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All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

May 2004

May 2004: Virginia Valleys, Turkey Vultures + Glowing Bodies Edition

Tater Tots—Sonic Drive-In

Lightly crisped on the outside, moist and slightly earthy on the inside. Tater tots are redolent of school cafeterias, but these are haute junk food - all the memories, none of the the tough leathery greasiness of the boiled in oil beyond any recognition of the moist tuber that begat the tot. They send out ketchup for them, but truthfully, naked tots are the way to go.

Hermes Elephant Bangle in Navy Blue

The home of the most decadent enameled bangles comes in with an elegant evoker of the gentle majesty that is the king of the jungle: trunks lifted, an elephant train that brings on the notion of circus caravans or just moving en masse with poise and poetry. For anyone ever enthralled by the jumbo innocence/dignity polemic of that is Babar meets Dumbo, it can dangle as a powerful reminder from your wrist; look down see the childlike reality that emanates from the biggest spectrum, and bring it down to your right there, right then.

“Pre-Madonna” a film festival documentary worth seeking out

Demetria Kaledimos is one of Nashville’s most celebrated newsanchors, but don’t let conventional wisdom write her off as Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” take on the job would tempt. Kaledimos has an unerring eye for the most compelling stories, which are ALWAYS the ones sliding through the cracks, and this full-length interview’n'archival footage piece tacks Nashville’s bohemian and creative explosion of 1971-73 against the tale of two erstwhile attention-craving shockformance artists George and the Arizona Star. What was happening in the Haight, Woodstock, the Sunset Strip, Coconut Grove, Florida and around the Armadillo World Headquarters scene in Austin was just as potent in Nashville. Drawing context and recollections from the creative vortex - Kris Kristofferson, writer Chris Gantry (“Such Are The Dreams Of The Every Day Housewife”), Marshall Chapman (rocker cum memoirist), journalist/editor Thomas Goldsmith, scene architect Liz Thiels, who was gatekeeper to almost all of it and guitarist/George & Arizona Star back-up player Biff Watson, the picture of Nashville in the day—a cultural beachhead caught between aggressively shifting sands—is as transfixing as the two larger than mascara and sabers femme fatales, who’ve gone on to very differing lives, loves, realities.

Cleaning Bathrooms

Small enough to give some sense of real accomplishment fairly quickly. Also, given the germy, watery realities of the bathroom, a perfect place to put that elbow-action into serious overdrive. When one surrenders to whole soul scrubbing, there’s a zen tranquility that descends—and the gleam of clean that is the ultimate reward is almost a metaphor for the way life goes.

Island Living Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach. Florida

Hands down about the cutest store for all things tropical. Want tiki shot glasses? Driftwood frames? Clever t-shirts? Hula girl lamps? Coffee table books chronicling the houses and lifestyles of the Caribbean? Bob Marley hemp-scented candles? Fired ceramic crosses glazed with tropical designs/palette to hang outside? And that’s just the first glance. Two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. You can smell the sea in the air!

Poor Girl Perms

As the girl with the world’s straightest, finest hair, the girl who spent a lifetime sighing and gazing longingly at all those wavy maned beauties, but who’s hair looked positively sheep dog post-perm, this is the kindest gentlest option ever. Braids! Seriously! Two braids, preferably when your hair’s wet. Put a little gel or anti-frizz in for sleekening, braid each side - and let it stay as long as humanly possible. When you undo—GENTLY—you will have perfect mermaid rising waves! You will be suitable for a Roxy Music album cover, a YSL runway show, a hippie moonlight festival or some soignée late night adventure. And if you’ve got the moxie to pull off braids during the day, you get the whiplash shock factor of young girl morphing into libido-inciting siren as the hair spills out of its bondage.

No rearview mirror

My friend’s ride doesn’t have a rearview mirror—which might not pass inspection, but it sure makes you present when driving! Firstly, you find yourself really committing to what lies before you—eyes on the horizon, the future, where you’re going. And when you look back, you REALLY do it: turning your head over your shoulder in a conscious motion. To be that present behind the wheel deepens the experience and offers a metaphor for how to live that’s vital and exhilarating.

Nars Body Glow

It smells like Tahiti in your mind’s eye fantasy: coconut oil and a hint of tropical bloom. It’s a deep bronze color that looks like the next James Bond hottie is gonna be dipped in it. And you apply it with your bare hands to anywhere that you want to glow and glisten with a teeny bit of glitter. Instant island vacation in a bottle—with that heady fragrance and deliciously plush smooth/satiny feeling on your skin! A bit pricey, but indulge.

Valleys in Virginia

Drove ‘em at night. Drove ‘em in the morning. You rise up alongside steep faces of craggy granite, scaling into the sky in all its natural glory and blasted ridges. And then you reach the top—and these lush emerald valleys roll out before you, the riches of nature as verdant and heady as pesto, orchid leaves or exceptional forest green velvet spun from silk. And those rolling valleys extend out—trees and fields and rustic houses offering a sense of life lived in concert with the land, appreciation for the world the way it’s created.

Me and Mr Johnson—Eric Clapton

Taking a survey course of all the varying schools of blues—from the down ‘n’ dirty to a slightly more jaunty barrelhouse strain—Me and Mr. Johnson bathes Robert Johnson’s canon in a golden light, and more than illuminates Clapton’s reverence for the single greatest influence on his music. This isn’t stiff-backed homage, but more a living breathing tribute that illustrates how right-now the blues can be if you inject them with your own pulse, own life, own sweat and soul. Satisfying as a trip to Clapton’s wheelhouse. Exciting as a glimpse into one of the great roots writers to ever live.

Finding St. Exupery’s Plane

Antoine de St Exupery—French foreign flyer, postal carrier, author. No one was more enamored with flying than the author of The Little Prince, inspired by his perspective of our world from somewhere high above it, and who “disappeared” in a romantic and fitting poof! leaving a mystery in the wake of his revelation “that everything worth seeing can only be seen with the heart.” And now his plane has been found—so the larger prince is enjoys eternal rest with his beloved Consuelo. A happy ending all the way around.

Smarty Jones

Talk about Cinderella. Everything about this horse screams Sea Bisquit redux—and the notion of a little stallion who could, by way of Philly and
Arkansas is as great an outsider victory lap as “Rocky.” Sure, it’s unorthodox, but it also gives anyone with a dream heart—and the four little hooves to pound turf into roses. And with the Triple Crown in the balance, it’s a reason to watch horse racing with your pulse elevated.

Havana U.S. 1, south of Forest Hill Blvd, West Palm Beach

Save yourself the drive to Miami! Croquettes that’ll melt in your mouth. Palomilla steak that’s soaked in garlic and citrus, then covered in onions, arroz con pollo that’s saffrony goodness dotted with peas—and a coma-inducing tres leches that is cake coaked in evaporated milk, sprinkled with coconut. Yes, they have the all-but-prescription-strength-rev-inducing Cuban coffee that’s sweet as cane, thick as mud and intense as coffee gets. 24/7—be a gringo pioneer and eat your media noche or ham/swiss/pork loin pressed Cuban sandwich on the curb with a host of characters at 3 in the morning.

“The Strokes & Lou Reed, Art, Advertising & The Myth of Marketing” Filter/ Winter ‘04

It’s still on the stands, and it’s the most brilliant analysis of rock and roll aesthetic and artistic degeneration I’ve read. Juxtaposing the ultimate cool/underground band—the Velvet Underground—with today’s all-but-focus-grouped acolytes and pseudo-outsiders, Mikel Jollett raises ALL the important questions about marketing over music, selling the illusion of rebellion, the reality of mass media’s impact and Lou Reed’s own response to the kinda now! kinda wow! brokering that is as much the Strokes zeitgeist as the revelatory or groundbreaking quality of their music. Plus the Andy Warhol factor that cloaks both of them in different ways.

Jasmine Tea

There’s something so light and soooooo intoxicating about the perfume-y elixir that is jasmine tea. The delicate blend of flavors, which is never heavy—almost teasing the palette with its sense of what may’ve just crossed your tongue—it captures the imagination as some concoction of the garden, the fields and the clouds. To drink jasmine tea is to embrace the nuance of one’s essence, to fully appreciate it is to celebrate the filigreed part of one’s soul.

Pink Zebra Scarf on a Field of Lime & Kelly Green Hermes

Whimsy and incredulity that evinces knowing smiles from style mavens. The highest of all chic talismans, the Hermes scarf is only for the very serious—and yet, next to pink elephants, what could be more “Fantasia” cast across the softest, thickest silk? Perhaps nothing. And for the serious preppy in your life, it’s every shade of the two colors that’re the national plumage. To frame, to make a pillow from or to use as a belt, top or hair accessory, should the traditional knotting at the neck not be enough.

Tomas Vokoun / Nashville Predators

They didn’t make the Stanley Cup. But frankly, Nashville having a hockey team in the play-offs is pretty profound; and proof that working hard, believing the dream when it’s crazy and giving it everything does work. And no one embodied that sense more than Tomas Vokoun, the goalie who’s middle name should be “STOP” cause nothing got by him in the third play-off game—which was a shut-out for the visiting Detroit team—played in Nashville. And to have that kind of aggressive commitment to task—on ice skates, no less—is impressive in the same way Ginger Rogers backwards-in-high-heels grace was inspiring.

The Turtle Derby Queen—Julia Reed

Long a Yummy List favorite, Reed writes about food for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, political profiles for Vogue and whatever Newsweek decides to let her loose on. A true daughter of the American South, she balances with love and reverence the old school with the new progressivism, creating understanding between two seemingly polemic realities. Her essay on the Country’s True First Lady—and the strange synergy between Tammy Wynette and George Jones and Jones’ current wife Nancy—alone is worth the price. But Reed is quick to embrace all manner of tradition, including funeral food (you cook for those who suffered a loss), beauty rituals and pecking order (you can’t have an event without a queen) and profiles of any number of Southerners (including the governor of the Great State of Louisiana who beat former KKK man David Duke in the run-off election).

Knowing Your Friends Trust You With Their Deepest Secrets

There was a number on my caller ID I didn’t recognize—beyond the area code being one of my several hometowns. Hitting re-dial, there was the voice of an old friend who needed to talk, to confess doubts and misgivings, to weigh the tides, check the horizon, seek the far wall. What they shared is something they might well not tell anyone else—and in a world where information is currency and power, knowing this dear soul both trusted my discretion and my insight may’ve been the greatest gift of all. May none of us in our daily rush to deal with the exponentiating craziness lose sight of these gifts when they present themselves. It’s easy to be too busy, but next to impossible to get this sort of integrity validation on command. Whatever we give back pales in comparison to the compliment we’re given. Remember that; be there.

www.WholeLatteLove.com

David Grissom, an educated man, completely refined soul and witch of the first order on the guitar, turned me onto this site, which is Ground Zero AND nirvana for anyone requiring javanation! Name the brand, the quirk, the kink, the nuance—and this site has it. Need an espresso machine? No problem. Looking for a certain kind of bean? Here you go. Wanna read articles about the wonders of coffee? Right on. In a world of rush-rush, hurry-hurry, here’s the jet fuel and the turbo-pump system to keep you rocking!
www.WholeLatteLove.com

 

Delray Beach’s Beach

South Florida’s Atlantic beaches are wonders—white sand, relatively clear water, enough breakers to let you know it’s an ocean. But the mainframe beach in Delray is stunning. With wooden chaise lounges scattered across the sand, showers strategically placed, umbrellas to pitch for those who need them, it’s impossibly user friendly. When you consider that they’ve also cultivated indigenous foliage, tons of manalapans and other hardy tropical trees and bushes along A1A, Delray Beach’s beach is a treat of the highest order. A public beach that exudes all the comfort—sans waiter service—of a beach club, but without all the uptight attitude and exclusivity that wrecks the down low and the chilled out effect a day at the beach is supposed to yield.

Hersheys Kisses Filled With Caramel

They can’t even be in my house anymore. And if they get a little bit warm, it’s better than a chocolate volcano cake. The classic Hershey’s chocolate taste gives way to this rich, buttery, gooey center that is the perfect counter point to the sweet bitter chocolate. We’re talking the upside down ratio of size to pleasure - which is really the best way to work the deal (small equaling something huge).

Uncomplicated—Ellis Hooks (Artemis)

Old school rhythm & blues, torn from Mississippi cotton fields, cracked and faded two lane black-top highways bobbing and weaving under the burning sun, bars that let in no light and hearts that’ve been battered by life’s circumstances. But Hooks—whose voice recalls a less ravaged Otis Redding—serves up a fair amount of redemption and desire on his American debut, including the rafter-raising “The Hand of God” and the title track. A certified “organic recording”—that uses no pro-tools, sweeteners, correctors or pitch shifters, Uncomplicated harkens back to a day when soul came from within and wasn’t manufactured or synthesized to give the illusion of feeling. Wanna witness to how real life feels? It’s pretty Uncomplicated—listen to Ellis Hooks’ witness.

Flying Into The Sunset

Like someone put a bull’s eye up on the magic door in heaven, just at the moment when day begins transitting into night. As the lipstick stains streak across the sky’s color—like the bleeding of some wanton woman’s mark on a pristine collar, the plane captures all the glory, all the drama, all the intensity that is sunset upclose and right there. If the sailor’s delight, then this is the ONLY way to fly—right into the heart of last burst of red and orange, gold and ochre, even purple and bruised where the raging of the dying of the day leaves its mark. One more way to be humbled by the inherent natural dynamic.

The Bottle Opener That Spins

You put it over the cap. Turn your wrist. Flick it back - and the cap goes with it. Just that simple. No more tearing up one’s hands on those bottles with the screw off tops. No more hanging on with your shirt or a towel. Place. Turn. Flick. Just that easy.

Essentially Lilly: A Guide To Colorful Entertaining—Lilly Pulitzer & Jay Mulvaney

Okay, it’s not the straight bio I’d've given a king’s ransom to read, because Lilly’s no-nonsense, ever gracious, usually laughing with joy worldview is worth shooting straight into one’s veins. Here are recipes, some of which actually hail from her own kitchen, lots of those mad prints in the loudest Crayola colors and more than enough memories to justify her position as the barefoot hippie/contessa of Palm Beach & the Coco Chanel of pink and green. Yes, she’s danced with JFK, dressed Jackie in her exuberant prints and entertained housefuls with grace, dignity and high spirits without ever breaking her stride or a sweat. Here’s how.
Bonus: Lillywood.
It’s the print that you can only purchase at Lilly Pulitzer signature boutiques. Celebrating all the great beaches of Southern California, it’s lemon yellow, turquoise water, flamingo fuchsia and kelly green, as whimsical as you can take it, smile-inducing to a critical mass and cut into almost every article of clothing imaginable.

Gerst Haus, Woodland Blvd. East Nashville, TN

Imagine serious German food in the land of deep fried and smothered in cream gravy! Though Weiner schnitzel is certainly the middle European cousin. We’re talking spaetzle, braised purple cabbage, ham balls, cheese soup, chicken paprika, German pancakes—and all the other hardy central European dishes you can imagine. Not for the light of appetite or faint of stomach. But as stick to your ribs food of the Midwestern tilt, this’ll bring back every comfort food moment of your raising.

Neon

Nothing says cold beer and good band quite like that flies begging to get out of the kitchen buzz that is neon that’s been hanging for a good long time. When you see neon, you know you’re in the authentic kind of old school bar - -and you can let down your guard, kick back your heels and settle into the most unpretentious hang around. As George Jones’ once let fly on the CMA-winning protest “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair”: “I’ve got neon in my veins.”

“The Other Way”

Sometimes when you come to the fork in the road and you’ve got a few hours to kill, try to go the other way; the path that takes you somewhere you have no idea about. Whatever you find is a gift of the route—whether it’s a few beautiful miles of scenery, a killer antiques store, a small town that makes Mayberry seem cosmopolitan, awesome local eats (Mexican, bbq or home-cooking), a shortcut you didn’t realize existed or just room for your thoughts to wind all the way out.

Viva Glam V Mac Cosmetics

The 5th edition of their AIDS charity lipstick also comes as lip gloss this time—and that’s ALL of the sticker price going to research, people, so buy up. A brownish pink that’s a bit sheer and also a bit glittering, it’s like a gogo girl gone demi-natural. All the wow, plus a shade that makes you look like you’re not trying that hard. Imagine the natural look gone glam, and you got it. Now get it.

Chris Wheeldon, choreographer

To be 31, pretty and the most in demand balletomane alive! You can read all about him—recent spreads in both TIME and The New York Times Sunday Magazine were fairly heady stuff. Or more importantly, experience the Brit’s work with the New York City, Philadelphia and/or San Francisco Ballets here in the States. A young choreographer coming up insures the vitality of the form, and his willingness to draw on music from unlikely sources, the brashness to merge movements both modern and classic and a scarf flying over shoulder dashingness about him, it’s been since Baryshnikov that ballet had a figure of this swashbuckler.

Ten Minutes To Normal—Karen Hughes

Whether you’re conservative or liberal, interested in politics or pop culture, this is the straight-shooting story of the woman who told the president how it was, what to say and the best way to pick up the pieces. Without flinching, she tells the truth about the costs of life in the eye of the storm, the weight of responsibility of a job that is basically conscience and clarity for the leader of the free world and why she walked away from the most powerful position in the White house. If you wanna understand how the Republican mindset/arguments in an election work, here’s how; and if you’re interested in the mind of a brilliant woman, again, here it is.

Turkey Vultures

There he was, standing by the side of the road; fat like a dodo, nonplussed like an old hippie hitchhiker, who’d seen it all and was used to the world and the cars passing by. Not exactly a pretty bird, but solid and unwavering. But more importantly, the turkey vulture is a harbinger of Purification, Death and Rebirth, and New Vision—a talisman of major transitions and personal ascendance, its kicked back appearance is a signifier of a brand new future.

Lubriderm Serious Sensitive Skin Lotion

Right there in your drugstore aisles, a lotion that the most temperamental skin will love. Scentless, not too thick, quickly absorbed—and layering doesn’t seem to clog pores. Lubriderm Serious Sensitive is the answer to bumpy girls’ (and boys’) prayers. You’ll feel like a human being in a matter of days, and a luxurious indulgence of the flesh in a couple weeks.

Backbed of a Pick-Up Truck

A portable patio. Park. Blanket/Chaise Lounge. Cooler. Watch the night sky—as the time languidly rolls by. Or set-up a grill, bring a bunch of friends and instant tail-gate party. Sure, you can haul stuff around; but that’s not nearly as creative, as fun or as soulful an endeavor. This is a refuge anywhere you choose to park it: field, creekside, parking lot, dead end. You decide what your spirit needs—and the place to take the time to reflect is ready for driving!

Gospels, Spirituals & Hymns—Mahalia Jackson (Columbia)

A voice that is dry red clay, deep dark brocade curtains, the knowledge of redemption and pain of life, the echoes of claret wine and old oak leaves. Mahalia Jackson is the refuge and the witness to the ultimate truth—and she sweats that praise and glory with a dignity that makes deliverance seem attainable for even the most fallen; all they need to do is pay the cost. Glory, agony, resurrection, forgiveness, faith. It’s all here—in a 2-disc set that can color Sunday mornings a whole lot more inspirational without ever leaving the house.