Jun 30, 2009

the Goods (a summer rerun)

Once upon a time, when I was a lonely kid, come weekend nights, I would hole myself up in my room and watch the string of Britcoms shown on our local PBS station.

They were a delightful window into strange, but somewhat familiar, world...separated not only by space, but also time, since most of them were a decade or so delayed. I liked them all, but my favorite was The Good Life.
It was about a young couple who give up the rat race to start a farm, in suburban London, much to the horror of their uptight neighbors. It first aired in the early
70s and seemed to be sort of playing on the last gasp of hippiedom.

The best part of the show, however, was watching Margo, the bitch queen played by Penelope Keith. Role model material!

She was always seemingly floating about in a chiffon caftan, sneering at the livestock of her cute neighbors and getting herself riled up at her milquetoast husband. Penelope went on to another Britcom, "To the Manor Born" in the early '80s, but it wasn't the same.
Here she is in action (sans chiffon, unfortunately):


Jun 28, 2009

a trip to the bookstore

A few feet into the door a pleasant woman gave me a photocopied sheet of coupons. A few feet later another pleasant woman tried to give me another. Economy's bad, I hear.

As is always the case in bookstores, I get overwhelmed and develop a fear of commitment and leave empty handed. But the coupon promised 25 percent off, so I decided to risk it and buy an expensive art book to replace the ones lost a few years ago in you-know-what

Blocking the aisle was a pretty early twenty something girl wearing red vinyl heels...and a white snood. That's right, a snood.












In 2009.

With her, was her "bff": a six foot six, 250 lb gay boy with highlighted hair, combed à la Zac Efron, mincing through the decorating books aisle like a chihuahua on a leash.

Miss Snood loaded up on a few hundred dollars worth of books, while her huge chihuahua barked pronouncements throughout the store about what he "loooooooooooooooved" and "h8ed!"
Finally they vacated the aisle.

Hmmmm...what should I buy? The art section was small, now that they'd pillaged it, but I finally, after a long time debating, decided on this:



The "extraordinary insight into his world of glamour, sex and fame!" had nothing to do with it.

Leaving, I nearly caved into my sugar lust/heat/boredom. I got in line for a Extra Grande Mocha Frappuccino®.


Thankfully the abs of God intervened:



I got an iced coffee instead.
Small, black, no sugar.
I mean really.
Not good merchandising strategy to have abs like that glaring accusingly at you when you're selling carbs, is it?

As I exited, Andrea Bocelli began operatically with what sounded suspiciously like Wham's classic "Careless Whisper"...in Italian. I lingered to hear the end, but when he started up (what sounded like) "Sukiyaki", I had to go.

"Pride"


(the only known national news coverage at the time)

From the Huffington post:

Gay Weddings and 32 Funerals: Remembering the UpStairs Erik Ose

"...To fully understand recent events, it's important to remember a tragedy that happened thirty-five years ago, and how much things have changed for gays and lesbians since then.

On the last Sunday in June, 1973, a gay bar in New Orleans called the UpStairs Lounge was firebombed. The resulting blaze killed 32 people. At the time, the bar had recently served as the temporary home for the fledgling New Orleans congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church. Founded in Los Angeles in 1968, the MCC was the nation's first gay church...

That Sunday was the final day of Pride Weekend, the fourth anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. Yet there was still no Gay Pride Parade in New Orleans. Almost two dozen gay bars dotted the French Quarter, but gay life in the city remained largely underground...



Original site of the UpStairs Lounge at 141 Chartres Street as it looked in Spring, 2008.

Before moving worship services to their pastor's home earlier in June, congregation members had been holding services at the UpStairs on Sundays. But the bar was still a spiritual gathering place. There was a piano in one of the bar's three rooms, and a cabaret stage. Members would pray and sing in this room, and every Sunday night, they gathered around the piano for a song they had adopted as their anthem, United We Stand, by The Brotherhood of Man.

They sang the song that evening, with David Gary on the piano, a pianist who played regularly in the lounge of the Marriott Hotel across the street. The congregation members repeated the verses again and again, swaying back and forth, arm in arm, happy to be together at their former place of worship on Pride Sunday, still feeling the effects of the free beer special.

At 7:56 pm a buzzer from downstairs sounded, the one that signaled a cab had arrived. No one had called a cab, but when someone opened the second floor steel door to the stairwell, flames rushed in. An arsonist had deliberately set the wooden stairs ablaze, and the oxygen starved fire exploded. The still-crowded bar became an inferno within seconds.

The emergency exit was not marked, and the windows were boarded up or covered with iron bars. A few survivors managed to make it through, and jumped to the sidewalks, some in flames. Rev. Bill Larson, the local MCC pastor, got stuck halfway and burned to death wedged in a window, his corpse visible throughout the next day to witnesses below..."

You can read the rest here

Jun 27, 2009



Will be here in a few hours. Yeay!
I feel like I should be doing more homework (since, I'm ashamed to admit that I've only ever seen the movie once, a million years ago), or at least popping some dolls or something.
There's still time, I guess.
Anyway, there will be no need for a review, I'm sure, because everything I've seen by them has been wonderful.

Jun 26, 2009

moral dilemma

"I'm just not sure if I should get them* or not?"

Friend to me...and himself...today (I paraphrase).

*espadrilles

What would you do if this happened to you?

Jun 25, 2009

off the wall...rest in peace

Unreal but not completely unexpected.





As I prefer to remember him.

Jun 24, 2009

Four random things overheard today



"Here's my number. 75 right?"

Massive man in his late fifties, elastic jeans, black velcro shoes and dirty blue polo shirt: XXXL, on his mobility scooter....leeringly, to two very tan 18year old hustlers in day glo tee shirts and sunglasses.

Transacted as they
exited a matinee of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"




"Say 'daddy'! Say 'daddy'!"
An uncanny A-Rod-lookalike repeatedly to his infant son, while his
wife drowsily ate her fries. The baby never responded, but I almost did.



"You still on a diet?"
Cashier to 300 pound policeman in line before me.
"Yeah, I'm still fat. It's all right. Give me the 10 nugget meal and small vanilla Frosty."




"Jesus Freaking Christ!"

Me, as I touched the 104 degree steering wheel of my car.
Image shamelessly stolen from Jason who was there in the Target Parking lot at the same time, coincidentally.

Phoenix's "Lisztomania"




I think I might even prefer the acoustic version.

Jun 21, 2009

Crime of fashion

a bit of local News from tonight:

Beating with gold lame boot brings five-year term

by Gwen Filosa, The Times-Picayune
Saturday June 20, 2009, 8:46 PM


The weapon was one gold lame boot. "The victim: An early-morning patron at a
French Quarter bar known for welcoming drag queens and their paramours.

The perpetrator: Walter Black, 41, of Belle Chasse, who had already racked up convictions for robbery and extorting some $10,000 from a priest he was having sex with and blackmailing in 2001.

Black's latest escapade has him headed back to prison. On Friday, an Orleans Parish judge sentenced him to five years for using his gold boot to beat a man outside the Double Play bar, 439 Dauphine St., at 3:37 a.m. Oct. 25, 2008....."


Oh, and this part was pretty good too:


"Black's sister also testified that her brother has a learning disability, and that his "lifestyle" began only after he started to come into New Orleans, where he was "influenced" by others. "

I mean really...how many times have we all heard that excuse before?

Read the rest here.

Jun 19, 2009

cheese and gaydar

There's nothing like wine and cheese you-can't-pronounce with three doctors to make you feel poor.

The venue was nice, however.















"Very Nor-Cal," the "Nor-Cal" girl in the line in front of me announced to her non-Nor-Cal friends. Gauging by the shop, I'm guessing this "Nor-Cal" place is completely inhabited by sporty white people and is very well air conditioned.
Nice.

Anyway, the ostensible topics of the night were real estate, the cold of Chicago vs. the heat of New Orleans, real estate, wine, restaurants, cheese, and real estate (standard yuppie chatter...do people still use that word?)

Anyway, the tacit topic, simmering underneath all this small talk, however, was whether or not Doctor number 3 was gay.

Of course I'd been briefed on the evidence pro and con beforehand by Dennis, the only other non doctor there.

I'd met these friends of his a few times before, but Doctor number 3, only once. They'd all known him for years, and still hadn't quite decided what the deal was. Sometimes it takes a lifetime. Sometimes even longer.

Dennis was eager to have my input, though my gaydar is notoriously faulty.

The evidence presented, before the meeting, was thus:

1. He is noticeably flirty, but in a non-sexual way. He was toward me the first time I met him, and again tonight actually, but then he does this to most folks it seems.
2. He's never been involved with any woman that anyone knows about...and these are his long term best friends.
3. He's never been involved with any man either, that anyone knows about.
4. He favors platonic female friends and gay male friends.
5. His family history (which was not elaborated upon) is "crazy". What that means, I have no idea, but I speculate it's important.
6. He's more than a little interested in grooming, fitness and clothes, but not to an excessive extent, however.

Oh, yeah, and the coup de grace:

7. He's distractingly good looking. I mean dangerously so.

Anyway, I couldn't help much with the judgement, but the cheese was good.
Ultimately, however, I lean more to the "straight" side. I think some of the gay talk is wishful thinking, but I could be wrong. I've met him but twice, very superficially.
I think the tally is equally divided on both sides still.

It just may be a case that may never be solved, kind of like, you know, Rock Hudson.

Jun 18, 2009

overheard

"So, do that mean you want Mandarin earn-jizz witchurs too?
Mandarin earn-jizz.
Earn-jizz.
You see up dere in dat picture...in dat cup? Mandarin earn-jizz."

(Wendy's cashier...in Anita Baker (circa "Rapture") wig and tattooed eyebrows arched one fourth of an inch too high....to the tiny, elderly Indian couple in front of me.)

rock swings

A few years ago, Paul Anka (of all people) put out a really great collection of covers, called Rock Swings:

Unfortunately, I can't find his cover of "Lovecats" on youtube, but you can hear a snippet here.

"Lovecats" was the first cover from this cd I'd heard (by way of Michael, of course), but most, if not all, are pretty groovy. It's still my favorite, however.

Here's his "hit", "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

So I'm on Martha Stewart's twitter list...

and this little jewel reminds me why. I couldn't make this up if I wanted to:




MarthaStewart: Accident outside of my house just now, no one hurt but my grasses were run over and destroyed!

Jun 17, 2009

Casablanca at noon




Today, I took myself to see a midday showing of "Casablanca" at the Prytania. The owner, Rene, an elderly gentleman, genially collected my ticket, and proudly announced that "we have Air-conditioning in here!" As with "Gigi" the theater was packed. It's a small theater, one of the few remaining one-screen neighborhood theaters in the country I think.

I luckily got a seat across from a woman with a whimpering infant and an old lady who wheezed like she was sighing and coughing at the same time. She kept the rhythm and the baby kept the beat.

The crowd was an interesting mix, a young Pakistani woman alone eating a contraband hamburger from her purse, a few young couples, a young gay boy and his mom, both of whom walked exactly the same way, a cute gal with her Bettie Page bangs, a number of college hipsters, and, up in front, a couple celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary.

The owner introduced them to the audience, and they shared a toast of champagne. The husband announced (while his wife cowered in embarrassment) that they'd had their first date at showing of "Casablanca".

The overwhelming majority of the audience, however, was, of course, elderly. I could hear them chattering before (and some during) the movie. There seemed to be a large contingent of British scattered about for some reason. I don't know why "Casablanca" drew them out. Odd.

In fact, next to me was a tall, beautifully dressed patrician British woman, with her (New Orleanian) husband. She'd lived here, she told me, for the past 40 years but thankfully hadn't picked up her husband's accent. She told me all about her childhood during the war just outside of London and complained about the crying baby. She was also thoroughly displeased with the delay in showing the movie, but I think she was alone in that regard.

Before the movie, we were entertained first by our host who shared a story about how he'd never heard of Casablanca until the movie came out, and how not long afterward he'd been drafted and a few other anecdotes. One of his young workers had to cut him short or he'd have continued to talk forever I'm sure.

After his introduction, there were a number of vintage candy ads and then the old trailers for the upcoming films in the series: "Some Like it Hot", "King Kong" and "The Sound of Music".

But, best of all was a cartoon before the film: Bugs Bunny, in "Carrotblanca"



Of course it's a cliche to say how great "Casablanca" is, but seeing it on a big screen (with a flawless picture, by the way) I was amazed at how beautiful the photography was. There's no comparison to seeing a movie on the big screen. It had never occurred to me, for instance, how funny the movie is. There's just something about sharing it with a large audience, even if they do wheeze and cry.

And of course, who can't help but fall in love with Ingrid?
Truly.


Jun 16, 2009

the blacker the berry, etc.



Picked the way we used to when I was a kid, along the barbed wire fence, in blinding heat, always on alert for snakes or the occasional rogue bull,
probably dusted with DDT.
But who cares.
Nothing much in this world tastes better.

Jun 14, 2009

pre-father's day

"Hey, John's shot another gator up in the yard. A six footer! He's frying it up now. I'll bring some back."

My father on the phone yesterday.
None of this was a good idea. None.

Jun 13, 2009

Maintain yuh dignity!



My favorite is the "lady" who's been allowed to maintain her "dignity" by this revolutionary invention.

From dlisted, of course.

Jun 12, 2009

Stuff I kind of need right now

An Odilon Redon

Solid gold honeycomb


Projection computer screen and keyboard

A Finn Juhl armchair





A Rococco console

Jun 11, 2009

The top of my refrigerator


This is how I entertain myself on a week night.
So very sad.
Anyway, The Eiffel Tower and Empire State building are straight from Target, circa 2006. The little Arc de Triomphe, however, is a genuine article, from the 50s, found in the thrift store years ago. My prized Statue of Liberty cigarette lighter (with really cool flame from torch) is out of butane, unfortunately. I bought it the first time I went to NY.
The other things are toys. The Zeppelin and the airplane and car are all from my late uncle, some of his toys from the 30s that my aunt gave me before she died.
I used to rotate rural and urban, but am way too lazy to change them decided to use them as a statement on the hypocrisy of the Capitalist Patriarchy.

Jun 10, 2009

flix

A few months ago, looking to show a film in class, I realized that the public library didn't have a dvd version, nor could I find it even at the (soon to be extinct) video store, so I was absolutely forced to come into the 19th century and sign up for the ubiquitous Netflix.
Forced!
Anything for my students.
I don't even own a dvd player at home, just my little laptop.

Anyway here are the films I've seen from them thus far, my "queue", as it were. The best thing about Netflix, if you ask me, is their use of this word.
But anyway can you identify them? (Yeah, I know, too easy, but play along. What else do you have to do?)

Yeah, not nearly as sexy as this makes it look, very slooooooooow....but very beautifully filmed. I've already forgotten half of the plot again already.



Always a crowd pleaser. Every time I watch it, I like this version less, however.

Hmmm....had hoped this would be better, but at least I got to look at the lovely Mr. Fiennes for a few hours.

I watched this twice, but it needs to be re watched a few more times, I think. What can I say, I'm kinda slow. Still, it's stayed with me since I've seen it. I especially loved this scene.

Prompted by Frontier Psychiatrist I just watched this last night. Not nearly as campy as it looks. But then maybe I just have a very high threshold for camp.
Could be.
The commentary was also delightful. I've just put it in the mail a few hours ago.

And this is what I've just put on my queue (Season 1 is the only one yet available).
And to my frustration it says: "Very Long Wait"
Argh.
But I completely understand.

Jun 7, 2009

random Sam's Club sights

The last time I went to Sam's Club, of course, I saw a legendary lioness prowling the aisles Terrifying and awesome.
Today's trip was not nearly so exciting, but still there were sights to be seen.

At the entrance, blocking the way, a whole family, all six of them, in "Free Palestine" t-shirts. No doubt mom had one under her hijab too. The cart was full of chopped garlic and extra large sized boxes of Hostess snack cakes. All the hydrogenated oil in there will be "freeing" Palestine soon enough, I'm sure



At the concession stand, a lesbian couple were a few steps in front of me. They were buying bottled waters and slices of cheese pizza for lunch. Of course, there's nothing unusual about seeing a lesbian couple in a Sam's Club, but these weren't your average lesbians. Nope, these were bonafide L-word types, clearly visitors from the East bank. The tall one was a tad bit butcher than the smaller one, who was very pretty, perhaps Lebanese(a Lebanese Lesbian, wouldn't that be cool?)
Anyway, both were dressed in skinny jeans and wifebeaters, the smaller one in fabulous silver strappy heels. They were wheeling around 20 bottles of wine and two cases of Mexican beer.





While looking in the plastic cup section, I noticed a strange phenomenon. Across from me, folks would file by. Most would hurry on their way to the free samples in the grocery section, but along the way, every single black woman of a certain age would invariably stop and fondle the Magnalite. Every single one.

They'd completely ignore the yuppie copper and the "Wolfgang Puck" classic collection and hone in on the Magnalite, gleaming in its aluminum deco beauty. A few would even sigh in longing. I can't say I blame them.

At the exit, checking out before me, were two young Mexican men, one cholo like, with tattoos and saggy pants, the other, clearly his lover, with bobbed hair, wearing women's jeans. He seemed to be named, "Manuel." Manuel was dutifully filling up an extra large fountain coke for his man. They shared a straw. They were pushing out a cart filled with raw pork: chops, loin, sausage.

Jun 3, 2009

Zank 'eaven, etc.

This afternoon I went with my friend Jason to a showing of "Gigi".
It's about as close to Paris as I'm likely to get, it seems.
ahem

I hadn't seen it in years, and never really liked it much when I saw it.
But on the big screen, I have to admit, I really enjoyed it.
If you've never seen "Gigi" the guys at Project Rungay give a perfect synopsis.
Do yourself a favor and give it a read.

Excerpt:


"Yes girls, it's Gigi! The story of a young French girl who finds love despite her grandmother's sick attempts to train her for a life of prostitution!

The year? 1900! The place? Paris! The Bois de Boulogne! The players? Perverted old Frenchmen and snotty high-priced whores in vagina hats! And oh honeys, this film is the holy grail of vagina hattery..."



That sums it up pretty perfectly.

Actually what I remember most about "Gigi" is that an older cousin of mine had been named after the heroine. She turned out to be a slut.
Talk about irony.

I expected a noon showing on a rainy Wednesday of a 50 year old film in a slightly dingy old theater to be a lonely affair, but it turned out to be standing room only.
I was shocked.
The crowd distracted from the movie, of course, but made for a...ummmm...theatrical experience of its own. The character arc of Jason's seatmate, for example, was particularly remarkable. She went from bitching loudly about having to sit in a wet seat (water bottle spilled, not incontinence...She claimed) to chatting curiously about the plot.
I think her bitchiness was preferable, actually.

Anyway, here are some pics from my car to the theater:







Jun 2, 2009

Classic American style

The other night dining at a local "discount steak" restaurant, I saw a woman with her husband. She was eating "molten lava" fudge cake with ice cream and drinking a diet coke, dressed in the following:



Classic Extra Large Wolf Howling t-shirt.


Classic New Balance "running" shoes


Classic acid washed jeans, size 20ish (?)


Classic Femullet


Classic Coach "Zoe" bag, (retail $398.00)

I could verify its authenticity only because I have been schooled in this matter by a coworker who, unlike with her hair, demands authenticity in Coach purses.


It all made me wax philosophical:
Where do we, as a culture, put our priorities?
If a lone wolf howls in the forest, does anyone hear it?
Does the purse bring class, or is it the cash inside of it?
Is life, like the mullet, just one big exercise in paradox?
Why do I sound like Carrie Bradshaw?
Why did I see that Sex in the City movie anyway?
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

We're #1!

Seeing as there have been, I think, like 7 murders in the last 5 days, this is hardly a surprise, but still...it makes news. Just wait till summer.

New Orleans Again Nation's Murder Capital
by The Associated Press

"NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A newspaper analysis of fresh FBI statistics finds that
New Orleans is once again the nation's murder capital.

The Times-Picayune determined that with 64 killings per 100,000 people in 2008, New Orleans had the highest per capita murder rate in the nation, well ahead of
second-place St. Louis, which had 47 murders per 100,000 people...."
Read the rest here at the NY Times