Wednesday, January 03, 2007

In Seattle, Aradia Women's Health Center is closing.

Writer Tillie Olson is dead at 94.

There are mannequins with giant boobs.

Tomorrow at this time Katie and I will be here. Not that I've bothered to pack, yet... (And are these not the scariest white children you have ever seen?)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Saturday, December 30, 2006

princesses and sluts

Currently among the top ten most emailed articles on

-- The New York Times Magazine
, December 24th
"What's Wrong With Cinderella?" by Peggy Orenstein

“They’ve been begging to come to this store for three weeks,” [Anne] McAuliffe said. “I’d never heard of it. So I said they could, but they’d have to spend their own money if they bought anything.” She looked around. “Some of this stuff is innocuous,” she observed, then leaned toward me, eyes wide and stage-whispered: “But ... a lot of it is horrible. It makes them look like little prostitutes. It’s crazy. They’re babies!”

As we debated the line between frivolous fun and JonBenĂ©t, McAuliffe’s daughter Rory came dashing up, pigtails haphazard, glasses askew. “They have the best pocketbooks here,” she said breathlessly, brandishing a clutch with the words “Girlie Girl” stamped on it. “Please, can I have one? It has sequins!”

-- The New York Times
Editorial page, December 29th
"Middle School Girls Gone Wild" by Lawrence Downes

They writhe and strut, shake their bottoms, splay their legs, thrust their chests out and in and out again. Some straddle empty chairs, like lap dancers without laps. They don’t smile much. Their faces are locked from grim exertion, from all that leaping up and lying down without poles to hold onto. "Don’t stop don’t stop," sings Janet Jackson, all whispery. "Jerk it like you’re making it choke. ...Ohh. I’m so stimulated. Feel so X-rated." The girls spend a lot of time lying on the floor. They are in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

-- The New York Times
Styles section (surprise!), December 31st
"The Graying of Naughty" by Sharon Waxman

De’Bella - or Debbie, as everybody calls her - decided late in life to become a porn star. This year she turned 50, time, she knew, to chase her dream.

"I love sex," she explained, biting into a Burger King special before embarking on her scene for the day at a rented house in the San Fernando Valley. She was wearing a bright pink satin and black chiffon nightie with a matching thong and heavy makeup.

So, aside from the ever-worsening Clamor/Infoshop disaster, Kitchen Sink is shutting down, too. But that's more sad than disastrous. Especially since they're positioning it as the conclusion of the Neighbor Lady Community Arts Project's "pilot program" instead of as the death of yet another indie publication. And um, they're not taking anyone else down with them. But they do need money to print the final two issues...a call that's becoming all too familiar.

Friday, December 29, 2006

it's been awhile

More than once lately, I've thought that the year that's about to end is 2007. Which I guess only shows how fast time has been moving. So how about some predictable Best of 2006 listing to get back into this long abandoned blog?


Mutual Appreciation, Children of Men, Babel, The Queen, Little Children, The Science of Sleep, Little Miss Sunshine, Friends With Money. Huh, I thought there would be more than that. I guess Fast Food Nation and Shortbus are in the honorable mention category. And there are a bunch of things I still haven't seen that I know will be great, like Half Nelson, Old Joy and Volver. And I have a feeling that Heading South is going to make the list when I watch it later this weekend. I also finally saw Last Tango in Paris this year, and loved it... what a sexy, sad Marlon Brando.

Music (I actually bought some of these albums)...

Joanna Newsom, Ys
Seeing her play in November was without a doubt the best show I saw this year, though that distinction is kind of meaningless, since there's really no way to compare what Newsom does to anything else. Webster Hall was sold out, and everyone stayed completely, reverently silent as she played, transfixed by her hands flying over her harp, and the way these songs sound like absolute art when they're performed. After she finished each song, there was a moment of silence, like everyone had been holding their breath. When she played "Emily" I actually cried. This new album is seriously Great, accomplished and beautiful and even humbling, in the way that things made by people of insane talent can be, when they are wonderful and ambitious without seeming put on. The Milk-Eyed Mender will forever make me think of Hale Street, of hearing Emily play it for the first time on one of those fresh, almost spring days when we had the doors open and were gardening in the backyard.

The Lemonheads, The Lemonheads
It's not that this is so much a stand out record, but I'm really happy it exists. And seeing them play a few weeks back, after buying the tickets months ago and anticipating a perfect night of delicious pop music with Allie back in town, was a great time. They played almost everything I wanted, including a long set where Evan plowed through some of my favorite songs (including "The Outdoor Type" and "Stove") by himself, without stopping and without ceremony.

The Decemberists, The Crane Wife
Cat Power, The Greatest
The Gossip, Standing in the Way of Control
M. Ward, Post-War
The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America
Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit
Also, new stuff from Thom Yorke and The Blow. And approximately two and a half songs from Mirah's new remix album, Joyride.

The best books I read this year...

The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis
Rose of No Man's Land by Michelle Tea
The Seas, by Samantha Hunt
La Perdida by Jessica Abel
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, by Nick Flynn
Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir, by Joe Meno
Adverbs, by Daniel Handler
A Fictional History of the United States with Huge Chunks Missing, edited by T Cooper and Adam Mansbach
Whose Art Is It? by Jane Kramer
Absolute Convictions, by Eyal Press
After I resisted reading it because of so much hype, it turned out that Nicole Krauss' The History of Love was really good.

There was also a ton of amazing reading for school, including the aformentioned Jane Kramer book, a giant book of film reviews and essays by Pauline Kael, and C. Carr's collection of pieces about the East Village performance art scene in the late 80's and 90's, which I'm still relishing.

Last weekend when every person I know was either out of town or had family around, I holed up inside and read Wonder When You'll Miss Me, by Amanda Davis. It wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. Still, I went back and read the many, many tributes written about her at McSweeney's, and it was mind-blowing to see how many people she touched and befriended and inspired, how many people admired her as a writer and a person. I still have her short fiction collection, Circling the Drain, to read. It might be just the kind of depressing gem that will make perfect Arubian beach reading...along with the other books of critical essays I'm taking. What a nerd.

once there was a wedding...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sesame Street is unveiling a new character, and she's a girly-girl. A fairy, actually. What's really bothers me (and okay, there are a few things) is that her "pink skin" makes her pretty obviously a white girl, and who needs that?

For all the educational consultants and child psychologists the show could have enlisted, the success of the character seems to rely largely on the one simple quality no other Muppet can claim: she’s very, very pretty. As played by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, a new Muppeteer, she’s enthusiastic, eager, occasionally bashful but never coy (and certainly never divalike along the lines of Tinker Bell).

...In the past the show has bent over backward to counteract stereotypes, with the tomboyish Zoe or the highly opinionated Elizabeth. “But political correctness hampers creativity,” Ms. Nealon said. “Abby Cadabby owns her own point of view, but she’s also comfortable with the fact that she likes wearing a dress, and as we’d tried to model strong female models, we neglected that piece of being a girl.”

this is what a PR coup looks like

Bitch in the NYT Magazine? Fucking awesome. Deborah Solomon applies her characteristic skepticism to Andi Zeisler. It's a little annoying/condescending, but Andi holds her own.

DS: Did you and your co-founder, Lisa Jervis, have any magazine experience before you started Bitch?

AZ: We were both interns at Sassy.

DS: As opposed to Savvy.

AZ: Savvy was earlier, right? Maybe there will be a magazine someday for older women called Saggy.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Ashlee Simpson appeared on the July cover of Marie Claire magazine extolling the virtues of appreciating one’s body as it is — then she had a nose job.

Marie Claire readers erupted in fury at what they said was Ms. Simpson’s hypocrisy and the magazine’s “cluelessness.” They wrote 1,000 letters in protest to the magazine, according to Joanna Coles, the new editor of the magazine. And she agreed with them.

In the first issue (due Aug. 15) over which she exercises full editorial control, Ms. Coles gives expanded space in the letters column to readers to vent against Ms. Simpson. Ms. Coles adds in a note: “We’re dazed and confused — and disappointed — by her choice, too!”

I don't think I've ever read Marie Claire, and it's not like I'm going to start, but this is kinda cool. The first issue under this new editor also has a really hot photo of Maggie Gyllenhaal on the cover. Nice selling point, at least to me...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

love for savage, again

In New York, the court ruled in effect that irresponsible heterosexuals often have children by accident — we gay couples, in contrast, cannot get drunk and adopt in one night — so the state can reserve marriage rights for heterosexuals in order to coerce them into taking care of their offspring. Without the promise of gift registries and rehearsal dinners, it seems, many more newborns in New York would be found in trash cans.

...A perverse cruelty characterizes both [the New York and Washington state] decisions. The courts ruled, essentially, that making my child’s life less secure somehow makes the life of a child with straight parents more secure. Both courts found that making heterosexual couples stable requires keeping homosexual couples vulnerable. And the courts seemed to agree that heterosexuals can hardly be bothered to have children at all — or once they’ve had them, can hardly be bothered to care for them — unless marriage rights are reserved exclusively for heterosexuals. And the religious right accuses gays and lesbians of seeking “special rights.”