Joan Rivers & The Feminists…Ramble

Last night I went to a dinner party to discuss current trends with a variety of ‘cool hunters’ ranging from fashion, hotel, and fragrance experts and more. One of the issues that came up was all of the female equality campaigns and how many people changed their social media profiles to Beyonce with the word FEMINIST behind her during the VMA’s (it also happens in her ‘On The Run’ tour.)

That word ‘feminist’ gets thrown around a lot. Joan Rivers was a woman who broke ground. She was the first female comedian, the only female ever, to get her own late night talk show. She blew my mind and curfew as a child. This sassy, smart mouthed woman who went to none other than Barnard College of Columbia University, which also happens to be my Alma Mater, where they drum female rights into the fabric of your mind, whether you are a card carrying Naomi Wolf (author of ‘The Beauty Myth’) fan or not. It is a small group of buildings with the campus being New York City. Get out there, conquer, kick ass, beat doors down and don’t let people tell you know because of your gender. 

It always amazes me how Johnny Carson could recognize Joan’s talent, making her the permanent guest host while he took off, but then when she was offered her own show, he never spoke to her again. Joan’s joke writer, Cassie St. Onge revealed in her touching tribute to Joan on XoJane.com, Joan never understood what or how Johnny wanted to be repaid, but she dealt with it, the way a true ‘feminist’ does, no need to declare it (I’m not for /against declaring it), and she made the way better for other females and her fans by saying what no one else could say. 

I watched a clip of her on E! News explaining why, off-camera, she always was nice to her fans (something I’ve heard from everyone I know who has met her and I work in entertainment so that’s a lot of people)– it was because she met three stars growing up and they were all nice to her. Her philosophy was that it was as easy to say ‘thank you’ as to say ‘no, I don’t have time right now.’ That shows a real grace of character, something that doesn’t instantly pop to mind as a description of Ms. Rivers, but true. I’ve worked with a lot of famous people, been behind-the-scenes, threatened by one boy bander with a baseball bat on a scorching hot day in Orlando, witnessed ugly behavior towards fans and that clip enforced what people who’ve met and worked with Joan have always felt from her, that she cared and she was kind, so it carries a good deal of weight with me and I will miss her shocking comments on Fashion Police, red carpets and her reality show with her daughter, Melissa. 

Sweet dreams Joan Rivers, you were a gem!

 

Summer Reads For Everyone…Ramble

I read. A lot. As a writer you there’s a saying ‘you can only write as well as the best book you’ve read’. I’ll read any topic matter as long as the story interests me. Here are my suggestions for summer reading:

FOR HIPSTERS/INDIE MUSIC LOVERS (redundant) and LITERARY LOVERS:

Wonderland by Stacy D’Erasmo – a densely literary ode to the life on a rock tour, D’Erasmo’s vivid descriptions of creating music, the intricate characters who feed off the industry and the struggle for the main character to make a comeback as an artist, is inspirational. I’ve personally written a chick lit (oh I can feel the daggers of your judgement publishing industry) manuscript (I have several interested parties in publishing, not everyone wants or rejects the same thing), about a rock star manager, and found this a realistic portrayal of how an artist’s brain works. Sex is something that comes naturally, love is always complicated and not enough. Living up to her famous father’s artistic imprint, the main character Anna is in her 40′s, taking one last shot for breaking through the indie scene into the mainstream. Anna reminds me of a red headed version of Liz Phair who’s “Exile in Guyville” was well-received and commercial pop was widely rejected. If you like music and don’t want to read another biography, this is really amazing and well written.

FOR HISTORICAL ROMANCE READERS & THOSE WHO LOVE GREAT BANTER:

Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloise James is charming. The seventh in her Desperate Duchesses series, (they stand alone), the extraordinary Ms. James builds tension between the two main characters to the point of extreme delight. Thorn is a ‘bastard’ and Lady Xenobia, left an orphan of a free-spirited Marquis. Forced by her circumstances to raise her own dowry, Lady X became an interior decorator. She decides it is time to retire and marry, but accepts her final job to transform Thorn’s new estate, as well as him, into the ideal English Gentleman’s prize in order to win approval for marriage to the sweet, dimwit, Lala. The banter between Thorn and Lady X will have you laughing out loud. It’s like indulging in your favorite dessert and finding out the ingredients are more beneficial to your body than vegetables (sign me up for that).

FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO ‘LEAN IN’ WITH A SPOON FULL OF SPICE

#GIRLBOSS by  Sophia Amoruso is her memoir of her rise from a shoplifting dumpster diver to heading up a multi-million dollar fashion company, Nasty Gal. She keeps it real, and you won’t be able to stop laughing. While other career books tend to be dry, Amoruso shows off real-world tips that will help you achieve becoming your own GIRL BOSS!

More tude than Iggy

 

Have You Ever Been Han Solo’d? …Ramble

It is one of the best responses to a first ‘I love you’ when Princess Leia tells Han Solo she loves him right before he gets frozen by Darth Vadar:

Leia: I love you.

Han: I know.

Swoon! It was funny, in character and just about the hottest smirk Harrison Ford has ever given on film. I ‘got Han Solo’d’ a few days ago, so spotting this little gem as part of an exhibit at MoMA made me giggle. It’s the little things in life that have to be appreciated.

Image

A Few Of My Favorite Things…Ramble

2013 is winding down in a storm of Christmas parties. I made it through, barely, but still have enough brain power to write this post while angry movers toss around someone’s valuables, cursing at their lot. Ah, the joy of the holiday season!

This was …a year.
Song: Bastille’s “Pompeii”


Books:
The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer – You can go home, but it won’t be the same!

Cover of ‘What Did The Fox Say’, well clearly the Kerry Washington version ‘What Did My Girl Say’ from SNL. Who dat who dat who dat bitch?

Perfume:
While Chanel No. 5 is wonderful, this year I was given Chanel No. 19. It is a musky scent, which can be worn on it’s own or blended with your summer scents, to tone them down through winter. If you are looking for a gift that is a little adventurous this is the one!

Celebrity Moment: After a lifetime of love for fellow Aussie, Kylie Minogue, I finally got to enjoy some champagne with her.

Scoundrel:
I would be remiss in summing up my year without mentioning a scoundrel named Theo M., who inspired me to write an entire new manuscript. I finished the first draft during NaNoWriMo, in a new genre for me. I’m working on the sequel so cross fingers they sell in 2014. Theo may not know how to be a real hero, like Ryan Gosling’s character in ‘Drive’, but he pushed me creatively, so he has value as a human being. (*if you listened to the song ‘Real Hero’ you’ll know what that sentence means, if not, it is a song that holds special meaning). Sometimes people come into our lives and betray us at a level never thought possible, but focusing on the good aspects, helps the healing process. That might sound cheesy, but living with so much pain and misery is not where I want to dwell.

In 2013 I became a better writer, cook and had my gall bladder sucked out through my stomach (closest I’ll get to an alien experience). I was pushed beyond my boundaries like never before and hope that continues in a mostly positive direction in 2014. I want to thank all the incredible authors I met this year. Thank you for the great advice and support including Helen Fielding, Erica O’Rourke, and Kwana Jackson in addition to the always amazing Shoshi, in a category all of her own.

Merry Christmas!

Feminism That Kicks Ass Lily Allen is Back…Ramble

Don’t need to shake my ass for you, cause I’ve got a brain.
Oh Lily Allen, have I told you lately how much I adore you? J’adore Lily! There has been a lot of noise this year, especially since Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” became such a huge hit & Miley Cyrus’ tongue & ass can’t seem to be anywhere but in our faces, like we all don’t get enough of that on public transport.

Here’s a smart, amazing way of taking on the glass ceiling, while providing a beat you can actually shake that ass to singing “It’s hard out here for a bitch!” I am having a debate at which lyric is my favorite “Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits” – “Trust the injustice, it’s not going away”– oh woman, you are too amazing.

What Does The Fox, Uh My Girl Say…Ramble

Yeah, if you hear ‘What Does The Fox Say’ one more time, you’re going to smack the niece/nephew/family member who introduced it to you/your man/your kids upside the head. Still, this SNL parody of it with Kerry Washington living out her pop star dreams is a must watch. This is going in high rotation my friends as a reward to myself. Seriously. Now watch it, cause it’s full of butts…

Why Helen Fielding HAD to Kill Mark Darcy/Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy…Ramble

Fourteen years have gone by since there’s been a new installment of Bridget Jones’. Well, then is it any wonder to gush like crazy over the return of chick lit’s leading lady and her creator? If there wasn’t a Bridget, there might not be a Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and The City) or an Andy Sachs (The Devil Wears Prada) or countless other great books that made us laugh, cry, relate and let us know, we’re not strange creatures from outer space if we are singletons.

Mad About A Boy

Recently spoilers were printed in the UK that quickly made the rounds to the US media. Helen Fielding had killed MARK DARCY! When Helen was asked by Vogue’s Valerie Steiker, culture editor last night at Housingworks Book Store, if she expected the swift reaction via Twitter from fans, she said no. She didn’t expect to be sitting at home in her pj’s like Bridget, watching the telly, and seeing updates about Syria, then the next story saying “HELEN FIELDING KILLED MARK DARCY!” She didn’t expect a man to run out of a restaurant she had just left yelling at her “You murdered Colin Firth!” right after the news broke. When I asked one of my friends to come to the event she said “Bitch killed Mark Darcy, she is dead to me.”

The hard part was having to tell Colin Firth. After all, the BBC version of Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice”, of which Colin played the most memorable Mr. Darcy, inspired Fielding’s character Mark Darcy. For Ms. Fielding, Colin/Mr. Darcy/Mark Darcy is a hybrid creature and she cannot separate them. She wanted to tell him about the character’s end in person but, their schedules were so conflicting she had to tell him over the phone. She said it was like a death, she asked him if he had someone there with him.

However, Colin/Darcy/Mark Darcy did not disappoint. How very British of this clever man to take it in good stride, and announce that it was a fictional character and no one had actually died. So, as a fan, when I heard the spoiler I was quite upset. However, as a writer, we are constantly told to kill our darlings, throw thunderbolts at our characters to shake them up, to challenge them and create conflict and new goals. For Ms. Fielding, Mark Darcy is a gentleman. He would never leave Bridget and their two children, so he had to die. “It’s far better that he dies and lives on in memory untarnished, like Jesus. He’d never be a fuckwit.” Indeed would you want to read a book about a happy marriage? We love Bridget for her struggles, for her self-doubt, for her bumbling through social situations and love.

Colin/Mr.Darcy/MarkDarcy

Colin/Mr.Darcy/MarkDarcy

Fielding said the way in which dating has changed now with social media, is the amount of things that can be silent and have to be interpreted.

Fielding has often be thought to be Bridget. She created Bridget as a means to write columns so she could keep her own life private. There are, of course, many similarities. She admitted she is overly ambitious in the kitchen and the blue string incident did happen to her. Her friends know she is usually going to overreach in that area and takeout will be ordered. Fielding is now divorced, a mother of two and living in London and in her 50′s. Bridget Jones is a widow, 51, and a mother of two living in London trying to sort out social media and modern dating. I can just say Poor Bridget! Let the comedy ensue.

When the Q&A was opened up to the audience I asked Helen if there was anything she had wished from the book had made it into the films and vice versa (oh self brag moment: Fielding said “That is a very good question” – oh yes, I have professionally interviewed people but a compliment from Helen/Bridget –for now she is a hybrid of those two personas for me–is quite amazing). Ms. Fielding answered yes and sometimes things get confusing. There were things she wanted to put into “Bridget Jones: Mad About A Boy” but had happened in a previous book or film. One thing she would have loved to have in the films was Bridget Jones interviewing Colin Firth the actor. (Note: if you own the 2nd film there is an outtake of exactly that but I didn’t bring that up since she seemed a bit tired from a full day of press). So, in actual real life, Helen met up with Colin Firth in Rome where she was Bridget Jones for the night out with Mark Darcy! And, they’ve also had phone conversations where Colin Firth is Mr. Darcy.

Indeed Helen Fielding is so charming and so humble when it comes to the success of Bridget. Ten minutes into the event, she admitted she was quite relieved and happy with it since she stressed about the VOGUE part of the evening – dressing up for it, accessorizing properly and wearing hard-to-walk-in-heels. I love that she removed those uncomfortable heels and let us all just have them sit there and admire them. Hurrah for Helen/Bridge.

Helen Fielding Sans Heels

Helen Fielding Sans Heels

Helen spoke about how men and woman just communicate differently. Bridget’s motto is KOB = keep buggering on & of course, she does. Women will go out, have some drinks and have a laugh about their problems. Whereas, (Fielding kept saying she is not a sociologist), a male friend went out with another man who was getting a divorce after twenty years. She asked him afterwards why the couple is getting divorced and her friend responded he didn’t know, they talked football all night.

When asked what she would be if not a writer, she replied a doctor. She said if anyone wasn’t feeling well she would be quite happy to assist them. Oddly enough, five minutes later the last “question” was really more a drawn out statement, when a woman three chairs down from me began moaning. If you were on the subway, you just move away from that kind of insane moaning, we’re New Yorkers, we used to it. However, this poor elderly woman who had come on her own was slumped over, unconscious in a bookstore! Guests and Fielding sprang into action. The fire department came and took the woman to a hospital. I want to say, as relieved as we all were she regained consciousness, thank you to you Ms. Moaner. You saved us from a seemingly, unending, pointless statement that was taking down the whole event and instead, gave us a chance to see Helen-Bridget as doctor in action.

The best question from Vogue was, if this book becomes a film, will Mark Darcy be present in flashbacks. Fielding said he would be well represented and that she’d like to be part of the casting! Oh ah.

Finally, it was lovely to have a bit of chat with Helen during the book signing afterwards. I was very happy I got to discuss the “Chick Lit” genre which so many in publishing “eschew” , which is the tone and genre I write in and Helen was surprised and told me to keep on going with it. The great thing is I got to inform her that Mad About A Boy is #1 in the Fiction Satire genre on Amazon. She was so happy. I love when you get a few moments with someone you admire, for whatever reason, and they are made happy by something you said to them. Thank you Helen-Bridget. I am glad you wrote another installment and shocked Britain by writing about a woman in her 50′s- gasp, dating!

Having a laugh with Helen

Having a laugh with Helen

Keep Writing & LOVE chick lit! Helen Fielding

Keep Writing & LOVE chick lit! Helen Fielding