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Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2009 No comments

Was your Thanksgiving fabulous? Mine was. My designated chef performed admirably and my mother so enjoyed finally meeting Sir Jasper. After food and a brief siesta I popped over to my dear friend Peter’s home to say hello to him and his family. Cabs being scarce I made my way down to the less-than-trusty ol’ F train and waited for its arrival next to a homeless woman who kept repeating, “you don’t have to stink to prove you homeless” while she smoked a joint. Indeed, she was less than stinky although the same could not be sad, sadly, for her weed.

Mother pointed out that this was just about the most temperate Thanksgiving in recent memory. I can’t disagree. The weather was absolutely lovely and had I not been sleeping off the wares produced at Puck Fair and the Spring Lounge from the evening before I have no doubt I would have thoroughly enjoyed this year’s parade.

But, of course, we all know Thanksgiving in NYC is principally about drinking with friends. Certainly, we squeeze in a bit of quality time with the fam but through it all we know we know we will have the luxury of relatively empty bars later in the evening in which to enjoy the company of our best buds. There are only two nights like this in all the year – Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. On those two holidays the denizens of our fair city scuttle off from whence they came to spend a bit of qt with their ‘rents and the rest of us are left here to enjoy the conspicuousness of their absence. On these two days one is reminded of just how few native New Yorkers really exist here and of the transient nature of the borough of Manhattan. Its a lovely feeling to be here, at home, wandering the quiet city, filled with thanks indeed.

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Travels

November 14th, 2009 2 comments

I’ve been doing some traveling these past couple of weeks. I went to Memphis to hear my dear friend Jonathan sing a lead role in Cosi Fan Tutte. He was sensational and, as an added bonus, I got to do a bit of sightseeing. Certainly one of the highlights of the trip was my visit to Graceland. The “mansion” there is most striking for its size. Its small. Less of a McMansion than a little house on a rather large, well-sculpted prairie. The size of the American home has grown substantially since the peak of Elvis’ career. In the early 1960s the average American family resided in an abode of just 1100 sq. feet. One bathroom was the norm and children generally shared rooms. By 2004, the average American house had swollen to 2349 sq. feet. Just as Americans have gotten bigger, so too have our homes grown.

Elvis’ house was, for lack of a better phrase, a total drug den. There are huge ashtrays everywhere and rooms covered floor to ceiling (literally) in shag carpeting. It looked, predominantly, unsanitary.

Outside I got to see Elvis’ final resting place:

Elvis grave
I’ve also been dropping in on clients who are currently enrolled in college. The unseasonably mild weather combined with the sort of manicured large-scale landscaping that screams well-endowed private university has made me more than a little nostalgic for my years at Northwestern. The sentiment expressed in Avenue Q, “I wish I could go back to college,” though, doesn’t entirely capture my mood. Sure, the campuses are lovely. The privileged student chats and plays frisbee, his or her idle hours supplied by parents with bulging checkbooks. And those students inclined to engage in a bit of cerebral exertion are able to spend a river of time doing little more than reading and debating big ideas. The lack of “real world” utility present in such pursuits is precisely what makes them so fulfilling – and why those of us who have left those days behind in search of adult responsibilities and rent money remain envious of youngsters who get to experience what we never again will. Nonetheless, I have little desire to go back from whence I came.

Why you ask? First, damn, those kids are young! Did we look like that in college? A quick perusal of my photo albums from college, made possible by the necessity of actually printing photos (omg no unlimited photo albums on facebook??), leaves me secure in the knowledge that, yep, we were all a bunch of twinks. I look young for my age now. In college I looked like I was 12. To any of those boys or girls reading this who lusted after my sweet, sweet bod back in the day I have only this to say: y’all a bunch of pedophiles.

Second, those kids don’t just look young. They ARE young! It turns out that adult responsibilities have the surprising effect of making individuals less vapid and narcissistic. With little to temper the “its all about me” sensation one feels when life is solely devoted to one’s betterment and fun, kids tend to get sort of myopic. There is lots of discussion of how far certain places are from certain other places, sore bodyparts from extensive time in the gym, and how most of life’s daily concerns are just “stupid shit.” So that’s clear.

One truly positive take-away from the trip was being mistaken for an undergrad by 3 drunk girls. Moreover, it was in a room lit by florescent lighting! There is nothing that warms the heart of the image-obsessed quite so well as being mistaken for someone who is hanging in proximity to the age at which one is, finally, allowed to legally drink. I attribute my dewy glow to proper dietary habits and healthy living. (stop that…stop laughing…no really, I mean it!)

Ok, time for a large shot of wheatgrass and a solid 8.5 hrs of sleep.

Xx
-B

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Bad Romance by Lady Gaga

November 11th, 2009 1 comment

UPDATE: Gaga was kind enough to offer feedback on my musings here and stated, in no uncertain terms, that I’m totally wrong. She loves me anyway though…sorta.

Have we all seen Lady Gaga’s new video on youtube? If not, click below. It got a million plus hits in the first 24 hours it was up so you know people are taking notice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsthwTUTylQ

(sorry if the link doesn’t work, these clips are being removed with all speed by youtube for copyright infringement)

Let’s discuss. There are a whole bunch of really interesting / unsettling references going on here that I think will be missed by the majority of Gaga’s demographic.

She’s got a Bette Midler thing going on. The curly wig seals it. And how about the fact that she’s in a bathhouse surrounded by men? Where did Midler get her start? Gay bathhouses in NYC when going to those establishments was still something that reasonable gay men did.

Let’s also consider the sickness / death theme. The coffins? Being forced to take her meds by scary attendants?

And what about the dance that seems a lot like a nod to corporal wasting and paralysis? And then there are the lyrics: ” I want your disease…” “I want your leather-studded kiss…”

Finally, the song is called Bad Romance. Though its not immediately clear in the lyrics just why this love she wants to so desperately is “bad,” I think I have a plausible theory:

The video of Bad Romance is about the AIDS crisis. All of the elements are there. While one might take umbrage with that point based on the music alone, the video clearly extends and intensifies the song’s meaning.

Gaga executed a similar move in her video for Paparazzi. In that work, she takes a song about a girl who is infatuated with a potential lover and transforms it into a commentary on the very nature of fame: its distorting and destructive effect. I dig that video, and I’m digging Bad Romance too.

Haters are saying that Bad Romance isn’t fabulous. It isn’t fashion. It isn’t organic. That’s irrelevant. What Bad Romance is, and what Lady Gaga is quickly becoming, is far more complex and multi-layered than those statements suggest her fans want. This is performance art. And, in fact, it is fashion. High fashion. Unwearable, conceptual, challenging art. Gaga is pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a pop performer – confounding our expectations with her sound, her style of presentation, and her veneer of impenetrability. Hers is not a, but the career to watch in 2010 and her upcoming album will either cement her status as our generation’s most innovative popular musician or reveal her as a dilettante and a poseur. I’m banking on the former.

Xx
-B

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Halloween Highlights

November 2nd, 2009 2 comments

Every year I tell myself, “This year will be different.” I won’t spend the majority of the day of Halloween running around all over the city buying wigs and makeup and fishnets and whatever else I need. Nope. This year I will take inventory of what I have (e.g. five tubes of black mascara that have each been used exactly one time) and I will plan accordingly. I will pop into the store that best fills each of my needs en route to and from work or the gym or a friend’s house. I will be fully ready days before and on the day of I will sip champagne as I leisurely outfit myself in the treasures I have found along the way.

But hey, who wants to break with tradition, right? Thus this year I once again found myself frantically buying hose, tubes of glitter, swords, ribbon, eyeliner – anything and everything needed and unneeded in my quest to make my costume complete. In my everyday life I’m rather low maintenance. I don’t use man makeup or hairspray (often) or designer deodorant. This nonchalance is quite convenient in meeting the ol’ quotidian needs but leaves me rather bereft of options come Halloween. But this year marks, I believe, a turning point. I’ve now accumulated enough makeup and pantyhose and wigs that I hope future years will be less labor (and American Express) intensive. I must have options, people. Check back with MySilentLife in 2010 to see if my predictions have held true. I’m sensing your doubt already.

Halloween itself is a magical night in NYC. The parade brings together a bunch of creative, fascinating people. Also, marauding packs of B&T hoodlums. But let’s face it, the parade functions as little more than an impediment in getting crosstown to the next event. Unless you happen to have a friend whose balcony overlooks the route, you’ve probably never seen it live and in person. That’s because Halloween is really about unabashed, total narcissism. Everyone is trying to outshine their peers and win that formalized or not-so-formalized costume contest at the end of the night.

But with unbridled narcissism comes fabulous parties. After all, its no fun to be all dressed up with fewer than three or four places to go. Thus the draw of Halloween in NYC remains the fêtes. I had no fewer than ten on my agenda and made it to exactly four. That’s kind of awesome for yours truly. Generally my feet hurt and my head aches and I’m home by 1am. Halloween often remains, sadly, one of my earliest nights of the season. But this year, friends, was different. And not just because of extensive vodka swilling at Eli’s whilst gazing upon the gorgeous Marina before heading off to Kiersten’s off-the-chain 10th Anniversary Halloween Spectacular. No, this year was different because I was tall. Really really tall. I was rocking a pair of glittery green platforms that proved slightly perilous but totally fabulous. Here’s evidence for the perilous part:

tinkerbell on the stairs Halloween 2009
What else is noteworthy about Halloween? Probably only that Halloween is also the night of a thousand car services. Every New Yorker knows getting a cab is impossible on Halloween. The savvy reveler hires a driver for the evening. Alas the gods of transit were not with me as my driver seemed confounded and surprised by the revelation that the traffic was bad because there was a parade going up 6th Avenue. Really? You didn’t know? Um, its the largest Halloween parade IN THE WORLD. You’d think the guy would have noticed. Nonetheless, said driver proceeds to take us from place to place allowing for another fascinating aspect of Halloween in NYC. Directing one’s driver in a crisp, husky voice whilst wearing a wig that barely fits into the backseat. Alas, said driver ended the evening by showing up 9 minutes late leaving someone waiting in the drizzle in front of Soho House at 4am. Uh oh. You can guess that never before has any mere mortal felt that kind of wrath from a dainty sprite. The situation might have been slightly aggravated by my insistence that my driver run over this drunk girl who was trying to hitch a ride with me. But I had, in no uncertain terms, told her to take a hike. I think that’s defense enough against a charge of aiding and abetting vehicular manslaughter, right? Lawyer friends, feel free to chime in.

What did you do for Halloween, darlin’? Do tell…

xx

-B

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