Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Don't Quit Your Day Job

School has started, with the attendant joys of back-to-school shopping (love me some school supplies) and French onion soup (this year's requested menu by the student in question).

I can't believe The Child is a junior. No, really. She almost wasn't. The end of last year required no small amount of hard, hard work to keep her from flunking out. She pulled that off and went to summer school besides. Only, it turns out, not as much summer school as she needed. That was, on one level, my fault. With all the stuff surrounding Suzanne's death I confused some registration dates. But, as I mentioned to The Child when she attempted to ream me out for this lapse, if she hadn't flunked Algebra we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with. There were meetings and emails and no small amount of worry before she got the go ahead to register. She's making up Algebra in an extra class.

Here's the thing about The Child. She's smart. Plenty smart. She's just not an academician. She really could care less about things, unless she cares about them. (Civil War? Shakespeare? Bring it. Math? Not so much). And her strategy last year, the one that got her into trouble, was to work really hard on big projects and ignore all the little ones. What's 5 points here and there when you get 60 out of 50 on a 10 page paper, right? Wrong. Zeros, she's learned, add up.

She's also come to understand that while she may have every intention of being an actor, she's still going to have to graduate high school, go to college and have some options in life other than "Do you want fries with that?"

Last night, in a rather impressive display of intention, she sat down with me to review every single one of the syllabuses (syllabi?) for her classes. And then she talked about how excited she was about the subject matter ahead and her strategy for staying on top of her work and not letting things slide like she did last year. It was almost as if she finally got it.

Proof will be in the pudding, of course. Let's see what her attitude is like once the work actually begins. But at least she has the right attitude going into this, the sense that she can do this and that good grades are actually something of which she is capable.

Wish us luck. Meanwhile, I'm meeting Chouchou tonight for Bloody Mary dinner, our since-Rainey-went-back-to-work compromise on the traditional Bloody Mary Monday.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

The Gunn Goes Off

Here's how it went down on "Project Runway" last week:

The designers were divided into two teams of six. Michael C, who inexplicably won the week previous, got to pick first. (And if I'm not mistaken, April, who lost, got to start the other team). Then each designer got to pick the next one until only little Peach was left. PTSD. And lo and behold, what have we here but teams evenly divided between the Underdogs and the Egos!

The challenge? Create a collection of 6 pieces which sport "on trend" looks for fall 2010. (MAB and I know all about that because at lunch time we look at Bazaar and Elle* so we can plan our shopping trips accordingly). The Gunn presents them with a board of two columns, one of looks and the other of fabrics. The Underdogs select "military" and "lace", the Egos go with "menswear" and "cashmere" (which they interpret as all things luxe).

The Underdogs waffle as they sketch, no one feeling compelled to step in and say something stirring like, "Come on, kids! My dad has a barn...let's put on a show!" Over on the Ego side, however, Saint Gretchen quickly steps in to lead, although she attempts to make it look like she's being collaborative. The Underdogs operate out of tentativeness and a little fear, the Egos are quite convinced, what with being God's gift to the design world and all, that they are going to create the most amazing clothes ever. Oh, and they are going with a different strategy than the Underdogs; the Egos are playing to all their strengths, so the drapers with drape and like that, everyone theoretically working on a little bit of each design. True collaboration. And aren't they just self-congratulatory about how well they are working together.

Well, with one exception. The only reason Michael C is on their team is because he got to pick first. But not a single one of them has the least respect for him and they are merciless in letting him know it. They make denigrating comments, Gretchen is constantly fussing over his work and inserting her critique and they are downright mean both to his face and behind his back. Ivy, it turns out, is a stone cold bitch. Hate her. Now, I don't think Michael C necessarily has the chops to make it to Bryant Park but seriously, the way they were treating him was reminiscent of the Tea Baggers and the President.

Over on the Underdog side a nice steaming dose of drama was introduced by Casanova, who cannot stand to hear "the bad words" from The Gunn and sure enough, when Tim tells heem that his look is the mother of the other looks, he spirals into a diva moment that makes my palms itch. His team mates spend entirely too much time trying to talk him in off the ledge but it is his model (moved both by Michael C and an intense interest in self-preservation) who says to heem za words that are of tha angeel and he snaps out of it and bangs out a pair of pants to freaking die for. So there's that.

The show is on. The Underdogs trot out great piece after great piece. I fell asleep during the snooze that was the show of the Egos. Seriously. What wasn't downright bad was boring as hell. The Underdogs are immediately declared the winners and the Egos are, to a person, crestfallen, distraught, numb with disbelief.

Then the fun starts. Before they must defend their work the Egos confab. Gretchen broaches the subject of "giving them a name", which is doused by all the other designers. They will, they decide, stand as one and are all Hands Across America and weepy when they finally do face the judges. The judges drill them, "Who was the weak link?" At first everyone is polite and supportive, trotting out the "we worked together" line. Under pressure though, Gretchen snaps. She goes from being "incredibly proud" of their efforts to calling it a "crappy collection". She back pedals so fast that she ends up in Chicago. And then she throws Michael C under the bus. Except, as Heidi reminds her, he has immunity. Then Ivy throws Michael C under the bus. Except, as Heidi reminds her, he has immunity. And it goes like that until Heidi is forced to tell them that MICHAEL C HAS IMMUNITY. AJ is the only one who cops to any personal failing (primarily because he made an indefensible shirt dress and it was pretty much all he did). OH, and just for fun, the only thing the judges liked much at all was a blouse by Michael C. HA!

The judges so have the number of all the Egos and Nina does a good Gretchen impersonation.

On the winning team, Diva Casanova is declared the winner (and he is remarkably modest about it). On the losing side, Michael C, who, btw, has immunity, is safe and in the green room tells the Underdogs, ever so tearfully, how mean the Egos were to him. To our delight, Gretchen is one of the bottom two, for having made most of the decisions which, the judges noted, were bad. AJ is there for the ill fitting shirtdress. And despite hoping against hope that Gretchen will go, it is AJ, the only one with a smitch of integrity, who is auf'ed.

The look that Michael C gave Gretchen when she came into the green room had pure death in it. But the best was yet to come. The Gunn came into the room for his obligatory, "Clean up your work space" speech but what we got instead was the best moment ever in the history of "Project Runway". Tim came in, impeccable and stern and said, with powerful disappointment and barely controlled anger, using all the inflection of a father who just caught his daughter and her boyfriend in the backseat of the Cadillac: "Sit down for a minute, AJ. I have a few words for Team Luxe. I fundamentally do not understand your behavior and demeanor and affect on the runway. I don't get it. I don't know why you allowed Gretchen to manipulate, control and bully you. I don't understand it. And AJ, you've taken the bullet and now I have to send you up to the workroom to clean up your space."

That moment, and the look on Gretchen's face in response, are why mommy needs a DVR. Could have watched it again and again.

* Oddly, we never find ourselves in possession of Marie Claire. Hmmmm.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Untitled (Because Everyone is Going to Say "Hats Off")

Little Louie the fashion pup was soooooo excited to go to the Club Room to watch "PR". Even though he picked incorrectly last week, he is a very fashion forward pup dog and he cares. The Neighbor did a kick just like the one Casanova does in the opening.

Last week we were left hanging as to Ivy's fate. Valerie and St. Gretchen theorize that she had been living on coffee and cigarettes and pontificate that she needs to take better care of herself. All this while Valerie appears to stuff her face with circus peanuts. (The puffy orange candy, not the protein source).

Ivy is released from the hospital. She was dehydrated. She feels stupid.

Heidi is wearing a top almost exactly like the one MAB has on!

The models come out, adorned with "amazing" hats designed by Philip Treacy. Their challenge is to design a dress inspired by one of the hats. Heidi makes an "old hat" joke. The designers get to choose the hat that inspires them but they all stick with their models. 15 minutes to sketch/$150 @ Mood.

Mondo thinks fabrics have voices and he can hear all of them. Of course.

Casanova whimpers to whoever will listen that he thinks he's going to quit because he cannot take anymore "bad words" from the judges. The other designers rightly judge that he is merely being a diva but apparently one or two things have seeped into his oddly shaped brain; to whit; he understands that he must show the judges that he has taste. Or as he put it, "Cho his chaste".

Kristin is struggling mightily because her hat is the only one that is literal. It's an orchid. She simply does not know what to do that will complement the hat while still displaying her design talent. We see so much of her dithering that we are convinced that she will be the one to go home. Or win.

We see Ivy eating. We see all the designers eating. See? The producers take care of the designers. Ivy fainting wasn't their fault. Please don't sue them.

Kristin begins to rhapsodize about flowers being "walking sex" and makes many "va-jay-jay" jokes with the gays. She gets all worked up and starts missin' her husband and suddenly has the inspiration for her design. Her dress will reflect the notions of love and romance.

Meanwhile, Michael C, who can be very snarky but also weeps ever so easily, is missing his kid (it's Father's Day) and he's just too sad to work properly. Which is reflected in his dress, which Ivy or someone calls a "hot mess" and which even he knows sucks. Badly.

The Gunn's Walkaround

Valerie is working to mix "soft and hard" in a very nice pink dress with a bodice that I just love. She is enamoured of a purple bedazzled zipper applied to the back for fun and The Gunn shares his philosophy that if you aren't going to use it then you don't need it. But she likes her zipper to nowhere so she's going to keep it.

April is make short shorts that look like a diaper. We don't know why. No one else understands it either.

Michael D knows that his look could easily dip into a sci fi costume but he's willing to take the risk and The Gunn tells him to boldly go where no one has gone before. No, he doesn't. But he does tell Michael "you want to walk the precipice!" There is art in the sense of danger. I guess.

St. Gretchen thinks Kristin's work - overall, not just this time - is "sloppy and lacks thoughtfulness". She is clearly preparing her resume to be a guest judge next season. And then to take Nina's place. And then to rule the world!!!!!!! Bwahahahahaha.

Peach is making a dress that is rather short. But not so short as to "show the good china". (MAB is so stealing that line). Tim cautions Mondo that he's got "a lot of look" but Mondo calmly replies, "It's what I do". Christopher is using what we consider to be a gorgeous fabric to make a beautiful top or dress or something....that part we can't quite figure out. And leggings are going to be involved. And he has a notion to use buttons as a design element. Which The Gunn poo poos as unnecessary.

To Casanova he asks, "Haven't we all seen this dress before? Donna Karan, 1988". Casanova stares at him blankly. Crickets chirp. Casanova continues gap mouthed. Finally The Gunn shrugs and says, "I don't know what else to say...finish it superbly!"

Michael C. knows his dress needs to be changed up but it is so bad The Gunn cannot offer suggestions for redemption, telling him he just has to start over. Before leaving the workroom The Gunn intones "Some of you have important decisions to make and I hope you will make them".

Michael D is snarky about Michael C and St. Gretchen decides April will be going home soon due to her overly costume-y taste. Michael C. talks to his kid about fish and then he is suddenly inspired and sings the praises of Tim's guidance while he makes a new dress that prompts Kristin to opine that his taste level is "questionable".

Day of the Runway
Mooch notes that April wears wild stockings every week. Michael C sings a little song about going home. Casanova gives himself a facial. St. Gretchen's makeup makes MAB and I share a wordless "WTF?" look with each other. Mondo wants his model to have a mustache since she's modeling "menswear". It could be kinda brilliant.

Casanova comments on Michael C's finished product, speaking the only sensible words I believe he will ever say: "Every girl in Puerto Rico has that dress in her closet".

Hey Guys - The Runway

Heidi is wearing a Philip Treacy hat. He is the guest judge with the regulars.

We are impressed with a number of pieces, although we sometimes quite like a dress (e.g. Peach) without seeing how it relates to the hat. Many bits leave us feeling ambivalent and some work is truly quite awful. Kristin's dress is just a mess of bits, April's diapers are ridiculous and Casanova is, once again horrible.

But that's just us. He was safe. As was, oh, looky at that face! St. Gretchen is merely safe and she no likey. This is delightful.

Michael D, whose hat made him think of architecture, warriors and farmers, is told by Mr. Treacy that he did a "great job". He loves how the shapes of his clothes complement the hat. Heidi thinks the skirt is very cool. Kors loves the detailing and shapes and Nina loves the back and how well the ensemble works with the hat.

Kristin shares her "romance" theme and Kors says, "Orchids are a beautiful, sexy flower" but he sees "no correlation" to that notion in her dress. Nina finds it too "matchy matchy" and "literal". Treacy likes that she emulated the stripes in the orchid but felt the dress should have been "more fragile".

Remember how much we liked Christopher's top/dress? Well, Heidi thinks it is "too dark, too sad". Nina finds it "stiff and overly designed" so that one cannot appreciate the lightness of the hat. Treacy looks at him with wet puppy dog eyes and softly says, "Simplicity can be beautiful". As in "This is not simple and it is not beautiful".

We cannot wait for what the judges think of Michael C's dress. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Kors declared "This is what harmony looks like! She is a goddess of the sea without looking like a costume". Say wha? Surely it's just Kors. But no. Nina agrees that the colors are perfect and she loves that he used a nude shoe. Heidi finds it beautiful with the hat and "beautifully done". Mr. Treacy calls it an "exceptional job".

The room tilts. I feel lightheaded.

April talks about her "futuristic resort" inspiration and Kors tells her that she picked the right category for her theme but that the pieces were a fail. He is repulsed by the "triple pantie" and when he has the model turn around and he sees a saggy bottom he moans, "Oh. No." Nina "doesn't mind" the top, finding it actually rather beautiful but in the end the concept was "sold short....literally". Treacy, who is obviously a very gentle soul who spends great amounts of time communing with nature and other higher powers when not concocting his ethereal and transcendent hats cannot bring himself to be harsh. So he softly says the look is "a little bit weak".

Valerie's dress is very, very pretty and Heidi declares it "one of my favorites". She admires the craftsmanship. Kors responds well to the "Stevie Nicks" hemline because it is "not expected" with the more severe (but beautiful) bodice and sculptured bolero. Nina winks that it is "mischievous" and "coquettish". Treacy, however, doesn't actually understand where Valerie is coming from in relation to his hat. Hmmmm.

After the runway we are all quite sure that Kristin will be out. Mooch, The Neighbor and Little Louie pick Michael D for the win and MAB and I go with Michael C. Not, mind you, because we think it is the best design but because the response of the judges was so completely other than what we thought that we are forced to rethink our thoughts.

And looky there! Michael C does win. And he cries. There are any number of shocked faces in the green room when he emerges triumphant. The other designers can barely bring themselves to congratulate him as they are all in a shocked state that is best summed up by Ivy as "WTF??????" But Michael C is euphoric and tearful and so lost in his joy that he fails to notice that no one else thinks he even deserved to be in the top 3, let alone win.

And despite the horror of April's triple pantie, Kristin is auf'ed for a dress that was "disappointing and unflattering". But you know what? She's actually relieved. She misses the real world and her husband and is ready to go home. She knows this isn't the end of the line designwise so she graciously bids the other designers adieu, hugs and kisses Tim and lumbers off into the sunset.

So there you go. Today MAB and I are going to make Philip Treacy inspired hats out of office supplies. Maybe there will be pictures later.

It's later....


Friday, August 13, 2010

Untitled (Because Everyone is Going to Use "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To")

Bathed in a beatific glow, Gretchen opens this week's show with a soliloquy on how much support the other designers are giving her and how happy they are for her back-to-back wins and how she is quite sure she'll win again, what with being anointed and all. This is balanced by footage of the other designers saying, mostly, "Whoa, has her attitude changed".

The designers meet with Tim for this week's "unconventional materials" challenge. No, we're not going to be looting grocery stores or tearing apart new cars. The designer have $100 and 30 minutes to ransack a party supply store. Tim does caution them that "the judges don't respond well to materials that resemble fabrics".

St. Gretchen is not pleased: she won't go for anything "cheeseball...because nothing I design is cheeseball". She will "remain true" to her aesthetic.

Casanova is drawn to plushies and, ignoring Tim's advice, gets table covers.

Peach has "a complete plan", AJ & Mondo confab as they are trending in the same birthday direction. Casanova gleeflully eviscerates stuffed animals, or as he calls them, "The plawsh pawppies". April is happy because these unconventional challenges "open you up to sole creativity". Mondo's hands have stopped shaking.

For reasons I don't quite understand, everyone deems this challenge right up AJ's alley, a point he affirms a million times. But he doesn't want to do anything "messy".

St. Gretchen opines that "Valerie is good; she will be in the top three with me". But lest we read that as any sort of humility, she adds that she is "a force to be reckoned with". I'd like to show her some force.

Casanova sniffs at the other designers because he's not into "the crazy stuff" they like. Yeah. He's all couture and that.

Gretchen flits from designer to designer offering her sage advice. Gretchen, STFU.

Tim's Walk Around
He greets AJ with effusive words that "this is your sensibility" (Michael snarks about glue guns). But in looking at AJ's work Tim says he's "a bit concerned" about how "the disparate parts" are to be put together.

Valerie is working on a brilliant black and white dress of napkins, with a splash of color for a belt. Tim is "not understanding the intervention of the teal" and urges her away from it. They make references to the Ascot scene in "My Fair Lady". (FYI, in case you weren't raised on musicals like mommy, in that brilliant piece of movie costuming everyone was wearing black and white).

Kristin is working with pet toys, specifically an item called "animal wooly balls". The ensuing ball jokes render The Gunn red and apoplectic with hysterical laughter.

Christopher is concerned about his skirt but The Gunn thinks it's "fabulous", giving Christopher the courage to go on. Meanwhile, The Gunn tells a dithering Peach that she has "a piece of coal in your rear end. Make a diamond!" Michael is waiting for a slam but gets a "sensational", The Gunn also loves Sarah's palate and finds that what she is doing is "upbeat" and looks as if "something Schiaparelli is happening". Sarah loves that assessment but it turns out that she's not really inspired by what she's doing and rather than trusting her instincts she is trying to force a rubber palm tree too literally into her design.

Tim graciously congratulates Gretchen on her second win while the other designers exchange "looks". She natters about her aesthetic and The Gunn urges, "Gretchen, do it! Listen to your own voice!" (To which Moochie queries, "Yes, but which voice?" )

Casanova admits to doubts about the judges reaction to his table covers and The Gunn says, "Did you not listen to me?", then adds that he didn't say they couldn't use fabric-like materials and that if he creates his design "fabulously" the judges can come around.

While Sarah is in the depths of her struggle to get excited about her own design guess who is at her side offering opinions?

The models come in, bearing gift bags that contain this week's twist. The designers must craft an accessory from the random contents of the bags.

Gretchen is going on again about how she'll be in the top three and the other designers are all rolling their eyes and being all "oh, no".

Mondo is a freak. He has a fake mustache. He is also wearing something that is reminiscent of a Catholic school girl uniform. This oddity finds Moochie just a little turned on and he spends the rest of the evening rocking himself in a corner of the Club Room.

MAB and I have decided that "Piperlime Accessory Wall" does not trip easily off the tongue and we would like a different, more dulcet name, please.

Andy is behind because he is meticulously crafting every inch of his garment so Peach and April offer to help him. While he sings the praises of their generous hearts St. Gretchen sniffs that this is inappropriate because he clearly has a "time management issue". I should note that she now has her hair up and her makeup is severe and she looks like an officious biatch. Mooch asks, "When did she become a judge?"

Hey Guys: The Judging

Kors and Nina are joined by the very freaky but you-can't-help-but-love-her-weirdness Betsy Johnson.

But first, our reactions:

Christopher: "Sooooo pretty!!!!!"

Michael: "Horrible, too stiff, too Jetsons". Mooch thinks it looks like a lamp shade.

Andy: "Wow! Just wow!"

AJ: "That's a mess". (MAB thinks Johnson will love it). It's too short.

Ivy: Pretty dress but MAB thinks it makes the model look fat.

Michael C: "That's couture!" (Gorgeous red gown)

Peach: "Cute" .

Gretchen: Dammit. It's good. Mooch loves it. I hate the skirt.

Mondo: meh

Casanova: "Whoa! Too much going on there". "It is pretty dramatic, though".

Kristin: Kinda sorta.

April: What Peter Pan would wear to a red carpet event. (Some of us like it).

Sarah: Oh. So horrible. "She's out".

Valerie: Loving. It.

The judges weigh in:

Kors declares that Valerie has done a 360 in styling declaring it looks like a "modern girl". (And Gretchen nods her head in agreement). Nina calls it "fun yet sophisticated, graphic, lovely" and Betsy is very excited that if you spill dim sum while wearing it you can clean up easily. No, seriously, she read the napkins as a functional statement. Freak.

Heidi tells AJ his dress is "silly", Nina says there is nothing wrong with camp but this is just a "hot mess", to which AJ replies "Thank you". "That's not a compliment", says Kors. Kors doesn't like how it is cut, or rather, not cut to the model's body and finds what he calls "the crotch fringe" repulsive. BJ, on the other hand, only wishes that it had been taken farther.

Andy's look is "exciting" to Kors, who adores how he transformed the material. He can see Rhianna and Heidi fighting over that dress. "I saw it first," says Heidi. Nina says it is "remarkable" and BJ applauds the execution and then says she "misses the fun, it's too beautiful".

Casanova gets a classic Korsism: "She looks like a transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral". BJ loves that it looks like one dress in the front and another in the back but Heidi says there were "too many things going on and they went wrong".

Nina dismissively tells Sarah her dress "seems very simple". Kors says it doesn't look like a fully composed idea. BJ says "its a mish mosh" and "it's not funny...I guess that's sad".

Gretchen receives a "fabulous" from Nina, although she's not fond of the length of the skirt. Kors can see that she used herself as a template. BJ says it's "'Dreamgirls' on the bottom and 'Mad Max' on the top" but neither she nor Heidi like the boots with which she's accessorized the outfit.
In the green room AJ and Gretchen mix it up a little and she's very snotty and I hate her now.

MAB and little Louis the tea cup poodle pick Valerie to win. The Neighb and I like Andy's chances and Mooch votes for Gretchen. We all think Casanova is gonna go, except MAB, who picks Sarah.

Andy wins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hallelujah and praise the little baby Jesus in his golden diaper! Gretchen looks like she swallowed a very bitter pill.

While Casanova has been in the bottom three "for a reason", it is Sarah who is auf'd, pretty much just for being "sad and boring and not following her instincts".

All the little designers are very sad to see her go. So are we.

And all that pre-show hype about someone being taken away in an ambulance? Ivy passed out and that's all we know. Stoopid producers.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You Arrived Like a Day and Passed Like a Cloud

I don't mean to be Debbie Downer here, folks, but Rainey is really sad. This thing with Sooz has just got me so so so veryvery sad. One piece of it, for sure, is just the whole thing of Peter being a widower and Kiki losing her mom before she's even old enough to remember her, which is bad enough. My friend is broken hearted and there is nothing I can do about it.

But the other thing, which is really selfish, is my loss. Because this isn't a loss like I'm used to. I've lost people before and that is its own kind of sadness. But with Suzanne, we're talking about a person who I had only started to get to know. She wasn't one of my best friends but over time she would have been. Our lives were intertwined, forever, because she asked me to be Kiki's godmom. And when I said "yes" to that I told her that it was for life. "In for a penny, in for a pound" were, I believe, my exact words. I told her that being that child's godmother wasn't just for the day of her baptism but was a commitment for life, to the child and to her and Peter as they raised her. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that signing on for first days of school and sex talks and first sacraments and bad boyfriends that there was any possibility of it being done without Suzanne. But when I told her that if I was in I was all in her response was "Love. Every. Word". And so we began to build our friendship.

But we didn't have much time. I counted it up yesterday. There are less than 20 occasions where Suzanne and I were together, not counting phone calls - which were frequent - and Facebook, which was even more frequent. One dinner, one lunch, one BBQ, one pedicure, 2 brunches, a handful of parties. Every one of those occasions is clear in my heart, like scenes from a movie. Like the time she turned to me at The Child's Sweet Sixteen party and asked, "How did you do it? How did you raise a teenager who is so totally aware of the world but still so sweet and innocent?" Never having been asked that I said something inane, like "I don't know" and then we talked about it. Because I don't really know how you raise a child. You just do what you have to do each day and somehow all those little exercises lead up to the end product. But the point is, I have so few memories of Suzanne that I can remember them all vividly. Which I guess is a good thing.

Yesterday at her wake Peter was playing her iPod...Sooze's playlist. And it could have been mine. Well, actually, mine has way more 80's music and no BTO but still. "Talk of the Town" by The Pretenders came on and I started to cry. Because that is one of my favorite songs and all I could think was "Dammit...we could have been besties and we're never going to be because the frakking cancer came and took her away". And then I felt REALLY selfish because there were people on that rooftop, eating fabulous food and drinking pink champan-ya (her favorite), that had lost so much more than I had...so much more time and history. People who talked to her every day. People like her mom. Her husband. And there I was boo hooing because I didn't have her anymore.

Oy to the frakking vey.

Anywake, the point is, I'm really going to miss this woman I didn't even know as well as I could have but who is going to be a constant part of my life because she has entrusted me with the spiritual life of her beautiful child. And right now, it is a weight past bearing.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Who Can Turn the World on With Her Smile?

The Posse convened again in the Club Room and caught the last few minutes of last week's show, prompting MAB to declare that her new strategy is to vote for the ugliest garment to win.

The designers go to the roof of Atlas to meet Tim, Heidi and Joanna Coles, editor of "Marie Claire" magazine. Please note, we have been to the roof but we have not had champagne. Joanna challenges the group to create a design that will typify in one look the essence of the "Marie Claire" reader. In case you don't know who that is she is someone who is smart, sexy, confident, educated, turns water to wine and never has a bad hair day. A photograph of the winning garment will make it onto a 40 ft. billboard positioned in Times Square. It will be photographed by some big name who isn't Annie Leibowitz.

The designers have 30 minutes to sketch, 30 minutes and $150 dollars to spend at Mood and must have the garment completed by midnight.

I hate Jason's hat.

Peach isn't happy with her fabric choices, even though she loves polka dots. So do I. Please note:
MAB got them, too:

Valerie looks like a Pink Lady in "Grease". AJ refuses to help Casanova pattern. It's every man for himself, baby.

Tim Gunn's Walk Around

TG "responds positively" to Valerie's look and urges her to "keep it clean".

Mondo isn't sketching but is doing a tutu skirt with a halter. Tim accords him "blind trust".

Tim says Jason is using "gorgeous colors" but when Jason tries to describe his concept, which is based on the number 8 for "infinity and the 8th season of PR" Tim is perplexed and says, "I'm concerned about you." Jason later whines that he is a "straight man in a gay man's world". Wha wha. He can still get married anytime he wants.

Grethchen has a singsongy voice. That's gotta get annoying.

Casanova, having given us pure vulgarity last week, is opting for a matronly design this week. Tim says he is "baffled". Meanwhile, the other designers have noticed that Casanova seems to speak perfect English when he is with them and then gets all ESL with Tim and the judges. The designers aren't buying it.

Nicholas is ripping off Gretchen, making a back that is very similar to what she did last week. He has a jacket-y cape about which Tim feels "ambivalent".

Michael's design is dismissed with a scathing "it's Blanche Devereaux". Thank you for being a friend. Not.

Peach's look is deemed "discordant" and since she agrees she starts all over.

There is another element to the challenge. Of course. The designers looks are going to be photographed and they must choose one picture to show at the runway. This photo will be given weight in the overall judging.

Gretchen tells us that Casanova could be very annoying if he "wasn't so charming". This proves The Neighbor's assertion that she is friends with ganja. Generally speaking there is a lot of love between the designers but Mondo is lonely and his art is a curse and he cries and it's sad. MAB thinks he's bipolar, a diagnosis that has some merit given how damn perky he is the next morning.

The designers have 2 hours the next morning to get ready for the photo shoot. Tim urges them to give it lots of "attitude" and to be editorial. And don't forget to be thoughtful about choices from the Piperlime Accessory Wall.

It would appear that the show has been expanded to 90 minutes in order to give us more time in the hair and make up rooms. And more time for the inane conversation that takes place in the green room. This is not an efficient use of our time.

Michael tells Jason that he loves his freaking 8 dress. But he only says this, he confesses to us, because he's afraid Jason will come up behind him with a pair of scissors. (Insert "Psycho" theme here).

Jason has pinned his garment - again. When the photographer points out the problem with this when the garment is rendered huge on a billboard, Jason opines that "the judges need to get over" such minor quibbles. Right. Because sewing isn't a huge part of fashion design. Silly judges.

Hey Guys: The Runway

Heidi points out that there will be 15 left standing - "or less". Oh, Heidi. You tease.

Kors & Nina are joined by Joanna.

Nicholas has created a skirt that is alright but otherwise we give him a "no". We love Chris' top so MAB goes for the hate.

Jason is clearly clueless, AJ himself declares that his design "looks like larvae", Peach's dress is boring and Michael gets a Nina look for his too short dress.

We love Valerie's red dress, so MAB hates it but she likes Casanova's matronly ick fest for real. Gretchen has made an ensemble for a chick mechanic and we are basically split on everyone else.

Peach's polka dots are polka nots: "ladies who lunch", "Amish cocktail party". Nina doesn't like the styling (she is way too into accessories this season) and Joanna doesn't like the "animal" climbing down the back (some weird brown accent that was supposed to give the garment a twist but looks creepy).

Valerie, on the other hand, is declared "innovative and sophisticated". Nina finds it "sexy but conservative", Kors says it has "simplicity and interest" and says red was a smart choice. Joanna thinks it is great.

Jason says his design is "edgy and youthful" but the judges disagree. Nina doesn't know how interesting it would be on a billboard, Kors deems it a "walk of shame dress" and Joanna can't believe he selected the photo he did.

Gretchen nailed it, though. Heidi says the model looks "like a cool girl", Kors finds it "modern from head to toe", Joanna likes its "effortless ease" and Nina totally gets a "Marie Claire" reader out of the look.

We don't want to make him cry but Nicholas is raked over the coals. Nina says there are too many details for a billboard, Joanna calls it "utterly unsexy" and Heidi thinks that without the cape the back is strange.

Crazy Mondo gets a spirit boost with enthusiastic responses like "really cool" and "great spirit". Joanna tosses her beret into the air at his Mary Tyler Moore inspiration because MTM is apparently the reason she wanted to move to the United States.

We have a new judge in the posse, MAB's teacup poodle, Louie. We each picked a winner then called to him. The lap into which he jumped represented his vote. He picked Mondo. So did all of us. Except The Neighbor, who went with Valerie. What? You think it's weird to let a poodle vote? Makes as much sense as any method employed by the judges. As to the loser, however, we were unequivocal in our selection. Bowler Hat must go.

However, our picks were only merely safe as Doobie Sister Gretchen wins again. But Jason, with his lack of skills and bag o' excuses is auf. He's an ass. He didn't even stick around for The Gunn to give him a "bon chance". But that's ok. Good riddance. And Tim still got to be paternal and loving to Nicholas, who was also auf'ed. He is crying veryvery hard and MAB hopes there is someone who can check on him later, lest he fling himself from a 40 ft billboard in Times Square.

It was, in Tim's words, "a rough runway".


Friday, August 06, 2010

Right Here, Right Now

This is going to sound ever so cliche and you'll probably respond with a "geez, isn't this a lesson you shoulda learned by now?" but ever since Suzanne's passing I've really been trying to live more in the moment. Because moments, strung together, are all we get and we're not promised an infinite number of them. At least not in this life.

I'm trying to slow down. To leave less undone (because the thought of someone else having to wade through what I've left behind seems the height of cruelty). To look into the eyes of the people I love more often. To really taste my food.

Wouldn't it be swell if I could keep this up for a while? Like, the rest of my life?

Oh, and also, MAB and I went for our almost weekly manicure/pedicure after work last night and I got polka dots on my nails. They look way awesome. And having fun and giving a hang about what people might think about a 50 something woman with polka dots on her finger nails and toesies is a part of my personal credo that I've always done a pretty decent job of doing but now it's even more important.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Project Runway Returns and I Procratinate

Good golly, says you. We've been tapping this link for days, anticipating your recap of the premiere episode of Season 8 (8!) of "Project Runway". Where have you been??????

Sorry. Been a little preoccupied with personal matters and, well, if the truth be told, I really hate recapping the first episode of a season because I don't know who anyone is and I can't keep them straight and I already find myself anticipating the elimination of the first dozen of them so we can get down to the real business of snarkifying and betting.

So, YAY! Season 8. Thankfully (and despite rumors to the contrary) we are still in NYC. The Project Runway Posse (Moochie, MAB, Nurse Jacquie, The Neighbor and Moi) gathered in the Club Room of MAB's superfantastic chic downtown apartment building to watch on the big screen. And right before it began we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Tim Gunn, complete with harmonies. Which is more than my dad - who shares The Gunn's birthday - got. That's what Daddy gets for not hanging out with Heidi Klum.

Speaking of Heidi, as the show begins Moochie notes that she is NOT with child.

Now, as you know, the first episode is always devoted to a whole lot of introductions and after 8 seasons the producers decided to try something new which, provided "something new" doesn't involve LA or leaving Nina and Kors off the judges panel, they are more than welcome to do. But I wasn't really smitten with the changes. First Heidi & Tim engage in some non-informational banter about their impressions of the new challengers and then the designers give brief bios of themselves as little knots of them meet up in train stations and on the street. The sketches and stories all ran together and I don't even remember half of them.

The strongest impressions - for good or ill -were:

Casanova from Puerto Rico who seems like a cliche from an SNL sketch and looks like the dude who played "Hell Boy". MAB won't look at him for fear of turning to stone.

Sarah looks like the love child of Annie Lennox & Pink. We like her sketches. A lot.

Peach, the self-described "old lady" designer, has a fun personality and we like her but given that we are all her age or older, she needs to lay off the "old lady" crap.

McKell has dreads, tats and is from, of all places, Utah. She also has a 9 month old baby who isn't with her, of course, but back home. Poor little abandoned baby.

Kristin allows mistakes to become part of her design and gives us the season's first catch phrase: "embrace the crooked zipper".

Mondo aptly describes himself as "a little strange". He looks like the offspring of Clint Howard and the Beav.

Nicholas is Clinton Kelly's weirder, gayer twin.

Gretchen is this season's token boho hippie chick. "She sews with hemp," observes The Neighbor.

Michael already thinks he's a big deal so we don't like him.

And we'll leave it there for now.

There are still too many designers for the competition so the first challenge is going to be the final phase of the audition. Heidi instructs the designers to pull one item from their suitcase to use as inspiration. Everyone very carefully selects a garment and then Heidi, who loves the twist, tells them to pass the item to the designer on their left. OUCH! Casanova - argh! don't look straight at him! - has a kitten since he selected $1,000 Dolce & Gabana trousers. Shoulda brought some Dockers, Casanova.

The designers have 5 mere hours to create and because time is at a premium, Mood comes to them. Thank you, Mood.

There is token bitching about the quality and type of garments each has been given, Peach has no blood in her head and they get to work.

The Gunn's Walk Around

McKell is feeling "frazzled" but Tim thinks what she's doing is adorable. So do we.

Nicholas has started out with a polyester jacket and Tim tells him his work is "provocative" and "potentially very good".

When asked, Casanova tells Tim he is "good" but he's not convincing, which probably owes to the very ugly mess on his mannequin. Tim queries, "Is it sexy or is it vulgar?" (The correct answer is "vulgar").

April has turned a tuxedo jacket inside out and The Gunn scowls at her lack of vision or finished product.

Gretchen, in contract, discourses eloquently on her "process" and the "essence" of the piece. Tim appreciates her thoughtfulness and says he's "completely with her".

Peach is freaking over the very tenuous nature of the red wispy stuff she has inherited, which unravels when you look at it. Tim makes some artful suggestions.

Mondo is constructing something from grandma's sofa cover and Tim tells him it needs to be "more youthful".

It's time for dressing our pre-selected models and thoughtfully using the Piperlime Accessory Wall. Jason is distracted by his model's boobs. Because she has them. Peach dithers about her model's hair while Casanova forcefully describes the hair style he wants. To the make up guy. Kristin forgets her model in the hair room and has only time to instruct make-up to give her "bold, red lips".

Hi Guys: The Judging

Nina and Kors are joined by the cutely squishy faced Selma Blair.

Considering that the designers only had 5 hours, which is an absolutely ridiculous amount of time, there are quite a few looks that we find ever so pleasing, including those by Peach, McKell, Andy, & Kristin. But there is a whole lotta "eeewww" and "ho hum" from our Posse as well. We particularly do not enjoy Sarah & Michael. Gretchen has made a plain black dress with floppy sparkly caplet sleeves to which MAB responds, "It's bad". It is not, however, as bad as the mess Jason has sent down, which looks exactly like the gown I don at Gene Juarez when I get my hair did, only the gowns at Gene Juarez aren't stapled together and falling apart at the seams like that mess.

Casanova sends down one of the worst things we've ever seen. "No," Nurse Jacquie firmly says, "It is THE worst thing we've ever seen". It's so bad that the camera lingers on Nina making a classic "oh, no you didn't" face.

The designers all line up and Heidi declares that there is a unanimous winner. Gretchen! Say what? We look at each other in astonishment and MAB buries her head in her little tiny hands and moans, "Gonna be another season where I just. don't. get. it". The Neighbor consoles her by opining that Gretchen must have gotten the judges high first.

While we pick up the pieces of our shattered expectations, Heidi declares that none of the remnants should feel safe and MAB notes that they are all looking at Casanova and thinking, "Oh, no. I'm safe".

Highlights of the judging:

Ivy had to defend turning toile capri pants into, uh, pants. Heidi said Jason's "creation" looked like "my hair dressing cape" (what did I say?) and told April that she wasn't sure the shredded look of her garment was "intentional" then added the dreaded "it's a hot mess". Kors said he likes deconstruction, as long as one knows the designer can also construct. Nina just dismissed the whole thing as something to be worn by "an '80's street walker".

Nina liked the mix of fabrics McKell used but dissed the styling, including the pink bag the model was carrying which, btw, was just exactly like bags that MAB and I have (different colors but exactly the same bag) which ellicit compliments EVERY time we carry them so "pft" to you, Nina.

Nicholas nearly cries.

Kors had a plethora of Korisms to describe Casanova's disaster, chief of them being "She looks like a pole dancer in Dubai". Nina called it "fascinatingly bad" (think road kill....it's horrible but you can't help looking). Selma "loved and loathed" the look. Which is a big "uh oh" because their grudging horror is pretty much a guarantee that Casanova is going to survive this round so he can be horrible yet again. And MAB still has to avert her eyes.

Sure enough, he survives, as does everyone but poor little tattooed, dreaded up McKell. Which we think is just appalling under the circumstances because she at least created something that a human being on Planet Earth would actually wear. And The Gunn agreed, telling her that he stood by his earlier statement that the dress was adorable. It's only fault, apparently, was that it didn't fit the model well. Which is still no excuse for some of the piss poor work that survived and may I also add that while we all understand the penchant for reality TV producers to find the "personalities" that will keep people returning week after week, if the best they've got this season are the likes of Mondo and Casanova, well, that will just be sad. Almost makes me miss freaking Santino.