she liked Imaginary Men best of all


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Doctor of Gossip

A few weeks ago I made a discovery. An awesome, fascinating, is-this-real-life? discovery. That discovery is named Anne Helen Petersen. “Who is Anne Helen Petersen?” you may ask – well let me tell you – she is my new idol. She is a doctor…of GOSSIP!! Not just gossip but CELEBRITY GOSSIP!! Only one of my favorite things ever!!

Me making my new discovery (reactiongifs.com)

I have a bachelor’s degree from a fancy college and that’s about all the academia I could handle. However, if someone had ever said to me in my youth, “Oh you like gossiping about celebrities and critiquing pop culture? Well you can get a doctorate in that” I may have done that very thing! People think gossiping about celebrities is frivolous but doing it with a PhD? Well that’s a prestigious career my friend.

Since this amazing, time-sucking, enthralling discovery I have been combing the internet for her work like the extremely focused lady I am. Thankfully she is very prolific online writing for Hairpin and Buzzfeed (where her piece on the birth of TMZ contains a fascinating backstory on the demise of the old Hollywood studio system and rise of the celebrity gossip industry.) And she’s just published a book about classic Hollywood scandals!!

So speaking of that, I LOVE OLD HOLLYWOOD SCANDALS!! I have been obsessively reading her pieces on Errol Flynn, Warren Beatty and, oh god the Hedy Lamarr one is just insane (you know, just your typical beautiful rich girl becomes poor, stars in the most provocative movie of the early 20th century, marries a millionaire Nazi who locks her in a castle, then escapes to Hollywood to become a movie star and six husbands and several shoplifting charges later is discovered to hold the patent for the technology that is the basis for the cell phones we all use today story. YOUR MOVE JENNIFER LAWRENCE.)

I love Petersen’s writing because it is accessible and not so stuffy academic that a few lines in you get bored because you don’t know what the hell the author is talking about. In this interview she explains her background in Cultural Studies (again, why did I not know I could study this stuff?? Career Development Office FAIL!) and why it’s valuable to study pop culture and be able to present it in an intellectual manner but without the requirement that you already have a PhD to understand it.

Her writing is smart, funny and very “chummy” as in she feels like your girlfriend who is gossiping with you about cute famous boys of all eras which, Hey Anne! I do that all the time! I love Cary Grant movies, Hollywood glamour and handsome dead actors. We should be besties 🙂

SO HANDSOME!

SO HANDSOME!

But let’s get back to the old scandals for a moment because they are often far more fascinating (and crazy) than anything that happens in today’s celebrity realm. Brad leaves Jen for Angelina. Snooze! That is nothing compared to the Elizabeth Taylor-Eddie Fisher-Debbie Reynolds-Richard Burton square of sex, cheating, death, alcoholism and really enormous jewels! (and guess who wrote about it?) Or one of my personal favorites after reading two Frank Sinatra bios earlier this year – the Ava Gardner and Frank Saga that involved adultery, affairs, abortions, suicide attempts, bullfighters (!!!) and one of the best things I have ever EVER heard in my life – per Ava herself from her bath as Frank stormed out after a fight:

Okay! If that’s the way you want it. I’m leaving. And if you want to know where I am, I’m in Palm Springs, fucking Lana Turner.

YOUR MOVE CHANNING TATUM.

(from Giphy.com)

And if old timey movie stars behaving badly isn’t your thing, Petersen writes about current celebrities weaving together pop culture and feminist theorystarlets and classicism and a topic that consumes us all as a nation: Taylor Swift’s love life! It’s all so interesting and explores celebrity in ways that often get ignored in our fast-moving-social-media world. She is basically what I aspire to be if I had any drive to be further educated and the ambition to be paid for thinking/talking/writing about things I love for a living. Hence, why she is my idol.

You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and I’ll just be over here reading all her stuff – probably when I should be working at my job or on my life (which is why I do NOT have a PhD in Celebrity Gossip!)


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James Dean is Still Cooler Than You

Today is the 59th anniversary of James Dean’s death. The man would be 83 years old now and who knows what he would have done with his life and career had he survived a car crash. He may have gotten fat or bald, made terrible movies or been hawking products in TV commercials. Instead he is frozen in time just like this:

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Eternally young, handsome and cool. Recently my boyfriend and I watched East of Eden because we were going to the central California coast where the movie is set. I watched Dean’s movies a lot when I was a teenager and spent most of that time alternately swooning and grieving that he was so stunningly beautiful and so tragically dead. Watching it now with an adult perspective I really appreciated how incredibly talented he was and how he certainly was one of the first true archetypes of the Wounded Misunderstood Man Child Who Just Wants to be Loved that so many of us are drawn to (paging Dr. Doug Ross, looking at you Tim Riggins.)

On our trip we drove out to Cholame where Dean died and is memorialized around a shady tree next to a diner right out of a movie set. The first time I saw it in the early 90’s there had been small sort of cameos of his face as part of the memorial that had been filled over with plastic to keep them preserved. But over the years fans had chipped away at the plastic attempting to get to the image underneath. Those were no longer there and I figured that this long gone, not many people stop there to see the memorial anymore.

Inside the Jack Ranch Cafe next door with its walls covered in Dean memorabilia, country music playing in the kitchen and warm cherry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream we learned from our waitress that every single day people still come in there because of James Dean. EVERY. DAY. That’s some pretty amazing longevity for someone who is probably more well-known by Kids Today for merchandise with his face on it rather than his film work or cult of celebrity.

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So rest in peace James Dean – nearly six decades gone and we’re still watching you, talking about you and looking for you.


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Tonight we’re gonna party like we’re actually 39

I pride myself on looking younger than my age. I attribute it to two things: not acting my actual age and very good genes. One of my favorite things at nearly 42 is to still get carded. When the Carder asks me as the Cardee, “Really?” I often want to respond, “If I were going to lie about my age why would I pick this one?!”

But despite my youthful appearance and embracing of my Inner 14 YO, I do feel my age in many ways. One of those ways is that while I love to go dancing I kind of hate all the places one goes to dance. I was never really a club person but at least 10 or 20 years ago I felt like it was a place I could tolerate for a few hours of good tunes and overpriced drinks and sometimes – a disco lit dance floor like the one in Saturday Night Fever! (this absolutely existed in Boston in the late-90’s!)

However I am long past the period when going to a bar or club to dance holds any interest for me. So where does one go to dance? Maybe at a wedding? Sure but you can’t always count on a quality playlist. How about a friend’s party? Why not! But sadly the number of friends I know who have fun dance parties is at about one. To that end I find myself having a One Woman Dance Party in my living room far more often than I probably should admit (actually it’s a Two Woman Dance Party because Kelly Clarkson is often there!)

Jen, my one girlfriend who can be depended on to throw a good dance party has a great idea – one that she shares with my friend and fellow blogger Sarah and they’ve both described basically the same place to me in separate conversations: a dance club for people over 35 years old! Here’s the deal:

  • Open 4-9PM – perfect for stopping at on your way home from work or take a spin around the floor while your kid is at soccer practice and still be home by a reasonable bed time!
  • Music is not too loud – by this point we’ve all been to a lot of concerts, clubs in our 20’s and various other places where screaming was the only mode of communication. Fuck that noise (literally!) The music is at a pleasing level that allows for gettin’ down AND hearing your friend bitch about their a-hole of a boss, clueless husband or the annoying Overachiever Mom at their kid’s school
  • Music is from the 80’s-’90’s – Sure you may be into the current stuff on the radio (if you enjoy a constant diet of Katy Perry and more Katy Perry) but when you want to dance you want to hear the songs you know, the stuff you partied to in college or with your friends at high school sleepovers. You want the music you love and the warm fuzzy nostalgia they provide
  • There’s a lot of comfy seating – booths, easy chairs, couches – and there’s no shame in taking frequent dance breaks to just sit around on them and enjoy your refreshing beverage from…
  • A decent bar – we’re grown-ups! We like a nice wine and decent beer and we don’t want to binge drink we just want a nice Malbec to smooth out the edges of our day while we dance to Duran Duran! (Or tea – you know whatever floats your boat. There’s no judgement here :-))
  • It’s not a pick-up scene – we’re either married, with a significant other, over with dating altogether or happy on our own. If you’re looking to get lucky go look somewhere else – like the 20-something bars. No one wants to do THAT again
  • The bathrooms are nice and don’t make you want to disinfect every single thing (including yourself) that was inside them
  • Dress code is casual – back in the day going out meant getting dolled up in uncomfortable shoes and sexy dresses to have a good time with your girlfriends and maybe snag looks (or more) from some cute boys. Now? Just be comfortable. Is it cool to dance around in your Lands End Slip-ons? Absolutely not. Does it feel good and much better for your back? ABSOLUTELY

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Look, nothing about this is sexy or cool but WHO CARES??! One of the best things about getting older is that there are so many things you simply stop giving a fuck about. It’s liberating and makes you review allllll the crap you wasted energy worrying about in your youth and think, “I wish I could go back in time and punch younger me in the face.” But you can’t so instead get on your yoga pants, grab your girlfriends, order a glass of wine and get your dance on with Prince!


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Say, that’s swell!

I know I mentioned earlier in the summer that I Am Your Grandma but really I’ve had a little bit o’ granny in me for a long time. When I was a teenager I got into old movies and fell in love with Fred and Ginger movies. You know the ones – the romance, the dancing, the glamorous sets and stunning evening wear:

There was a famous quote that he gave her class and she gave him sex appeal (there’s an even better quote from Ann Richards: “…Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels!”) and these movies were made to lift spirits during the Depression. But they are timeless in that they lift spirits over 70 years later. Astaire and Rogers films never fail to put a smile on my face – there’s predictable plots (lots of mistaken identity and boy-meets-girl-girl-hates-boy scenarios) and of course a bit of sexism but they are still essentially escapist fantasies.

In these films women were dames and men tried not to be heels. People got sore at one another and “gosh!” was the harshest exclamation. Isn’t there something so refreshing about that sort of simplicity? Before movies became dark and complicated, filled with explosives, sex and violence – there were people who danced their cares away and expressed their feelings to a delightful melody:

“Long as I can be with you, it’s a lovely day” HOW PERFECT IS THAT??

Fred was always seducing with dance, Ginger was always reluctantly falling for him and they were surrounded by a cast of characters who either conspired with them, or against them, were romantic rivals or bumbling idiots (I need to take a moment to rant about Randolph Scott in Follow the Fleet because this guy was a dick, OK? Lantern-Jawed-All-American “Bilge” – yes – BILGE! first ignores Ginger’s sister Connie when she wears glasses and isn’t a looker. Then she gets all dolled up and suddenly he’s in love! But then he ships out after promising to return to her aaaaand romances other women when he’s away. Meanwhile Connie refurbishes her father’s boat so when Bilge returns as a Captain he can sail it after they’re married. HOWEVER stupid Bilge has other non-Connie related romantic interests UNTIL he hears about the boat and then he’s back calling her “baby” again and generally making me shake my fists at the screen. Annoying Boy Shit existed always.)

But enough about THAT. What matters is that Fred was never less than impeccably tailored and Ginger had dresses that flowed like they were made of magic threads and everybody went to nightclubs with little lamps on the tables and there was always a happy ending and I’m so glad this thing of beauty exists in the world:

And just once in my life I WISH I could leave a room like this!

(If you’d like any recommendations from Grandma – I suggest The Gay Divorcee or Top Hat which these clips are from and are Astaire and Rogers films at the very pinnacle of what made them perfect.)

 


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Oh my god I’m back again!

Sooooo – long time, no blog yet apparently people are still coming here to read old posts which is pretty cool considering I haven’t posted anything in almost 15 months!

When I left you I was swooning about The World’s Best Boyfriend who, I’m happy to report is still fulfilling that role. I still love me some Imaginary Men but of course spending time with a Real Guy does take away from my sitting-up-all-night-blogging-time (so does a new wake-up call of 6AM – ACK!)

What else? Oh I just, you know – bought a house. Yes after several years of commitment phobia I went and got a relationship AND a mortgage within a year of each other. You would think I am a GROWN-UP or something!

Don't you love my new house?? (this is not my new house)

Don’t you love my new house?? (this is not my new house)

So plenty of energy that used to be dedicated to fantasizing about Pacey’s Pea Coats or Dreamy Vampire Brothers has been funneled into really sexy thoughts like bathroom remodels, caulking tools and home heating conversions (I know, I know – my life is VERY VERY COOL. Control yourself.)

And I guess some of my interests have changed and my need to write about them obsessively waned. I think that’s normal and I certainly still love a lot of things that are on this site (I’m looking at you Dowager Countess) and have discovered new interests because that’s what life is about – you grow and change and some things make the cut and some don’t.

I do have a confession to make and that is that I may now be less your Fun Sassy Girlfriend and more your Fun Sassy Grandma. The evidence: this winter I read two biographies of Frank Sinatra (speaking of obsessions – HOW could we not see Ronan Farrow is CLEARLY his kid?!) I got hooked on listening to the Cole Porter station on Pandora and when I saw The Fault in our Stars instead of getting all swoony for teen dream boat Augustus I kept thinking, “can we spend more time with Hazel’s parents? Because they seem really fun and awesome.” I’d like to think it was just residual feelings for Sam Trammell now that I’ve missed the last few seasons of True Blood – but I think it’s because I’m Your Grandma and Laura Dern seems really fun to hang out with (even when she’s pretending her daughter is dying of cancer so bravo for that specialized talent!)

But! I quoted the Backstreet Boys up above AND just saw them in concert (and got to keep my  Concert Bitch in check) and because Boy Bands are Never Not Awesome. I have some fun news coming up in the next week so I hope you’ll welcome me back into the big wide blogging world and that I remember how to link shit 🙂