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Friday, September 15, 2006

 

Bell sleeves



Inspiration: Project Runway
Images: Bravo and Style.com

So on Project Runway ep.10, Uli was criticized for the sleeves on her dress being too long. The day after this episode aired, Michael Kors unveiled his Spring '07 collection at NY Fashion Week. It seems he may have been inspired by the black and white challenge in more ways than one - the collection includes a dress somewhat similar in style to Uli's. Which one is better?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

 

Finally


Inspiration: Whitney Houston Files for Separation from Bobby Brown
Image: She really did look like this once

Well, 14 years ago, Whitney Houston fans everywhere placed their bets on how long it would last with Bobby Brown. I think most bets ranged from 6 weeks to 6 months. Though I was only 8 years old, I believe my bet was 1 year. I never thought I would finish elementary school, middle school, high school, and college all before Whitney and Bobby separated.

For the longest time, I blamed Bobby for all of Whitney's problems. I blamed him for the drugs and erratic behavior. I'd be high too if I were married to that fool. However, I have since developed a new theory. While in high school I discovered the trashiest, campiest, most entertaining gossip site EVER. There, I discovered what must be one of the best rumors from the 1980's: the lesbian love triangle between Whitney Houston, Kelly McGillis, and Jodie Foster.

The basic story is that Whitney had a thing with Kelly, then Kelly had a fling with Jodie while they were filming the original feminist anti-rape movie The Accused. When Whitney found out, she stormed the set and fighting ensued.

Because I was not actively following these events at the time they occurred, I cannot take a stand and say whether I believe it or not. But I can evaluate it given some known facts:

Fact #1: The unconvincing denial: "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God... I am not a lesbian. I wish they'd stop saying it. I have a daughter, for God's sake. What do they mean by this? They write this shit and one day I'm gonna have to talk to my daugher... Please. I'm so pissed off right now. Excuse me." - Whitney Houston to Entertainment Weekly in 1995.

Fact #2: Continued rumors: "I've seen her with a woman a couple of times. They were walking around without their shirts on when I came in the house." - Tina Brown talking some shit about her sister-in-law this past spring.

Fact #3: It is a bad idea to screw around with Whitney Houston - literally or psychologically. Look at these more recent pictures of her:


I would soooo not cross her.

Fact #4: The open secret: Jodie Foster is not straight

So given this background, it does not seem implausible that these women could have been intertwined in some high-level drama back in the day. The only missing link here is Kelly McGillis. There is hardly any gossip about her aside from this one rumor. This lack of information is probably due to her lack of a career since the 80's. Imdb.com says she is twice divorced and once said, "Love isn't intellectual - it's visceral." That seems sort of repressed gay to me!

So this rumor, combined with other old rumors about Whitney and her best friend Robin, compelled me to go forward with my theory on Whitney's turn to drugs. Crack destroys her inhibitions and dulls her pain. When Whitney is high, she can screw anything she wants without feeling guilty or afraid. Later, when bitches like Tina are like "Ewww you f*cked that girl," Whitney can be like "Whatever, bitch, I was just high!"

Maybe the divorce is a sign of awakening for Whitney. Maybe she will boldly go forth into a brave new world where she can do whoever she wants without using crack as a safety net. I just hope she takes some time to clean up her appearance before going out there - unless she still finds the toothless crackwhore look to be a winner.

 

Buy Me Out


Inspiration: Ford to Offer Buyouts to US Employees
Image: We've all seen this one before

Yet another nail in the coffin of American manufacturing, Ford is offering buyouts and early retirement for 75,000 of its hourly workers. Michigan is one of those states that just makes me feel sad. Unemployment is high, and some towns have been virtually destroyed by the loss of manufacturing jobs due to outsourcing and slumping auto sales. Plus I think the three most famous people from Michigan are Eminem, Kid Rock, and Michael Moore, so the state has a public face of ugliness. I will spare you those pictures because I don't want to ugly up my blog. Pete Doherty [Edited to add: or Whitney Houston] is as far as I'm willing to go.

Though I think outsourcing is unfortunate and am generally against it, many of these workers probably do hate their jobs and would be happy to be 'bought out.' For the right price, I think most people wouldn't mind. My mom certainly wouldn't, and neither would I (the one thing we now have in common). Of course, I have no idea what a fair buyout price would be, but Ford seems to have some ideas. According to the article, "Under the buyout and early retirement plan, detailed in a UAW statement, workers can choose between eight packages that offer from $35,000 to $140,000 depending on their years of service, age and how close they are to retirement age." I wonder how many people actually qualify for the $140,000. Even the $35,000 would be like a year's salary. If the younger employees get $35,000 and they hate their job, they could take the year to look for a job they really like or go back to school or something. And the older employees getting the big payoff could just move to Miami like the Golden Girls - if the Golden Girls were burly factory men or Rosie the Riveter.

 

Overkill


Inspiration: Superstar: The Karen Carpenter story
Image: Kate Bosworth

jesus f*cking christ.

Orlando Bloom just broke up with her, so I imagine whatever she has been doing to herself to get to this point isn't going to stop anytime soon. It's like DJ AM and Nicole Ritchie all over again. Spending time at NY Fashion Week won't exactly help Kate's body image issues either. Madrid Fashion Week is looking better and better.

 

Kindred spirits


Inspiration: Johnny Depp
Images: Winona Ryder News Channel and Style.com
Winona Ryder and Kate Moss have a great deal in common, so I am not surprised that these photos have surfaced of them shopping together. The most obvious connection is the significant amount of time they both spent in bed with Johnny Depp in the early and mid-1990s. Depp is the hottest guy either woman has ever dated:

Since then, they have only been involved with bland nice guys like Matt Damon and Jefferson Hack:



And ugly, dirty rockers like Evan Dando and Pete Doherty:



Aside from their taste in men, Winona and Kate both have addictive personalities (Winona:prescription drugs/sex; Kate:cocaine) and have been famous since they were teenagers. Also, they're both starting to look a little rough around the edges. Yet, out of all their similarities, it was a mutually undying love for fashion that finally brought these two together. Or maybe just their mutual friendship with the biggest crackhead of all, Marc Jacobs. Have you seen his Spring '07 vomit of a collection?



Anyway, for Winona, being friends with Kate should be a dream come true. Kate gets way more free clothes from designers than Winona does and is the only one with a shopping bag in the picture. Kate probably has more clothes and accessories than anyone on the planet. I'm sure Winona has realized that it would be much easier to steal from a friend's closet than from Saks Fifth Avenue!



Wednesday, September 13, 2006

 

It's called a muzzle


Inspiration: Mother of missing boy commits suicide
Image: Nancy Grace

Well the inevitable has finally happened. Nancy Grace and her aggressive approach to 'journalism' (read: angry, condescending ranting) has driven a weak and mentally unstable guest to suicide. The victim was a young mother whose interview ended with Grace "pounding her desk and loudly demanding to know: 'Where were you? Why aren't you telling us where you were that day?'" The next day, the woman killed herself. Now, I haven't really looked into this case, so I don't know if the mother was guilty of anything, be it murder or negligence. But really, Nancy Grace's approach to her guests really doesn't facilitate meaningful discussion. It certainly does not encourage anyone to fess up to anything they may have been hiding. Grace just harangues people, talking over them and repeating the same questions louder and louder until she hears the answer she wants to hear. Once she thinks you are hiding something, she will always think you are hiding something. Say you were a murderer and on her show. You wouldn't break down and admit, "Ugh ok. You're right. I did do it. Sorry!" Not unless you were so sick of hearing her voice that you'd rather sign a plea bargain than be on the Nancy Grace show one moment longer.

Nancy Grace would improve her show and avoid future wrongful death suits if she added a sidekick. Think 'good cop, bad cop.' It works on Law & Order: SVU. Elliot behaves like a psycho and abuses the suspect. Then Olivia or Dr. Wong comes in and butters them up. In 15min, they have a confession. So, who do you think should be Grace's bitch associate?


Vanessa Minnillo - she would add cuteness to the broadcast. she has live experience from MTV TRL and is the smartest girl Nick Lachey has dated.

Thomas Roberts - gay, so he must be nice. and also recently unemployed since Headline News scrapped his 4pm broadcast

Paula Abdul - true, she is a drunk. but she's a *happy* drunk, and the "nice" one on Idol.








 

Yurts are delightful

Inspiration: Bush to hold talks on Ali G creator after diplomatic row
Images: Google image search

Not surprisingly, Ali G's new Borat film has greatly upset the Kazakh government. President Nazarbayev has arranged meetings with President Bush in order to discuss ways in which Kazakhstan's image can be improved in America. There is talk of a "PR blitz" with both television and print components. Though some people may scoff at President Nazarbayev's missing sense of humor, I think he has a point. Does the average American know anything about Kazakhstan? I doubt most people could find it on a map, let alone understand its complex cultural history. Fortunately, I took a class on this in college.

The Kazakhs are traditionally nomadic people - not to be confused with barbarians because those were the Mongolians. Just kidding! Anyway, the Kazakhs along with the Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, and Turkmens, were essentially colonized by the Russians. Colonization attempts began under Peter the Great in 1715 with the first expedition to the Kazakh steppe. Around 1884, colonization of all the Central Asian countries was completed with the takeover of what was then known as Turkistan. Though life was not great under imperial rule, it was much better than under the Soviets. While the tsarists generally allowed the nomads to stay nomadic, the Soviets forced them to settle. Because 'the state' was the major Soviet religion, everything possible was done to undermine traditionally nomadic social structure. For example, traditional shamanistic rituals and folk medicine was discredited, not really for the sake of public health, but in order to remove shamans and healers from positions of social power. Though Stalin did not slaughter as many people in Central Asia as he did in other parts of the Soviet Union, people still suffered. Now Kazakhstan is struggling to reconcile its proud nomadic heritage with its desire to be taken seriously by the rest of the world in the post-Soviet era. End of history lesson.

As for nomadic culture, it is not as 'backward' as you'd think. For example, the Kazakh government is most upset about the scene in which Borat makes out with his sister before leaving for America. The uninformed viewer may not actually assume Kazakhs are still incestuous today, but he or she may believe it was accepted in their society in the past. However, this is not at all true. Back when there were nomadic tribes following exact migration patterns throughout the year, there were gatherings of different tribes in the warmer months for the purpose of matching up singles in tribes far removed from each other. Hardy nomads did not want incestuous dilutions of their gene pool. These people had to (and some still do) get up at 4 or 5am, milk the camels and goats, cook dinner, maintain the yurt, batten down the hatches in the event of a sandstorm, watch the children, watch the elderly, braid rope out of camel hair, milk the camels again, etc. Members of the British royal family are far, far more likely to make out with their siblings than the Kazakhs are!

In any case, Ali G is hilarious and I'd encourage anyone to see his movie. But just remember Kazakhstan (and the culturally similar Kyrgyzstan) actually does exist, and it is pretty damn cool.








Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 

Christian Troy


Inspiration: Nip-Tuck
Image: Julian-fans.com

Nip-Tuck is a fabulous show. This season there are gays, Scientologists, and birth defects, though no one person has or is all of those things. Yes, finally a show about gays and Scientologists that does not hit viewers over the head with Tom Cruise references. Anyway, it looks like Christian has finally realized the homoerotic nature of his relationship with Sean, his best friend and surgical partner. This is good news because it seems so obvious to anyone who watches the show that the relationship between Christian and Sean is quite profound. I'm sure no one can forget the episode in which Sean conveys how betrayed he feels by Christian (who slept with Sean's wife) by telling him, "I loved you the most." However, Christian's realization, possibly too little, too late, is also slightly less than fantastic, because now we have to endure a season of him denying his feelings, punching men who come on to him, and generally being more violently impulsive than usual. At least this turmoil makes for good drama. It is also important for there to be different types of gay representations on TV. I initially had the hope that men watching the show would realize that the bond they share with their poker or football buddies might run much deeper than a 6-pack of Budweiser. But then I remembered that those men don't tend to watch Nip-Tuck. C'est la vie.

Here are more pictures. Christian is dreamy, whether he wants me or not.




 

Celebrity Skin


Inspiration: all the celebrity blogs out there
Image: Victoria's Secret

Isn't the underwear Gisele is wearing in this picture nice? And doesn't it look like it would fit seamlessly with most outfits? Please, celebrities (and those of your ilk), go shopping this weekend. Or else, learn the proper way to sit when wearing a dress or skirt.

I am sure you have all seen the recent stream of images of Lindsay Lohan missing key undergarments. She has an aversion not only to bras, but also to panties. Even a thong is too much for her sometimes. Of course, Lindsay is not the first young celebrity to become notorious for this reason. Paris Hilton had her first 'exiting a car with legs wide open and no underwear' mishap a couple of years ago. Frankly, I am surprised that Lindsay was more thoroughly waxed than Paris. But that is neither here, nor there.

All of this talk about celebrities and their (lack of) underwear has made me wonder how common this problem actually is. Is it just a matter of "running out" before laundry day, or is it a lifestyle choice? We know when celebrities leave their underwear in the hamper because the stalkerazzi are there to capture the right moment when they are ascending stairs or awkwardly exiting a car. But there were no paparazzi or 'photojournalists' at my school and none now in my office (usually), so I wonder how many money shots are being missed. Was the girl who anxiously pulled down her skirt before sitting down at a meeting worried about more than a flash of a Victoria's Secret low-rise boyshort? Was the guy who tried to grind me at a club actually "freeballing"? I need to take comfort in the thought that there are four layers of fabric separating my business from that of some horny clubgoer. Without that buffer zone, I don't know what to do. Perhaps I should start wearing an extra pair of underwear to make up the difference. Just another excuse to go shopping this weekend.

 

Disappearing Models


Inspiration: Ban on skinny models shocks fashion world
Images: bwgreyscale.com and style.com

Madrid, not particularly known for great fashion, has decided to make its mark on the fashion world by instituting a minimum BMI requirement of 18 for its fashion week models. As the article states, this BMI requirement would rule out most top models, including Kate Moss - who isn't nearly the skinniest of all the models and wouldn't be caught dead at Madrid Fashion Week anyway. Of course, the Madrid city government's decision brings up an interesting question. No, not the obvious question about the relationship between the fashion industry and the promotion of anorexia, bulimia, laxatives, and cocaine. I mean the less heavy-handed, though related question of how we want our models to look.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a BMI of 18 is classified as just barely "underweight." A 5'11" 130lbs. model would meet this requirement. Gisele Bundchen would not. Gisele is commonly listed at 5'11" 127lbs. Though surely thin, she looks healthy and athletic. Gisele actually looks like she went through puberty and has not devoted her adult life to eradicating those gains. However, Gisele is also now a more mainstream model, rarely doing runway work. The "working" models are under much more pressure to keep their weight down. The ideal stat for an aspiring model is 5'9"+ 115lbs. Some girls carry this little weight better than others. Below are 4 models from the Spring '06 shows. As you can see, all of these models are thin. None of them meet the BMI for the Madrid shows. But only two of them look starving, while the other two look passably healthy. Can you tell the difference?




Julia Stegner at Pucci & Valentina Zelyaeva at Hermes

Julia Stegner, Pucci Spr.06
Valentina Zelieyva, Hermes Spr.06




Hana Soukapova at Alexander McQueen & Elise Crombez at Versace
Hana Soukapova, Alexander McQueen Spr.06 Elise Crombez, Versace Spr.06

Whew, that was hard. I suppose my point is that models who look like they are starving should be encouraged to put on some weight, while the models who are thin, but not scary, should just be left alone. What fun would fashion be if the models just looked like people off the street? Though people off the street tend not to have BMIs of only 18, making a strict numerical cutoff seems rather silly. They should just look at the model to make the judgement. Does it look like you could slit your wrist on her clavicle, rib, or hipbone and end your BMI 22 misery? Do you see hunger pangs in her eyes? Is she jittery and taking frequent bathroom breaks? If she only meets 2 out of these 3 criteria just let her in your damn show!

Seriously, though, the solution is to have a fashion show that has models of different sizes walking at the same time. There shouldn't be a need to shun the skinny models or shuffle all the curvy models into the dreaded 'plus-size' ghetto. Most designer collections have outfits that complement both curvy bodies and not so curvy bodies. They would be doing themselves a favor by using the right models for each design. It's true that no one wants to see a plus-size girl in horizontal stripes and hot pants, but no one wants to see a flat-chested girl's sternum in a halter dress either.

Stay tuned for next week's musings on the need for racial integration in the fashion world. I mean, Prada never uses black models. And they are really skinny!

 

Shaking it with Shakira


Inspiration: Revealing Passion, and Shaking With Ease
Image: Egotastic

Last week, the NY Times published an article about Shakira's appeal as a pop star who acts "as though she doesn't need us [fans]." Reviewing a recent concert at Madison Square Garden, Kalefa Sanneh highlights Shakira's wry attitude towards her role as a performer by quoting Shakira's show-opening remark, “Here’s the deal. You know I’m gonna be dancing and playing and doing all the required stuff.” Shakira then proceeded to do the 'required stuff' and she do it better than anyone else. Like Sanneh and millions of other Shakira fans, I too have marvelled at the way Shakira breezes through hours of singing and superhuman hip thrusting (I swear she must be double jointed down there) without seeming to break a sweat. It is awe-inspiring. It makes me want to quit my job and take belly dancing classes all day.

Not only does Shakira seem more naturally suited to dancing and singing all night than other pop stars, she also does not attract the same gossip as they do. Sanneh mentions this briefly in the article, but I want to elaborate on this important point. Shakira is never caught in embarassing lip synch flubs. She doesn't get involved with trashy backup dancers. She doesn't gain and lose massive amounts of weight at the drop of a hat. There are no lesbian rumors about her (to the chagrin of all the lesbians out there, I'm sure). No drug rumors and no unsightly pictures of 'sweat' stains on her crotch. The two biggest Shakira 'controversies' are over her hair color - natural vs. peroxide blonde vs. dirty blonde - and album quality - her English albums being worse than her Spanish ones, but still better than everyone else's. I'm sure Britney Spears sees Shakira on TV and eats another bag of Cheetos in her depression.

Going back to the NY Times article, Shakira closes the Madison Square Garden show saying, “Thank you so much for a wonderful night," which Sanneh aptly interprets as sounding, "like exactly the sort of thing you say to a smitten admirer who can’t live without you, right after you decide that the feeling isn’t quite mutual." Is this the true key to Shakira's appeal? The hip shaking and catchy songs are certainly part of it. But do we crush on Shakira the way we crush on TAs and friends who don't think of us 'in that way'? The lack of information on Shakira's personal life (at least in American media) and her avoidance of unnecessary interviews/publicity stunts leaves us longing for more. Shakira is - for all intents and purposes, despite being shorter than Kylie Minogue - perfect. We would never be able to dance or sing or write songs like her. We would never be able to be remain so cool in front of thousands of people. And even if we were famous, we would surely find a way to screw it up (hi, britney).

 

Not another gossip blog...

...but it sort of is. This will be my first foray into the oversaturated market of entertainment blogs. Most blogs cover the same celebrities over and over again – Paris, Nicole, Lindsay, Brangelina, TomKat, etc. I have felt frustrated by the narrow focus of these blogs. I care about Paris Hilton's blood alcohol level, but I care about other things too. So this blog will be about everything. There will be the expected celebrity gossip, but in addition to the generic ‘post a picture, post the story, make a bitchy comment’ approach, I will also include more insightful analysis, placing the rumor in its proper sociocultural context. In addition, I will include news and analysis from the fashion world – because I like fashion – and the music world – because I like music. I’ll also give political and business figures the celebrity treatment they deserve, so you can rationalize your gossip blog habit by claiming that you are "keeping up with the news."

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