The patron saint of mental illness. We all have days—and you know you do, too - where this is an angel of mercy and beyond. Light one white candle, and call me in the morning!
The syrup is thicker, sweeter—and the effervescence is the right degree of pop and fizz. There’s no stale whatever, just a cold icy sense of everything’s-perfect-as-you-settle-into-a-state-of-awake. And there’s a wash of innocence in the mix that reminds you how new we are each and every single day!
If you believe in writing by hand, this is the tantric sex of cheap disposable writing instruments. The body of the pen flares out a bit for better grip—and the roller/ink flow ratio is such that the pen literally skates across the paper effortlessly. And the line is both strong and clean, which for people who savor the actual writing experience is the ultimate pay-off.
Who makes more beautiful movies than Bernardo Bertolucci? Who? WHO? No one understands light and framing like he does…When he casts his web across Paris, steeping his storyline in sexual liberty, the world of cinema and the twin surges of love and lust, there is no more valiant chronicler. So young, so free, so alive, “The Beautiful” is what the master does best: he draws your breath for you, makes you ponder what could be, brings you to realizations and make your senses thrill in the process.
Just giving nature a little help. Gamine butterfly wings that’re as soft —or softer—than your own, adding a sleek bit of chic help to take the normal day and make you utterly more soignée. Especially fetching with jeans and a t-shirt for that louche French je ne sais something. “No culture should call itself civilized that prices flowers so as to make them a luxury.” —ancient Chinese saying
It perks you up without the jolt. It clears your head with a couple drops. It makes your blood pump. And it gets your tootsies perking and purring like a knucklehead Harley in its sweet spot. Smells fresh and awake, too!
Henry Diltz is as much a rock & roll texture as Keith Richards. With his silky hair, gentle soul and ever present camera, he was the visual troubadour capturing Woodstock, Monterey Pop, the Southern California (country) rock scene, David Cassidy’s high jinks, Frank Zappa’s fromping AND scattered—but essential—images of Richard Pryor. No one has Henry Diltz’s soul—hands down one of the most generous spirits I’ve ever met—and it shows in the way people drop their defenses for his llens. In those moments, and MANY of these moments are the singer/songwriter and rock era’s most indelible images, there’s a window into the soul of Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, Linda Ronstadt that is both naked and realer than real. www.henrydiltz.com also works, but don’t deny yourself the visceral privilege of the galleryit’s on a cobblestone in Soho—and it makes you think of the bohemian fringe glory days!
If you don’t like the band, the song or the original, you still have to embrace this radical approach to reinvention. Here organic bluegrass/prog-country Pin Monkey changes the tempo, tenor and attitude of Sugar Ray’s Top 40 confection—introducing a lighter-than-air exuberance, a manifest destiny of amour and a wide-eyed embrace of the momentum and adrenalin that is love lived. Miles from the street-smart declaration that was far more hunt than invitation, yet with the same sparkle at its core.
The ultimate kamikaze record executive, Walter Yetnikoff writes with the same hunger and fervor he attacked life with. Too much was only a beginning for the man who cut deals and deep welled for Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Public Enemy and Barbra Streisand. Rapid fire pacing, psychotically good attention to detail, an unwillingness to clean up the attitudes, avarice and excess of the day. This takes page turner into the realm of page burner—while providing a microscopic look at how it really works. Full-tilt. Big bravado. Bigger moments.
Everything you’d never expect on a pizza: roasted slices of potato, fresh kernels of corn, thick ribbons on pesto—and oozy, buttery, melty cheese. It makes no sense, but it tastes soooo good. SO GOOD in fact that for me, it borders on obsession. And whatever they do to the crust here, it has the weight of normal pizza dough, but none of the leaden implosion so often associated with the perfect food (seriously ALL major food groups ARE represented). If you doubt me, put your fingers in the side of Christopher’s pizza and taste for yourself.
What could be brattier than needlepoint shoes? And you can go straight— vines, wallpaper patterns—or crazy—my beloved frogs on hot pink. And while the soles are firm, they pack all the comfort of house shoes… so you can kick back while kicking up your heels.
More than a longitude and latitude, it’s an attitude. Free your mind… and your behind will follow. Most often mounted in a tres ancienne Silver Eagle of fine wine vintage, it’s about the beats, the grooves, the swing, the black lights and the urchin spirit that thrusts, bumps, grinds with the kind of relentless gravitational rejection that jettisons any problem imaginable. Nelly. Hip Hop. Whatever. Just add green labels or rum. Invoke Captain Jack Sparrow. And frolic with undulating abandon.
Extra more. The world where everything is anything but what it seems gets the expanded dance re-mix-(up), and as a girl who grew up on “How Doth The Little Crocodile,” certain one of those damn tabbies could Cheshire smile and wondering when my mother would shriek “off with her head,” this bonus version gives you everything you loved about Disney-on-(Charles)-Dodson and rolls it even further. If I’d ever been of a pharmacologic bent, I can only imagine what joys this might hold, but as a non-ingester, it’s still reality-bending, -boughing and - breaking enough to make me smile.
Like Monet attacked your neighborhood. Clouds of marshmallow whip and dreams. Gently, airily reaching for the sky, teeny blossoms supported by the suggestion of arches of grayish brown. It is the time of year when the gentle loveliness of nature is at its best—and you can smile into how simple it all is if you’ll just pause long enough to look.
So haiku. So geisha. So something we don’t order ‘cause we never think of it. A recent bout of double Japanese dinners put me full in the throes of the warm, capillary-opening rice wine—and the synapse realignment was relaxation tempered with the laughter, ponder and utter immersion of friends old and in the making. It’s a different kind of “groove on,” but a groove well worth the wearing.
You need that person NOW. It’s the wrong time to call for help. You knit your brow. You scroll through. Viola! Delight and just the right person for the right moment right now. Be judicious about who you add and why, and the whole wide world can open in new and fascinating ways. www.rococochocolates.com Fans of artisanal chocolate bars will lose their minds! The Campaign for Real Chocolate began in 1986 in response to a proposed ruling impacting the quality of European cocoa products and the founders of Rococo Chocolates were on the frontline of refusal, stubbornly maintaining the ultimate gustatory decadence. The dark chocolate bars offer the most variety—beyond the obvious choices, for those of you seeking the truly unique, the varieties include chili pepper, orange and geranium, basil and lime and Arabic spices, while the milk chocolate also swings wide with bars containing rose, sea salt or lavender.
Nothing is more egalitarian. And it only screams preppy if you let it. Wears like iron. No need to fuss or muss. Myriad colors. Who cares what happens to it? And if you’re going purist, obviously the one to don has the gently spreading jaws—to quote from Lewis Carroll—not the horsey, horsey, horsey!
On a moonlit night. On an empty highway. With your foot on the gas and the radio up. Gearing down into the turns. Stamping it through three gears as you open it wide. Yowling with delight. Feeling every bit of the road. Laughing ‘cause you’re alive. There is no moment as free, as there, as wow! as driving a stick shift pick-up in the lost hours.
The kind of documentary that makes you see how many facets there can be to a story. The Friedmans were a typical Great Neck, New York family—bright, gifted, accelerated interests and a façade that was perfect. Beneath seemingly high spirits, this is a family in crisis—as the father and one of the sons are accused (and ultimately convicted) of several counts of sexual abuse. To understand the impact upon the accused and their family, the way news is filtered, this is an uncanny look—and its commitment to various perspectives (rather than bee-lining to the producer’s own conclusions) earned it an Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary category. Definitely heavy viewing.
Bruce Springsteen was the other book-end in my childhood “music matters” reality. And here, in 3 and a half minutes, while acknowledging the horde of adoring women, he exonerated every girl who ever sighed and committed their heart to The Pretender, For Everyman, Late For The Sky and Running On Empty. “If Brian Wilson wrote of California as paradise, Jackson wrote of it as paradise lost”—and then goes on to invoke the best we can hope for as humans is love from the shattered pieces, which is what fired Browne’s tender, if battered, yet still beating lyrics. Dignity for anyone who ever suffered the eye-rolling inherent to loving “the wimpy guy”—and a strong case for as Little Steven says, “Nothing is more personal than politics.”
Bill Greene, the man with the palette and the plan, has been listening to me scream, “Brighter! Louder! More! MORE!” ever since he convinced me it wasn’t playing to (shanty Irish) type to die my head red. And now, several years in, he’s actually found a way to imply battery pack with a shade that is so much more Mr. Tony than Little Baby Jesus in its origin, yet never goes full-on bad vaudeville or Lost Vegas. For those of you brave enough to let go of the side of the color pool!
Take the woman who transfixed the ultimate rock star, add their coltish daughters—feel the gypsy wild heart of rock & roll. Here Keith Richards’ heartmate Patti Hansen’s high cheek boned lust for everything maintains the higher ground, while daughters Theodora and Alexandra more than exude the genetic force that proves the ferocity of that connection is in the blood.
The dusk voiced poet of the educated mass returns with more ruminations on faith, love, healing and finding one’s place in the world. No one brings empathy and a reason to believe like Washington, D.C.‘s first lady of the phases of the human heart—and perhaps not since her watershed Stones In The Road as the far-flung coffeehouse muse been as happy or inspiring. This is music for those who see the world as it is, but refuse to believe there’s a better option than joy, even if its tempered with occasional twinge or pang of loss. Jangle guitars shine and there’s that settled in wisdom that makes us all richer for her honey and brandy-soaked earthy voice.
A bit poppier than Palm Beach likes to go, but the moments captured are so utterly singular, it’s worth the risk for not being “serious.” Hat Ladies is Julie Moos’ large scale color celebration of the throw-it-all-down-for-the-Lord congregation of the New Pilgrim Baptist Church in the African-American community of Ensley in Birmingham, Alabama. This is regal, strong, connected women of God, looking better than Saturday night and offering up a sense of dignity that makes us all more just by viewing. Benson’s photographs capture the Beatles at the moment of explosion. To see how young, how fresh, how freewheeling they could be amidst of the centrifugal force of a seismic cultural shift adds an almost vertiginous weightlessness to it all. Euphoria shot straight into your veins—at the fingertips of some very beautiful young boys who knew how to take shimmer and weave it into something akin to a revolution, perhaps without even conscious effort.
Robert Altman brings his slice-of-reality feature film-making acumen to the world of ballet—and Selma Blair actually does the work to be able to do her own dancing. Like every world that fascinates the man who gave us “Nashville,” “The Player” and “Pret A Porter (Ready To Wear),” this gaze more than holds us with his tale of foibles, competitiveness and the realities facing dance companies trying to keep the world of ballet strong and growing. Limited release, but worth seeking out
Proof that being a societal raconteur can work for you. Gray took on his age with clarity, irony and a resolve that allowed the truth to be what it was. That he battled demons and lost is our loss. Regardless, “Swimming To Cambodia” alone is an incredibly strong testament to the man who was here for a little while.
Rolling Stone, April 1, 2004
“A Hollywood Ending” by Jancee Dunn,
“The Twilight of Bob Guccione” by John Colapinto
Two well-written pieces about the price of fame beyond the glory, the excess that corrupts with its insidiousness—and in Dunn’s case, coverboy Ben Affleck’s ability to remain true to himself within the eye of the celebrity maelstrom that consumes most bold-faced names. Guccione’s story is tragic and cautionary in the most literal way, but understanding the weight of public scrutiny a la Bennifer offers an unflinching truth about the nature of the epicenter of can’t-get’ enough.
Town & Country, April 2004
“In The Pink” - excerpted from Lilly Pulitzer with Jay Mulvaney’s book
Essentially Lilly: A Colorful Guide To Entertaining
Lilly Pulitzer is to preppy couture as Manuel is to high chic rodeo riders and hillbilly singers: someone who understands it’s more than a niche, it’s a state of life. And here, more than a tell-all about a strata of society most will never experience, let alone imagine, she brings her ebullient zest for life to a slow boil of within-one’s-reach ideas. Hats off to Mulvaney’s facile channeling of the woman so many teeth-clenchers wish to be: he reveals a voice that is laughter-strewn, not uptight or uppity, which is what so many might expect.
Blender April 2004
“The Last Supper” Rob Tannenbaum
Two creative pulsepoints seemingly pointed in opposite directions—and Tannenbaum does nothing to assuage the tension, which makes for fascinating reading that not only may foreshadow the end of Outkast, the hip-hop/pop/funk/organic meltdown factory, but illuminates how tenuous superstardom can be. There, as they say, but for the grace of God, it could all be gone. If you ever wondered how people walk away from supernova heat/stardom, dig in.
Vogue, April 2004
“Nostalgia: Reckless Abandon” by Dirk Wittenborn
Any time you put Gwen Stefani, the Jean Harlow of punk on the cover, you know a magazine is cooking with bravado, brashness and combustion! It’s the shape issue—so pick your body type and have them tell you one more time what to wear—though the profiles of the shape-fillers are all inspiring in that go-girl way. But the writing really sizzles when Wittenborn writes of being taken hostage by the decadence of a black and white photo of a naked woman in a bath tub obscured by a tray of tres cher perfumes. In that moment, he goes China Syndroming straight to everything that made the ‘70s such a roiling frenzy for those of us reading about it in People or glimpsing at the tabloid covers. Ultimately surmising, “…the emotions it summons up in me are bittersweet. The good old days were never as good as you remember them; sometimes they’re better. “
“Think about what you’re playing for, because the message is what’s going to get you somewhere.”—Perry Farrell
This is where the rubber meets the road. And it’s not just rock stars and politicians, it’s every single one of us: how we live our life and what we make it mean. It’s the meaning that matters—whether it’s a life lived in love, for love, playground justice, pursuit of happiness or doing the right thing, even when it’s hard. Make what you do matter… and if you have the public eye, it doesn’t mean haranguing per se, but bring your values to what you create. It just adds a resonance that deepens all of our lives. And if a Jane’s Addiction can get there, imagine what the rest of y’all can do!