Jun 26, 2007

Two degrees of separation, times ten

The other night after dinner, my friend Geronimo, who's from L.A., and I drifted onto the subject of celebrities. I, however, have very few, very random, direct celebrity sightings (Danny Kaye, Monica Lewinsky, Maureen McCormick, Pat Robertson, Sean Penn, and most recently, David Hyde Pierce [of "Frasier"] and Fantasia Barrino [both seen at the Tonys]).

Geronimo, however, tells me about meeting Madonna in the elevator (She's very fit, but her legs have really bad varicose and/or spider veins).

He also tells me about none other than Cloris Leachman. (I mean, Madonna? zzzzzzz, but Cloris -freaking- Leachman?! This is exciting). Of course, in my zeal, I forced him to go into detail. (He wasn't very cooperative)

She was funny. She was very sweet. He worked as her assistant for some HRC event.
He held her shoes! (The silly fool didn't notice the size).

Anyway, it got me thinking of some of the other celebrities that friends have told me about meeting or knowing. Off the top of my head (I know I'm forgetting some), in no particular order:


Chris Isaak, whom a very good friend of mine dated a while back. (Accoring to her, he's hairier than one might imagine...he's showing his age up close...but very charming. She still has his number...even met his parents.)

Kevin Spacey, by way of my friend Ben, I hear tales of his penchant for men.
(Yeah, I know...zzzzzzzzzz)

Harry Connick Jr., with whom Marshall went to high school (no dirt thus far).

Jude Law, whom my friend Jennifer met while working on his movie...(taller than you might imagine, very thin, but sexy in person, she says, and great with his kids.)

Ann Margret, the last guy I dated knew her personally. Ok, so he kind of worshipped her. Unfortunately, he cound't see objectively enough to give any dirt.

Snoop Dog, whom my friend and mentor, Mary, and her girlfriend Marla flew with to Japan, I believe. (He didn't light up a blunt on the plane or anything, alas. According to her, he seemed very low key and normal).

Sarah Jessica Parker on a plane, by way of my friend Lisa (she looked very homely and didn't wear a bra....but was very thin). Lisa charmed her way into using the first class bathroom as an excuse to brush up against SJP.

Prince Charles/Bob Barker (by way of Debbie), never did hear any info about them...her recounting of these meetings seemed mainly..well, about Debbie.

Patti Labelle, whom William served as a one time p.a. (She was not the nice, cuddly diva you might expect, according to him.)


Anne Wedgeworth(of "Filthy Rich"/"Three's Company" fame...surely you know her?) that Michael met on the street in NYC.

Peter Facinelli, (among many others), whom my friend Danni met while working at Tower Records.

Mary Tyler Moore, whom my friend Mark saw on the street while waiting for us to arrive in NYC. I was on the phone, trapped in Newark Airport, listening to him go on and on. I could have killed someone from envy.

And to think, I was briefly two degrees of separation from nearly every important person you can imagine by way of Annie Leibovitz. This art critic I once dated...sort of...was connected to or knew just about every celeb you can imagine, by way of his friendship with her (no dirt however, except that he did say that Annie, much like Jude Law, was very tall and handsome).


So, do any of you have any sightings, so that I can shamelessly pad out my rolodex of two degrees-of-separation celebs?

Jun 25, 2007

From the tips of your fingers to the top of your head....

The Science of Gaydar
If sexual orientation is biological, are the traits that make people seem gay innate, too? The new research on everything from voice pitch to hair whorl.
By David France

From this interesting article at New York Magazine





EXAMPLE A: Hair Whorl (Men)
Gay men are more likely than straight men to have a counterclockwise whorl.
Photographs by Mark Mahaney





EXAMPLE C: Digit Proportions (Female)
The index fingers of most straight men are shorter than their ring fingers, and for most women they are the same length or longer. Gay men and lesbians tend to have reversed ratios.

Jun 23, 2007

Voodoo drums



Tonight, I took a stroll down the street, headed to the bayou, guided by the sounds of voodoo priestesses beating their drums.

(Yeah, the New Orleanian cliches are flying fast and furious here, I know, but it's all true. I swear.)

On the footbridge was a group of people, all in white, watching the ceremony. A couple, also in white, were paddling up the bayou to join them. Along with the participants, were a few outsiders (like myself), families, fishermen, dog walkers, gathered to watch the ceremony.

I had seen this reminder online (at sturtle.com) the other day:

St. Johns Eve 2007
June 23rd, 7:00pm

Sallie Ann Glassman and La Source Ancienne Ounfo celebrate St. John's Eve with their annual ceremony on the footbridge over Bayou St. John.

Vodou Ceremony: Wear all white and bring a white scarf or rag for your head (It will get dirty.)

Offerings: Bring an offering for Marie Laveau. She likes flowers, blue and white candles, hair ribbons and hair dressing supplies (She was a hairdresser.), Vodou-esque items (Voodoo dolls, potions, gris-gris bags, etc.), or images of Marie Laveau.



I had read about the ceremony and this group a few years ago, but had never been.



Just recently I found out (by reading a Louisiana History text book from 1980 that I had found lodged and forgotten in my classroom) that Marie Laveau herself
had performed rituals right near here in the 19th century. I suppose this is why they chose the site again.

(By the way, I wish I could have taken photos myself, but I don't still don't have a camera since you-know-what.)

Jun 21, 2007

Acadie



I was thinking the other day about the Cajun phrases that still show up pretty regularly in my speech. I hadn't really thought about it before, how many there are.

My mother was the first generation not to learn French. In fact, when she was growing up in the 40's and 50's, you'd actually be punished at for speaking it in school. She can still understand it, but there are only a few phrases that she can manage to speak now.

My grandparents and older aunts and uncles, of course, always spoke French, mainly when they wanted to gossip, so we younger children couldn't understand.

Just out of curiousity I've started a little list of some of the terms that still crop up fairly regularly in conversation with my mother :

cochon- dirty (from French for "pig") but used as an adjective. (Mais, that's cochon!)
couillion- crazy (literally, in archaic French, testicles...as in "nuts." I just recently found this out) "You cousins, they all just couillion."
saleau - a big, dirty man
nannan - godmother
parrain - godfather
tous les vieux -all the old folks (said derisively)
touloulou - fiddler crabs
minou - kitty
maudit - god damned
rodez - to go out visiting constantly "You know her, she always like to rodez"
faire la misere - make trouble
fais do-do- to go to sleep (or of course, a dance, done while the children are put to bed)
'Ga ca!-Look there, look at that! (from the more proper French "regarde-ca")
Tien ca! - look at that!
en colaire(fache')-to be angry
Mal a la tete -headache
Boudee - to pout ("She's making the boudee. She's been boudee-ing all day long.")
Depeche toi!- hurry up
canaille- sly, sneaky
envie - a craving ("I sure have an envie for some tarte a la bouille, cher.")
gris gris - a spell
traiteur -a medicine man, healer (My mother still tells tales of the traiteur who'd come around the plantation)

Jun 17, 2007

Tales from the trenches

Ugh
I feel like I'm nursing a hangover, the way I always do when a date goes wrong.

Yesterday, I had another of my interminable blind dates. Will I ever learn?
Anyway, I had seen his ad months and months ago, and written to him, with no response. His ad had no photo. It was not very long, but in a brief paragraph, he'd managed to say all the right things for me to get excited (namely a few literary references put in a well constructed way. This is like cat nip to me.
Sad.)

Anyway, I think I wrote to him three times (red flag anyone?) with no response. After almost giving up hope, amazingly, he finally responded.
We corresponded for a while. His emails were laconic. He never sent a picture. He never even told me a name. (red flag anyone?)

We met yesterday.
I knew only one thing, he was supposed to wear a red shirt. Awkwardly, (though I've done it before) I approached a complete stranger in a red shirt and introduced myself.
It was him (thank God. It's not always that simple, believe me.)
He turned out to be quite good looking.
He finally gave me his name. We sat and talked. Or I should say, he talked....and talked. I think he asked but two questions of me, both of which I think I gave the wrong answer to, since he gave a distinctively supercilious look to me for both.
I was as charming as I could be, but he was not having it.

It's interesting how people's insecurities manifest themselves differently. My insecurity comes out in self-effacement and sarcasm. His came out in over-compensation (devoid of any discernable sense of humor by the way).

So he went on and on about the antiques in his family home, about the family manse, about his double masters degrees, and his over educated friends, and his time living in New Haven and New York and L.A. and Aix-en- Provence and on and on and on.

As always I listened indulgently and asked questions.
He, however, was clearly not impressed by me. It wasn't awful; it was just not happening.

Of course, his lack of interest is perfectly all right with me (I mean, being around him was exhausting, and I really wasn't interested in him either. No sour grapes, I swear it's true), but, stupidly, there's still a nagging feeling of disappointment lingering. I don't understand how that happens.

It makes me mad at myself mostly for feeling this way, but rejection, whatever form it takes, always hurts somehow, I guess.

Jun 14, 2007

10 seconds of an ordinary day

I'm in T.J. Maxx (again) so that my mother can return a pair of socks (the woman will return anything, and I do mean anything...lipstick anyone?).

We've just finished picking up her methadone prescription.

As she picks up a crystal frog, she tells me disinterestedly, "Oh, guess who's back in jail."
"Umm...I don't know," I say.
"I know. It could be anyone, couldn't it?" she goes on, turning the frog over.
"Your cousin Greg. He knifed someone. Could be prison this time. Now really, who's going to pay 15 dollars for a crystal frog?"
She puts the frog down.

Jun 13, 2007

From the Collectibles Department of Craigslist

I'm not even making this up:



Ceramic John Wayne Gacy Head

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reply to: sale-349378211@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-06-10, 11:10PM CDT


So, remember that terrible John Wayne Gacy guy?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wayne_Gacy
Well, he's been decapitated and memorialized through the art
of hand-built ceramics. And now he can be yours! Yes,
Yours. Yours to do with whatever you wish -- smash him up
and make a mosaic maybe. Or, put him on your porch to scare
away burglers -- whatever you want!
Make me an offer and you can have him.

Jun 12, 2007

The Long Blondes



In more random thoughts about the past weekend, Saturday night we headed out to the Bowery Ballroom


to see a concert by the Long Blondes.


It was actually a concert by three bands, but we skipped the first two. They were great. The lead singer is quite expert at energetically jumping around in high heels. Very impressive.

Jun 11, 2007

"I can't get over this, I really can't!"



So we've just gotten home from seeing
Grey Gardens
What can I say except that I was completely seduced by it.
It was that good.

Of course I was dubious at first. I mean, we had been reading about it since its earliest conception, and frankly I didn't like what I had heard, about some of the liberties they had taken with the movie, especially the intrusion of a Kennedy subplot onto the play.

But, within a few seconds the play completely won me over. It was magical.

Michael and I saw it on Sunday. He hadn't realized that Sunday was the day of the Tonys, so we were very afraid that Christine Ebersole might not be there. Amazingly, she was. The entire cast was there. The theater was small, but packed, and the crowd was enthusiastic.

We heard the woman behind us, there with her children and husband saying that she'd seen the play 11 times. "Yes, Mommy, we know the story," I heard the little girl tell her.
What a city!

Of course Christine Ebersole was wonderful (click on the official website link above to hear her sing), but the real revelation was Mary Louise Wilson, who plays Big Edie. She was phenomenal. We got back to the hotel late on Sunday night and watched both Christine and Mary Louise win Tonys.

disco safari



On Saturday, we wandered through the streets of NYC using a map Michael had put together of some of the more famous clubs of the disco era. I'd already been to Studio 54 a few years ago, but this time, we made a pilgrimage to some of the lesser hyped, more influential discos.

It really was history we were seeing. He had loaded up his ipod with obscure disco music to set the mood. If only it had been, oh, say, 1977.




The Paradise Garage
was the site of one of the most famous dj's ever, Larry Levan. Now it's returned to its original use, as a garage, but in the 70s and early 80s it was perhaps the hottest club on earth.



The Saint ,which took us a bit longer to find, it seems, is now a bank, but in the 70's and 80s it was a legendary disco. Below is a picture found of it in its heyday.




Fascinating as it was, it's also somewhat sad to think about.
It was not that long ago, really, but because perhaps it was underground to begin with, and because most of those (gay men mostly) who were there are now dead, it seems like it's a million years ago.

Those few who have survived, however, paint a picture of a gorgeous lost world, a hedonistic, decadent, probably cliquish, but ultimately friendly paradise.

I'm sure much of it is just cocaine-ridden nostalgia, but I think much of it is very real too.

Jun 4, 2007

Visiting the Edies



I'm going to NYC this weekend, to see Grey Gardens!!!

I can't believe it.
It's completely impulsive, irresponsible craziness on my part, of course, but I don't care.

Michael called Saturday while I was away to say that he'd gotten a hotel, and within a few minutes of talking to him I couldn't resist joining him. (All in the name of research Thom, btw :)

Sunday is the Tonys. I hear Christine Ebersole is expected to win. I wonder if NYC is just filled with Grey Gardens mania?

Wouldn't that be magical?
Street lights covered in headscarves and brooches, vendors selling plates and plates of icecream on the street corners, giant lighted animated raccoons in Rockefeller Center.

I don't know what all we can manage to do in just two days, but we'll do our best.

Jun 3, 2007

Weight Watchers Recipe Cards, circa 1974

I saw this book (genius!) the other day in the bookstore, and noticed (at purpletwinkie.com)that there was a website devoted to it.
Hilarious...and sick.




"Ever wonder what that movie Carrie would have been like if it had been cast with chickens instead of people and also possibly entirely reconceived as a porno?

No? Well, does it help to know that now you'll never have to? No? Sorry."






"Yes, let's have these in brandy snifters. Let's just tip our heads back and let the chunks slide in.

The time you spent eating these is time you'll want back at the very end of your life. That's why they're served with a clock."




"Um, I guess this is a salad best enjoyed at the house of that one scary lady down the street who never leaves the house and talks to her knicknacks.

I showed this card to a friend who said, "What the hell's in that bowl-- bong water?!"

Is that why the ceramic animals are so drawn to it? Is it their magical pond?

Why have they gathered? What do they want?"

Visit here for the entire collection

Jun 1, 2007

Blow Out




Yesterday, I climbed up the Depression-Era thrill ride called the Huey P. Long Bridge, made my way onto the Expressway, and
Bam!
I had a blow out.
Thankfully, I managed to get myself off the road and into a parking lot, where I pulled out the jack and the spare, and after a lot of effort, smeared with a lot of grease, I put the spare on. I went back to the store and got a replacement.
Thankfully, I was not killed.

This also happened a few years ago...in a much scarier scenario. I was on the highrise (a particularly deadly bridge into the city). What is it with me, bridges and blowouts?
My tire blew out suddenly. Worse still, a piece of the rubber from the tire lodged itself in the axle and forced the car to a sudden stop. Of course I had no idea what had happened.

Luckily, I managed to make the car coast onto the side of the road otherwise I would not be here typing today.

Behind me was the descent of the bridge, down which came barrelling 18 wheelers at breakneck speed. I couldn't get out of the car because to open the driver side would end in sure death, as I was all but a few feet away from the barrelling 18 wheelers. The door would have been taken off. They, coming as they were from the top of the bridge, had little warning of a car in front of them.

I tried to climb out of the passenger side door, but it was lodged too tightly to the railing. There was no way out.

It was well over 100 degrees outside, and I couldn't move the car (due to the rubber lodged in the axle. Fortunately, I had about 20 minutes left on my dinosaur of a cell phone. That was the day I decided a cell phone was worth having.

I called my father and managed to get in touch with him. After sitting in the blazing heat for a few hours, watching 18 wheelers one after one careen down the high rise, each one shaking the entire interstate like a tremor as they raced 6 feet away from my car, the tow truck arrived. Despite two calls to the police, by the way, and 4 police cars (I counted) that drove right past me and never stopped, the police never showed up.

I don't know what kind of tire curse I have.
I think it has something to do with these horrible streets here, but I'm not completely absolving the tires either. I see some similar tales out there.