Posts Tagged: tributes

In Praise of Broads

Like a lot of theater fans, I've been mourning the death of brassy Broadway legend Elaine Stritch. It means there’s one less fabulous, foul-mouthed, talented, gin-swilling broad on this earth. "You can't be funny unless you're tragic,” Strich once said, “and you can't be tragic unless you're funny." It’s a perfect piece of Broad Philosophy: an earthy, basic understanding of life’s ups and downs, and knowing that the only way to cope is to laugh.

I suddenly realized that nobody uses the word “broad” much anymore (save for the broads of Broad City, of course). The origins of this word are hazy, too. Some claim it refers to women’s hips [...]


Dreaming With Shirley Temple

The golden child is gone, and I sincerely wasn’t expecting to feel so unsettled by it.

Shirley Temple’s smile illuminated the gloom of the 1930s. But once released, that light was refracted into the future in a million little memories and stories, forming a kind of gloaming that extended across my childhood. Which is to say that when I was a little girl I looked like Shirley Temple, and I was informed of the resemblance constantly.

I was born with wild curly hair that was bright blonde until it darkened in adolescence. It grew, and grows, in a haphazard tangle all over my head. Just about every time [...]


10 Years, Actually

Ten years ago this week, A.O. Scott reviewed Love Actually in the New York Times:

The film's governing idea of love is both shallow and dishonest, and its sweet, chipper demeanor masks a sour cynicism about human emotions that is all the more sleazy for remaining unacknowledged. It has the calloused, leering soul of an early-60's rat-pack comedy, but without the suave, seductive bravado. The worst kind of cad is the one who thinks he's really a sensitive guy deep down.

Nice try, Mr. Scott, but Love Actually is a movie overflowing with so much joy that what bubbles over shields it from all criticisms. Rowan Atkinson [...]


Wisdom Shoes: Sex and the City Is 15

Sex and the City, the seminal Darren Star-Michael Patrick King series about New Millenium Womanhood, turns 15 today. To celebrate, we’ve unearthed a long-lost, unfinished draft penned by its sex columnist star, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker).

They say with age comes wisdom—that as we get older, we are wiser. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about age and wisdom, and about what it means to be wise. Are we wiser because we are older, or is wisdom an ageless beauty? Because when I think about my friends, I don’t think about them being older, just more assured and more fabulous.

Wisdom, I think, is like trying to [...]


A Character Study of the Trainwreck

We’ve all had our hot mess moments. Hurdling off the tracks of life is just part of navigating your existential railway system. We’ve all felt lost, emotionally stranded, and buried our heads in bar bathroom toilets after a night of overzealous imbibing. We’ve all had moments of introspection where the truth has revealed itself to us. Gazing at your eyeliner-smeared aspect, you admit through maniacal laughter— “I’m a trainwreck.”

So there’s no surprise that the TV and film postergirl of the zeitgeist mimics these themes in our pop cultural collective unconscious. Welcome to the 21st century: the age of the trainwreck. Television and movies are currently ruled by this character [...]


Blue Cup: An Ode to My Plastic Tumbler

Hey, Blue Cup. How've you been. Yeah, this cupboard sucks. I know. Sorry. I’m taking you out to get a good look at you because, I admit, it’s been a while. Hmm. That’s not your best side. You’re fading a bit, yeah? I want to say you’re that Devil Wears Prada color—cerulean—but you’re actually reminding me of the color of the floor tiles in the shower of my high school gym. A color used only in public schools and prisons.

And you’re feeling rough to the touch. I can trace each dent and scratch on your surface. You dent and scratch easily. What? OK. It’s partly my fault. I know, [...]


When Mimi Got Old

Mimi was the kind of grandma who always said the current year was her last. "72! I never thought I'd make it to 72.  I won't be around for 73, but boy, it sure is great to be 72." The “boy” in that sentence isn't affectation. That’s actually how she talked.  Her husband, my papa, died two days after my third Christmas. I don’t remember anything about him.

I remember her 80th birthday party at the St. Louis Club. I remember her dancing to Maria Muldaur.

I don’t remember the last words I said to her before she was admitted.

It was late October, the first day of a week-long [...]


Selena, 'Selena,' and "Selenas"

Selena Quintanilla Perez was murdered on this day in 1995. 

If you lived in Texas in the 90s, as I did, you knew who Selena was even if you didn't listen to her music. Your or your friends hung posters of her band on their walls, wore shirts with a white rose on the back, and visited her memorial if you happened to be in Corpus Christi. Whether you understood Spanish or not, you sang along with her music on the radio because the lyrics were as familiar as any other big song from a Texas recording artist. You knew who Selena was because her music seemed to have infiltrated [...]


A Requiem for Molly, The "Archived" American Girl Doll

I’m not, strictly speaking, a Molly. I had a Samantha and a Kirsten, and both of them spoke volumes about who I wanted to be (privileged, so well dressed, urban) and who I was (Scandinavian, solidly built, rural). Chiara Atik has already written the definitive statement on what your doll says about you, and I don’t disagree with her assessment of Molly-owners:

If you had Molly, you probably wanted Samantha instead, but contented yourself with Molly because you too wore glasses, liked books, were bad at math, and would concoct various schemes to get attention. (Oh, Molly.) If you were a Molly, and had a Molly (as opposed [...]


An Open Letter of Resignation From Sideboob

I recently met with Sideboob about the current state of its career. Looking a little melancholy, Sideboob simply said, "I can't do this anymore," and asked me to relay this announcement to the public.

From the desk of Sideboob


Dear Media, Internet, and connoisseurs of famous breasts,

I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as "a thing," effective immediately.

In these fast-paced times, the exposed side of a woman's breast no longer causes the excitement of spotting a unicorn or a dog riding a scooter. Now it's more like seeing a regular horse or a frozen yogurt [...]