Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Ain't One To Gossip, But..................

Poor NBC--which stands for No Body Cares.
Apparently profits at the Peacock fell 30% in the fourth quarter of Aught-Nine due to disappointing DVD sales, dismal movie releases, securing rights to NFL programing, and, something the spinmeisters at No Body Cares are calling "new programming investments."
That's network-speak for Jay Leno.
MSNBC.....Mighty Sorry No Body Cares.

Domestic diva, and jailbird, Martha Stewart, apparently wants a new gig. You know, something to do between her TV shows, her commercials for Macy's, her K-0Mart products, her books and magazines, toting that barge, lifting that bail.
Martha, and I'm hoping this is a joke, wants to be the new judge on American Idol.
Will the contestants have to sing-and-sew? Rap-and-bake? Croon-and-garden?
Okay, I'll stop.
Martha Stewart, when asked why she thought she would be A Good Thing for American Idol, said she would be "fair."
I don't like my Martha fair, I want my Martha bitchy.

That Oprah knows how to jump on a hot story.
Last week she had Adam Lambert on to discuss his X-rated--or so some say--performance at the AMA's.
This week she had Rosie O'Donnell on to discuss, among other things, her time on The View--a show she left YEARS ago--and the break-up of her marriage--which happened two years ago!
Now, ever on the cusp of cutting edge, current events, Oprah will be stepping away from the Craft Services table long enough to be packaged and shipped out to Hollywood to talk with The Chin, Jay Leno, about all this Tonight Show nonsense.
Which was settled weeks ago!
Way to stay current Oprah.
Hey Oprah, did you hear?
Some folks snuck into a White House dinner.
Ted Kennedy passed away.
My Mother The Car was cancelled.
Your show is over.

Apparently, teenage abstinence proponent, and unwed mother, Bristol Palin is after child support from her babydaddy Levi Johnston.
But here's the rub--and not the kind of rub that got Bristol to where she is today: Levi offered her support but she said No.
See, Levi wanted Bristol to come to his place to get the money, and to bring baby Tripp, so they could spend some time together, but Bristol never showed.
Maybe she was telling kids never ever to have sex because its bad and wrong and her mama don't like it.

All these guys using performance enhancing drugs. Big arms. Big legs. comes word that Michael Douglas is using them, too.
Oh, not to hit a ball farther....not to run faster....but to keep his bat stiffer. Longer.
Michael Douglas--now pushing eighty........I kid! Or do I?....has admitted to using, ahem, performance enhancing drugs, namely Viagra, to satisfy his wife, the MUCH younger Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Seems that even with a hot-to-trot missus around the geriatric ward, Mikey needed a little encouragement of the medical kind to keep up with her.
Catherine--forty years old........still--likes a good roll in the orthopedic bed every now and again, and so she was only to happy to wheel Grampa to the doc for some Quicker Picker Uppers.

It Could Happen

Welcome..... Dyl, from across the pond, owner and author of Gecko Echo. Dyl describes himself a "friendly, strongly anti-censorship, atheist, post-humanist, left-wing, lactose-intolerant, bearded geek." I say he'll fit in quite nicely here. If you get a chance, check him out.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Truly Wicked Getaway

Well, as many of you know, I celebrated my farumph-humph birthday this week, and Carlos and I took a much needed midweek getaway up to Greenville, South Carolina.

Greenville, you say. South Carolina? Really?

Well, the reasons were two-fold. One, we had never been up to Greenville and we'd heard lovely things about it; And Two [well, really the Number Two reason was Number One] Wicked was playing at the Peace Center, and I have loved it since I first heard tell of the Witches Of Oz...before that girl came to town.

So, with Wicked coming to Greenville, we were going to Greenville.

Carlos and I took a couple of days off from work, got the sister of Round The Way Gay, David, to pet sit the ShoeBox Dog and Los Gatos, and off we went.

For those of you unfamiliar with all things, or anything, South Carolina, the state is divided into three sections: The Low Country....think Charleston; The Midlands....think Columbia or Smallville; and The Upstate....Greenville. Very close to the North Carolina border and seemingly a world away from Smallville.

Greenville is one of those rare small towns that has revived itself and is reinventing itself, thanks to things like a good strong university, and businesses like BMW and Michelin, which both have factories up there. Plus, Greenville seems to be able to bridge that gap between old town quaintness and big city life. There are all sorts of restaurants lining main street; art galleries; pet boutiques; gift shop; knickknack stores. And they maintain that sense of small town even with the new construction going on all over town. They respect the old and work with the new.

It really has become one of my favorite towns. And right here in little ole South Carolina!

Go figure.
We spent that first day strolling down Main Street, stopping into Trio for lunch; window shopping and just, Aaaah, relaxing. The downtown area is, and I hate this word but it applies, vibrant, even in mid-day. Business folks out for lunch hour, martini gals stopping by to get liquored up before carpooling the kids home; and homos. While it isn't really cool to be gay in Greenville, you don't get that Go Home Queer vibe you get from other southern cities.

At the Barkery Bistro, where we had to stop so Carlos could get a gift fro the ShoeBox Dog, we met Frank, who moved to Greenville from LA and San Francisco and Arizona. Frank is family and we spent a good deal of time talking to him; he told us where to go, before and after the show; what to see, which shops we should stop into. We found out the next day, at Mia Dimora, that he is affectionately known as Mister Downtown. He's kind of an unofficial Welcoming Committee Of One.

We took his advice and ended up discovering some great places and some fun people.

Greenville straddles the Reedy River, and they allow the buildings to take full advantage of the river, the falls, and the green areas. There are hotels and apartments, restaurants, and the Peace Center on both sides of the river west of Main Street, and then the Falls are on the east side. We strolled through the park, along the bridges and listened to the falls; you get the feeling that you are far away from everything, but you're still right there.

That night we ate a pre-show dinner at High Cotton, right along the river. Two glasses of birthday Champagne; seared rare Tuna with a pine nut vinaigrette, for me. Salmon for Carlos. A wonderful Pinot Noir with dinner; birthday apple tart for dessert with cappuccino.

Then it was off to the main event: Wicked. I've been a fan of this show since before it opened on Broadway and love to see it again and again. While I am considered a Friend Of Dorothy, I am also a friend of Elphaba and Galinda. And riding pants!

This production, the touring company, was really well done; though it helped that we had fabulous seats.
Heléne Yorke, as Galinda, before the Gah is silent, was hysterical; possessing the same gorgeous voice as Kristen Chenoweth, who originated the role. She was perky, and sweet, and sappy, and dorky. Totally Galinda.

Marcie Dodd, as Elphaba--the name comes from the original writer of the Oz books, L. Frank Baum--was spectacular as the misunderstood green witch. Her voice soared at all the right times, and she really captured the essence of both Idina Menzel and Margaret Hamilton; a tough feat.

Colin Donnell was Fiyero, the man who loved Galinda and fell in love with Elphaba. I mentioned the riding pants. There weren't the best part of his performance, but they were spectacular. Yum! But he also had a terrific voice, and alongside Yorke and Dodd, he really creates a vivid believable love triangle.

Plus, it didn't hurt at all that, the Peace Center used a full orchestra for the musical; when we saw it last in Ft Lauderdale, it was sung to recorded instrumentals. Good, but not as good as having the musicians right down front.

If you haven't seen Wicked, you should go. It plays along nicely with The Wizard of Oz, and yet stands completely on its own.


Funny note, though; while leaving the theater and strolling back across the river to the car, I overheard two women talking about the musical. One said, I can't believe they didn't sing "Over The Rainbow!" it's one of the most popular songs ever!

This was after the show, and yet she still thought she was seeing The Wizard Of Oz. I felt like dousing her with a bucket of water.

The next day we slept in a bit, and then had a lazy breakfast at the Coffee Underground. Full on delicious breakfast for two, for well under $20! I know! Then we took a walk back up to the Barkery Bistro to give Frank a recap of the show, and to trade email addresses and such. If he ever comes to Smallville, we'll show him the sight.....yes, sight. Singular. Oh well.
Then Frank sent us off to Mia Dimora, a designer store with all sorts of things for the house. I found a great metal calendar--you use magnets to note the month, date and day--with a lovely pig chalkboard. it's a little bit country, and a little bit cool. We found a great ceramic baking pan for roasting peppers, and a stone you set in a bread basket to keep bread warm all through dinner. The owner of the shop, Elaine McCanless, and I talked kitchens and pets, Smallville and Greenville, while Carlos talked music and orchestra with Derek, who was unloading a shipment of new stuff. It's refreshing to walk into a shop and find the owners and workers so friendly, and willing to talk about, well, nothing really.

We visited the Mast General Store, an old-fashioned emporium that sells everything from camping gear to candy, shoes to mugs. Carlos found a, um, cowboy hat he simply had to have, but, I'll give him credit: he's handsome in a hat, straw or cowboy. I got some flannel jammie pants and a couple of cool Mast General store coffee mugs: Masquerading as a normal person day after day is Exhausting and I live in my own world, but it's okay, they like me here. And, to counter Cowboy Carlos, I got a ball cap.

We continued our walking tour and found ourselves at the far end of town where the revitalization has just begun. Old buildings house new restaurants; new buildings look old and house....housing. There's baseball field, for the Greenville Drive farm team, and I thought, I'd love to come up to a game one weekend. But then I thought of the last time Carlos and I went to a ball game. To see the Marlins. We went with a group of his coworkers, and had a hot dog and drank some beer, and then, just after the third inning ended, Carlos stands up and announces, Well, that was fun.

I told him the game had six more innings. He sat back down.

Maybe we'll do the Shakespeare Festival in Greenville. I don't think they have innings.

PR7EP3: High Concept. Low Style.

So, here we are in week three and we have our first team challenge; the designtestants no likee. I haven't heard so many moans since a long ago night at the baths. I kid.
The designers are off to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see a collection of couture gowns. There, they fall off into teams of two and then study the couture works for their inspiration. They will make a signature piece for, wait for it, $500. The most money in project runway HISTORYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.

I love a good echo.
It is made quite clear that the Team Leader will have final say in the design, though not in the case of Jay--who has immunity from last week--and Maya, who takes charge.
But, as in all PR episodes, a monkey wrench is thrown at the designers heads. Now, they must create a low-cost, look-for-less, based on another teams high concept.
So, we'll have highs and lows, up and downs, overs and unders. I'm in a tizzy just thinking about it.
Let's rip:

First up we have Emilio--who's one of my faves this season--and Anna--who I never can seem to remember. Their high couture outfit is on the right and it looks a little more High Tea than High Concept; it's a little like Jennifer Aniston, pretty but boring, and you wonder how it got so far in this business.
Their inspiration outfit, made for under $50, was inspired by Maya and Jay. It's got the little shoulder detail, and the colors seem well-suited, but again, Jennifer Aniston: Meh. I mean, I don't hate it, and if it comes on TV I might watch it if nothing else is on, but, well, hand me the remote.
For the judges, Meh = Safe.

Jesus and Amy were apparently inspired by coffee filters; used coffee filters. Because they slipped a couple of industrial strength ones over their model's arms. The dress itself, I loved; it has kind of a mosaic vibe going on, and it flowed and moved and I'm all about flowy and movey.....Movey? Oy!
Unfortunately, Jesus and Amy opted to use Ping and Jesse for their $50 inspiration, and went way too Ping. A lace kerchief, black tank, and velveteen sweats don't say $50. They say, I'm just gonna run into WalMart real quick. i don't need to change my clothes!
But, honey? you do.
Still, Ping-y drapery was Safe.

Poor Janeane and Ben. Obviously they took the challenge of creating a high concept dress for $500 to mean: create a high concept dress and spend $500, but make it look like it came off the Irregular Rack at Target. I mean, from the looks of it they could have created 500 $1 outfits; of course, it still would have been unattractive.
For their low price inspiration they chose Mila and Jonathan, and this looks better than the expensive dress. it's a little canvas rain jacket, a tad too Member's Only, but at least it only costs Fifty bucks.
And it keeps them Safe.

Big Gay Anthony and Duo-monikered Seth Aaron took the challenge too literally as well. They went Gone With The Wind cotillion, and overworked that overwrought bodice. I kept imagining Anthony tossing himself on a bed in a fit of pique, screaming, I don't know nothing bout making no couture gowns. and, while they seemed to go kind of hoop skirt, they achieved more of a whoops skirt.
Their Knock-off inspiration piece comes to us from Jesus and Amy. It suffers from Looks-Good-Far-Away-So-Stay-Far-Away syndrome. Up close, it looks like Seth Aaron came through on his pledge to use napkins and a glue gun to create it. Side note: Seth Aaron stood by Anthony's bad choice without throwing him under the Project Runway Express, so I'll give him points for that!
The judges, however, Bottom Two Miss Brown Sugar and Mister Two Names.

Ping and Jesse. Ping. Scatterbrained Ping. Where is my sketchbook Ping. Where is your talent Ping? Their High Couture creation looks like someone swept themselves up in a nighty and a rug because they got caught in the wrong bedroom with the wrong hubby and needed a quick getaway. The model literally had to carry the gown out and when she let it go, it was like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Puke Coat. Fug. Ly. Kors called it Lady liberty Looking, and I say, Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and we'll dress them up in this crap.
The knock-off was inspired by the confectionery work of Emilio and Anna, with a side dish of Boring and Doesn't Fit Right. Jesse, who loathed the idea of working with ping even before he was chosen to work with her, threw Ping under the bus. Then the model dragged Ping's broken and battered corpse out from under the bus and threw it under a subway train.
Ping and Jesse. Bottom Two'd it.

Jay and Maya. Jay, of course had immunity, and he did what all designers with immunity do: he chatted up the other contestants and ate an apple while Maya took charge. So, I'll give Maya credit for this one-shoulder, asymmetric, Field of Dreams dress. I think you could plant corn in that shoulder piece. But it really is pretty, and speaks to maya's design sense, and Jay's hunger for another apple.
Then, to top it off, Maya had to find inspiration in the work of Janeane and Ben. And the judges thought Maya's fifty-buck-knockoff out-shone Janeane and Ben's couture Knock-It-Off. The picture doesn't do it justice, and while It looks strikingly similar to the inspiration, it has some lovely details.
Maya sans Jaya--remember Sanjaya from American Idol? See, Maya sans Jaya?
Okay. I'll stop. They're Top Two.

Mila and Jonathan paired up, and Mila played the role of Russian Spy designer Natasha with Jonathan as her Boris. She came up with the design; she made the coat. Jonathan did everything else. Mila was given Kors Kudos, Nina Niceties, and the Heidi Heeeeeeeeys, because she went with pants instead of a gown. I, however, am not feeling it. it looks a little Bond Girl circa 1987; I picture her at the swanky party, then jumping on a jet ski with 007 to chase down the diamond smuggler.
As for their inspiration, I think they went a little to literal in creating something inspired by AnthonySethAaron. And that caterpillar crawling over the model's Woman Pillows gives me the creeps.
But Mila and Jonathan go Top Two, too.
And Mila gets the win and instantly goes back stage to celebrate with a shot of Stoli.
Jonathan is safe. Jesse, too. Maya and SethAaron gets a pass.
Big Gay Anthony and Ping are up for elimination.
Ping gets ponged.
I'm a little sad, because I liked her nuttiness. I liked that she thought outside the box, in a plastic bag, on the top shelf in the closet behind an old pair of slippers and a loaded gun.
Goodbye Ping.

I'll miss the nutty.
That's it from the Fashion Assassin; for the full recap, head on over to DavidDust. It'll be magic!