Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday the 13th on Friday the 19th

Ryan, Jack and Micki just workin' some occult shit out.

What do I love most about the holidays? Getting to come home and remember all the crazy shit I used to love when I was a kid, but have since forgotten about while living an "urbane" life in Chicago. That's why Bonnie and I are watching Friday the 13th: The Series right now on the "Chiller" Network. For those of you who missed out on this gem the first time around, it centers around three friends/associates working in an antiques store which is really just front for a repository of Satan-cursed-objects that grant people what they wish or some magical power in exchange for killing others.

If that's not blowing your mind already, here's the voice over that opened most episodes: Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki, and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store... and with it, the curse. Now they must get everything back and the real terror begins.” (said in real scary-like, guttural voice)

Don't even get me started on how vendredi is friday in French for Christ sake! Heavy-handed, yes, but also brilliant for hiring Canadian pop sensation Robey to star as Micki:

Don't go to her personal webpage though if you want to preserve any sort of vision of what Micki/Robey used to look like. In short, time has not been kind.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Music Gets the Best of Me: 2008

10. Ra Ra Riot, The Rhumb Line
I'll be the first person to admit that I won't be listening to Ra Ra Riot in a year's time (with the exception of Suspended in Gaffa, this generation's answer to Hounds of Love), but I appreciate that this band was able to do exactly what Vampire Weekend did. Only better. V Weekend's been on my shortlist of bands to drop-kick since late in 2007, and when they appeared on SNL back in March, my cup full of rage officially boiled over. Then I saw them at Pitchfork and realized they were kind of dynamic for no other reason than they know how to work an audience. Judging from the clips of Ra Ra Riot I've seen on YouTube, I can't say the same for them, but their album works far better lyrically and captures a moment in time (see: early 21st century post-collegiate malaise) without being cloying.

9.Crystal Castles, Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles appeals to me in much the same way The Legend of Zelda theme appealed to me as a child, but instead of humming that ditty on a handball court in Los Angeles, I spent the better part of 2008 listening to two too-cool-for-school - we don't show our faces! - musicians re-appropriate bleeps, blops, and bloops for the hipster set. They've even got some lyric-writing chops ("Vanished") that show a softer side to the band that produced the all out rage of "Alice Pratice". Basically, all of this is to say that I won't be purchasing a wii-station-box until Crystal Castles starts scoring video games.

8. The Kills, Midnight Boom
Midnight Boom is the closest I came to a straight up "rock" record this year which tells you a lot about my conception of what rock is. Here we have two strung-out-looking bandmates making songs inspired by rhymes and chants that little black girls used to jump rope to in the 60's. It doesn't seem like it should work, but it does, and how! It also doesn't hurt that Alison Mosshart sounds exactly like Liz Phair on the track "M.E.X.I.C.O." and that I now have my new favorite feeling sorry for myself song with "Goodnight Bad Morning". But that's also what Jamie Hince must feel like when he wakes up every morning next to Kate Moss.

7. Madonna, Hard Candy
It's no secret that I like electronic music (see: entries 9, 6, and 1) which some may find alienating and/or cold, but if I had you giving credit to any of the other artists on this lists, here's where I might lose you: Her vocoding is insane, her lyrics are sometimes laughable, and her collaborations are completely unimaginative; still, with Hard Candy, Madonna has managed to synthesize whatever bastardized version of hip-hop she's been listening to lately, into a perfectly packaged little record. Clearly her best collaborative efforts on this album are with Pharrell (which is why they're nominated for a Grammy), but even a gruesome twosome like Timbaland and Justin Timerlake don't completely collapse under her weight. Or her thighs.

6. Hot Chip, Made in the Dark
I feel like Jan Brady every time anyone talk about Hot Chip: "Hot Chip, Hot Chip, Hot Chip!" But I suppose there's a reason that these boys have stuck around and have finally made some headway into mainstream markets. Even if their live show made me want to slaughter a few fans (read: I am intolerant of frat dudes who are into electronic music) I appreciate that they've got that special something that makes them crossover-able. And any band that appropriates Batman aesthetic for a video is a-okay to me.

5. Goldfrapp, Seventh Tree
How do I love Goldfrapp? Let me count the ways...
It's safe to say that there was NO WAY this wasn't going to be in my top ten, even if Seventh Tree isn't the revelation that was Supernature. But it really is a revelation in it's own way: It's serene, it's quiet, it can lull you to sleep almost instantaneously which is what I've used it for on more than one occasion. And then you have tracks like "Caravan Girl" that manage to be raucous and comforting all at the same time. Is it any wonder that I sometimes fall asleep to "Eat Yourself", but awake every morning to, I like dancing, at the disco...

4. Hercules and Love Affair, Hercules and Love Affair
I seriously find it comical that disco is popular again. And not popular in the they're selling a compilation record on late-night TV popular, but popular in the indie rock has given it the stamp of approval popular. I mean, was it not just last week that Mary Kate Olsen attended a fucking Grace Jones concert? But whatever. That's what American Apparel ads and Butt Magazine get you. Still... what better stamp of approval to have for Disco than that of Hercules and Love Affair? They've mined the most banal of seventies grooves and made them modern again with the help of Antony Hegarty's androgynous vocals. I don't know if Sylvester would be proud, or rolling in his grave, and frankly... that excites me.

3. Róisín Murphy, Overpowered
While not technically released in 2008, Róisín Murphy's Overpowered is going on my list because it was supposed to be released in the US this year (it's not coming out until 2009) and I don't live in Ireland (where Overpowered got its first release in late-2007). This is the sort of album that makes me wish I lived in Europe where female electronic artists with a pop sensibility who like to dress up in all sorts of outlandish stage-wear have, not only credibility, but also record sales. Róisín takes the best dark elements of 80's synth-pop and manages to make a thoroughly melodic, dance-able, and downright sexy album. She's Kosheen minus all the pesky drum and bass... she's Sophie Ellis Bextor with cajones... she's the second coming of Annie Lennox.

2. The Teenagers, Reality Check
If my life had background music, I would want it to be the backing track to "French Kiss". At the very least I would ask that they play this in the trailer for my biopic. It's gorgeous and is the only track that has seriously made me consider purchasing a turntable just so I could listen to the dub single. Other than that, this album has a lot of French guys speaking heavily-accented English and sounding, in a word, adorable. They've infused just enough machismo and snark into their repertoire, making what would otherwise be a pretty run-of-the-mill confection, into a record that makes you remember what it felt like to have that many hormones running through you at the age of 15. I never want to go back to that awful, awful place, but it's nice to visit with these guys.

1. Cut Copy, In Ghost Colours
Whereas Hot Chip has potentially jumped whatever arbitrarily-placed indie rock shark that the Internet/Pitchfork Media/The Hipster Mafia has decided to throw down, Cut Copy just isn't there yet. And I don't suppose they ever will be. Unlike The Chip, they rely much less on artifice and instead funnel all the energy that could be spent on choreographing a faux-Batdance, into delivering crazy good tracks. They get a shit-ton of comparison to New Order and for good reason. New Order's been making solid albums for upwards of 30 years and they've yet to do a video or photoshoot that upstaged their music (have you seen the video for "Blue Monday"?). So keep on doing what you do Cut Copy cause you made my favorite album this year!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monsieur Proust, You've Got My Number

Right about now I'm halfway through In Search of Lost Time which I embarked upon for a variety of reasons. I kept reading other books that referenced it then I read the quote somewhere which goes something like "You know you've reached middle age when you realize you will never finish In Search of Lost Time." Well, since I am on an eternal quest to deny that I will ever become middle-aged, that last one really sealed the deal.

Anywho, it's been an awfully rewarding journey so far following M. Proust with his musings and ramblings and today it really paid off. As a struggling, young, unpublished writer I sometimes think that Proust really gets me... and then I realized he's tewtally got. my. number:

"If only I had been able to start writing! But whatever the conditions in which I approached the task (as, too, alas, the undertakings not to touch alcohol, to go to bed early, to sleep, to keep fit), whether it were with enthusiasm, with method, with pleasure, in depriving myself of a walk, or postponing my walk and keeping it in reserve as a reward of industry, taking advantage of an hour of good health, utilising the inactivity forced on me by a day of illness, what always emerged in the end from all my effort was a virgin page, undefiled by any writing, ineluctable as that forced card which in certain tricks one invariably is made to draw, however carefully one may first have shuffled the pack. I was merely the instrument of habits of not working, of not going to bed, of not sleeping, which must find expression somehow, cost what it might; if I offered them no resistance, if I contented myself with the pretext they seized from the first opportunity that the day afforded them of acting as they chose, I escaped without serious injury, I slept for a few hours after all, towards morning, I read a little, I did not over-exert myself; but if I attempted to thwart them, if I pretended to go to bed early, to drink only water, to work, they grew restive, they adopted strong measures, they made me really ill, I was obliged to double my dose of alcohol, did not lie down in bed for two days and nights on end, could not even read, and I vowed that another time I would be more reasonable, that is to say less wise, like the victim of an assault who allows himself to be robbed for fear, should he offer resistance, of being murdered."

- Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Maybe I'm Corn Mazed

Above, you will find a picture of what I did this weekend. It's the Richardson Corn Maze in Spring Grove, Illinois near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. It is, allegedly, the largest corn maze in the world which I'm inclined to believe since no one people but Americans would spend that much GD time figuring out how to carve donkeys and elephants out of dead agriculture.

I remember when I was a kid, the whole phenomenon of the "crop circle" was really huge and it seemed like those things were popping up everywhere. That or my ten year-old mind was much more inclined to be fascinated by the concept of aliens coming down to earth just so they could mow down some corn stalks. Now I realize that it was just a bunch of bored farmers with some time on their hands post-harvest.

We spent just under two hours wandering around the various mazes (my favorite was the elephant), and we also spent just under three hours driving to and from Spring Grove. Needless to say it was the most midwesterny thing I've done in my three years in Illinois, but I won't be returning next year. Although, driving through farmland and freaking each other out with stories about serial killers was, in a word, righteous.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"One time I squished a chicken so hard that an egg fell out."

Well hello there! It's been oh over a month since I've posted on here which has happened for god knows however many reasons (new position at work, training new employees, ensuing exhaustion) so I thought I'd return to form with something not too hard to wrap your head around. See, this is little girl from Deary, Idaho as photographed by Kevin German. She's holding on to her favorite chicken. His name is Steve and I am complete.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Will I ever be Olympia?

Fancy headdresses get me every time

The Olympics start tonight with what is undoubtedly the best event of the entire two week ordeal: the opening ceremonies. Sure there are the real events like track and field, diving, and gymnastics - all awesome in their own right - but tonight is all about pomp and circumstance and ridiculous nationalism mixed in with some hideous costuming-by-country. I have to say though that Ralph Lauren really hit it out of the park with the following:

I love these kids. I want to go yachting with them and then sleep with them. And note to the boys and girls on Project Runway: this is SO what they were talking about with this past week's challenge!

Who knew a navy blazer and a white newsboy cap could make me so proud to be an American? A stroke of brilliance like this is obviously the product of a lifetime of making American sportswear, but not all countries are as lucky to have their very own Ralphy L... case in point:

Those right there are the team unies for the Australians. Are they made out of DENIM? God help us if they are but regardless, these are uninspiring in so many ways. Not to mention that they make the team look like flight attendants. Which is cool and all if you, ya know, have a job that involves working for an airline. Hopefully the inherent hotness of Australians will be able to surmount this fashion atrocity, but it's doubtful.

However, the biggest offender at the 2008 games is probs going to be Canada:

They've already gotten a shit-ton of criticism for letting the Hudson Bay Co. design vomitous outfits that incorporate Canadian and Chinese symbols and text. I get it, I get it... this is what it's like when worlds collide, but frankly, do. not. want.

In a way, tonight will be better than Oscar night when my friends and I like to gather around the tube, eat food that will make us fat, drink copiously, and ridicule the insecure men and women who parade themselves down the red carpet. Oh sure we'll still be doing the eating and drinking part, just this time around we'll be doing it while watching a bunch of toned within and inch of their lives athletes who had no choice in what they're wearing. Haha... suckas!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Joan Is My Copilot

With each episode that airs of Mad Men in its, as of yet, lackluster second season, I realize more and more that Christina Hendricks is the only reason to continue watching. Pete Campbell makes me want to gouge my eyes out, Don Draper is continuing his one note brooding with no signs of letting up, and Betty Draper's meltdown/arc is taking too long. Sure she'll be living on a commune in Fresno come 1968, but that's like, at least four seasons away.

No, Joan manages to deliver each and every episode whether it be by screwing the head of the company she works for, deflecting the advances of her lesbian roommate, or concealing the fact that she is gasp... in her thirties! That last incident prompted her to deliver one of the most, for me, poignant lines from the current season which, paraphrasing, goes: [People in the office] are going to take you down Peggy. They want you to be just as miserable as they are.

Oh Joan, you had me at fuck you.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Your Voice Gives Me Shingles

After Friday's boo hoo of a post I thought I might let y'all in on what's been making me happy this weekend: Enter Connie y Carla:

This clip is à propos of everything since I also went to see Chris & Don: A Love Story at the landmark yesterday. The connection being, Christopher Isherwood wrote The Berlin Stories, which was made into I Am A Camera, which inspired Cabaret, which featured Maybe This Time, which drag queens like to preform. A lot.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Lost Weekend

via: rjseg1

It is so fucking hot outside right now that I think I might combust. Lollapalooza is also going on in Grant Park and the thought of being out there with all those hot-sweaties makes me want to wretch. This, despite the fact that I spent most of my Friday thinking about how I was stuck inside a climate controlled high rise and couldn't go to Lollapalooza which was happening mere blocks from my job.

No surprise here too, that this is also the weekend in which my roommate moved out and took the living room air conditioner with her. Now I'm contemplating taking a jaunt down to Home Depot so I might drop a cool $200 on a brand new unit. Strike that... I placed a period on the end of that last sentence, got on the Halsted bus, and high-tailed it to Home Depot.

I am now the owner of a shiny new LG air conditioner that, I'm convinced, will improve my life in innumerable ways. I'm so convinced of this fact that I think it should be in the addendum to How To Win Friends and Influence People: "Move to Chicago, rent an apartment, buy an air conditioner." Really... you'd be surprised the friends you'd make.

But then again, I'm not entertaining this weekend. The old roommate's gone, the new roommate's yet to come, and the boyfriend's out of town. I am, in a word, sad. I am getting more shit done in one afternoon/evening than I have in the last week in toto, but I still feel vaguely empty inside. Yeah, I know... boo, friggin' hoo, but I'm just sayin'. Maybe it's a little buyer's remorse mixed in with the sheer pleasure of not having to address the fact that you live in a city that has essentially become a sauna... or maybe it's the fact that everywhere I look, crazy-bad shit is happening.

Let's start from the beginning.

A couple of weeks ago some friends and I were en route to a Pitchfork afterparty at Sonotheque. We're less than a block away and we start to hear gunfire. Okay, not the biggest deal in the world - especially in Chicago - but not good either. There's a lull of about fifteen seconds, and then there's another round going off. Next thing we know, we're crossing a side street that empties onto Chicago Ave, and at least a dozen people are streaming/running out of a building that we can see is down the street.

The next day or the day after I read in the Trib that a waitress at the bar where the shooting occurred had died. She wasn't the target. It was probably gang related. Another patron was also injured, but survived. This particular waitress lived in Edgewater and had three children.

I thought about how awful it must be for that woman's kids, and how fucking senseless it is that this same woman had to die while she was serving a bunch of boozers. Then I thought about how, when it was all happening, I just sort of watched some guy at the head of the mob running away from the bar jump into an SUV in the middle of Chicago Ave and speed off. Not that I took down a licence plate number or anything since I was on my way to an afterparty.

Then yesterday the gods decided to punish me for my apathy by providing me with an intense case of Right Eye Is Irritated And Sensitive To Light And Cannot Be Opened Long Enough To Perform One's Job Duties. Left eye? Totally fine, but I felt like I was going to rip my right one from its socket. Not to mention the fact that my right eye's vision had become noticeably blurred. Going blind is a real worst case scenario fear for me - and probably a large part of the reason I read Blindness - so I took the drastic measure of going to the doctor.

At my "emergency" appointment after work, the doctor poked and prodded and literally touched my eyeball, and then told me that it was inflamed which, I'm sorry, but a retarded Panda could've told me. What a retarded Panda could not have done was write me a prescription for a steroid/antibiotic eyedrop combo that is supposed to make me all better if I dump that shit in my eye four times a day. Also, had a retarded Panda told me not to wear my contacts home, I would not have listened, but since it was an imposing Opthamologist - who is ostensibly not retarded - I listened.

I got on the 145 on Michigan Ave, basically blind as a fucking bat - I had to ask someone which bus I was getting on - and thanked my lucky stars that I found a seat so I could close my eyes and forget about the vaguely shitty day I'd had. The trip was quick and we reached my stop at Roscoe in what I'd say is record time, but since we hadn't reached the official stop zone our bus driver didn't release the doors.

For anyone not in Chicago, the 145 runs on Inner Lake Shore Drive (a less busy, more street-like road), directly adjacent to Lake Shore Drive (a more busy, clusterfuck of a highway). While I'm waiting I begin to see cars swerving and screeching to a halt. Then people on the bus start to gasp and there are a few screams. When I look outside, I don't exactly know what's going on, but another passenger informs us that a man was hit by a car on "big" Lake Shore Drive. Our bus driver gets off the bus, and so do I as do a majority of passengers. I press against the bars that separate me from roadway, and all I can see is the hazy image of a young-ish looking man in the middle of the road lying in an unnatural position. His bike is mangled and thrown some twenty feet behind him. The carnage is obvious, but I can't see it and in that moment I'm thankful... and irritated... and thankful... because I'm able to walk away. And no one is walking the fuck away!

I wonder if it's more helpful to stay - and if it would've been more helpful to stay the night that woman died, or at least have tried to have talked to police - but there are literally over a hundred people surrounding the scene at this point. Cars stop and people get out. Buses are stopping and rush-hour passengers are streaming out. It's a nightmare for so many reasons and I want no part of it. But then again, the choice has sort of already been made for me - blessing and a curse - since I can't see a goddamn thing.

Like with the Bucktown shooting, I read in the Trib this morning what happened. This time it was a Glenview man who lived in a non-profit group home operated by a mental health service. I suppose you could say the two cases are different, but I don't really think so. They both make my stomach churn.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why I Hate Cats

Although I am loathe to post pictures of lolcats, this guy deserves special attention. I'm also convinced that if I ever did get a kitteh, I would find him doing this to me on a regular basis.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lil' Na Na

Coincidences are funny for the following reason:

"Simon & Schuster has filed two separate suits in NY State court against female rappers Foxy Brown (Inga Marchand) and Lil' Kim (Kimberly Jones) for books they did not deliver. The publisher says they paid Brown $75,000 in 2005 for an autobiography due on February 2006, and that they paid Lil' Kim $40,000 in 2003 for a novel that was due in June 2004."
-Publisher's Marketplace

So obviously this isn't a coincidence and Simon & Schuster's lawyers are being completely racist trying to make a point by filing these lawsuits on the same day, but really... it's your own damn fault.

I'm sorry, but which moron at Simon & Schuster was it exactly who thought that Foxy Brown or Lil' Kim were ever going to deliver a manuscript on time/at all? Even with the benefit of a ghostwriter - who's probs going to be doing all of the writing anyway - these two ladies have more important things to worry about like getting freakshow plastic surgery that leaves you looking not unlike a bloated Bratz doll, and trying to play catch-up to a better selling female rapper who looks like a bloated bratz doll.

Not that either of these women was at the height of her powers when they received their advances, but I'm still all, Kim, baby, you should've held out! Your story is worth more than 40 Grand! And bah that it was a novel you were supposed to write... we all know the plan was to deliver a thinly-veiled account of your own raucous existence: You were married to Biggie when he was murdered, you did that summer trannyfest with the Lady Marmalade girls AND you've been to prison. The story practically writes itself.

But maybe this just speaks to the evidence that Foxy really was a one time honor student. Sister's got her head on straight if, in 2005 when she was doing a total of nothing, Foxy was able to convince the S&S folks that she was worth $75,000. I'd place her somewhere in the mid 30s, but perhaps this is just because the thought of Foxy Brown making more money for writing a book than I make in an entire year is just too painful/difficult for me to comprehend.

Although I doubt it, I'm sort of curious if there was a "prison clause" in either of these ladies' contracts. I'm not sure how difficult it is to write moving prose while incarcerated, but I'm venturing a guess that it's not so fucking easy. Incidentally, Kim signed last May with St. Martin's to deliver a book about her time spent in a federal prison. As they say, good luck with that.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

When It's Time To Change...

Living situations in flux suck, plain and simple. This is what I've had on my hands since the beginning of July when my beloved Kay-Kay told me she was moving in with her girlfriend and another mutual friend. Knowing myself, I would've expected to have been a LOT more upset about this particular turn of events, but I feel like I've been oddly Zen about the whole experience. Yes, it does still suck that I'll no longer be living with someone I feel so comfortable with - comfortable enough to not light a match after I've taken a shit - but I can make sacrifices.

Truth be told, I'm looking forward to my new living situation. After much belly aching, I finally broke down and put up the requisite Craigslist roommate ad, did three interviews with persons of varying sanity, and now I've settled on a wonderfully pleasant guy/new roomie from Michigan. I'm, of course, still waiting for him to rip off the mask and threaten me with a hot iron in the kitchen, but until that happens I'll consider myself lucky. After all, if Peter Brady can survive a talent show whilst in the throws of some wicked voice-changing drama, the least I can do is light a match after a dump.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Put A Pitchfork In It

My shoe is invisible!

For this very special 100th post on Baptized In Gin, I'm going to focus on how Pitchfork Music Fest was a big douchey letdown. I wish I had better news for such an auspicious occasion, but such is life.

This isn't to say that the fest is without it's good points - I did get a really unbelievable Dolly Parton screenprint and a ridiculously awesome drawing of a giraffe eating a watermelon - but both of these were secondary to reason most people go to Pitchfork which is, ostensibly, the music. Incidentally, Flatstock - the fest within a fest where I got these posters - is quickly becoming the only reason I will return to Pitchfork next year.

My other Pitchfork highlight: Big Man, Tiny Chair

I've always said that Music festivals were more like social events for me anyway since who really likes all the bands any one festival has to offer? If you do, you're not very discriminating and you're probably more than a little gullible, like the dude above who got suckered into buying a chair that's far too tiny for him. It's especially tragic since his buddies have adequately sized chairs and he just looks comical by comparison.

Anyway, if you read this blog, you know my history with Cut Copy. Well, staying true to form, the boys from Australia once again let me down, this time by not showing up in time for their set. I know it's probably not even their fault - in reality I'm blaming the event organizers - but when you're halfway through a smuggled-in bottle of booze and you've been waiting a good 40 minutes amongst a hot sweaty mass of potheads, your closest target is obviously the musicians you came to see in the first place.

Animal Collective on the Connector Stage

I will say that Jarvis Cocker was a revelation live - he swings his hips like David Bowie in his prime - and Animal Collective was better in person than I would've ever given them credit for. I'm still not downloading their album, but they definitely put a nice cap on my evening...

and here's to hoping that next year at least tries to blow me away.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Boys Keep Swinging

I know that posts comprised entirely of video clips are infinitely lame, but since I'll have so little time this weekend to write anything coherent, - what with my busy schedule of drinking in public and avoiding romantic ruination - this post will have to be just that: a sampling of clips that make me proud I have a gay sensibility. Not that you actually have to sleep with your own gender to have one of those, but it certainly helps.

David Bowie - "Boys Keep Swinging"

This is my unofficial theme for the weekend. Hopefully I can keep this going well into next week.

The Andrea True Connection - "More, More, More"

One of the first disco songs I ever remember hearing as a kid and still one of my favorites. I'm just waiting until someone finally decides to make a shot for shot remake of this video. Incidentally... Andrea True's a former porn star. No wonder it's so good.

Les Yeux Sans Visage in 4 Minutes set to Portishead

Plastic surgery + the macabre + psychic family drama = everything I ever wanted in a movie.

Dolly Parton - "Baby I'm Burnin'"

I considered making this the theme song to my Pride, but then I thought, "I really don't want to feel any burning sensations this particular weekend."

Who's That Girl? Opening Credits

Really... why the fuck not? Madonna should be so animated all the time.

Linda Ronstadt - "It's So Easy"

Jeez, you're tellin' me sister. And despite this song being hijacked by Brokeback Mountain, it always reminds me of my mother (she was a big Ronstadt fan). Right about this time, Ronstadt's voice was pretty much perfection.
And just for good measure...

Madonna - "Deeper and Deeper"

I've always liked this song, but this video feels especially poignant ever since I actually met Udo Kier in much a similar setting. I'm pretty sure he tried to hypnotize me as well.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What's Happening!!


Trees are made of... evil?

I was on the phone with my sister yesterday and it seems that we both spent our respective Father's Day weekends celebrating in the best way we know how: by going to see summer blockbusters of questionable merit. While I went to see Iron Man and was pleasantly surprised, Bonnie took in The Happening and was left feeling more than a little ambivalent about it. This is pretty on par with the reaction I've been hearing to this movie - even though Manohla Dargis seems to disagree - but apparently it could've been different... or maybe not according to the Vulture blog:

In Shyamalan's original vision, the plants kill mean old religious fanatics, but they spare Marky Mark because he and his unfaithful wife [] still have a marriage worth saving. It's a twist on the classic: "If you love something, go outside with it into a field of toxic plants. If you survive, then your marriage is sound. If you're driven to abruptly strangle yourself with the garden hose, it never was." —Linda Holmes

Simply put, this is brilliant advice and the way I intend to test out all my romantic entanglements from here on out. Also, Leah, we still on for Tony Stark/Pepper Potts for Halloween? Good. I thought so. And I'll even let you do my makes-up.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Antoinette Perry's Party

I just finished watching the Tonys and it got me thinking about how stupid it is that major awards shows happen on Sunday nights. Sometime in the late nineties the Oscars moved from Monday to Sunday leading just about everyone else to follow suit which is LAME!

Sundays are for dreading the week ahead and trying to rehydrate in time to look halfway presentable for work on Monday. Award Shows only promote the copious consumption of alcohol at parties where people yell at the television, and though we didn't have a Tonys party this year, maybe one's in order next year since Katie and my last few potluck Oscar Parties have been off the hook! I'm dying just imagining all the possibilities for Xanadu-inspired casseroles.

Kerry Butler is really jazzed about her invite to my Tony party.

Anyway, without a doubt the highlight of the evening was Lily Tomlin making fun of Marisa Tomei for being self-righteous and/or on downers. OH, and Liza Minelli being batshit crazy as usual. Seeing her oddly voluminous torso hobble out on those spindly little gams was, in a word, resplendent.

Oh, Liza. You never fail to bring the crazy. God bless you!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We Are A Part Of An Alien Nation

This is really sad news. After virtually an entire day of being away from the internet, I come back to discover that the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow screening of Dawn of the Dead at the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh - where the original film was shot some thirty years ago - WAS CANCELLED. I wasn't even attending this thing and I'm bummed out. We all know that it would've been packed to the gills with creepy fanboys, especially since it was set to coincide with HorrorHound Weekend in Pittsburgh, but still, you've gotta feel for these guys.

Though, it's hard to say whether the novelty of seeing this thing where is was shot would wear off pretty quickly, especially since I have a sneaking suspicion that the mall looks nothing like it did back in the day. When I was a kid malls were much homier places that felt not unlike your grandmother's living room. Even my beloved Glendale Galleria was fully carpeted and had a stained glass ceiling in the food court up until somewhere around '92.

My only point of reference for a screening with this level of fandom is when my dad took my sister and I to an Alien Nation convention when I was nine years old. Circa 1990, I was obsessed with Alien Nation - the television show, not the movie - although I don't really know why since you were more likely to find me watching Just Say Julie rather than a noir-ish show about an inter-planetary diaspora. Maybe it was because watching this show really was a communal event in my household - our very own Waltons if you will.

At the convention, I got my first celebrity autograph from Eric Pierpoint, or as anyone who watched Alien Nation might know him, alien Detective George Francisco. I had this picture hanging up in my room for years, but somewhere around the time my REM Monster poster came down and my Alanis Morrisette poster went up, I also lost track of this photo. It's possibly the kitschiest thing I've ever owned and I miss it immensely.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Misty Gin-Soaked Memories

(Via LOV-E)

Yesterday a lovely reader left a comment on here while inebriated which is something I can only encourage. When your blog is titled Baptized In Gin it's fitting that you'd attract people who have a healthy love affair with all things boozy. Hell, even if you have an unhealthy relationship with the bottle, I openly welcome you. Plus, my writing is probably funnier and more entertaining when you're three sheets to the wind. As a great comedienne once said, "I would actually prefer you [get crunked]. It's more freeing for me, and I can be funnier." Okay, so she may have actually been talking about saying horribly nasty things behind people's backs, but I think the same principle applies here.

Having said that, I'm glad someone finds my writing funny, since I haven't felt especially humorous as of late. I mean, I always try and laugh through the tears, but therapists like to call this dissociation, or avoidance, or something equally scary-sounding. My emotions have run the gamut in the past two weeks from morose to elated, but I think I'm going to settle on something resembling vexation right about now. That's not necessarily bad though, since being dissatisfied is one of the great catalysts for change, right? God I hope so.

And speaking of change, in the matter of a few short weeks Leah will no longer be employed by the Gap (trumpets sound)! This is really great, you know, since she was the last of the Mohicans and I can now officially stop giving a shit about the store we all used to work at. Not that I did really give a shit about that store after I left - or when I worked there for that matter - but we all get a little nostalgic every now and then. Like I'll never forget that time I got trashed on my lunch break with my manager, or the time when my other manager did that really inappropriate / possibly illegal thing at that bar when were all wasted... ah, memories.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Is that you on the bus? Is that you on the train?

(Via angstidentprone)

Remind me to never again read a David Sedaris book on the bus.

I picked up the new short story collection When You Are Engulfed In Flames on my lunch break yesterday, and eager to break that baby in, I cracked it open while I was on the 156. I don't even take the 156 home normally, but for some unknown reason I thought, what the hell?

Big mistake.

I actually got a seat towards the back and was minding my own business until somewhere around Dickens, the woman I was sitting next to had to get up. I moved to the empty bench next to me, at which point I guess I flashed a little too much cover and a lecherous man wearing a bad polo pounced. He's the kind of guy who was probably once upon a time really attractive, and not that he's hideous now, but his aww-shucks demeanor combined with this faux-ignorance thing he had going on was really grating on my nerves. Oh, that and, if I'm reading a book on the CTA, then there's a reason I'm reading a book on the CTA!:

Lech: "Oh, is that book any good? I have a friend who recommended that author to me."
- No you don't, buddy. You're trying to make a missed connection happen with the help of David Sedaris.

Me: "Um, yeah, I guess. I'm really not that far into it."
- Yes, what little I've read of it IS good, but saying so would imply that I want to continue a conversation with you.

Lech: "Well, have you read anything else by him?"
- I realize you're trying to see if I'm a full-blown 'mo by asking this question. I'm not buyin' it!

Me: "Yes, I've read all his books."
- Okay, I bought it.

Lech: "Oh yeah? What does he normally write about?" (Licks lips)
- OH, GIVE IT UP ALREADY! You know what he writes about. You have a curio cabinet at home displaying each of his signed first editions!

Me: "He writes about all kinds of things. Sort of slice-of-life. They're all short stories though."
- Where is my stop?

Lech: "Well that's good! Short stories I can handle."
- You are stupid.

There were a few more uncomfortable exchanges before I got off. He tried to ask me about why I liked Sedaris so much, and I told him about how I had seen him live, and how his stories are best heard orally, but luckily I didn't use the word orally or else I may have been molested right then and there.

The only other time I've been hit-on while reading is when I was in the middle of The Stranger which I didn't understand either because doesn't the fact that you're reading that book instantly telegraph that you're anti-social? You'd think. So, this morning I took the jacket off of my book while I was riding the brown line, but the only thing potentially worse than reading David Sedaris on the train is trying to hide the fact that you're reading David Sedaris on the train. sigh. Junot Diaz never gave me this much grief.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hillz, You're Still My Homegirl

(Via NY Times)

Boo Hiss to the democratic machine! I mean, had Barack-Attack been campaigning in any other year, he totally would've been my homeboy, and even though I will be voting for him come election day, there's still a bad taste left in my mouth.

Things we know: Hillary is a far better communicator than Barack who, in the span of an average stump speech, manages to fill inter-galactic voids with his starts, stops, and stammers; Hillary is far more experienced in withstanding the slings and arrows of a cruel and vicious Washington; Barack's going to screw us over on the whole healthcare issue.

There's a great article by Meghan O'Rourke over at Slate right now about the fundamental problem Hillary faced in this election: America. Hates. Women:

Of course, there's some logic behind Clinton's calculation that running on gender was too politically risky. Race—however profound an issue it is in America—doesn't get in the way of the paradigm that treats ambition and leadership as masculine qualities. Gender does. Obama can still draw on the classic paradigm of leadership; Clinton would have had to create something new. To judge by all kinds of studies of women in private-sector leadership positions, this would have been a fraught battle, strewn with double standards. It's only fair to point out that many of Hillary's attributes—toughness, control, emotional distance—are qualities that are sometimes admired in men but almost never in women. We'll never know whether the traits Clinton displayed in this campaign would have drawn less animus from voters had she actually been a man.

So I'm sorry, Hillary, that some dorky whippersnapper from downstate had to come shit on your dreams. May you one day run again, but next time, with a better font, since that is apparently all anyone cares about anymore.

Monday, June 2, 2008

And superheroes come to feast...

Via NY Mag

Leah and I went to see the biblical epic called Sex and the City yesterday and I could give a longish review, but considering the level of vitriol aimed at this movie over the past week, just suffice it to say that I liked it. My one problem with this movie is that there's a barely audible racism that suffuses nearly every moment of film (see: Charlotte won't drink the "dirty" water in Mexico, Carrie hires a black women to teach her how to get her shit together, Miranda goes running through Chinatown in search of a "white guy with a baby!"). But such is the world of rich white women in NYC, right? er... right.

And while calling Sarah Jessica Parker a horseface and an skeletal transvestite is occasionally funny, it's also downright mean and demeaning to women in toto. Annaliese Griffn over at NY Mag's Vulture blog pretty succinctly sums up my feelings on this issue and why so many critics/commentators/cultural hangers-on are woman-hating jag-offs:

Pointing out that Carrie could never afford her apartment, let alone her wardrobe, is about as useful as questioning Robert Downey Jr.'s ability to create cold fusion in a cave in Afghanistan — it misses the point of the movie entirely. Why is it okay for Iron Man to collect expensive cars but materialistic for Carrie to collect shoes? Surely her carbon footprint is the smaller of the two. Politely, we don't ask what the Hulk says about American men and their relationship to rage, so why should we tolerate attacks on Samantha's legendary libido? Sam Jones is no more a real cougar than Dr. Jones is a real archaeologist, but they're both good summer fun. So wise up, Hollywood, and start giving us some more female superheroes. And please, take a hint from Sex and the City, and dress them in Vivienne Westwood, not vinyl. —Annaliese Griffin

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tears of Fashion

While the world tries to determine whether or not the Sex and the City movie actually killed Yves Saint Laurent, I'd like to tip my hat in my own small way to a man who was, how do you say, a genius.

“I have known fear and the terrors of solitude. I have known those fair-weather friends we call tranquilizers and drugs. I have known the prison of depression and the confinement of hospital. But one day, I was able to come through all of that, dazzled yet sober.” - Yves Saint Laurent

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Love, Americana Style

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate waiting. I consider myself a fairly patient person, but this doesn't mean that I'm not also secretly plotting your demise if you're taking too long in the self checkout at Jewel. But waiting, of course, is pretty much a given when you're traveling which is what I did for most of my Memorial Day weekend. The flight from O'Hare to LAX is a little over four hours which allowed me to put a serious dent in Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union - a little clunky at the outset, but it picks up the pace - and gain new insight into the secret world of the airline crew. Brian's given me all sorts of crazy/wonderful insights into modern air travel, like how the crew only gets paid once the cabin doors are closed. This explains why, if you have the pleasure of flying with an evil pilot, you'll be waiting on the tarmac for the rest of your natural born life. Then again, sometimes it's the airport's fault, and not the pilot's, so I'll try not to hate too much.

On my flight back I had this annoying flight attendant who liked to put her own unique spin on the announcements, and who woke me from my golden slumbers by gently massaging my deltoid. I was more than a little skeeved out by this and wondered if they'd soon be instituting happy endings in lieu of bags of pretzels. Or maybe they'll just charge five bucks for the service like they do for drinks... that would be interesting. But I'm not tipping.

So I got to LA in one piece and spent a rainy and cold Friday exploring my hometown's new outdoor shopping extravaganza
The Americana at Brand
. For those of you who don't know, The Americana is The Grove lite, and for those of you who've never heard of The Grove, well, here's a NY Times article that was written about it a few weeks ago. It's basically this batshit crazy outdoor mall that is part Disneyland, part high-end retailer, with a little bit of trashy consumer thrown in to boot. The Americana ups the ante by making the space mixed-use, so you can actually live on-site, or as I like to call it, Dante's sixth circle of hell.

The Americana also sits directly adjacent from one of my favorite childhood haunts, The Glendale Galleria. The Galleria is your standard behemoth of a mall except that it is entirely made of dark brown bricks, has no windows, and thus looks like a brutalist's wet dream.

Back at The Americana the inclusion of a Forever 21 and The Cheesecake Factory pretty much ensured my descent into madness, but all hope was not lost since it also has a Martin + Osa, my new favorite store for WASPy threads. And since I didn't think that spending my day walking through a visual metaphor for cultural bankruptcy was enough, I then decided to eat lunch at Pinkberry. Frankly, I don't get what all the fuss is about. It tastes like yogurt, but is not, and it tastes like standard frozen yogurt, but is not. I'd rather have real yogurt, or better yet, real fucking ice cream any day. God, I can already see the Trixies lining up around the block for this. Watch out Chicago.

Saturday was occupied by my real reason for venturing out to LA: Mike and Silvia's wedding.

What can I say? It was big, it was Catholic, it was two hours long. The bride wore white, the groom wore converse... I shit you not:

Honestly, though, it was really beautiful and I got way more emotional about it than I thought I would, as in, I almost started bawling when Silvia walked down the aisle, she just looked so beautiful and happy and Mike was just... beaming. Thanks to 27 Dresses - don't knock it til you tried it - I now know to look at the groom when the bride is walking down the aisle. This, truly, is the single most satisfying moment of any wedding.

Thank god I didn't dissolve into a big slobbery heap of crying hot mess though since I was doing my best Cary Grant by way of Jill Sander:

I wore this suit to a wedding two years ago and the only photographic evidence of that blessed event is now sitting in some shoebox at my ex-boyfriend's mother's house. I really like this suit and so that fact that I didn't have a picture of it really chapped my ass. This is also why I have a shit-eating grin on my face in this picture: I now have a personal record of the faux Jill Sander suit that I paid not even a tenth of the price for.

The weekend also saw Bonnie and myself going to watch Indiana Jones at the Archlight - bad idea, FYI - but no matter how bad the movie is, the Arclight inevitably makes up for it (see: Finding Neverland, Sweeney Todd, Rent).

There's more to the story - like how I forgot to charge my camera's battery and had to resort to a medieval hand-crank kodak - but I'll continue once I get the photos back from the developer.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

L.A. Story

In a few short hours I'll be off to visit the family in California and attend my friend Mike's wedding. Here's to hoping that I won't be forced to do the chicken dance, and also that the above doesn't happen. Oh 1994, you were a guileless mistress...

Wish me luck!