Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Last Word From 2011..


Thank God 2011 is over! Let's hope 2012 brings everyone (particularly moi) better things.



Elisa (Who intends to be far more fabulous in the coming year)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas From Moi & Terry Gilliam


I'm not exactly in the Christmas spirit. But this did give me a few laughs, and what better to share during the season than laughter?

By Terry Gilliam C. 1968

Enjoy your eggnog!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Not A Very Merry Christmas


This is the first Christmas I have spent without my beloved Bucky. Every year I would post a greeting from the two of us. This evening my eye fell upon it in a file and I wept. I am weeping now. The loss of this dog has been more of a blow that your faithful correspondent could have comprehended. Much of the first half of 2011 was spent mired in grief. (If you think this prose is a tad purple, tough.)

After the death of a loved one, there is the dreaded firsts: first birthday, first anniversary, first Thanksgiving, and now, the first Christmas.

Fletcher is sweet, albeit as neurotic as as a boxcar of Baldwins. But of course it's not the same. It can't be the same. I love him, but you cannot compare months to years.

Next month will be the anniversary of Bucky's death. If you don't hear much from me, that's why. Reviews of "House" might be the only things I write in this blog-thing.

Then again, I could post one sentence or picture a day, and pretend this is Tumblr.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and whatever it is Buddhists do at this time of the year.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pascal Dangin Wants You To Hate Yourself


It is no secret that yours truly has inveighed against the saturation of mediated images in film, television, magazines. In other words, everywhere. I first became fascinated (then much later outraged) by the widespread use of computers on images of--well, everything--after watching a computer animator assemble a bucolic background with mountains, trees, grass, and an old-fashioned train and tracks running through it. He moved the elements around, making sure the finished product was a faultless representation of a small town train station in the mountains.

That is old news. We know that every form of visual media use green screens, blue screens, CGI, etc. As your faithful correspondent has also spoken to a CGI expert whose job it was to fill out Sarah Jessica Parker's bony hands frame by frame in Sex and the City 2. Consumers are used to it, so what is the problem? But do they really know what it is that they have become used to?

Now your own camera can "fix" your pictures so your personal visual reality is more satisfying. Even if it does not match what you see in the mirror.

The cosmetic surgery industry is booming. More than at any time, people, men and women, hate their faces and bodies.

An article that addressed that several years ago was "Pixel Perfect" by Lauren Collins in the New Yorker. A profile of Pascal Dangin, a master retoucher who changes the world that you perceive far more than you are aware.

Pascal Dangin, founder of The Box. One assumes he has been suitably retouched.

Pascal Dangin is the premier retoucher of fashion photographs. Art
directors and admen call him when they want someone who looks less than great to
look great, someone who looks great to look amazing, or someone who looks
amazing already to look, as is the mode, superhuman.

...retouchers tend to practice semi-clandestinely. “It is known that everybody does it, but they protest,” Dangin said recently. I mentioned the Dove ad campaign that proudly featured lumpier-than-usual “real women” in their undergarments. It turned out that it was a Dangin job. “Do you know how much retouching was on that?” he asked. “But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive."

[During a session]...he proceeded to a shot of the actress reclining on a divan in a
diaphanous couture gown. “She looks too small, because she’s teeny,” he said. On
a drop-down menu, he selected a warping tool, a device that augments the volume
of clusters of pixels. The dress puffed up, pleasingly, as if it had been
fluffed by some helpful lady-in-waiting inside the screen.
Next, Dangin moved the mouse so that the pointer hovered near the actress’s neck. “I softened the collarbones, but then she started to get too retouched, so I put back some stuff,” he explained. He pressed a button and her neck got a little bonier. He
clicked more drop-down menus—master opacity stamp, clone stamp. ... He zoomed in so that her eyeball was the size of a fifty-cent piece. “I love all of this
little wrinkle”—laugh lines, staying put—“and the texture of skin. As you
retouch skin, you can very quickly shift the tonal value. If you put a highlight
where shadow used to be, you’re morphing the way the orbital socket is
structured. It leads to a very generic look.” Ultimately, he had minimized the
actress’s temples, which bulged a little, tightened the skin around her chin,
and excised a fleshy bump from her forehead. She had an endearingly crooked
bottom row of teeth, which Dangin knew better than to fix.

In another shot, the actress stood in the middle of a busy city street, in
front of a limestone building. Dangin blew up the segment of the screen that
showed her feet, which were traversed with ropy blue veins. Click. Gone.

“There’s a little slumpiness, and the knees look really big,” he said,
stroking a touch pad with a gray plastic stylus to contour the actress’s legs.

Source: Pixel Perfect

I urge my beloved readers to read article in its entirety. There is far more than can be conveyed in one entry. Next time you find yourself in despair because you don’t look like Anne Hathaway, bear in mind that Anne Hathaway doesn’t look like that either.



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: House Enjoys "The Perils of Paranoia" 8.06. And "Pencils."


I didn’t review last week’s Parents because I had so little to say. Team: Teenage girl has MPD and cancer. House: dead child was deaf. It was supposed to have a “shocking twist.” If it was the child’s elaborate sarcophagus being opened, one must assume the promo monkeys never saw a few episodes of NCIS. Or one episode of Supernatural, where the gore-covered bodies pile up like cordwood. As usual, the episode botched the presentation of mental illness. The creators must dislike the mentally ill almost as much as they dislike women. House got punched a few times. Everybody had a glass of sangria and sobbed despairingly on the lawn.

Moving on to The Perils of Paranoia, the cutesy title warning of the stinking mound of ordure that was about to happen. My agonized screams could be heard for miles. My assistant Leo came in with a peach mango martini pour moi and stared at the flat screen in disbelief. “Why are you watching this crap?”

“I don’t know…” I gasped. “It used to be Hugh Laurie but he’s had all of this plastic surgery and he’s phoning in his performance. And Robert Sean Leonard but he’s not even trying to hide his contempt for the material. And Lisa Edelstein, but she’s gone. BUT I CAN’T STOP! GOD HELP ME, I CAN’T STOP!”

Leo shook his head with a sigh and took a seat.

You know when you see a comedy and all of the decent jokes are in the trailer? That was this week’s “prank war” between House and Wilson. I was so looking forward to it! Wilson believes House has a gun in his apartment. When he goes to ransack the place, an improbable hunting net traps him in the air, which is a funny image. What followed was ludicrous slapstick. Wilson finds a gun in a box marked “House,” in case House forgets who he is when he opens the box. In a scene that lasts approximately ten years and is written in crayon, House waves it around, points it at himself and Wilson, demonstrating with a pencil that the barrel is blocked. “You win,” Wilson sighs.

“Naturally Wilson doesn’t call the police because the crazy felon who runs Diagnostics has a gun,” I remarked to Leo.

"That’s ‘cause they’re married.”

The POTW is a prosecutor, who collapses with a heart attack in the cold open, but of course it’s not a heart attack or we’d have no show. We barely have one as it is. Turns out the uncharismatic patient has a secret bunker behind a bookcase on his wall (OH, COME ON!) loaded with a small infantry’s worth of automatic weapons and C-4 explosives. His wife does not take the news well.

"Sorry, honey,” he tries to explain. “I totally forgot to tell you that I built an underground bunker."


"Well, I had a free weekend..."

He only eats food he cooks himself—I’m assuming he grows his own meat and vegetables at his secret farm under the back porch—and drinks bottled water. The world is going to hell in a hand basket and this guy wants to go vigilante on the bad guys’ collective asses. Come to think of it, Hitler had a lovely secret bunker, with curtains. But I digress.

House thinks the paranoia is a symptom (that means that most of the GOP presidential candidates have diphtheria, too. Sorry to spoil this so soon). The patient didn’t have vaccinations. Do you think that storyline had anything to do with Fox News having a segment on parents refusing vaccines? Do it, Moms, or your kid will throw chairs through the window while hallucinating they’re being attacked by bears. Bears? Seriously? Vigilante Patient has an underground bunker and he’s afraid of bears? Does anyone even clock into the writer’s room?
"Oh, shit, bears!"

Speaking of ham-handed product placement, Adams, the pretty one, while driving with Park, the one whose voice annoys me so I want to reach down her throat and pull out her vocal chords, mentions her Ford cruise control. And a minute later we sail into a Ford commercial! My dear readers, I hoped the creators had a shred of integrity intact, but the Ford ran over the last shred. At least Adams didn’t crash the car into the patient’s house.

Long story short: the patient is paranoid. And he has diphtheria.

Park is paranoid that the rest of the team doesn’t like her. Unfortunately, she’s right. She goes to House for consolation. She is an idiot.

Wilson is paranoid that House has a gun. Wilson should be.

I’m going to make a stretch here to say that Taub is paranoid that Foreman has no personal life. Never mind the details. Foreman hooks up with a horrifically buff former America’s Top Model contestant who’s married. One saving grace of this episode was that Taub was relegated to snarking on the sidelines.

When Vigilante Patient is on the mend, he promises his wife they’ll move to a new house without a secret bunker. “Oh, honey, can it be English Tudor?” she asks, caressing his cheek. “Now that I know you’re an insane time-bomb who still might go off any minute, I love you even more.” Cue heartwarming music. VP plans to donate the arsenal to the Peace Corps. As long as the new house has no bears.

I mentioned the show’s overall dislike of women at the beginning. That was code for “rampant misogyny.” As a friend tweeted, “This is a sausage fest.” They are trying to fill the void left by Cuddy’s departure (her name has been uttered once or twice). Cuddy was a confident, mature, sexual woman with an impressive job. Now we get, what, an anonymous pretty cipher and a teenage geek? And a passel of middle-aged men? Eeeew.

One feels a certain fondness for middle-aged writers and directors, getting back at all of the girls who wouldn’t date them in eleventh grade.

Meanwhile, during clinic duty, House barks out the names of female clinic patients until he gets to the standard-issue Hollywood Hot Babe, and takes her into the clinic room. Har de har har. Let’s laugh at the less attractive women in the waiting room. Is it me, or is House’s awful make-my-ears-look-big dyed haircut making him look more Creepy Grandpa each episode?

"It’s not you,” Leo assures me. “He is Creepy Grandpa.”

The crowning touch is a scene where Chase and Adams, the pretty people, are on the verge of hooking up when Park gets on the elevator. Standing on either side of her, they look like her parents. She gets up her courage asks Chase for a drink, causing him to squirm with a “kill me now” expression on his face, before he agrees. Ha ha ha! Less attractive women are so funny! Especially when they come on to cute guys who’d rather suck on a tailpipe than get naked with them. But, who knows, maybe Chase and Park will get it on. I'd rather that that Chase and Adams.

Side note: what is with the gruesomely thin women on this show? America’s Top Model weighs about 70 pounds but still looks like she could out-bench-press Foreman. When she walks toward Foreman in the gym, he looks like a sofa compared to her. At least women who don’t eat make cheap dates.

At the close, House puts the box with the gun on the upper shelf on his closet, and then takes out his father’s ceremonial Marine sword, caressing it gently before returning it to its hiding place. This was the “mid-season finale” (when did television start using that term?). I guess come January we’ll be watching House explore his daddy issues. Because, honestly, what’s left?

Watching this mess lurch to its conclusion, Leo and I touched glasses. “We lived through it,” he said.

“But at what cost?” I retorted, paranoid that my IQ level had dropped twenty points.

In January House MD will be back to slog toward the finale.
Feel free to express yourself in the comments. But bear in mind that I am always right.


EDITED TO ADD: Hugh Laurie has announced he is leaving acting after the final season of House. That's too bad, but understandable. A weekly series is an unbearable grind.

If you are going to post Anonymous comments, let it be known that you have to sign them somehow if you want to be published.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!


Before I take off for a fabulous soiree, let me wish you all


And do remember to eat as much as you want. Enjoy!



Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Review: Inside House's Head, and Everyone Else's


Some of you might have guessed that I am an avid (some might say obsessed) fan of the show “House MD.” And, it almost goes without saying, highly intelligent. So when I found House and Psychology: Humanity Is Overrated(Wiley, 2011), it had to be on my bookshelf.

After I read it, of course. In two sittings.

This is not an official guide, nor is it the usual fan fluff. Edited by Ted Casio and Leonard L. Martin, the book is an anthology of writings by well-known research psychologists and sociologists who are also avid (some might say obsessed) fans. The latest psychological research (including the most up-to-date studies on addiction) is combined with psychological theory. Liberally peppered with scenes and quotes from episodes, it is great fun to read.

The book is divided into four sections.

Part One, The Good: Unlimited Vicodin;

Part Two, The Bad: Psychological Malpractice;

Part Three, The Ugly: Is That My EKG?

Part Four is “House and The Hero’s Journey,” based on the works of Joseph Campbell. It casts House as a “mythic hero.” This is a view some take of House, but for my taste, antisocial bitter sonofabitch does just fine, thank you. But I digress.

About but not limited to the study of the mind of Gregory House, the chapters address authenticity of self, creativity and happiness, to name a few topics. They also include the psyches of the other people in his orbit, as well as dissections of the actual show itself.

“The Psychology of Humor in House” is easy enough to grasp, but how about “You Are Not as Special as You Think: The Political Psychology of House, MD”?

As an example, an excellent article, “Not Even Gregory House Is An Island,” by Dr. Megan L. Knowles, a social psychologist, is about House and the role social support (and his rejection of same) plays in his life. For obvious reasons, James Wilson, his only friend, plays a large part in offering tangible and emotional support, but there are also examinations of how members of the team provide support to each other, and what types.

Other denizens of Princeton-Plainsboro--Cuddy, Cameron, Foreman and Chase--are all examined through different lenses by different psychologists. So are their dealings with House. For instance, the sexual ambivalent-avoidant relationship between House and Cuddy is examined at length, as is her involvement with Lucas in “Love, Liking and Lupus,” by Lindsey M. Rodriguez and Edward R. Hirt.

House and Psychology: Humanity Is Overrated goes up to the end of Season Six. The examinations of the characters through psychology not only give a vast deal of enjoyment, but as a bonus, a deeper insight into oneself as well.

Ted Casio is a psychology teacher and a writer for the Hollywood PhD blog in Psychology Today. Leonard L. Martin is a professor of social psychology at the University of Georgia.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough, for both the casual, avid and obsessed fans. For one thing, you can impress the heck out of your fellow fans with your intimate knowledge of what makes House and his fellow doctors tick.

The book's website is

You can purchase the book either in trade paperback or for Kindle at

Go forth and enjoy!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jennifer Morrison Steps Out


Beautiful Jennifer Morrison, who now stars in the hit show Once Upon A Time, was spotted looking absolutely EXQUISITE at the premiere of the Muppets Movie (please forget the second part of that sentence. Muppets--ugh).

She is dressed in a Rebecca Taylor dress, Brian Atwood heels, and an Oscar de la Renta clutch. I admit, I am not wild about the hair. It seems a tad too "milkmaid at the Dutch county fair" to moi.

The focus of her look are these lia Sophia Linear Earrings with black diamond crystals and moss & tortoise resin.

If you want Jennifer's earrings, you can go to to find an Advisor.

This is not a paid post. I love Jennifer Morrison, and love these earrings.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review: House MD "Parents" Ep. 8x06 - Clowns Shouldn't Reproduce


The confusion over Season Eight has been cleared up at last! While we fans were wondering, “What happened to this show? When did it become such a car wreck?” there is now an answer!

In a recent interview, Hugh Laurie, former pillar of artistic integrity, is quoted as saying: "Whatever we're doing now on the show, we're doing it for its own satisfaction. I don't feel like we're struggling to prove ourselves to executives or critics. Not to be complacent about it, but I think we've moved beyond that stage.”

Clearly, beyond the stage of producing decent television. Mr. Laurie is making it clear that they no longer give a damn about what they are creating. (Those of us who have recently wondered if Mr. Laurie has been assuaging the tedium of playing the same character for so many years with, ahem, illegal substances can rest assured that “coffee” is what is keeping the company going. Naturellement .)

This week’s episode, “Parents,” was as multilayered as a tuna melt, with the same mushy texture.

I am going to cut directly to the shocking (!) family secret (!): Ben is a teenager who wants to go to Klown Kollege because of his loving memories of his Dead Clown Father. But Dead Clown Father isn’t actually dead. He shows up at the hospital where, after giving DCF a quick glance, House announces that DCF molested Ben and gave him syphilis when Ben was a wee bairn. (House deduces this from the way DCF is walking. Maybe it was from a stilt accident, but what do I know?) The family is shattered, Ben is ruined for life by finding out his DCF is a live CF and a child rapist and the police are called.

Oh. Wait. None of that happens.

Taub decides not to tell Ben how he got syphilis but they don’t show that part—because it might have involved some actual writing—and DCF shuffles out of the picture, presumably on the hunt for more young wanna-be Bozos. Bear in mind, this entire sequence of events, including the Magi-Cam during the “let’s just get this crap over with” explanation takes three minutes of screen time. Not even a final reaction shot from Ben, who is actually an interesting patient.

"Come here, little boy, and I'll show you my balloons."

The theme of this episode is parents. Good parents, bad parents, bad clowns who molest children parents, and Taub. I know there was supposed to be a connection to Taub's story and Dead Clown Father, as in, what's better, an absent father who molested you or a present father who doesn't touch your privates? Or something along those lines.

Taub's two illegitimate daughters are both named Sophie. Most of the episode is taken up with Taub’s—uh, Taub’s—Taub’s futzing around with the babies because the ever-annoying Rachel wants to move Sophie #1 to Portland along with her new BF. Meanwhile, Ruby, the other baby mama (be grateful she’s not named Rachel) bitches at Taub that she can’t afford a baby yada yada. I used to love Taub before his personal life became The B-Story That Ate The Show.

House isn’t around much for “Parents.” There is a passing mention of his two fathers. At last! An exploration of this pivotal shaping of House’s character and worldview. Oops. It’s a throwaway line. House wants to accompany Wilson to Atlantic City to sing ringside at a prizefight. So most of House’s storyline is devoted to getting his ankle bracelet off. Or dealing with a fat clinic patient who is convinced who has diabetes. Or randomly announcing that everyone's parents screwed them up.

Or trying to find out what Adams’s deep dark secret is. Adams, as usual, seems faintly distracted, as if worried she left her Iphone at the mall. Her big secret is that she was a good girl who ran away to see if she was a rebel, but she wasn’t. Is anyone even IN the writer’s room?

Most of my notes are along the lines of “Taub? Again?” and one notation: WILSON. Robert Sean Leonard has dropped any semblance of interest in his character—I don’t blame him—who has largely been reduced to sight gags. When one starts to feel nostalgic for the chicken bet, one is peering into the abyss. Foreman calls Wilson into his office and tells Wilson that it’s his duty as a friend to stay with House and watch the fight on television. Wilson realizes, shocked, that this is the truth as well as his higher duty (to be honest, the way RSL played it I was sure Wilson was faking) and takes the tickets out of his pocket.

The end of the episode shows Wilson coming to House’s place with pizza and beer, eagerly turning on the fight, only to see Foreman and House sitting ringside, toasting each other with a beer. Ruefully, Wilson eats pizza.

As my betters say, WTF?

David Shore and company are doing the artistic equivalent of leaving a flaming bag of dog poop on the audience’s collective doorstep.


Hugh Laurie has it in his new contract that he only has to work eight hours a day.

Robert Sean Leonard has gone even more meta than the show itself by delivering his lines as if even he can’t believe them.

Nice little anecdote about how Chase became interested in medicine.

Foreman as Dean of Medicine continues to delight—when he isn’t involved in stupid gags.

Terra Nova is on before House to make House sound like Chaucer. The strategy isn’t working.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: House MD "The Confession" Ep. 8x05


Confession: your faithful chronicler finds herself brought so low as to be groveling for a crumb of ANYTHING. The theme song is back! Amazing how the smallest things can make one ridiculously happy.

Everything's going to be okay! Brilliant of TPTB to wait 4 episodes until the theme song came back, along with Chase, Taub, and the diagnostics office!

Chase! Taub! Wilson! Whiteboard!

What does it say about an episode that the best thing I can say is that it didn't make me angry, and I chuckled a few times?

“House M.D.” is not even trying to be a serious program any more. The show has morphed into a meta parody of itself. The characters becoming caricatures, the "fun" back in the form of jokes that aren't funny, and wild n' crazy antics! And everybody involved knows that, so in later episodes we might possibly be spared any form of gravitas. "House" can't pull it off any more. It's back to hooker-on-a-Segway time. You want serious character development? Sorry, we got tired of doing that.

We open on a pleasant rural town, Cedarville, in the 1950s. Bob Harris, Champion Little League coach, Harvest Scholarship Fund treasurer, and owner of the town's only gas station, is receiving an award for being a pillar of the community at a county fair. (A county fair? Near Princeton?) He is watched by local beauty queen Miss Cedarville.

Quick cut to a motel room, where Bob is putting his pillar to good use having sex with Miss Cedarville. The inevitable happens: he has a heart attack on top of her. Rule Number One on House: Do.Not.Have.Sex.Ever. It either brings you to the brink of death or merely ruins your life. Or you drive your car into your ex’s house.

Suddenly we time-travel to the present. Chase and Taub stand before Foreman’s desk. There’s some old-school banter, then reality jumps the rails once again. Taub was counting on two days off, because he has to look after his two children. It’s not noted exactly why the mothers took off at the same time or why Taub can’t afford a nanny, but what the hell, the babies are adorable and good for some sight gags. Not to mention House torments Taub about the babies’ paternal origin. What happened to Season 4/5 Taub, who gave as good as he got, and more important, DIDN’T HAVE PLOT LINES THAT CLOG THE SHOW AS MUCH AS GREASE CLOGS A SINK DRAIN? He even gets Wilson (the head of Oncology, as if that matters any more) to baby-sit and roll them around the lobby, thus dooming Wilson’s chance of being taken seriously by any of the staff ever again.

The POTW (Jamie Bamber, late of Battlestar Gallactica) has “confessed” the truth to his wife. True to her 1950s values, she will stand by her man. Cutting to the chase (pardon the pun) the patient’s problems include:

Seizure. Check.

Liver failure. Check

Eeeew! Skin peeling off in sheets! Like the ballerina in “Under My Skin” in Season Five! Except this is even more disgusting. (Whatever happened to the cases where people had gone to dozens of doctors before they went to House?)

The entire town of Cedarville time-travels to PPTH to offer Galatica Guy a piece of their livers. However, Galatica Guy “confesses” everything from ripping off his neighbors to embezzlement to being a vampire—oh, wait, that’s another show. Cedarville promptly time-travels back to the 1950s.

If it hadn’t been obvious from the get-go that the confessions are the principal symptom, it’s evident that suddenly the team have forgotten they’re doctors and haven’t noticed Altruist Guy's and Galactica Guy's defining characteristics were overdone and obviously a symptom from the first scene. And both are diagnosed by one of the ducklings in the same crazy way. I mean, come on, it's one thing to repeat plot-lines from earlier seasons, but a plot line from two episodes ago?

Meanwhile, Adams and Park still haven’t learned to act, which makes Chase and Taub back quite refreshing. House rags on Chase for staring at Adams’s non-existent breasts. Later it’s back-story time for Adams, and forgive me, but I wasn’t listening. But it was probably a “confession” of some kind. The scenes between House and Wilson seem off-kilter. I’m guessing the actors are saying their lines and going home.

Without going into the details of House hiring a construction crew and Foreman never noticing, or how Galactica Guy’s skin peels off but his face reminds intact, or Taub’s two goddamn babies, TPOW is diagnosed with Kawasaki’s Disease. And is able to lie to his wife about having an affair. “I knew it,” she gushes, and they return to the 1950s.

The end is very funny but also preposterous. The construction has been to make a wall that rises at the touch of a remote that slides up to reveal—wait for it—
Wilson’s office. Why get into whether or not Wilson knew about it, or where the damn wall goes when it raises up, etc. etc. ?

The best thing to do is to pretend it’s a sitcom and wait for the canned laughter.


P.S. When you respond to this review, please bear in mind that I am always right and do not approve hate mail.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Milliner's Guild Celebrates St. Catherine's Day!


This press release crossed my desk. As Ellen Christine is my favorite hatmaker, I simply had to share the information! More specifics as they arrive.

For decades, the Saint's Day of St. Catherine has been celebrated by milliners worldwide.

New York City milliners have taken up the torch and created their Made in Manhattan version of a St. Catherine's Day Parade. The Fete is on the 17th of November, and has as its backdrop the picturesque menagerie of the Carousel in Bryant Park and the extraordinary exhibit from Victoria and Albert Museum in London: Hats: an Anthology by Stephen Jones.

The Milliners Guild's membership comprises some of the most colorful accessory designers in the world of hats : 50 and more milliners who love their craft/art!

This event coincides with Hats: an Anthology by Stephen Jones, a world-acclaimed exhibit housed at BCG until April 15th. A lecture, The Surrealist Hat, will be given by Dilys Blum, curator of costume and textile at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

As I said, dahlings, more will be revealed, and you shall be the first to know. And remember, wear a hat!


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

"Fat" Necklaces On Sale At Fancy Lady Industries


I believe in encouraging talent when I see it. Natalie Perkins, who writes the blog, is a blogger and designer. She has designed a line of necklaces using the word "Fat".

Photo courtesy

Now, many women might feel uncomfortable wearing this necklace, but for those who are fat and proud, this just might be the perfect accessory for you. It comes in an array of colors. Look on her website to shop Fancy Lady Industries. Her personal story is inspiring, and I have no doubt we shall be seeing more of Ms. Perkins in the future.

Disclaimer: I only write about things I like. I am not paid for my posts.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Review: "House" & "Risky Business" Hit A New Low 8x04


Viewers who thought the creative minds behind House MD had destroyed the character in the season 7 finale are in for an unpleasant surprise. Apparently House can still be plumbed for new depths, while being stripped of whatever compassion, sense of ethics, and humanity he may have possessed in the past. Moral turpitude found new lows in last night’s episode of House, “Risky Business.” At the time, the episode seemed merely stupefyingly dull. However, in the cold light of morning 8x04 is simply hideous.

To the tune of "Morning Has Broken," the patient of the week (Michael Nouri) is a business magnate who intends to move his company to China, thereby losing thousands of American jobs and destroying family tradition. His daughter vehemently opposes his decision. Unfortunately, her pro-America argument is interrupted by Nouri finding his hand very small.

Once we’re back at the hospital, Adams strides in, in a low-cut black dress reminiscent of the sorely missed Cuddy. Except that Adams is barely out of high school and the costumers had to pleat her chest to give her cleavage. As always, her cascade of hair is impeccable. It’s a bit disconcerting when she’s bending over the patient—wouldn’t a real doctor wear a ponytail or a braid to keep stray hairs from getting everywhere? (Your faithful correspondent has long, flowing hair, so I know whereof I speak.) Even Thirteen used to pin some of it back. Oh, wait, that was when this mess resembled an actual television program. Adams yammers at Nouri about ethics, which seems rather odd when he’s in an MRI. Aren’t the patients supposed to remain silent? (Correction: he was being radiated, as a commenter pointed out. My narcolepsy must have kicked in.)

House lectures Adams about the 99% and why they deserve to get the shaft. And why she should drive her car through her ex-husband's living room.

Oops. That was when David Shore actually cared about what they were doing. My respect for Hugh Laurie drops another ten points with each episode. He practically slept through this one. (Not to mention that his hair and beard are still that bizarre ginger color.)

The bottom line: House buys stock in the company when it drops because of the news of Nouri’s ill health. He then makes a huge profit when Nouri decides to move the company to China! He urges the magnate to sign the press release, in front of the magnate’s horrified daughter. Way to go, you rascal House, you! Insider trading, ruining thousands of lives, losing thousands of American jobs, AND wrecking the magnate’s family in the process!


Pardon me, I had to pause writing the review so I could vomit.


The show has moved me, it has made me think, it has angered me, it has bored me. But except for last season’s finale, I have never felt utter DISGUST. Is this supposed to be cute? Is this “going back to the fun”?? What do they do in the writer’s room, torture kittens?

Dr. Park floats around the periphery, her disciplinary hearing won because, well, she’s just so adorable, how can you fire her? (Besides, she's signed up for the season.)

The POTW’s illness is described quickly with some medical gobbledy-gook. This season, the MagiCam has been used to (loudly) distract from whatever diagnosis House is spouting. The visuals have become as confusing as everything else. Can someone tell me what the diagnosis was? It involved a lot of spinning red discs, that much I know.

At the end, House buys back his old department with his ill-gotten gains and Wilson (who is on for a few nanoseconds) a check for $5000. I suppose this is supposed to make up for all of the money House owes Wilson, and it conveniently buys his friendship for the rest of the season as well. Which is nicely symbolic of Robert Sean Leonard keeping his job.

In the last moments, we discover that Adams is going through a divorce (gag me) that will supposedly give her character some depth. Given her age, she must have been married down South. House hands her a baseball bat and watches, grinning, as she destroys the orthopedic equipment that has occupied his “office,” as “Morning Has Broken” plays on the soundtrack. Yes, nothing says “catharsis” like trashing expensive medical equipment out of spite.

As one friend wrote to me:

The $5000 was money he stole from Wilson - he was just returning it.

Crimes committed by House in this episode-
Insider trading (twice)-
Blackmail of patient for money-
Theft of $5000 from Wilson-
Theft of a $200,000 piece of medical equipment (he pawned it somewhere presumably? must be a great pawn shop!)-
Assault on ortho guy (shining a light in his eyes designed to make him ill*), near assault on ortho guy (only saved by having an epiphany at the last moment)

Pretty good record for a guy on parole....

* I shall be honest and admit I had to cover my eyes during this section, because I have a mild medical condition where I cannot look at flashing lights.

On the positive side…

On the positive side…


Wilson looks hot.

Foreman’s character is being fleshed out beautifully, after years of standing around looking sullen. He projects authority, intelligence, and humor.

Not to worry, House will have his minions tearing up Foreman’s office for no good reason before season 8 is over.

Edited To Add: The ratings are also hitting new lows. 6.55 million viewers, down 19% from last week. Oh, dear, I forgot the juggernaut that is Dancing With The Stars. And Two And A Half Men. And Mike and Molly at 9:30 EST.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Plus Sizes Were Already Fashion Forward! Who Knew?


Several years ago, in one of its ritualistic orgasms, the fashion world discovered “Jeggings.” Leggings made out denim! Who had thought up this amazing blend of comfort and style?

Plus size designers, that’s who. For years “denim leggings” had been available to the larger lovely who did not want the discomfort of traditional blue jeans. Some were plain, others had stitching like regular jeans, and some even belt loops and mock fly fronts.

Manufacturers and designers have caught on to the fact that plus size clothing designs, are comfortable and cheap to manufacture. At Full Figured Fashion Week in 2010 among the swag was black rayon long vest that fell around my body in becoming folds. It was the first I had seen of this garment. Now, they are everywhere. Plus sized women have been wearing “flyaway” cardigans, tunics and babydoll tops for years. Now, so is everyone else. Who knew, rather than frumpy, we are in the fashion vanguard?

For one thing, the bonuses for those who actually manufacture the clothes are the lack of buttons and proliferation of economical materials. Calling fabrics “tissue cotton” and “whisper-light” are euphemisms for “flimsy, thin and cheap.”

For another, these drapey garments are universally flattering. Heavy women have been wearing capes, ponchos and cover-ups for as long as memory serves. Now women from size 0 to 12 are also swanning about town in flowing robes.

It is not necessarily because Americans are getting heavier. Strolling the streets of Manhattan, one observes a great many thin women wearing fluid rayon tops, swirling open-front hip-length “cardigans” with strategic folds and ruffles, and jeggings. Victoria’s Secret, that bastion of body-con, has fluttering “cardis” (a nauseating term).

Photograph courtesy of Victoria's Secret

Going higher up the fashion food chain, one sees that designers are also not averse to billowing fabric, albeit higher quality. The models under them are also “whisper-thin.”

Martin Grant

Martin Grant

Photos courtesy of

In another entry I shall bemoan the common trends that plague the plus size industry, but that is for later. For now, take satisfaction that even the gauntest fashion plate is covering up.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Is "House" Now A "Charity Case" ? 8x03


Episode 8x03, “Charity Case,” is aptly named. It sits on the street, legs crossed, begging bowl in lap, looking toward the viewers. “Please help me! Please, give me my demographic! Look, I gave you back the Magicam! The whiteboard! Clinic duty!”

This episode reminded your faithful correspondent of a rickety beach house. Boards slapped on haphazardly to keep the wind out. Poles keep the walls from collapsing. Years ago, this was a lovely house, but time, the elements, and spectacularly bad judgment have brought it to this sorry state. Very well, I’ll stop the metaphor there and leave out the part about the bad wiring.

In the open, as soon as the POTW (Wentworth Miller) talked to the woman at the shelter, I knew after his exit she would find a mysterious check for ONE MEEILLION dollars! (Pinky at mouth.) As soon as Mr. Handsome leaves, he collapses and we go to:

The utter lack of credits. What foolery is this? If you’re going to go “back to basics,” why not restore the song? Is NBC too cheap to pony up the money for the rights? Is it because Odette Annable might jump to the other show when it’s renewed and they’ve have to remove her credit? Just a sort of orangey picture and a huffing noise. Only “Supernatural” can pull this off.

Mr. Handsome is a gazillionaire who gives all of his money away and lives in poverty. Naturally, this does not sit well with his wife, who probably wants a decent three-bedroom apartment with a view. Like the environmentalist in S5 "Saviours," the POTW feels that other people are equally deserving--if not more so--than his own offspring.

House is sure Mr. Handsome’s extreme altruism is a symptom, that nobody is that generous.

As in:

S2: “Autopsy” – House believes courage is a symptom (no)
S4: “No More Mr. Nice Guy” – niceness is a symptom (yes)
S5 “Brave Heart” – bravery is a symptom (sorta)
S6: “Instant Karma” – millionaire gives up money to save his son (it didn’t make any sense at the time, either)
S7: Some guy jumps in front of a train to save a little girl – heroism is a symptom (can't remember)

13 puts in an appearance, telling House she has found the right girl and doesn’t want to be a doctor any more. Since we already know this is Olivia Wilde’s last episode, listening to her argue with House is tiresome. But—and this is bizarre—the most colorless character on the show suddenly seems like a STAR because she’s in the same room with House’s two new little girls.

These two actresses…I mean, why? Charlene Yi can’t act and has the most annoying voice since Cuddles, the Downy Soft bear. Odette Annabel can’t act either, but she is excellent at wearing her hair in a fetching cascade down one side. The reason why they have been hired might be that Laurie, Shore and Yaitanes are all having mid-life crises and nothing eases the pain like a barely pubescent female. In fact, this may be why Hugh Laurie is using Just For Men on his hair and beard, rather than the foxy silver it is in real life. From the front he looks like he’s wearing three reddish brown pom-poms on his head.

Getting “back to basics” means bringing back the Magicam (a welcome addition); a repeat of the scene where House pitches small objects (peanut shells) from the balcony toward the back of a janitor; clinic duty, which manages to be unfunny AND derivative. A kid is masturbating. Wow. Back to the fun, indeed.

Wilson puts in an appearance as House’s conscience and provides the epiphany, I forget how.

Foreman gets to break House’s balls over deliberately dosing Mr. Handsome to create symptoms before Mr. Handsome can be discharged. “You’re off the case.” I like this Foreman. But then, I’ve always loved Foreman.

Still, the void created by the lack of Cuddy is unmistakable. No mature female on the show, no interesting sexual politics, no one for a woman over the age of 18 to identify with. No woman who can act. Yi and Annable enact a subplot about Yi’s inability to accept charity (OW! That anvil hurt when it hit my foot!). Chase is going to appear ridiculously old when he shows up; House already looks like their horny grandfather.

To cut to the chase (God, I miss Chase), House and his two little girls/new team solve the case. Mr. Handsome’s altruism is a symptom of a nodule on his thyroid. Before he diagnoses Mr. Handsome, House tries to get a ONE MEEEILLION DOLLAR donation to get his team back. And presumably the office next door, now being used for orthopedics. He diagnoses Mr. Handsome, and no ONE MEEILLION DOLLARS for poor House. Oops.

Then it’s time for a last dose of altruism, as House selflessly sends Thirteen away to a life of Sapphic pleasure in Greece. And Ms. Wilde to a multi-million dollar movie career.

So perhaps it’s not altruism, it’s sour grapes.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Prevent Mississipi from Passing Personhood Amendment!


As you know from my previous blog posts, I am a supporter of a woman's right to choose. Today I am writing about an issue that is getting no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state. They are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this is that time.

What to do?

- Read about it. Wake Up Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the contact the Democratic National Committee to ask why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

Darling readers, I ask that you do whatever you can to prevent this from happening.

Margaret Atwood was more prescient than one hoped.


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Morning After: House Season 7 in Two Minutes


I simply had to post this, made by The Morning After.

If this doesn't work, you can watch it here:


Let Loose The Attache' Case of War: Mercury Falls by Rob Kroese


You might think that reviews are not my bailiwick, but a survey of this blog-thing will show that I have reviewed books, films, and of course, television.

Mercury Falls is the first in a series by humor writer Rob Kroese, whose day job is as a pastor. In an interview, when asked his greatest influence, he starts off with the Bible, but corrects himself to say Douglas Adams.

Hence, my review of this tome must start with a disclaimer: I am an atheist. Not only am I an atheist by choice, I am an atheist by upbringing. I know not the Lord’s Prayer. I have only glanced through the Bible. (Not enough descriptions of the clothes, for one thing.) The longing for spiritual meaning is to me as foreign as wanting to be a contract lawyer. And I have never read Douglas Adams, either. So if you are a big fan of those books, you might want to stop right here.

Since Mercury Falls assumes knowledge of the Bible and Christianity, quite a bit of the story was perplexing. Was there supposed to be higher meaning to the organizations and conflicts therein? Some organizational principle that this reviewer simply didn’t know? Perhaps. It is an entertaining read, but pour moi, often confusing. However, Kroese has a quick wit and a way with dialogue that pulled me through.

Imagine, if you will, that the Apocalypse is nigh. And nigh. And nigh. That is the hamster wheel career of reporter Christine Temetri. The unlucky lass covers apocalyptic cults for The Banner, a religious publication. The hitch is that the Apocalypse never shows up. And Christine is getting End Times burn-out.

As she is about to quit, her editor gives her an assignment that leads her to Gabriel Mercury, an angel who has gone rogue. He has forsaken the task of arranging the end of humanity for beer, ping-pong and Rice Krispy treats. (I heartily agree with him.) While Christine remains a bit of a cipher throughout, Mercury is engaging (at one point he compares the Apocalypse without the Antichrist to "The King And I without Yul Brynner"). The most entertaining participant, for me, is the petulant Antichrist, Karl Grissom. Up until the start of his reign, Karl has been living with his mother and playing videogames. The latter is excellent preparation for being the Antichrist, as far as your devoted epistler is concerned. This is an up to dateArmageddon. The Four Attaché Cases of the Apocalypse have been loosed. A reference to the Attaché Case of Death made me laugh out loud.

Part of the opening set piece, a small-time cult leader invoking the Bridegroom with the help of some local girls as the Ten Virgins, is very funny. As is the assassination attempt on Karl’s life in front of a restaurant giving out free cheeseburgers. But the plot is absolutely Byzantine. The opening set piece was only part of a long chapter, most of which could be distilled down to a few sentences. Angels and devils all abound, and linoleum figures into the story as well.

The writing is witty, but Kroese needs to overcome a fondness for an overly-jokey, self-congratulatory style. And footnotes. The latter seem to be more for the author’s entertainment than the reader’s. The ending of Mercury Falls is abrupt, as if the novel had run out of ideas. Heaven knows this novel has ideas aplenty, pardon the pun And the last chapter is…well…annoyingly self-indulgent. Its main purpose is to deflect any criticism of the story being too dense, too long, and having footnotes.

But if you are a fan of Douglas Adams and writers of his ilk, this book may well be your cup of myrrh. Kroese is a writer who needs an editor to pare down his text and thereby polish his wit.

You can find it at



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Plus Model Magazine & Just As You Are Present Innovative Coats!


During New York Fashion Week, Plus Model Magazine and AUI Ltd. hosted a plus-size “blogger conference" to introduce their innovative line of plus-size coats, Just As You Are. We met for cocktails at the lavish Hudson Terrace. It was fully equipped with computers for Twittering. In attendance were Marie Denee, the Fat Apple, Curvatude, and other larger lovelies of influence in the curvy community.

From left, Rhea Norman, Maddie Page (executive editrix of PMM), Tulin Reid, organizer of the event, and friend.

Most coats sell in "standardized" sizes, which change from manufacturer to manufacturer. Not only do the sizes vary wildly, there is the issue of “vanity sizing.” I strongly disapprove of this tactic. Why should I be called a Medium? In a misses size a medium might fit around one thigh.

The innovation is that Just As You Are has created a “matching system” that pairs women’s key body measurements directly with those of each coat and jacket. This gives larger lovely a nearly customized fit.

Erica Watson

Tulin with designer Mark

As drinks were sipped, we were treated to a fashion show of simply gorgeous coats. Glamorous Erica Watson, actress and comedian, provided an entertaining running commentary. The designer, Mark, a handsome young man whose first language is decidedly not English, read from descriptions of each garment. Listening to him stumble over words made the event even more enjoyable, for some bizarre reason. What can one say, some of us have a twisted sense of humor. Rhea Norman styled the models impeccably.

The models, all plus size, walked through the crowd, allowing us to paw at the garments. What impressed your loyal epistler the most was the construction details: extra buttons, branded metal zippers, excellent workmanship. AUI Ltd. has been designing and making women’s’ coats for over 50 years. Their expertise showed. Their laudable intention is to bring fine fashion to the great unwashed masses, and they succeeded.

Your faithful correspondent examines a coat.

The Angola coat

The Aurora coat

My personal favorite was the Angola, a zebra striped boiled wool handkerchief hem coat. Alas it is unlined, so it is not for moi. I am violently allergic to wool. However, there was a wealth of velour, down, faux fur, faux leather in various styles. My other favorite was the wool melton Aurora jacket, a modern "mixed media" coat with an assymetrical zip front. Not my usual style. But when something looks that good on moi I am willing to bend my own rules.

After viewing the coats, the designer and Ms. Watson took questions from the audience. We were a vocal lot, and I do hope we were helpful. I know I was, with my vast store of fashion knowledge and superb style of expressing myself.

By far the best part (besides the cocktails) was the racks and racks of coats for us to try on! After the presentation an absolute riot broke out as we rushed to grab our favorites from the racks. I might have body-blocked Marie Denee.

Exhausted from the day, I did not attend the roof-top afterparty. In the elevator, the teenaged operator told me I was beautiful and asked for my number. The rest is silence.

Save for one thing: please visit to discover their selection. Yes, I know you don’t want to take your measurements, but do so, it will be VERY worth your while.



Sunday, September 25, 2011

House MD Advance Review: "Twenty Vicodin" SPOILERS


The premiere episode of the 8th season of House M.D. is titled “Twenty Vicodin”. One suggests that if you do not care to be “spoiled,” as the saying goes, stop reading right here and go page through InStyle. Please bear in mind that this review is based on a review copy, so there may be significant changes before the episode airs.


When Dr. House plowed his car into Lisa Cuddy's living room in last season’s finale, “Moving On,” fans and critics were left in various stages of bafflement and rage. Then it was announced that the superb Lisa Edelstein was leaving for greener pastures. What to do?

A quick makeover! From Homicidal Maniac House to:

Sad and Sexy House. This House not only has a smoother, younger complexion, wider eyes and less gray in his beard, he also sports a leonine head of brown hair, glinting with gold and red highlights. In the first close-up we have of House after the open, lying in bed facing upwards toward the camera, Hugh Laurie looks as dewy as a maiden on a Spring morning. Physically at least, prison has been exceptionally good to Gregory House. Maybe it's the L'Oreal VitaLift cream.

Emotionally, House doesn’t seem particularly remorseful, maybe quieter than usual. It is left to the other characters to tell us how much he’s punishing himself. He has refused to take any calls or see any visitors in the months he’s been there. One does hope he sent his mother a postcard.

“Twenty Vicodin” carefully lays the groundwork for audiences to fall in love with House again. This is supposed to be an “out of the box” episode. But it’s the same box in new wrapping paper. As listlessly written by Peter Blake and directed by executive producer Greg Yaitanes, the script follows the House formula. Except that none of the other regulars appear. And it’s set in a penitentiary.

The opening has House before the parole board. House parrots all of the defenses David Shore gave in interviews after the disastrous finale. Nearly word for word. Which must have saved a few days in the writing room. Having served most of his sentence—and a damn light one it is, too—House has five days before he is released. However, if he gets into any kind of trouble, no matter how minor, he’ll be stuck in prison. From there any sentient being knows the ending.

For one thing, he has to appease the leader of a gang of quite well-behaved middle-aged neo-Nazis. (One can imagine them in lawn chairs muttering “Kids today…no values…”) James Cagney would scare the fertilizer out of any of these fellows. House must give the leader, Mendelson, half of House’s daily allotment of Vicodin. Before he leaves, Mendelson orders that House pay an “exit tax” of twenty Vicodin.

House and Mendelson discuss medicine

Yaitanes’s style tends to be over the top: explosions, musical numbers, and of course House smashing into Cuddy's living room. One of the unexpected aspects of this episode is that it is quite tranquil. The prison setting has the feeling of a large dormitory, with worse security than PPTH. That is saying something. As the inmates mill about the two-tiered set, there is one or at most two guards to be seen. If this is a minimum security prison, why are there psychotic killers there? If it is a maximum security prison, why aren’t there more guards? Why are there female guards, nurses and doctors? None of the prisoners harass them sexually? I told you these men were well-behaved. Or the cooks put saltpeter in the chow. There are a few punches thrown, but that’s about it until House reneges on Mendelson.

House’s cellmate is a homicidal killer (Kaleti Williams). This character was my personal favorite. Williams manages a complex performance with only a handful of lines. Guest stars Jaleel White and Michael Pare’ also have a handful of lines each, the latter appearing as the prison warden in the cold open, and the former as a chipper fellow inmate.

There is the PTOW, a memorable one for a change, repeatedly misdiagnosed until the final epiphany (the reveal is the sappiest I’ve ever seen outside of a Lifetime movie). There is a Wilson substitute who provides obligatory lectures and tells House not to be House. There is Cameron 3.0 in the person of Jessica Adams, a wide-eyed pretty young doctor. Odette Annabel, who plays Adams, looks completely out of place, as if she’s wearing her mother’s lab coat. As well as a gold necklace that has magically managed never to get stolen in a prison clinic. She is further burdened with the largest amount of expositional dialogue (when House tells her he wants to study Dark Matter physics so he can avoid any more human contact, she exclaims girlishly, “You can read people! You understand them! You gotta go back to medicine!”).

There’s only so much suspension of belief one can work with. The POTW’s arm is broken in one dramatic scene then not treated or even referenced again. And House as a prison janitor? “We need a janitor—let’s get the crippled guy!” (Small note: how does he get up and down the stairs?) How is he surviving on two Vicodin a day? The show hasn’t bothered much about House’s pain problem since Season Five, so when his cane is stolen he’s able to limp about ably with his hand on his thigh. He rubs it now and again to remind us it is there.

Hugh Laurie turns in a workmanlike performance. His passion has moved on to music, and it shows. The rest of the cast is uniformly good. As for the script, as one fan put it,"All I wanted from this episode was for it to Just.Not.Suck." It doesn't.

If this premiere episode is formulaic, at least it’s a workable formula.


Photographs courtesy Fox/NBC

Fashion Week, S/S 2012 Day Four


I have little to write about Day Four of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. It was the tenth anniversary of the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11th. Even though the torrent of media jibber-jabber and one-day-only patriotism incensed moi, it seemed disrespectful to go to the tents.

Instead, I went to the Firemen's Memorial Ceremony on 100th Street.

Because of that, I missed Diane von Furstenberg, Custo Barcelona, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.

No regrets.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fashion Week, S/S 2012 Days Two and Three


An article in the past week’s New York Times by the estimable Cathy Horyn spoke of Fashion Week’s “Split Personality.” The real excitement is apparently downtown, where the young and tragically hip mix together. Uptown is far more staid, conventional, and...

Frankly, boring.

With its new, shiny, computerized approach, Lincoln Center may well have become a far less interesting mass-market version of an exclusive French dressmaker's salon. (If that last sentence made sense to you, 15 points.)

For example, a photographer I know, Mohammed Kasim, cannot get into the tents any more. Season after season we found each other in the tents. Kasim likes to photograph the wanna-bes prowling the outer tent, every shimmer and spangle on their outfits screaming LOOK AT ME. However, neither the wanna-bes nor Kasim are allowed in. Not even strange little Painted Suit man was to be seen. A woman who went to great lengths to be mistaken for Lady Gaga never made it inside, either. Daily she was to be seen in one hideously elaborate outfit or another, but her tiny button nose gave away the game. No matter, dozens of tourists snapped her photo.

As for the fashion? Much of it was mundane. The Luca Luca show offered pretty colors, prints and soft fabrics. And not much else. (One knows a show is in trouble when the thing you lust after is the shoes. Mon Dieu, the shoes!) Honestly, how does one review a show when that’s all there is to say? It was pretty. Some of it might feel nice. End of story. The models were all, as usual, appallingly thin. So much so that their lack of thigh fat made them look bowlegged.

One is certain that the models would have vomited up the tiny 4 oz. cups of free "kefir" if they'd tried to eat them. And not because the product was that bad.

Nicole Miller’s collection, well.

The intarsia knit prints were loud. And I despised them. But maybe I am not their target demographic. Apparently the designer was inspired by the speed of a skateboard “shredding the air.” If there is a woman out there who has a fervent desire to dress as an elderly skateboarder, this collection is for you.

Vivienne Tam’s show was also a parade of pretty, soft fabrics and soft, wearable dresses. She has a weakness for orchids, and the design of the petals was embroidered, cut out, or detailed on skirts and the front of dresses. I enjoyed it by far the most, and I’m sure they will do well in the stores. But…

Perhaps I am too much of a classicist. But if I am, why did so many of the shows leave me with such a feeling of ennui?

Coming up: the Emmy's Best and Worst Dressed, Plus Size Model Magazine's Special Blogger Event, and more Fashion Week!



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012, Day One


Last Thursday kicked off the festivities for Mercedes Benz Spring/Summer 2012 Fashion Week, held in the tents at Lincoln Center. The lobby tent resembles a car dealership more than anything else. The impression is reinforced by the two Mercedes Benz automobiles parked on either side.

In keeping with the new austerity, the sponsors had drastically cut down their offerings. Chambord was no longer. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the loss of the bar and consequent free drinks.

Frappucino was also not to be found. That sat well with moi. I missed the McCafe at Bryant Park, where huge sweet coffee drinks with whipped cream and chocolate sauce kept me going throughout the day. Tresemme’ is still there. But instead of shampoo and conditioner, they are offering dry shampoo. Pardon my lack of excitement. The Maybelline stand, formerly generous with its offerings, allowed you to pick one item. I remember two seasons ago running in without my lipstick. The lovely lady there gave me two, one for before and one after 5 pm. No such luck now. However, I did choose the Maybelline Falsies mascara. The two lipsticks offered were coral and fuchsia, the two colors I cannot wear.

Arizona set up large coolers of various tea drinks and the most nauseating virgin pina colada I have ever gagged down. There is never free food (nobody eats at Fashion Week), but there was a café at the perimeter where one could pay ridiculously huge amounts for a salad.

The tone was muted as well. Most of the female attendees wore little black dresses. Only the very young women wore bodycon dresses in garish colors. While waiting online for the Tadashi Shoji show, I noticed a beautiful young woman wearing a 1980s Tadashi blue ruched Qiana dress.

Pardonnez moi, but is that dress vintage?”
She turned and gave me a condescending look. “You don’t know Tadashi’s design history, do you?” And turned back.

Two Tadashi dresses from the 1980s

No, I suppose I don't. Strumpet.

The runway show itself? Terne, terne et morne. I was oft reminded of Laura’s dress on Ep. 6 of Project Runway.

Yes, Tadashi was out of his comfort zone. One wishes he’d stayed put. Many dresses were ombre’. As some interstitial idiocy during Project Runway put it, “Ombre’ is the new black!”

You know a show is not going well when the photographers' "pit" barely flashes a light, and the audience sits quietly until the end. I would write more but thinking about that show causes my narcolepsy to kick in.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Fashion's Night Out 2011: At Avenue


Before your dutiful scrivener (look it up) shares her midway Mercedes Benz Fashion Week runway report, I should like to begin with Fashion’s Night Out. It is a pulsing climax of retailing, with “pop-up” stores throughout the city. Liquor flows freely to encourage shopping madness. The lines at Missoni alone were simply out of control.

Your faithful correspondent had decided to stay in and take a hot scented bubble bath (my special scent created by Sarah Jessica Parker). My teens and twenties are far enough behind me that the notion of spending the night body-blocking other fashion hounds whilst wearing high heels was less than appetizing.

However, the siren call of the bathtub had to wait. Avenue, the plus-size clothing line for women, invited me as a celebrity guest blogger, along with Brooke Elliot, the star of the Lifetime television show “Drop Dead Diva.”

My fashion choices were an Avenue black dress with lace and ruching, 4" black heels, and a huge vintage black hat. No jewelry. I believe the rule of "before you leave, take one thing off" applies particularly when you are wearing a huge feathered black hat.

Ma chérie jolie lecteurs, the store was so crowded you couldn't’t get a nail file between the bodies. So many gorgeous plus-sized women, all shapes and sizes! All happy to be there among their own. Champagne was passed, as was finger food.

Alicia, the publicist, a shy, sweet redhead was not at all the usual fast-talking PR machine. I was introduced first to Selina Zaccagno, Avenue's Divisional Merchandise Manager for Avenue Body, Shoes & Accessories. Selina in turn introduced me to almost all of the corporate staff. To be honest, after a bit it was a blur of black dresses and name tags. I saw the stylish @Curvatude, wearing a gray shrug tied under the bust and a long green skirt.

Brooke Elliot
Brooke Elliot arrived. She is stunningly beautiful, probably a size 22/24. Decked out in an Avenue animal print chiffon dress, Ms. Elliot posed for endless pictures with gaping fans.
I had a private consultation with stylist Jacqui Stafford. She praised my “beautiful bust, waist and hips,” naturally. Then she proceeded to tell me how best to cover them up. She was quite nice but there was definitely an element of cognitive dissonance there.

Brooke Elliot and Jacqui Stafford

Then came the runway show. My major quibble is that the models were small. Not nearly as terrifyingly thin as the usual Fashion Week models, but thin enough so that they did not do the clothes justice.

Ombre wool coat

Apres the show - damn that camera man!

The line is more chic than their previous clothes, particularly the new denim separates. Brooke Elliot helped Selina on the runway, discussing the styles and what she would wear. Before my camera died, I was able to grab a few snaps.

After a long day under the tents at Lincoln Center, I staggered back to my (featured in Architectural Digest) flat, and gratefully sank into my long awaited bath.

Plus tôt, je le promets.



all photos Elisa DeCarlo

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Avenue's Fashion's Night Out Extravanganza!


My fellow larger lovelies, are you feeling frustrated by the miniscule sizes offered at most of the FNO Pop-Up-Stores?

While others may run hither and thither tomorrow night, you shall find moi in midtown, at Avenue, one of the finer retailers for plus-sized women. They are throwing an FNO party that promises to be delightful! Particularly since I will be there.

As you can see above, guests shall have the opportunity to meet the beautiful and talented star of Drop Dead Diva, Brooke Elliot. Ms. Elliot is one of the few Hollywood actresses who has not succumbed to the pressure to lose weight (yes, I'm looking at you, America Ferrara).

And one on one styling sessions with reknowned stylist Jacqi Stafford.

FNO at Avenue will take place from 6-10 PM at Avenue, 711 Third Avenue near 43rd Street. I keenly anticipate the runway show! There were also be surprises, raffles, and a DJ.

Not only can you meet me, you can also meet my fellow bloggers Plus Model Magazine, Stylish Curves, The Big Girl Blog, Curvatude, & The Fat Apple.

But of course the most important reason to attend is to meet moi. Imagine those bragging rights!

See you tomorrow,

Avenue's Fashion's Night Out Extravaganza!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week And September 11


It's still a tad hot and sticky here in my beloved Manhattan. Which only makes it all the more unreal that Mercedes Benz Fashion Week comes lumbering into town next week. AND during the media orgasm of celebrations/memorials/we will never forget thingies to commemorate the 10th anniversary of September 11th. Good timing, organizers.

Bad enough that we shall have to view the same horrific images countless times. Bad enough we have to view George W. Bush. Even worse, Dick Cheney. I might have had sex with him but I am still doing penance for it.

A ridiculously young moi with Dick Cheney back in the day

The schedule for MBFW is not on my desk. I plan to spend September 11 at home. With the flat screen off.

One good aspect to this is that the fashion world is probably too unimportant to the rest of the world to get blown up.

And your faithful correspondent is delighted to note that "vintage" is in again, as in mid-20th century. No amount of money would get me into a disco jumpsuit again. But as for the 40s and 50s, I'm ready to squeeze into my corset and wow the public as always. Fletcher is too much of a shy flower to accompany moi. One cannot risk him peeing in fright on Fern Mallis. One doubts she would have much of a sense of humor when it comes to canine urine.

So, good luck to all of my cohorts who are busily packing to come to New York. Take my advice and take the train. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and we don't want anyone blown up.