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 March 30, 2008 03:43 PM