Friday, October 31, 2008

far too pretty for tears

Bad days are the pits. We've all had them. (And we've all caused them, too)

No matter why, how, or who, everyone is bound to frown occasionally. Such a pity it is when a beautiful smile takes the day off. Some girls are one in a million, and others are one in a billion, but based on today's logged statistic, I truly believe that you are one in 6,706,992,932.

There aint nothing a little Leona, a pinch of pinot and a bit of time can't fix. And, if all else fails, there's always a movie on-demand and a futon waiting.

xo to you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

what really happened

Tomorrow night the world will meet Ben. Ben is a twice-divorced, down-and-out Hollywood producer who’s fighting to resuscitate his career. Ben, of course, isn’t a real person, but rather the lead character in Barry Levinson’s newest flick “What Just Happened?” – which hits Toronto theatres on Friday.

Levinson, whose film wasn’t too well received at Cannes in May, was once told to “Wag The Dog” but now has simply been asked to put it down.
(It makes sense in the context of the plot. Read on.)

Apparently, critics dismissed the picture, even in spite of its obvious star power. We’re talking Bobby De Niro, Sean Penn, Bruce Willis, John Turturro, and Stanley Tucci. None of this Javier Bardem bullshit.

Usually, I like to fancy myself a trendy anti-establishmentarian. I don’t always agree with the Eberts’ and Roepers’ of the world, but after seeing a pre-screening of the flick with Miles this week, I almost considered siding with the enemy.

When HBO’s Entourage first aired in 2004, audiences were immediately hooked on the idea of seeing celebrities play themselves. It was like the reality TV song-and-dance, but without a grossly corpulent has-been (see: Tyra Banks, Mel B., Mario Lopez, et al.) facilitating the drama. Now, billions of people pay an extra $15.49 a month to stay in touch with Vince, Turtle, Johnny and everyone’s favorite Jewish bastard, Ari Gold.

Cluing in to this trend, and robbing Mark Walberg of his [only] good idea, Levinson invites Bruce Willis to play himself, Sean Penn to play himself, and Robert Di Nero to play a role that is quite obviously representative of the [once] legendary Art Linson. All real people. All real funny. Funny, but tedious.
Aside from seeing Bruce Willis gain 25 lbs and grow a beard like Stonewall Jackson, there’s just nothing fresh about it.

Sure, I laughed when expected, sighed when assumed to, and gasped in pure horror when a puppy dog takes a bullet to the face only moments after opening credits.

Good for shock value. Bad for agoraphobics. And I’d know.

The story tracks the journey of a film from first screening, to final cuts, and then all the way to Cannes, as the audience watches and waits to learn its fate. Will it dodge the critics’ claws, or will it be canned? And are we talking about the make-believe film within a film, or Levinson’s supposed magnum opus?

Confused? So am I.
After considering the inner and the outer, the story inside a story inside a story, and how art imitates life and Bruce imitates crazy, I left the theatre dizzied and beaten, and asking myself, so conveniently, what the fuck just happened?

That said, I’d actually recommend this movie. Bet you didn't see that one coming. In truth, it’s good. It might be a full-length carbon copy of a show we’ve all watched, one $60 box-set-season at a time, but it’s good. And like the old saying goes – there are a few things to consume in moderation, and a good thing (depending on your definition) just isn’t one of them.
Tried, tested and true, I think Levinson's masterpeice might not be original, but it's certainly worth a watching.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

truth hurts

Sometimes, the best kind if friend is the one who won't hold back. The type of person who tells it like it is, and coats absolutely nothing in sugar. These are the types of people that you have edit your work, your wardrobe, and your perspectives when need be. These are also the types of people who can critique you, whose opinions you value, and whose smarts can outsmart you no matter the subject.

Jamie Thomas is one of those friends. I welcome his thoughts, his considerations, his criticisms, and today, his guest appearance on this blog. I know. Lucky duck, right?

Making blog hopping somewhat of a sport, Jamie is a well read world-wide-webber, and has voiced many an opinion on the blogosphere, and all of its incumbents. In an email I received this morning, he topped up a conversation we had started this weekend, and abridged it so eloquently that it just had to be posted. Sometimes, the truth stings. And sometimes, it's just interesting to read.

Ladies and gentlemen, James Grover Thomas:

“I just want to do something meaningful with my life, Maury… I have deeper thoughts on my mind”

- Derek Zoolander

If it is somewhat surprising to me that the term ‘fashion-blog’ ever got off the ground, then their ubiquity is stunning. Who, I wondered, could possibly wring from their clothing and the clothing of others even one mildly entertaining post – never mind thousands. I can probably date this notion sometime between late 2005 and early 2006 and must have rushed off to Indie Night at the Collective before adequately exploring the thought – I was, it turns out, wrong.

Of course fashion-blogs flourished – what better medium to explore the tension between individual style and collective fashion than the internet blogosphere, itself rife with issues of collectivity and individuality – where people are only famous if you don’t know them? Fashion blogs are perfectly tailored to concise explorations of why people wear what they wear, the ideas that inform the dress, the cultural buzz that makes Hubbell Gardner’s sweater cool again.

Why, then, the proliferation of blogs about fashion that seem to have had all intellectual curiosity bound and gagged by the copy and paste keys? Elsa Schiaparelli, a fashion legend responsible for integrating Dadaist and Surrealist ideas into the world of haute-couture, once wrote that "Fashion is born by small facts, trends, or even politics."

It is – so think about it; it is not enough to show us what you like, show us why. Only by following through on their ideas can fashion-blogs pull themselves from the blogosphere-gutter replete with vapid party-photos. Only then does it mean anything.

Here’s how to think and talk somewhat intelligently about fashion.

**The views and opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily that of the blogger's, although, she sometimes wishes they were.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

dress me up, dress me down

Elizabeth Taylor once said, "I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine -- You can't possess radiance, you can only admire it."

On Thursday night, I myself admired a few radiant gems and jewels. I wore them, and then, sadly, I had to give them back.
Because, unlike Liz, this time both the radiance and the jewels were not mine to possess.

They belonged to Michael Mercanti, designer and creator of Speech Jewellery. Toronto based, and beautifully basic, his thick chained, heavily studded, long hanging ornaments can make even the teeniest girl feel tough. And I'd know. I walked home by myself that night. True story.

Both Mercanti and his pieces were the guests of honour at Strangelove on Thursday, where people packed into the narrow space to preview his product. A few lucky attendees accepted free feathered gifts that Mercanti handmade himself, and that I myself handed out, along with a few other familiar faces.

Hannah Sider, friend and photo-fanatic, managed to snap a few shots of the gang being adorned before the event.

For better photos of the merchandise, more information on the boldest, baddest, bestest bling around town, or to order some for yourself (that you, unlike me, can keep forever and always) you should visit

Seriously. You should.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

heavens to "Betsey"

While everyone else has been "tenting" for Toronto Fashion Week, I've been camping out in the library. I've not been sporting one of those all-powerful, hot pink media lanyards and watching as pin-thin seasonal prophecies go marching by. I've been wearing whatever is cleanest, eating whatever is fastest, and applying nothing but mascara for the past three, long, lonely days.

Last night, however, I treated myself to a night away from the books and isolation. With the help of 'The Jons', I was able to get a glimpse of this fall's fashion festivities, and attend the Betsey Johnson show at, uh, Branthouse?

Thrilled to be primped, preened and in public for the first time in 72 hours, I might have indulged in a little too many celebratory cocktails (red wine, white wine, Russ's kosher wine, and then, well, whatever was easiest on the old change-purse).

But, thank God for roommates -- and their digital cameras.

Nikon in hand, Katy captured the night for me, and didn't miss a single poodle-headed model prancing down the catwalk, notwithstanding the impossible view. Though most of her better photographs will be used for her new job, I was still able to finagle a few decent ones for my modest, yet loyal readership. Hi mom!

With Miss G, Miss D, and of course Miss Biz working hard backstage, and everyone else I know the working the crowds at the forefront, I enjoyed my brief emancipation from the editing suites, and of course, some signature BJ beau monde.

Monday, October 20, 2008

job oppor-tastic

This weekend I had the ultimate pleasure of peppering some pretty important people with a (painfully) impromptu questionnaire.
It was a 'lovely affair', and the production to follow wasn't too shabby either.

More to come.

mama drama

Yesterday, in a much needed tête-à-tête with my dear amigo Madi, we discussed all of the things that incensed us this weekend. During our mutual therapy session, we carped on our deleted projects, zippers, deadlines, headlines, shared family phone lines, and friends who say things that sometimes make us cringe.

Pregnancy. A bête noir of the highest degree. Sometimes it seems that Madi and I sail this boat alone. We don't get it. We don't like it. And we're condemned for that reason.

It appears to be an elemental part of our female genetic makeup that we are both missing. Neither of us will coo with delight when encountering a fat-ankled mother-to-be struggle to get out of her car, while our friends gush, and smile softly to one another, with anticipation and envy.

Life is a beautiful thing. Sex aint that bad either. It's what happens between the exchange of sex and the arrival of life that I can't figure out.

I have felt like this for years, even though I myself was carted about in my mother's belly like a hippo in a handbag. When my Ma was pregnant with my kid sister, I had little interest in touching the belly, seeing the belly, knowing anything about the bulbuls, polished belly – and I was only nine years old.

The opening credits for TLC's "A Baby Story" make me squirm, and I close my eyes through child birthing scenes in even the most G-rated films.

Because of this, I have always felt alienated, set apart from my baby-crazy girlfriends.

First, I thought I was detached, or inherently impassive. Not ideal, but no one's perfect.

But, unsatisfied with just being "frigid" I set out to unearth my predicament. Now, after researching my plight, I find out that although I am an emotive, normal being, I am also a bona fide Tocophobic.

Tocophobia is a certifiable aversion to the general state of pregnancy and the act of childbirth. Many women are born with it, and many women develop it after having a child of their own. It is created by the subconscious as a protective mechanism, and is usually the product of a suppressed catalytic memory or event.

I guess my escape from the womb was particularly traumatic.

So next time you point at a roly-poly Sally in a Gap Maternity tracksuit and beam, don't fault me, or my kind, for recoiling in disgust.

We’re human. We like moms. We like kids. We want kids. We do. We want to be able to have our own little things to love, and nurture, and inevitably fuck up.

We’d just prefer you direct your congenial gawking toward our surrogates. Thank you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

all in the family

Tonight, while we both should have been studying for our respective certifications, in our separate countries, I finally schooled myself on the magic of Skype.

For the longest time, my biggest brother, my kid sister and both of my grandparents have been hounding me to try it out. Tonight, in the ugly face of an approaching deadline, the aforementioned biggest brother finally got me online.

It was oh so good to hear his voice, and even better to see his face, though pixeley and distorted. And half asleep in Chicago.

Somehow, even miles apart, with boarders and years between us, through the static of an online connection, and despite my soft speech so-as-not-to-wake-a-slumbering-roommate, we made contact – and talked about contacts. His kind and mine. Bifocal contacts and source contacts. He's in Optometry, and I'm in, well, Journalism. He'll help people to see, and hopefully, so will I.

After 45 minutes of free, undisturbed catch-up, we both decided that it was high time we quit procrastinating (a treasured pseudo-genetic trait we share) and crack those bindings.

It's so nice to get in touch, even if you're not close enough to touch anyone at all.
An ideal beginning to a dreaded weekend indoors.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The good news? Judging by the unimpressive durability of the last Harper government, we'll only have to wait a couple of years before we hit the polls again. Hopefully by then, Dion will have mastered a more comprehensible English syntax or, better yet, he'll have been replaced by the almighty Michael Ignatieff. Layton will stop combing his moustache and compulsively comparing himself to Obama. And, Elizabeth May will finally get that Extreme Makeover the due respect that she deserves.

With Harper diving head first into money troubles with bricks tied to his feet, Canadians can look forward to a sea of debt, a boatload of bullshit, and some signature smug, and highly indefinite orations. Although last night's seat total was a slight improvement compared to his winning minority in 2006, it hardly makes him a victor – it just means he was the best of the worst. The biggest loser.

Mazel Tov.

Now, I'm not implying that I could do it better than any of them. I understand that being a politician 'aint exactly a walk in Queen's Park. Well, actually…

Because, at the end of the day it comes down to the voters. Canada elected to support a man who does not believe in funding the arts, and does believe in replacing the young offenders act with a new approach that will surely stigmatize kid-criminals forever.
So, really, my disappointment isn't in Harper's bad decisions, it's in the really bad decisions of the voters.

Shame shame.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"a 4 hour movie"

"Birthdays are merely symbolic of how another year's gone by and how little we've grown.
No matter how desperate we are that someday a better self will emerge,
each flicker of the candles on the cake says we know it's not to be; That for the rest of our sad, wretched, pathetic lives, this is who we are to the bitter end." - Jerry Seinfeld

Good thing I love you just the way you is, girl. Never change (unless you've already worn it).
Happiest Birthday xoxo

nuit blah

Murray Whyte of the Toronto Star asked yesterday: "is it art?"

Kicking off my boots at 5 AM today, I found myself wondering the same.

Sprawled across my futon, supine, and sipping tea with three of the finest people I know, I worried that maybe I'm just too common to understand the ins and outs of high or contemporary art. I was irritable and peckish and there was nothing to do but eat stale cereal and contemplate Whyte's woolly query.

After six hours on our feet, sated by wine, caffeine and curiosity, the four of us reflected on Nuit Blanche.

This year, we made a plan. Art first. Revel later. So we walked, and we walked, and we looked, and we tried to give life to our inner Charles Saatchi.

No matter how bright the lights, how loud the noise, or how big the crowd -- there seemed to be an absence of something integral, no matter where we went.

(I think it might have been, um, art.)

Some of the galleries showed pretty paintings, and photos and pop-up books that conjure up childhood memories – but aside from a pinch of nostalgia, there was little else to experience.

Art for art sake, or simply because the artist deems it so, is a confusing concept to digest while you're standing in a 15 minute line, holding your crotch and bouncing, waiting for a Starbucks bathroom.

Conceptually, the night is a wonderful idea. Civilians getting together, outdoors, with high hopes and warm clothes, all in the name of something called culture.

The reality is, however, that I would rather go to a hockey game and wait for the spotlight to pick me out of the crowd, giving me my "15 seconds of fame" on the jumbo-tron, rather than stand around with a bunch of suburbanites waiting for the same in Dundas square.

At least at a hockey game I'm usually the only one who doesn't get it, or simply doesn't care**.

But last night? I'm sure I wasn't alone.

** I've never been one for athletics.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

didn't your mother teach you any manners?

If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Isn't that the cardinal rule when it comes to general interaction and proper communiqué?

Contrary to the counsel of both my online friends and real-life companions, I decided to put my trust in the aforementioned mantra and enable anonymous commenting on this blog. However, it appears that a few unnamed spoilsports have destroyed my faith in the courteous aphorism.

I have been accused of being completely self-unaware, too outwardly judgmental, and not at all inwardly critical. I have been charged with poor research and failure to discus anything important, "like, you know, the environment, and poverty and, like, stuff."

I've been called vain, and sarcastic, and superficial.

Um. I have a naked Barbie as my forum placard.

What exactly were you expecting?

This is a blog. It is my own space to write what I please. It is not my resume. You are not my therapist.

According to you, Anonymous, I'm either too into myself, or, I'm so into other people that truly knowing myself is an utter unfeasibility. But seriously, would anyone really want to read a daily journal cataloguing my inner anguish, daddy-issues, aching ego, or my thoughts on the Arab Abbala tribes of northern Rizeigat, or the annual exponential increase anthropogenic greenhouse gasses?

I doubt it.

However, if that is something that you would prefer to consume, Anonymous, my old friend, then I suggest you find a new blogger to decry. Because right now, I am perfectly content with my amour-propre, my lengthy list of "trivial" interests and my apposite overuse of uber ardent (albeit ever amusing) alliterations.

If you can't find anyone -- and I promise that all bloggers are at least a little self-involved, or otherwise just boring -- perhaps you should find another hobby. I hear that socializing is all the rage right now.