It’s very basic, really. The notion of eating what you want for pleasure, not gorging to feel full. The celebration of wonderful things rather than making due, the sense of decadence over deprivation. With a sparkling voice (this is the woman who commandeers the wondrous Veuve Clicquot champagne line in the States), she recounts her trip back from chunking out post-American schooling, shares killer recipes and offers a whole new way of diet versus dieting. Mon dieu! Being slim has never made more sense.
Caramel. Chocolate. Pieces of pretzel. It’s that last surprise salty crunchy ingredient that makes this drugstore confection pop. Brand new. Right there. Utterly addictive.
In the blink of an eye, you know. You DO. And then you start thinking about it. And out-thinking yourself. And finding yourself in pretzel logic that leads all kinds of places. But in that first moment of almost-beyond cognizant recognition, the truth lies - and The Tipping Point’s Malcom Gladwell returns with a well-written, thoroughly explored examination of the mind’s deepest reality check. Blink thinking could set you free. Read and learn.
It was a disaster. A miscommunication the day of the Golden Globes —my check-out being the following day, the hotel unable to keep me. There was no time to do anything except throw clothes in a bag, detangle the nasty seaweed which becomes my hair when need of cut-and-color, get to the car to make the live tv shot with the client. The desk staff never flinched. Only seemed to feel genuinely bad that they were going to have to put me out. And while I shrieked and tried to pull it together, the young women manning the desk found me not 1, not 2, but 3 rooms when the Beverly Hills/(West) Hollywood/Santa Monica triangle was beyond sold out. They were calm, unflappable, quick to respond—and they even tucked a note from a friend I couldn’t speak to in the lobby as I hurtled to the car in my bags which had already been sent to storage. Every hotel should have a frontline like the oh-so-rock&roll, shhh! SssHhhh!!!, rooms that wrap around the pool Sunset Marquis!
Slinky. Serpentine. Stinging. Staccato. Very phonky, yet swinging like a jukejoint on the verge of explosion on a particularly frenzied Saturday night. CC Adcock has that retro-hipster-kewl that oozes from his pores, drips down his fingers, stains those nicotine-fingered-chords and permeates the choppy harmonica blasts that tatter up some of his more jumpin’, jonesin’ numbers, especially the hormonally-loaded “I Love You,” the voodoo sneak-beat of “Stealin’ All Day” and the bad-woman-rue “Y’All’D Think She’d Be Good To Me” with it’s “yi-yi-yi” echo chorus. Guest production from Jack Nitzsche on one track, Doyle Bramhall II on 2—and a tight little combo that pops like a real tight snare drum. Go, cat—or gator—go! www.Yeproc.com
It means—loosely—infinite truth. People in search of calm within the firestorm chant it softly—and wait for the peace to descend, enveloping them in a blanket of tranquility. A magic spell? Hardly. But invoking a deeper peace from another culture is nothing if not a universal invitation to a gentler energy; and certainly any time the focus can move from chaos to one’s inner mind, the frenzy de-escalates.
“Rocky” with a double X chromosome in the lean, lithe form of Hillary Swank, again busting down a perception of female roles and what beauty is. Clint Eastwood slouching towards redemption, craggy, broken, doubtful, striving. Two people seemingly past their prime working against the odds—and at times each other. The power of a dream to sustain, the will to go on and the reason destiny chases some like a dog in the night. To feel emboldened, empowered, embraced by something greater, this is all you need.
A grainy photographer who exhumes the essence of artist’s souls— check your photo credits on the most enduring images of Nirvana and U2— moves his lens to the big screen as Claraflora Productions taps the noted shooter to direct “Touching From A Distance.” The bio-pic of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis (“Love Will Tear Us Apart” for those of you too young to remember) who died at his own hand in 1980 will expand the story begun with co-producer Tony Wilson’s own tale of his Manchester, England-based Factory Records “24 Hour Party People.” When art meets art meets art, the results can only be breath-taking.
Not as a uniform unless you’re working the cheerleader pole! But there’s something anti-frumpy, frivolous, frilly and fun about short skirts, high heels and a lot of laughter. Just because you can. Whether it’s channeling ZZ Top’s “Legs” or owning your inner Tina (Turner), this is big wow! gone wild.
The poet laureate of the United States is a heartland guy, anchored in the middle of the country. As the first Midwesterner to be awarded this honor, Ted Kooser knows how to weight his images down with the small things that make the fly-over appreciative of the details—and willing to celebrate the minutiae of nothing with an emotional sensibility that elevates the moment. To understand that poetry is for normal people (a.k.a. “the rest of us”) is to be swept up in Kooser’s ability to take overlooked words, weave them together and show us something we’d know without ever noticing. The transformation of what most miss into something precious is a gift we’re all given—and all we have to do is enjoy the images he paints with meter and verse. http://mockingbird.creighton.edu/NCW/kooser.htm
‘They’re away from home, and they think they can act the fool,” reports a waiter in a tourist town about the atrocious behavior of customers. “They think no one they know will see them, so it’s like they’re not behaving badly; but they are.” Remember: it’s often not so much about how we look when we’re trying to impress, as it is the way we come off to people we never notice. If there’s consistency in how we walk through the world, that gap won’t be nearly as broad as a canyon—and by applying “the waiter’s eye view” to ourselves, we can bring a grace that won’t be lost on anyone.
He returns. He returns. He returns. Produced by Brendan O’Brien—the man behind The Rising—it only heightens the drama of populism as Springsteen continues his Heartland/Seaboard/Lost American Dream stoic heroism that’s made him a working class hero—and the rightful successor to American letters. Steinbeck with a blond Telecaster or Willa Cather with a black leather heart. Either way, we’re all richer in our humanity for it.
In a restaurant in New Orleans; 11-something in the morning; Mardi Gras in full-rut; staring into space, alone; Look up—and there is the last person you’d ever expect to see, proving how small the world is, how wonderful a familiar smile & twinkle in the eyes can be. A few moments of overlap between the separate currents pull you up, sweep you away. But in the merging of lives, it’s a reminder how amazing the world, the people we know, the memories we share are.
They come in all the popsicle Crayola colors. They have white raw hide lacing. They look EXACTLY like the time-honored Sperry boat shoes. They are whimsical, jewel-toned, utterly comfortable, deck-gripping and ready to take on ANY sartorial challenge.
Recently purchased, completely overhauled, absolutely drive by the art-of-the-art. There may be no finer franchise and examination of the creative process—especially at the hands of artists’ whose music define our times—than American Songwriter. That it’s the igniting of a dream held by a couple bold 20-somethings speaks powerfully to the power of passion and conviction—who raised the money, bought and refurbished the seminal title, infusing it with enthusiasm and grace—speaks to the get-it-done opportunities all of us somehow miss.
The merger of serenity and to thine ownself be true. Exquisitely simple, clear, liberating.
It has a nuttier bite than regular coffee. Tastes like the delta looks. Smells like the fetid fecund earth would if you brewed it. It is—as they say—an acquired taste, though chicory seems to be more instantly engaging than coffee. At least that’s how it was for me.
Not having been old enough during the glory days of Jerry Wexler’s Atlantic Records, this is probably as close as I’ll ever come to that intersection of rural roots, funky soul and Southern culture happening before my very eyes. Harkening back to the day of crushed velvet, Fender Rhodes and B-3’s, Mofro offers a cracker beatnik peacenik hippie sensibility—from the lava lamp grooves to the socio-aware subject matter (including the environment, the erosion of indigenous Florida culture, the battle between the sexes). If Muscle Shoals were hybridized with Jacksonville’s original Southern swamp rock origins, the smart little foxes who can both jam and stop on dime would be Mofro without question.
The man who gave us the brilliantly turned autobiography This Boy’s Life tries his hand at fiction. The result is every bit as eloquent, as elevated, as from the insider perspective as the wonderful book that put Tobias Wolfe on the map—and gave Leonardo DiCaprio a break-out role that mattered. Here, between the narrow clearance of classlines and obligations, a sketch of how the privileged and entitled live up, cave under and occasionally fail the pressures of their status is cast as the tableau to embrace the realm of young men coming into their own in an elite secondary school with its own caste system. The language alone is thrilling, the tale both cautionary and chilling insightful.
With a long lost friend gone, it’s amazing how the memories bring those left behind together. E-mails and phone calls and laughter, moments unearthed after too many years, recollections strung like exposed bulbs in Italian beer gardens. In remembering the gifts of the life passed, we recognize the riches of the ones we shared him or her with - and it creates a strong sense of how blessed we are: both in terms of our own experience, and the people with whom we share it.
The color of amethysts. Almost 5 inches in diameter. With a fleur de lis a third of the way up from the bottom. The smell is lightly floral— but not cloying. To burn these is to be lowered into the faintest garden, almost as much herbal as blossom. Impressive to look at, they are regal to burn and sweetly comforting to smell.
The deeply ironic performance artist—the Will Rogers, almost of progressive spoken world/role playing/cultural commentarians—has just finished a stint as Artist In Residence for NASA. Though the program has been cut in the budget slashings, the notion of Laurie Anderson—she of Oh! Superman—floating weightless as ether is delightful. And the graver notion of her take on the universe influencing the people shaping and creating our space program offers the chance of warmth as we filet the galaxy.
A stylist friend who I respect swears by this little trick. No matter what you drop, they will get the stain out without tears. She keeps some in her purse, to pull out, pat or wipe, and then discard when tragedy hits whatever item of clothing that she or one of her trusty charges is wearing.
A recent trip to a tony Beverly Hills restaurant with a client who looks fairly common unless you KNOW was a source of much merriment and insight. For anyone who thinks that celebrity matters beyond the freakish drive-by encounter can get a real read on where people’s heads are listening to two women set on stun going over what they’re ordering—“No, I think the FRIED chicken; even though it’s just fried CHICKEN; I think that’s what I want;”—the merits of various kinds of make-up and what their plans are (which is what t.v. show they’re going to watch). Bold-faced reality check on the half shell. Perspective without needing a focus group. And a great way for people to never have to take themselves serious, not that this client ever would.
Sometimes magazines done for all the right reasons, edited and written by people who genuinely care can survive. This month marks major anniversaries for two of the very best: indie-cred, grrrrl-power-now Rockrgrl with coverage veering from Courtney Love to Heart’s Wilson sisters to Rosanne Cash to country Terri Clark to los Tigres and a bevy of DIY rockerbabes and the Texas musical culture tome Texas Music, which brings sharp writing to everything from Beyonce Knowles to the Flatlanders (Joe Ely, Butch Hancock & Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s original group) to ZZ Top to Jerry Jeff Walker. Music works so far beyond marketing modules. That these publications continue to connect—sometimes through the struggle—speaks volumes about thinking beyond the obvious. Kudos to both - the staffs and the readers, advertisers and artists who support something that’s visionary with a passion.
Sweets and swearing this lent for me. A sacrifice—as anyone who knows me can attest. The kind of pay-attention sacrifices that hobble me now, will make me better in the end and the discipline of which keeps the notion of Lent front and center in my mind. Find the thing that expands the way you live—and make the commitment. Not only will you serve up an offering that matters, but you’ll be better off the effort 40 days later.
So smooth. So rich. So immediately absorbed. Jennifer Kemp, the always-thrilled stylist to many of the cutting edge 6-1-5 fashionisters, had several baby tubes with her on a flight we recently shared—and when I was complaining that no hand créme seemed to truly penetrate, she pressed one into my hand. Not only was it instant exhale in a way-relax-eau de de-stress reality, but the emollience of the shea butter really seemed to take hold.
Pedro Almodovar is back. This time with a tale about priestly sexual transgressions with altar boys—and its impact on their lives. With a tale or two within the tale, “Bad Education” shapes up to be as much, perhaps even more, Hitchcockian thriller as it does an indictment of abusing children and young adults. It offers shifting scenarios, at times muddy performances—yet, Gabriel Garcia Bernal moves through several personas and motivations without even shifting his stride. And in the end, the way the tales weave in and out of each other—and the resolution that signals the reality of how life goes on—is the work of a sensual master. Sub-titles, yes; but ultimately almost self-explanatory.
You look at the way this woman made lemonade out of lemons; Created an enduring piece of music dedicated to the notion that Stephen Foster’s music was timeless; and echoed the notion that Beautiful Dreams are often an extension of freedom of expression; and you have a very good reason Miss Saviano won her very first Grammy. This is as much a triumph of the spirit as it is recognition of amazing music—and it tells each of us to follow your bliss ‘cause the jagged rocks will dash you without thought, leaving you barren, broken, for dead.
The man who invented stilettos. His exuberant, exultant, at times even excessive line—now designed by no less than Spanish artisan cobbler/couturist Diego Della Vallo—arrives Stateside this year. A favorite of the Duchess of Windsor, Truman Capote “swan” Babe Paley, Jackie Onassis, he understood the sublimated romp of the Pilgrim pump, the curve of a stiletto heel as tool for slicing open the male libido—and the reality that the unexpected yields obvious results. Saks, Neimans, Bergdorfs. Ready, steady, go!
If I could come with a warning, pray let it be this. Tragically, neither a gambler nor fancy, it’s a reckoning moment spotted as a sign in a funky old bar. Fit the room, fit the fantasy.
Not gossip, not misfortune, not the down-low on the you-know. Dirt. Terre firma. The rich soil that produces life. There is nothing so—pardon the pun—grounding as digging around in the dirt. The deep fertile smell of it, the moist richness of post-thaw ground. Worms wiggling around, possibilities abound. You get a claw or a trowel—and you turn the soil over, feel its sticky moistness wanting to collaborate on something alive. Nothing more humble has more potential; and if that’s not a metaphor for growing your life, what is?
A chocolate brick. Loaded with good stuff. Gnaw on it like a field mouse on holiday. The ones with fruit and nuts are creamy, but firm enough to not just turn into a pool of ooze. A little expensive, utterly decadent without being beyond the realm of a SPECIAL event. If you see a 5 Stars chunk, go for it.
These look luxe, are impossibly affordable and brighten any table, purse or photo they’re attached to. The writer’s journal is smaller than standard bound journals, making it an easy tuck-in-one’s-bag without overwhelming it, while the address book is easy to negotiate and roomy enough that addresses actually fit without a struggle. And the photo albums come in the standard one picture one sleeve or the larger get creative size. And—sigh of relief—they come blue on blue, as well as several other incarnations. In a world where everything truly nice is soooo expensive, this is a way to have a little splurge that’s within reason. www.crgibson.com
There is that knot in the pit of your stomach. Or the swerving to avoid a topic that might “distress” the other person in a way that would rain down on you. There’s that sense of inflammatory, so you just roll along to keep everything “okay.” Fact is—if you’re avoiding it, trying to maintain the calm status quo, it’s probably trouble; and it’s leading you to a place you don’t want to be. Denial isn’t gonna soft pedal it—or keep it abay. And the energy invested in trying to maintain the illusion that everything is alright will be draining. Not to mention whatever concrete consequences there might be—financial, personal, karmic. If you can be brave enough to own it, you can minimize the damage. It doesn’t make you a bad guy to say “no” or “stop” or “you need to explain this,” it makes you someone committed to protecting the larger good of the whole, whatever the whole might be.
In this era of magazines nakedly devoted to shopping, Vitals Woman arrived in the mail—smart, clean, sophisticated. Though it has a strong waft of Town & Country meets Lucky, its photo spreads exude luxe fashion, its articles are smart and very current without being removed from mainstream consciousness and the variance of price points make it a gradual incline for consumers everywhere on the socio-economic plane. With the always brilliant Gabe Doppelt (who popped into consciousness at Elle) in the mix, you can count on fashion forward without fashion victim squared. Clean, smart, pretty, aesthetic. This is a magazine launch worth watching—and merchandise worth incorporating into one’s own life. And the best part, you can subscribe for free! www.vitalsmag.com
Thick plum gloss with just a hint of deep caramel. It’s the kind of color that’s darker than naturally bitten lips, but utterly believable as an extension of the way God made you. Flattering to most complexions, it stays put and doesn’t fade away.
Troubled, possibly even tortured progressive/alternative singer/songwriter Elliot Smith’s life was the sky upon which his songs hung and twinkled. His worldview—especially for one who battled the dark shadows of depression—was amazingly clear and clarifying, and in his fragile, yet gentle truths one could wash their own wounds, confusions, disappointments clean. His death—murder? suicide? something else?—is vexing. The book makes no judgments, just casts some light on how he came to write with such shuddering emotional resonance. If “Miss Mis’ry” is as far as you got—or merely the awkward guy in the white suit that year at the Oscars—former Time writer Nugent helps unravel the pain and tenderness that gave us this life too soon extinguished.
The ultimate in Spanish and French coastal footwear. Simple canvas, traditionally, with rope covered soles. They come in myriad colors from basics—navy, black, red, to earthy—olive, khaki, natural, to vibrant— fuchsia, lemon, peacock blue. Sometimes they’re flat, other times wedges or even platforms. Occasionally they have laces that twine up one’s legs like vine. At this reasonably priced website—which offers men’s, children’s and darling handbags—it is a cavalcade of options. Whatever you love or dream, it’s there. Ready for download, easy to order, in your home in 5-7 working days. Who knew there were such options!? Not since the day of the de rigueur Jacques Cohen espadrille, as standard issue in their day as Keds, has this easy-to-wear footwear been so comprehensively available.
That undulating and shifting Hammond B-3. Or is it a Fender Rhodes? Pillowy wads of chordage rising from the beat like so much dust being churned up in the heart of coitus. Frenzied. Frenetic. Freewheeling. Fromping. And when Charles turns his vocal chords inside out, it’s a whipchoppuree job that’ll Waring Blender you with the intensity of its witness. Considering it’s a dance number; silly song about the way people move, want, blow it up; something nominally important, or so THEY say; it’s got the kind traction that’ll tear up a mountain top. Put it on, let it roll, laugh ‘til it hurts—and jump and shake ‘til you can’t no more. Instant attitude adjustment, just pin the meters.