Thursday, April 23, 2015
This is an inscription I have in a book from John Hodgman. I was not actually there to get it, I was busy farming in New Zealand (as the inscription hints). While I was there, my now husband/then "it's complicated" went to a book signing, where he was apparently very nice and spent a long time talking to everyone who went up and got their books signed.
My man told Hodgman the second copy was for me, that I was busy farming and fiNdinG mYseLF across the world, but that I was an aspiring writer and maybe he could write some advice for me. I got "Give Up + Farm," which is perfect, Hodgman-y advice, but I didn't take it and now I have two book deals so the moral of the story is don't ever let anyone tell you you can't follow your dreams fuck you John Hodgman you don't know me!!!
(I would very much like to know you John Hodgman, you seem like a cool dude. And this has actually been fantastic advice because even at our most successful we should all remember to give up and farm once in a while.)
Tommy Wiseau and his cult-classic film The Room are two of the greatest mysteries of the entertainment industry. Since its release in 2003, traditions have formed around midnight screenings of The Room that are similar to those that surround The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Most notably, at each viewing, fans come dressed as their favorite character, bring along with them an arsenal of shoutouts, and engage in various act-outs such as throwing spoons at the screen. Wiseau and his origins are the subject of great debate, to such an extent that co-star Greg Sestero and journalist Tom Bissell teamed up in 2013 to publish the widely acclaimed book The Disaster Artist, which documents the development of Wiseau’s enigmatic six-million dollar film and posits some theories with regards to Wiseau’s history. Fans can look forward to the film adaptation of this book by Seth Rogen's production company, Point Grey Pictures, with none other than James Franco portraying Wiseau.
More recently, Wiseau has been developing his new sitcom, The Neighbors. The series is available on Hulu, and follows the mishaps of various tenants in an apartment complex. Wiseau portrays two of the show’s characters: Charlie, the protagonist and ‘manager’ of the complex, and Ricky Rick, the show’s main antagonist. The other characters in the series range from a woman who spends much of her time screaming and running around the apartment with a live chicken, a stoner, women in bikinis, a muscular repair man, a basketball-loving youth who rarely makes good on his debts, and countless others that could only be born from the mind of Tommy Wiseau.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to Wiseau about the significance of some of the elements of his series, his expectations, and the questions that he wishes people would stop asking. Wiseau promised to award me with medals for my final two questions. READ MORE
Elisha Lim has a lot to say. The graphic artist, illustrator, and filmmaker has spent years telling stories of queer and trans people of color through pin-up calendars, comics, short Claymation films, and writing. In their new anthology, 100 Crushes, Lim explores the complexities of queer life, from monogamy to buying a suit to changing their preferred pronoun to “they.” 100 Crushes has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, which celebrates the year in LGBT literature.
Lim is an artist and an activist, and much of their work is in pursuit of increased visibility for queer people of color who are relegated to the margins of mainstream and activist circles. Their artistic work deals with racism, mixed-race identity, gender performance, and queerness. Lim has held film screenings in North America and Europe, curated art shows in Toronto and Montreal, and shown work across the U.S. and Canada. In 2013, they were named Best Emerging Director by Toronto’s Inside Out Film Festival for their short film They.
In 100 Crushes, Lim speaks to their specific experiences, as well as the universal sigh of relief that comes when you find your place and your people. In The Illustrated Gentleman we see them go shopping with their queer friends; Sissy pays homage to the “sissies and the femmes that inspire us,” a set of profiles in which Lim brings the voices of queer and trans people of color into conversation with one another and the reader.
At the same time, many of their comics are about the joys and struggles of everyday life: seeing a sexy construction worker on the street in Spain, reflecting on the influence of 1980s television in their sexual awakening, and realizing they might be a jealous person after all.
I spoke to Lim about their book, their favorite feelings, and how to navigate a constantly evolving queer community. READ MORE
Is the House half Full, or is it a House half Empty? Some surprisingly philosophical questions about the Full House spinoff.
Well now I'm looking forward to living in America during an election year.
We've already addressed Black Honey, but what happened to all the other makeup in our (my) makeup kits in the late 90s?
DuWop Lip Venom: Still under all my other lipstick in my makeup bag, and still effective! Somebody needs to remind the teens DuWop still makes this before the shot glasses ruin their faces. They should also probably know that it's fun to prank your boyfriend by giving him a blowjob while wearing it.
Gap Dream solid scent: I used the last of the solid scent around 1998, before moving on to a Demeter scent (Madeline), and then, Clinique Happy.
Bonne Bell Flip Shades: Definitely a precursor to being that girl who carried a Zippo everywhere even though she didn't smoke.
We tend to hold the people of whom we are fans to the same moral standards we hold friends, often expecting them to echo our politics or sensibilities in the same way that their art, whatever it may be, speaks to us. By definition, fame requires those on the outside looking in to rely on imagination to prop up celebrity narratives; the public's glimpses into the lives and personalities of the famous are so mediated that though we think we know, we have no idea. Fame encourages us to fill in the blank spaces around these people with what we want to see, with what reaffirms our pre-existing assumptions. It's no surprise, then, that when it comes to art we like, and to the artists who make it, we expect to see reflections of ourselves in them, even on the simplest of levels.
Ultimately, I'm fairly confident Björk is not a hateful person. But, as a longtime fan, it's the privilege that empowers her to prioritize her commentary about sound over the lives of black people, past and present, that stings most.
Rawiya Kameir on Björk is your afternoon required reading.
In the earliest days of pregnancy, the easiest thing to focus on, when you know nothing of parenting or babies or life after giving birth, is what you will name the baby. Josh and I didn’t so much “focus” on it as we glossed over it, around it, and through it, nightly, as we gathered ourselves onto the couch with Penny, our dog. “How did we name Penny?” Josh asked one of those early, first trimester nights. “You named her,” he added. “Yes,” I agreed, always happy to take credit for anything good we have done. “Well,” I continued, “I remember looking at her, after she fell off the couch, talking about the spot on her head, and it was really copper, and I thought, ‘Oh! Like a Penny!’”
A few days after naming Penny, I emailed my cousin a photo of her. “She looks JUST like our dog Penny!” she said. My heart sank. There was, in fact, another Penny. Inspector Gadget had a Penny. I knew a Penny in grade school. The TV show Lost had a Penny. The world was, in fact, lousy with Pennys. “I’m not so original, maybe!” I thought. But Penny grew into her name until, she was the only Penny I know. She inhabits the Penny name better than any Penny, before or after.
So, when I thought of naming my child, I took Penny as an example of “good naming.” I would name my child as I had named my Chihuahua: a good, strong name, not very common but not so obscure that it stuck out. And, for whatever reason, I operated, in the earliest days of my pregnancy, under the false assumption that my baby was a boy; I considered the possibility that it would be a girl, but discarded it because naming a girl seemed like a chore. Our son’s name would be Max. It was the only obvious and pleasing choice. READ MORE
My son Kunal is biracial. Multiethnic might be more accurate—he is part white American from my husband Kris, part Indian from me. When he was born the first thing I said was, through the grin that had spread across my face, Wow, he’s really white. I was being funny, but no one in the operating room laughed. Maybe there was something in my voice that said to them that I wasn’t joking, at least not entirely.
Throughout my pregnancy, I had been worried about Kunal not looking like me. I would look at white teenagers hanging out in the ice-cream shops where I live, and think—what if he ends up looking like that, or liking a girl (or a boy) who looks like that? Would I see myself in him? Would he see himself in me? Out loud, to friends, I’d say, “I hope the baby gets all of Kris’ genes!” And that wasn’t a complete lie; Kris has good genes. But I worried that people wouldn’t know immediately, without a doubt, that my son was mine, that they would scan the crowd to find the parent of the crazy kid running in the park and look right past me. Sometimes that fear crawled into my throat and closed it up. READ MORE
Coming To America was on ABC Family last night, and I don't know about you, but for me that movie is a movie I have to stop everything to watch. I don't care what my other plans were, if Coming To America is on, that's what's happening. I regularly imagine which friends of mine fit in which roles. My husband is definitely the old Jewish guy in the barber shop. I aspire to be a Lisa but in reality I'm Elaine Kagan.
Here are a few other thoughts I have on Coming To America:
1. "Soul Glo" is the catchiest song ever written.
2. If they live in Queens how did they get to the Brooklyn Bridge promenade so quickly for dinner?
3. From the looks of the palace, Zamunda is actually in South Beach.
4. I need to see the Tamil language version of this movie.
5. When Eddie Murphy says "I'm not interested in Darryl either" my clit explodes.
OK now it's your turn.