

I e-mailed him back with my own take on Smiths-style bonding and the upcoming workload: "If a ten-ton truck crashes into us, to die by your side, the pleasure the privilege is mine..." And he wrote back: "Perfect." My new boyfriend. My new Pakistani-manfriend.

I'm just glad I decided against sending him the first quote I had in mind, also from "Ask," and more in line with my current uninspired mindset: "Spending warm summer days indoors...Writing frightening verse to a buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg..." Not to mention "I was looking for a job and then I found a job, and heaven knows I'm miserable now...In my life, why do I give valuable time to people who don't care if I live or die..." The "dying by your side" sounds much more team-spirited!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

That, my friend, is the rock and roll



My very first concert, 1978. My mom insisted on attending the show with my friend and me; my mom and I also wore matching terrycloth shirts. (Alas, I can't blame her for the latter; I thought the idea was kind of grown-up at the time.) This was, necessarily, in my pre-groupie days, since it's hard to be a groupie with your mom along. Well, no, I take that back. I've heard stories about mother/daughter acts. But, um, my mom wasn't that kind of mom. It is hard, though, to be a groupie while wearing a terrycloth shirt.

Actually, Mom was probably wise to insist on chaperoning. Those were some mighty tight spandex pants. And some audacious chorus-line kicks at the end there.

Getting the Knack

When I was 14, I got to kiss 2 members of The Knack, who, in 1979 or so, had big hits with "My Sharona" and "Good Girls Don't," and played a local Dallas college's auditorium. My friend's mother was cool and she drove us to the show and made herself scarce for a few hours while waiting to pick us up after. (My mother was not cool and I had to sneak out of the house with a verboten tube-top hidden beneath a button-down shirt.)

Once on the college campus, I immediately made friends with a college-boy selling programs. I let him stroke my ass and he then gave me and my friend backstage passes. It was that easy! (Funny, in high school and my first years of college I wore a size 3 jean---I thought my butt was terribly flat, as did my girl-friends, but guys were constantly commenting and trying to grab. This being the era of Cheryl Tiegs, not J-Lo.)

Despite the ass-stroking, I was a completely dorky (albeit blonde tube-topped) 14-year-old and at home had spent hours making up a poster-board (complete with glued-on glitter) that read "We Want Doug Backstage!!" "Doug" was "Doug Feiger," the lead singer. When my friend and I held up the sign during the show, people behind us told us to put it down. (Yikes. "Where's your Knack Spirit, People?!") But the band photographers came out front and took our picture.

After the show, we did go backstage. I recognized the bass player, Prescott Niles, and asked if I could kiss him. He laughed and said sure. We puckered up and smacked chastely on the lips. Then I recognized the guitar player, Berton Averre, and asked if I could kiss him. He laughed and said sure. He slipped me a bit of tongue. Then I saw lead-singer Doug sitting in a corner with his girlfriend, THE "Sharona" of "My Sharona." They both signed my program, Sharona writing something like "To the little girls."

Then my friend said her mother was waiting, so we'd better leave. And we did. (Sorry, no orgies or general debauchery to report!) We both kept our backstage-pass stickers on our jeans and wore them to school the next day. Since The Knack, despite their 2 hits, wasn't very well-known in my small school (Styx and Boston were the big bands then), most people were somewhat puzzled by what those patches on our jeans represented. To me, at the time, they represented very devout emotional/intellectual feeling! Despite my home-made "Doug" poster insinuating sluttiness, I more accurately really, really loved the energy of The Knack and knew every word of every song on their first album by heart. The ass-patting was weird; the "kissing strangers" was also weird. And simultaneously triumphant. I was constantly aware that everything that was happening to me I'd be bragging about later; I was also amazed at the "power" I had that let me meet my idols, just based on my blonde hair and my 14-year-old skinny butt. And amazed at how bold I had been acting---I'd never really behaved in an overtly sexual way prior to this time.

In the next couple of years, I went on to buy the group's second and third albums---"But the Little Girls Understand" and...I can't remember the third's title now. By the late-'80s, The Knack had completely faded from the public eye, but were trying to make a comeback. In '89 or so, they played a small rock club, the Back Room, in Austin. I went to see them there and by chance made eye contact with and flirted for a couple of minutes in between sets with the drummer, Bruce, the one band member that I hadn't talked to 10 years ago. I guess I hadn't developed my groupie skills in 10 years--- a drunken orgy STILL didn't ensue!


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Intro

Remember: They're not "dolls," they're "action figures." And this isn't a "diary," but a...

Welcome to my new blog. My name's Stephanie, I'm the creator of The Best of Everything: A Joan Crawford Encyclopedia website, and I'm a maniacal Joan Crawford fan. If that sounds like an introduction at an AA meeting, that's not so far from the truth--I spend an inordinate amount of time talking and thinking and writing about Joan Crawford...surely this blog won't help the addiction any, although its sole focus won't be Joan. I am, after all, a woman of diverse interests, i.e.: What's the deal with Lindsay Lohan? (I'm about to turn 41, so it feels bordering on pervy to think a 20-year-old's hot, but...I just love that demure young lady's face!) And, Isn't Laura Bennett on "Project Runway" hot? (There, see---my age range! my diversity!)

The picture to the left is of Joan Crawford in 1963, when she was around 58. When I recently flew to San Francisco to see Ann Blyth (Joan's co-star in "Mildred Pierce") do a Q&A at the Castro Theater after a "Mildred" showing, some of us Joan nuts were discussing how old Joan would have to be before we wouldn't want to sleep with her. (Well, let me be more accurate: A couple of us bi women were having this discussion, while the gay men we were with kept diplomatically silent.) My own personal cut-off point would be around '63/64---don't tell me that she does not look astoundingly good in this picture! (That gun-metal hair is just the excitingly borderline extreme icing on the cake.) Time to start a new category? GILF. As in "Grandmas I'd Like to..." Oh wait. For me, Joan at 58 is still in the "MILF" range. Some kid blogger* will have to anoint her a GILF. Not that Joan Crawford is anyone's GRANDMA, g-ddammit. As Lindsay would say.

I remain shocked, shocked I tell you, that my boss, also a classic movie fan, does not find Joan attractive; but then, his idea of a beautiful woman is...Winona Ryder. I told him that liking Ryder's looks is like thinking Oliver Twist is really dreamy. And I wonder why my job evaluations hover in the mediocre range...

*Speaking of "kids": I'm obviously getting old and (fire)crotchety, but some "teen people" have been getting on every one of my nerves lately. Freshest in my mind is my recent foray to the public swimming pool in my neighborhood last Sunday. Normally there are dozens of tweens and teens there splashing around, acting silly. (Even the gangsta-wannabes with their low-slung knee-length swimtrunks eventually get too busy with goofy cannonballs and water up their noses to do too much posturing.) In the five years that I've been going to this pool summers, it's always been a completely relaxed and nice vibe there. This past weekend, though, a particular trio of 16-year-old girls showed up... Wearing exactly the same style of bikinis, with their hair in exactly the same pony-tails, shrieking at the top of their lungs about who was dating who and who was a bitch and how they just last night were having some sort of grenadine cocktails from their parents' bar... At one point, one of the girls stood by the pool and started performing an extended series of cheerleader moves for her two "admiring" friends. (I put "admiring" in quotes 'cause I remember how high school was, at least for me---insecure little people smiling and nodding their approval at even the most idiotic of displays, as long as the person doing the displaying was part of the "in-crowd.")

I was surprised by how extremely irritated I was by these girls. Maybe because they triggered bad high-school memories, maybe just because they were overtly phony, never for a second dropping their poses---never once did they just JUMP into the water (as opposed to carefully lowering themselves into it to avoid getting their hair wet) and have a splash-fight or anything, and never once did I hear them say anything even remotely interesting or funny or bright or wicked. (Maybe if they'd SNUCK those drinks from the parents' bar(s)...But no, apparently the parents just served 'em up. Not wicked, just boringly rich and blase.) I realize that it's part of the "social contract" that one tries not to listen in to, much less judge, other people's public conversations, but in this case---since they were intentionally being so very loud---I couldn't help it. And was surprisingly depressed by their utter vapidity. Being around them kind of ruined my afternoon.

Yes, this coming from someone who just said she liked Lindsay Lohan!