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Showing posts from November, 2010

things i suspect are in cher’s contract, based on the movie burlesque

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Cher will receive top billing. Cher will sing no less than two solos. But also, Cher does not want to work too hard, so she will sing no more than two solos. She will get to sit in a chair for one of them. Cher does not do duets. At no point will Cher stand in direct light. Even if the actor playing the role of lighting tech says, “Do you want a spot?” and Cher, as burlesque diva Tess, says, “Yeah,” the lighting which ensues will be of a silvery twilight nature. Cher’s eye make-up will get its own trailer and a producer credit. Stanley Tucci, as gay wardrobe director Sean, will periodically comment on the hotness of Cher’s body. All art and acting direction will serve the film’s, and Cher’s, overarching brand, which is “fabulosity.” If minimum fabulosity requirements are not met, the following measures must be taken: a) Scenes will revolve around Christian Louboutin shoes. b) References to drag queens will be made as “inside” jokes to Cher’s gay cult following. c) The burlesque club wh

angstgiving

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I haven’t been in a very thankful mood lately. I’ve been wrestling with the concept of blessings and the implication that they’re the result of things people do to win favor with God/fate/whatev, which is rampant in our culture. Usually when I ponder this topic, it’s from the over-blessed end of the spectrum. What did I do to deserve all this? The answer is, categorically, not much. But lately I’ve been feeling under-blessed—I’m not getting what I want—and it’s periodically turned me into a sad, desperate mess or a petty, competitive bitch, depending on the day. And worst of all, the same little voice that hopes maybe I did do something to deserve all the good stuff now wonders what I did to fuck up my chances of more good stuff. Knowing this is bullshit only helps a little. I’ve been really mean to myself, feeling too exhausted to indulge in the stuff that makes me happy on a deep level (writing, exercise) and denying myself the shallower indulgences that can be cheap fixes

a story from the heart of los angeles

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Driving into work this morning, I was dismayed to see that Pitfire Pizza had been replaced by Al-Abba’s Chicken. Restaurants come and go in Westwood all the time, but Pitfire was one of the good ones—hello, artisanal butternut squash pizza. The weird thing was that Pitfire’s neighbor, a preschool, had also closed overnight, a Goldblatt’s Delicatessen sprouting in its place. Well, I thought, it would be nice to have a deli nearby, and maybe it won’t have that disturbing smell that Junior’s always does. The weirder thing was that, by lunchtime, two crowds of protestors had gathered in the parking lot between Al-Abba’s and Goldblatt’s. One side waved an Israeli flag, the other held up a poster of the Palestinian flag. But all their signs were chicken puns: No piece, no justice! Give ‘em an inch, they’ll take a thigh! This was, I concluded, a very strange and not that funny promotional stunt by the two new restaurants. But then one of the many onlookers who’d clustered across the stre

for white boys who have considered amputation/when the raven is enuf

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Last weekend AK and I went to see For Colored Girls . It was a gamble. I’d seen a production of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf in college and remembered liking it. But I’d also seen Diary of a Mad Black Woman , whose lessons included “You should forgive the guy who beats you” and “Men in dresses are funny.” It was clear by the opening credits—a pastel cornucopia of fonts you might find on a PTA meeting flyer—that this movie was going to be too much Tyler Perry, not enough Ntozake Shange. It was even more clear by the rape scene intercut with shots of an upbeat opera. I can’t look away from the tonal and moral car wreck that is seemingly* Tyler Perry’s aesthetic, but AK can. And that night I could too because I was falling asleep. I wanted to have a strong opinion about the fact that the movie’s resident slut was clearly going to get a comeuppance or that Janet Jackson’s husband was heading in some kind of trite down-low directi

maybe katie already had a bottle

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Katie Couric’s interview with Sarah Palin made Sarah Palin look dumb. Katie Couric’s interview with Fergie for Glamour Magazine makes Katie Couric look…hip hop? Fifteen? KATIE COURIC: All right, in the completely shallow department, you have a sick body, woman. FERGIE: Thank you, mama! KATIE COURIC: [Laughs.] No, seriously, damn. How do you do that? FERGIE: I work out all the time. Fergie goes on to discuss her cardio routine, where she keeps her Grammys, how Hoarders inspired her to clean out her shit and how she kicked meth but still likes to booze it up. “Send me a bottle,” says Katie.

stereotype come true

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“Crazy artist” is one of my least favorite cinematic stereotypes. “Crazy genius homeless person” is right up there too. I think most artists aren’t crazy, just creative and hardworking, and the ones that are make art in spite of the crazy, not because of it. I know a manic episode can inspire a creative binge, but I don’t think it’s as simple as go off meds, paint Mona Lisa. Similarly, I don’t think most homeless people are fallen violin virtuosos just one shower away from Disney Hall. I imagine mental illness is a long, lonely slog that most often takes you away from yourself, not to some higher plain. So imagine my surprise when I noticed one of Westwood’s resident homeless guys sketching and painting in Starbucks today: small fashion portraits of women in old-fashioned bloomers and a slightly Toulouse Lautrec-ish three-quarters profile. I don’t know if they were the visual-art equivalent of that soloist guy . But they were good. And he was filling them in with watercolors from a ki

what i read in october

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In October I read a lot of student work, my reviews of which are a matter of teacher-student confidentiality (and involve a lot of boring advice like, “Ask yourself what your protagonist wants, then give her some choices to make…”). So most of the books below were “read” via CD in my car. I miss you, recreational reading of actual paper books! The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald: The stories in this collection are more fantastical than the novels of Fitzgerald's I've read, and I missed his subtle, glimmering descriptions of the upper classes. The title story is ripe with all kinds of opportunity for comparing nature to experience in determining a person's true age, but it doesn't do much with the idea. The last story, "O Russet Witch!" is probably the most Fitzgeraldian and my favorite. In between, there's some crazy stuff about mountain-sized diamonds, kidnapped pilots and a murky chase through some plac

confessions of a halloweenie

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I wasn’t feeling very Halloweeny this year. I told AK that if she wanted to go out, the costume burden was on her. She did good: She went as Snoopy as WWI flying ace and I went as Charlie Brown as a ghost with eyeholes gone wrong . Easiest costume ever—just cut a bunch of holes in a sheet. But at JP’s party I quickly discovered that I really dislike having stuff over my face. I felt a little too much like a ghost. I related to the I Don’t Care Bear we met, who had a big yellow head and angry tattoos. But I felt bad because AK was so creative, when costuming is usually not her thing. As in previous years , JP’s people brought it: Meg Whitman, Lady Gaga in her meat dress, some sort of bondage trio in really expensive-looking gear. I sat next to the TV, which was playing, conveniently if I’d still had my sheet on, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown . I had my legs folded next to me and all of a sudden the flickering light hit my mermaid tattoo, which had gotten a couple of bug bit