Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"only Gay screen call"

Best news item not picked up by the press: before Anna Nicole Smith was Anna Nicole Smith, she had a lady lover! A serious one too. Observe:
Powledge recalls their first year together as one filled with happiness. The two exchanged vows of commitment on the diving board at Smith's home in Spring, and Smith gave Powledge a diamond ring. Smith avoided wearing a ring herself because of the questions it might raise, Powledge said.

They shared some wild times, frequently going out on drinking binges and not knowing how to get home. Smith once stopped her car and asked a passing jogger to drive them home after a particularly lively spell of inebriation.

The pair also got tattoos to declare their love for one another. Smith paid for a tattoo of her face and name to be inked across Powledge's shoulder blade, strategically placed to cover another woman's name there. Smith later received a tattoo of Powledge's initials below her bikini line, unable to display such art anywhere else on her body because of her career as a model.

Powledge blushes, giggles and covers her face with her hands when asked if Smith reciprocated her affections in the bedroom.

"She was very considerate. Very sweet. Very," she said bashfully.
Yikes! And: awesome!

Of course, the article's spin on ANS's lesbian liason is pretty dippy. It has to go out of its way to call Powledge "the plainer looking and less feminine of the pair" -- because God forbid we wander off the Butch Meets Femme page. And "affections in the bedroom"? Is there a less kinky way of refering to sex? Can you think of one? I'm really asking.

I'm impressed Powledge toughed out the relationship as long as she did, what with ANS making her wear "wigs and dresses to give herself a softer look in New York" once they moved to the Big Apple, not to mention ANS's "Real World"-type behavior: cheating, drinking, drugs. Eventually of course the women split and the article notes, wistfully, "No matter what the cause of Smith's death is ultimately determined to be, Powledge shares others' assessment that she likely died of a broken heart."

One of the things I find most fascinating about this story is that it adds complexity to ANS's performance of hetero desirability. In the same way that in M Butterfly, Song, the male lover disguised as the ideal woman, explains, "A man knows best how a woman is supposed to act," it makes sense that a queer woman would know how best to play the epitome of a straight woman.

But is this story threatening to her image somehow? Embarrassing? Overkill? Why hasn't it been picked up more broadly?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Will win, should win

The Oscars are tonight! I wish I cared, but friends, there's history here. The Oscars of 06 were an acid wash. And anyone else remember being run over by the LOTR: ROTK "choo-choo-choose me!" train in 04?

Still, I'll watch. Of course I'll watch. I'm the sort of viewer on whom Oscar depends: skeptical, vaguely irritated in advance, sure that redemption and understanding aren't going to be found at the bottom of this three-hour bottle but ready to drink to the last gulp anyhow. I'll find solace in forming opinions on the dresses and hoping Ellen says something witty, and I'll wish I'd had the stomach to see either of frontrunners Babel or the Departed.

But! One can always prognosticate:

WILL WIN BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Little Miss Sunshine (as a "thanks for playing!")
SHOULD WIN: Little Miss Sunshine (in sincere appreciation for how poignant and hilarious this take on the American family is)

SHOULD WIN: Borat. I am all about the funny and I don't care how much of it was scripted.

SHOULD WIN: Jackie Earle Haley, who has never appeared in a fat suit.

WILL WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Hudson. She has the best story and the most momentum. Still, I don't believe in giving Oscars for a person's first good performance. God knows it has done less than nothing for the careers of Kim Basinger, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow, Helen Hunt, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mira Sorvino ... In retrospect, aren't all of those choices ridiculous? What the Academy was actually doing there was rewarding someone pretty for trying, like giving a standing ovation when a dog rears up on its hind legs.

SHOULD WIN: Abigail Breslin, because I've never seen such an impressive, dare-i-say-inspiring? little kid performance; or Cate Blanchett for going toe-to-toe with Dame Judi Dench in a movie where the ferocious DJD sucked all of the oxygen out of the room.

WILL WIN BEST ACTOR: Forest Whitaker
SHOULD WIN: Clive Owen for Children of Men. Ryan Gosling was also good in his quiet, quiet way.


SHOULD WIN: This one's really hard. Kate Winslet put her all into Little Children, and WInslet's all is really something to see. Similarly Meryl Streep made Prada the delightful, shiver-inducing snarkfest that it was. But it really comes down to a contest between the British heavyweights, Dame Judi and Helen Mirren.

Sorry, DJD, but like everyone else, I have to go with Helen Mirren on this one too. Although as I mentioned, you were spellbinding in Notes on a Scandal, the best monster in a monster movie I'd seen in years, and I couldn't take my eyes off you, Mirren made me feel like I understood the Queen of England. That I even sympathized with her as she struggled to realize how she had become disconnected from her time and place, or rather how time and place surged forward without her. It was a strong, silent, bravura performance, full of inner conflict and grace and self-respect without vanity; and DJD, this just isn't your year. I don't blame you for staying home.

WILL WIN BEST DIRECTOR: Scorcese because blah blah legacy-cakes. Give the man an Oscar already so we can stop having this conversation every other year.
SHOULD WIN: Alfonso Cuaron for the harrowing, soulful Children of Men, especially the battle scenes of the last hour.

WILL WIN BEST PICTURE: Babel, in a repeat of the "See? We're Serious" phenomenon that brought us last year's utterly undeserving winner Crash. Unless voters really just wanted to be entertained and distracted this year, in which case The Departed

SHOULD WIN: I don't really know. Nothing completely thrilled me this year the way Hotel Rwanda, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or Adaptation, recently, did. My top five for this year ended up being: Little Miss Sunshine, the Queen, Notes on a Scandal, Children of Men, and Inside Man. Oh Clive, when will the world love you like I do?

Note: How cute are these skirts? I wish I could buy every last one of them, except they're each so cute, I'd be as upstaged wearing one as I would be walking an adorable golden retriever puppy. Should I really pay $60 for that privilege? Or should I just get a puppy?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Someone else ranks and rates the Vows section too!

I'm don't 100% agree with the ratings system -- why do you couples get bonus points if the man is Jewish and the woman Asian? Also if David Denkins officiates, why does that not confer bonus points? Can you enlighten me?

Edited to clarify: I think the Vows section also requires two different ratings systems, one to measure how well each couple matches up to Antebellum Standards and one to measure Pure Eccentricity, because the Times, being a silver fox of a Grey Lady, appreciates the importance of both. When Hearsts marry Astors, when the girl is younger than the guy, when she's a teacher and he's in finance, the AS meter rises; and when bohemians/ethnics/gays/old people come together, the PE meter swoons and the NYT gets to feel virtuous for being so open-minded.

In both categories, however, some of the same rules apply: Ivy League diplomas are a must; famous ancestors help; Jews OK; send a face pic, and no fatties.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Queens for a day

You might not think it possible, but I assure you, it is a real -- if enjoyable -- condition: an overdose of honey. It can afflict you when you throw together pancakes for breakfast but forget the syrup, and are forced to resort to what other sweet things you have on hand, and then at the opposite end of the day, you dine at a Cretan restaurant whose name, S'agapo, translates to "I love you" and whose appetizers and desserts alike come preserved in delicious, delicious amber.

In between doses of honey, how did Mr. Ben and I celebrate turning six? By going to PS 1, of course! and then to the Museum of the Moving Image, where after playing around with the interactive exhibits we saw a 35mm print of the last film Orson Wells made, a Godard-ish essay/documentary called F for Fake.

The best part about the day though was that we were blessed with Good Subway Luck. If ever you have need to burrow into Queens, make sure you first appease the right spirits, because if the G comes speedily, and then the R does too, and then again, and THEN, to top it off, the 3, you will have a completely different day than if you're stuck waiting 20 frozen minutes for the privilege of riding on each.

On another note, I now have an rx. I haven't filled it yet, but I will, and then I will be SuperEster, or so I'm told. If I only become Ester-Who-Can-Make-It-Thru-the-Wedding-Planning, that'll be good too.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

the kind of love

me: i want streamers, pink streamers that go all the way across the ceiling and all the way down to the floor. i want pink bears, four huge pink bears, one in each corner of the room, and a pink disco ball sprinkling pink light all over the room, and a stereo playing Carrie Underwood. ... what do you want for valentines day?

him: not to have to do any of that.

me: done.

little did i realize when i was a moony thirteen year old, upset that all my friends were "falling in love" while i wasn't -- while, in fact, the only boy who had professed love for me was a tall drink of water at summer camp who didn't know how else to say "please take your shirt off," the dumb punk -- that the ideal valentines day is when you feel no pressure to do anything. in fact i'm going drinking with a couple girls from The Nation after work (sugar-free cranberry juice for me, please!). maybe i'll learn something!

technically, i guess, i'm also cheating. i don't have to care about v-day because several days thereafter, mr. ben and i will turn six years old. that seems much more significant to me. six years old, ready for first grade and, apparently, marriage. and if, on a valentines day six years ago, some girl hadn't coldly turned down a rose offered by mr. ben, none of this would have happened. imagine.

hi friends.

I have nothing of serious interest to report, except that I'm okay. And maybe that's worth saying. Once I stablized last week (it actually took a few days to feel normal again) I had a week like many other weeks: I went to my friend Erin's house in Queens to play cards Wednesday;

spent Thursday evening with the remote, shuffling from Ugly Betty to The Office to Grey's Anatomy to Thirty Rock, wondering why the only shows I watch are packed into a two-hour time block;

had dinner with friends, saw a really cute new Spanish film, then hung around in the village drinking expensive tea on Friday;

and Saturday evening, Mr. Ben and I had pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge with his dad and his stepmom, and then listened to Barge Music from the last four seats available -- lined up on the side of the stage. I had a perfect, and perfectly surreal, view of the inside of the grand piano.

Sunday I did laundry, errands, cooked.

At no point did I mourn Anna Nicole Smith. At no point did I feel a twinge of satisfaction that I least I was demonstrably less crazy than the Astronut with the diaper and the pepper spray. I did however appreciate everyone's good wishes, and do. It's nice to feel supporting when you start taking steps.

Monday, February 05, 2007

tentative of stomach

Home sick. Again. Lately, what "sick" means is that I've recently had a panic attack that kept me up all night and I'm in intense recovery.

Even though I've been having the damn things semi-regular for over six months now, I've resisted medication. Why? That's a good question to ask yourself when you're shivering on the bathroom floor at 3:00 AM. The trouble is, you won't be able to answer it, since the cutest thing about a panic attack is how you can't make any decisions at all. My poor older brother -- who had flown in from UCLA for my grandma's birthday -- kept patiently asking me: "Do you want a blanket? Do you want some Tylenol PM?" To which I reasonably replied, "Um," and then, again, "um." And they say white people are articulate.

The funny thing is, my brother was supposed to be the sick one. The same airlines that won't let you take more than three ounces of shampoo on a plane let him fly with gastritis AND mono. You figure it out. He, as it turned out, looked and acted relatively normal; I was the one still in my pajamas the next day at 1:00 PM, shrouded in the blanket he'd finally coaxed me into accepting.

All of that is to say, I went to DC for the weekend to do some wedding stuff and celebrate my remarkable grandma's 94th birthday, and I succeeded in thoroughly freaking out my family. For my brother's various ailments, he has resorted to acupuncture, doctors in Beverly Hills who require valet parking, and a nutritionist; he's insisting I too try every option. Of course, since he's in LA, he's just doing what the LAkers do. But now that my family's seen my crazy up close and personal, they agree.

I finally made it back to Brooklyn and was prepared to sleep forever. Three hours into that plan, I woke up and realized: Mr. Ben wasn't here. Mr. Ben, who had decided to go yuppie for the weekend and ski/bond with law review folks in Utah, was due into JFK at 12:30 AM. Surely then by 3:30 AM he should be home; and yet he wasn't.

I checked the JFK website and CNN.com: no shampoo-related airplane crises to report. Not having any more detailed flight information than "he gets in at 12:30 from Utah," I couldn't get much help from anyone including Mr. Ben himself, whose phone had mysteriously died. There was nothing to be done but stay up all night, occasionally watching NYOne or old Grey's Anatomy episodes for company, and try not to panic overmuch about ending up one of those pre-widows on the news.

At 7:15 he came stumbling in, smurflike from the cold. Had he said a 12:30 arrival? Oops - he had meant he was taking a red eye, getting in around 5:30. Oh god, had I really waited ... ?

The remarkable thing is after all that I got dressed, put on my heavy coat, and actually left the apartment to go to work. Then I remembered two important details. One, I'd forgotten my Netflix envelope inside. And two, I had hardly slept now for four nights running; hadn't eaten in 36 hours; and if I even made it to the subway, I would doubtless end up falling onto the tracks and having to be saved by a future State of the Union attendee.

I made it back inside and slept past noon. Now I have to figure out how to make my life better.