Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Paige bestowed upon me and Rebecca swag she'd procured at the Film Independent's Spirit Awards. She gave me a Mrs. John L. Strong Collector's Diary and Directory in "bone white," which looks like albino crocodile skin, and Rebecca one in black. The retail price for these calendars is $495.
The gilded pages are an obscene and fascinating window into an alternate universe where August begins: "IN THE UTTER ABSENCE OF ANY MAJOR SHOWS OR EVENTS, WE SUGGEST YOU TAKE A VACATION. SEE RESORTS, PAGE 371."
The best part, other than the contact information for wine storage in Beijing and Chicago, searchers for lost/stolen art in London, New York, and Cologne (which they spell Koeln), and various auctions for "important jewels," "arcade jewels," and "magnificent jewels," is the international guide to flower etiquette on page 363. For example:
RUSSIANS ADORE FLOWERS, AND GIVE THEM ON VIRTUALLY ALL OCCASIONS. SHOULD YOU BE INVITED TO A RUSSIAN HOME, BRINGING FLOWERS FOR THE LADY OF THE HOUSE IS DE RIGEUR. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS THAT FLOWERS ARE ALWAYS GIVEN IN ODD NUMBERS (EXCEPT THIRTEEN), EVEN NUMBERED BOUQUETS ARE USED ONLY IN FUNERALS. AVOID YELLOW AND WHITE FLOWERS (UNLESS PICKED IN THE COUNTRY), AND REMEMBER THAT RED ROSES AND DEEP-COLORED FLOWERS HAVE ROMANTIC TONES. STICK TO PALE PASTELS.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
I started this blog as a lark seven months ago and 105 posts later am still having a good time and am pleased that the random things I've chosen to blog about seem to be of interest to others. As of this evening, the stat counter reports that I'm up to 1,497 returning visitors (out of 3,678 total unique visitors -- lots of people obsessed with Jello and/or Daryl Hall). These aren't huge blogosphere numbers, but considering that I'm only linked to in one place that I know about (a kind stranger in Trinidad), it's miraculous. If I imagine you all in my backyard, it's quite a party we have going on here.
So, thanks for showing up. The one thing I'm clear about is that this blog has to stay fun and loose and not become an ambitious, pressurized form of expression for me. If it ever stops feeling like a lark, that's when I'll stop.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
From the press release...
Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 4:00 pm
Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz are illustrators and humorists who are best known for their remarkable New Yorker cover, "New Yorkistan." They will present a cool, summery refreshment of an illustrated talk featuring some of their work, and also featuring their completely irrelevant musings on Edith Wharton and her times.
Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv. She has written and illustrated a dozen children's books, and illustrated the classic writing manual The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. She has worked for the New York Times, The New Yorker, Interview, Travel and Leisure and many other publications. She is now a medium small journalist at large.
Rick Meyerowitz was born in the Bronx and studied fine arts at Boston University. He was the most prolific contributor of illustrated articles to the National Lampoon magazine. He created the poster for Animal House, and the Lampoon's trademark visual, The Mona Gorilla.
Rick's new book, DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon So Insanely Great, will be published in 2009.
Meyerowitz and Kalman created the most-talked-about New Yorker cover in years, "New Yorkistan," which was published a month after 9/11. The New York Times wrote, "when their cover came out, a dark cloud seemed to lift."
The event will take place at The Mount located at 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, Massachusetts and has a cost of $18 if reserved in advance (by 7/25 at 5pm) or $20 at the door. Contact The Mount at 413-551-5104.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
together to Mexico, 1989.
(Cell phone photo of photo...Santa, I need a new camera...though the blurriness adds a certain historical perspective.)
The wedding was perfect at the time and it sealed the deal, however, it's not what either of us would choose now. We'd elope, followed by a charming letterpress announcement. I'm thinking elope to the Inn of the Five Graces and Dave's thinking La Casa Que Canta.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Shelley passed away a year ago today at age 46 of bladder cancer. The local obituaries noted that she left behind a stunned community. Her most recent prognosis had been that she was out of the woods and then suddenly she was dead, leaving behind her beloved daughters and husband Ed, along with hundreds of stunned and shaken friends who packed Hevreh for her funeral. She was a whip smart, funny, strong, generous person, who took the wellbeing of her community extremely seriously.
It was my great good fortune to meet her within weeks of moving to the Berkshires. In her honor, I co-founded the Shelley Memorial Movie Club, which has evolved over the year to be a monthly night out with a group of six moms. We eventually decided to skip the movie and head straight to dinner as we're all so hungry to talk. I cherish these new friendships and am grateful to Shelley for her legacy.
The thing I like best about pedicures, other than the excuse to spend a restorative half-hour perusing Vanity Fair, is selecting the nail polish color. I'm fascinated by the fact that for years the bestselling color was OPI's I'm Not Really a Waitress red. I've tried to google my way to the namer of that color to no success, as I'd like to interview them. Anybody know?
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I read an article the other day about the new trend of "kidsick" parents. The expert advised that it's okay to tell your child that you miss her while she's at camp, but you're not supposed to say that the dog misses her, too, and the house is lonely without her. Whoops. But I did send chips in her care package.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Whenever I hear Des'ree's "You Gotta Be" on the radio, I think of Eric Gupton who, circa 1993-94, used to sing that song to me in the Mother Jones mail room. I was the assistant to the publisher of the magazine then and Eric was office manager by day, and by night, as San Francisco Chronicle theater critic Steven Winn says in the linked tribute above, he was a "flamboyant warrior" founding member of the audacious Pomo Afro Homos theater troupe.
That era has been on my mind this week because after a few months of lurking, I recently left a comment on David Weir's blog. I stumbled on David's blog as both he and I listed "investigative reporting" as an interest on our blogger profiles. Only 28 blogs link to this interest vs. 13,400 when you click the interest "chocolate." I don't remember having many conversations with David at the magazine (he was an editor), but I do recall that he treated me with kindness and respect, which was rare and distinctly endearing in those days. Reading his San Francisco blog has felt like visiting home.
Then last night the publisher of Mother Jones, who remarkably is still the publisher of the magazine, sent me a friend request on Facebook. I was surprised as I've only seen him once since quitting 13 years ago. I've thought of him with compassion in recent years, though, as I've dealt with various arrogant, ambitious, judgmental, impatient-for-glory assistants.
While I did have some legitimate gripes about working at Mother Jones...like that it was an insular largely Ivy league club (I once overheard the editor in chief tell an earnest intern that the most important thing to achieve success in journalism is who you go to school with), like that I was the only mother working there, like that free speech was championed everywhere except in the office...in retrospect, I must have been a bit of a terror as an assistant. I now have a great deal more sympathy for my former boss and look forward to reading his Facebook status reports.
Let the healing begin.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Cooking Light, May 2008
6 cups (1/2-inch) slices rhubarb (about 2 pounds)
2 1/2 cups halved strawberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup regular oats
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. To prepare filling, combine the first 6 ingredients. Spoon into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
3. To prepare topping, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle topping over filling. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes.
Monday, July 7, 2008
...which brings me to the topic of last night's Daryl Hall concert at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. I was never a huge Hall and Oates fan, though of course the lyrics to their many 80s neo-soul hits (Rich Girl, Kiss on My List, Sara Smile, and She's Gone, to name but a few -- the duo sold more than 60 million albums) are engraved onto my generation's DNA.
I looooved the concert and while nostalgia was part of my response, it wasn't the dominant element. Daryl sang a lot of his hits, but with looser, more ragged and free wheeling arrangements than the originals. The band of veteran musicians rocked. Daryl held court in what I perceived to be a relaxed, dignified, generous, soulful, and utterly seductive and charismatic manner. The upper registers of his voice aren't what they once were, but he sang the hell out of the songs, delivering them as himself in the present, not as a washed up pop star clinging to his former glory. And he looked darn good. Whatever vitamins he's taking: they're working.
I gather that lately he's been broadcasting concerts from his house in nearby Dutchess County. The Mahaiwe performance felt similarly intimate and done just for the fun of it. Daryl doesn't need to prove anything to anyone. I had the sense that he was performing because he loves music. There's no better gift for an audience.
Soooo...I was surprised by my friend Seth's review of the concert this morning. It's like he saw a different show. Marx helps me understand how that was possible.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Sitting with Fire
Sur Fire 2008
Big Sur Now
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Re: camp care packages. So far I've gathered glow sticks, temporary butterfly tattoos, temporary henna tattoos, a poker deck, fancy lip balm, turkey jerky, lollipops (sugar free so as not to be confiscated), bubbles, a "Grow a Pirate," fortune telling fish, postcards and stamps, and a Red Sox pen that doubles as a flashlight. I'm also thinking to throw in some pretzels and chips to share with her tipi mates. Other ideas?
Friday, July 4, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
We filled out forms detailing our dimensions, willingness to grow facial/body hair (okay), willingness to bare our breasts and camp on site (no thanks), musical instruments played (junior sort of plays trombone), whether we have a dog (yes, but perhaps he's too excitable for Woodstock), whether we own a car circa 1969 or earlier (no), and our availability (jobs? school? As if we'd let those things stop us).
We posed for snapshots. The casting agent instructed Annalena not to cut her hair and she looked me up and down in my prim cardigan and said, "We're casting for townspeople, too." As a toddler of the counter culture, it feels a little strange that I'm now perceived as too old to play a hippie. Regardless, I hope we get to participate in the spectacle one way or another.