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

June 2004

June 2004: Tater Tots + “Pre-Madonna” Edition

Good News For Old Friends

Ran into an old friend from New York, now living in California. She’d been through a rugged divorce, but she always maintained the strain—and having a moment to catch up, it seems she’s found happiness with a mutual friend who was just so wonderful that everyone wondered why he’d not found that girl. I called another friend at a newspaper where he’d been the weekend editor only to find out there was a new weekend editor. In my panic over what happened, I treaded water—and sent an e-mail about “what the hell happened?” Turns out my old friend now edits ALL the features. Good things happen to great people. Sometimes it’s just trusting time and destiny. You gotta remember.

Pink & Green Patent Cane Slingbacks—Prada

They look like something Marilyn Monroe would’ve worn. Rounded toes, gently curving 3” heel. Very old school, yet as modern as Prada can get. With the two shades paler than bubble gum faux crocodile toe cap and the slightly whiter than lime green strap and heel, this is the preppy rendition of Prada’s right now back-to-nature collection that is all burlap, hemp and cane. As manicured as whimsical, you can work this a whole bunch of different ways—so don’t feel strapped to the pearls and confection colored cashmere uniform.

Bonne Maison Apricot Jam

Nothing makes a piece of toast more decadent and wonderful than Bonne Maison Apricot Jam. It’s not that icky gooey sweetness with a citric acid charged illusion of real fruit. This is kinda almost like your Grandma used to make: chunks of apricot, the sticky almost honeyed texture of the jam itself. On sourdough or multi-grain toast, this is sunshine for breakfast; and will stay with you to whenever food becomes available again.

Michael Stanley & The Resonators June 19, Tower City Cleveland, Ohio

As a beacon of everything that rock & roll can be in the quest for dignity for the common man, the psyche of a very battered Cleveland, Ohio hung from the tips of this blonde Telecaster wielding rockwriter, who never quite made it. But for the faithful who clung to the notion that there’s honor in merely maintaining the strain, the battle cry of “Midwest Midnight,” “Let’s Get The Show On The Road,” “Lover,” “Rosewood Bitters” and “My Town” offer a solace to the got-close-but-didn’t-quite-close which pays off as if it all came down. To understand rock as salvation, roll as a raison d’etre, get thee to the church at Tower City. It’s a realm beyond the verbal - where crescendoing cymbals, screaming guitar chords, swollen basslines, wailing women singers and the rising and falling of Bob Pelander’s many keyboards offers a deliverance that allows one to be where they are, yet elevate to places beyond their desires. Amazing, uncanny, real.

Bonus Track: The Ground, the recent solo work, that’s a powerful a meditation on keeping the faith and the passion when there’s no reason to that’s ever been ruminated. Somewhere between the faith and the faultline lies the ground - and it’s there that the battle for who we shall become is won. Hopefully the Calypsonic “Romeo Is Dying,” the aching “Bound To Be,” the soul-stirring “Different Reasons” and the brutally challenging “In For A Dollar,” with its vitriolic threat “When I’m ready I’ll fade away” is a battle cry that puts cession in the hands of the listener.

The Smell of Gardenias

Better than any cocktail I can think of. Nothing goes to the head as fast, makes one as dizzy or drops inhibitions quite as directly as the scent of gardenias on the air. On my last trip to Vegas, I had four in my room and two in the bath—and it was an instant attitude adjustment as soon as I hit the
door. To unwind, to revel, to seek the proper latitude in attitude, there’s nothing like a lungful of their verdant scent of bloom and green and growth and lushness.

The part where the fairy tale exceeds

If you open your eyes, it happens with pretty startling easiness. Once upon a time, a young girl dreamed of a life beyond the footlights, where the gypsies danced and laughed and shot out the lights; and she actually met an angel with a voice like honeysuckle and tears, who said “you should write about music” - and a few years later crossed paths with the songwriter whose songs for Emmylou Harris had been the emotional understanding of her own rick-rack childhood dynamics. Those two men inspired her to reach for the stars, to believe in the clouds and to know it can come if you’ll believe. And then one night, the young woman finds herself between the two at a dinner; and they’re talking about the course of something all three have shared in terms that could elevate the dynamic forever. And, well, if the girl isn’t a contributing factor to two of the people who imprinted her destiny. If you’re willing to commit to the dream—or dream what you truly want—anything can happen.

Reflections—Lamont Dozier

The man who penned too many Motown classics to count takes matters into his own vocal chords, turns the pilot light low-beam intensity for a slow burn that reinvents teen emotional overdrive/load as a nuancical kettle of soul deep emotional meltdown. The production is a modern day cauldron of nu soul old school style - drum machines and programmed keyboards bumping into the deep-in-the-pocket can-I-get-a-witness renderings of the man who put the heat in a wave, heard a symphony, propped up this ole heart and made America sing, who stopped in the name of love, who sugar pie’d honey bunch’d, worried about where our love went. If Leon Phelps, the Ladies Man, had had this slow jam groove-a-thon, his lameness might have never been a factor. Indeed, pass the Cognac and turn down the lights.

Altoid Tangerine and Lemon Drops

From the company that brought Curiously Strong Peppermints, these hard candy drops are depth charges of citric tang. An instant tastebud wake-up call, your tongue will be wiggling at attention, lips curled in a smile, nose crunched even a little bit from the intensity of the sweet/sour flavapop that’s happening their at the tip. Suck on takes a whole new level of meaning—one palatable anywhere any place anytime for anyone!

Flip Flops with Evening Clothes

It’s been a long night. You’ve got your way too fabulous shiny clothes on and as much thou dost protest getting into them, you’re loving the compliments and looking like the prince or princess daily life drowns by virtue of on-the-go. Nothing like flip flops—be they Walgreens rubber shower varietals, jewel encrusted Miss Trish of Capri models, tried and true Stephen Bonano/Jack Rodgers whip-stitched in a contrasting color or nosebleed inducing Fendi, Gucci or Jimmy Choo models (though I’d say keeping it more funky than chic is the ticket)—to egalitarianize the look, taking the pomp from the fromp and signaling a sense of style that supersedes a look. You’re still dressed up, but you’re down low. Perfect to hit the dance floor, the House of Blues, the beer joint, the beach, the pool hall or someone’s penthouse with a certain joie du nuit that’s equal parts Holly Go Lightly and Edie Sedgwick.

“Elaine Stritch at the Liberty ” (HBO)

One of the truly great grand dames of Broadway, Stritch throws it all down. Brilliant, expansive, candid, self-deprecating, skewering, savvy, funny as any comic working the cable opportunities. But this, baby, is real. Stritch’s life set to one woman monologue with no holds barred, no punches pulled—and a great big life flung large against the possibilities, pulled like a cork from a champagne bottle. Utterly watchable. Entirely fetching.

Skip Martin

Time is unstoppable. But sometimes if you’re lucky, it just cracks right open and let’s the past emerge in the now as if it never went anywhere. Sennie “Skip” Martin the third; oh, yeah, bang the long form on THAT name. walks the line between fronting the Grammy-winning Dazz Band (“Let It Whip,” perhaps the first whips and whipped cream b&d anthem to hit the mainstream, way back in 1982) and singing with Kool & The Gang, the most un-color-concerned audiences I’d ever seen growing up. Much has happened. Stories right out of fairy tales—bad decisions gone worse, happy endings beyond euphoria. And still the smile shines, the funk remains and the dream goes on forever. With an aggregation called “United We Funk,” bringing together the powers of Dazz, Confunksun, Midnight Star and Klymass, the glory days of the post-Studio 54 dance floor may not be as far asunder as one might think.

Two Lane Highways

Take you by falling down barns. Fields that’re ripening to bursting. Hay rolls that’re waiting for the truck to haul’em home. Kudzu chasing the ground and scaling all the is before it. Houses grand and rickety. Trailer homes up on blocks, some rusting, some surrounded by hand dug flower beds. Granite walls reach up, mountains that you thread your way through. And trees! Trees in every form of foliage. Youngish owns whose trunks almost bend in the hard wind. Strong branches, in full emerald bloom, reaching towards the sky. Parchment gray ashes, thin and straight backed. Willows weeping by lakes and ponds and streams. Even dying giants, dark and haunted. Let the miles and broken lines dissolve into these things, forget the things that seemed so large before.

Angie Aparo, 12th & Porter, June 3 on tour through 6/12

Take the genetic helix… make one pipe cleaner chain Train, the other Squeeze, now twist. What you get is the DNA that is Angie Aparo—the man who wrote Faith Hill’s last mondo-smash “Cry,” which is a whole other realm in his nuanced throat: one far darker, realer and vertiginous in the who’s to bless and who’s to blame milieu. With a voice that’s pure white light, he sabers right into your gut, scraping rafters with ease and clarity—going places where no man would dare tread, and sounding utterly relaxed doing it. Big vocal trills, bigger hooks and a wit that’s dry, dirty and stirred not shaken. If he’s coming you way, this is pure pop for wow people. If not, e-mail his wing man Jack Litenberg at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)—and he’ll hook you up with a cattle prod reaction of passion, pain and elation.

Binaca Balls

Little teeny drops… that pop… when you bite them! A burst, a blast, a rush of coooool! And just cool, but cool and clean, chilling in the binaca-ness of them—and the kind of wake-up freshen-up that puts an extra hour or two into your day, a spring in your step and a spark in your laugh.

Bergdorf Blondes—Plum Sykes

So didn’t want to endorse this brand-name checking, upper East side endorsing, social climbing tomb—and not because Brit Plum Sykes isn’t the most adorable IT girl in years. It just seemed so shallow, so overly frothed and acquisitive. More empty calories than Cinn-A-Bon, but every bit as mentally slodging. But in a reason of dumb escapist whatever, this is as perfect a beach blanket book as anything Jackie Collins ever wrote—only without the pandering tawdriness (cause if I want tawdry I’m going to Anais Nin or Henry Miller, where tawdry is more the sensational, it’s an artform).

My Confessions—Usher

Hate myself for loving this. But to deny the beat-ability, the confectionary sampling, the raw moaning and sugared crooning is to not like ice cream, sunny days or flying a kite. This is just feel good songs—and they make you wanna m-o-v-e. That much of it as a “what-happened” mea culpe of a dumb young man who screwed up bigtime by not recognizing that consequences are for everyone is a bit lame, but hey—as a cautionary tale, it works. Mostly though no one’s checking the words, they’re digging the rhythms—and as the clich├ęgoes, “the water is fine, come on in.” Guilty pleasures cubed or raised to the power of cube-age. Uh-HUH!

Real Chicken Salad

Boneless skinless chicken breasts were on sale today. Cook ‘em up. Add Hellmans. Some capers. Almonds. Thinly sliced celery arches. A squeeze of lemon. Mon dieu! Utterly simple. Beyond delicious. Decadent in it’s execution, but satisfying the way chicken’n'bisquits sticks to your ribs without feeling quite so weighed down. Trust me! Inside rings of cantaloupe or honeydew, or scooped into a tomato cross cut into quarters.

“Raising Helen”

It’s official: Kate Hudson is the world’s cutest girl. And in this beyond predictable Gary Marshall film, she plays a sprite on the rise saddled with her suddenly dead sister’s three children - and a task at which not only is she tragically ill-suited, but their third sister would is perhaps the world record holder. This IS a CHICK FILM. Be warned! But in the perhaps-pat transformation of several pivotal characters, there’s a liberating truth about stepping into the roles that scare us the most. For me, at least, validation of the at times heartbreaking truth that once prompted a much loved friend and at times client to call me “a cold shower.”

Bonus: Vogue Cover spread featuring stoner/rocker/husband Chris Robinson
To understand Hudson’s worldview is to know how to bend and blend bohohippiedaisyhearturchin into a viable way of looking at life, the world and the people in it. If we could all harness a bit of Hudson’s sparkle when we turn our eyes towards the people in our world, we could probably lead headier lives. And to see her jumbled take on high end fashion and teeny details is to understand the above flip-flop/evening clothes reality.

Natalie Maines ACLU Ads

Black and white, slightly grainy, fire escape/urban tableau. And she makes the point that she’s not a patriot or a politician—and that because of the First Amendment and the American Civil Liberties Union, it’s her right as American. We take so much as a given in this country, especially the ability to speak freely about what we think, from our hearts and from our heads. If you think something different from me, then we get to respectfully disagree. It may not be a boot in your ass… It may not even be something serious… But the pouty blond with the face of a 20s film star represents something for each of us, whether we agree with what she believes or not. As Americans we are free to think and speak our minds, without free of reprisals—and that’s the greatest truth of all.

Stila Shine

The ultimate one-stop make-up in a tube. Small enough to tuck in your purse. Enough shades to let you be whatever kinda girl you wanna be. I’ve always kept a Moonbeam shade around to put on my cheeks and (yes) in my cleavage to offer some light and a sense of life—especially during those as many cities in as many days shot from a cannon excursions—as a way of cheating my body’s need for rest. But recently, I realized if you put it on your eyes a little thicker, it opens then up, infuses that awake reality that draws people in—and lasts longer than almost any eye shadow I’ve seen!

Lying at the Pool

And I lay there, and lay there, and lay there… like Baby Orca beached and utterly devoid of the will to live. It was the most amazing soul-resuscitating experience of recent months. Imagine meditation with frozen grapes and a pitcher of good ice tea (with ice cubes also made from ice tea), and you’re getting warm. Occasionally misting my face with water spray. But mostly doing nothing, not revving my mind up - just letting it wander and being amazed at the places it took me. Rather than looking at it as a stupid indulgence, look at it as necessary rejuvenation to maintain top running order. Because if you recharge, you can run that much harder, longer and cleaner—maximizing performance and opening up whole new realms of thought.

White Stripes Merchandise

Their music is the brittle rigidity of garage rock strew across a taut little two-piece. It is unerringly guttural, utterly primal and unself-consciously raw. Yet the baby baseball jersey with the pair’s portrait and the body hugging long femme sleever—aptly rendered in black and red—are as darling as they are dangerous.

White Stripes Merchandise

Their music is the brittle rigidity of garage rock strew across a taut little two-piece. It is unerringly guttural, utterly primal and unself-consciously raw. Yet the baby baseball jersey with the pair’s portrait and the body hugging long femme sleever—aptly rendered in black and red—are as darling as they are dangerous.

L’Occitane Verbena Soap

This high quality, medium money soap lathers nicely, but smells heavenly. Aside from getting you clean, it makes your brain feel refreshed—like someone took Windex, sprayed your gray matter, then squeegeed it clean. And if you’re a sensual person, a small bar of this in a drawer lends a dimension cleanliness that draws a smile for it’s exuberance. After all, there’s cleanliness, and then there’s yumminess. Why not go all the way?

Truck Stands

They’re out there. Farmers on the side of the road. They’ve got the early bounty of the land. And the produce is fresher than at your grocery store. You can make friends with these people—get on their good sides, and they’ll tell you what’s particularly fresh, sweet, juicy. Sometimes the trick is in the
ingredients. This is a secret weapon non pariel. Fresh home grown tomatoes or corn on the cob alone make it worth the pulling over alone. What it does in terms of supporting family farmers, though, is what makes the selfish (getting the bestest freshest) heroic. Every little bit helps; every single little bit.

Great Big Honkin’ Full Moons

So bright the midnight sky looks blue. So engaging, you want to ask it to dance—or run along the beach with it over your should. Impishly everything, the full moon is a license to get off the hook—and the raison de vivre for anyone who’s not ready to to settle.

Old Fashioned Roller Pins (long flat black bobby pins)

Long black bobby pins. They can do anything—anchor stray pieces of flyaway hair, hold down a flower, hold up some kind of architectural construction or add in tresses not your own. Whatever you need your hair to do, old fashioned bobby pins are a no-nonsense, no-fault, get it done answer. In this world of dizzingly sophisticated, it’s a bit more than a dollar for 18—and it gives the ease and security that’s priceless.

Yogurt with Honey

About as simple as it gets. Plain yogurt, no added anything. A bit of honey—or more if you’re feeling lacking. Mix it up and it’s heaven in a teaspoon. Add fresh fruit or nuts or granola to take it all the way out. But if your tummy’s funny, you wanna up the calcium ante or wish to get active with your acidophilus, this is mainline yummy—and surprisingly satisfying.

The Big Risks

Somewhere in the gap between faith and falter, the big risk is just that. The bravest people are the ones who do it. My dear dear friend, a worldclass musician, just decided to go to school to learn something as far from his gift as possible. Most people would think he’s walking away from the dream, but in the risk—I think—lies the beginning of his future. There was another young man just nothing like him that faced the same crossroads—and everyone thought he was crazy when he walked away; today, that young man and his three kids and lovely wife lead a wonderful life far far more the factory of beyond-the-real. And so it goes, Faith, work and the big risk—it can deliver you to places beyond the imagination. All you gotta do is believe and dig in.

Dick Clark

The world’s oldest teenager. The man who’s got Dorian Gray’s portrait with his own visage in the middle. A show business professional who still brings dignity and bottomline business to the table. But also a man who believes in the people who’ve been there for him. To have that much grace, dignity, ability and willingness to keep seeking the new, while maintaining those who were—he’s an inspiration to us all.