she liked Imaginary Men best of all


Leave a comment

Gotta Have Some Faith in the Sound

2016 was an all-around shitty year. Personally I dealt with a family health crisis, relationship challenges, work and house stress and an overabundance of terrible things happening to people I know and love – accidents, illnesses, multiple deaths of people and their pets. It was unrelenting and I was counting down the days until it was over. And then George Michael died. On Christmas. I mean, REALLY WORLD???

At the start I had no love for George Michael. This particular 13-year-old found Wham! cheesy and deeply uncool. I loved English Pretty Boys in bands and Duran Duran occupied my walls and my record collection. Even though there seemed to be enough similarities between the two bands, for me there were none and I had no place in my heart for two goofballs dancing around in short shorts and fake trumpet playing in pools d879d5e12ec2938f1aadfe3ce81ad5a4(however, saxophone playing on beaches was a-okay. Such is the mind of a fickle teen girl!)

My junior high best friend and I were downright hostile about Wham! Their songs were lame. They were so dorky and they just were trying so damn hard which was probably the ultimate Wham! trait that cynical girls like ourselves with a growing appreciation for The Cure found most unforgivable. My mom and I giggled over George’s dramatics (see, “Everything She Wants”) and the fact that they let themselves get into absurd photo shoots like this:

whamxmas

Yet despite not liking them I had a copy of this postcard!

Then George went solo and became a massive, MASSIVE superstar. He was all over the radio and MTV, he was spoofed on SNL (I still randomly quote Dana-Carvey-as-George’s “look at my butt! It’s hypnotic! You can’t look away!”), he was friends with Elton John and ultimate A-List. His songs started worming their way into my head and staying there. I still remember sitting in the front seat of our school van with my heart aching over every word of “One More Try” on the radio, despite the fact that I hadn’t yet had a boyfriend or any sort of heartbreak (and now decades later with plenty of both under my belt, these lyrics are even more painfully true). I can vividly recall a party at my first college where I was outside cooling down with friends and the first notes of “Freedom 90” came thumping from inside the campus center causing me to race back inside so I wouldn’t miss a single opportunity to holler “YOU GOTTA GIVE WHAT YOU TAKE!!!” while doing a fist pumping dance.

(Sidebar: How fucking GREAT is this song?? IT IS FUCKING AMAZING. End of story!)

When I transferred to Smith College and met my friend Heather that’s when all Wham! Hell Broke Loose, so to speak. Heather and I share a lot of pop culture trivia, Fangirl obsessions, Royal Family knowledge, and deep, deep adoration of 80s music. Being faced with her joy in George Michael’s music made me realize what I already knew but had been held back from admitting by my grumpy 13YO self for so long: I loved George Michael and every damn song he did. We applied for a radio show at our college station and were refused because our eclectic proposed playlist included disco, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam and Wham! (BTW, we are still bitter). We had a pledge that if Wham! ever reunited for a tour or even just one show, we were going to go no matter where it was or how much it cost. To this day, in all honesty only days before his death, we were discussing whether George had reunited with his ex Kenny Goss and I was agreeing to make sure “Wham Rap!” was played at her future funeral, should she pre-decease me.

And that’s the thing that has hit us the hardest: George Michael and Wham! were not just music we liked in our youth and had an appreciative nostalgia for. We talked about, listened to and quoted his music weekly. For us he is an artist who is just as relevant in our current lives and playlists (if not more so, at times) as if it was 1988 right now.We are devastated we will never be able to go see him in concert and clutch each other with joy while singing “I’m Your Man”. For us there was no sadness or bad day that couldn’t be polished up by the appearance of a “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” gif or even a simple text bubble reminding the other “I Love Wham!”

whamgif

George Michael was rich with talent, a beautiful voice and a complicated personal life that gave him the fuel to write so many iconic songs that we are lucky to have with us forever. I recently watched a 1990 documentary  about George and this moment was so very poignant:

I don’t believe I’m important as a pop star…I don’t believe that I will leave a great mark as an entity. I think I’m more realistic than that. I do believe now that I’m a lot better singer than I ever thought I would be but at the end of the day I want to leave something as a writer. And I think to have a passion or to have something that drives you on through life in a creative sense, most of us want to leave something, want to have something that will be remembered without having people really having to search in their memory and I want to leave songs, I believe I can leave songs that will mean something to other generations.

Every few months it seems I find myself seeking comfort in his hit “Praying for Time” which is in fact, timeless given the state of the world today.  I post these words after a lot of mass shootings, terrorist attacks and all around awful news because they capture the hopelessness I feel in such a beautifully accurate way:

praying-for-time

You were wrong George. You’ve left us so very much and I hope you knew how grateful we were, THANK YOU. XOXO.


Leave a comment

An Ode to Dave

In my early teens I developed an obsession with Late Night with David Letterman. I’m not sure how I discovered it but it must have coincided with when we got a VCR which allowed me to tape episodes (given that 12:30AM was much too late to be up on a school night!)

For much of my teen years I was an avid fan and would record a week’s worth of shows and then spend the weekend watching them. I even kept a notebook with a dedicated pen to write down my favorite quotes and skits that the show did. There was “Bridget Jackson’s TV Nest Egg” where he had a staffer who was getting married come on and perform to earn different amounts of money towards her wedding (for example, $600 for doing a puppet show); during a writer’s strike Dave had a fountain built in front of his desk that he called “The Dancing Waters” and every night he’d introduce it and Paul would tinkle on the piano and they’d light up the fountain – and – that was it. That was the bit! When he tired of that they changed it up and added various other liquids (milk or Windex) and re-named it “The Prancing Fluids”; there was his crush on Connie Chung (one of my favorite bits was him spending the day running errands with her and deriding her need to get “shoe trees for Murray” – her husband and Dave’s romantic nemesis Maury Povich); there was the woman in the building opposite 30 Rock that he started calling randomly and chatting with; or yelling demented things through a bullhorn at an annoyed Bryant Gumbel as the “Today Show” tried to shoot.

Dave was absurd, irreverent, caustic, snarky, hilarious and sharp. He made me realize what made me laugh the most and what I wanted to emulate in my own humor were those very same qualities. I truly idolized David Letterman and that notebook was my way of keeping track of what it took to BE David Letterman. In all honesty I wanted to grow up and inherit his show when he retired. With that deadline looming TONIGHT I clearly did not reach that particular goal. I could have possibly come close at one point: in college I was looking for summer internships and found one on The Late Show. By then my Dave Worship had dwindled but seeing that there was a possibility that I could actually WORK on his show pulled me right back in. As I scanned the requirements I found I did not meet an important one: I was not a Communications major therefore I couldn’t receive credit which was required as part of the Late Show Internship program. Once again, my Dave Dreams were dashed.

So Dave was a big part of my formative years and he was also strangely a comfort during a particularly rough time in my life. When I was 15 and my parents told me about their separation I went numb and curled into a fetal position on my bed. I remember them gently asking me if I would like the TV moved into my room so I could “watch Dave” and I nodded and the TV was set up next to my bed where I watched with glazed over eyes and willed Dave to make me forget what was going on outside my door. I don’t remember anything about the episode other than being grateful for the familiarity of Dave doing his monologue when everything else had just been turned inside out.

But their eventual divorce did lead me to another grand plan and that was to get my mother to marry Dave and have him adopt me, therefore making me an actual, legitimate heir to his talk show crown. My mom however, didn’t warm to this plan citing Dave’s cigar smoking as a deal breaker (around the same time Letterman had an actual stalker who was always claiming to be his wife so it is likely this particular plan would not have gotten very far.)

Last year when he announced his retirement I realized that I probably wasn’t even going to fulfill probably the easiest Dave Goal to reach and that was to go to a taping of his show. The last few weeks I’ve been DVR’ing the Late Show and getting very nostalgic and even weepy about my youthful adoration of Dave and all his silliness. In recent years when I’ve caught the show he seemed bored at best, cranky at worst. In this home stretch he’s loosened up considerably and it’s reminded me how funny he is and how big a part of my life he’s been these last thirty years.

Late night TV is a changed landscape and now the entire point of a talk show seems to be getting a good clip that will go viral the next day – the Jimmy’s are the co-kings of this. But Dave is still old school and I’m sure CBS is a little relieved he’s decided to go and that the more viral-friendly Stephen Colbert is coming.

Just watching the final Top Ten lists has made me a little weepy so I fully expect to be a sobbing baby when I watch his final show. I truly feel it’s not just a man who is retiring but an entire form of entertainment – the last original late night talk show. He’s going out with a lot of accolades and deserved thanks from comedians and other hosts who would not have careers without the goofy and hysterical path he paved. But to me he’ll always be the guy who made me want to be as funny as he was when I was still finding out who I was.

Letterman Final

 


Leave a comment

Movies I Will Never Get Sick of

You know when you are flipping channels and you see a movie from the 80’s or 90’s and no matter how many times you’ve seen it you have to watch it again — or when you’re home sick and you want something silly and familiar to distract you — or just have that one movie that you can’t. stop. quoting? Well here’s a rundown of mine:

Parenthood: Steve Martin has a lot of siblings and a lot of kids. Wackiness ensues

Favorite quote: “I’m too young to be a grandmother. Grandmothers are old. They bake, and they sew, and they tell you stories about the Depression. I was at Woodstock, for Christ’s sake! I peed in a field! I hung on to The Who’s helicopter as it flew away!”

 

I Love You to Death: Kevin Kline cheats on his wife and she plots (badly) to kill him for it

Favorite quote:If we keep shooting Joey, don’t you think he might get suspicious?”

 

Postcards from the Edge: Meryl Streep is an actress in recovery with a challenging mother

Favorite quote: “Well, maybe I was an alcoholic when you were a teenager. But I had a nervous breakdown when my marriage failed and I lost all my money…Well, I got over it! And now I just drink like an Irish person.”

 

Soapdish: Sally Field is a soap diva whose life on and off her show is one big melodrama

Favorite quote:That’s depressing and it’s expensive, two words I hate. You know the words I like? I like the word ‘peppy’ and the word ‘cheap’. Peppy and cheap.”

Overboard: Goldie Hawn is a rich diva who gets amnesia and is led to believe she’s a housewife

Favorite quote: HOW CAN I CHOOSE!?!? As my mom puts it, “there’s an ‘Overboard’ quote for everything!”

“A falsetto child?”

“I’m a short, fat, slut”

“You shot a chicken?”

“It’s not us dad it’s Roy”

But darling, if you have a baby, you won’t be the baby anymore.”

“Eat your checkers!”

Oysters in a cold ocean at night? That doesn’t sound like me!”

Ahhh so many laughs — so many terrible trailers 🙂


2 Comments

“The Era of Boy Bands Never Ends”

Heaven knows I love Boy Bands and I especially love when Boy Bands mix it up to form Mega Boy Bands. Well now to add to the mix we have a new Boy Band duo Nick & Knight!:

I’m loving the album and also enjoying the PR Tour the boys have been doing this week. They’ve been pretty tireless on TV and even in fancypants Time Magazine! And I love this bit on CNN because presenter Lisa France knows her stuff and has a quote I want embroidered on a pillow:

The era of the Boy Band never ends – it just ebbs and flows

Hell yeah! (and BTW the dude interviewing her is such a dick. Don’t give me the dismissive, “they don’t play instruments” line – WHO CARES! They DANCE which takes a whole lot of talent and they have had far longer careers than many instrument players!)

I’m really excited to see them in October and the show should be awesome with the new songs which are great for dancing, some Backstreet and New Kids stuff and a whole lot of nifty dancing from two of the best dancers in their respective groups. Plus they seem to be having so much fun together and you can really see they have a great chemistry and are excited about doing something different. And they are really good sports about some of their less cool history!

You can follow the Boy here and the Kid here (and obviously they need no introduction if you’re reading this blog 😉 )


4 Comments

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

Someecards

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!


3 Comments

Summer Playlist

As soon as summer hits the heat rises, the days lengthen and a regular craving for iced tea becomes a reality – I put on my Summer Playlist. My musical heart belongs to 80’s English Pop Bands but before the Second British Invasion swept me up in it’s moody, synthy, Union Jack notes I was just a young girl in early 80’s America where the radio was ruled by rock n’ roll music by lots of single-word-named-bands and a hot bitch called Pat.

I’m not exactly sure how my connection of summer to these types of arena-rocking-cheesy-but-undeniably catchy tunes were forged – or if any of these songs were even summertime hits in my late single-digit/early double-digit years. But something about them makes me feel like a little kid riding in the car with my mom on the way to the pool, or stopping to get an ice cream after a hot afternoon running errands.

Africa – Toto (1982): Back before pretty boys with eye liner and gelled hair, there were guys in bands who looked like your auto mechanic. Toto is that band.

Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ – Journey (1979?! Let’s call it 1980 🙂 ): Yes we all love Don’t Stop Believin’ but for my money this is the one I fantasize about tearing UP on the karaoke floor.

Too Much Time on My Hands – Styx (1981): Now you see why we needed well-tailored pop stars by the mid-80’s, I give you a guy in an aquamarine jumpsuit and one in a white (leather??) studded jumpsuit WITH shoulder pads.

You Make My Dreams Come True – Hall and Oates (1981): Without Hall and Oates there would be no 80’s. Period.

You Got Lucky – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1982): Why do I feel like the far off futuristic world in this video is probably the year we’re in NOW?

Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top (1983): Yes every girl is crazy ’bout a Sharp Dressed Man!

Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield (1981): We’ve already established that I was a Rick Springfield Fangirl back in the day. What you may not know is that in 1981 federal agents actually came to the homes of girls aged 8-19 to legally confirm that you were in fact a Rick Springfield Fangirl. It was a law. Or something.

Promises in the Dark – Pat Benatar (1981): It was a Man’s World in early 80’s American Rock except for one tough, classically trained, bad ass goddess who you did not want to piss off. And we can all agree she rocked a jumpsuit far better than any of those dudes in Styx.

It’s hot out there so roll down the windows, crank up the tunes and rock it like it’s Morning in America!


1 Comment

Working Class Foo Fighter

Rick Springfield + Dave Grohl = AWESOMENESS!!!

I never would have guessed Rick’s catchy songs (that I’ve been singing along with since I was 9!!!) run through the Dave/Foo Fighters machine of Magnificent Loudness would work so f’ing well – but damned if it does!: