March 30, 2008

This Week's Line

This Week's Pleasant Surprise
Well, actually it was a few weeks ago, but i didn't get around to telling you about it then. Anyway, the New York Dolls. Yes, we all know who they are. Or have a vague idea. But few of us have actually heard them, or else we've only heard "Personality Crisis" or "Jet Boy Jet Girl" on a bar jukebox somewhere--and, no, it's not even the "Jet Boy, Jet Girl" you're thinking of, you're thinking of the one by Elton Motello. Which has the same music as Plastic Bertrand's "Ca Plan Pour Moi" (which my shitty punk band used to cover), but that is another story. Anyway, yes, the New York Dolls: Another great founding punk band we won't quite admit how not entirely familar we are with.
But, as an old New York rocker chick, although my heyday was a good two score years after the Dolls', i felt obliged to go check them out when they played at Jillian's recently. Or what remains of them--with only David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain present (both on stage and on earth), they're dropping like Ramones. Reunion act with over half the band replacements? (Can you imagine having an audition for fake Johnny Thunderses in New York City? The line would go on for blocks.) Well, i didn't expect that much. But even if i'd had expectations, the Dolls would have exceeded them. To put it in the parlance of the realm: They kicked ass. The songs were great--especially the cover of Bo Diddley's "Pills" and it was definitely a very high-energy, shake your ass kind of vibe: Just like i'd heard it was back in 1973. And it was nice to see a little New York flavor. Would any West Coast band open their set with a recording of "Vissi d'Arte" from Tosca? Or dedicate a song to Malcolm Lowry? No, there's no value on intellect out here. Back East, even the thugs and the junkies tried to have a touch of the poet; out here everyone acts like the only institution worth getting an education in is jail... but i digress. And i don't know why I was surprised: The Stooges were fucking awesome too.

This Week's Find on the Used Bookshelves
Found at the North Las Vegas Salvation Army with its 1964 dust jacket still intact, we have Elegance by Genevive Antoine Darrieux. This book represents one of my favorite genres of weird book finds: Cold War-era guides to femininity. These books are full of weird advice on everything from eyebrow plucking to jelwery selection to girdle fitting to packing a suitcase to planning a dinner party to douching. Some of it's powerfully outdated, some of it remains surprisingly useful a half-century or so later.
Author Darrieux is an intensely uptight French Couturier--the look on her immaculately maquillaged face in the author photo is enough to give lessons on bitch to any drag queen or R&B diva. Elegance is full of important advice. Words of wisdom include which kinds of short gloves to wear to a daytime embassy reception and the different aparrel one wears to horse shows depending on what kinds of horses are being shown at what kind of show, along with "drop earrings are very dressy and should never be worn before 5 p.m. and never with a tailored hat" and "your various pieces of luggage are useful servants but they are very indiscreet ones, for they reveal your social situation even more then does your attire."

This Week's Quote
"I cry all day and all night until I'm so exhausted I can't function. Then I drink."--Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

This Week's Vegas Lady
This town's twisted idea of glamour sometimes impairs people's aesthetic judgement. Especially women. Especially once those women get past a certain age. Thus, what I have dubbed, the "Vegas Lady"--a woman whose weirdness of appearance could only happen here. This week's example was wandering the produce aisle at the 99-cent store on East Flamingo. she was around 60, shortish and squattish, with bleached-white fried-dead hair, wearing some kind of black caftan with giant multicolored scarf. Her face was devoid of eyebrows or eyelashes, but she had remedied this by drawing then on. The eyelashes were done in what looked like a sharpie, while the eyebrows and eyeshadow were done in what seemed to be crayon or maybe pastel--(Who knows? Maybe she used Cray-Pas. Not like she wasn't old enough or seemingly pack-ratty enough to have some stashed away.)--blue-grey for the former, purple for the latter. And it was all done very large. Not quite "seen from space" large, but definitely "visible for several blocks" large. She was dragging a red rolling suitcase and pushing a cart that had orange soda and knockoff Oreos in it while talking on her cell phone about when someone was going to pick her up after work. I pray to god it wasn't her pimp.

This Week's Special Thing
My new shoes! And i needed them: For the past several years, my shoe purchases havew been restricted to ballet flats for work and flip-flops for not-work. Thus, i have found myself in my newly (or i should say, re-newly) sartorially preoccupied state without any cute going-out shoes. Sure, there was the pair of divine black suede steve madden open-toes i bought for a wedding, but the four-inch heels make me as tall as Michael Jordan and as unsteady as Chinese scaffolding.
But calloo callay! Thanks to the DSW in Henderson, i have a new pair of electric blue patent-leather peep-toe pumps. the heels are a little more thinck and angular than i'd like, but the shape and the color are fabulous. One thing i did learn on my shoe-search: People keep making uglier and uglier things to put on your feet.

This Week's Netflix
I'm not going to kill it with critiquing the criticism, but Simon Schama's The Power of Art series offers up great classical music and glorious slow-motion pans over some fo the greatest works of Western art, all accompanied by film-quality re-enactments (Andy "Golum/King Kong" Serkis' turn as Vincent Van Gogh is marvelous) and Schama's retelling of the lives of the artists in his own strange intellectual/pulp fashion offers complelling narratives and fabulous images. Really, justcheck it out.

Posted by lissa at 03:43 PM

March 13, 2008

This Week's Line

This Week's Gubernatorial Misstep
Aw, c'mon everyone else got to play, why not me? The fall of uber goody-goody New York Governor Eliot Spitzer came as a shock. And, really, he must've been a hell of a goody-goody for people to be shocked when a politican is caught participating in, shall we say, extracurricular activites. But, hey, at least Democrats do it in the vagina. (Well, if you don't count "Gay American" Jim McGreevy, who we still joke about dressing up as Evita Peron while the masses intone "McGrEEVY! McGrEEVY!" beneath his balcony. "Mis demicasados! Mis Newarkiriquenos!")
So, let's cut right to the sordid. Many talked of the governor--or "Client Number 9," if you like to pretend the whorehouse was on the same island as The Prisoner--being into things that "weren't safe. I know the immediate thought is "barebacking," but i, being me, decided it was blood drinking. Think about it: With that bald head, those beady eyes and those pointy ears, i betcha Spitzer gets himself up in some Nosferatu drag and gets stone cold freaky.
Now, to the lady in question, "Kristin" aka Ashley (But she already had a hooker name!) Yeomans or Dupre or Dupree or St. Ives or whatever her name is. Of course, there are women who pity her as a more downtrodden victim of male exploitation, a poor aspiring singer forced into the world's oldest profession. One columnist even had the unmitigated gall to compare her to Marilyn Monroe. And let me tell you, a hooker who lives in an $5,000 a month apartment likes--okay, not likes, has done the math and has accepted--her job. She is not working the bare minimum to get by because she hates sucking married dick. She's not living with roomates in a crappy apartment so she can save up enough money to quit faking orgasm while some asshole sweats all over her. Nu-uh. No way. I ain't buyin'. This broad is lining up her reality show auditions right now. I don't care if she's a fellow female and i must stand by her. Hell, no! I don't see man/woman, i see people and people are venal, decietful, greedy. and corrupt.
Not that i'm letting Spitzer off the hook--note those words "deceitful" and "corrupt" in the above paragraph. Still, whenever stuff like this happens, i fantasize about the civil servant in question going stone cold unhinged during the press conference. Think of it. What if he had stood up there--without his wife, who should be in the Bahamas having a massage and a margarita right now anyway--and just gone off.
"I have no excuse! I make no apology! I'm the governor and I deserve to get laid!"
Maybe if he even went all pro-New York State on it: "New York has the best pussy in the world! No matter where I am, I gotta have New York tail and only New York tail ! Ask Mick Jagger! He used to have that shit flown to France twice a week back in the 70's! George Clooney has to stay off the Eastern Seaboard or he can't control himself! Are you kidding me?! Empire State trim is easily worth a grand an hour!"
Of course the problem with this argument is that she's from New Jersey. When i was younger, if you fucked someone from Jersey, we made fun of you for getting bridge n' tunnel ass.

This Week's Totally Awesome Video
Remember Coolio? With the braids? Well, he's back and in a way i actually approve of: As star of his own internet cooking show, Cookin' With Coolio. Calling himself the "Ghetto Witchdoctor Superstar Chef," Coolio kidnaps fratboys to teach them how to cook. He pours his salt and oregano out of dime bags. He comes up with a spinach recipe that will get your kids to eat their greens. He has busty but not particularly attractive women standing around and occasionally handing him ingredients. He shouts "Shaka Zulu!" at random for no apparent reason. And, most importantly, he'll "show you how to make a salad that'll get them panties off."

This Week's Quote
"When you fuck with the ape, be ready to go the whole route."--Robert Mitchum

This Week's Attainment of Inner Peace
Well, for many years, it has been my desire to have a library. A place with Gothic wood carving and little spiral staircases and leather armchairs and one of those bars that's in a big globe and shelves and shelves of morocco bindings. While i still have yet to acquire that, i do at last have this room in Las Vegas with blue taffeta drapes and my great-grandfather's drop-leaf desk and my grandfather's globe that still has the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on it. the desk has little pigeonhole envelope slots and drawers i have filled with checkbooks, fireworks, pencils and every greeting card i've gotten for the last seven months, the best desk of all possible desks. I have white walls and blue chairs i have reupholstered in my most punk rock Martha Stewart fashion. The window offers a view of a balcony with a disused weight bench that is occasionally surrounded by chirping toddlers with heads of dark curls and quizzical faces putter around looking for some long-lost toy. But mostly i have bookshelves full of books. I sit and gaze at their alphabetized spines and feel good about them and, by association, me. I sit and contemplate how the shelf that is made up almost entirely of Fitzgerald and Nabokov is likewise almost entirely made up of blues and green and greys in a field of red and orange and white (the most popular book jacket colors) andf it makes me happy. Small happy is the best kind anyway.

Posted by lissa at 03:18 AM

March 04, 2008

This Week's Line

This Week's Awesome Shopping Experience
So Rite-Aid is closing all of their stores in Las Vegas. So everything's on sale. So i've been stopping in on a pretty regular basis to see what i can get at a 10-60% discount, which is mostly booze and beauty products. Thus, my $12 fancy iPod case (it's a little padded metal box, just like you'd use to carry a bomb or $1,000,000 in unmarked bills), my $10 bottle of Southern Comfort, my stack of $1 tubs of moisturizer, my pile of ten-cent greeting cards. I am telling you: A store where both the body butter and brown liquor are on super sale is like paradise to me. I could fill up my blue plastic basket all day (pixie tangerine foot scrub, six-pack of Pacifico), wandering the half-empty aisles, a vacant little smile of bewilderment and satisfaction on my face. And it is kind of a relief to know that i won't have to buy toothpaste, tampons, soap or shampoo for a very, very long time.

This Week's Creepy Event
The Palm Mortuary is a chain of large death-processing plants in the Las Vegas area. And, boy, do they like to celebrate. For each holiday, The Palm hosts a "non-denominational" service and somehow this seems weird to me. Like the upcoming Easter Sunrise Service. I always kinda felt like visiting the graves of your loved ones should be a private experience. But here hundreds of people get together in a graveyard to have some kind of mass semi-religious gathering. Really, think about it: What are these people hoping will happen? That the dead will come back to life just like Jesus? Or maybe not quite like Jesus and they want to make sure it's their loved ones that eat their brains? (Hey, we may be undead, but at least we're still together!) And they're these giant creepy corporate monolithic places where you know in another 60 years, they'll start digging people us, mass grave-ing them and re-selling the plots. Corporate, I tell you. They don't make cemeteries like they used to.
Of course, like every time i see something like this, i have delightful visions of dressing up in head-to-toe black leather, firing up a giant black motorcycle and tearing around shooting great clouds of red smoke and blasting AC/DC. I have the same reveries when they do the "Gift of Lights" at Sunset Park at Christmastime, and i just want to plough through in a tank running over 15-foot candy canes, dragging the remains of giant electric gingerbread houses. (According to my new used palmistry book, I have the rare "killer's thumb," where your thumbs naturally point out and turn away from the rest of the hand. Well, i always knew there was something essentially wrong with me.) I guess something about it just sets of my tacky (and not good tacky) meter. What could be tackier? The Palm Mortuary's 9/11 service.

This Week's Taste Sensation
Not just this week, but every week, if you asked me what my favorite kind of food is, i might well say "condiments." Why? Because they make everything taste better. Eating without condiments is like writing without adjectives (well, maybe adverbs). So, with nothing especially luminous on the horizon, I give you my top ten condiments!
Trader Joe's Peach Salsa: I love pretty much anything peach-flavored. This is best consumed on chicken, pork, plantain chips and lime-flavored Tostitos.
Red Onion Confit: It's sort of like a relish and sort of like a chutney. Good with a steak you've melted a little blue cheese on top of, or with Brie on a cracker.
Marie's Blue Cheese Vinagrette Dressing: Best salad dressing ever. Try it on spinach with dried cherries and slivered almonds, but it works on pretty much anything, including bare lettuce.
Peter Luger Steak Sauce: I love Peter Luger. I used to live near there in Williamsburg back before it became a college town, back when it was still a 10 block-square crack den. But Peter Luger is a 120-year-old steak house staffed by surly old guys--no menus, just "Steak for one, steak for two or steak for four?" the steaks are aged and flawless (and, need I say, expensive as all hell) and normally it would be a crime to put anything on them, but a drop or two of this sauce does it just right. It also goes on the salads, the potatoes and whtever else. Speaking of condiments, Peter Luger's is also big on "schlag," a kind of Swiss ultra-heavy whipped cream. That goes on pie, ice cream, cake and coffee. Everything "mit schlag," as Marlene Dietrich used to say.
Pickapepper Sauce: Basically, it's kind of like Jamaican steak sauce--made with tomatoes, mangos, peppers, it's got a dark, stout-like taste, but also an edge of fruitiness.
Sweet Thai Chili Sauce: Another one that's like a universal solvent (or adornment). I don't mean the regular red chili sauce in the bottle with the rooster on it, but specifically the "sweet" variety, which has a lighter color and more jelly-like consistency. Also, this is a key component of my Best Scrambled Eggs Ever, which is made as follows: Mix eggs thoroughly with a spoonful or two of milk, as well as dashes of garlic powder, black pepper and white pepper. Scramble in pan and, when partly set, add about 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese. Serve with abundant amounts of sweet Thai chili sauce.
Torito's Cilantro-Pepita Caesar Salad Dressing: You can put it on salads, tacos, chicken wings, burritos, cheeseburgers, tortilla chips, pretty much anything. It's like ranch dressing, but Mexican.
Vidalia Sweet Onion Relish: It's also excellent when combined with the condiment below, especially on hot dogs. A curry catsup and sweet onion relish hot dog is bettered only by the bacon chili cheese dog, and that is saying a lot.
H&P Indian Curry: It used to be called "Curry Catsup," then they changed it and i was terrified those bastids over the HP had pulled it, but they just renamed it. This goes on anything, but especially fries. Especially sweet potato fries. Also satay, spring rolls, fish n' chips, barbecue and burgers.
Ketchup: What can i say? I've been a fan since i was a tiny child, when people marveled at my ability to douse everything in red goo. When i was eight, i once caused great uproar and consternation when i asked for catsup at Brennan's restaurant in New Orleans. They were horrified and apparently the chef refused until told it was for a child, at which point a waiter bought it in a little glass dish "for Mademoiselle." Fer chrissakes, it wasn't like i was putting it on filet mignon: I was having scrambled eggs! But, yes, still ketchup on everything. Preferably Heinz: Hunt's is too sweet and generic is just ghastly. One must have standards when it comes to these things.

This Week's Religiopolitical Observation
We could be forgiven for sometimes thinking out national government is run by Evangelical/Born Again whackjobs. But, the more i think of it, i realize that what those assholes are, are Calvinists. Particularly heavy on the predestination. The idea that God has selected us before birth to be damned or saved would naturally appeal to a bunch of entitled children of wealth. After all, you can easily tell the damned fom the saved because all the damned people are poor and have nothing and the saved people get all the money, the power and the women, as Tony Montana would say. I'm not sure where it is that Jesus said "the rich should get richer and the poor should get royally screwed." I mean, i'm not familiar with the Bible (Oscar Wilde's Salome, yes. DeMille's Samson and Delilah, yes. Monty Python's Life of Brian, of course. Last Temptation of Christ, totally, several times, but not The Passion because i think making a snuff film starring Jesus is just plain wrong. It's kind of sad when i feel like i respect Mel Gibson's god more than he does.) but i'm pretty sure that was not part of his dialogue. However, it totally backs the Calvinist predestination philosophy. Yes, poor people should be tricked out of their homes for the benefit of Wall Street financiers: God wants them to have the money because they're better human beings. Poor people are wicked sinners who don't deserve houses. Of course the lower classes should pay taxes and the rich should get tax breaks: That's just the government carrying out the Lord's work of reassignning all earthly wealth to the chosen people. And we all know George Bush thinks he's Christ anyway.

This Week's Quote
"When I needed your faith, you withheld it. Now that I don't want it and don't need it, you give it to me."--Marlene Dietrich, Shanghai Express

Posted by lissa at 08:49 PM