Friday, April 28, 2006

We are squinting at each other and I start to keep on walking, but then we both sort of stop.

"Hey," he says.

"Hey," I say, taking off my sunglasses. "How are you? Um.... when are you at the store these days?"

"Oh, I'm not today, I have the day off," he says.

"I mean, when are you there in general?"

"I don't work at the store, I hang art. So I'm mainly outside. It's good." Pause. He looks at me intently. "You look good."


He laughs. "I'm hung over, going to get some coffee."

"Yeah, I wish I was, instead of going to work." I point up the street.

"So, maybe I'll see you over at Odessa Bar sometime."

"Yeah, maybe."

"Are you going there tonight?"

"Probably not."

"Okay. Well... it was good to see you."

"Yeah, I'll see you around."

How often is it that 2 people both think they know each other, but have in fact never met before? A few seconds into this conversation - which happened in the middle of 5th street on this insanely gorgeous and good mood-inducing Friday morning - I realized that this guy was not who I thought he was. And I have no idea who he thought I was, except to infer that he probably thinks we slept together. Pretty funny, since I am really never mistaken for anyone else (except occassionally Sarah Gilbert from Roseanne, which I still don't get). I let him keep talking because it was just easier than telling him that I never go to Odessa and have no idea what he's talking about. Also, I enjoy receiving compliments at 10am when i'm walking to work with wet hair (other than those shouted in passing by men licking their lips), and because he was pretty cute, if not the ambiguously gay boy of my casual acquaintance I originally thought he was. Oh well. Those skinny pale boys with black frame glasses really do all look the same.

friday dumping of the links.

-- What does it say about me that I get so much happiness from a critic absolutely slamming something that deserves to be slammed? The best example this week is Ben Brantley, who must have had a blast writing his review of the new musical Lestat:

Joining the ranks of Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata and other prescription lullaby drugs is "Lestat," the musical sleeping pill that opened last night at the Palace Theater....Hugh Panaro, in the title role, resembles a slimmed-down, foppish Fabio, the onetime top paperback cover model for such fare. And there is plenty of dialogue to match. "Whatever happened out there with the wolves has changed you, Lestat." Or: "I will never find solace! She was my solace! She stood between me and the abyss!"

-- This whole Kaavya Viswanathan plagiarism drama is ridiculous and entertaining. But once again, the dirty secrets of publishing kinda fascinate me.

The company that eventually became Alloy was founded in 1987. It had its first hit with the "Sweet Valley High" series. The company, then known as 17th Street Productions, was sold in 2000 to Alloy Inc., a large media company that owns the teenage-oriented retailer Delia's, and changed its name to Alloy Entertainment. Since then it has become a 'tween-lit hit factory.

-- Ginia Bellafante notices that books about Mommy-ing have gotten a little out of control.

Five hundred or so years from now, graduate students surveying our national library will wonder: So what was with all the mommies and babies? Had babies come before? Or was it simply that millennial Americans produced better babies, power babies (maybe)?

-- Then there's Janet Maslin's weird and not too convincing article about chick-lit:

Dizzy doesn't necessarily mean dopey. It means rejecting a caricatured version of feminism, studiousness or ambition in favor of even more caricatured womanly wiles. And it cuts a wide swath, from housewives to high school girls, from Bergdorf's all the way to Botswana.

-- Clare Zulkey interviews Michelle Tea. I knew Rent Girl was in development for TV, but did not know that Jill Soloway might be writing/directing.

-- Oh yeah, and on top of everything else, American Apparel is fat-phobic.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The New York Times Magazine this weekend featured a profile of Dov Charney, a couple years after the rest of the world had one (oh yeah, and after their own Style section wrote about him and American Apparel in November 2004, and Alex Kuczynski wrote about him in her "Critical Shopper" column last June). It presents him as a curiosity, when his weirdness has already been kind of beaten to death in the media. The difference is that this profile was largely flattering.

It's practically impossible to make the guy seem uncontroversial, but the writer of the article seemed more impressed than disturbed, interested in the ways Charney pushes boundaries and the positive implications of his obsession with style and youthfulness. I can see how Dov Charney can be seductive, both as a person and as a symbol, and how American Apparel is in many ways a great and innovative company. I want to believe that there can be socially responsible, "youth-driven" companies that treat their workers well and don't fuck up the environment and make stuff I want to buy. I even want to believe that someone like Dov Charney could be the one to do it. But I don't really think he is.

Charney's taste is fairly eclectic, but there are certain things at which he draws a hard line. Makeup is one. Plucked and trimmed eyebrows are another. To my surprise, short hair is a third. Looking over some fetching snapshots of a pixieish U.C. Santa Cruz student, "half-Japanese, half-white," showing herself off in a polka-dot bikini and biting into a strawberry, Charney nixed it on account of her Audrey Hepburn haircut. "You never see a girl we shot with short hair," he said. "That's unnatural."

Whereas your handlebar mustache, douche bag, just "naturally" grew on your stupid face like that?

Today I went out to get lunch (for a change), and stumbled on a brand new coffee shop on Mercer Street. It's called "think coffee," so it already gets points for a good name and a cute logo. It's also 100% Fair Trade (which, while it's not Rainforest Alliance Certified, is maybe the next best thing), and they're donating 25% of their profits to neighborhood charities. Which is A LOT. On top of that, the coffee is delicious and the place itself is huge - a serious plus since it's impossible to find a seat in a cafe around here. AND, it's open till midnight, unlike most of the places close to my office. So I think I have a new favorite place.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Shit. I just realized I missed Nan Goldin's latest show.

I saw Friends with Money this weekend (in an actual movie theater!), and thought it was brilliant. Lauren and I hated Nicole Holofcener's last movie, Lovely and Amazing (we now refer to as "Stupid and Insulting" or "Insipid and Annoying"), but it's bothering me that I can't remember why. Almost enough to see it again, except probably not. I also watched A History of Violence, which was good, but I'm not really sure why it's supposed to be this amazing commentary on violence and society and identity. In one of the special features they show the difference between the US and international release versions of 2 very violent shots: basically, the MPAA thinks American audiences can handle oozing blood, but not spurting blood. So the international audience got to see a little bit of spurting, while in the US version we were only allowed to see blood slowly oozing from the face of a guy who had his nose bone or whatever slammed into his brain. I'm so glad they're looking out for me.

I got home from Bluestockings yesterday before 5pm, for maybe the first time ever, and was amazed that there was such a long night ahead to get all sorts of things done. So I did the huge pile of dishes. I put away the mountains of clothes that were all over the place, and sorted through a ton of mail and pieces of paper. I went through stacks of magazines and organized them, kind of, or at least put them in new piles. I'm waaaaaay too attached to all this stuff. But I don't know what to do about it. And then, last night Emily asked me if I had a particular issue of the Review that she needed something from, and I got excited thinking that some of this obsessively archived crap might actually be useful, and then it turned out that the issue she wanted was the only one I didn't have.

New York magazine has a short thing about This American Life's upcoming Showtime show. Says Ira,

It’s like two worlds colliding, right? Pay cable and public broadcasting. But it’s been a really happy thing for us. We kept waiting for the meeting where they say, ‘Okay, when do the girls take off their tops?’ But that meeting never came.

I had no idea they were moving to NYC to do this! It actually makes me a little sad. Kind of a serious loss for Chicago.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

didja miss me?

I haven't blogged in a month. While I was not blathering away on the interweb (or at least not on this blog), I was getting accepted to grad school (wheee!), getting a stomach virus in Guatemala, going to my parents' for Passover, unsuccessfully shopping for a bridesmaid dress in New Jersey and playing house with Betsy, among other exciting things. More on all that later, maybe.

I'm writing something a little different for Bookslut this month, less a review and more of a meandering thing about traveling and and books. And I'm having fun writing it, for a change. I came back from Guatemala with more than just illness... I have stories and pictures, some of which I'll post here and some which will probably make it into a zine. In case you want to get up to speed, here is last month's Bookslut column, and here is my review of The Seas at Grace. The reading series is tonite, by the way... Ellis Avery and Shari Goldhagen, 7 pm at Mo Pitkins, if yr interested. If you come you will get to see me doing my very best merch girl impression, while wearing this cool skirt I got for cheap at TJ Maxx this past weekend in the NJ. The NJ can be good for things like this. That and breakfast at Le Peep, even if Lauren always berates me for never eating all my food, and also for Lauren herself, even if she is the reason I was at three bridal shops in one day. I was very well behaved. She seemed surprised.

Here's a good piece from Nancy Goldstein, based on this genius cartoon:

I wasn't sure whether to use chorizo or bacon in my paella last weekend, so I called South Dakota state senator Bill Napoli and asked him to make my decision for me.

And Analee Newitz's column this week at Metroactive is excellent:

My friends said: Ignore it. They said: Those guys are morons. They said: Let's just read and write things in other places where men aren't dicks. But slowly I began to feel about their comments the same way I feel when a right-winger tells me that if I want to promote socialism, I should just move to another country. The problem is, I love my country. It fucking rocks. And I love Slashdot, too. I don't want to run away. This is my home, and I want to stay here and fight for justice. I want women to get excited by all the cool articles on Slashdot and not get driven away by a community that values them for their bodies instead of their thoughts.