Saturday, April 28, 2007

Chelsea Styles, part 2

If you happened to read my March 18 blog entry, you might remember my encounter with a straight-outta-Blue-Velvet (and not in a particularly "hip" way!) hair salon in Chelsea called "Chelsea Styles," where I got my very first haircut in NYC.

At my first visit, I was slightly freaked out by all of the 80-year-old women with pastel hair shades and by the huge hairdryer I was eventually placed under... But in fact the haircut turned out to be something I was complimented on, and it was only $31, so... I decided to give the place a second shot today.

Same little old ladies hanging around, same Robert Goulet-ish gay man holding court, all engaged in a spirited conversation about the Poconos (except for the one little old lady who was just sitting there staring off into space; I never could determine what she was having done)... Though later, a good-looking, sexy old lady came in to liven up the joint a bit. She was only 70-ish, rather than 80-ish, so a real spring chicken. But her features were fantastic! She had on a ton of makeup and her personality was overt to match. (Though her "banter" with Mr. Goulet was actually un-funny and a bit cringe-inducing, I still couldn't stop sneaking looks at her in the mirror, because she really was good-looking! I wonder if she was a small-time actress years ago...As my cut was finished and I was leaving, I was blessed with her pronouncement: "Young Lady, your hair looks terrific!" Uh-oh. I think I just figured out why I keep coming back to this place... Here, I really AM still a "Young Lady" at 41!) :)

Anyhow, ageing actresses aside: Since last time the lack of hair gel and big ol' hairdryer so distracted me, this time I cleverly thought I'd be proactive by asking outright after the cut if I could have gel (while my hair was still wet) rather than mousse (on my dry hair), and if my stylist could use the hand-held blowdryer... My hairdresser was amazed by my gel request---

"You don't use mousse? Have you ever TRIED mousse? You don't want mousse? Last time we used mousse."
"Well, yes, I used to use mousse---back in the '80s..."
"Don't worry, we have gel. We'll use gel. We want you to be comfortable."

At which point she reached into an unmarked tub of Vaseline-looking GOO and started to slather it onto my head, where it sat there in big greasy blobs...The stuff wasn't even a cute pink color, like my mother's old 1970s Dippity-Do (the forerunner of today's gel), but, really, some heavy-duty Vaseline-colored PASTE that coated my hair, refused to dry, and then, once finally dry, created a completely dull finish...

Oh, speaking of drying...Nothing weird there. The stylist did happen to own a hand-held hairdryer and used it proficiently. (Thank goodness. Since it was a warmish day, and the salon door was propped open, I hadn't especially relished the thought of having passing tourists GAWK at the FREAK SITTING UNDER THE HAIRDRYER!)

All was well, pleasantries exchanged, etc., until it was time for me to pay Mr. Goulet, who apparently runs the joint. The charge was $31 for the cut. And... $30 for the blowdry!!!!! I thought the man was kidding! And then he pointed to a pricing sign on the wall: sure 'nuff---it did indeed say "$30 for a blowdry"! Now, the only place in my life where I've ever been charged to have my hair dryed is back when I was a poor student in Austin and had to go to SuperCuts, where the basic cut was $8 and then they added on charges for every little thing, like shampooing, drying, requesting a specific stylist, etc.

I'm afraid I offended Mr. Goulet with my astonishment, because he stopped talking to me while and after I forked over the dough! Ooops! I've offended "Chelsea Styles"! Perhaps it was all just too magical to last...

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

I did salvage one good thing from my visit despite that mighty faux pas: I learned (from Mr. Goulet, back when we were friends) where a really good shoe shop is in the neighborhood! I desperately needed more work heels; my ONE $100 pair that I'd bought from Macy's weeks ago wasn't quite sufficient for the work-week! This shop is called "Bently Shoes," and it's on the same block across from the Chelsea Hotel that the "Styles" shop is on. It's tiny, but the selection is great, the proprietor Mr. Gurses very nice, and the sales today fantastic----I got a pair of Etienne Aigner for only $40 and Bandolino for $30 (marked down from $98)...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

For sure not in Kansas!

Just look at this! The view from my office window. (Why I have an "office window" as a temp, I'm not quite sure. It could be taken away at any minute, so I thought I'd capture this one brief shining moment.)



And just look at these shots of my workplace cafeteria! My goodness. I have indeed been in work-cafeterias before (and have usually been impressed merely by the fact that my workplace even HAD a cafeteria), but this gorgeous attention to detail in a cafeteria is something else.

I'm not in Kansas any more. I've magically found myself, rather, in the land of "Things Done Right and Impressively." What a treat.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

You Rude, Thoughtless Little Pig


"Hey, I want to tell you something, OK? And I want to leave a message for you right now. 'Cause again, it's 10:30 here in New York on a Wednesday, and once again I've made an ass of myself trying to get to a phone to call you at a specific time. When the time comes for me to make the phone call, I stop whatever I'm doing and I go and I make that phone call. At 11 o'clock in the morning in New York and if you don't pick up the phone at 10 o'clock at night. And you don't even have the G**damn phone turned on. I want you to know something, OK?

I'm tired of playing this game with you. I'm leaving this message with you to tell you you have insulted me for the last time. You have insulted me. You don't have the brains or the decency as a human being. I don't give a damn that you're 12 years old, or 11 years old, or that you're a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn't care about what you do as far as I'm concerned. You have humiliated me for the last time with this phone.

And when I come out there next week, I'm going to fly out there for the day just to straighten you out on this issue. I'm going to let you know just how disappointed in you I am and how angry I am with you that you've done this to me again. You've made me feel like s**t and you've made me feel like a fool over and over and over again. And this crap you pull on me with this G**damn phone situation that you would never dream of doing to your mother and you do it to me constantly and over and over again. I am going to get on a plane and I am going to come out there for the day and I am going to straighten your ass out when I see you. Do you understand me? I'm going to really make sure you get it. Then I'm going to get on a plane and I'm going to turn around and come home. So you'd better be ready Friday the 20th to meet with me. So I'm going to let you know just how I feel about what a rude little pig you really are. You are a rude, thoughtless little pig, OK?"

I'm a former 12-year-old kid who went through having my own father call me names in the aftermath of a divorce. The think was, he was calling me names way before the divorce. And, even though the divorce wasn't nasty, he still called me names afterwards.

Reading this made me sick to my stomach. The good part, though, was the revelation that yes, indeed, fathers do indeed talk to their kids like that. It's evil, and now "outsiders" finally get to hear what it sounds like.

Baldwin is a fucking sadist. I can see exactly why Basinger divorced him.

Die Kleidung Macht Frei


After being so delighted with my interview outfit found at Macy's and getting the job, I then realized: Oh. I've got to dress like this (aka "corporate") EVERY DAY from now on! The one outfit wouldn't cut it. So I had to go scrounge up some outfits for at least 3 or 4 days a week (I'm just gonna have to re-wear stuff the other 1 or 2 days---I AIN'T gonna buy 5 suits!)...

Dear god. After the amazing Macy's experience last week, I today descended into the pits of shopping hell... aka "Filene's Basement," the one on Broadway and 79th. OK, it wasn't horribly godawful, just pretty annoying.

I've since cruised around online to find reviews of this place, and the consensus seems to be: "You've got to really love shopping and finding bargains to love Filene's." Well, I don't particularly looooove shopping. Usually because of the crowds. And this place, on a Saturday afternoon, had "the crowds."

Actually, the masses of humanity there weren't that bad. People were polite and said "Excuse me" a lot as they struggled to inch past you in the narrow aisles. And the suit choices and prices were appropriate for what I needed---a cheap, conservative suit. (I ended up getting a cool-looking black pinstriped Calvin Klein suit for $129 before heading off to the Gap and Banana Republic to buy some extra shirts.)

The hellish part was THE DRESSING ROOM. I had two rounds of clothes, and the wait each time was at least 15 minutes. Being from Texas, land of malls, there are so many department stores that no one ever has to, god forbid, WAIT IN LINE to get into a dressing room! The arm-load of clothes got damn heavy after the first 4 or so minutes!

Still, it wouldn't have been so bad had there not been a DRESSING-ROOM NAZI at the gates. (Again, the people themselves in the line were patient and nice. Where anyone ever came up with the concept of "New Yorkers are rude," I can't understand. In general and as a whole, people here are friendly and down-to-earth and darn polite.) The Nazi was one of those who took her "position of power" way too seriously---except it wasn't "seriously" in terms of doing a good, efficient job. She was a big mess---talking loudly and condescendingly to everyone in line ("Step back, we must keep this area clear", etc., when no one was blocking anything. I kept expecting to see a "Die Kleidung Macht Frei" sign over the entrance.) and making a huge production of how many items you had. (For instance, my suits that I was trying on counted as 2 items per suit. Duh. Thanks for pointing that out, to me and people for miles around.) But then she would wander off aimlessly; we in line would see others come out of dressing rooms, so obviously some were now open, but she wouldn't be there to let us in.

As I was coming out of my first round in the dressing room, the dressing-room-woman was in a heated argument with another customer. The customer was saying "Madame, you obviously are overwhelmed by your job and don't know what you're doing." "I DO know what I'm doing; why do you feel the need to yell?" "I'm NOT yelling. [to other customers behind her] "Am I yelling?" Jesus.

Of course, I eventually became part of the fray. (How does that happen?!) When I was exiting, or attempting to exit, after my second round of trying stuff on, I tried to hand the clothes I didn't want to the woman. She waved me off, since she was busy counting the items of women who were coming in. I stood there for a minute or so, and when she still wouldn't take my clothes, just laid my clothes and number on a pile sitting beside her and walked out.

"Ma'am, where's your number?! WHERE'S YOUR NUMBER?! WHERE'S YOUR NUMBER??!!"

In my first instance of being publicly rude to someone in New York, I bellowed back: "IT'S ON TOP OF THE CLOTHES! I'm not going to wait to get OUT of your dressing room!!"

Luckily, I was able to go ahead to the checkout counter without having her CHASE me! (The Gap and Banana Republic that I went to later, BTW, were also pretty crowded, with a pretty long dressing-room line at the Gap...however, there was no DRAMA involved!)

------------
As I wrote the above, I just witnessed a car crashing into a parked car outside my window along the Hudson. The first guy made a real mess of the other's rear fender--- stopped and got out of his car briefly to check on his own fender, and then drove off. I did write down the license number. Should I be a Good Samaritan and report him to the police, or leave a note on the wrecked car's windshield? (Don't want the Kitty Genovese rap hanging over me... Funny (!), but that horrible story is one thing I remember hearing in the media about NYC in my youth---"You can get stabbed to death there and scream for a half-hour and no one'll help you!" That, and the Scorsese movies and "Midnight Cowboy,"---oh, and the Son of Sam murders---formed my early impressions of the city. I also claim to remember a time when I was about 4 that my mother and I stopped over in NYC on our way to Frankfurt; I remember getting into a cab at night, and the cabbie being a stereotypically old-school beefy white guy with a cap---much more Peter Boyle than Travis Bickle---but my mom claims that never happened!)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Depression on Campus


Given Cho-Seung-blah-blah's recent 32-person-killing-rampage at VA Tech, I started thinking about my own miserable feelings upon my first 2-or-so-years at the University of Texas in 1983.

While I stopped studying for 5 hours a night and began partying after the first three months to relieve the stress and fit in, I was also so depressed about a girl back home that I was hating almost every moment there. There'd be dorm-conversations about "what part of boys' bodies do you like best"---I didn't give a fuck about their wrists or their eyes. There was no one there that I could talk to about wanting this girl and being deeply depressed about not being able to be with her...In my sophomore year when a friend from high school called me up at my dorm and wanted to hang out---I could barely speak to him, I was so depressed about wanting her and the fact that she'd stopped calling me. He had always been a perfectly nice guy that I'd liked a lot in high school, but in the mental state I was in, I could barely be civil. No, I didn't get together to hang out. To this day, I regret my rudeness to him.

Another college campus regret is that I was never a member of the paper staff. I'd been Editor of the school paper in high school and loved writing, the deadlines, the pseudo-excitment (really, how exciting can high-school journalism get)... When I tried out for the paper staff in college, it wasn't really a try-out... you wrote one thing, and then some bitchy guy critiqued it and told you how your writing basically sucked. At 41, I'd say "fuck you," but at 18, those sarcastic "older"-boy fuck-wads scared me. I didn't have the guts/balls to keep on, despite the asshole critiques.

Today, I have a 4-year-old nephew, who's the best, most sensitive and funny kid...Before I moved to NYC, I loved talking to him and being around him, and I was his favorite---he'd always want me to sit by him and he'd listen to me before he listened to his mom and dad... I don't know how to keep him from ever being scared other than to tell him to fucking FIGHT the assholes... That's not quite right, but he's got to.

I felt scared most of the time I was in college. (Finally, after a few years' off, I got stronger and I decided I'd get "over it" and just finish the hell up with my BA, without trying to "feel" anything...but in the first years, it felt awful. I don't know how kids do it, unless they're 100% supported, both financially and mentally, by their parents and frats/sororities.) Back in the actual day, though, when I WAS trying to "feel" things: While I liked my writing classes and loved hanging out with fellow writers after class, there was also a lot of ugly stuff...like one campus parade, I forget the occasion. I stood by the sidelines of the main drag, Guadalupe, gearing up for some spiritedness... Then one frat boy next to me, referring to a gay-themed float on the drag, laughed to his buddies and said, "Look at those fuckin' faggots." This was in the mid-'80s; I wasn't out of the closet yet myself; that guy made me feel sick to my stomach. And I didn't feel I could do anything about it. Today, in 2007, at 41, I'd tell that idiotic motherfucker to go to hell. At the time, I was scared of him, and he made me feel like shit, and made me hate who I was and where I was.

Nowadays, I give the hook'em sign and am proud of being a University of Texas grad. Because I struggled for it. It sure as hell didn't come easy. And I certainly don't "bleed orange" as I've heard many UT grads say. (I always wonder about people actually that blindly gung-ho about anything...including Joan Crawford. You've got to be an idiot to see things in such utterly black-and-white---or burnt orange---terms.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

For One Flame Hour

Man, but I'm uptight tonight. I miss Julie... a lot. A lot. As I once told her, I could sit at her feet for hours just listening to her explain stereo equipment. (That, my friend, is love. Or lerv.)

Blues aside, I just read something neat by Claude McKay:

THE CITY'S LOVE

For one brief golden moment rare like wine,
The gracious city swept across the line;
Oblivious of the color of my skin,
Forgetting that I was an alien guest,
She bent to me, my hostile heart to win,
Caught me in passion to her pillowy breast.
The great, proud city, seized with a strange love,
Bowed down for one flame hour my pride to prove.



And then I read this, by Sara Teasdale:

UNION SQUARE

With the man I love who loves me not,
I walked in the street-lamps' flare;
We watched the world go home that night
In a flood through Union Square.

I leaned to catch the words he said
That were light as a snowflake falling;
Ah well that he never leaned to hear
The words my heart was calling.

And on we walked and on we walked
Past the fiery lights of the picture shows---
Where the girls with thirsty eyes go by
On the errand each man knows.

And on we walked and on we walked,
At the door at last we said good-bye;
I knew by his smile he had not heard
My heart's unuttered cry.

With the man I love who loves me not
I walked in the street-lamps' flare---
But oh, the girls who can ask for love
In the lights of Union Square.



I'm new here, but I do love this city already. Profound beauty and grandeur combined with unpretentiousness... My absolute dream girl.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Black Like Me

In light of recent bitchin' by black "spokespeople" like Jackson and Sharpton about how blacks are allegedly underrepresented on US TV and in film, I'm reminded of a poll I saw a couple of years ago, which asked US teenagers what percent of the population they thought black people were. The result: They thought something like 40%, primarily because they saw and heard so many blacks on TV and on the radio.

In truth, blacks make up (according to the last census) only 13% of the US population. Given that 13% number, ARE they under-represented in the US media? Take the 2006 Oscar noms, for example: Forrest Whitaker won for Best Actor, Will Smith was nominated; Eddie Murphy was nominated for Best Supporting Actor; Jennifer Hudson won for Best Supporting Actress. Black actors won 50% of the top 4 categories. A far greater percentage than their actual 13% of the population would indicate. (Hispanics, BTW, also consist of about 13% of the US population---do you hear them bitching? They have more of a right to, since they have nowhere near as great a presence as blacks on mainstream TV and radio, or in movies.)

I'm bored to death with blacks whining, "We're underrepresented in the media!" Just quit, already, with the great big "oppressed" thang. When your fathers and mothers couldn't drink out of white people's water fountains and had to sit on the back of the bus, I felt sympathy for you. Nowadays, that same prejudice doesn't exist and I'm mightily irritated by your constant boo-hooing. You're no longer overtly discriminated against, yet you keep on bitchin'... There are plenty of Asians who came to this country and started from scratch and started up stores, making something of themselves... If people new to this country can do it, then why can't YOU do it? Perhaps you should take a look at yourselves rather than blaming Asian shop-owners or the white "powers-that-be." Every college and corporate opportunity is now available to you, and has been available to you for the past 40 years. If you're not smart or talented or hard-working enough to make it, then look at yourself before blaming "whitey the oppressor." In 1860 or 1960, that might have washed, but it doesn't play now.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sexy New York


...yet another first today---the day I got my real NYC library card! I'd tried to get one a week or so after arriving in February. Since I didn't have any bill with my NY address on it, all I could get at that time was a 3-day temp card.

A couple of days ago, though, my cell-phone bill arrived---with my new address on it--- and, yes, my first thought was not about paying the bill but rather: "Hurrah! I'm now going to be official!" (That's just my own dorkiness---you're not "from" a town until you've got a library card!) So today, after Macy's, I walked on over to the gorgous NYC Public Library and got my card. And even put a book (the new Assia Wevill bio) on hold---my first official act as a library-card holder. Woooo! ;p

While walking into the architecturally grand and beautiful library, I was struck by the thought: This city's just DAMN SEXY and does things DAMN WELL. Growing up in Texas, I've been in many libraries in my day, but they've mostly been in rinky-dink strip-mall-type buildings. Even when I worked at the University of Texas library---one of the biggest university libraries in the country, with 6 million volumes---the place was just ugly; generic '70s "architecture," gaudy blue/UT burnt orange/"harvest gold" chairs, cheap carpet... Walking into the main NYC library, in comparison, was a friggin' Aesthetic Experience. From the massive lions and pillars greeting you out front to the hardwood floors and deco lamps of the reading room... Gorgeous. This whole town is gorgeous. I'm so appreciative of being able to be here.

Macy's Day


Ah, another "first" in New York City today!

Let's see...there've been my first books bought (5 books about NYC at the famous "Strand"---world's largest bookstore!), first haircut (at the Blue Velvet-esque "Chelsea Styles"), first movie seen ("The Queen" at Chelsea Cinema; 2nd was "Flamingo Road" at the MoMA), first bar/band seen ("Brighton Bar" in Jersey/Ian Mitchell of the Bay City Rollers), first restaurant (the "Coral" in Washington Heights---a whole gyro plate for only $7.50!), first job (smearing makeup for MAC cosmetics)...

Today, I did my first clothes/shoe shopping in anticipation of a job interview with a major finance corporation on Monday. When I found out about the interview this morning, I knew my wardrobe as is was completely pitiful and unfit for corporate consumption. I had brought exactly ONE pair of dress slacks with me from Austin, and one pair of dressy shoes, and all my shirts were sweatery (since that was all I could fit in my suitcase when I packed in February; not that any of my blouses are in too good a shape, either)...And I can't even blame the fact that over half my clothes are still back home---In Austin, I worked for a publishing company for several years, where I could wear jeans or pants of jean-like material, and only the top editors (if that) bothered to wear suits or expensive clothes; I just had no nice businesslike-clothes ANYWHERE!

Another stressor was that I had no clue where to shop in NYC. Austin has malls galore, and I knew the few good boutique stores to go to for "cool" shoes or vintage clothes. Here, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. (I'd asked a co-worker back at MAC, who was from Queens, and she had recommended TJMaxx!---They have those back in Austin; I've been there maybe twice and I HATE their disorganization and overall crappy quality. So that was out. And this time I really couldn't afford something high-scale like Bloomingdale's...

Anyhow, after canvassing the few other women that I knew here in town and telling them what I needed, I came up with a plan to go to Macy's. I had no idea what to expect: my old NYC tourist guide that I consulted basically said that it was the world's largest store (10 floors) and a madhouse! So I was a-feared. Unnecessarily so. It was right off the Penn Station subway stop, and the greeter at the door was a dream, directing me to a handy visitors' guide that spelled out exactly where everything was located. After one saleslady directed me wrongly, I finally made it to the "regular" women's department (non-juniors, non-large, non-petite---all on separate floors---the place is HUGE!), where the three people I consulted were super-friendly and helpful. Got my crisp white shirt, got my crisp black slacks, and--for an unexpected bonus--got a cool gray-patterned suit-jacket marked down from $169 to $49 (I'd had no idea it was on sale---I'd tried it on on a whim and it looked so good I decided to get it, regardless of the price; what a treat to get it for only $49! Similarly, the shirt was regularly $70-something, but I'd happened upon a sale and it was "magically" only $29!) That was basically my whole outfit, and it only took around 1/2-hour of shopping time! No waiting time for the dressing room or at the register, either. (I was there pre-noon, and allegedly weekday mornings are the least crowded times at the store.) The check-out lady was chatty and funny, admiring the shirt I was getting; so I had to tell her the whole story---"My first job interview in NYC!" Good vibes.

The shoe shopping wasn't completely delightful, but still pleasant enough. "Andrew," a cross looks-wise between Andy Warhol and Michael Stipe (with Warhol's personality), was my salesman, and he was nonchalant and pokey as hell. (There's a system where your name and "order" is entered into a hand-held device and supposedly a little elf in the back fetches your shoes; I had to sit there for 15 minutes while Andrew walked around apparently aimlessly... At one point I had to ask him, "Is someone back there getting my shoes?" "Oh, yes." Wait...wait...wait.) Finally, I got the shoes, liked them, was ready for checkout, which is when Andrew had to give the "You know, if you get a Macy's charge card, there's a 15% discount" spiel. I was saying, "No, trying to avoid more debt," when he funnily, bitchily said, "Our fur department's just over there---you could get a great bargain." When I laughed and said, "No, no furs today," he continued, "Perhaps some fine jewelry then..." Now, I'd already been checking myself out in relation to the other shoppers in the store. I was wearing all black, had my subtly cool leather coat and boots on, my hair and makeup looked good, so I knew he wasn't mocking me for looking like a Joisey-Goil or something... It's hard to explain how I knew he was just being funny instead of being horribly mean, but it was funny and silly and I walked out of there in a good mood.

To make the already hugely long story slightly shorter: Bras and hose---no problem. Nice, helpful salesladies; both items on sale; neat and quick dressing room for the bras...

Yee-haw, I'm absolutely set to go Monday! Two or so weeks ago, I was on the subway and especially noticing a young woman in her 20s, all business-suited up, glancing nervously every minute or so at a resume in her hand. Of course I invented a whole story in my mind for her: Fresh out of school, on her way to interview for her first job... I forget now what exact part of town her stop was (somewhere Midtown), but I remember mentally wishing her luck as she got off the subway. And thinking how sharp she looked and wondering if I would ever be that well-dressed. Well, this Monday I WILL be that well-dressed! (Granted, it's only one outfit...And if I get hired, those folks might be surprised when I don't look quite as nice the rest of the next week or two... but, hey---my foot'll be in the door and after my first paycheck or so I'll just have to go back to Macy's and add a little week by week to my new wardrobe. And if I don't get hired, at least I'll have ONE darn spiffy outfit to wear on other interviews.)

This first shopping excursion was a big mental hurdle leapt. I definitely still want to learn where the best vintage and non-department-store boutiques are, but at least I now have a solid grounding that I can always fall back on. Thanks, Macy's, for a nice day!

BTW: I was kind of freaking out on the escalators today---there was something about how they looked that created an optical illusion as I was trying to get on or off, and I found myself always hesitating when embarking or disembarking, feeling as if I were going to fall... Tonight I read online that they're the original wooden escalators, from circa 1902; there IS something weird about how the moving parts blend in with the non-moving parts at the top and bottom... (Not to mention reading how a couple of kids have gotten fingers sliced off there lately! It's sad when it happens to a kid, but not-so-sad when the headline reads "Yokel from Texas Can't Figger Out Escalator"!)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Idolatry


(Gee, I just hate blogs that talk about stuff like this...)

But... I'm sick of the American Idol powers-that-be, and their suck-up media, dissing Sanjaya! (Thanks, Howard Stern, for your Sanjaya vote campaign, however twisted it is!) ;p

This week, Sanjaya's rendition of "Besame Mucho" was goose-bump raising. The kid and his vocal were very sexy, despite Simon's half-assed back-handed compliment. (BTW: I'm not sure why the judges have been dissing Sanjaya...If they didn't think he could sing, why then did they let him through to the finals? If the quality of the finalists is lacking, which it has been in cases like Haley's, for instance, then it's no one's fault but the judges'.)

My favorites, talent-wise, are Blake and Melinda, but Sanjaya's got that subtle, original something... In fact, I predict that Sanjaya will be in the final 3, along with Melinda and Blake (with Chris and Lakisha close runners-up---Chris, however, is a Blake wannabe, just as Lakisha is a cruder version of Melinda. Jordin is pleasant, but very generic. Phil's already outta there.)

Imus and Rick's Cafe


MSNBC just dropped Imus's show completely, and, though I've been a fairly regular viewer (I'm up at weird hours), can't say that I care much. The only reason I'd been watching was because it was a low-key thing to have on in the background while I was either on the computer or trying to go to sleep at 6 a.m. Other than that drowse-factor, most of what he had to say wasn't particularly interesting or funny or...anything. It was just kind of "there."

That said, I think this latest brouhaha is ridiculous. Imus has constantly been "good-ole-boy-ragging" on various groups since Day One. As a woman and as a lesbian and as a Democrat, I've listened to his constant barbs against "my people" and thought "yeah, yeah---you're soooooo witty." I've been listening to dumb guys talk all my life, so there wasn't much new there. What I resent about his firing from MSNBC now is the fact that somehow asshole-ish comments about blacks are considered "verboten," whereas similar comments about women and "fags" and Muslims and Asians and what-have-you are still considered fair fodder for mainstream "comedy." As I've mentioned on this blog before, why is it that you can't say "the N-Word" (NIGGER-NIGGER-NIGGER----there, I've said it) in the mainstream media, but that saying "bitch" or "ho" or "fag" is still acceptable and winked at? Imus didn't get fired because of the "ho" part of his comments about the Rutgers team, it was the "nappy-headed" part that got his bosses' PC panties in a wad.

And where are all of Imus's big-time media friends now that he needs them? Nowhere to be found. Imus sold out long ago to the powers-that-be, in the process completely toning down and taming any real wit or political iconoclasm that he might have once brought to the airwaves. He had his money and his big-time gig, and so didn't want to bite the conservative financial hands that fed him. Conversely, making fun of non-blue-collar-guy easy targets like Muslims and Asians and queers and Hillary Clinton seemed perfectly safe, so he tried to milk that for all it was worth, thinking it made him look "outspoken" and "honest"---"Just tellin' it like it is, folks." That kind of shallow, easy thing. And he's now paying a heavy price for his sell-out. The Northeast conservative boys won't back you when the chips are down. Imus should've taken Howard Stern's lead long ago and just been himself. Stern is utterly obnoxious, but he's a helluva lot funnier than Imus, without any annoying claims to "respectability." And Stern has completely done it "his way" and is now unbeholden to and unencumbered by false loyalties to mainstream money-men.

That Imus got busted for the "nappy-headed" comment is ridiculous. "Nappy-headed" is one of the lesser casual pieces of shit he's tossed out at various groups over the years. And for black "leaders" like Jesse Jackson (Mr. "Hymietown") and Al Sharpton (Mr. "Tawana Brawley") to jump all over him is hypocritical at best. Those guys are shysters and leaders of nothing; and the white cowards at NBC who caved in to them are the worst of all. You don't let someone go on for 30 years in the same vein and then all of a sudden act all self-righteous, as if you'd just discovered there was--gasp!--gambling going on at Rick's Cafe.

White Hot!

For how many months and months and months did I sit and listen to this 1978 album and stare at the cover?! (Those boys were decadently, semi-scarily pretty, as was the album. Most freaky of all...the "Angel" logo reads the same upside down!! More hours spent pondering THAT, without the benefits of marijuana even! It's fun being young and just delving into things! Which reminds me... way back then---early '80s, when turntables still existed---we really DID still play the Beatles' White Album and Sgt. Pepper backwards to hear hidden messages...based on what all of those '60s journalists had told us...)

I was just browsing the Internet for info on "White Hot" and was deeply disturbed to discover...the critics didn't like it! And they mocked Angel! They be crazy! That album is fantastic from beginning to end and I can still hear half the lyrics in my head..."I love you, I love you, I do, girl...but you ain't gonna cheat on me. I need you, I need you, I really do...CHOOSE! Is it him or meeeeeee... I ain't gonna eat out my heart any more..." Or what about: "Winter is here, and it's cold this time of year. There's frost on the windowpane. Winter nights are here again (la-la-la-la-la-la)..." This was definitely one of those junior high "spending the night at a friend's" cool albums to listen to at 1 am; so decadent to be up that late at age 13, drinking Coke after Coke and eating frozen pizza and reading "Creem" magazine, with its hip captions...(For the longest time I couldn't figure out what "natch" meant...)

Speaking of FANTASTIC, the lead pretty boy of Angel, Punky Meadows (once mocked by Frank Zappa in a song called "Punky's Whips"), now owns a tanning salon in Virginia called...TANFASTIC. Online profiles claim he's straight, he's straight...How the sexy have fallen...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Hey Girl, come on, don't bring me down!"


Me, Debbie, and Ian Mitchell at the Ian (Bay City Rollers) show last Saturday Night in Joisey. After a 2-hour drive from NYC and getting waaaay lost. After meeting and arguing "philosophy" with local barfly "Ken Bastard." After watching Ian (who wore a tutu during the show) getting majorly hit upon by a local Irish skank post-show and falling for it! Not to mention my friend Debbie bemoaning that she was past her official groupie days and loyal to her fiance and couldn't show that girl what's what! ;p

The Joisey bar, "Brighton Bar," was completely local and regular. A semi-dive with a smattering of local kids, plus older 30-to-50-year-old obvious regulars. I hadn't quite known what to expect for a "Bay City Rollers" show... Embarrassingly, I was early-on mocking some way-older women who were there wearing tartan skirts (the Bay City Rollers were known in their '70s heyday for wearing tartan). When I struck up a conversation with a young guy at the bar who (mockingly) admired my tartan scarf, I was like, "Gawd, did you see those old Bay City Roller groupies?!" Cough-cough...They weren't groupies--they were the opening band, the Catholic Girls! Doh! Looks like me and my junior-high-school friend Debbie were the oldest groupies there!

The Ian-of-the-Rollers show wasn't great to me---turns out, he was actually touring to promote his non-saleable upcoming album, "Growing Up Glam." And only played 3 Bay City Roller hits the whole night! Still, I had fun singing along to the 3 hits with Debbie, and had fun out drinking in Joisey. (Though said drinking led to desperate peeing on the side of the highway half the way home when we couldn't hold it any more. I let Debbie go first, in case something came out of the bamboo to bite her on the ass.)

The neatest thing was meeting up with my Azle friend Debbie after...25 years! She's been in NYC now for 10 years, but I hadn't seen her since the early '80s---she was my absolute best friend in junior high back in Azle, Texas. She introduced me to KISS and the Stones and Angel and all sorts of cool music that I'd never heard about before. When I think of being 13 and spending the night over at a friend's and staying up late listening to albums and watching "Midnight Special" and "Saturday Night Live" and talking and talking and talking about whatever and getting weird/neat vibes, I think completely of her..."13" really is a magical time of life if you've had the right person in it. Debbie was a real guide. I can't quite explain it right, but she is..."organic" to me---a real part of my past; someone who mattered, someone who "knows me"---me, my mom, my brother, my old house, my old initial love for the Bay City Rollers and Shaun Cassidy... All of that both real and goofy stuff. When you have a true friend at age 13, they know the rest of you, regardless of what year.