Covered in tattoos, sweeter than divinity (ask your Southern friends!), Jodi Head is equal parts kewpie doll, rock goddess and head cheerleader. She understands totems and icons, leather (patent and otherwise) and brocade, handtooling and whipstitching—and her hand-beaded guitar-straps (including some pretty fabulous custom work for Sheryl Crow, KISS’ Paul Stanley, the Mavericks and Lucinda Williams) are the stuff rock & roll fantasies are made of. Some are retro, some feature mud flap girls or stars, flaming insets or major studding. Every one is a bit of her heart and her soul and her kick out the jams. Jodi Head is an ashy blond who brings a whole new realm to the notion of “strap it on.”
Crimes against women—it’s a lot worse than enduring grossly inappropriate comments in the office (though that’s not to diminish the significance/seriousness of that offense). Whether it’s genital mutilation, stoning for adultery that can be the result of rape, arranged marriages that are brutal and and and… the United Nations makes a universal proclamation that actually recognizes the sanctity of the double X chromosome, as people and leaders, recognizing the sanctity of a woman’s place in the culture. While the UN certainly can’t enforce cultural and tribal prohibitions, the notion that crimes and abuses against women are being recognized and sanctioned is the first step. And if this global organization can put countries and tribal/religious nations on notice, then we’re moving in the right direction. Women are not less than… not more than… but certainly also not deserving of the atrocities committed against them. The legitimate word - and recognition—starts here.
Same time every week—or day, if you’re dedicated. Something to look forward to, something to count on. There’s one person who has a standing Saturday afternoon as we’re both driving somewhere. Sometimes it’s just a check-in, sometimes it’s a soul search, sometimes it’s just a few laughs and out, sometimes it’s solace or clarity, occasionally it’s a revelation. Regardless, the connection and the continued thread of communication offers something as close to constancy in this ever-moving world as I’ve seen—and that’s no small feat.
“Chicks kick ass!” said the marketing phrase that set up the Dixie Chicks to rule the world And beyond Natalie Maines and Co., Angelina Jolie knows how to get it done. And in a world of “sisters doing it for themselves,” Laura Croft is all about taking no prisoners, dropping the bad guys like flies and bringing home the ultimate reward. In the battle of good against evil, she refuses to shrink, sulk or shrug—and that strength is about as jaw-dropping as any verbal manifesto. Sure, it’s the movies; but if Bronson and Eastwood and that ilk can do it, thank god for a robobabe who takes names and gets it done! Count me in…
Easy, fast, simple, ingenious. When was the last time you could say that? Next time you’re feeding a crowd, feed’em a giant Italian sub. You know the kind: ham, salami, cheese, pepperoni, pepperocinis, lettuce, tomato, maybe onions, maybe pickles, olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing. The next day, chop the leftovers all up, toss it with some bite size pieces of romaine. If it needs more dressing, you can supplement with what you like—or maintain the previously scheduled flavor fest by sprinkling more red wine vinegar and a dash of olive oil. Maybe a little fresh cracked pepper or a few shakes of grated romano, and voila! You’ve got a seriously marinated antipasto chef salad after feeding a demi-horde and not cracking a sweat either time.
In a world of show business survivors, Liza with a “Z” (not Lisa with an “S” ‘cause Lisa with an “S” goes “sssss,” not “zzzzz”) may be the ultimate: sparkle, sizzle, style and charisma in the flashiest of ways. Raised as the uber-daughter of a show-must-go-on Mama who took Edith Piaf and refused to cave, even when the pills and the emotions and the demands dictated it, Liza Minnelli gets how to get it on with a vengeance. Big drama, big laughter, big emotions, big high notes, big looks—just as God and Judy Garland always intended. Karen Finley (best known to most people as the performance artist who turned Jesse Helms’ stomach and the National Endowment for the Arts into charged dinner table conversation) channels Liza for her latest one-woman cabaret show at NYC’s Fez. “Make Love” is all that jazz, and then some. But mostly, it’s about the electric charge of real show biz persona and personalities… which is why the entry is about Liza herself. Rent “Cabaret,” check out the recording of “Liza’s Back!,” google search and drown in the larger-than-tabloid drama.
Pour hot water on a few chamomile tea bags and let steep for a couple minutes. Drain and squeeze the excess out. Pop in the refrigerator (those who LIKE the cold can put in the freezer and always have them ready) and let the temperature drop. Once they’re chilled, apply to your puffy eyes, lie back and let them do everything. You’ll feel the tightening of the skin, the receding of the bloat and the calming of whatever burning sensation might be plaguing your eyes. Sure you can go to Neimans or Saks or some specialty story, pay more and maybe even get a little bit better more supercharged ingredient. But it won’t smell as good, be as easy or as common sense. For late nights and early mornings, this is a trick worth remembering.
Scary and exciting and brilliant and alive. The sky tears open, white light pours out for a flash. Thunder rolls. You feel at the heart of creation or destruction—which is it? And the feelings deep inside make you realize how intense nature can be. The beauty of the sky cracked open, the blinding streaks and stretching of the blaze. It rushes through your senses, your veins—making you laugh (if you let it) at how cool/humbling/thrilling storms can be.
How many men do you know who live like wild animals with electricity? Who never quite made it out of the frat house? Who are just too busy to even “think” about it? Giving a new meaning to the notion of “bi-,” Bravo cowboys up with this little bit of culture clash and interior design ninja reality programming that appreciably impacts people’s lives for the better with a wink and humor and straight-to-it.
Every year the high end designer stuff is sworn off. Too much of a luxury for a working girl like me. And then every several seasons comes the knee-buckling item that takes the breath and the Mastercard away. This year, it’s Yves St. Laurent’s plush deep forest green slouchy jacket that almost defies shape. Tied with a scarf, it’s the ultimate in sensual pleasure, the utterly chic sleek slouch reality that can go from beat-up jeans to pencil skirt to evening gown without even a pause. That the price tag will probably make my nose bleed isn’t a question. And should I indulge, that will be that for a long, long while. It certainly seems folly on the half-shell, yet how often do we find that one sumptuous thing and succumb? And that is the question: temptation versus delivery. Certainly at this weak-willed moment, I don’t have the answer. But I do have “the look book” and that may be enough.
Having grown up pretty athletic and still being relatively strong, aerobic exercise is just part of the drill. But as someone who believes one’s sweating should be done in a horizontal position—and who owns the moral complexity of the reality of getting enough of those kinds of workouts—the trudging on the treadmill or whirring those pedals on a stationary bike are a chore that brings no joy, just elevation of my cardio-signifiers. And then there is the rowing machine. The Rowing Machine! You can be your own fantasy cockswain. Push back, pull the handle, release, pull forward. Legs, arms, torso. It’s all there—and the resistance is fluid. You can get into a zen rhythm that elevates you above the tedium of reps and heartrates and everything that’s measured, finding (ultimately) a way to exercise that transforms you. Or at least it does me… and that’s no small feat!
Tennessee State Art Museum, Nashville through August 10 500 Japanese woodcut prints from a private collection arrive in Nashville for 3 weeks. Slightly more solid than the almost weightless Japanese watercolors, this art form brings primitive and ethereal together in the Zen way that is the East’s greatest gift. In an image, the Japanese pack so much unspoken, implying light, grace, conflict, resolve, beauty and beyond.
Noisy, unruly; especially in defiance. With any luck, we can all grow into this one.
Bob Dylan makes a movie. He gets real actors. It got spotty notices from “Sundance.” It has a hard storyline to follow and quirkiness raised to the infinite power. It’s Dylan. He talks. He pretends to be someone else (it’s called “acting”)—or else in the ultimate obscuration, he plays himself but says it isn’t. Regardless, go see it. What does he do that isn’t worth being aware of?
Tiffany lamps or cathedrals. Light pouring through jewel toned glass of varying thickness turns two very common elements into something molten that pours out and makes you feel richer for being in its presence. Somewhere in Virginia, there’s a slightly post-Civil War church where all the glass panels were made by Tiffany’s—and in Palm Beach, St Ed’s is a symphony of old school tableau lit up by heaven itself. Even the lowest quality Tiffany lamp evokes the Belle Epoque, while providing a big smile with the way it tosses color in so many directions and providing a glow that is both rosy or turquoise or lavender, ruby, green or golden-hued. It is a dimension and a warmth and a sense of light pouring through life, infusing color into the way we look at our world.
Acceptance may well be the hardest thing in the world. But at the end of the day, if you don’t work from where you are, you can’t resolve whatever it is—and that’s not staggering news. Patty Loveless cut an amazing Gary Nicholson song called “The Trouble With The Truth,” which was all about how it nags, it won’t let you not face the demons, but also that it will—when embraced—set you free. Maybe it’s not perfect, but might have been isn’t; so why waste your time on what never was, can or will be?
Mmmmmmm, this may well be the ultimate drugstore candy fix! And it’s back—an all-star from the late’70s/early ‘80s returns! We’re talking a caramel cup with a mocha nougat pour inside. A hazelnut buried in the center of it. Plus a crown of dark chocolate over the top as some kind of seal. Every delicious satisfying taste-sensation in one place… and it’s neither too sweet not too messy to enjoy. And with 4 easy pieces, you can draw out the yumminess, share easily with friends or toss ‘em in the air and snap ‘em up like a dog with a treat.
Now not the kind you had protruding from the back pocket of your Jordache jeans down at the mall back in the day of Farrah Fawcett wings (and tragically, I never got to be one of those frosted hair/pearl lipstick heart-stoppers!). But the ones with the decent handle to grip, plenty of room between the teeth and strong enough to bend without breaking—itself or your hair. Having just tried to detangle the wet sea weed rats’ nest that is my hair post-shower with a wire brush, there is a new appreciation for one of the cheapest, most common objects one can buy at Rexall. Who knew? Or should I say the things we take for granted because they’re just so basic?
Eastern philosophy that begs the big questions about ego, want, agenda— and the willingness to be in a moment without needing to own the moment. Not that this is a religion to pick up and follow, but more a way of looking at the world that’s congruent to anyone’s faith and also is designed to heighten one’s peace.
Bohemian gypsy primrose. Sexy funky librarian. Worldly yet enthused traveler. It is all the interesting things women can be… jumbled together in a hodge podge that makes one reel, yet the dizzying effect is exhilarating. Vintage looking things, romantic pieces, classic tailoring. It’s all here. It’s mostly reasonable. It’s intoxicating in that way of being able to find just the offbeat thing you really want (even when you don’t quite know!) is… and they do house wares, too.
As a video game, it’s positively addicting—one Grammy-winner who shall remain nameless is like a rat at a feeder bar with this guns’n'car-chases computer-generated Miami-based thrillfest is at his command. But equally addicting are the soundtracks, broken down by what they are (rawk, soul, slow jammage, dance) and what they choose to make the “sound of the streets.” Forgotten gems that defined that “Miami Vice”-era, taking one back to visions of men in pastel jackets, sleeves pushed up and dripping attitude, fastest cars, cerulean skies being swept by palms. Whether it’s remembering how much you loved Rick James’ “Ghetto Life,” gagging again to REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Lovin’ You” or thrusting your fist in the air with Judas Priest’s “You Got Another Thing Comin’,” this is time travel abetted by Playstation—and/or your CD player. My friend the promo king of country music insisted I take them. I rolled my eyes. Now I find myself looking at my roller-skates, thinking about packing my discman and heading to the rink I know isn’t that far from my home—and remembering how it REALLY feels to be that young.
A pox on Jim Jones! There is nothing that screams retro-summer like Kool-Aid, nor anything that tastes quite so artificial in a comforting, familiar, ahhhhh-yes kind of way. It’s cheap, fast and easy: tear open the packet, pour into the pitcher, add cold water, stir, pour over ice. But lift that glass to your mouth and remember scratches from running through fields, mosquito bites and calomine lotion, sun burn, Keds sneakers and the way you felt when you saw that first “someone”… The colors don’t exist in nature. The way it stains your tongue turns you and your friends into some Akita-like fellowship. But when you’re thirsty, it’s a pretty portable potable—ready when you are, always the same and loaded with meaning beyond citric tartness that adds zing to taking the edge of your thirst.
“You grew up where young girls, they grow up fast “You took what was given and left what was asked…” In a couplet about settling, accepting and the fact that the price you pay isn’t even negotiated on the way to being nice = the erosion and slow death of one’s bright dreams is the kernel of inspiration to go get them NOW. Whatever it is, think about, focus on it, dream and smell and taste it—and use the realization of what the slow death of not-getting-it as a north star to steer by. The reason most of us fail is because it’s easier to relinquish, to believe that it’s beyond our pale. And at that point, it IS all “Pointblank”— which is why Springsteen painted such a bleak picture of the failure of hope. Maybe you’ll never be that dire, but why not embrace the vivid? Surely, the taupe and the devoid of flavor isn’t enough. No one ever dreams in gray. Why do it by choice?