We'd Make Great Pets
Here’s the scene: It's 1:45 A.M., my big TV is tuned to Oprah and I'm laying on my couch, a package of Watermelon Pull-N-Peel Twizzlers on my belly (which, I’m well aware are totally gross, but I needed something sugary and I remembered they'd been in the back of my cabinet for about a year. Fortunately, though, thanks to their chemical composition, they were still soft & mushy.) And I just can’t turn away…
Why? Because my girl, O, is crawling around on her hands and knees in her home in California canoodling with her dog, Sophie. She was doing this location shoot to discuss the quiet shame she feels regarding the anti-social behavior of her beloved pooch: Sophie, it seems, is a biter. Oprah said she thought the problem was that the dog had low self-esteem issues, and she knew somehow she was responsible, despite the fact that she'd treated Sophie like a queen for the past 10 years.
So what is Oprah, arguably the queen of esteem herself, going to do about something like this? Well, she went and recruited a guy known as the Dog Whisperer. (Who knew? I mean Horse Whisperer, Baby Whisperer, sure. But Dog Whisperer? Can't we be a touch more creative? 'Whisperer' is like the psychological equivalent of adding the word "gate" to a scandal.)
But it seems the Dog-Man did right by Sophie, and managed within the space of a commercial break to break Sophie of her decade-long biting binge. For his troubles the Dog Whisperer will undoubtedly have a best selling book out by the end of September. Oprah was thrilled. She again got down on her knees. She cooed at her dog. She made funny faces for her. She sure showed the dog who was boss... and let's just say Sophie will be signing the checks from now on.
But, as a non-pet owner who frequently considers getting a dog for herself (you may call me the Pet-Equivocator), the whole thing makes me wonder what the instinct is that makes people treat pets like babies. I know people who have strollers for their doggies. I know people who dress their doggies up in little leather jackets. I know folks who cook gourmet meals for their dogs. That’s a little nutty, no?
Am I just heartless? Is this another insight about my maternal instinct. Or is it that we’ve become so domesticated ourselves that the thought of an animal acting like an animal is too painful for us? So what’s my modest proposal? I say let bitches be bitches and let them run free. After all, it’s what I do myself...
I Heart Values
I don't want you all to think that I'm not all for true love, redemption, hearth and home--although, actually, I'm not
really. But I am all for it for other
people. Especially for the loveable specimens of young persons from the cultural wasteland of the rural big-box American midwest like Crystal (her real name!) and Matthew.
Crystal is fourteen; she had a baby last week. Matthew is 22 (Crystal is not his first "young" partner--in fact, his mamma says that he's always played with younger kids because his peers never accepted him); he's Crystal's baby's daddy. And as of a few weeks ago, after a quick jaunt to Kansas from their little Nebraska hometown, Crystal and Matthew are man and wife. They went to Kansas because it's that rare state where kids under 17 can get married legally. That's What's the Matter With Kansas.
It sounds like a cliche episode of South Park, but it's from today's New York Times
. Now the D.A. in Nebraskee is all gettin' meddlesome, and he wants to prosecute Matthew for statury rape. But whyyyyy? The two lovebirds have found peace and love in the basement of Matthew's mamma's house. Crystal is in 8th grade--but whatever, they've been together since she was 12 years old, darn it, so they know
they got a real thing here. Oh, and a baby.
I really don't see what's so glamorous about single life in the city. Maybe that D.A. ought to come here to New Yawk, and prosecute some of the bad men here, the ones who wouldn't know true love even if it came to them in the form of a Kansas tween who wrote them anniversary notes in pink ballpoint pen.
Thank goodness for real family values somewhere.
Veni, Vidi, I Thought it Sucked
I don't care if it is supposed to get better, I'm not going to burn another hour on "Rome." Must admit, I was mildly excited by the idea of the new HBO series that started last night. I mean those kids do have a good track record (with NOTABLE exception to the unwatchably cringe-worthy piece of shite that is "The Comeback," which, to my mind, should be renamed "The Comeshot to the Eye"... yet that's old news.) Rome, though, a much heralded show, was supposed to be a gorgeous rendering of historical drama and intrigue. It was supposed to combine all the best elements of the quest for power, the sexiness of politics, the bloodthirst of the aristocracy and all that jazz.
Instead my running commentary went a bit like this: "Ewww. Huh? Which one is that? But why would he...? Who's she? Wait is that the same woman, or another one? But I don't understand why...? Huh? Who? Ewww..."
It was boring. It was bloody. It was just a snooze. I couldn't wait for the commercial break. Then I remembered, crap, there aren't any commercials! Why? Because it's not TV... it's HBO.
I can't believe I forgot to mention "You Wanna Piece of Me?," the other
fabulous show I saw last weekend (what can I say? I'm such a drama-puss, I'm like Zsa Zsa Gabor at a traffic stop.) Twas a terrible oversight.
Fortunately, I was reminded of my college friend Joe Hernandez-Kolski's great performance (he's playing in the NY Fringe Festival) by an article in today's New York Times
. Right there on page 2 of the Weekend Arts section is a great review of his show, "You Wanna Piece of Me?" and I'm happy to report both the review and the show are outstanding!
Now chances are I was going to say nice things about Joe's hip-hop-poetry-slam performance piece because I like Joe a lot, and I want to support his efforts. After all, he was very supportive of my efforts in college when he cast me in the role of Enid in Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Of course, truth be told, it was a role I was born to play. (Sure, orginally the role was done in drag by a man, but whatev, I was fierce and I knew just how to apply the eye make-up!)
Yet this is all beside the point. The point is that if you have the chance, you should go to see him. The show is just way cool and it's playing at the Ace of Clubs tonight at 7 pm and then tomorrow at 2:45. For more info on Joe, his shows, his writing and other aspects of the Hernandez-Kolski experience, check out his website, www.pochojoe.com
Carpools. Crabgrass. Creatures from the depths of hell...
Have you flashed back to your suburban youth yet? That logline alone, stolen directly from the cover of Julie Kenner's latest book, CARPE DEMON: Adventures of a Demon Hunting Soccer Mom
, is probably part of why the novel has already been optioned by 1492 Pictures, producer of the Harry Potter movies. (Harry Who? Yeah, I don't know, either, because clearly I've been living under a rock trapped beneath Davey Jones' locker. Davey Jones, the Monkee? Exactly, so fear not, it's a very little locker...)
Anyhoo, Julie, a fellow member of the GCC and a woman who has published 20
books in the past 5
years (chew on that...)is a hugely popular and successful author. And just listen to the stats on this new book of hers: Booksense selected CARPE DEMON as one of its Top Ten Summer Paperback Picks for 2005, and the book was also selected as a Target "Breakout Book," holding the Number One slot on Barnes & Noble's SF/Fantasy trade overall bestseller list for seven weeks.
But another reason we love Julie is because like Renee, she's a recovering lawyer. Unlike Renee, she actually practiced until 2004 (which means she was writing & publishing all those books while being a full-time lawyer girl, wife and mother... not that I'm impressed by this... I mean, I, myself, managed to get out of the house yesterday with my underwear on the inside of my clothes, which is almost like the same thing.) So we e-mailed Julie a bunch a questions so we could get a better sense of what makes her tick. She returned the questionnaire in about 20 seconds, making her book productivity all the more understandable.
Q: Tell us about the worst meal you've ever eaten.
A: It was probably a fabulous meal, in retrospect, but I was 13, in Sweden, and surrounded by a variety of mostly raw fish. I was not a happy adolescent that day, and my grandmother refused to aid me on my quest to find a hamburger.
Q: What's your favorite guilty pleasure song?
A: Anything from THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
Q: Who would you cast to play you in your bio-pic?
A: Um. Uma Thurman. Because, you know, we look so much alike and are both in such fabulous shape. And all that. Yeah. That's it. Good old Uma.
Q: What movie(s) have you walked out of?
A: Beverly Hills Cop 3
Q: Mounds or Almond Joy? and why?
A: Oooh! Ick! Blech! Coconut! Yuck! Neither!
Q: Your best/worst memories from the experience of writing this book?
A: Worst: My computer decided to not only crash frequently, but to crash AND erase whatever I happened to have done that day. AND to crash, erase what I'd done that day ... AND empty out the files with the previous days work as well. Lost two chapters that way. I was really NOT happy.
Best: Spending time with Kate. I just love this heroine.
So do yourselves a favor and check out CARPE DEMON and Julie's website: www.JulieKenner.com
Ask Robin & Renée
Today we begin a new feature on the blog called, "!Ask R&R!" (Well, actually we're open to suggestions on that title since it's not terribly clever--despite the flashy Spanish punctuation--so I'm not married to it... or to anything else for that matter... but enough about my commitment issues.)
Anyway, though "!Ask R&R!" lacks a certain pizzazz, it is fairly evocative. Chances are, you're not now scratching your head wondering what "!Ask R&R!" means, are you? Because if you are, you might just be too dumb to live... which conveniently brings us to our first question in the "Ask R&R" mailbag:
I'm a first time questioner, but a longtime reader, so can I just start by saying how much I love you girls?
Okay, now here's my real question: As a television host-cum-spiritual leader, is it ever okay to call for the assassination of a foreign dictator?
Yours in Purgatory,
B.Z. Elbub, aka Pat Robertson
And here's our response:
Dear Gentle Reader,
Though as tempting as an overly made-up, tight jeaned wearing Church secretary, calling for the death of a dictator--no, wait, I'm even going to go further--calling for the death of ANYONE seems a little, uh, TOTALLY AGAINST the spirit of peace, love and forgiveness that you're supposed to be preaching, you hateful bloated bastard. So, no, it's not okay, capice? *And apologizing for it after the fact doesn't make it any less EGREGIOUS.
Luv 'n Stuff
Yep, that's basically how it's going to work. If you have a question, please feel free to e-mail it to us and we'll answer it ASAP, because that's just the kind of girls we are. And if you don't e-mail us questions, we'll make them up because we're those kind of girls, too. Capice?
As Robin pointed out the other day when she acquired a paper shredder and started to feel that special tingling something called a crush--it's the small things. Take your crushes where you can get them, your flirtations as they arise here and there, the little loves of everyday life, because the Big Love is hard to find. And who knows if you'll ever find it?
I know. Because I found it. Dark, intense, cool, craaaaaaaazy good, oh--and best of all--in my freezer. No sexual blackmail ever required to get together. It alleges to be chocolate ice cream with kinda crunchy chocolate cookies in there & swirls of this super-intense deelish chocolate pudding ice cream stuff happening, which is clearly the bittersweetly fudgy secret to its unsettling appeal. There's a musky richness to the pudding and cookie bits that cuts the sweetness of the just-regular chocolate ice cream, so that phrases like Paragon of Things Chocolate, and Platonic Ideal, come to mind.
But, whatever, what it is, is perfect
. Toss all that old-school Haagen Dazs crap (I ahte the industrial faux-chunks in chooclate choclate chip), that allegedly high-end Ciao Bella stuff with way too much buuter-fat to even taste the flavors, not to mention the Laboratorio del Gelato ice cream which costs about $10 for a nano-fraction of a pint. Bye bye to all that.
Mrs. Renée Chocolate Therapy...I wonder what our children will look like?
Try It, You'll Like It: Notes from the Cult-cha File
Great news! For one more week you have the chance to see SCAPIN, one of Moliere's masterworks in Central Park as performed by the New York Classical Theater company...
Okay, I'm guessing that revelation just elicited one of two responses: it either made your mouth begin watering with artistic expectation, or made your eyeballs roll so far back into your head that it will require an oyster fork to shuck them back into place.
Well this post is to the latter group (yes, I’m talking to you, oyster-shuckers. Sorry, classical theater geeks, you and I, we have nothing to talk about. And stop reminding me that we were such good friends in middle school.)
Anyway, this show, Scapin, has much to recommend it. First of all, it was adapted by Bill Irwin and the great Mark O’Donnell (best known for writing the book for the B-way musical, HAIRSPRAY), so it’s Hi-Larious! Secondly, it’s being performed in Central Park, and not at the Delacort Theater! It’s “outdoor” theater at its most outdoorsy: the audience gathers on a field at 103rd and CPW, then walks with the actors as they perform various scenes in various vistas in the Park. It’s such a cool summer treat. (And not just because if you don’t like the person sitting in front of you, you can trip ‘em, run ahead and switch spots in the following scene.)
The one drawback is that because of all the movement you can’t really bring a picnic or even a bottle of wine (unless you’re very good at drinking and walking), but this is really no big deal since you can get your drinking in later (trust me.)
There are also a ton of other reasons to go see this play (It’s free! It’s funny! There’s a happy ending!), but I’ll let you discover them for yourselves. The show’s final run is from this Thursday to Sunday, but for more info on NYClassical Theater, check out their website, www.nyclassical.org
Bye Bye Benedict!
Yesterday was the last day of the 20th World Youth Day Festival in Cologne, Germany, and I am so sorry to have missed the pope. I would have enjoyed camping out in blustery bad summer weather, staying up all night--singing and dancing and praying!--to hear the pope's mass in the morning. I hear that a few kids were actually a little too tired to wake up in the morning for the...three-hour mass. Bummer. Who wouldn't wanna see an old man in a bathrobe with a spear and a pointy top hat telling them to get their ass to church on Sundays? In fact, he ordered their asses to church in nine
different languages--including Swahili and Tagalog.
Though I myself couldn't manage to clear my schedule for the week to make the pilgrimmage to Youth Day, it turns out that over a million kids did. Literally. It is astonishing to me that an old dude in gold bathrobes can attract that kind of crowd. I don't think any rock star gets that kind of crowd, or has his kind of global influence. It gives me pause to think that most of the world is, in fact, not secular. I guess it is easy to forget that, in this hotbed of corruption and spiritual nihilsm that is the Western world--as the Muslim world often reminds us.
But if there is ever a moment in my life when I actually respond in a sincere and enthusiastic manner to someone telling me in Tagalog not to use condoms, to give up my womb to God, and that, really, this whole sexual abuse scandal in the church was really a big media stunt--please sedate me until he goes away.
I took the plunge. Yes, after a decade of dithering, going back and forth about whether it was really something I wanted or needed, I finally said, yes, dammit! I'm going to take this step to improve the quatlity of my life. So I went ahead and did it.
I purchased the HT700X 7 sheet crosscut paper shredder.
And when the UPS man arrived with my little bundle of joy yesterday, I spent the rest of the afternoon in a blissful state of shreddom. I first started feeding my little shredder financial documents (i.e., BILL OVERDUE notices & Student Loan repayment stubs). For its second feeding, I thrashed through piles of rejected manuscripts. Feeding number three saw the demise of other people's work. It was beyond carthartic, it was, I'm telling you, addictive. (And, to that end slightly scary since despite the big sticker on the front of the machine showing a big red slash mark through a man feeding his tie into the blades, I was tempted by the image nonetheless.)
In fact I had so much fun shredding documents, it makes me think I've missed my calling: perhaps I should be working for the government.
*Today marks the end of the SHAKING tour on the GCC, so we thank all the Cyber Girlfriends who blogged about us this week and point you to the sites of today's bloggers:Natalie CollinsJennifer O'ConnellLara ZeisisMindy FriddleDeborah LeBlanc
and MJ Rose
, where Renee has written all about our backstory!
Murder by Anchor
I always knew there was an arguable advantage to never having been a child star: I am neither broke, recovering, irretrievably fucked-up, on a degrading reality TV series...or indicted for murder.
The latest child-star-gone-koo-koo story is particularly, deliciously lurid. Skylar Deleon (which I'm sure is the name he was born with, and not some hackneyed Hollywood name invented by a disreputable manager in a shiny suit), who is 26, and his 24-year-old wife, have been ordered to stand trial for killing a rich yacht-owning couple. They gagged the couple, tied them to the anchor of their own yacht, and threw them overboard. Alive. Why? Cuz Skylar, who once starred in the Power Rangers
TV series and whose residuals just may have been drying up, read about the yacht in a boating magazine and, well, he decided he wanted it.
He managed to meet the owners, scrounged up the help of a Crips gang member--as one does when conspiring to kill and steal yachts--posed as an interested buyer, and persuaded the owners to take them for a ride. But there are even worse b-movie details: Skylar's wife was also preggers when they took the fateful boat ride--so Newport Beach, no?, an expectant Hollywood couple shops for yacht--and after attacking the owners with a stun gun, and before tossing them to the fishies, Skylar actually got them to sign over power of attorney. Because along with their boat, he figured he's get their money. No dummy that power ranger.
It feels so 80's Dynasty-by-the-shore! I practically wanna pitch the pilot myself!
For some better plots, however, I refer you a few more GCC writers who will be blogging the book today with some great interviews in which we reveal everything about our attempt to steal the identity of Paris Hilton and the yacht of her fiance, as well as all the secrets to writing a kicky novel:Martha O’Connor Marianne Mancusi Tamara Siler Jones Julie Kenner
It Can Always Be Worse
Okay, sorry, but who else laughed when they heard about Madonna falling off her horsey yesterday? I wasn't laughing at her, I promise you, because I adore Madonna (adored her to the point of desperately wanting to be her in middle school). And I wasn't laughing because I thought falling off one's high horse--literally--was an interesting metaphor for someone who has reached the pinnacle of her career. And I wasn't laughing thinking, "silly Madonna, tricks are for kids, and you're no kid no more -- happy birthday!" And I wasn't laughing because I thought, "huh, so a red string bracelet doesn't really serve as well as a riding helmet."
(Ow, my head!)
No. I was laughing because NOT ONE of the broadcasts that I saw reporting the story could resist adding a comparison to Christopher Reeve. "Could have been a lot worse," they all noted, then flashed to a picture of Superman on a breathing apparatus.
So what's the lesson here? Is it that we should be grateful that when we fall off a horse on our 47th birthday, painfully break multiple bones and have the embarrassing incident broadcast globally as "breaking* news" (*pardon the pun), we should be happy? Is it that Christopher Reeve is the only other person ever to have fallen off a horse? Or is it that in the entertainment biz, if you're going to do something foolish, you better be sure you take it to the next level because otherwise you're destined to be compared to someone or something that was even more of a crowd pleaser?
*In other news, we want to thank our amazing girlfriends who are touring SHAKING on the GCC this week! Here are the sites of our friends who are posting things about our book on their sites today:E. Lockhart's Boyfriend List
(I have a "Boyfriend List" posted there today, fyi!)Melanie Lynne HauserAnn Marie Kathleen O’Reilly Alison Kent Andi Buchanan
*and special thanks again to Alison Pace
, hilarious author of If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend
, whom we just love!
Truth and Beauty
It is a relief to me to know that even as I age out of the youth and untapped potential of my 20's, into the older age and failed promise of my 30's, that I am not alone. Indeed, companies in every conceivable industry are thinking of me: there is the Depends brand, looking after my imminent incontinence; there are dozens of pain relievers made to relieve my aching joints; and, of course, there are all the cosmetics--age-defying and wrinkle-fighting marvels of deception.
I was especially heartened to learn this morning that there is even a new spokesmodel for my middle age, an all-American picture of healthy ageing. Christie Brinkley, the famous American icon of Cover Girl cosmetics from the 70's and 80's has been asked back to be Cover Girl model again. This time she's pitching a line called Advanced Radiance, which according to Cover Girl, is makeup intended for women 30 and older.
I am thrilled. I am thrilled that as soon as I turned 30--several years ago now--I immediately graduated from youth, vibrance and normal cosmetics, into a more "advanced" group of women who need a little special something. It is just what I myself have always believed, that I need--I deserve--a little special something. I am also thrilled that the face of this demographic of "advanced" beauty is a 51-year-old woman whose career peaked in in the early 80's National Lampoon movies. I do, I really do identify with the woman who first made black eyeliner look fabulous...in 1976. Yeah Christie!
Separately, definitely continue checking out the wave of GCC writer blogs. Today's bloggers are Johanna Edwards
, E. Lockhart
, Alison Pace
, Joshilyn Jackson
and Shanna Swendson
...Johanna and Alison are both fellow writers from Berkley Books, E. Lockhart has men totally figured out on her Boyfriend List, and Joshiyln and Shanna have fantastic blogs--and recent books.
Groupies of Our Own Tour
Every now and again Renee and I will blog about a new book from a fellow member of the "GCC." What's the GCC, you've been wondering? Well, it stands for Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit. Is a Girlfriend Cyber Circuit some sort of William Gibsonesque sci-fi-lesbu-drama, you ask? Uh, No. Though that could be fun, too.
The GCC is a very cool organization of 25 women author/bloggers who help promote one another by discussing each others' books on their websites. Renee and I first learned about the GCC through our friend, author of "If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend
," and blurbing heroine, Alison Pace
, who encouraged us to get involved.
Well this week, Renee and I are on "cyber tour" with the Girlfriends meaning that if you check out the others' sites on specific days this week, you'll see some sort of blurb about our book or an interview with the two of us. Some Girlfriends emailed us questions asking how we wrote a book together without yanking out each other's hair, some asked us to name our favorite superhero (& why), one asked us for a list of old boyfriends. We'll let you know who's linking to us on any given day, so go check out their sites and you'll not only get to read about what kind of chocolate we prefer (Renee actually answered that question, which, in truth, I would have given exactly the OPPOSITE answer to...), but you'll also get to hop to the site of a writer you might not yet be aware of.
Today, we're featured on the sites of: Karin Gillespie’s “Diary of a Hype Hag
” Gayle Brandeis
and Megan Crane
So check them out checking us out. Pretty cool, no? Yes!
It's that time of year--in fact it's already well past
that time of year--when the mercury's risen so high it can't get any muggier and it feels like it's been this way for weeks, when you can hear the sound of your own paper-shuffling echo in the emptiness of a Friday office at 4pm. It's the voluptuous late afternoon of summer, when teeny tank tops and a lack of focus feel completely right...until you see the September issues of the magazines which have already been here for a week or more, piling up like so many unwieldy bricks by your bedside, AND RUINING WHAT'S LEFT OF SUMMER!
I'm not ready to think about fall, about over-the-knee boots, about Astrakhan coats. Or about the goals, ambition, and freshened drive that come packaged in all that Back-To-School, Back-To-Work, Back-To-The-Fast-Track purposefulness. So many ads, so many things to need, so many features to read. Go away! The tomatoes are just ripe and full on my neighbor's vine...IT'S NOT TIME TO THINK ABOUT CABLE-KNIT SWEATER DRESSES.
In case those 4 lb. issues of Vanity Fair and Vogue didn't notice, it's still gonna be August--and slothful, purpose-missing summer--for, like, a while. Natch.
I was reminded this morning of a former incarnation of myself when I got an email from a listserv that I belong to called, “Princeton in Hollywood.” As the name suggests, the list serves to unite Princeton grads of the Hollywood variety by allowing them to ask questions of one another, post jobs or ask if anyone knows of a job for someone with his qualifications.
These career networking lists are truly an amazing resource and as a person who has posted questions and jobs there myself, I’ve also been consistently impressed by the nature of responses I’ve gotten.
But a posting today by a 2005 graduate actually made me cackle. The subject line wasn’t particularly out of the ordinary, it just read, “Recent Grad Seeks Employment.” Well, I thought, good for this kid for figuring out so early that networking, especially in Hollywood, is the only way to work it. Unless you’ve got an abundance of talent that is, and by talent I mean tits. And no, I’m not bitter. Unless by “bitter” you mean “teet-free.”
But what made me snort Sugar Pops through my nose was the opener, which I quote here:
After six weeks of emails and phone calls I've unfortunately not been able to secure employment. (I know it's a tough town.)
The kid actually thought six weeks of job hunting seemed an intensely long an unreasonable period of time for someone with no experience—but a kicky degree!—to go without employment. Truth is, though, I don’t fault this person at all because I used to think EXACTLY the same thing. Why it practically made me misty-eyed to read the posting (or perhaps that was the Sugar Pop lodged in my sinus cavity.) But his sense of entitlement and dewy expectation brought me back to the days when I believed all traffic lights would turn green for me, too; when I expected despite infrequent play, I’d still win a decent-sized lottery, and Mr. Right would fall at my feet because the scent of unadulterated genius is an aphrodisiac more potent than mussel textured rhino horn.
I’m not mocking this 2005 graduate for his wonderful sense of expectation. After being out of college for ten years, having adopted a policy (especially on blind dates) of keeping expectations pegged at curb level, I’m just wondering if there’s anyway to regain a blissed-out feeling of entitlement. Or have I gotten a one-way ticket out of the Garden, forever damned by that controversial figure Eve, the vixen who said, hey, screw these rules, I need to find shit out for myself, and it’s my way or the highway. Eve, the girl who wanted to gain her own knowledge, dammit, the woman with tiger paws tattooed on her chest.
Girl's Guide to, Well, Anything
It happens all the time in New York, you overhear her talking in the elevator, you chat with her at a party, she's the editor or the client or the friend's friend you;re meeting for the first time--and she's the package: stylish, smart, real, funny...Well, it happened again last night, twice over, at our double-header at Makor when we met Caitlin Friedman and Kim Yorio, authors of Girls' Guide to Starting Your Own Business
. I'll start with Kim's kicky acid-green heels and Caitlin's super-fab smile and and then I'll get to their absolutely unimpeachable cred.Girl's Guide
is full of straighforward, funny, frank info, stuff you actually buy into, advice you feel like you actually wanna use, and lots of no-bullshit insight from real women. Well, real, really successful women. It turns out Girl's Guide
is the ultimate self-help book, a guide to starting any
endeavor, really. I cringe as I write this, every cynical fiber in my body protests, but the book is...inspiring. It's not a big girl's rah-rah, it's a for-real how-to. The best part--the real cred part--is that Caitlin and Kim have actually done it. They are publicists turned successful entrepreneurs who started their own business, YC Media, a food-focused public relations agency that is currently in its fifth, thriving and expanding year. So if it takes starting a business to have the kind of heavy-stock, glam-elegant business cards that they do, cards that declare I Am the Package, Pleased to Meet You, I better get to work.
Tonight at Makor!
Staging their last New York City appearance (for now...) the Assets Girls will be appearing at Makor
, the very cool satellite of the 92nd St. Y, with Caitlin Friedman and Kimberly Yorio, co-founders of YC Media, a boutique public relations and marketing firm, and co-authors of Girl’s Guide to Starting Your Own Business
The title of our reading and talk is: How to Succeed in Business as a Woman Comic Superhero, which could, at first, seem like a bit of a head scratcher. Clearly the other authors will be addressing the "how to succeed in business part," that's not the mystery. What may be confusing to those of you who know us--or think
you know us--is that you've never regarded us as Women Comic Superheroes before, and you may be saying, "Self, how are Robin and Renee going to get out of this pickle
Well, kids, on the eve of Renee's birthday (okay, it's not quite the eve, that would be this Saturday night, but you get the idea), I think it's time her secret is revealed: Renee is, in fact, a superhero. Shocking but true. I'd begun to suspect things in college when she'd get ridiculously good grades, had a firm grasp on Hegel and could whip up a lemon dijon vinagrette in the school cafeteria without breaking into a sweat.
So what are her other powers? What is her superhero moniker? Who designed her costume? I know you're all curious, and that's why you have to come to Makor tonight at 7:30. (Click on the Makor hyperlink above to make a reservation.) Let's just say the woman is ready to dish, and trust me, a delish dish it will be!
We've just arrived back from the great state of Texas and had quite the caliente time down there. As you've no doubt already gleaned, I now speak fluent Texan and I actually bought a pair of spurs down there to wear around the apartment back here in New York. Manolos may make some women feel sexy, but sugar pie, you ain't lived till you've done some struttin' in wrought-iron spurs!
The second leg of our journey into the Red brought us to Houston where we did a reading for the Princeton Alumni Association of Houston in a genuinely cool wine bar called the Tasting Room. Needless to say, Renee and I felt very much at home surrounded by all those bottles of wine and the Tiger alums were an enthusiastic and incredibly welcoming crowd.
They smiled! They laughed! They bought books! They were just beyond fab, and three of them deserve a special shout out: Mark Poag '93, who arranged the event for us, Megan Henry '91, who served as our official hostess for the evening, and Dick "Tiny" Morgan '66, who is the most spirited alum with the best belly laugh we've ever encountered. Didn't hurt that one random bar patron tried to pick one of us up, either...
Renee's friend from law school, Kristen McKeever, a brilliant, beautiful & tall woman, served as our hostess for the weekend and even threw us a great party at her oh-so-lovely-I-desperately-want-one-of-my-own home on Saturday night, which was just fabulous. Arguably there were more lawyers gathered in that house than I've ever encountered before, but they were such excellent folks, it made me think, 'huh, law school! Maybe it's not too late for me after all..."
In addition to sampling some of Houston's finest fajitas and checking out the very cool Museum of Fine Art there, we did two other signings/readings to boot: one at the Woodlands, home of a giant mall (where we indulged in a Doozy, a cookie treat too cloying to describe at this early hour), and at a Borders near Kristen's house, where another Princeton alum, and a great friend to Team Assets, Anthony Hong, came. With Kristen's friend, Nicole, another HLS lawyer, and Anthony (P-ton & HLS himself), we realized we had the smartest crowd gathered for a book reading ever.
Despite being held up at the airport in Houston rather unceremoniously yesterday due to "weather," we had a great time in Texas and I now even feel slightly bad about the way I maligned the state around November of last year...
Austin, Texas Dispatch:
We write to you from the Drury Inn in Austin, Texas, and what a fabulously Drury Inn it is! We checked into our hotel yesterday and were immediately greeted by Chris at the counter who promptly asked Robin what branch of government she worked for. Robin, happy to play along, said, "No questions and if you tell anyone you've seen me here, I'll kill you in your sleep like Hillary did to Vince Foster." (Robin decided that was just likely to be believed in this Republic.)
But Chris was a mensch, and even after discovering that Robin wasn't a Fed, he still gave us the government rate. Had I known government workers got discounts at chain motels in the great American South, I might have thought more seriously about becoming a public servant. The Inn's been excellent--we have a view of the pool, Interstate 35 North and Route 183--and we didn't
have to go to the Fudrucker's next door this morning because Drury serves a complimentary hot egg breakfast!
But that's to say nothing of the reason we came to Austin -- our book reading at the Barnes and Noble here. Okay, now that we've mentioned that, we can talk about the amazingly fun people of Austin, like our fab. tour guides and friends, Dallas & Jeff who shuttled us two out-of-towners around their fair city. They took us to a swimmin' hole, the Hula Hut (where we drank margaritas--and that might merit an extra "s" to indicate the plurality--and a Hul-la-la, a drink that came in a fish bowl and was adorned with 4 cherries and some pineapple slices.) Another friend from New York, Trevor, showed up to the reading and since he'd lived in Austin for a while, he showed us the nightlife of the town. And let's just say, though the people of Austin might be slow to the dance floor, once they see some spirited NYers dancing... they're quick to flee to one of the other many bars in the area.
We glossed over the pit stop at the hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop in Dallas's neighborhood, Hyde Park, where they served the best little veggie sandwich in Texas, and we shouldn't forget to mention the not infrequent laughs we had ysterday related to:
1) car seats so fr*ggin hot they cook your fanny
2) a deluge so insanely biblical that Robin and Renee had to wade to their car. literally.
3) the fact that this deluge took place 15 minutes before our reading
4) the fact that this reading remains memorable for our totally super bestest crowd yet
Okay, we've gotta go -- we're off to Houston now and will be doing a reading for Princeton alums tonight!
-Robin & Renee
Ever heard a' Cayboo Creek?
Well, it's in South Carolina, and lemme tell you it's like the big bad city compared to Bible Grove, which is just a little downstate. And both small down-home towns feature prominently in the latest novel on the GCC tour: A Dollar Short
, the latest in the Bottom Dollar series from Karin Gillespie. See the other books in the series at http://www.karingillespie.com/
But it's not all small-town southern drama--quite the opposite. Former beauty queen Chiffon Butrell takes on Hollywood, papparazzi, and the fierce ego of a movie starlet, when her husband Lonnie wins a trip to Hollywood and meets mega movie star, Janie Lynn Lauren. She's known as Jay-Li to her elite circle and Lonnie leaves Chiffon behind in Cayboo Creek, S.C., with three kids and no money. As things go in Hollywood, Jay-Li gets nasty, appearing on national television wearing a t-shirt that says “Chiffon, Be Gone!” The book is a fun and funny read from start to finish, unfolding the improbable story of a tough lady in Cayboo Creek who's not gonna sit around and wait for a starlet to steal her man.
Chick lit uber-star Jennider Weiner found it fab: "As tart and delectable as lemon meringue pie...a pure delight." So if Jay-Li and Chiffon haven't made you laugh yet, Chiffon's sister...Chenille probably will.
The Object(s) of My Affection
The Circuits Section of today's NYT, features a centerfold of five college students discussing their object lust. The Times asked these 2 boys and 3 girls about the gadgets that they "needed" to have with them when they went back to school this year. And the students' answers ranged from a Motorola V710 cellphone equipped with Bluetooth, to an iPod, to Powerbook linked to a 23-inch Cinema Display.
Granted, it's now been a while since I went to college, but I recall my gadget collection being a lot less... what's the word?... present. This is not to say that we oldies didn't have a list of things we absolutely couldn't go back to college without. This is just to say most of those things ran on 4D batteries.
Below, my list of "MUST HAVE OR I'LL DIE" circa the 1994-95 school year:
1. Halogen Lamp (almost certain to catch fire or explode)
2. Hot plate (almost certain to be confiscated by fire inspectors)
3. Bong that looks like a pencil holder (ditto)
4. A Bedazzler
5. Sneakers that you could pump up
6. Dot matrix printer
7. Body jewelry
8. A VHS tape of "Reality Bites"
9. 12 types of hair gel (most of which are still in use)
10. My "Yes Man," an electronic plastic head that would utter phrases like, "Wow, I wish I'd thought of that!"
So maybe I was what you'd call a techie after all. If I've forgotten any objects of the '90s, lemme know...
Houston, We Have a NO Problem
In fact, Houston, we've got nothing but good news, big plans and one excellent
interview. Robin and I just finished being interviewed live by Dayna Steele, a Texas entrepreneur-cum-radio host, for her very popular radio show called The Art of Doing Business on the BizRadio network. Dayna has been nominated in the Radio Personality division of the 2005 Ultimate Houston Reader Picks Ballot from the Houston Chronicle--and, as we can now personally testify, for good reason!
She asked terrific questions and we had a really interesting conversation about the who-how-and-why of writing SHAKING, one of our most interesting and fun so far. Frankly, we didn't really want to hang up. You can listen to the interview as soon as it's posted, at http://www.daynasteele.com/archive.htm.
Or check out some of Dayna's other shows (and her blog) at http://www.daynasteele.com/index.htm
. They call her Houston's First Lady of Radio, and since she's had her own fair share of successful, successfuller, and extremely successful career reinventions, we're hoping this bodes well for R&R--and their girl Rachel--in Houston.
Wait, I don't get it...
I'm not remotely embarrassed to admit I always skip over the poetry in the New Yorker
(if that's what you can call it...). But the Talk of the Town section is almost always one of my favorite parts of the magazine. Its short commentaries on various goings on are generally amusing, interesting and easily consumed on a subway ride or during a lunch or commercial break.
But one of the pieces in this week's edition, Dept. of Small Talk, Crosstown Bus
by Alec Wilkinson, riled me. The author sets the scene by writing that a "young black man in bluejeans and a white T-shirt," has gotten on a crosstown bus. Wilkinson continues the description: "He wore a black brimmed hat, with earflaps that were pulled down over his ears despite the heat. He was thin to the point of being scrawny. His narrow shoulders swayed as he walked up the aisle. He had a large gold chain around his neck. His teeth were slightly bucked He took a seat and looked around, smiling. Clearly he belonged to the tribe of extroverts." Yeah, either that or the tribe of meth users.
Wilkinson goes on to describe how this young black man tried to strike up a conversation with a "young Latina woman" listening to her iPod, but she wasn't interested. He persists. She's not rude, but still not interested in chatting. He keeps talking, still, she just wants to listen to her music in peace. And that's the whole of the story.
So what's been reported is the tale of a black man who knows not how to dress for the weather and who either doesn't understand or doesn't accept bus etiquette, and his "funny" encounter with a Latina woman who owns an iPod.
I'm sure I must have missed something here, like what it was about this scene that made it worthy of description. And if someone can explain this to me, I'd be grateful...
Not This Week, Emo Boys!
Later this week, Renée and I head to Texas to do some readings, sign a few books and meet the Most Heterosexual Men of our dreams there. As we were setting up our smallish-but-bigger-in-Texas book tour, we hadn't realized that Houston was about to be named the "World's Most Heterosexual City" in the "World's Sexiest City" poll.
Little did we know such a poll even existed! Little before had we cared since we live in Manhattan, where people are usually somewhat embarrassed by their status as hets. My fav. line about this is from the movie, "Boiler Room," uttered when a group of ruff'n'tumble bankers approach a table of gay men and one says, "You people disgust me, they should put you all on an island somewhere." The gay man smiles back and replies, "They did. It's called Manhattan."
Anyhoo, the idea of being in a city where Breeders frolic freely is feeling pretty novel to me at this point. Especially after just returning from my trip to The Pines this weekend, otherwise known as the gayest place on earth. Reader, it was wonderful and it was terrible. I was invited out by my friend, McSweeney's writer and all-around hottie, Jay Dyckman
. The ratio of men to women was about 35:1 and the men I stayed with were amazing. They were fun, they were smart, they were stylish, they were athletic, they were good dancers, good cooks and as charming a be-turbaned recorder-player in markets of Marrakech. And don't even get me started about the way they looked in bathing suits. I was like a diabetic kid in a candy shop.
Seriously, if I'd lit myself on fire while strolling that beach, the only interest I would have garnered would have been a brief pause to consider if marshmallows could be toasted on my ass
(*There was one FABULOUS female sighting, though. Walking along the beach, TOTALLY naked save for her mohawk of pubic hair was Robyn Bird, former hostess of the eponymous channel 35 program, The Robyn Bird Show. She got some well-deserved waves from the boys.)
So now onto Texas. And look out, heterosexual men--whoever you are--cause this born in San Antonio prodigal daughter is coming back home and she's ready for action. Needless to say, we'll keep you posted from the road...