Friday, January 23, 2015
This was a pretty snazzy week at Ye Olde Hairpinne: we interviewed Aisha Franz, brilliantly recast Working Girl, fainted while posing nude, protected ourselves from some fashion don'ts, experimented with some placenta (or 'centa, if you're cool), asked Baba Yaga, took a surprisingly difficult quiz, considered five moments in the life of a black mother, got to midsummer, and discovered that Drake is totally a Charlotte.
What'd you do this week??? I put placenta in my hair (you know this) and Haley dropped half a pizza facedown on the floor. She ended up firing herself. So long, Haley.
Meanwhile, across town: Scaachi Koul on Naheed Nehisi, Arabelle Sicardi on queer beauty, hair goddess Jenna Wortham on hair goddess Tracee Ellis Ross, Kelli Korducki on manspreading, Laia Garcia on fashion dicks, Monica Heisey on how an abortion should be, and Marie Lodi on snacks of the zodiac.
Don't be like this broad; make ALL THE TIME for sleep this weekend, and we'll see you back here Monday morning.
I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn't love clothes. As a teenager, I sought out fashion wherever I could: collections, editorials, movies. I poured over fashion magazines and blogged about what clothing meant to me until I started writing about fashion for websites as an actual job. But like many other women writers I know, I’ve tip-toed at the gate of certain realms of writing because I just couldn’t think I could do it. I only wrote about clothes; my voice wasn’t right; I was, well, a girl. The truth is, I don’t think I would have known I could write about anything until I saw a woman doing the same. And while writers such as Ellen Willis, Linda Nochlin, Pauline Kael opened doors for me as a writer, their careers would have been significantly different without the work of the late film critic Cecelia Ager.
A month or so ago I was reminded of Cecelia Ager. I was making notes for an essay on women in film and racking my brain for critics I liked; writers who searched with craned necks for multi-faceted women on screen. I thought about what it was like to be a teenager obsessed with fashion but possessing a wandering eye for writing about film and culture, writing that seemed just out of reach because of these invisible lines I thought were drawn between fashion and art.
Ager was a fashion writer who transcended her beat. Born Cecelia Mayer 113 years ago today, Mayer would go on to marry the songwriter Milton Ager of “I’m Nobody’s Baby” fame. She enjoyed a fairly significant freelance fashion writing career, chronicling what celebrities wore for publications like the New York Times and Harper’s Bazaar. But it wasn’t until 1933 that Ager landed her first real film criticism gig, after pressing publisher Sime Silverman at a party to include a woman’s voice in the pages of Variety. When I heard this story I thought about all the women I know today who falter when it comes to pitching, the writers who have trouble selling their voices in professional settings against established male writers. To know Ager was so ballsy, so aggressively hungry, in the year Nineteen Thirty-Fucking-Three makes me want to step up my game currently. READ MORE
There are a few observations critics almost always make about Simon Rich: how young he is, how much younger he looks, and how much he’s accomplished regardless. The next move usually is to list his accolades: when Rich graduated from Harvard (having served as president of the Harvard Lampoon) he already had a two-book deal from Random House as well as an offer to be the then-youngest writer on Saturday Night Live. After four years working at SNL, Rich spent the next two at Pixar. During this period, he published a total six books — the most recent a short story collection, Spoiled Brats, that features an alternate history narrative in which Herschel Rich is preserved in a pickle vat long enough to meet his great-great-grandson “Simon Rich.” Herschel is a little miffed to learn that his legacy has resulted in no medical doctors, but only a (to be fair to Herschel) misleading termed “script doctor.” More and more, you see Rich explore the trajectories that lead him to where he currently is — a 30 year-old writer with a resume so astonishing that he’s frequently been accused of nepotism (his father is notable theater critic Frank Rich). But one glance at his work and it should be clear to even the worst cynics: Rich’s talent and, moreover, sheer work ethic is undeniable.
These days, Rich is focused on his new comedy series, Man Seeking Woman (loosely based on Rich’s 2013 collection The Last Girlfriend On Earth), which premiered last week on FXX. Among its creative team are individuals such as Lorne Michaels, Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia), Ben Berman (Jon Benjamin has A Van), Tim Kirkby (Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle), and writers Sofia Alvarex, Dan Mirk, Ian Maxtone-Graham, and Robert Padnick. In many ways, serial television comedy seems almost a perfect medium for Rich’s approach to narrative, where loosely related premises are collected under the arc of a shared theme. In this case the theme is — what else — love in your 20s.
I spoke to Rich over the phone last week, during which he was visiting Los Angeles where he was promoting Man Seeking Woman while also — what else — hard at work. READ MORE
1. “The game ain’t always fair and that’s the thing though. You can play your heart out, everybody don’t get a ring though."
2. "The universe may not always play fair, but at least it’s got a hell of a sense of humor.”
3. "I love em all, I just love me more."
4. "I love you...but I love me more."
5. "I'm the type to have a bullet-proof condom and still gotta pull out." READ MORE
My favorite line in this National Geographic piece about how slow-moving cone snails kill fish by trapping them in a cloud of insulin, putting them in a sugar coma, and then consuming them, is this:
"It looks like the fish is completely narced," says Christopher Meyer, a cone snail specialist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, who wasn't involved in the study.
(If you click the word "narced" in the piece, it links you to the yourdictionary.com definition)
I like to think that Christopher Meyer has been biding his time since the seventies for the moment when slow-moving cone snails made the news so that he could give his prepared quote to the media using what was then the coolest slang, and now that moment has arrived. I predict 2015 will be the year that the word "narc" and slow-moving cone snails will be cool.
Abercrombie & Fitch went public in 1996. It had about 125 stores, sales of $335 million, and profits of almost $25 million. Jeffries wrote a 29-page “Look Book” for the sales staff. Women weren’t allowed to wear makeup or colored nail polish. Most jewelry was forbidden. So were tattoos. Hair had to be natural and preferably long. Men couldn’t have beards or mustaches. The only greeting allowed was: “Hey, what’s going on?” Store managers spent one day a week at their local college campus recruiting kids with the right look. They started with the fraternities, sororities, and sports teams. Managers forwarded photos of potential employees to headquarters for approval...
...In 1997, Jeffries started the A&F Quarterly, a magazine and catalog that sold for $6. Sales staff went on casting calls for the shoots with photographer Bruce Weber. Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, and Channing Tatum modeled. There were guides to group sex, getting it on in movie theaters, and drinking games. Abercrombie eventually agreed to check the age of potential buyers. When Jeffries shut down the magazine in 2003, he said it was because it was getting boring.
Alisa Durando joined the company in 1996 as a designer. “We could influence Mike about product but not marketing,” she says. “He was phenomenal. He was always creating the movie, the lifestyle story he wanted to project.”
Jeffries’s home looked like an Abercrombie store, with dark wood floors and arty skin pictures. Male models helped out around the house. Jeffries and Smith hosted parties for executives at bonus time or to celebrate a good quarter. Mostly, though, Jeffries worked. He once conducted an earnings call while he was recovering from plastic surgery, his voice hoarse, according to a former executive and an analyst on the call. He would return to work with his face still swollen from a procedure, former executives say. When he traveled, he sent an advance team to make sure his car and hotel looked and smelled the way he wanted. On West Coast trips, he’d call meetings in his hotel room at 5 a.m. Models in Abercrombie outfits were there serving coffee.
*a single tear falls from my eye as I solemnly start singing the Canadian national anthem.
butterflies with translucent orange wings
make kissy faces at my half liquid turd
the only reason I shat in the grass
is because I feel combative and entitled
I would seek romance at every turn
but I’m too entitled READ MORE
1. At library storytime, the white librarian comes up to you and says that she has the best picture of your son making a craft, and, excited, you ask her to show you. So the white librarian flips through her iPad and then finally, triumphantly, shows you a picture of the only other black boy who has ever been to storytime who looks nothing like your son, who is two years older than your son. And you realize that, to this white educator, all black boys look alike—are to be equally, interchangeably, dismissed in the classroom—and you suddenly understand that the preschool to prison pipeline is very real and just how many black boys in prison are there because they have been falsely accused, misidentified as someone else. READ MORE
a) "I’m taking my gloves off now, which could be a sign of danger."
b) "Words are just words. But to some people, they’re not just words. When they’re very fundamentalist, and whether it be Christian or Islamic or whatever it is, some people can not take jokes."
c) "I really wanted to flip my entire world upside down, have heaven upside down instead of hell. I just wanted to change things completely."
d) "I just pack a fucking can of whoop-ass with me in my pocket at all times. And it’s simple. You tap the cobra, you’re gonna get the fangs. You kiss the cobra, you get the venom. That can be sexual, however you want to take that. But I don’t fuck around. When people mess with anything that I care about, then I get pissed off. And I’m not someone you want to piss off, because I’ve got friends that are in really low places. Not saying Hells Angels, not saying MS-13 gang, not saying any of those…but I’m not somebody you fuck with. "
e) "A switchblade makes any panties crotchless. That’s Victoria’s real secret."
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"More like KardashiCAN'T. You are pathetic. You try to destroy me and then lie about it to my face. Well, Kim, if you like your game so much, why don't you play it...FOREVER."
"What do you mean?" Kim said "I actually do already play it every day. If you add me on GameCenter there's a special limited edition dress coming out that I can send you. It costs like 150 K-Stars."
"Stick your K-Stars up your ass, Kim, you're going to need them. I'm sending you to live inside the world of your game. You'll just be another anonymous E-list celebrity with no money and no brand, for all of eternity. Enjoy!"
Kevin Fanning wrote a fan-fic about Paris Hilton cursing Kim Kardashian to live inside her own video game where she is a witch who casts emoji-based spells. Today he posts the final chapters. Cancel all your meetings.
Towards the end of the record, there is a Buddhist sentiment about the obstacle being the path. You sing, "Don’t remove my pain, it’s my chance to heal." That’s how we figure things out, isn’t it? That the only way out is through, that having things be easier is not helpful in the long run.
When I say that, it might come across that I’m incredibly wise. But it’s the other way around. I’m fucked and I’m trying to talk myself into it, like, "Go, girl! You can do it!" It’s me advising myself. It’s not me knowing it all—not at all. It’s just a certain route you just have to go; I went through it.
It’s really hard for me to talk about it. It really is in the lyrics. I’ve never really done lyrics like this, because they’re so teenage, so simple. I wrote them really quickly. But I also spent a long time on them to get them just right. It’s so hard to talk about the subject matter; it’s impossible—I’m sorry. [tears up] There’s so many songs about [heartbreak] that exist this in the world, because music is somehow the perfect medium to express something like this. When I did the interviews about Biophilia, I could talk for four hours about tech and education and science and instruments and pendulums—all the things we did. This one, I couldn’t put any of that stuff on top of it, because it has to be what it is. And I can’t talk about it. It’s not that I don’t want to, I’m not trying to be difficult. It really is all in there. [chokes up]
Jessica Hopper spoke to Björk about her new album, Vulnicura, and the brief excerpt online is incredible. Björk is so open and generous and sad and smart and just kdjfaksdjf I can't the whole thing is too wonderful just go read it right now.