Archive for May, 2014

I Miss You Every Day

May 13, 2014

I really wanted to post something original––I have an okay original essay that I shopped around a bit and might slap up here––but when I came across this anecdote about Sylvia Beach, doyenne of the original Shakespeare & Co., my most special home, I just couldn’t resist sharing it.  Background: this take place during the Nazi occupation of Paris, obvs.

“My German customers were always rare, but of course after I was classified as ‘the enemy,’ they stopped coming altogether––until a last outstanding visit ended the series.  A high-ranking German officer, who had got out of a huge gray military car, stopped to look at a copy of Finnegans Wake.  Then he came in and, speaking perfect English, said he would buy it.  ‘It’s not for sale.’  ‘Why not?’  My last copy, I explained.  I was keeping it.  For whom?  For myself.  He was angry.  He was so interested in Joyce’s work, he said.  Still I was firm.  Out he strode, and I removed Finnegans Wake from the window and put it safely away.

“A fortnight later, the same officer strode into the bookshop.  Where was Finnegans Wake?  I had put it away.  Fairly trembling with rage, he said, ‘We’re coming to confiscate all your goods today.’  ‘All right.’  He drove off.

“I consulted my concierge.  She opened an unoccupied apartment on the third floor.  (My own apartment was on the second floor.)  My friends and I carried all the books and all the photographs upstairs, mostly in clothesbaskets; and all the furniture.  We even removed the electric-light fixtures.  I had a carpenter take down the shelves.  Within two hours, not a single thing was to be seen in the shop, and a house painter had painted out the name, Shakespeare and Company, on the front of 12 rue de l’Odeon.  The date was 1941.  Did the Germans come to confiscate Shakespeare and Company’s goods?  If so, they  never found the shop.

“Eventually, they did come to fetch the proprietor of Shakespeare and Company.”

A Psychology Writer’s Fantasy

May 9, 2014

“I also had the benefit of being given completely free rein to wander into any office, basement, attic or storeroom at Chestnut Lodge over a five-year period and read whatever I found there.  Because the Lodge’s archives were being created during precisely these years, I was allowed the pleasure of reading each manuscript, listening to each tape, and studying each photograph within a few months of its discovery.  This is every biographer’s dream: being handed the keys to a room filled with treasures and told simply to turn out the lights at the end of the evening.  (Since I was on the grounds of a still-vibrant mental hospital, I was also told that if I wanted lunch or dinner in the cafeteria as a break from working, I should simply sign myself in under ‘guests.’)  Researchers who must rely on archives constructed according to someone else’s plan have to spend a lot more time searching for what they need than I did.”

~ From Gail Hornstein’s (excellent) biography of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, To Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the World

A Tweet, and a Theory

May 8, 2014

A Tweet: @Green-WoodCemetery––You should have a writer’s residency program like AmTrak.

A theory: There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are comforted by knowing other people have problems very similar to their own and those who are comforted by knowing other people have problems very different than their own.


May 7, 2014

Started off slow, but ended up crazy.

Ralph Steadman's Alice in Wonderland.

Ralph Steadman’s Alice in Wonderland.

Back By Popular Demand

May 7, 2014

By request, I’ve decided to recreate one of my most popular posts of last year: quick and dirty reviews of Met Ball looks.  This year, I’m using the Cut’s slideshow (which is not to say I didn’t use it last year––I genuinely don’t remember) and I have to say, I HAVE A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE:

1. Beyonce: Interesting, I admit begrudgingly

2. Taylor Swift: Dancing with the Stars prom-themed reunion show

3. Lupita Nyong’o: so many feelings

4. Kim and Kanye: boring, as always

5. Anna Wintour: ditto

6. The Olsen Twins: Why do I love this?


8. Anne Hathaway: the only good example of a CT I’ve seen in ages

9. Gisele: Yet another reminder that perfection is boring

10. Jessica Lange: Hello eyebrow lift

11. Kristen Stewart, I like parts and hate the whole

12. SJP: I am bizarrely underwhelmed

13. Victoria Beckham: WHY IS EVERYONE SO BORING

14. Naomi Campbell: without the cut-outs this would have been awesome in a Liberace sorta way

15. Karlie Kloss: Hate elbow length gloves on women

16. Amber Valletta: THERE ARE NO PANTS AT THE BALL!  (name that movie)

17. Katie Holmes: Why kick her when she’s down?

18. Michelle Williams: I feel like I’ve seen her in this a million times before

19. Amy Adams: The first one I’ve actively liked

20. Rita Ora: Who exactly is Rita Ora?

21. Donatella Versace: Hard to look away from that face

22. Nicole Richie: I know I should hate this more than I do, but it reminds me of 8th grade

23. Jourdan Dunn and Toni Garra: Models?  I like both.  Then again, hard to go wrong when you’re that tall

24. Emma Stone: She looks pretty great

25. Kate Upton: Chiquita Banana, in mourning

26. Cara Delevingne: Michelle Rodriguez was a bad sartorial influence

27. Kirsten Dunst: Oh please

28. Lena Dunham: What I want to say will certainly not be PC

29. Jenna Lyons: AHHHH IT’S A TALL GOLUM

30. Marion Cotillard: Not so bad from this angle, but I think I’d hate it from a different one

31. Solange: Is that a bad toupee?

32. Joy Bryant: Hello 2001?

33. Chloe Sevigny: forgot the gestalt aspect

34. Jessica Pare: Not bad


36. Bradley Cooper: skipping stupid boys

37. Shailene Woodley: Disaster

38. Amber Heard: fine, but Johnny Depp looks like Ebenezer Scrooge out on the town

39. Florence Welch: Never change

40. Zoe Saldana: Decent

41. Kate Bosworth: decent, albeit sorta emaciated

42. Stephanie Seymour: Chiquita Banana, at play!
43. Rachel McAdams: too monochrome for her own good

44. Rashida Jones: the ball gown thing doesn’t really work for her

45. Erykah Badu: Pharrell’s hat on steroids

46. Maggie Gyllenhaal: Someone else said it best––a 70s cult leader all dressed up

47. Stella McCartney: Why so glum?

48. Allison Williams: nice

49. Frank Ocean: I think I like him, in general

50. Charlize Theron: lose the jacket

51. Margot Robbie: Oof

52. Miguel: who?

53. Naomi Watts: I’d also like to get rid of this sheer bottom trend thing

54. Claire Danes: I hate it despite the fact that it’s relatively unoffensive

55. Chrissy Teigen: A little strange in the stomach area, but different, so yay?

56. Anna Kendrick: Didn’t she wear this to the Oscars?

57. Emmy Rossum: tablecloth

58. Kate Mara: moss on a rock

59. BOY

60. Chanel Iman: She looks great, but A$AP ROCKY is terrifying

61. Hailee Steinfeld: Um.  It’s not doing anything for me.

62. Blake Lively: The usual Barbie fare

63. Elizabeth Olsen: Toddlers & Tiaras (although I dig the shoes)

64. Sarah Silverman: I cannot deal with her in this context

65. Christy Turlington: Well done

66. Rosamund Pike: No

67. Donna Karan: diaphanous ain’t working for her

68. Reese Witherspoon: Yeah I like it

69. Joan Smalls: The lipstick would have worked LAST YEAR

70.Karolina Kurkova: Very… large

71. Adele Exarchopoulos: I didn’t even recognize her.  Hm.  I need to think about this.

72. Bee Shaffer: Alright

73.  Dee Hilfiger: Poorly executed Mad Men reference?

74. Fei Fei Sun, Marina Rust, Tori Burch: Okay for the first two, I take back what I said re: gloves.  Tori, on the other hand, looks matronly.

75. Karen Elson: Kinda love it.

76. Maggie Q: Who?

77. BOY

78. Alexa Chung: I am positive I would have loved this when I was 21

79. Chloe Grace Moretz: I am rooting for this kid, really

80. Amanda Peet: Makes her look dumpy.  Which is… crazy.

81. Robin Deardon: Fine

82. Zooey Deschanel: Too prom-y

83. Sofia Coppola: I don’t hate this!

84. Diane Kruger: Nice, but a little old for her?

85. Janelle Monae: Hipster matador

86. DUDE

87. Greta Gerwig: UUUUUUGHHHH

88. Felicity Jones: Coulda used some make-up?

89. Kendall Jenner: I respectfully decline to recognize her existence

90. Natalie Massenet: Her torso looks like book pages flapping in the wind

91. Jessica Alba: Makes her look pregnant, oddly

92. MEN (ish)

93. Lily Allen: Hate. Loathe. Despise.

94. Oh I just can’t

95. Lake Bell: She looks bomb.

96. Elettra Wiedemann: They spelled her last name wrong.  That’s all I’ve got.

97. GUGU!?

98. Olivia Munn: Would have been better with slightly less tit

99. Riley Keough: Disqualified for pants

100. Fabiola Beracasa: Uh, sure.  Not wild about the color but everything else is pretty glam.

101. Lea Michele: A poor man’s Amy Adams in American Hustle

102. Catherine Martin: Delightfully wacky

103. Kylie Minogue: Yawn

104. Zoe Kravitz: I can actually SEE YOUR VAGINA

105. Hayden Panettiere: Prom in Palm Beach

106.Elaina Watley: I don’t know who this is, and I never want to see her dress again.

107. Leighton Meester: I don’t hate this.

108. Laetitia Casta: Hm.  Interesting.  The cut on top is a little dumpy but otherwise not bad.

109. Ruth Wilson: I like her face?

110. Selena Gomez: She dresses like a 47 year old

111. Lily Aldridge: She is as exciting to me as Melba toast

112. Ming Xi: My lord she is slim

113. Michelle Monaghan: You go, Maggie!

114. Julie Macklowe: It’s so bright.

115. Ivanka Trump: Rivals #114 for worst color

116. BOY

117. Dree Hemingway: I’ve stayed up since I saw this trying to decipher how I feel about it

118. Imogen Poots: Her last name sounds like how I feel about this dress

119. Livia Guggioli: Orange and black––bold idea

120. Dianna Agron: Feh

121. Georgia May Jagger: My lesbian crush looks awesome

122. Suki Waterhouse: Looks way skinner than she did last week, eh?  Dress is fine?

123. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: Yeah, okay, I’m into it!

124. Liu Wen: A

125. Dita Von Teese: the mermaid tail is amazing

126. Katie Couric: Does nothing for her

127. Emily Cole: Is that his daughter?  That’s as much enthusiasm as I can muster

128. Giovanna Battaglia: Looks like it’s going to fall off

129. Gabrielle Union: Burn this

130. BOY

131. Dakota Johnson: Do we just have to lie down and take her fame now?

132. Brie Larson: Clown with a spending problem.  Or something.  PLEASE KILL ME.

133. Stacy Martin: Man, what a person with a teaspoon of fashion sense could do with her body.  Sigh.

134. LaLa Anthony: WOAH


136. Arizona Muse: Yep, awesome

137. Aerin Lauder: Is it weird that I keep thinking about how old we’re all getting?

138. Tabitha Simmons: Interesting but it sort of makes her look… stout?

139. BOY

140. Nancy Chilton: I should know who this is

141. Oof, Anna Wintour’s son looks… not cute

142. BOY

143. Coco Brandolini and Bianca Brandolini: They look just like the D&G ads?

144. Idina Menzel: Lea Michele made bigger

145. Selby Drummond: Thoughtful, at least?

146. Hannah Bagshawe: LIPSTICK: wear it.

147. Sandrina Bencomo: Don’t like the hoop at the waist, but it seems like it would be hard for her to look really horrible.

OMG That was painful.  Off to have a morning martini…



Jealousy, Transformed

May 5, 2014

I hate when I feel a tinge of the green monster when reading an article I wish I had written.  Of course, I immediately expected to feel that way when I read Stephanie Rosenbloom’s “Solo in Paris” in the Times.  When I went to Paris alone on vacation in 2011, I had figured it was the whimsy of a naif; but lo, it was a worthwhile topic, in the Times, no less!

“This was not simply because I was in Paris,” she writes, “though it has long held a kind of magic for many Americans. It was because I was there on my own. In a city that has been perfecting beauty since the reign of Napoleon III, there are innumerable sensual details — patterns, textures, colors, sounds — that can be diluted, even missed, when chattering with someone or collaborating on an itinerary. Alone one becomes acutely aware of the hollow clack of pétanque balls in a park; the patina of Maillol’s bronze “Baigneuse se Coiffant” that makes her look wet even on a cloudless day in the Tuileries; how each of the empty wine bottles beside sidewalk recycling bins is the embodiment of someone’s good time. There is a Paris that deeply rewards the solo traveler.”

At the end, she wonders if she can ever retain that blissful feeling that comes from walking around Paris with no agenda.  I’m here to tell you, Stephanie, that you can.  Reading your piece brought back that feeling for me.  Literary Prozac, of sorts.  Or Beaujolais Nouveau.  Perhaps I will write my own travelogue, and someone else can write theirs, and so on and so forth, and we can pile them all into an anthology to be titled The Joy of the Flaneur.


May 1, 2014

Please let me read the audiobook version of To Kill a Mockingbird!

To Kill a Mockingbird will finally be available as an e-book and digital audiobook this summer after self-described “old-fashioned” author Harper Lee signed off on allowing the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic to enter the digital age.

In a statement released through her publisher HarperCollins, Lee, who turned 88 on Monday said:

“I’m still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries. I am amazed and humbled that ‘Mockingbird’ has survived this long. This is ‘Mockingbird’ for a new generation.”

The digital copies will be available for download on July 8. The e-book will be “enhanced” and will include additional material, although a spokesperson from HarperCollins said the extra features had not yet been determined.


Update: Sissy Spacek is reading it.  I guess that’s an okay choice.