Sunday, February 24, 2008

"My Girl"

Earlier this week, one of my co-workers (the one who met Marilyn Monroe back in the '50s!) was reading the New York Times, and he mentioned off-handedly to me, "Looks like your girl's in trouble." I immediately put down my pencil and laser-focused on him: "What? WHAT? Is Lindsay OK??" Good lord, but I'm a big dork! He knew that I supported Hillary Clinton and he was only talking about her loss in Wisconsin and how things were looking rough for her politically. Everybody else in the room (including me) laughed at me, 'cause I had such the panic attack! ;p (Gawd, next thing you know, I'll be on YouTube, sobbing "Leave Lindsay alone!")

A couple of days later, I also got an e-mail from my dad using the exact same language---"Your girl seems to be in trouble in Texas. Did you watch the debate?" This time, I knew who he was talking about so didn't freak. (But no, I hadn't watched the Thursday CNN debate that took place at my alma mater, UT-Austin, since I'd opted to see yet another one of "my girls" instead---Joan Crawford in "Female on the Beach" playing at the Chelsea!)

It's been a busy couple of weeks for "my girls"---Hillary with her campaign travails; Joan in "Vanity Fair" and the NYTimes, plus her new DVD and book releases; Lindsay's "Marilyn" spread in "New York" magazine, plus her cover and "super-hero" photo shoot for "Harper's Bazaar."

What's the connection between the three of them that attracts me to them? Certainly Hillary's no glamour girl, like Joan or Lindsay (though I do think she's attractive and would sleep with her!), nor does she seem to have that public slightly decadent edge that I like so. But I think they all definitely have INTENSITY in common, however differently that manifests itself in each woman. Both Joan and Hillary are prime examples of absolute focus and discipline---"Here's the goal. Now what do I need to do to get there?" Both in highly risky fields that require an extraordinary amount of sheer talent and will-power and luck and brains. I love listening to Hillary Clinton talk in debates because I'm wow'd by her knowledge of the issues and intelligence. When I listen to her, I always think, "What an utterly sane and intelligent and competent person." I trust her. Plus, from what I've read from her close associates (and from what I gather from wild-man Bill's decision to stick around for the long-haul), she's fun and interesting in personal conversation, as well.

Now, with those Other Two...! ;p I certainly can't say that I think either Joan or Lindsay are "utterly sane," however gorgeous they are! But Joan's mastery of her craft and devotion to it, and her willingness to compete for roles and not back down in the face of a myriad of obstacles, are also admirable and attractive to me, as is her hustling up roles for herself once the powers-that-be considered her past her prime. And how in her latter years she worked the TV and business markets, proving herself competent in areas beyond "just" movie stardom.

As for Lindsay: At 21, it's hard to tell whether she will last, other than a gut feeling that's based, embarrassing to admit, almost solely on how she photographs. She's beautiful, yes, but there's also an ongoing subtext of darkness/depth in her eyes, regardless of who's shooting or in what setting. As with Joan, the camera absolutely loves her and brings out a side of her that may not be so evident in interviews. (Though Joan's depth was also definitely and explicitly revealed in/after her decades of film work. Lindsay, at 21, has only hinted at her talent by being pleasing onscreen. But think for a second: At age 21, Joan's latest films were "The Boob," "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp," and "Paris." Hardly memorable. She didn't break through until "Our Dancing Daughters" in 1928, when she was 23. And didn't get respect until '31/'32, with "Possessed," "Grand Hotel," "Letty Lynton," and "Rain." And didn't become a true box-office star until a couple of years after that.)

I was in a drug-store today and came across the new Harper's Bazaar with Lindsay. I was flipping through it, just to see, not planning on buying it. But the photos were absolutely amazing! The theme was fun (Lindsay with various superheroes) and cleverly done (Lindsay in the laundry with Captain America/in front of a 99-cent store with the Incredible Hulk/walking baby Spidey with Spiderman). I ended up having to have the pictures and bought a cheap montage frame in the same store. And at home, after a few minutes of trimming, had my first "art" for my new apartment! (If I'd been 13, I would've just ripped the magazine pages out and taped them to my bedroom walls!) Unfortunately, the limitations of the "montage frame" meant I had to cut out the superheroes who appeared with Lindsay---they made the photos great, but I guess the point was, I wanted some representation of her neat-looking face up on my walls, and I couldn't find arty shots online anywhere! I'm including my framed shots in my apartment here, but you should really see the actual shots from Harper's:

And speaking of magazine shots... I wasn't really that impressed with the "Lindsay-as-Marilyn" shots from "New York" magazine. Aside from displaying that she has a great body (!), I don't think LL is very Marilyn-like at all. I personally find LL sensual, but in a much harder way than Marilyn's style of sensuality. Many of the photos in this shoot I thought looked downright harsh or just plain bad, considering the theme. Here's the link to the actual article/spread:

Very brave of her to attempt to replicate an icon's last shoot, but it didn't seem that Lindsay's personal style was suited for it. Her face, at only 21, already reveals a soul decades older than Marilyn's at 36. The girl needs to start looking to Joan, whose shoots through the years consistently revealed a "timeless" quality and were "arty" as opposed to "cheesecake." (The Bert Stern photos of Marilyn weren't that great to begin with. Marilyn looked tired and far from fresh. Interesting to me that the article revealed that LL had rented an apartment of Marilyn's and that she had a "cartoony" painting of Marilyn, with pill bottle, up on her walls. As I said, that ain't the way to go...Seems that LL's trying to hook into something that isn't at all a good fit for her.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

In the 'Hood

This is the house directly across the street from my new place. I call it the "Stephen King House," 'cause to me it reminds me of a huge, gothic, rambling house you'd see in Maine. Many of the huge houses like this in the neighborhood have been split up into individual apartments, but as far as I can tell, an elderly man and his wife still live here all by themselves. (My bus stop into NYC is right in front of their house, and while waiting, I've seen the wife in the yard once, and the husband twice, coming from his car to the house, with groceries. I feel kind of bad for them--they're both 70ish, and I'm guessing that back when he first earned enough money to buy such a grand house, the neighborhood was very exclusive, no obnoxious buses in sight! I wonder what he did for a living...) One way you can tell if a house has been split into apartments is if you can see fire-escape ladders coming down from the top floor. I haven't done research, but have seen enough to assume that apartments have to have them and individual-owner houses don't.

This crazy/neat-looking thing is now split up into apartments, but it used to be a firehouse in the Olden Tymes. Every time I walk by it on my way to the grocery store, I have to stop and stare at it because it's so beautiful. It sits just behind the "Stephen King House." My landlord (who lives just below me and owns my two-story building) just told me about it being a firehouse. He also said that someone bought it a few years ago and tried to sell it as one home for about $2 million. He couldn't get that price, so had to split it into apartments. If I had $2 million for a house and could have spent it anywhere in the country, I think I would have picked this house.

I see this house (and stop and admire and smile) whenever I'm on my one-block trek to my pizza joint and/or beer store. It's decorated from top to toe with trinkets. I call it "The Austin House" because Austin hippies/college kids like to do the same fun thing with their homes there. Reminds me of my old "funky" hometown!

A warm greeting whenever I walk to my local Weehawken pizza place after a long, hard 15-minute bus trip home from Manhattan... Two pizza rolls and a small salad ("no olives, no peppers, extra onions") are only $4! (And the guys there flirt, depending on how I look that day. If I go in looking scraggly, they're polite and business-like. If my hair and/or coat or face are looking particularly good that day (and I happen to be staring at CNN on the TV while I'm waiting for my order), they strike up conversations about who I'm voting for. ;p

Weehawken, along the Hudson River across from NYC, is quaint and quiet. For shopping and bustle, you have to walk several blocks inland to "Bergenline" in Union City. It's a Dominican enclave, with mostly Latino stores, but the buildings themselves are still turn-of-the-century. Here on Bergenline I found a faded vintage sign for "Kleinschmidt's Greeting Cards and Distinctive Gifts" just above a Dominican bakery.

Bondage, beer, and meat! Delivered!

The biggest 'hood of all. The view of Manhattan from Weehawken. A one-minute walk from my house.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Julie, just admit it.

As you know, there are stat-counters for websites and blogs... Just checked mine and saw that for February 16, your IP number was logged in to my blog for... 17 hours!!!! (What, did you forget to log out? 17 hours is just completely, absolutely nuts.)

We met online in 2001. As of 2008, after 7 years, you're still following me around online? That doesn't particularly bug me, since I like you. What does bug me is that you're obviously interested in me but won't admit it. Just admit it, for Pete's sake. Jesus H. Christ. Why the idiotic games?

Yummy Julie London

What a great singer Julie London is. I've been piddling about the Internet tonight with Julie in the background and had to keep stopping to pay attention to what she was doing...

For instance: In general, I dislike the town of San Francisco (having lived there for 2 years), and I also dislike the song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." But when the Julie-version of the song came on, I had to stop and do nothing but listen to her...

Later in the evening, I put on her late-60s "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" album... I particularly love "Sunday Morning" and "Hushabye Mountain"----both ominously cozy, or cozily ominous...She's sexy and potentially scary at the same time. And "Without Him" and "Come to Me Slowly"...Yow. I can't get over how good she is.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Free at last, free at last...

Thank God Almighty. I cannot stress enough how people over the age of, say, 23 should not have roommates. It's fun and cute when you're fresh from the family and/or in college/just out of college, but past that...Jesus. Let me just say that on my one-year anniversary of arriving in New York City, I finally, gratefully, have a place of my own. Free from unwanted knocks on my door at 2 am and unwanted lyings-on-my-bed; free from having to "go to my room" whenever the owner of the apartment came home (despite my paying 2/3 of her rent) and having to listen to her psychotic friend leaving phone messages (must have been a Pisces); free from having to tiptoe around a guy when he's on the down-side of his mood swing/drug cycle (and putting up with his loud shit, and the neighbors complaining about his loud shit, when he was on the upswing)... I'd always thought I was a nut, and that I drank too much, but these 3 people that I lived with over the past year have made me feel incredibly sane and rational (and relatively sober!)...and wanting nothing but to never have to live with people again! ;p

At any rate, I'm in a fucking "mansion" now. Way too big for me. It's 2-and-a-half bedrooms, plus a living room and huge dining-room area... I keep looking at it, wandering around, going, "If you cut this in half, this is all I really needed..." And I have no furniture, no art... In the living room, one futon couch (that I'm also sleeping on) and the TV. In the "dining room," my computer and cheap Target bookshelf. The bedroom, my bedroom, has a curtain that I bought when I first arrived in NYC. The second bedroom has my cat's food dish and litter box. (This is my planned "guest room.") The half-bedroom has the one huge closet, so I've just been thinking of this as the "clothes room" and dumping all of my dirty clothes in there. (Really, eventually, this will be the "dressing room," with makeup mirror and wardrobe.)

This shocks people in Texas, who are used to house payments of half this price, but I'll go ahead and say it: I'm paying $1500 for this place. But there're a couple of caveats. For $1500 in Manhattan, I could have gotten one room. ONE room. And for $1200 in Weehawken (where I now live), I could have gotten a dingy, crappy one-bedroom. I LOOKED, and I had brokers show me places... This $1500 place is beautiful, and a real find. I'll just have to get the furniture and art to grow into it.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

19 and D'OH!

I've been away from the Internet for the past week, but let me just say that I'm somewhat heartened by the goings-on in the world in my absence...

RE the Superbowl: Can't say that I was a New York Giants fan, since they're in the Dallas Cowboys' NFC East conference. Since I grew up with the Cowboys, I can't ever be a true Giants fan, even while here in NY.

However: YEAH, BABY! Mighty congrats to the Giants for being excellent enough to fuck up the long string of Patriots hype. (I loved reading that the "19-0" t-shirts printed up ahead of time by the Patriots had to be shipped to Central America post-Superbowl.) I was lying on the couch, watching the game dispassionately, hoping the Giants would win, but not expecting that they would... And then... GODDAMN! As soon as Manning made that crazy pass to David Tyree...

This past Tuesday, NYC had a parade for the Giants, which they hadn't had for their previous SuperBowl victories. When I was on the subway going to work on Tuesday morning, Giants fans in their jerseys were crowding the cars, heading in to the city parade. I had my camera with me, wanting to take pictures, but I ended up being too shy to. (Though when I asked my work people later: "Should I have taken pictures?", everybody said, "Of course---those guys wouldn't have cared.") Seeing the subway Giants fans gave me chills.

And then when I got to work and told my co-worker about the fun fans on the subway, he said, funnily/meanly: "You should have told them that they're the NEW JERSEY Giants and NOT the "NEW YORK Giants." (The team plays in New Jersey 'cause there's no room in Manhattan.) And he went on: "And they're not the WORLD champions. Nobody plays football but the United States." Yeah, yeah! :)


RE Super Tuesday: Happy to see Hillary take Massachusetts (after all of the Kennedy hype) and California (after all of the Kennedy/Oprah hype). Not to mention my new home-state of New Jersey, which Hillary took by 10 points after polls showed a tie. (When I arrived at the polling place, my address wasn't on their books, so I had to fill out a Provisional Ballot.)

The anti-Hillary commentary on MSNBC leading up to Super Tuesday (and after) has been incredible and ridiculous. I just today read online that MSNBC had gotten into trouble for saying on air that Clinton daughter Chelsea was "pimping" for votes by calling the SuperDelegates. (Honestly, every candidate "pimps" for votes. However, it's creepy when a network calls one candidate's daughter on it, while ignoring all other candidates and their kids. For instance, I just read in this week's "New Yorker" that all 5 of the Mitt Romney sons had a blog... They're now completely irrelevant since Romney's dropped out, but... I never heard any media outlet calling these clean-scrubbed Mormon boys "pimps" for their father.