For hacks of a certain vintage, the name “Rod McKuen” served as a effortless go-to punchline ingredient, the way “Sarah Palin” or “Justin Bieber” does today.
Zillion-selling author and lyricist McKuen was the Thomas Kinkade of poetry.
His death last week left me decidedly unmoved, except that I was quite distressed to learn this, from Mark Steyn:
And yet it is a melancholy fact that Frank Sinatra, a singer with matchless taste in music, nevertheless recorded more songs by Rod McKuen than he did songs by, to pluck at random, Duke Ellington, Dorothy Fields, Noel Coward, Bacharach & David, Leonard Bernstein, Vincent Youmans, Cy Coleman, George Gershwin… He recorded as many songs of Rod McKuen as he did of Jerome Kern – 13 apiece. And he never made an entire album devoted to Kern (or to Porter or Berlin or Rodgers) as he did to McKuen.
That was the only obit I read, so my next weird discovery was purely accidental…
I continue to pickax my way through a massive, eclectic “mix tape” sent to me by a longtime reader, and recently alighted upon tunes from a compilation called Las Vegas Grind Vol. 3. (Think of the slightly raunchy, faux jazz music you hear in 1950s and 1960s B-movies.)
One song caught my ear. Wait a minute: That’s…
It was listed as “(I Belong to) the Beat Generation” (1959) by Bob & Dor.
But I knew that melody — played on this record, stubborn rumor has it, by no less than Bill Haley and the Comets — from another source:
Now, I’ve always been far more enamored of British punk than its American — more specifically, New York City/CBGB’s — iteration.
So that’s why I’m the last to know:
Not only did Hell lift his punk anthem directly from McKuen — the “Bob” of the ’59 duo — but he didn’t even share the writing credits (and therefore royalties, puny as they probably were) with the old guy.
Naturally, Hell dumped McKuen’s satirical lyrics — Beatniks being so easy to spoof by “squares” that there were probably more ersatz ones about in the fifties than living specimens — and substituted his own:
They’re a cry from a typically tortured, self-pitying but precociously gifted adolescent, if Pete Townshend’s “Jimmy” had read Baudelaire.
What always struck me about those lyrics was the first line’s “As I was saying…” flavor, as if the spirit of punk had been in the womb or in a coma and had finally reawakened or been born, unaware of how long it had been in stasis.
This sensation is more acute now that I’m aware of the song’s lineage.
Anyway, maybe McKuen found the whole thing too flattering or funny to sue over. And yeah, he was rich anyhow.
So what? you ask. Well, this:
[Malcolm McLaren] had already spotted Richard Hell, a New York poet and musician, who had been in the groups Neon Boys and Television and would go on to write the punk anthem “Blank Generation”. “I just thought Hell was incredible,” he recalled. “Here was a guy all deconstructed, torn down, looking like he’d just crawled out of a drain hole, covered in slime, looking like he hadn’t slept or washed in years, and looking like he didn’t really give a **** about you! He was this wonderful, bored, drained, scarred, dirty guy with a torn and ripped T-shirt. I don’t think there was a safety pin there. This look, this image of this guy, this spiky hair, everything about it. There was no question I’d take it back to London. I was going to imitate it and transform it into something more English.”
And so he did.
According to Halle Berry, who is hawking a new lingerie line at Target, women need to be prepared “in that area” because you never know who’s going to see it.
Style.com reports that Berry told reporters at a preview of her new Scandale lingerie line,
I have some friends—who will remain nameless—that wear the same janky bras for, like, five years straight. As Americans, we can go there, but what I learned about the Frenchwomen is that they’re always updating their lingerie. … They’re not going to get caught in the emergency room not prepared. If they have to cut their clothes off, they’re going to be fabulous under there.
Lingerie marketing schemes aside, Halle (I can call her by her first name because we went to high school together and I put shaving cream in her hair during band camp
hazing initiation) does have a really good point. While I wish that I could have the freedom that men enjoy — I guarantee you that my husband has spent zero time in the last decade thinking about how ER personnel might be judging him on his undergarment choices — the truth is that because of science (having something to do with the Y chromosome, I think) I am forced to think about what would happen if someone had to cut my clothes off in the emergency room. (In fact, that did happen to me when I broke my leg skiing in the 9th grade and it is every bit as mortifying as you might imagine.)
Last week I was telling a friend about my son’s wedding in September, sharing the events of the morning of The Big Day as we all got ready for the afternoon ceremony. I didn’t realize how early we were going to get our hair done in the morning and as a result, I didn’t end up getting a shower before we all headed out to the beauty shop. So I had to settle for schlepping together a sponge bath and shaving my legs in the bathroom sink before slipping into my formal gown, a memory which, as I’m sitting here more than a month later, still horrifies me.
And it’s no better when it’s not a formal occasion. Last night, my husband had a late meeting, so I decided to run out and grab some carry-out food. Before heading out, I changed my clothes, put on some eyeliner and put lipstick on –as if the fast food workers were going to notice!
Honestly, I wish I could be free from this vanity and narcissism. I have friends who don’t give a hoot about how they look when they leave the house and they own it. Beauty is on the inside, they say, daring people to reject them for the way they look. They seem happy.
The problem is, of course, that our culture screams at women constantly that we must look a certain way, dress a certain way, wear this makeup, weigh this much.
People judge us, we judge others, we judge ourselves. Are we doing it mostly for ourselves — because we’re narcissists — or to impress others? I wrestle with that sometimes.
Making fun of Al Gore, Michael Moore and Tom Friedman is getting stale.
Those liberal hypocrites are all so… ten years ago.
Luckily, veteran English fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has stepped into the breach, providing us with a brand new clueless, tone-deaf progressive do-gooder millionaire to make fun of.
Westwood first rose to fame in the 1970s, when she and then-husband Malcolm McLaren opened the King’s Road boutique Let It Rock.
Under various names — Sex, Seditionaries — the shop became one of two where British punk germinated, the other being Don Letts’ Acme Attractions.
Westwood created the rude, ripped, rubbery clothing forever associated with the movement, while McLaren tended the musical side, cobbling together a house band to publicize the store. (Hence the name Sex Pistols.)
As the group’s lead singer, Johnny Rotten (ne Lydon) recalled:
Malcolm and Vivienne were really a pair of shysters: they would sell anything to any trend that they could grab onto.
Fast forward to 2014, and imagine, say, Jimmy Swaggart getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That’s how weird it should be that Vivienne Westwood was named a Dame of the British Empire by the queen in 2006.
But no one seems to think it odd at all that “shyster” Westwood remains a powerful cultural force, having switched sides from pseudo-rebel to Establishment figure.
Or, to put it more accurately, for being both things at the same time.
Pebble smartwatches on sale (temporally?) for just $100. I wouldn’t be surprised if that became the permanent “sale” price, if Android Wear begins taking over the bottom end of the nascent market and Apple takes over the top. But at that price, I might just pick up one to replace the el cheapos I keep in a drawer for beach vacation.
Of course what I’m really waiting for Apple to introduce a line of dive watches…
I pushed off the idea of writing this article when I first heard that Joan Rivers, one of my comic icons, was rushed to the hospital after a botched outpatient procedure last week. I didn’t want to think about having to say goodbye to Joan, to bid farewell to yet another icon of an age gone by, a powerhouse who managed to be a cultural force until her last breath. The only solace we can muster is in knowing that, for these ten reasons at least, Joan’s memory will be a blessing.
10. Joan never grew old or gave up.
At 81, she was as attuned to pop culture, politics, and current events as a 20 year old. A self-made fashionista, the comedian never retired, sat in a chair, or gave in to technology. Joan will forever be a role model to women who refuse to trade style for a shapeless moo-moo and an office chair for a rocking chair. In her later years she paired up with Melissa, illustrating that mothers and daughters really can work together and get along. She was a modern Bubbe, surrounded by her children and grandchildren as she took the world by storm.
Are you a true child of the 1970s? See how many of these essential shoes you owned to find out!
10. Earth Shoes
Going from worst to first, I’m almost reluctant to name Earth Shoes to a list of “essential” anything because they were so completely unfortunate looking. The “negative heel technology” shoes represented one of those terrible moments when fashion tried to merge with health benefits. Anne Kalsø, a native of Denmark, invented the shoes in the 1950s. According to the Earth Shoes website:
Kalsø ‘s passion for yoga led her to study in Switzerland and eventually in Santos, Brazil. It was there, in 1957, that she observed the excellent posture of indigenous Brazilians, and the impressions left by their bare footprints as they walked through beach sand. She observed that the footprints laid were deeper in the heels than in the toes. This natural body position resonated with the thoughtful Kalsø. It echoed a formative yoga pose she knew well – Tadasana (the ‘Mountain’ pose). posture improved, and how her breathing passages opened. She was inspired.As she herself emulated the pose of the native Brazilians, she noticed how her own posture improved, and how her breathing passages opened. She was inspired.
Ten years later, Earth Shoes were born in Copenhagen. The company claimed that many people reported that the shoes eased chronic foot and body problems. It wasn’t until April 1st, 1970 — coinciding with the first Earth Day — that the first ”Kalsø Earth Shoes” store opened in the United States. The shoes became wildly popular, even appearing on the Tonight Show and in TIME magazine. They’re still available, by the way, in case you’re feeling nostalgic or feel the need to have your breathing passages opened.
The first thing I thought when I saw this announcement of Lana Del Rey’s new single “West Coast” off her upcoming album Ultraviolence, was, “Oh, wow, she’s brunette now. I wonder where she’s going to go with that.”
I’ve written before about the importance of Lana Del Rey’s image in her music, and how that image has also inspired waves of internet hate. “Lana Del Rey appeals to good girls because she’s the quintessential romantic bad girl: sultry, pouty, with thin white tee shirts and tiny denim shorts, the kind of girl who’d be leaning up against her boyfriend’s hot rod in the school parking lot,” I wrote about her first album.
Why is Lady Gaga praised for her careful cultivation of an image, while Lana Del Rey is consistently derided for it? A few reasons. Gaga has proven herself a masterful performer, bringing her image to life. Del Rey’s live performances are frequently described by those who have attended as low-energy, somewhat awkward and unpolished. That creates the impression that her image is just that — an image, not a living force. Lana Del Rey’s persona exists in a photograph; Lady Gaga’s exists on a stage, in a taxi cab, on the street, on the catwalk.
I think there could be another factor at play, though. Lady Gaga’s image is built on high fashion, decadence, sophistication. Lana Del Rey claims a trailer trash origin story and a blue collar aesthetic. She infuses romance into seedy, rundown places and unlike Taylor Swift (another carefully cultivated pop-image with a blue collar, small town origin story — despite being the daughter of a banker), Del Rey doesn’t make them cute. In Swift’s high school fairytale, the tomboy falls in love with the football star and pines for him from the bleachers while he hangs out with his cheerleader girlfriend. In Del Rey’s fantasy high school, the heroine is getting pregnant under those bleachers, and the football player still doesn’t love her.
Maybe some people just prefer the glamour of a Lady Gaga (or the tamer glamour of a Taylor Swift) over Lana Del Rey’s trashy bad-girl image. Maybe some people resent that she claims a hard-knock reputation that she didn’t really “earn.” But maybe there’s another factor at play: Del Rey is singing about things people like to sweep under the rug. No, not in a big social-change way; it’s probably hardly intentional. But look at her early videos, which frequently starred tattooed model Bradley Soileau — he looks like the kind of guy you’d see in a parking lot, who’d make you want to get to your car a little faster. And then there’s the rumors (and derision) surrounding Del Rey’s supposed plastic surgery — sometimes I wonder if she wants people to wonder. Her songs are so often about the things women do to seem attractive and desirable in a world that expects flawless beauty. Del Rey would be far from the first singer to get plastic surgery to fit a popular image — but she would be one of the first mainstream artists who used it to make people feel uncomfortable about beauty standards.
I have to admit, “West Coast” doesn’t have me excited for the new album — it’s very repetitive, and it doesn’t have the drama of “Blue Jeans” or “Born to Die,” or the sweet sadness of “Video Games.” But I’m excited for the collaborations with The Black Keys’s Dan Auerbach, and I’m interested in where Del Rey is going next.
Sometimes musicians make decisions that seem to run counter to rock and roll. Björn Ulvaeus, one of the masterminds behind the ’70s pop group ABBA, has revealed in a forthcoming book that their over-the-top fashion choices were not as much about looks as one might believe.
The glittering hotpants, sequined jumpsuits and platform heels that Abba wore at the peak of their fame were designed not just for the four band members to stand out – but also for tax efficiency, according to claims over the weekend.
Reflecting on the group’s sartorial record in a new book, Björn Ulvaeus said: “In my honest opinion we looked like nuts in those years. Nobody can have been as badly dressed on stage as we were.”
And the reason for their bold fashion choices lay not just in the pop glamour of the late 70s and early 80s, but also in the Swedish tax code.
According to Abba: The Official Photo Book, published to mark 40 years since they won Eurovision with Waterloo, the band’s style was influenced in part by laws that allowed the cost of outfits to be deducted against tax – so long as the costumes were so outrageous they could not possibly be worn on the street.
Complaining about taxes is as much a part of rock as partying and heartache – from the Beatles’ anthem “Taxman” to Adele’s rants about tax rates in the UK, musical artists have made public their feelings about paying high taxes for years. Ulvaeus’ admission ups the ante in a certain sense. Who knows? Maybe we’ll start to hear more admissions from musicians on what they’ve done to claim deductions and find loopholes. I guess in some ways rock stars are just like the rest of us.
Preparing for the Houston Ice Storm 2014, Part Deux, I hit the grocery store. I was in that ready-alert state of mind that allows a person to see details usually missed. The promotional-items section at the front of the store caught my eye, as Kroger has designed it to do. They featured a new brand, Simple Truth. I think the product was potato chips, but I don’t recall because the name grabbed my attention.
A bunch of ideas came to my mind. One, the name reminded me of the Innocent and Honest juices that annoy me so. These juice brands show up at parties, and when kids are running amok, tattling and the like, the names make me wonder if the branding is some sort of wishful thinking. Innocent even has a little halo in the logo. Honest goes for word play with Honest Tea, Honest Aid, and Honest Kids. The kid juices come in an annoying punch pouch that supposedly catches spills but actually makes the pouches almost impossible to puncture with the plastic straw. I avoid Innocent and Honest brands as a rule.
Two, I got an ear worm from Jonah Goldberg. I have a few of his old articles about consumer morality memorized. (I started reading him back in the days when one still had to print, rather than bookmark, favorite articles. I read them more than once.) The Simple Truth triggered this quote to playback:
Perhaps it was when Nietzsche pronounced God dead that so many decided to do His job themselves. Today, we are our own priests. Our truths are own “inner truths.” Our morality is bought retail.
I’ve seen this morality bought retail everywhere from furniture to fashion to food. A few years ago, I blogged about a WSJ article on triple-figure designer jeans. I wrote, “For the hefty price tag you get a pair of jeans and a public statement that you have enough money to afford such jeans and that you care about workers and the environment. … Fab jeans and good works for a couple hundred bucks–no actual action required.” I got comments about how cool this was. My sarcasm went largely unnoticed.
The Hillary Clinton 2016 speculation began a while ago. Time is on topic this week with Clinton’s leg and black pump on the cover.
Over at Slate, Amanda Hess finds this cause for concern.
Clinton’s presumptive bid to become the first female president does position her as a powerhouse poised to stomp through the patriarchal status quo. But when publications like Time frame that feminist pursuit with images of women in pointy heels that leave feminized male “victims” in their wake, they undermine the female politician’s power even as they attempt to acknowledge it.
I surmise that these female domination images are acceptable when talking about flailing men—The Munk Debates used a similar image for “The End of Men”—but counterproductive stereotyping when talking about actual powerful women. Why?
Hess doesn’t state the mechanics of how such images undermine female power. I will. Women who found their power on breaking the glass ceiling cannot allow dominance imagery because they assume that they cannot withstand an attack, open or stealth, that they are against men. They assume they must engage in passive aggressive argument to win votes, which is ill-served by heel-grinding imagery. It’s also a tacit admission that women cannot dominate men without their consent.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler is thoroughly amused at the fact that his network’s original programming can be so easily misconstrued as pornography.
No, the laughs didn’t come at a Porn Addicts Anonymous meeting. Rather, it was a blip on the Internet’s radar along with the short that garnered the remark and a few million hits to boot. (It’s so NSFW I’ve elected not to embed the actual video — you can find it here.)
According to Plepler, the video showing a series of actors detailing the parts they landed to family and friends who immediately (and ashamedly) assume they’ve been cast in porn films (until the actors explain, “No, it’s HBO!” to unfolding declarations of “I’m so proud of you!”) is good PR:
The HBO CEO said these sort of videos and spoofs prove that the network and their shows have become part of the “global conversation.” Instead of taking offense to the clip, Plepler seems to think the spoof is a great deal of fun.
“If you’re on ‘Saturday Night Live’ or parodied on Facebook you know you’re part of the cultural landscape. The guys who did this did great work. I laughed. I take it in the same manner in which it was intended, with a lot of humor,” the CEO explained.
Some might call Plepler’s reaction refreshingly open, in which case he’d share a title with one of HBO’s newest additions to the “global conversation” about mainstreamed porn. Described as ”multicharacter exploration of the complex, ever evolving landscape of sexuality, monogamy and intimacy in relationships,” Open is slated to premiere in 2014. No news yet on any planned SNL spoofs that will garner hits on Facebook.
The real story in the porn spoof is that Plepler’s comments barely made press. Why? Since its launch in 1975, HBO has generated original programming “featuring high amounts of profanity, violence and nudity” to draw an audience of premium payers. The kids of those original payers are now parents happily buying Victoria’s Secret undies for their tweens because, let’s face it, “no one wants to be the girl with the ugly underwear.”
In an episode of A & E’s Duck Dynasty last season, Sadie, the teen daughter of the Robertson clan’s Willie and Kori, needed a dress for the homecoming dance. Like many families, daddy and daughter had different ideas about suitable attire for the dance. Willie ordered Sadie to return the first dress she purchased.
“Is there something wrong with it?” Sadie asked.
“Yeah, there’s not enough material,” Willie complained. “Does Sadie look nice in her dress? Yes. But it’s the kind of nice the boys at school are going to think is really nice. And that’s going to make me really uncomfortable. Because she’s really young and she’s really my daughter. And I’m really accurate with a crossbow.
Willie echoed the feelings of thousands of parents around the country when he said, “It’s just that my daughter’s dressed up like she’s thirteen going on twenty.”
That resulted in a long afternoon at the formalwear boutique, with Willie rejecting one dress after another (while Uncle Si modeled tuxedos). An exasperated Sadie finally used her cell phone to call her mom from the fitting room for an assist.
The Robertsons, a family very open about their Christian faith on Duck Dynasty, eventually settled on a dress, but the show highlighted the very real problem of immodest and age-inappropriate formal attire designed for teens. While part of the problem is that the teens want to wear skimpy, body-clinging gowns, it is also true that dresses that are both modest and fashionable are often in short supply.
Hoping to change that, Sadie Robertson, age 16, made her debut on the runway at New York Fashion Week last week showing off her new line of “daddy approved” prom dresses that will be available next spring. Robertson collaborated with designer Sherri Hill to create the line and modeled two of the gowns at the Evening By Sherri Hill show at Trump Tower on Monday night.
Hill, who asked Sadie to be the celebrity spokesmodel for the line — called Sadie Robertson Live Original — worked with Sadie to create dresses both she and her father would approve of.
“Me and my mother and my grandma went to Sherri Hill’s place and we all picked out ‘daddy approved’ length,” Sadie told Fox News. “She also added a couple inches to some that we loved but weren’t modest.”
Sadie said that her dad had to approve all the gowns before they were accepted into the line. She follows the “finger-tip rule,” making sure all dresses are at list finger-tip length and said that “everything is modest up here,” referring to the bodices.
Clark, who was once a Democrat presidential hopeful, is blaming “general indignities.” In Arkansas divorce law, “general indignities” is a catch-all for a lot of stuff.
“Rudeness, vulgarity, unmerited reproach, haughtiness, contempt, contumeliousness, studied neglect, intentional incivility, injury, manifest disdain, abusive language, malignant ridicule and every other plain manifestation of settled hate, alienation, and estrangement.”
Legal experts said “general indignities” is the equivalent of the standard, blame-less “irreconcilable differences” used in most states.
The only relevant “irreconcilable difference” at play here is the difference between his longstanding and longsuffering wife versus the 30-year-old fashion entrepreneur he met at — I’m not making this up – a Deepak Chopra symposium.
Irreconcilable difference: The wife he’s dumping can’t magically make herself half her current age.
Democrats, “war on women,” Weiner Spitzer Filner Gore Clinton Clark.
The media won’t make any of those connections.
More: Hm. Look at Item 4 in this list of things you need to know about Clark’s pal, Shauna Mei.
4. Mei Was Raised in China and Feels Chinese
Mei was born in Mongolia and raised in China before moving to the United States after the Tienanmen Square massacre. Her hometown is Beijing according to her Facebook profile. In an interview with a Chinese interviewer last year, Shauna Mei has stated: “I came to America when I was 8 and spent my first grade in China. I still remember a great Chinese role model called Lei Feng.” Lei Fend was a soldier of the People’s Liberation Army who was characterized as a “selfless and modest person who was devoted to the Communist Party” he also become a subject of a nationwide posthumous propaganda campaign.
Retail stores are opening earlier than ever to try to catch the wave of Black Friday shoppers — see disgruntled Wal-Mart employees for more information and kvetching — but a scan of the ads thus far isn’t offering too much incentive to risk life and limb at a midnight — excuse me, 8 p.m., whatever — store opening. A few retailers even started their deals online today (probably a boon to public safety), and many more will put their deals online starting Thanksgiving so shoppers can sit at home in PJs bloating on turkey instead of sitting in a pup tent outside Best Buy.
There are the standard cut-rates on third-tier flat-panel TVs. Wal-Mart is selling an iPad for the same price that the Apple store charges, but is throwing in a $75 gift card with purchase. Other stores are offering “doorbusters” that amount to 25-50 percent off or so. In other words, nothing you can’t find in winter and summer clearance periods.
Yes, I’m a huge fan of off-season shopping. I’m also a longtime advocate of the bargain hunt, considering I’ve always been a fashionista label-snob but have always drawn a journalist’s salary. And even when I started making more money, I was set in my ways: Why buy regular price when redlines exist? Hunting for bargains, with years of strategy and wins under one’s belt, is a sport of sorts. Unfortunately, days like Black Friday are turned into a full-contact sport — see the case of the Wal-Mart worker trampled to death in 2008. And there’s a bit of disappointment, as a fiscal conservative, to see people throwing things in the cart en masse that may not be the best deal after all.
So in the interest of shopping diplomacy, here are a few things to watch as you shop.
A thousand apologies, my friend! Congratulations and many many more! Go wish him Encore!
And See posts from The Manolo here at PJ Lifestyle:
If you ever want to start a lively conversation among aging baby boomers just ask the question, “What was your first rock concert?”
There is a definite pecking order of impressive answers.
First, is the Beatles. (I have a close friend who wins this prize.) Second, is Led Zeppelin and then there are many possible answers for third place.
For example, my husband’s first concert was The Who, an acceptable contender. Mine was Jimi Hendrix and if you continue reading you might decide to award me the bronze medal for third.
It was June of 1970, and to celebrate our graduation from Newman Junior High in Needham, Massachusetts, three girlfriends and I went to see Jimi Hendrix.
Hendrix was performing at the now iconic Boston Garden, torn down in 1997, but then the home of basketball’s Boston Celtics and hockey’s Boston Bruins.
As we left the subway station and walked towards the concert, a store with the name Now Shop caught our attention. As 15-year-olds we were attuned to all the social and cultural changes taking place, but this store actually offered us the opportunity to change our look from suburban school-girls to “now.”
Shelves were lined with everything needed to dress like a hippie. There were tie-dye shirts, headbands, sandals, peasant blouses, fringed vests, peace symbols and of course piles of love beads. We all were salivating at the merchandise and bought as much as our meager budgets would allow.
My purchases included a small suede pouch with rawhide ties and two love bead necklaces. Now that the Now Shop transformed our look and our attitude, we were ready for Jimi Hendrix.
On stage he lived up to his reputation playing all his great hits including my two favorites, Foxy Lady and Purple Haze.
Hendrix was an amazing performer, but it was the entire rock concert experience that blew me away. The smells, (you know what I mean) the energy of the crowd, and above all, the excitement of being 15 and feeling a part of something that was so hip, cool and “now.” Yes, the times were a changin’ and we were part of that change.
Just seeing Jimi Hendrix would have been memorable enough, but, as fate would have it, this Boston Garden concert on June 27, 1970 was to be his last.
Less than two months later on September 18th, Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27 of a drug overdose.
Throughout my life I have felt an emotional connection to Jimi Hendrix since his last concert was my first. In fact, I even mentioned this concert as one of my classic rock credentials in the first installment of this silly series.
Now, what shall we drink as you listen to the actual recording of Jimi’s last concert, showcased at the top of this piece?
Since you are reading about an event that happened to me 42 years ago, that means I am old and old people must drink lots of red wine to sustain their heart health.
The cheap wine recommendation this week is Acacia Pinot Noir. The label reads: “An elegant wine with strong black cherry flavors and an unexpected hint of violet and spice that we believe conveys the essence of California Pinot Noir.”
Yea, yea, who writes this label dribble? I just like the stuff, especially when it is on sale, but can never taste the flavors the label says I am supposed to taste.
So let’s raise our glasses to the legendary music of Jimi Hendrix and a group of once “hip” 15-year-olds who wore love beads to their first rock concert that turned out to be both historic, tragic and unforgettable.
Unless you’re a Hipster, eyeglasses are a major pain: kids wearing them get bullied, they’re expensive, they don’t play well with sports, and they can’t make up for perfect 20/20 vision. Finally, there may be a cure for nearsightedness (“Myopia”) on the horizon. Biomedical scientist David Trolio has experimented with a new contact lens that prevents the eye from malforming at a young age in the first place, by refocusing light as it hits the eye. He and his colleagues at State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry “successfully reduced the elongation of the eye that causes myopia progression.”
I wonder if this technology will work for adults? I wonder how young one has to be to get it done? I guess the rest of us will just have to deal with the bullying (really?), the cost (what about Costco?) and the imperfect vision. I am tired of wearing glasses and having vision problems but look how long it’s taken to perfect Lasik (and it’s still not great). Will this technology be that much better? I hope so.
Image via shutterstock / wavebreakmedia
Did you guys read about Elizabeth Hurley’s line of sexy kiddie bikinis?
Much like the author of the article, for me, the problem is a combination of two things – the bikini itself and the child model’s pose or, I should say, the pose she was instructed to do by someone. If she had floaties on her arms and was building a sandcastle, I might not have focused as much on the pint-sized string bikini. What really bothered me, however, was the wording that apparently went along with the pictures on Hurley’s site, such as a caption next to a bikini for the 8-13 age range, which said “great for girls who want to look grown up”. I checked out her site, elizabethhurley.com, to see for myself, and received an error message. I can only assume her reps are doing some damage control with regards to either the pictures or the descriptions.
It’s even worse when you go to Hurley’s website — which is still very much up. Here’s a screenshot from the UNDER 8 page which I’m not all that happy about posting here, but which seems necessary to preserve as evidence:
Vesta poses the usual questions to stir up debate about whether it’s better for young girls to wear very adult swimwear.
Here are a few questions that were on my mind: how do the fathers of the girls wearing these swimsuits look at themselves in the mirror in the morning? Do these men actually feel comfortable taking their girls in public with strangers seeing them dressed like this? Are they in denial about the damage done to an 8-year-old girl training to be “sexy” or do they not care? Or would most fathers today be proud of daughters growing up to be underwear models and porn stars?
Lady Gaga went all out to shock at the Phillip Treacy show at London Fashion Week when she arrived at the event dressed in a burqa covered in raccoon tails. She later swapped the outfit for a floral headress. Check out the photos.
The once anti-fur star has once again shocked with her fondness for animal skins, having previously been seen wearing fur while on tour in Bulgaria. During her visit to London Fashion Week over the weekend, Lady Gaga was spotted wearing a cream-coloured burqa with raccoon tails, a pink sheet and a floral headdress.
When she was previously spotted wearing fur, Animal rights group PETA compared her a ‘mindless Kim Kardashian’ before Gaga later attempted to defend her choice to dress in animal skin.
“You see a carcass, I see a museum pièce de résistance,” she wrote in an official statement on her choice to wear fur.
There have been Lady Gaga burka wearing scandals before of course, but nevertheless the sight of the 26 year-old wearing yet another one at the London Fashion Week has had the media talking once again. The Born This Way star can often flash the flesh as much as cover up, but it was latter she opted for this time out as she wore a burka-style outfit adorned with racoon tails, having modelled at the PHILIP TREACY Fashion Week Show.
Gaga – being Gaga – decided to up the controversy levels one step further though, and accessorised the look with a bright pink and yellow bag, with diamantes that spelt out the word c***. Oh Gaga. It was one of a few odd outfits worn by the pop star during the course of the day: earlier on, The Sun had spotted her wearing black leggings and a white jacket topped off with a pair of Mickey Mouse ears.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
I must commend Kathy Shaidle for effortlessly encapsulating what is most likely to earn a man a boost on the sexy scale. It really is quite simple. If I could offer an even more thoroughly abridged version, it would be: get some nice clothes, learn a few skills really well, and look people in the eyes when you talk to them.
One of Kathy’s lines, however, touched me in particular:
No one is ever surprised to learn that [Mark] Steyn is a big James Bond fan.
As a shameless Bond fan myself, I must comment on this. There is a tendency to view Bond fans as the equivalent of, say, Trekkies or gamers or sci-fi geeks: we are lumped in with sophomoric wannabes living in a fantasy world. I find, however, that most male Bond fans are much more dedicated to transforming themselves into their fictional hero (or a more realistic analogue) than are the sci-fi crowd.
Allow me to traffic in a few stereotypes here. Think of every comic-book geek you’ve ever known. Do any of them ever make an effort to transform themselves into the manly heroes they idolize? No. Most of them are idle, indolent, and inactive. If they’re scrawny, they don’t work out. They can’t fight, and they don’t take up boxing. They wear ugly super-hero shirts and argue over the canonical minutiae of whether Yoda’s lightsaber style would beat Mace Windu’s. This is horrendously un-sexy to females of any age.
What’s the female equivalent of “I’ll never get an erection again”?
I experienced that abysmal sensation when I learned that actor Alan Rickman was directing a play about deceased Jew-hater “activist” Rachel Corrie (or, as I like to call her, “St. Pancake”).
You see, women’s sexual fantasies are notoriously… odd, as anyone who’s read Nancy Friday’s 1970s sensation My Secret Garden can attest. (I’ll give you Mr. Spock, ladies. But Terry-Thomas?! Seriously?)
And up until the day he broke my, er, heart, my idea of a big thrill would’ve been sitting on Alan Rickman’s lap while he read aloud from the Manhattan telephone directory.
His face has been politely and aptly described as “anachronistic,” and he’s not as young as he used to be. And now we learn he’s a leftist.
But that voice!
(What are you laughing at?)
Yes, gentlemen, you can fake a British accent and maybe get lucky (unless you happen to be in Britain at the time, where your American one will do the trick). But a permanently sexy voice is a gift.
Rather than focus on the things you can’t change, why not consider those you can?
There’s a new documentary out of Italy that’s making the rounds in film circles, and followers of fashion — by which I mean everyone, because don’t we all need to get dressed in the morning? — should take note. It’s called “Schuberth: l’Atelier della Dolce Vita,” and it’s a charming profile of Emilio Federico Schuberth, a designer of alta moda (high fashion) in Rome during the heyday of Cinecitta.
Active from the 1940s through the 1960s, Schuberth was the “tailor to the stars.” The fashion faithful made pilgrimages to his atelier on the Via Condotti; his creations were worn by Rita Hayworth, Brigitte Bardot, Princess Soraya, Sophia Loren, and Gina Lollobrigida. In a 1954 photograph, we see Lollobrigida chatting with Marilyn Monroe; with its sensuous silhouette and artful draping, the Italian actress’s pink Schuberth dress is infinitely superior to the frankly unimaginative white conical-bra-with-skirt number worn by our brainy, busty blonde.
Now, remember that scene in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita where ellegantly attired models navigate a catwalk, while there at the back, a shy young woman stands with her clipboard, sweetly melting with excitement to be part — even peripherally — of such a stylish scene? That’s a Schuberth fashion show. And today, so many years on, that celluloid parade of poetry in motion still has the power to move viewers to want to pursue a career in fashion.
Even those who were destined to follow fashion as a career, the ones born into garment-business families — like Carla Fendi and Lavinia Biagiotti, who both provide commentary in the film — take on the air of starstruck teens at an early Beatles concert when speaking of Schuberth. At the height of his fame, Schuberth was called the “Italian Dior.” But such is his ongoing relevance that today he invites comparison to designers who rose to fame after him: Gianni Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier.
Today, Schuberth the fashion icon is largely forgotten. Googling the name yields … a German manufacturer of motorcycle helmets and protective headgear for Formula One racers and industrial workers. Everyone’s familiar with Valentino, the designer beloved by movie stars who got his start in fashion at Schuberth’s atelier, as the style sorceror’s apprentice. But Valentino’s first boss was a prescient pioneer, a marketing genius with an ambition that dwarfed his already-small petite stature.
Well before Halston would make his memorable appearance on TV’s “The Love Boat” in 1981, surrounded, rock-star-style, by model-groupies wearing his designs, Schuberth knew how to make the scene, a pack of live, Schuberth-clad mannequins always in tow. He was a pioneering publicity hound, delighted to appear in countless promotional newsreels and even going so far as to milk his own daughter’s nuptials for maximum attention — engraved on the wedding invitation was the fashion credit “gown by Schuberth,” long before Joan Rivers and an army of red-carpet commentators would focus media attention on award-show attire.
Manolo says, your papers please:
For me this gets to the heart of the whole question of non-regulation of fashion blogging, which has been celebrated as triumph of democracy in a dictatorial world (now everyone has a voice!) but also poses the dangers of opinion being automatically taken seriously, with no real knowledge on the part of the reader about the person opining, and the depth of what they may, or may not, know.
I’m not saying all fashion bloggers are dangerous (that would be a little hypocritical, no?), but maybe it is worth thinking about some sort of registry, or official database that requires certain disclosures that are verifiable.
The Manolo’s first reaction to this was, “Wait, the Financial Times has the Fashion Editor? Who knew?”
His second reaction, this is egregiously stupid.
Undoubtedly, this opinion, which is not entirely uncommon among the high nabobs of high fashion, is being driven by two things: the toppling of the centralized power of fashion editors at all levels, and the desire of big fashion advertisers to control what can and cannot be said about them.
The not so little secret is that fashion editors have long been complicit in making sure that the advertisers were treated properly, with special fawning photo features, and little to no negative coverage.
And now? While many style bloggers are nothing more than paid touts, many more, who remain independent, are not afraid of reporting honestly on, or even ridiculing high fashion flummery and balderdash.
All the Manolo can say is, welcome to the new era, Financial Times Fashion Editor.
Science proves what we have long known, that the shoes you wear say much about your personality.
Researchers at the University of Kansas found that people were able to correctly judge a stranger’s age, gender, income, political affiliation, emotional and other important personality traits just by looking at the person’s shoes.
Lead researcher Omri Gillath found that by examining the style, cost, color of condition of the shoe, participants were able to guess about 90 percent of the of the owner’s personal characteristics.
Researchers found that observers did well in guessing characteristics of the volunteers in almost all categories, and concluded that people do wear shoes that reveal their personality, whether they intend to or not.
Expensive shoes belonged to high earners, flashy and colorful footwear belonged to extroverts and shoes that were not new but appeared to be spotless belonged to conscientious types.
Stop the presses! Expensive shoes are worn by the high earners, and colorful feetwear adorn the toes of the extroverts! Who could have imagined such earth-shattering results!
But there is more…
Practical and functional shoes generally belong to agreeable people, ankle boots fit with more aggressive personalities and uncomfortable looking shoes were worn by calm personalities.
People with “attachment anxiety” or people that were most worried about their relationships generally had brand new and well-kept shoes. Researchers suggest that this may be because they worry so much about their appearance and what others may think of them.
Not surprisingly, liberal thinkers, who many think of as flip-flop wearing hippies, wear shabbier and less expensive shoes.
But what about the limousine liberals? Would they be caught dead in the pair of hippie monk sandals?
So, in the other words, the Birkenstocks say exactly what you imagine they would.
Naturally, the Manolo has much more to say about this at his humble shoe blog.