Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty… Ramble

When I worked in Soho, NY the models going on go-see casting calls looked like fairies, dotting the often grey weather that fall. Since then, my interest in fashion has had a more concentrated interest. The colors and cuts of Alexander McQueen have made me sigh in wonderment many a time, none more so than at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.    My eyes fluttered. Here was magic, a different kind of spark than other fashion exhibits I have seen or even Fashion Week events. While the exhibit is based on one from The Met, which I didn’t catch, in 2011, only a year after McQueen’s death, the space and layout were extraordinary.  While the Death Becomes Her, mourning garments throughout history curated by Anna Wintour, at The Met, was historically interesting, there’s nothing I like more in fashion than drama, a real show. The McQueen exhibit includes quotes that enhanced the exhibit as to his own mix of self-awareness and inner turmoil. He was precise. He knew he was making a mark and he wanted to create conversations, arming women with a feminine touch. (The result of witnessing and also a victim of his older sister’s abusive first husband. She only found out about Alexander’s own abuse when he became an adult.)  It was a creative kick in the soul. I’m here, on this earth, go big. I wrote about the recent triad of deaths of men on the music & technology world. The McQueen exhibit was the exclamation point. So, whoever you are, be it a famous Olympian or a school teacher, everyone struggles, turn that struggle into a positive. Express it. Move in this life, not through it colorless. Those dreams, the ones you had once, but life got in the way, it’s never too late to make them a reality.

Americans have a tendency to value ourselves by our job titles, responding within a few minutes when a senior executive needs an answer. If you’re creative the world is your stage, exposure and criticism is expected, welcomed – at the same time, it can be a lot of pressure. Don’t let that pressure to fit into an easier pace of life, trap you into not taking creative risks. Thank you Alexander McQueen for the magic you shared with the world. Hope your tormented soul is laughing – you made your mark. Now, it’s my turn to do the same in my own life.

Franzen is the Kanye West of Authors…Ramble

When Kayne West approached the Grammy stage to snatch Beck’s golden statue for Best Album of The Year, claiming it should have gone to Beyonce, he tried to make it a joke- at first. We all know the fall out, Kanye (for a completely different POV click on Kanye’s name) wasn’t kidding. He went on to say he doesn’t want to perform again at The Grammys until they change it to reflect popular sales. Hmm, then he went on to say it was an insult to artistry, but he hadn’t even listened to Beck’s album, Morning Phase, which had been hailed as a critical darling in indie circles. I also want to say his intro for Kanye’s own performance said it was his “most personal” and point out there is nothing less personal than using Autotune.

I’m not anti-Autotune, but let’s not kid ourselves. Here’s a link for Kanye and all the other people, who, instead of wanting to explore and make an informed rant, is Beck’s Morning Phase:

Well, now let’s turn to another accomplished, lauded artist, one who has graced the cover of TIME magazine for his work, won the Pulitzer Prize, Mr. Jonathan Franzen. Franzen has chosen to take many jabs at women’s fiction writer, Jennifer Weiner. While he hasn’t read her work, he says no one has told him it is a “must read” and she is using a real issue – the lack of review space given to female writers, as a platform to get attention when she doesn’t deserve it.

Dude. Come on, if you had read her work, I would think you had some valid points, but you are not A) her target demo B) too busy to take the take time to read it the way Kanye, who likes to call himself an arbiter of all things cultural, could have taken the time, pre-Grammys to listen to every album in the category of Best Albums that was nominated. If you never read or listen to music outside of what you like, how can you really know what is good and what is not?

As someone who has been paid to be a music programmer (Yahoo! Music & Vh1), and a writer, I have listened and read works I was not naturally drawn to, and found it not only expanded my knowledge, it expanded my own creativity. I don’t always agree with awards, mostly they are a broken thing, but they do help curate what is interesting.

I have read many award winning literary books which I found to lack a strong plot or interesting characters or deliver a good ending. How is Kanye’s lack of respect any different from Franzen’s? It negates their point, which might otherwise presented have been valid. If you are going to diss someone at least know what you are putting down and acknowledge that’s not going to be given to you as a suggestion because your crowd is caught up in one scene.

When you make statements, that have some merit, but no foundation of their own, it not only disrespects the other artist, it disrespects their fans. How likely am I to buy Kanye’s next album or his ridiculous Adidas lineKanye_3

How likely am I now to read another Jonathan Frazen book? The answer to all those questions, is highly unlikely, even if they have critical acclaim. Why should my cash line their pockets when they clearly value their own taste and are unwilling to leave room for anyone else’s? Fans who started the #whoisbeck Twitter campaign are also in need of some more cultural exposure. Why must we tweet about our own ignorance or make statements in the press about it? Why not show the courtesy to make an informed opinion and allow that while not your taste, it can be very important to other people.

My friend Courtney Smith’s book, Record Collecting For Girls, has a chapter on guilty pleasures. It was inspired by our conversations. I don’t believe in having musical guilty pleasures. If it speaks to you, if it helps you, touches you, makes you dance or feel good in any way, then go right ahead and enjoy it.

9780547502236_p0_v1_s260x420 However, Courtney calls bullshit on that in her book and says anyone who doesn’t say they have guilty pleasures is either boring or lying or an asshole. That was the chapter she read on a book panel we did during her book tour. I started with the question “did you call me an asshole?” We have lively debates to say the least, but during that panel people asked me the most questions because they wanted to know about the popular artists that I got to work with in pop music over obscure indie bands — yes, even in Brooklyn! Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world.

Popular doesn’t mean bad. Jennifer Weiner is a fun, great writer who writes heartfelt stories about women that I can relate to, in fact, she is one of the reasons I got a dog. She wrote in her novel “Good in Bed,” every writer should have a dog. So, thank you, Jennifer Weiner for not only providing me and many other women with entertaining fiction we want to read. Thank you for standing up for female authors getting equal press coverage. Thank you for using the platform you EARNED for sticking up for everyone else who does not have it.

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.


Crush of the Week: Joseph Gordon-Levitt…Ramble

As a kid actor on “3rd Rock From The Sun” JGL was good at delivering punchlines and holding his own amongst the comic genius of John Lithgow, Kristin Johnston, and French Stewart. He had cool boy long hair and a cheeky smile. Then, as he got older and moved into films like “10 Things I Hate About You”, I heard he was an obnoxious ass through the Hollywood PR machine. It effected a project I was working on the time and served as a crush killer. I never got to work with him directly, and let’s face it we were all like 15 years old at the time, right, so like, who can hold us accountable for growing up in the show biz.

I moved on to other crushes like Brad Pitt, with his beautiful golden hair and more manly figure. Yet, over the years, Joseph G-L has proven to be a real talent. He has written songs with hipster it girl Zoey Deschanel (you thought I was going to mention that  movie they were lovers in? JGL grown-up crush inducer!)

He hosted SNL showing off his musical skills even more– did you know that for a time he studied at my alma mater Columbia University? Even more interesting, he started a company with his brother called, which is a collaborative community to create – short films, books, and now a TV show that is a variety show (what a natural for JGL!).

This “Regular Joe” as he calls himself on is a true artist, one that never stops creating, learning and exploring. I love how he gives it his all and totally commits to whatever he has taken on, which is why he is this week’s crush of the week. Regular Joe wiped the stage with Stephen Merchant and Jimmy Fallon this week, lip-syncing his heart out while promoting the film he wrote and directed called ‘Don Jon’ (according to co-star Tony Danza it perfectly captures this moment in history where we all consume too much media and how it has socially effected us). Joseph Gordon-Levitt you had me at “Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer”…..

In Defense of Lena Dunham…Ramble

Season 2 of the Lena Dunham created “GIRLS” for HBO has brought a lot of controversy for Lena Dunham. She had a lot of buzz with her film “Tiny Furniture” and season 1 of “Girls” and some the hipster nod which also came with some expected snarkiness.  Now she has won main stream accolades sweeping up a Golden Globe from under Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who during the ceremony said Lena could make a signal and they’d help her if someone was forcing her to be “so naked” on her show, the spotlight has turned to discussion of her “responsibility”.

If you hadn’t heard about Dunham’s latest controversy, or part three of her racial criticism  part one: the cast of is extremely white- all four of the main female characters and their partners are all very, very white making me think of SNL “I am white, extremely white I walk with my buttocks extremely tight”, part two: her character Hannah Horvatz briefly had an African American boyfriend but his fateful flaw was he didn’t like her essays and he was a Republican! During their break-up Hannah fumbled the race card even though she was the one who raised it but really she wanted to break up with him for the previously mentioned reasons, and now the real life part three of it all – ‘comedian’ (and I quote that because I don’t think she’s funny or any woman who has to use gross out guy humor- look at Ellen she’s not like that and she is one of the funniest people on the planet!) Lisa Lampenelli tagged a photo of her and Dunham calling Lena her “n” word. That is horrifying. As you can see below writer Shayla D Pierce expressed her outrage.


As a result of that tweet, Pierce went on to be connected and interview Lampenelli for Jane Pratt’s but… that wasn’t enough for Pierce. She wanted Lena Dunham to have denounced Lampenelli somehow for her verbiage. She tweeted Lena Dunham’s silence about the issue spoke volumes about her- and then she got a little taste of what Dunham was trying to avoid.
Shayla has 1366 followers, while Dunham has 783,146. Shayla had one guy give her a bit of grief and get over it just as fast because both parties back off and were reasonable. But we all know the Internet and Twitter in particular is mostly not a happy happy place, but full of haters waiting to pounce on anyone else’s mistakes.
The day after Dunham and Pierce connected on Twitter and “made up”  Zeba Blay, a HuffPo writer wrote that Dunham’s reason for staying silent on the matter is what spoke volumes for her. 
If you can’t be bothered reading that article, which is posted on a site that only a few months ago posted an article of why they wouldn’t join the Lena Dunham backlash, it refers to a blog post Dunham wrote at 23 about a trip to Japan calling it an “Orientalist disaster”. For the record, Ms. Blay, your use of the word “Orientalist” is a word that is mildly offensive to me as an Asian (oh the irony). When in doubt, use the word Asian. 
Anyway, in the blog Dunham wrote for a she described a Japanese guide who insisted on carrying her bags though that was nutty because she was 73 lbs and had hands “like paper cranes” – well, Ms. Blay, I think that’s just Dunham reaching for Japanese imagery. It was more irksome Dunham incorrectly stated she might have “Yellowish fever”- Lena, honey no, just no. Yellow fever (the social disease, not the physical one), um, it’s really being racist and it’s more of a fetish and you didn’t even want to goto the fetish bar in Japan. But do I think this makes you racist? No, misguided yes.
Tangent (love this song but Coldplay were not referring to Asians in this song): 
When I worked at a record label fans were constantly attacking the label on Twitter. They preferred to say enough was never good enough instead of applauding the label who had inherited an artist through a merger and was supporting that artist like she had never been supported prior so I’ve grown really tired of this behaviour. When is enough enough? If I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook next to Quentin Tarentino (please let this NEVER happen!) should I have to apologize for his insane use of the ‘n’ word? I really hope not. He is a grown man and he made his decisions. If I posted that I was completely disgusted by it would it start another debate? Think about those times on Facebook when just one of your friends had an over the top reaction to something you posted, attacking you and then multiply your private account reaction (out of what 600-700 ‘friends’) to 700K friends. Yuk. The price of being a public figure? Okay, fair enough, but Dunham isn’t Lohan so can we back off and give her a spring break? Both writers stated they didn’t think Lena was a racist. 
Lena Dunham is 26. She gets a lot of crap for being successful at a young age, growing up   with successful parents (does that mean she should instantly and magically know better than other people how to behave? If we’ve learned anything from Bravo’s Housewives, it’s that ‘Money can’t buy you class’)  and getting her huge book deal. She seems to own up to her own faults head on, take on being attacked by the Gross Out King, Howard Stern, stands up for fellow women being attacked like Anna Hathaway, and even posted this hilarious send up of herself:
In summary, thanks Lena for making us think, making us uncomfortable with your nakedness, making us laugh and standing out there on your own, in your own skin and trying to find a way to please everyone, which is impossible. 

James Blake Shows Are Like Snowflakes…Ramble

I’ve been to see James Blake six times. Each show has been unique like a snowflake. It was exciting to hear and feel the music of his first US show at the Williamsburg Music Hall. I couldn’t see because of the jampacked crowd, but you could hear a pin drop. Bjork was part of the crowd and seeing the two of them chat afterwards was quite an amusing visual.

James had two shows in New York last week at the Bowery Ballroom and Le Poisson Rouge. He’ll be back in July at Webster Hall is y’all were lucky enough to snag tickets. Here are some photos of my time with JB. There’s no limit to how magical his shows can be. I realize in my photos I didn’t take photos of the Williamsburg show and the Pitchfork Church Show.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Turn this one up while scrolling:

Five Questions Always a Good Idea…Ramble

I love the duel promotion of Gwyneth and Hova interviewing each other for their respective blogs. GP’s GOOP is great, but as I’ve mentioned before I would optimize it a few different ways for her. Perhaps Gwyneth asking five questions will make me lament even more the lack of my Follow Friday Five Questions series.

It’s also reminded me there is a “face-off” I’ve been slacking on as it forms in my mind- Jay Z’s/Kindle bio vs. Keith Richards/Physical. My problem here physically Richard’s book is so heavy it’s been a challenge to want to pick it back up and I do most of my reading on the subway.

Either way, Ms. Gwyneth is fabulous! I’m glad Hova considers her his sister. It’s definitely an interesting endorsement after reading his book Decoded that starts in a very depressed area of Brooklyn while Paltrow’s Upper East Side prep school upbringing was a complete opposite spectrum, still life, art, music and friendship have tied them together. It’s what makes these interviews so charming and gives insights to the affection they have for each other. I won’t lie, I’m seriously excited Gwyneth’s cookbook is finally available.